Saturday, February 27, 2010

Ethics Complaint Filed Against Swatek

Five Columbia residents have filed a formal ethics complaint against Russell Swatek, the Columbia Council representative from the Village of Long Reach. The complaint, contained in a letter to the Columbia Council board chair, alleges that “his appointment as Spokesperson for Taxpayers Against Giveaways (TAG), has become involved in a private activity that has already and will continue to conflict with his objectivity in protecting and promoting the interests of the Columbia Association and the Long Reach Village Association.”

At a recent Columbia Association board meeting Mr. Swatek was actively gathering signatures for his petition to subject the Columbia Town Center redevelopment legislation to referendum.

The letter, signed by Jud Malone, Phil Engelke, Lin Eagan, Linda Odum and Patrick Von Schlag, cites the boards’ ethics policy which states that board members “must act in the interest of the whole community of Columbia and not simply as a representative of a particular village or constituency. Once all constituent perspectives are established and acknowledged, they must be considered in relation to the perspective of the entire community of Columbia.”

“We are believe that it would be in the best interest of the community of Columbia for Mr. Swatek to voluntarily resign his position as CA Board Member. Should he choose not to take that action we are hereby requesting that this report alleging misconduct by Mr. Swatek be considered as serious and be promptly addressed and fully investigated according to procedures established in CA Code of Ethics documents.”

It will be interesting to see how the board responds.


Freemarket said...

What does TAG think about public schools, parks, libraries, Healthy Howard, state money for Symphony Woods, etc.? Those are all giant giveaways of taxpayer money. And I'm not being flip, I think those are all wasteful giveaways. I'm just curious if TAG is anything other than a single issue group. If not, the name is misleading.

Anonymous said...

They are a single-issue, anti-development group.

Anonymous said...

What's the point of having village representatives if they...

“must act in the interest of the whole community of Columbia and not simply as a representative of a particular village or constituency. Once all constituent perspectives are established and acknowledged, they must be considered in relation to the perspective of the entire community of Columbia.”

Sounds like taxation without representation to me. I want to be really sarcastic here, and make a few remarks about singing kumbaya (or whatever, correct my spelling), but it looks to me like a constitutional crises...time for some villages to secede from Columbia.

And under current Howard County and Maryland law, they could do just that, and not be punished a whit. I mean, being that we have a county government, who gives a rip about CA?

As the flight attendants say, "Ba-Bye!"

Anonymous said...

Another absurd screech from Jud, this time supported by real estate professionals - surprise.

It is illegal to impede Democratic right of referendum, Jud.

Someone should file criminal charges against YOU.

Keep it up, 5500 proponents. You are scared to death of a referendum after LYING that the populace supports you. The fact that your willing to IMPEDE other's voting rights is indicative of the lengths you'll go to cover up your lying.

Anonymous said...

Russ made it very clear where he stood on the issues and he was elected. James lost, and his handful of supporters who couldn't purchase that election are still stinging from the loss.

Some elections can't be bought, apparently. 2010 could be the year where we all follow the voters of Long Reach, no more purchasing elections.

Anonymous said...

Our county council all went along with the farse that most people supported the GGP bail out plan. These elected people knew that residents didn't support the plan and are very quiet while the puppeteers try to ensnare another referendum in technical entanglements precluding success.

Council - I hope you gain some perspective when you're voted out.

Anonymous said...

swatek couldn't win if he had to tell voters he is a republican

it just don't play in columbia

Anonymous said...

A lot of people from varying walks are supporting a real change in Columbia. If they're smart, they'll use mantra that excludes the party distinction.

Republican insiders think this is a good year for republicans. They're so wrong and are on the precipice of really blowing a great opportunity to find real citizen represntatives and billing them as such.

Instead, there's talk of Republicans in local offices. Damn shame.

HoCoRising said...

Anon 3:35, I understand your concern with R v. D politics, but without enough candidates for a primary, I don't think we can say the party is failing to find the right people. If people don't step up and run, there's no validity to the argument that the wrong candidates are being endorsed.

I will say from my own observations, the party is staying out of the campaigns that have started so far.

Anonymous said...

HoCoRising. I think the GOP is staying out of races it can't win to focus on what can be won. Otherwise, there won't be enough resources and some races that we can win will be lost because we squandered money and people on weak candidates like, well, you know beter than most.

Anonymous said...

Hey HoCoRising, Don't pull a Swatek against the party!

HoCoRising said...

The tough guy Anonymi strike again. I honestly don't understand the Swatek comment. And if that was a swipe at Anthony's campaign, you're not hurting my feelings, bud. Some people run for office. Others sit at their computers and sling mud.

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:35 didn't say the party was failing to find the right people. The R party should clam up about party distinctions this year. Independents remember that the R's started the whole bailout thing that infuriates us.

Just focus on the incumbent's record and talk about good representation, forget party.

As for Russ, I agree that Jud looks to be malicious at this point.

PZGURU said...

The "R's" most certainly did NOT start the whole bailout thing.

Please remember that the Democrats took control of Congress in 2006, with enough of a majority to override any veto from Bush. The TARP legislation was written by Obama, Reid, and Pelosi - remember? When McCain tried to get involved too, the dems shut him out. Bush could have, and should have vetoed the bill and let the dems override him (which they would have).

I agree that some republicans voted for TARP, but not all of them, and they certainly weren't steering the ship at that time.

If you want to get some real perspective about how politicians manage money, look at the states that have been under 1 party, democrat rule for the longest: MD, CA, MA, and NY. Those states are in the WORST financial situations in the country. And they are under democrat/liberal rule (yes - Arnold Schwarznliberal is a LIBERAL f-up) and have been, for the most part, for the last 40-50 years.

So before people can start pinning big deficits on Bush, remember (1) there was a Democrat Congress for the last 2 years of his term that was misguiding the budget and (2) the deficits we're seeing from Obama are 10 TIMES what happened under the last budgets.

Anonymous said...

Thanks PZ. I've been looking for the answer to my understanding that Bush called for the bailout before he left office.

I see your perspective. The liberal press reported that Bush wanted the bail out so that is suspect. After the press reported Bush's 'wishes', the congress came up with a bail out which he signed.

Still, though. From my perspective he was also responsible, and it started while the administration was R. Then of course continued under a D.

Carnac said...

Harold... er, I mean PZ... you're entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts.

The 8 yr Bush reign (supported by a free speanding R Congress) resulted in a sizeable surplus being turned into a monumental deficit. Don't for a moment think that anyone will buy into the notion that the D's created this mess.

The one noble act that Pres Bush and his Treas Sec took was to fess up and put a $Trillion in the dike before presiding over a complete global meltdown.

Anonymous said...

Also, let's not forget that Greg Fox voted for the GGP 'bailout' that sent several suitors vying for the newly valued set up that taxpayers will fund.

Hey, we're just asking for truth here. Republicans are responsible, Democrats are responsible. No one is representing the people any longer. They're in it for personal glorification. That's how I see it and it's a pervasive enough perspective that across the nation there's a huge and growing anti-incumbent sentiment.

Cathy said...

Why are so many politicians, developers and real estate interests worried about democracy.

There'e plenty of information available. Let the electorate weigh the facts and decide what direction they think is best for Columbia.

Then the issue will be settled, ONCE and for ALL.

PZGURU said...

Carnac - you act as if my identity is some top secret. Am I supposed to be "concerned" that you accidentally/on purpose used my real name? Anyone who wants to can find my intro from when I started blogging under the moniker PZGURU.

I don't believe I said that Republicans don't bear any of the blame.

It's sort of like what happened to GHW Bush. He campaigned on the No New Taxes platform. Then the Democrat Congress shoved a tax increase down his throat, and he got blamed for it.

The point is, the first 6 years of Bush's presidency with a republican Congress = small to no deficits. Starting in 2006 = big deficits. What changed in 2006??? Control of Congress went over to Dems.

For all the people like you ranting about the past deficits, how do you feel about the deficits under Obama? Ten times bigger deficits, but hardly a peep.

Tom said...

From my view I'd now move Russ from the Republican Party to the Tea Bag category based on how he has spoken about all the issues. Somebody ask him where he stands,

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:37. Of course Greg Fox voted for the single largest economic opportunity Howard Co has seen in a generation. Thank god the democrats, despite living in the land of anti-business, also voted for jobs and economic growth versus letting Columbia turn into the ghetto. That's when the taxpayers would really start ponying up to fix thing.

As for the "GGP bailout" talk, do you understand how large GGP is? Do you understand that downtown Columbia is a tiny piece of the company? The tining coincides with the last pieces of secured debt getting restructured, which all potential buyers have been waiting or current management to do before they jumped in.

And "we're just asking for the truth?" Is it at all possible in your mind that the County planning staff, economists, EDA, outside consulants for both the developer and the county, the developer itself and the County Council have told you the truth, or will you reject every statement as a lie until you're told what you want to hear?

And what are the taxpayers funding - specifically? Let's have some facts here.

"No one is representing the people any longer." Well, I feel very represented. We,ve lived in Columbia for 20 years and when we came here people told me the city was only half finished. Since then nothing has changed other than that we've: lost jobs to Gateway and other Counties, have polluted the hell out of the environment, have seen crime increase, have seen schools deteriorate and have watched Symphony Woods and Merriweather turn into a dump.

This is an incredible plan. Sure the developer is going to make money. That's sort of how capitalism and investment works. Will the County have costs? Sure. But will the cost to get this project off the ground now and bring back some economic growth to Columbia be more than what it will cost all of us to fix it 10-20 years from now when it's truly dead?

To the average reader: you'll hear that everyone in favor of the development plan is getting paid by developers. That's a lie. You'll hear that this is a rip-off of the taxpayers. That's been disputed by experts from every walk of life. You'll hear that this was "rammed through" without discussion. Discussion started five years ago. You'll hear that the only voices that were heard were those of the developer. Just go to the County Council website and watch the archived testimony and you'll see otherwise. The facts is that some people oppose all development and will make up whatever facts they want to persuade you to do the same.

There are far too many people on these message boards making up facts. If you believe the facts as presented are wrong, tell us what assumptions are wrong.