Sunday, April 19, 2009

County Council Member Shows Arrogance

I was catching up on HoCo news this morning at the Baltimore Sun and saw a story about the supposed success of the texting and speed camera legislation passed by the Maryland legislature. The legislative value of those laws aside - they are ridiculous and thinly-veiled taxes - there was a second part of Larry Carson's piece about efforts of Republicans to challenge Democratic domination of the eastern County.
Anthony C. Jordan, 29, a five-year resident of New Colony Village in Elkridge, said he's planning a run for the District 2 County Council seat now held by Democrat Calvin Ball, who was appointed in April 2006 to succeed David A. Rakes.

A former Air Force staff sergeant and married father of two preschool girls, Jordan said he has a fundraiser planned for May 2 at Houlihan's restaurant in Gateway shopping center and plans a vigorous door-to-door effort. County GOP Chairwoman Joan Becker said Jordan has been active for about six months and is a welcome addition to the Republican candidate ranks.
Not knowing Mr. Jordan, it's pretty cool to me that he is deciding to take the plunge. He wants to represent his community in a different fashion than how he defended it as a member of the military. Meanwhile, Councilman Ball shows his arrogance in response to Mr. Jordan's potential challenge.
"I think it would be challenging for someone with limited experience and who may not really have done a great deal in the community to be successful," said Ball, 33.
Let me get this right. Calvin Ball is 33. A solid four years older than Jordan. Ball basically has one full term in office under his belt. And, he is criticizing a man who served in our military as having little community experience? You gotta be kidding me.

It would seem that Mr. Ball is out of touch with this comment. Playing the experience card is hilariously wrong in this situation for several reasons. One, Mr. Ball has less than one full term of experience as an elected official. Second, in order to gain experience in the community and as a legislator, someone has to win an election first. Third, having experience doesn't necessarily work out to be a benefit. If the person with experience does a poor job, is ineffective, or has lousy ideas, then experience is a curse - not a blessing.

As someone who is yet to be elected to the position for a full term, it would seem that Mr. Ball should be more careful in his remarks.


  1. I agree with your comments about Ball's seeming arrogance towards Jordan, but one correction Ryan - Ball was indeed elected to a full term in 2006 after defeating the Republican Gina Ellrich. He had been appointed prior to that election to fill the remainder of Dave Rakes' term.

  2. Ah, correction noted and made, Dave.

  3. Ryan,
    I am working with Anthony on his campaign and we appreciate your support. Please check out the campaign website for a response to Councilman Ball's quote:

  4. Take a look at Ball's connection to the developers. The Sun article included details about an April fundraiser.

    I hear that Ball is getting big $$$$ from the developers and lawyers.

  5. If you made a correction, it's hard to see it. The paragraph below Ball's quote includes an incorrect statement: "Ball is yet to actually be elected to this seat for a full term." He hasn't served a full term, but he's been elected to one.

    More broadly, I think you're looking for outrage when there really isn't much need for it. Sure, Ball spoke inartfully, but his point -- that Jordan hasn't done anything in the community -- is objectively true. Despite what Jordan says on his blog and what you try to imply in this post, service to country does not equal service to community. Because we're all compelled to say such things now, this statement is not meant to impugn Jordan's or anyone else's military service, but you can't use it as a proxy for local community participation, especially if you're trying to run for office.

    I mean, take a look at the guy's platform and it's apparent that not only has he not been involved, he hasn't really even done his homework. His top priority is an ESL summer class for the school system, which is under the purview of the Board of Education not the County Council. His second priority is a traffic light at Port Capitol Drive and Rt. 1, an intersection controlled by the state and not the county. His third priority is to loosen restrictions on advertising and road side signs, a position that will make him few friends outside of realtors, builders and owners of websites for local singles. And, finally, his fourth priority is to have inmates pick up trash on our roads, a laudable but somewhat lightweight goal.

    Finally, you're point about needed to win an election to gain community experience is dead wrong. It's easy to get involved in community issues. All you have to do is show up at meetings or join listservs. They're all open to everyone.

  6. A couple of responses to everyone.

    First, sorry about the screw ups with Mr. Ball's actual length of service on the Council. I didn't want to mess that up, but did.

    Second, I don't want to speculate on where a candidate gets their political contributions. It doesn't really matter where they come from because it is political expression. It is Mr. Ball's - or any candidate's - call on who they take money from, etc. It is up to individuals and companies to decide how to express themselves with their cash.

    Third, I'm not particularly outraged by what Mr. Ball said. That's much too strong of a word. I do find his comment to be arrogant and unbecoming of an elected official. Rage, though, isn't me. :)

    I will agree that service to the country does not directly overlap with service to the county/community. Depending on Mr. Jordan's role in the military, there may or may not be overlap. I'm not in a position to say that for certain, but the guy (a) deserves credit for his military service and (b) may have some overlap into the style of work of a legislator.

    I definitely did not want to turn this into a discussion of Mr. Jordan's positions. I hadn't read them prior to this post. Though I do find there to be more important priorities in the County, that's not what I'm trying to discuss. Different post maybe.

    I think you misread my point about winning an election. I said that to gain experience in the community AND as an elected official, you have to win an election. That is undeniably true. You can't have true experience as a legislator without being elected first. Mock Congresses are not that realistic. :)

    For one, I don't find that having an awareness of community issues is involvement. That's being aware of them. It is certainly a notch better than ignorance or mild interest, but that isn't involvement. Involvement implies doing something about your awareness - being on an HOA, testifying before county bodies, etc.

  7. Calvin Ball's campaign contribution history supports the notion that there might be a bit of arrogance, or at least misinterpreting community support for hims. See Spring He had more out-of-county contributions that anyone, and he has a significant amount of contributions just after being elected - a move employed to garner favorable decisions sometimes at the taxpayer's expense.