You may have heard of fight over Towson Manor Park, and Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz is obstainate, seeming to not give in. The County wants to sell the park to a developer to make a new fire station while elected officials like Delegate Steve Lafferty say the park shouldn’t be sold. But, why would Kamenetz do this?
I wrote back in September 2012 on Sunshine Politics that “Kamenetz [is] helping business…[as shown in] a report released this February called the “economic development plan” released by the Baltimore County government’s Department of Economic Development…While this report does have positives (helping small businesses, easier access to university-based research and development and supporting county vendors), it seems to heavily favor business over the 99% of Baltimore County residents. Business expansion, creating a business-friendly environment and helping multinationals is not necessarily in the best interest of Baltimore County residents…A public works program would be more successful…[and] until Kamenetz considers such as proposal, I believe that he is under the country of business interests, which he cares about more than the 99% of Baltimore County.” With the possible selling of Towson Manor Park, which has been followed in the Tribune-owned Baltimore Sun and Towson Times, I decided to revisit the ideas set out in this article.
Like my last article, I decided to look at campaign contributions. I found that $1200 dollars was transferred from Kamenetz’s campaign to the Democratic State Central Committee Of Maryland before this year’s general election. What about the “business entities” he recieved money from, as the League of Women Voters of Baltimore County noted in one of their reports? I looked back at all of the reports provided publically by the State Board of elections dating back to 2006. I found that prior to 2010, in his campaigns for public office*:
– In 2006, three hundred dollars was transferred to Comcast’s PAC
– Pataspco Business Center gave his campaign $1,500 dollars (2006) and $2,000 dollars in 2007
– $125 dollars was transferred to a Carefirst Bluecross Blueshields’ Associates PAC (2006)
– The campaign transferred thousands of dollars into a BB&T account (2006)
– Money mysteriously was returned to Verizon and Comcast PACs (2006)
– York & Park Associates LTD Partnership gave over $1,000 to the campaign (2006)
– Dorland Investments gave $1,000 dollars to the campaign (2007-8)
– Kensington Development gave $1,000 dollars to the campaign (2007-8)
– Gwynnbrook Development Corp. gave $1,000 dollars to the campaign (2007-8)
– Rita Development Corp. gave $1,000 dollars to the campaign (2007-8)
– Columbia Palace Limited Partnership gave $2,000 dollars to the campaign (2007-8)
– BMW of Towson gave his campaign $2,000 dollars (2007-8) and $2,250 (2009-10)
– Heritage Properties, a company working on the Towson Circle gave $2,000 dollars to the campaign (2007-8)
– The campaign gave $200 dollars to be part of Verizon’s “Good Government Club” (2007-8)
– Constellation Energy’s PAC, Comcast’s PAC and the Realtor’s PAC gave collectively $2,000 dollars to the campaign (2007-8)
– Baltimore Security Systems gave him $1,000 dollars (2008-9)
– Goodman Gable Gould Co. gave
$1,750 dollars (2009-2010)
– Honeygo Village Center LLC gave $2,000 dollars to the campaign (2009-10)
– Maryland Financial Advisers Inc. gave $1,250 dollars to the campaign (2009-10)
– Chairman of Trustees of Maryland Art Palace Susan K. Cordish (also on Maryland Public Broadcasting Foundation and MICA Board) gave $2,250 dollars to the campaign (2009-2010)
– Numerous contributions from Merritt Park Associates, L.P. numbering in the thousands of dollars (2007-Present)
– $250 dollars given to the campaign by NAIOP PAC, run by NAIOP, “one of North America’s largest, most prestigious and valuable commercial real estate organizations.”
In the run-up to the campaign, these contributions continued. These included $4,000 from a management consulting company, ARC Management Group LLC, continuing contributions from Best Battery Company, $4,000 from Ashland Park, LLC. and another $3,350 from Maryland Financial Advisors. Constellation Energy and Carefirst Bluecross Blueshield again pumped thousands of dollars into the campaign. BMW of Towson again gave him contributions ($1,000 in his campaign for county executive) and Pikesville Firehouse Inc. gave him $2,000. Jim Smith, the ridiculed county executive for giving favors to his friends, had his Friends of Jim Smith pump six thousand Grover Clevelands into the campaign ($6,000) which could explain why he cozied up to Jim Smith. His final report for the campaign showed that the PACs of Realtors, Constellation Energy, Comcast Corp. and 1st Mariner Bank pumped in $7,000 in the last month of the campaign. Last year, according to an annual campaign filing report Timanlus Lane Partnership gave $3,000 to his coffeers while unions including a local branch of AFSCME (controlled by AFL-CIO) continued to contribute. This year, the final annual campaign filing report I found, the Baltimore Orioles and Mid-Atlantic Sports Network collectively gave him $5,000. At the same time multi-billion dollar Aecom technology corporation gave his campaign $3,000, the same amount as Maryland Financial Investors gave this year. This magic number was also given collectively by Constellation Energy and Carefirst Bluecross Blueshield’s PACs into his coffers.
In this article I believe that despite union contributions, it shows that Kamenetz is tied more toward corporate interests than the people’s interests. Basically the contributions validate what I wrote last December. Could this have an affect on the possible selling of Towson’s Manor Park? Perhaps. In the meantime, those in this fight must realize that Kamenetz is not neutral and that they must push Kamenetz to stop the park from being taken away. All the work of those residents to build the park will be wasted and one of the last green spaces in the town will be taken away. I promise my readers I’ll do further investigation on this subject in the future, looking into corporate/business connections of the Kamenetz administration. I also plan to make a website breaking down contributions of all public officials in Maryland, but starting with the most important public officials like Kevin Kamenetz and Martin O’Malley. In the end, as I write this article in solidarity with those trying to keep Towson Manor Park frombeing destroyed, I hope some of the ideas expressed can help residents understand that no government is neutral, that governments almost always side with the rich.
*This list is not inclusive of all contributions, rather select ones I found through the Maryland State Board of Election website.