Journalist @baltimoresun writer artist runner #amwriting Chaplain PIO #partylikeajournalist

Journalist @baltimoresun writer artist runner #amwriting Chaplain PIO #partylikeajournalist
Journalist @baltimoresun writer artist runner #amwriting Md Troopers Assoc #20 & Westminster Md Fire Dept Chaplain PIO #partylikeajournalist

Friday, January 28, 2005

20050127 Text of Maryland Gov. Ehrlich's State of the State Address – as prepared

Gov. Ehrlich's State of the State Address – as prepared

Thursday, January 27, 2005; 3:21 PM

President Miller; Speaker Busch; Lieutenant Governor Steele; members of the General Assembly; Chief Judge Bell; Attorney General Curran; Comptroller Schaefer; Treasurer Kopp; members of our Congressional Delegation; County Executives, Mayors, council members, and commissioners; cabinet members; special guests, friends, family, and fellow Marylanders.

Welcome back to Annapolis.

So, here we are, two years into a successful term, with major policy achievements already secured. Progress in public education, transportation, public safety, and the Chesapeake Bay have been especially noteworthy.

Your support, and that of your leadership, has been instrumental to each and every legislative success.

This record of success follows President Miller's promise of "at least three good years" made to me during our initial post-election conference. Well, it's year three, and the potential to add to this list of achievements is clear and unmistakable.

There is still time for additional progress -- even against a backdrop of divided government -- provided that we make an effort to better understand each other's passions, perspectives and priorities.

Let me share mine with you.

First: a common sense agenda built upon the five pillars of our administration: fiscal stability, education, health and environment, public safety and commerce.

Second: consistency. During 18 years of public service spanning two legislatures and the Governor's Office, my approach to public policy issues has never fundamentally changed.

Third: determination. I am determined to introduce fiscal responsibility into an inefficient and undisciplined budget process -- a process ill prepared to deal with such challenges as self-imposed unfunded mandates, a deep recession, and the resulting structural deficit. And I am determined to challenge the prevailing belief within this city that raising taxes is the solution to every single problem.

Fourth: self-assessment. My administration has demonstrated a unique willingness to measure our progress and report the results to the people of Maryland -- a goal often at odds with the desire to maintain popularity or simply win elections.

Finally: a plainspoken style when communicating my opinions and beliefs. This approach reflects my personality, values, and philosophy. It will not change. It cannot change. It is the only way I know.

Now that I have told you where I am coming from, let me tell you where I'd like to lead our State.

Budget and Education

When we took office in January 2003, our administration inherited a projected $2 billion budget deficit for the first 18 months of this term.

Today, I am pleased to tell you that much progress has been made.

Two years after taking office, we have resolved $4 billion in budgetary shortfalls. Our State's finances are balanced through June 2006. Our FY 2004 surplus was $309 million. Our FY 2005 budget projects a surplus of $680 million. Today Maryland remains one of only seven states with a Triple AAA bond rating.

Our FY 2006 budget builds on these successes. It is a product of the "Strategic Budgeting Exercise" I outlined for you in last year's speech.

Our unprecedented plan as developed by Secretary DiPaula required every cabinet-level agency to begin budgeting based on 88 percent of their current services baseline. The purpose: to measure the efficiencies of "what," "how," "when," and "why" our government provides good and services to the citizens it serves.

Outside consultants worked with our agencies on a pro bono basis. Results were neither predetermined nor preordained. This process is about accountability and opportunities for improvement. And, unlike past years when success was measured solely by funding increases, strategic budgeting measures success by outcomes that benefit our citizens.

Thank you, Secretary DiPaula, for all the hard work you have devoted to this project.

With respect to state employees, they make Maryland a better place to live. Many could earn far greater salaries in the private sector, but choose government service instead.

Their good work should be reflected in a 2 percent cost of living adjustment, the second such increase in as many years. Further, we propose increasing step increases for those traditionally underpaid compared to their counterparts in the private sector and other levels of government.

Speaking of good work and efficiencies, our university system has successfully met challenge. It has increased faculty workload and online capabilities, maintained a lean bureaucracy, increased efficiencies in the use of campus facilities, implemented bulk-purchasing initiatives, and expanded the teaching workweek.

Accordingly, we have increased state funding for higher education by $67 million, and increased need-based aid $27 million.

Thank you, Chancellor Brit Kirwin, for your fine work and leadership.

For the second year in a row, our budget contains the largest funding increase in Maryland's history. Additionally, our budget includes $155 million, a 55 percent increase, for public school construction.

But in order to sustain the mandated increases in educational spending pursuant to the Thornton formula, and fund new school construction so desperately needed in every subdivision, we need a new, dedicated source of revenue.

You all know where I am going with this.

A new Pennsylvania law will soon bring 20,000 slot machines to our northern border.

In Maryland, a fully phased in slots program in Maryland would mean more than $800 million in annual new revenue to our State.

These dollars would help pay for mandated increases in educational spending pursuant to the Thornton formula, and new school construction so desperately needed in every subdivision.

It would also give an industry with 20,000 jobs, $5.2 billion in assets, and nearly 700,000 acres of land a better chance to survive in an increasingly competitive environment.

It's time to fulfill the mandate of 2002 and allow slots in Maryland.

Still, dollars are only part of the debate. We need to give equal attention to how well our educational system is preparing our students for the challenges of the 21st century workplace.

Accordingly, Lieutenant Governor Steele has convened a distinguished group of Marylanders to examine and report on how our historic investments in public education are paying off for parents, students, and teachers.

The panel will address issues related to: Teacher retention; School construction; Public-private partnerships; Early childhood education; Social promotion; and Public charter schools, among others.

Thank you, Lieutenant Governor Steele, for your terrific leadership of this important commission.

Health and Environment

Last month, I convened a special session of the legislature in order to address the State's medical malpractice insurance crisis.

Regrettably, the session failed to pass comprehensive legal reforms required solving our malpractice crisis over the long-term. Instead, it imposed a $423 million tax on nearly one million working Marylanders.

On a positive note, it included productive discussions with members of both parties who wish to pass an effective reform measure this year.

Accordingly, in order to ensure the continued availability and affordability of malpractice insurance in the long term, we will introduce a package of reforms intended to keep our talented medical professionals on the job -- to the benefit of all Marylanders.

Many years ago, Maryland brought property owners and advocates together in an unprecedented effort to solve another problem affecting the health of Maryland's citizens: lead paint poisoning.

This partnership dramatically increased the pool of rental property owners in compliance with the law, thereby reducing the number of children with elevated blood levels by 90 percent.

Maryland's innovative partnership is now a national model.

Ruth Ann Norton has led this successful effort in Baltimore City for many years, and we welcome and honor her today.

Still, our goal should be the elimination of childhood lead poisoning.

Our administration's bill proposes to do just that by adding exterior structures to the lead law; lowering the blood lead level that triggers the requirement for property owners to perform lead hazard reduction treatments; and providing a transition period for purchasers of non-compliant properties to obtain risk reduction certificates.

It's 2005. We've known about this problem for decades. We know how to prevent it. There is no reason for a single child in Maryland to suffer from lead poisoning.

Let's finish the job … now!

I see other opportunities to improve our ability to protect Maryland's children by encouraging a "child first" culture throughout State government.

Our Children's Wraparound Initiative will achieve this goal by bringing better and more efficient service delivery for "at-risk" children and their families.

Two "wraparound" demonstration projects -- one in Baltimore City, the other in Montgomery County -- will link children and families with intensive needs to community-based teams providing flexible treatment and services. The initiative will emphasize meeting the needs of troubled children at home and in local communities, rather than over-reliance on expensive, out-of-home residential care programs that treat the symptoms but rarely the problem.

Under the leadership of Special Secretary Terri Garland, a "children's cabinet" will develop an inter-agency plan and fund. Further, a streamlined review process will ensure that children requiring out-of-home placements are quickly placed in an appropriate setting.

Six different state councils will be consolidated into a single council that will advise the children's cabinet in both developing the state plan and awarding grants from the interagency fund.

Public Safety

In the 21st century, the phrase "public safety" has come to mean two different things. Maryland continues to be a leader in both.

Homeland security is the modern side of public safety in a post-9/11 world. Maryland is fortunate to have a group of experienced professionals working to make our State more secure. Our leadership team includes: Dennis Schrader (Homeland Security); John Droneburg (MEMA); Major General Bruce Tuxill (Maryland Military Department); Colonel Tim Hutchins (Maryland State Police); Gary McLhinney, (Maryland Transportation Authority Police); Doug Deleaver (Maryland Transit Administration); and Colonel Steve Chaney (Department of Natural Resources Police).

Thanks to all of you for making Maryland safer.

One example of Maryland's leadership in the homeland security arena is the Maryland Coordination and Analysis Center (MCAC). The Center encourages information sharing and intelligence analysis among the law enforcement, the National Guard, emergency management, public health, and first responder communities. MCAC is the first joint federal, state and local data collection and analysis center in the country.

Criminal justice is the traditional side of public safety. There are successes to report here as well.

Project CSAFE, our local law enforcement partnership, is established in 51 locations spanning 23 jurisdictions across the State.

Project RESTART, a 2004 initiative to stop the warehousing and recycling of adult offenders, especially drug offenders, has begun level one implementation: training, education, and treatment behind bars. This is an important, long-overdue mission.

Project Diversion, another 2004 initiative, focuses on alternatives to incarceration for addicted, non-violent offenders.

Our reconstituted and expanded State Drug and Alcohol Abuse Council provides an important link between state prevention, intervention, and treatment activities and those of local drug and alcohol councils.

Building on these successes, my public safety priorities for this legislative session include the following.

First, I want to prevent drug and alcohol-related accidents by encouraging young drivers to exercise better judgment and greater responsibility behind the wheel.

Of the 651 people killed on Maryland highways in 2003, 106 were 21 years old or younger. Most accidents involving young drivers are attributable to three factors: inexperience, inattention, and impairment.

My friend Debi Hardy is with us today. She has educated young people about the dangers of drunk driving ever since her daughter, 13-year-old Janet Marie, was killed in October 2003. I commend her courage, commitment, and leadership.

Accordingly, I have introduce a three point legislative package that will lengthen the period for learner's permits from four to six months, mandate a 90-day suspensions for violations of provisional license restrictions, and revoke the license of drunk and drugged drivers under the age of 21.

The worse kind of tragedy is that which can be easily avoided. We want young people to exercise good judgment, while reminding them that bad judgment brings consequences.

Second, I want to protect witnesses and victims of crime from reprisals.

Criminals in our State's largest city are employing a new tactic to scare witnesses and victims of crime: "Intimidation by Infomercial."

This now infamous "Stop Snitching" DVD is a wake-up call for all of us.

Accordingly, we will reintroduce legislation that will make witness intimidation a felony punishable by a prison term of up to 20 years, and allow the statements of a witness to be entered into evidence without the individual having to testify in person.

Our prosecutors need this important tool now. Let's give it to them.

Thank you, Pat Jessamy, for the leadership and attention you have brought to this issue.

Third, I want to position our State at the forefront of the DNA revolution that is transforming our nation's criminal justice system.

Thanks to the advent of DNA testing as a forensic tool, violent criminals are being identified and apprehended, cases cold for years are being solved, and the innocent are being exonerated.

We propose expanding the DNA collections process by allowing samples to be obtained from qualifying offenders at the courthouse immediately after sentencing, guaranteeing quicker entry into the DNA database.

Maryland should lead as the DNA revolution transforms our nation's criminal justice system.


Not long after I took office, I declared that Maryland is once again open for business. Since then, our efforts to grow Maryland's economy have yielded striking successes.

A strong economic recovery added nearly 50,000 jobs to employer payrolls during 2004.

We are competing with other states for new jobs -- and winning. Recent successes include: American Woodmark: 300 jobs created in Allegany County. Dreyer's Ice Cream: 300 jobs created, 200 jobs retained in Howard County. Jos. A. Bank: 100 jobs created, 345 jobs retained in Carroll County. Internosis: 170 jobs relocated to Prince George's County from Virginia. Emergent Biologics: 300 jobs created in Frederick County.

Last July, Maryland led the nation in job growth.

The number of Marylanders receiving welfare benefits is at its lowest point since December 1963.

Maryland's unemployment rate -- 4 percent in December -- is 1.4 percent below the national rate.

Thanks to the Lieutenant Governor's leadership, and your support, we reformed Maryland's MBE program so that it better meets its stated mission: making minority entrepreneurs full partners in Maryland's growing prosperity.

Tourism increased 33 percent during the first half of 2004 compared to the same period in 2003, generating an estimated $788 million in state and local taxes.

The ICC is ahead of schedule, and, thanks to the bipartisan transportation law enacted last year, dozens of long-delayed roads and transit projects are off the drawing board and under construction. Further, our FY 2006 budget proposes a $50 million repayment to the Transportation Trust Fund.

This year, we have an opportunity to keep this momentum going by enacting targeted incentives that will stimulate three growth sectors of Maryland's economy.

The first is Maryland's film industry.

Over the past decade, filmmaking in Maryland has had a total economic impact of more than $750 million.

In FY 2004, Maryland hosted 307 days of filming for 2 feature films, 5 independent films, 5 "short" films and 8 television productions. An additional 87 productions were completed on commercial, industrial, music video, documentary and "other" projects.

The film industry provides 1,650 full-time equivalent jobs in our State.

Our bill encourages future Maryland-based filmmaking by offering film companies a rebate on the first $25,000 of wages paid to production employees on locations across the State.

The second is Maryland's high tech/bioscience sector. Two important tax credits will keep Maryland at the forefront of the new economy by stimulating creation of -- and investment in -- early stage bioscience and advanced technology businesses.

First, we should extend our research and development tax credit to 2011, increase the limit of each to $6 million, and add to our new arsenal an "Entrepreneurial Investment Technology Tax Credit" which investors in biotechnology or venture capital firms may apply towards their state income or insurance premium tax bill.

The third is Maryland's population of retired military personnel.

These former soldiers are valuable citizens who contribute to the intellectual, economic, and patriotic foundation of communities.

Pennsylvania and New Jersey have enacted their own exemptions, boosting their economies by attracting many talented military retirees to their states.

The Free State should demonstrate its thanks by phasing in an exemption from state income tax for military retirement income earned by those with two decades of service. Not only is it the patriotic thing to do … it is the smart thing. This is an idea whose time has come!


Last year, I concluded my remarks by reaffirming the philosophy that guides my style of governance and my service to the citizens of Maryland: "I assure you that I will always advocate for my positions in a straightforward manner, negotiate in good faith, maintain flexibility, and seek common ground. However, I will not hesitate to hold firm on the promises I made to the citizens of Maryland when they elected me governor."

You responded by passing an historic series of policy initiatives. Indeed, here are some examples of things that can happen when good policy takes preference over politics: the Chesapeake Bay Restoration Fund; nutrient management reforms; public charter schools; new roads and transit projects; mental health assessments for juvenile offenders; Project RESTART; the Maryland Department of Disabilities; MBE Reform; ethics reform; the Heritage Tax Credit; and a revitalized brownfields law.

These ideas do not carry a Republican or Democratic label.

Indeed, when I think about our accomplishments during the past two years -- even against a backdrop of divided government -- I am reminded of a sign which sat on President Ronald Reagan's desk which read: "There is no limit to what you can accomplish if you don't care who gets the credit."

These successes illustrate what is possible when we put the people's business above partisan gamesmanship. Such is our job -- indeed, our obligation, to our citizens.

This year, we can do better. We can set the bar higher.

So, let's get back to work.

And, as we begin ask God to bless our State, our country, our troops, our law enforcement professionals and first responders, and everyone who defends our hard-won freedoms.

Thank you and Godspeed.


20050127 Text of Maryland Gov. Ehrlich's State of the State Address – as prepared

Sunday, January 23, 2005

20050122 Ben Stein's Last Column

Ben Stein’s Last Column

If I am not mistaken, I got this in an e-mail. I don’t remember when or from whom. I looked it up on and they don’t have anything on it. I have no URL address for it, so I have no way of checking its veracity. If it is an e-mail hoax, it is a good one and never-the-less, is a good read…

Oh – I did find it on Free…

Ben Stein’s Last Column: How Can Someone Who Lives in Insane Luxury Be a Star in Today's World?


For many years Ben Stein has written a biweekly column for the online website called "Monday Night At Morton's."

(Morton's is a famous chain of Steakhouses known to be frequented by movie stars and famous people from around the globe.)

Now, Ben is terminating the column to move on to other things in his life. Reading his final column is worth a few minutes of your time.

Ben Stein's Last Column... (read all of this or you will have missed the best).


How Can Someone Who Lives in Insane Luxury Be a Star in Today's World?

As I begin to write this, I "slug" it, as we writers say, which means I put a heading on top of the document to identify it. This heading is "eonlineFINAL," and it gives me a shiver to write it. I have been doing this column for so long that I cannot even recall when I started. I loved writing this column so much for so long I came to believe it would never end.

It worked well for a long time, but gradually, my changing as a person and the world's change have overtaken it. On a small scale, Morton's, while better than ever, no longer attracts as many stars as it used to. It still brings in the rich people in droves and definitely some stars. I saw Samuel L. Jackson there a few days ago, and we had a nice visit, and right before that, I saw and had a splendid talk with Warren Beatty in an elevator, in which we agreed that Splendor in the Grass was a super movie. But Morton's is not the star galaxy it once was, though it probably will be again.

Beyond that, a bigger change has happened. I no longer think Hollywood stars are terribly important. They are uniformly pleasant, friendly people, and they treat me better than I deserve to be treated. But a man or woman who makes a huge wage for memorizing lines and reciting them in front of a camera is no longer my idea of a shining star we should all look up to.

How can a man or woman who makes an eight-figure wage and lives in insane luxury really be a star in today's world, if by a "star" we mean someone bright and powerful and attractive as a role model? Real stars are not riding around in the backs of limousines or in Porsches or getting trained in yoga or Pilates and eating only raw fruit while they have Vietnamese girls do their nails.

They can be interesting, nice people, but they are not heroes to me any longer. A real star is the soldier of the 4th Infantry Division who poked his head into a hole on a farm near Tikrit, Iraq. He could have been met by a bomb or a hail of AK-47 bullets. Instead, he faced an abject Saddam Hussein and the gratitude of all of the decent people of the world.

A real star is the U.S. soldier who was sent to disarm a bomb next to a road north of Baghdad. He approached it, and the bomb went off and killed him.

A real star, the kind who haunts my memory night and day, is the U.S. soldier in Baghdad who saw a little girl playing with a piece of unexploded ordnance on a street near where he was guarding a station. He pushed her aside and threw himself on it just as it exploded. He left a family desolate in California and a little girl alive in Baghdad.

The stars who deserve media attention are not the ones who have lavish weddings on TV but the ones who patrol the streets of Mosul even after two of their buddies were murdered and their bodies battered and stripped for the sin of trying to protect Iraqis from terrorists.

We put couples with incomes of $100 million a year on the covers of our magazines. The noncoms and officers who barely scrape by on military pay but stand on guard in Afghanistan and Iraq and on ships and in submarines and near the Arctic Circle are anonymous as they live and die.

I am no longer comfortable being a part of the system that has such poor values, and I do not want to perpetuate those values by pretending that who is eating at Morton's is a big subject.

There are plenty of other stars in the American firmament...the policemen and women who go off on patrol in South Central and have no idea if they will return alive; the orderlies and paramedics who bring in people who have been in terrible accidents and prepare them for surgery; the teachers and nurses who throw their whole spirits into caring for autistic children; the kind men and women who work in hospices and in cancer wards.

Think of each and every fireman who was running up the stairs at the World Trade Center as the towers began to collapse. Now you have my idea of a real hero.

We are not responsible for the operation of the universe, and what happens to us is not terribly important. God is real, not a fiction; and when we turn over our lives to Him, He takes far better care of us than we could ever do for ourselves. In a word, we make ourselves sane when we fire ourselves as the directors of the movie of our lives and turn the power over to Him.

I came to realize that life lived to help others is the only one that matters. This is my highest and best use as a human. I can put it another way. Years ago, I realized I could never be as great an actor as Olivier or as good a comic as Steve Martin...or Martin Mull or Fred Willard--or as good an economist as Samuelson or Friedman or as good a writer as Fitzgerald. Or even remotely close to any of them.

But I could be a devoted father to my son, husband to my wife and, above all, a good son to the parents who had done so much for me. This came to be my main task in life. I did it moderately well with my son, pretty well with my wife and well indeed with my parents (with my sister's help). I cared for and paid attention to them in their declining years. I stayed with my father as he got sick, went into extremis and then into a coma and then entered immortality with my sister and me reading him the Psalms.

This was the only point at which my life touched the lives of the soldiers in Iraq or the firefighters in New York. I came to realize that life lived to help others is the only one that matters and that it is my duty, in return for the lavish life God has devolved upon me, to help others He has placed in my path. This is my highest and best use as a human.

Faith is not believing that God can. It is knowing that God will.

By Ben Stein


20050121 Baltimore Sun: Democrats see budget retaliation

General Assembly: Democrats see budget retaliation

Some cuts in the governor's spending plan may be punishment for special-session votes, leaders of the majority party say.

By David Nitkin, Andrew A. Green and Ivan Penn, Sun Staff

January 21, 2005

Launching a review of the governor's budget proposal with eyes that may be jaundiced by recent battles, Democrats in the General Assembly say they see signs of retaliation in the $25.9 billion spending plan released this week.

Lawmakers are wondering aloud whether Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. is trying to punish them for votes cast during last week's special session by eliminating programs that they favor, withholding money from jurisdictions where leaders live and abolishing patronage long enjoyed by legislators.


Maryland governors have long used their budgetary authority - considered by experts to be the strongest in the nation - to reward friends and punish enemies. Ehrlich's predecessor, Gov. Parris N. Glendening, was considered a master at using the tool to maximum advantage.

"I'm certain that some members are feeling the power of the executive, as many of us [Republicans] did under Glendening," said Sen. David R. Brinkley of Frederick County. "The sword cuts both ways."

It is not clear whether the proposals are intended to inflict real harm or are more a negotiating tool that could soon disappear through compromises. Ehrlich can ill afford to alienate the Assembly, where Democrats hold veto-proof majorities in both chambers, if he hopes to secure passage of his slot-machine plan or other priorities.

Others say Democrats are being too sensitive, and deny that Ehrlich is trying to punish the opposing party. "They are looking at the bogeyman that doesn't exist. Or to put another way, maybe they are running a little scared and overreacting," said Del. Anthony J. O'Donnell, the House minority whip, whose Southern Maryland district includes parts of Calvert County.


Read the rest here: Democrats see budget retaliation

Friday, January 21, 2005

Muslims celebrate holiday - Carroll County Times Jan. 21, 2005

Muslims celebrate holiday - Carroll County Times Jan. 21, 2005

Muslims celebrate holiday By Jaime Bloss, Times Staff Writer
Friday, January 21, 2005 updated 15Mar2019 due to a link that no longer works…

BRENDAN BUSH/STAFF PHOTO Muslims kneel in prayer as they meet for a community gathering to commemorate the holiday of Eid al-Adha at the Best Western in Westminster.

About 50 Muslim men, women, and children assembled in Westminster Thursday morning for the first community gathering for holiday prayers to commemorate Eid al-Adha.


Westminster Mayor Kevin Dayhoff spoke after the prayers Thursday morning.

"We all share a common belief in our families, we all share a common belief in our community, and we all share a common belief in God," Dayhoff said.


After removing their shoes, attendees sat or knelt on sheets laid out on one side of the room. The people sat in rows, with the men in front and women and children in the back.

Before the start of the holiday prayers, which were spoken in Arabic, some male attendees focused on traditional holiday chants, said only twice a year.

Mohamed Esa, who helped to organize the prayer event at the Best Western Catering and Conference Center, addressed the group before the imam, or prayer leader, began the prayers.

"We are truly making history today .... Today, we are truly a Muslim community in the making," Esa said.

Eid al-Adha, or Festival of the Sacrifice, commemorates Abraham's willingness to sacrifice Ishmael, his first son, as commanded by God, known as Allah in Arabic.

After seeing Abraham's dedication to him, God sent a sheep to be sacrificed in Ishmael's place.

The feast of sacrifice is part of the annual pilgrimage, or hajj, to Mecca in Saudi Arabia, where the prophet Mohammed first received the Quran holy book.

Muslims try to this make this pilgrimage once in their lifetimes. During the hajj, the pilgrims focus on prayer and meditation.

Eid al-Adha is celebrated worldwide with the sacrifice of a sheep or goat, a portion of which is given to the poor.

"In addition to, or instead of, sacrificing an animal, this year, many Muslims opted to donate money to the tsunami victims," Esa said.

Members of the Carroll County Islamic community have donated more than $5,000 in the past two weeks for tsunami relief in Sumatra and Sri Lanka, he said.

Westminster Mayor Kevin Dayhoff spoke after the prayers Thursday morning.

"We all share a common belief in our families, we all share a common belief in our community, and we all share a common belief in God," Dayhoff said.

Some of those gathered for the holiday prayers were meeting other Muslims in the area for the first time, said Sohail Mahmood of Westminster, who attended with his wife and children.

In previous years, Muslims in Carroll had to travel to Washington, D.C., or the Baltimore area to worship.

"We've never had this before," said Mahmood. "We made history."

Waqar Ahmed, who helped plan the event, hoped misunderstandings about their religion could be cleared up through this event and similar events in the future.

"We are a very peaceful, loving people," said Ahmed, of Westminster.

A group of doctors in Westminster began gathering in one of their offices in August to participate in prayers, according to Dr. Syed Hosain, an event organizer.

Other Muslims found out about the gathering and began attending.

The group moved from meeting in the offices to a room in a local hotel.

After outgrowing that space, pastors at the Westminster Church of the Brethren agreed to let them use the church's basement to gather, he said.

The church's pastors have been supportive in allowing them to use the space, Hosain said.

"I think we've been very blessed," Hosain said.

Now 25 to 30 people get together for Friday prayers in the basement of the Westminster Church of the Brethren, he said.

"I never realized there were so many Muslims in Westminster," Hosain said. "It was wonderful to find out."
Kevin Dayhoff for Westminster Common Council
Westminster Municipal election May 14, 2019
Authority Caroline Babylon, Treasurer.

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20050121 The Hoff Naganna Annexation – the rest of the story

20050121 The Hoff Naganna Annexation – the rest of the story

January 21, 2005

In light of the comments made by the County in the January 21st newspaper articles in the Baltimore Sun and the Carroll County Times
[i], it would be to our mutual advantage to further review the record and documentation pertaining to the development in the year 2002.

The Hoff-Naganna development was forced upon the City by the actions of County Staff and the Carroll County Panning and Zoning Commission (CCP&Z) in a series of concerted actions in 2002. What is particular troubling and egregious about the County’s actions in 2002, is that this all occurred in the context of one of the worse droughts in Westminster history.

Now, to add insult to injury, the County expresses its dismay in the press about a development that the County forced upon the municipality. A development that the City did not want and will constitute a pronounced strain on our ability to provide adequate public services.

Pertinent details of the Hoff Naganna Farm Development. The site is 146 acres in three different zoning classifications. 117 acres is R-10,000, 7.45 acres is R-20,000 and 21.4 acres is Conservation. The site is in W-1 and W-3 for water and S-1, S-3 (formerly S-5 and S-7) for sewer. The number of units is 300 - 350 units. This would involve about 100,000 gpd for water at full build-out.

Where is the 100,000 gpd for water at full build-out, going to come from?

Current Zoning: The property is currently zoned R-10,000 Residential, R-20,000 Residential and C Conservation Zone - - (so no waiver of Zoning will be required from the County under Article 23A, Section 9?). What this means is that this development will go forward, whether or not it is in the Westminster city Limits, whether or not it is annexed by the City of Westminster. The County cannot easily block either annexation or development.

The development is not consistent with our 1998 Comprehensive Plan. The development represents a strain on the municipalities ability to provide future water and sewer service, and it’s lack of continuity would constitute a strain on future ability to provide fire and EMS, police, and public works administration.

I personally have no interest in annexations for residential development unless, the residential development is impossible to stop for reasons of property rights exercised under current law. In such a situation, I will, of course, respect the law and want to do everything possible to ensure that the residential development be in the City limits, so that Westminster may govern the impact on our community.

That stated, now that the development has been enabled, if not encouraged (read: forced upon Westminster), by the County, the municipality is the best governing body to oversee its development. It is critical that any and all development in the Westminster environs, which will impact the quality of life of our municipality, be governed by our municipality.

If the property is not annexed by the City, will the County guarantee the City a revenue stream for the purpose of finding additional water to service the development and fund the necessary fire, EMS protection?

1. Westminster tried to remove this property from the Westminster water and sewer service, in 2002 and County staff approached city staff about not removing it in its entirety in light of the January 28th, 2002 action by the Westminster Mayor and Council; but rather reclassify 86 acres of S-5 (7 – 10 years) and 10.30 acres of S-7” No Planned Sewer Service” to S-3 (0-6 years), which would have severely limited the development opportunity.

As I understand the position of the County Staff, the Hoff-Naganna Development would enable the County to Segment F of the Westminster Area Roadway Planning initiative, as presented to the Westminster Mayor and Council on August 27th, 2001, paid for by the developer.

1a. On December 11th, 2001, Naganwest LLC made a request to amend the Carroll County Water and Sewer Master Plan.

1b. On page 4 of the January 24th, 2002 Westminster Final Report for the Carroll County Triennial Update provided to the CCP&Z, Westminster denied the amendment request to reclassify 86 acres of the s-5 (7-10) and 10.30 acres of S-7 “No Planned Sewer Service” of the Naganna Property to S-3 (0-6 years), thereby terminating this application, as it was inconsistent with the 1998 Comprehensive Plan.

1c. At the January 28th, 2002 Westminster Common Council Meeting, Mr. Beyard presented the triennial update of the Carroll County Master Plan for Water and Sewerage. The following specific recommendations to amend the Plan were accepted, on Motion of Mrs. Albert, seconded by Mr. Ferguson and unanimously passed: “Naganna Property

Request: Reclassify 86 acres of S-5 (7 – 10 years) and 10.30 acres of S-7” No Planned Sewer Service” to S-3 (0-6 years).

Location: South side of Old Westminster Pike, approximately ¼ mile west of MD Route 97.

Staff Recommendation: Staff recommends denial of the amendment

request to reclassify 86 acres of S-5 (7-10 years) and 10.30 acres of S-7 “no Planed Sewer Service” of the Naganna Property to S-3 (0-6 years), thereby terminating this application. This proposal is inconsistent with the recommendation of the planning and Zoning Commission and the goals of the 1998 City of Westminster comprehensive Plan.”

1d. On January 30th, 2002, Ms. Moser was advised that the City denied the reclassification request as inconsistent with our 1998 Master Plan.

1e. At the June 18th, 2002, CCP&Z Meeting, Mr. Preston asked the CCP&Z to overturn the January 28th, 2002 decision of the Westminster Mayor and Common Council. Mr. Preston’s request was granted on July 16th, 2002.

1f. In a July 3rd, 2002 letter to Ms. Moser and the CCP&Z, Westminster advised the CCP&Z that under Section 2 of Carroll County Procedures for amending the CC Master Plan for Water and Sewer, if the City did not certify that the requested amendment as being consistent with the municipality’s Master plan, the request for amendment was to be denied. Westminster once again, reminded the County that Westminster denied the reclassification on January 28th, 2002.

1g. At the July 16th, 2002 meeting of the CCP&Z, the CCP&Z recommended approval of the Draft 2002 Carroll County Water And Sewerage Master Plan, accepting the December 11th, 2001 application for amending the Triennial Water and Sewer plan to include the S-3 designation for the Hoff-Naganna Farm over the objections of Westminster Staff and over-ruling the vote of the Westminster Common Council of January 28th, 2002.

2. August 29th, 2002 Two alternate petitions for annexation were filed.

2a. On December 9th, 2002, the Westminster Common Council accepted introduction of Resolution No. R02-15 and Resolution No. R02-16 – Annexations No. 48 and 51, respectively, of the Naganna property.

2b. Annexation Petition/Consent

Section 19 of Article 23A of the Annotated Code of MD deals with the Annexation procedure. Section 19(c) of Article 23A causes the petition to be introduced by resolution. An annexation petition signed by at least 25% of the qualified voters along with 25% of the owners of assessed property in the area to be annexed may be filed with the municipal legislative body.

Under subsection (d) of Section 19, Westminster government will conduct an advertised public hearing prior to any decision with respect to the proposed annexation.

(d) Notice and hearing—After the introduction of the resolution into the legislative body of the municipal corporation, the chief executive and administrative officer of the municipal corporation shall cause a public notice thereof to be published not fewer than four times at not less than weekly intervals in a newspaper or newspapers of general circulation in the municipal corporation and the area to be annexed, briefly and accurately describing the proposed change and the conditions and circumstances applicable. The public notices shall specify a time and place at which a public hearing will be held by the legislative body on the resolution; the hearing shall be set for not less than 15 days after the fourth publication of the notices and shall be held either within the boundaries of the municipal corporation or within the area to be annexed.

The public hearing may be continued or rescheduled for a subsequent time not to exceed 30 days from the day for which the meeting was originally scheduled, or the day on which the hearing commenced but was not completed. In the event of a continuation or rescheduling, a single public notice shall be given at least seven days prior to the continued or rescheduled date in a newspaper of general circulation in the municipal corporation and in the area whose annexation is to be discussed, briefly and accurately describing the property whose annexation is to be discussed, and specifying the day, time, and place of the public hearing.

Immediately upon the first publication of the public notice, a copy of the public notice shall be provided to the governing body of the county and any regional and State planning agencies having jurisdiction within the county. Each of these agencies and jurisdictions shall have the first right to be heard at the scheduled public hearing, after which the hearing shall be open to the general public.

After conducting the required hearing, the municipal elected body may pass (or reject) the resolution which becomes effective 45 days after its passage unless it is petitioned to referendum.

Annexation Zoning—The Five-Year Rule

Cities and towns authorized to exercise and exercising planning and zoning powers under Article 66B of the Annotated Code of Maryland have exclusive authority over planning and zoning in newly annexed areas. However, Article 23A, Section 9 of the Annotated Code (see page 21) provides that no city or town may for five years following an annexation place newly annexed land in a zoning category that permits a substantially different land use from that contained in the current county.
20050121 Commissioners likely to oppose annexation sun,1,2782676.story?coll=bal-local-carroll

Westminster: Commissioners likely to oppose annexation

300-home plan raises traffic, resource concerns

By Athima Chansanchai, Sun Staff, January 21, 2005

Carroll County commissioners said yesterday they probably would not support Westminster's plans to annex about 146 acres for a new housing development because adding up to 300 homes would drain resources and bring increased traffic to a mostly rural area.

The commissioners said that annexing the unincorporated area of the county into Westminster hinged on a questionable assumption - that a single connecting road was enough to declare the property contiguous to the city limits.

"We're talking about a significant increase in the density of the city of Westminster without being contiguous to the city of Westminster," Commissioner Dean L. Minnich said. "It's a surgical strike without touching the people on the county's side of the annexation. It's a crafty little strategy by whoever thought of it, and I object to it here, on the record."

Before the property can be annexed, the county commissioners have to approve the plan.

Westminster planning officials introduced the proposal for annexing the Hoff/Naganna property in September, but plans for the development have dragged since mid-2002.

The developers of the property, located just outside the southeast city limits, asked the city for annexation to gain access to water and sewer lines. Future homeowners would also be entitled to other city resources such as police and fire protection, as well as trash pickup.

Westminster will provide those services only to properties already within city limits or to those the city approves for annexation. The minimum requirement for an annexation is that the property be contiguous to city limits.

That's where the problem begins, county officials said.

"This annexation will look a lot like a lollipop," Steven D. Powell, county chief of staff, told the commissioners.

Powell was referring to the fact that the only thing connecting the development area to Westminster is a single street, Willow Avenue.

The proposed development is bordered by Old Westminster Pike to the north, Mark Drive to the west, Poole Road to the south and Woodside Drive to the east.

A public hearing on the annexation is scheduled for Monday night. Momentum has been building among county residents to oppose the development.

"The city is bulldozing through," said county resident Michelle Jefferson, who lives in a neighborhood adjacent to the proposed development. "There are way too many subdivisions that will be affected by this."

She gave commissioners a copy of a petition that she and more than 270 other residents have signed, opposing the annexation.

"I don't know how much can be preserved at this point. I know there's going to be growth, but 300 homes is too many to stick in there," said John Everett, a county resident who has lived on Willow Avenue with his wife for a decade. "Maybe we could live with half that amount, but still you end up with traffic, school and water problems."

He worried about the addition of up to 600 cars - two per household - because there are already too many commuters using side streets like his, he said, trying to get around congested major arteries.

Everett also wondered how nearby schools at or near capacity could accommodate the influx of children from such a development.

Westminster's planning staff maintains that the city can absorb the demand on its water resources and emergency services. Staff members said the development "will not have an adverse impact on public schools in the Westminster area."

But some city council members expressed reservations.

"Water resources were a major issue on that property. Expectations were high at first to find a major water source, but they couldn't find a well to produce enough gallons," said council President Damian L. Halstad. "With all the development today, resources become an issue - and not just natural, but also our police and fire resources and infrastructure. They're obviously going to be some difficult questions for the developer on this project. I personally think the commissioners' concerns are legitimate."

City officials estimate that up to $275,000 a year could be generated in tax revenues on the proposed development.

County residents said property taxes for city coffers would come at their expense, with the loss of their quality of life.

In meetings with Westminster's Planning and Zoning Commission, city planners said the developer was willing to pay $1.5 million to help offset the project's effect on water and sewer facilities. In planning documents, the money is called a capital utility improvements contribution.

After the public hearing, city council members will set a date to discuss the proposal and consider its adoption.

Copyright © 2005,
The Baltimore Sun

20050121 Hoff annexation challenged cctk

Hoff annexation challenged
By Greg Guenthner, Times Staff Writer

Friday, January 21, 2005

County officials are asking the city of Westminster to allow time for additional comments on an annexation proposal for 146 acres near the intersection of Md. 97 South and Md. 140.

County planners raised questions at Thursday's Board of Carroll County commissioners meeting involving the ownership of Willow Avenue, part of the proposed annexation.

It is unclear whether the county or the original owner of the land on which Willow Avenue sits - owns the road, said county comprehensive planner Scott Graf. The county maintains Willow Avenue, he said.

If a private interest owned the road, permission would be required before it could be officially annexed, Graf said.

Westminster needs to annex Willow Avenue because the 146-acre Hoff property, which fronts the south side of Old Westminster Pike, is not contiguous to Westminster's corporate boundary. City planners have proposed the annexation of Willow Avenue to connect the 146-acre property to the city. The annexation proposal does not include any of the homes on either side of Willow Avenue.

County Commissioner Dean Minnich called the Willow Avenue connection a surgical strike by Westminster and said he is concerned about the potential increase in residential density in the city.

City planners estimate nearly 300 homes could be developed on the property. Tentative plans have been made for residential development on the property, according to city planners.

Minnich also said he would like to see county staff meet with the appropriate Westminster officials to take a look at the annexation process. The city has scheduled a public hearing for 7 p.m. Monday to allow for public comment on the proposal.

The city's Planning and Zoning Commission granted the plan a favorable recommendation on Oct. 14.

Westminster Mayor Kevin Dayhoff said the city is not opposed to the county's suggestion of keeping the public record open longer.

"We're going to be very deliberative about this," he said.

Westminster Council President Damian Halstad said he is concerned about how far the annexation would stretch city resources. The council will need to assess whether the city can adequately provide water, sewer and emergency response services to the parcel once it is developed, he said.

Halstad also said the council will need to consult with the city's attorney to find out if the Willow Avenue right-of-way is a large enough parcel to connect the Hoff property to the city to support the annexation.

Some residents are preparing to fight the annexation at Monday's public hearing.

"With them not establishing ownership [of Willow Avenue], I don't see how they can move forward," said county resident Michelle Jefferson.

Jefferson, who lives on Sycamore Street across from the city line, near the Hoff property, said she and other county residents who live nearby should have been notified of the public hearing directly.

The public hearing has been advertised, Dayhoff said, and it is not city policy to send individual letters to adjacent property owners. It is difficult for planners to gauge which residents will think they are affected by an annexation, he said.

Willow Avenue resident Elaine Everett said she has circulated a petition to help raise awareness of other residents who might be affected by the annexation. Everett said she has more than 270 signatures of residents who oppose the move.

She said she plans to present the petition to city officials on Monday evening.

Reach staff writer Greg Guenthner at 410-857-7886 or


What: Public hearing on the Hoff property annexation

When: 7 p.m., Monday

Where: Westminster City Hall, 1838 Emerald Hill Lane


Monday, January 17, 2005

Remarks at Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration by Allan H. Kittleman January 16, 2005

Remarks at Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration
Allan H. Kittleman
January 16, 2005

Senator Kittleman honors his father, the late Senator Robert Kittleman, in his keynote address at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration.

MLK Jr Day Celebration Remarks

Sunday, January 16, 2005

I want to thank the Martin Luther King, Jr. Howard County Holiday Commission for inviting me to speak this afternoon.   It is a great honor to be with all of you today to celebrate the life of a great American, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

As many of you may know, the Commission was created in 1985 by an Executive Order issued by the County Executive.  This year marks the 20th anniversary of the annual celebration to honor Martin Luther King Jr.  

I especially want to commend the Commission for motivating young people.  During the past four years, over $2,700 has been presented to middle and high school students who were selected as winners for participating in the Martin Luther King, Jr. “Living the Dream Essay” contest.

When I was considering this year’s theme – “A Day to Dream – A Lifetime to Act”, I thought of my father, Bob Kittleman.  As many of you may know, my father passed away on September 11, 2004.  After his death, there were many kind words said about my father.  He would have probably been embarrassed by the attention paid to him.  That was just the kind of person he was.

My family moved to Howard County in the mid-1950s. My father was transferred to this area by Westinghouse. They bought a new home in Allview Estates [just off Route 29]. My father was a strong Republican and he quickly sought to get involved in the Howard County Republican Party. He got the names of two Republican activists in Howard County who lived in the 6th election district [his district] and he went to meet them. Their names were Remus and Leola Dorsey. My father often told me that Remus and Leola Dorsey were the first African Americans that he shook hands with in his life.  He always loved going to see the Dorseys – he especially loved Mrs. Dorsey’s chocolate chip cookies. Mrs. Dorsey is with us this afternoon.

Mrs. Dorsey can correct me if I am wrong, but I believe the conversation went something like this: My father said that he was there to work with the Republican Party and wanted to know if they would help him. Mr. Dorsey responded, yes and we are wondering if you would help us with civil rights issues in Howard County. My father said yes. And a lifetime relationship began.

My father joined the Howard County Branch of the NAACP. He later became the Chairman of the Education Committee. When my parents divorced in the early 1960s, my father got custody of the three children [quite unusual for the time].  He did not stop his work with the NAACP. As you can imagine, at that time in Howard County, it was not the most popular thing for a white person to be an active member of the NAACP.

Although I was fairly young at the time, my father told me that he would receive threats because of his involvement with the NAACP. He told me that he would come home and move my sister’s, my brother’s and my bed away from the windows just in case someone threw something through the window.  There was always a lot of rumors going around the community concerning my father’s activities.  People wondered why so many African Americans were coming to our house.  There were concerns that my father was going to sell our house to an African American.  Can you imagine such a terrible thing?  Despite all this, my father did not stop his efforts.

As the Chair of the Education Committee, he focused on the desegregation of the public schools.  He worked very closely with Silas Craft and Elhart Flurry.  Two of the great “triumvirate” – as my father would call Mr. Craft, Mr. Flurry and Morris Woodson.  All three were great civil rights leaders in Howard County.

My father spent many evenings meeting with school officials in an effort to get them to desegregate the public schools.  He wrote letters to, and met with, the superintendent of schools.  The superintendent and the Board of Education continued to hamper all the efforts to push desegregation.

My father loved to tell the story of when he and Mr. Craft [the President of the Howard County Branch of the NAACP] went to meet with Dr. Edward Cochran.  Dr. Cochran had just been appointed to the Howard County Board of Education.  Prior to that time, the Board of Education had voted consistently 3 to 2 to avoid desegregation.  With Dr. Cochran’s appointment, my father and Mr. Craft thought that there was a real opportunity to get a majority of the Board to push to desegregate the schools.  

They set up an appointment to meet with Dr. Cochran at his home in January.  There happened to be a large snowfall that day and no one in their right mind would have traveled out on the roads.  I recall Dr. Cochran saying that he did not expect them to be able to keep the appointment. 

In the evening, Dr. Cochran heard a knock at the door.  There was Mr. Craft and my father.  They had parked their car at the bottom of Dr. Cochran’s driveway [a fairly long uphill driveway] and walked up to meet with him.  The meeting was historic because Dr. Cochran indeed became the deciding vote to once and for all desegregate the Howard County Public Schools.  

When Mr. Craft resigned from the NAACP to accept employment outside Howard County, my father was appointed to replace him.  Later, when he was asked to run for the position, my father responded that he did not think it was right for a white person to be the President of the Howard County Branch of the NAACP.  To this day, he is the only white person to hold that office.

My father also told me stories of when he would go to a restaurant with his friends and being told to leave because the restaurant would not serve African Americans. 

He told me that lawsuits would be filed against the restaurant and the owner would be forced to serve African Americans.  My father told about one restaurant owner, who told my father and his friends, “I may have to serve you dinner, but I do not have to be in the restaurant when you eat.”  And the owner would leave until they were finished with their dinner.

After his work in the civil rights movement, my father continued to work for what he believed was right by serving in the State Legislature.  He served 19 years in the House of Delegates [becoming the Minority Leader in 1995.  He served 3 years in the State Senate until his death last September.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once stated:

“Cowardice asks the question – is it safe? 

Expediency asks the question – is it politic?
Vanity asks the question – is it popular?  

But conscience asks the question – is it right?  

And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe,nor politic, nor popular; but one must take it because it is right.” 

In a 1963 speech, Dr. King also said:

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in the moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”  

My father stood for what was right during the times of challenge and controversy.  He did not ask if it was safe, politic or popular.  He only asked “is this right?”

I was talking with someone the other day about my father’s life.  She told me that she did not know about my father’s involvement in the civil rights movement.  I told her that many, many people came up to me after reading about my father’s life and said that they also did not know about his work in the 1960s.  I told her that the reason people did not know, was because my father didn’t talk about it.  My father saw his work as being the right thing to do.  He didn’t think that he deserved any recognition for doing the right  thing.  He didn’t consider himself a hero.  He considered himself simply a person who wanted to make sure that everyone was treated equally.

My father used his lifetime to make a difference for the good.  The question to us becomes, are we willing to do the same?  As Dr. King said, “Life’s most urgent question is:  What are you doing for others?”

Are we willing to go the route that is not safe, politic or popular?  Are we willing to stand for what is right and just? Are we willing to serve others?
If you think that you are not able to serve – let me close with these words of Dr. King:

“Everybody can be great …. because anybody can serve.  You don’t have to have a college degree to serve.  You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve.  You only need a heart full of grace.  A soul generated by love.”

20050116 Remarks at MLK Jr Celebration kittleman