Setting Record Straight on District 2

I write in response to your article “The Battle for District 2” (June 6), which implies that the county executive and certain developers are supporting my campaign because Councilwoman Vicki Almond didn’t do what they wanted. The real story here is that
Almond accepted over $50,000 in campaign contributions from one developer whose project she fast-tracked. It should not come as a surprise that many elected officials, neighboring developers and small business owners were outraged by this.

What your article fails to appreciate is that all the recent turmoil, lawsuits and competing developer battles in our district could have been avoided had our councilwoman simply done her job. Kevin Kamenetz, in his 16 years representing the Second District, never would have let this situation get out of hand the way it has. Kamenetz used his skills as an attorney to resolve complicated zoning issues. In contrast, Almond takes sides. Zoning decisions are not black and white — for example, the choice was never whether or not to approve Foundry Row, but how to make it work in conjunction with surrounding businesses, residents and infrastructure.

The role of a councilperson is to be a judge and a mediator, not to advocate for or against projects before the zoning process even starts. Kamenetz and Bobby Zirkin have endorsed my candidacy because they see in me the ability to bring people together and resolve complex disputes.

Regarding developer contributions, every viable County Council campaign receives support from developers, and my campaign and that of my opponent are no exceptions. The difference is, I never made any promises to any developer or fast-tracked any project.  I have run a positive campaign and have tried to remain focused on the issues.

Accusations about developer contributions are a distraction from the very pressing concerns that need to be addressed in our district, such as improving Pikesville Middle School and revitalizing the Reisterstown Road corridor.  My opponent’s statement that, in her mind, “Pikesville is alive and growing” underscores just how out of touch she is with our community. On the other hand, I grew up in Pikesville and have witnessed firsthand the decline in our schools and local businesses. I am running for County Council because these issues require immediate attention. We cannot afford four more years of inaction.

Jon Herbst
Democratic Candidate
Baltimore County District 2

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