This election year presented a challenge to me as a social progressive and a fiscal conservative living in the most rural area of Baltimore County. In recent history, both C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger and Jim Smith have provided local governance in the way I believed was most appropriate. While I did not agree with every decision, public safety, education and human services were provided in a transparent, responsive way with respect for individual choice and property rights. The environment was valued. The budget was controlled. Each decision seemed to be carefully weighed. Was the cost (impact and dollars) worth the reward? This same question I ask myself in my personal life.
As a professional who has dealt with state and local government for years, I know that most folks have little concept of how it all works. That there are details, negotiations and nuances in every budget, law and regulation, so reading the fine print and understanding the process is important. As I started to receive the flyers in the mail and watch the ads on TV, I was shocked at the marketing tactics used by Councilman Kevin Kamenetz's campaign for county executive.
Instead of telling me Mr. Kamenetz's position on topics and his past votes on issues, he chose to attack his primary opponent, Councilman Joe Bartenfelder. He took votes that were 15 and 20 years old, out of context, making broad brush accusations about Mr. Bartenfelder's intent and all the while, inflating Mr. Kamenetz to be the sole innovator on the council. Perhaps he needs to be reminded that the council acts as a body.
So, Mr. Kamenetz has made it easy for me. Instead of carefully weighing the slight differences in past actions between the two candidates and choosing, I will chose the man I see as the most ethical, fair and balanced in walking the political tightrope, Joe Bartenfelder.