Senator Jim Brochin announces his candidacy for Baltimore County executive. (Kenneth K. Lam, Baltimore Sun video)
It seems more than coincidence that on the same day you reported Baltimore County Councilwoman Vicki Almond’s candidacy for county executive (“Almond joins race for Baltimore County executive,” Nov. 2), you also published Patrick Murray’s religiously infused article questioning whether one of her opponents, Sen. Jim Brochin, is a Democrat (“A political conversion for Jim Brochin,” Nov. 2).
It should be obvious to readers that Mr. Murray is pushing certain biases against Senator Brochin held by entrenched Democratic Party leaders because he doesn’t toe the party line when told to do so.
As a former elected member of the Maryland Democratic Party Central Committee, I can say that the leadership’s line was not always the right one and that Mr. Brochin showed the gumption to stand up to what he thought was wrong. The devil is in the details of many laws and wonderful sounding bills do not always accomplish what their titles suggest.
As a result of Mr. Brochin’s independence of thought, the party leaders changed the boundaries of his district hoping his new electorate would vote him out. They were wrong. His constituents knew he was acting in their best interests; they respected his independence and kept him in office.
The fact that The Sun published Mr. Murray’s commentary concurrently with the report of Ms. Almond’s announcement is clear evidence of its bias. Ms. Almond has been in the Baltimore County Council for more than seven years. In my capacity as a community activist I can say with confidence that she is a big developers’ person and she has made major decisions in zoning and land use matters that have been in the developers’ interest rather than that of the communities she represents.
Meanwhile Mr. Brochin has drawn the line against the influence of the monied real estate interests and they oppose him for it. Community activists who have seen Ms. Almond’s incredibly poor zoning decisions support Mr. Brochin.
Voters should vote based upon knowledge of the candidate’s actions and character, not their sex, lack of college education or whether they are single parents.
Among other examples of her poor judgment, Ms. Almond has given used car lot owners and palm readers zoning approval in Pikesville’s commercial district.
Mr. Brochin sponsored an ethics based bill in the state legislature this year to stop the influence of big developers in county zoning matters. It was apparent that the Democratic leadership didn’t want that bill made into law because it would reduce the funding they receive from the extremely influential real estate development community.
It’s not the senator’s intent to stop development but rather level the playing field regarding the influence of the large development interests so that better development choices are made. Ms. Almond’s seven and a half years on the council show that she has made numerous poor land use decisions resulting in big developer contributions. But community leaders are confident that Mr. Brochin is the person who will demonstrate his independence from those influences and act in the best interests of the communities.