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May 20, 2010

The End

After a few aborted attempts at it over the past few years and for multiple reasons, I have made the decision to essentially stop doing anything with the “Looking At Howard County” website. In about a week, the URL for this website will redirect to the main national Hedgehog Report website.

Just a quick history, when I started the original Hedgehog Report site over seven years ago, before I ever got involved as much as I did in the local political world, one of my main goals was to create a local blog about Howard County that did not yet exist at the time. As I got into it, I would put up posts about local things as well as national items and was having a grand old time. I would get a comment every few days, some on the local stuff from a local person and some on the national stuff. It even got me a few profile pieces in local newspaper. As those early months went by, the site started to get linked by others and my comments grew. When the 2006 election rolled around, the local stuff was getting quite a bit of traffic and comments. Of course, 2006 was also a big national election year and while the local political audience for my site grew and discussion grew on the local content, so did the national audience and the comments on the national content. I liked doing both, but it was getting harder and harder to keep the two worlds separate on a single site. I did my best, but it quickly was apparent the local stuff was getting lost in the national stuff.

After the election, I decided to subdivide the site and make the local stuff appear as sub pages of the main site. One could go directly to the local stuff without getting lost on the main page if they wished. In reverse, my national audience didn’t have to get caught up reading posts about local material as it did not appear on the main page. Of course, whenever a new site is started, getting people to go to it is a struggle. When that got to be too cumbersome due to the limitations of the software I use for this site, I actually created a fully Independent site that was completely separate from the main site, which is what I have now.

The reasons for stopping are two-fold. One is my responsibility. In the early days, I was not really a part of the Republican Party in any capacity, so I could spout off however I wanted. Any information I had was stuff I had gotten on my own and had no compunction about slapping it up on the website and dissecting it and giving my two cents. Some people in the Republican Party were upset by it or something that I said that went against a candidate or the party, but I didn’t care. I saw myself as this independent voice. It was my website, my opinion, and I didn’t care who it might affect.

Gettign involved with the Party in a more official capacity and with local campaigns, there is a lot of information I am privy too that is handed to me that I could easily slap up here and look like I am this great source of information and/or “in-the-know”. There have been many times that I have wanted to respond to another local blogger about a political issue or candidate, but have restrained myself knowing that it could come back on more than just me. So I have restrained. The truth is, being associated in any capacity with a political party or a candidate (officially or unofficially) does carry some responsibility of discretion. I know in the past that there have been members of the Democratic Party in Howard County who have attempted to use my website and something that appeared here as a way to attack the Republican Party in Howard County as a whole by feeding stuff to reporters and trying to smear me and the Party. Again, I might not agree with everything that is being done by the Party or a candidate, but anything I say can be used against other people in a negative way and that would be skirting my responsibility I have to those people that have entrusted me with information and knowledge they would not otherwise.

Second, while this is just a hobby at heart, my national site and it has grown beyond my wildest imaginations when I started this seven years ago and has been making me some pretty good money each year on the side. It takes some real effort of time to keep it up to date and current. That, and my upcoming wedding, leaves me little time to focus on the local stuff the way I would want to. It goes against why I originally started this whole blogging exercise and part of my reason for trying to create the local site was to allow me to keep giving my opinion on local matters without it getting lost in the national stuff. I still like the local stuff and follow it, but there is just not enough time to really keep an active local blog going the way I would want to. And, to be honest, this site has never gotten the attention it needed from me to really make it worthwhile. In this day of blogging, you really do need to keep a blog active on a daily basis to keep people coming back.

For truly local stuff and debate, I think we have a great crop of bloggers out there doing the job (and I would suggest a better and more diverse) than we had even a short four years ago. While I may not agree with some of what they say, Wordbones and HoCoRising have really filled a great void for commentary on local issues and events, both political and non-political. Plus there are plenty of others to be found at HoCoBlogs.com. I will read them daily and comment occasionally.

And of course, while this site is ending as a separate entity, I guarantee there still will be the occasionally post about local political events at the main Hedgehog Report website. I won’t be able to help it. Maybe after the elections, if I happen to lose my re-election race for Central Committee (knowing we are going to have 18 candidates running and me being a man and at the end of the alphabet is not going to help my chances if history is a guide), I can start spouting off about local political issues again and restart this website….

May 18, 2010

Dems Have Candidate For Clerk of Circuit Court

I got an email from a new candidate running as a Democrat for the Clerk of the Circuit Court by the name of Jason Reddish and has set up a new website. The current Clerk of the Circuit Court, Republican Marge Rappaport, is running again for re-election. Marge Rappaport managed to escape the Democratic tide in 2006, winning her race over Democrat Leslie Cale by a 53%-47% margin and has been elected since 1990 despite the Democratic shift in the county over the past 20 years..

I’ve never quite understood why this position, like the Judge of the Orphans’ Court and Register of Wills, are still elected on a partisan basis instead of on a non-partisan basis like the Board of Education. I think it does a great disservice to these positions since so many people tend to just vote party line anyway and by the time most voters, sadly, get down to these positions on the ballot, chances are a lot of the voters will just vote for whomever represents their particular party. Let’s face it, most people don’t have a clue who the Clerk of the Circuit Court or these other positions even are. Then again, the fact that Rappaport has managed to win election after election despite Democrats winning countywide for County Executive is a testament to Rappaport’s strength.

May 14, 2010

Another Candidate For District 13 State Senate

I had alluded to this in my previous post about the Lincoln Day Dinner, but purposely left out the name since I was not exactly sure how public it was supposed to be and whether the candidate was ready to go public. Today I got an email from his campaign publicizing his new Facebook page and website. In District 13, the Republicans will have a contested primary for the State Senate as Jody Venkatesan has enter the race for State Senate. He has a website started here, but there is not a lot of information included on it yet. You will be better off getting information at his Facebook page here.

Kyle Lorton has also been running for State Senate since last summer and his website can be found here and his Facebook page can be found here.

I don’t know either of them personally. I have met Kyle many times at various Republican events and know he has put a lot of effort into the campaign so far. My interaction with Jody has been limited to handshakes, so I personally can’t tell you much more about him.

May 11, 2010

HoCoGOP Lincoln Day Dinner

Just got back from a very entertaining Howard County Republican Lincoln Day Dinner at Turf Valley tonight. The main speaker for the evening was Rick Santorum, the former US Senator from Pennsylvania.

While he is more known for his positions on social issues, he pretty much ignored that in the speech and spent most of the speech talking about the Growth of Government in the United States and comparing it to Western Europe and the what is happening over there. Not being a big social conservative myself and fearing he might talk about social issues, it was a great speech. After Santorum, we had a special appearance from the former Governor of Maryland, Bob Ehrlich.

Martin O’Malley is coming on Thursday to speak to the Democrats in Howard County at their annual dinner. I am sure it won;t be close to the last time we see both of them visiting Howard County over the next six months. One local note, the Lifetime Award was given to the current candidate for County Executive, Trent Kittleman, who was introduced by her daughter.

Very emotional moment as the award itself is named after the late Robert Kittleman. On a political side, just about every candidate running for office was in attendance including a challenger for Kyle Lorton in the District 13 State Senate race. We also heard a third Republican, Chuck Coles, has jumped into the Judge for the Orphans’ Court race, giving the GOP a full slate. Finally, since HoCoRising asked and said he was going to be checking out my site, TPI, I think, stands for Taxpayer Protection Initiative, which is the petition drive being organized by the Howard County Republican Club and some of the candidates to require a super majority for passing tax increases in the county. Honestly, I was in the back of the room trying to get a picture with Governor Ehrlich when it was being discussed, so I might have the actual name somewhat wrong.

Anyway, a very successful event with a full crowd. The real kudos should go to Flora Betro, who is a member of the Central committee and also the President of the Howard County Republican Women, who chaired the event and, i am sure, put in a lot of work.

May 1, 2010

Maryland Republican Convention, Day One

Well the first day of the Maryland Republican Convention is in the books. Technically it opened at 1pm yesterday, however we did not get down here until almost 4:30. After a minor hiccup at the registration table where they did not have a record of me paying, which was quickly resolved, I immediately proceeded to skip the reception and executive session in order to go down to the Boardwalk. We ate at The Embers Restaurant, which gave you an all-you-can-eat buffet for $20. Yum. We did get back in time for the Hospitality Suites. They were hosted by Eric Wargotz for Senate, Charles Lollar for Congress, Andy Harris for Congress, the Worcester Republican party, and the State Senate Republican Slate (I believe that is all of them). All the rooms spilled out into a courtyard so in reality, it was just one big party in the middle with the chance to go into the rooms to get the food and drinks offered by the respective rooms. A glorified Happy Hour if you will. Since this is my third convention, the novelty has somewhat worn off for me. I did meet the former Governor of New Mexico Gary Johnson, who apparently will be speaking at the lunch later today, but other than that, there were really no people of note. Even elected officials tend to avoid this event as the only elected official I saw from Howard County was Allan Kittleman.

Just one newsy item, the consensus from a few quotes from random people I got about Carmen Amedori’s leaving the Brian Murphy ticket was that she “came to her senses”. I will say, the Brian Murphy crowd supporters were out in full force last night at the Hospitality Suites. They sort of remind me of Ron Paul supporters from two years ago in that no matter what the event, they manage to get a group of people there and make it seem like they are much more popular then they really may be. In the first ten minutes we were at the Hospitality suite, I was approached not less than three times by one of his people thrusting some sort of Murphy for Governor paraphernalia into my hands.

Anyway, today is a day of training sessions, the main convention session, and a banquet. The one problem you have when you schedule a convention in Ocean City is you hope for good weather. However, if the weather is too nice, like it is supposed to be today, chances are the attendees are going to spend a lot more time outside than in a hotel at a bunch of training sessions. Me personally, I will be attending a session first thing this morning, but after 9:30, I am not going to be hanging around too long and instead am going to be enjoying the beautiful weather outside with my fiance. Of course, I will be back by 2pm for the main convention session and the banquet tonight.

More later….

April 30, 2010

Murphy Loses Running Mate

I saw this posted from someone on Facebook last night and now Brian Murphy’s own Facebook page has the news. Brian Murphy, who is challenging Bob Ehrlich in the Republican primary for Governor, announced that Carmen Amedori was going to be his running a mere two weeks ago. Two weeks later, she is already off the ticket.

Just got home from a Baltimore YR event – as you may have seen, Carmen has left the ticket. We will issue a formal press release tomorrow, but rest assured Maryland’s needs have not changed, and neither has my resolve to address them.

Good grief, not a real good start to a campaign for someone trying to challenge a former Governor for the nomination. It’s going to be hard to really take this challenge too seriously when he lost he lost his own running mate a mere two weeks after she had agreed to be on the ticket. Hard to tell whether it was her decision or his. I guess I will see if I can get any more news this weekend about this at the Maryland Republican Convention….

April 21, 2010

From The Way-Back Machine

The fiance and I were going through our old photos to put in frames around our house and as I was going through an old box of pictures my Mom had given to me to sift through, I found these relics from the past.

Quite a bit different from the new CA cards….

April 20, 2010

Candidate Sighting: Kyle Lorton

I just so happened to see Republican State Senate candidate Kyle Lorton out on the side of Broken Land Parkway with a campaign volunteer sign waving to the passing motorists.

Kyle’s website can be found here.

April 17, 2010

Murphy Picks Amedori For Running Mate

So much for that US Senate run by Carmen Amedori. It wasn’t a month ago I was getting emails from Carmen Amedori telling me to add her name to the Maryland PollWatch page on the National Hedgehog Report website. I also had added her to the Howard County Republican Central Committee website. Now, Brian Murphy has chosen her as his running mate for the gubernatorial election against Bob Ehrlich

HoCoRising seems to think he is going to be a thorn in Ehrlich’s side and force Ehrlich to the right. I would have to disagree, I think he will basically be an also ran who will try to get some press but will basically be ignored once Ehrlich gets fully engaged. Don’t get me wrong, and I may be in the minority among the party faithful, but I like when there are primary races for any office. So I am not going to be trying to diminish his right to run or his candidacy. But my guess is Bob Ehrlich is going to basically ignore Murphy through the entire primary campaign and predict there will be no actual debates between Ehrlich and Murphy (or whomever else wants to jump in). My prediction is Murphy won’t get more than 20% in the primary, and that is because even minor candidates manage to get a small percentage of the primary vote no matter who the frontrunner is.

April 16, 2010

That About Sums Up My Feeling