Entity/person Amount Recipient Date James Robey 100 B McMahon for Sheriff 5/30/18 This caught our eye, and is notable because it’s the only time the former county exec Robey has contributed money in the
B McMahon for Sheriff
This caught our eye, and is notable because it’s the only time the former county exec Robey has contributed money in the past 9 years! There’s a bigger story there, and we say that because of who else is contributing to the SHERIFF race (who would have thought?). It reads like a Who’s Who.
For the candidate Bill McMahon:
Renee Harvey – wife of developer
James Buch ($3000) -developer
Harry Lundy ($1000)- developer
The story is, some people inside the Sheriff’s Office asked Marcus Harris to run for office. From the looks of Harris’s campaign finance statements, he is largely financing the campaign using his own funds (and it isn’t much). He picked up contributions from the Howard Sheriff’s FOP Lodge, and Frank Turner. It’s clear that the typical people who’ve had power here want Bill McMahon to win the Sheriff job. That’s definitely not a reason for him to win! If the same old same old has its way however, McMahon will win. If citizens want something different, they’ll go with Harris and stop thinking that money is an indication of ability to do a job or a person’s character. They both have law enforcement in their background.
Howard County needs something different from the top to the bottom. Given what we’ve written about the County Executive matchup, it isn’t looking favorable to happening top down with this election. But, it can be bottom up!! Therefore, we are FOR the qualified underdog Marcus Harris! This is a true David vs. Goliath race if we ever saw one.
So what’s going on with the other downballot races that the press doesn’t usually write about?
REGISTER OF WILLS
Byron Macfarlane vs Shawn Conley
Shawn Conley has the support of Kay Hartleb (the prior Register of Wills), along with Gail Bates, Laura Walsh and Lisa Kim (not entirely surprising). It’s kind of nice having a Senator as a supporter, it turns out.
MacFarlane has a roster of contributors that are the Usual. It appears that mostly attorneys (heavily the development attorneys) and legislators such as Guzzone are who largely contributed to help him get the job in the first place.
Willis Law Firm
Offit Kurman (development)
Thomas Meachum (lawyer)
Carney Kelehan (development attorney)
Davis, Agnor (law firm)
Amos & Muffoletto (law firm)
Then developers and developer-friendly attorneys such as these came in recently as his contributors:
King Hall LLC (developer)
Robert Fila (developer attorney)
Ronald Spahn (developer attorney)
We don’t get caught up in people’s personal lives unless it affects their ability to do their job that they’re elected to do or are trying to get. There’s an incident that MacFarlane is refusing to talk about, perhaps because he’s hoping to get elected without it being widely known? He apparently gave his access card to the courthouse building to a group of filmmakers after hours. No one knows what the film crew was doing there, and why Byron thought it a good idea to let them into a secure building unaccompanied. We think that’s the point! He isn’t discussing it for the public that should be getting the information. His lapse in judgment aside momentarily, the fact that he knows it’s an issue and refuses to discuss it is troublesome for us. Maybe you heard about the fiasco because it circulated on social media because two local blogger sites (and howcome.md) originally wrote about it when they saw that the local papers wouldn’t. The Baltimore Sun has since picked up the story, after Senator Bates sent a letter to the circuit court wondering why they aren’t talking about it.
That said, Macfarlane had to loan his campaign several thousands of dollars on October 21, 2018, after having transferred monies from it to a “Howard County Courthouse Team Slate” PAC. Who is getting plugged by that Slate?
Nice guys! Birds of a feather, flock together. On the flyer are from left to right:
Rich Gibson for State’s Attorney
Wayne Robey for Clerk of Court
Marcus Harris for Sheriff
Sometimes, the company that you keep means EVERYTHING because perception really is reality. Evidently, these guys support and believe in each other as candidates, and they have put their money where their mouths were to back it up. The courthouse recycle bins are going to be filled with Courthouse Team flyers, or at least that’s what we think should have happened after the Macfarlane story broke followed by ProPublica (We hope you guys recycle)
Register of Wills:
Conley takes this one or us, for the reasons stated above. In a world where we can clearly see that there are problems in government, citizens deserve to be represented by those unafraid to acknowledge them. It’s the only way that they will have a chance to get fixed.
Contributors to the Slate:
Marcus Harris $2000
Rich Gibson $7000
Guy Guzzone (mentor?) $2000
Byron MacFarlane $9200
Wayne Robey $8200
Clerk of the Circuit Court
Marlena Jareaux vs Wayne Robey
Robey is a fixture at the Clerk’s office, much like his father was a fixture in Howard County politics. Wayne’s platform is one in which he only discusses how he’s been in the office since forever with the implication being that he should just get the job again because of it. His LWV videos show him saying the same standard line about the judiciary does blah blah blah, and leaving people not much wiser about his office or why anyone should choose to keep him. No contributions whatsoever, with the exception of transfers from Guy Guzzone’s campaign, The Team 13 Slate and the closeout funds from his dad’s old campaign. Going into 2018, Wayne had over $13,000 sitting in his campaign account with nothing to spend it on but bank fees. To our knowledge, Wayne didn’t have any campaign signs during the last election or even a website, but that’s probably because no one was opposing him. Until now.
Jareaux makes it very clear on her website, various voter guides and in the LWV videos that Robey has problems that he isn’t discussing. (With the exception of Marcus Harris so far, we’re wondering if that’s a trend with the Courthouse Team?) Robey’s problems appear to involve his duties as Clerk. The problems Jareaux focuses on are that he refuses to disclose his office budget (we weren’t aware that government can keep such secrets involving money?), he’s been chastised by an Anne Arundel judge for things he did (or failed to do), and he failed to give the oath of office to our former Sheriff. She says that Howard County was faced with this scenario before, when Rappaport (no experience as Clerk) ran against Pumphrey (who apparently hired and taught Robey) and won while showcasing similar problems.
The only plug we could find for Robey online was this one:
We sure hope that the bar is set a little higher than this for the Clerk! There’s a reason they have to be elected by the voters.
Clerk of Circuit Court:
Jareaux, because she reminds us of long-time clerk Rappaport who got the same job under similar circumstances that Robey seems to have. We would like the voters to know more about all of these downballot offices, so we like any candidate who goes head to head with someone who doesn’t seem to want to give the information. Maybe these problems after 31 years at the office is the signal that it’s time for Robey to do something else? Time in office is insignificant if you aren’t doing the job correctly.
State’s Attorney for Howard County
Rich Gibson vs Kim Oldham
If it hadn’t been for a story that ran on Pro Publica’s website recently, no one would have known something important about Mr. Gibson. Yes, he ran for office before. Yes, he has support from various attorneys at the Baltimore City State’s attorney office, and yes he has the support of Ivan Bates who ran against Mosby for Baltimore State’s attorney and lost. The larger issue for us is what’s in the Pro Publica story.
Apparently, Mr. Gibson has been written about for having an issue with setting a person free who had a botched conviction. The Innocence Project ran a case all the way back to a Baltimore City judge who seemed surprise to hear Gibson say that he didn’t want the conviction he worked for to be overturned!! With all of the stories about police misconduct and wrongful convictions, you would think that attorneys like Mr. Gibson would get it that getting it right is more important than having to admit you got it wrong.We cannot believe that there are Democrat organizations in Howard County that are actually endorsing Mr. Gibson for office, which must be a reflection of a tendency to only support their own party type?
Oldham has the support and contributions from Dario Broccolino, a feather in her cap for sure. There’s baggage and questions why she has contributions from developers such as James Buch, Richard Lombardo, Bruce Harvey and Loeffler Realty LLC. We hope she’ll wisely chooses the company that she keeps next time around.
State’s Attorney for Howard:
The ProPublica article makes it inevitable that our recommendation is for Kim Oldham. If Gibson had said that he agreed that he made a mistake, we may have felt differently. Oldham’s time in Howard County doesn’t sway us, because the law is the law whether it’s in Howard or Baltimore City. Working to keep a conviction in place can simply not come to Howard County (knowingly).
That brings the count to 3 on the Courthouse Team that are lagging in key areas. With their offices actually touching citizen lives when a person walks through the door, our support goes for candidates who can admit that they are human and have made a mistake (and will work to fix it for the citizen). From the ProPublica article, there is a sentence that reads: “What they were not willing to do,” Nethercott said, “was to say: ‘We clearly made a mistake.’” No one should be fighting a public official for information, help or to have a wrongful conviction overturned.
Our Recommendations: (the Davids should overcome Goliaths)
Register of Wills Shawn Conley
Sheriff Marcus Harris
Clerk of the Court Marlena Jareaux
State’s Attorney Kim Oldham