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Promenot Video Takes Aim At Quirk, Other Elected Officials

Quirk says he "resents" negative and personal attacks leveled against him by former campaign opponents.

A group opposed to the Catonsville Promenade development proposed for a portion of the Spring Grove Hospital Center is taking aim at local politicians in a new video.

In the video, posted last week, the group outlines campaign contributions made to a number of elected officials including County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, Councilman Tom Quirk and Dels. Steve DeBoy and Jim Malone.

The group alleges that the money from developer Steve Whalen and people and businesses associated with the Catonsville developer are tilting the process unfairly in favor of more development over open space and ball fields.

The video's final clip asks viewers if they believe corruption is alive and well over a shot of Quirk and Whalen attending a game at M&T Bank Stadium. The two can be seen touching the foot of a statue of Johnny Unitas.

In an interview, Quirk said he believes Paul and Rebecca Dongarra are behind the group and the video. Paul Dongarra was seen Wednesday putting up Catonsville Promenot signs after the Catsonville July 4 Parade. The signs were seen along the parade route in the front and back yards of residents whose homes face Frederick Road.

Rebecca Dongarra ran against Quirk in the Democratic council primary in 2010.

"They continue to engage in these petty personal attacks and I resent it," said Quirk, a Catonsville Democrat.

"I think Paul Dongarra spends every day doing everything he can to attack my personal integrity and character and I've had enough of it," Quirk said.

Paul Dongarra was not immediately available for comment.

Quirk acknowledged the video of him and Whalen and said the footage was taken before he was elected to the council. He said he's not ashamed of the money he's raised to run for office or of Whalen.

"Campaigns are expensive and you have to get your message out to thousands of people," Quirk said. "I'm proud of my contributors and proud of my campaign.

"Steve Whalen can be a controversial figure but he's also done a lot of good for the community," Quirk said.

Patch also reached out to Whalen for comment.

Quirk said his position on potential uses for the Spring Grove property has not changed and said he still supports it being used for open space and expansion of facilities for the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. 

on the fate of the 190-acre property divided up the property for continued use as a state hospital as well as for the university and some open space and retail uses.

Should state declare enough of the land surplus, Quirk said he would consider supporting "some kind of mixed-use project."

"That doesn't necessarily mean The Promenade," Quirk said.

Penny Riordan, local editor for Catonsville Patch, contributed to this report.

Keep up with what's happening in Baltimore County and state politics by following Bryan P. Sears on Twitter and Facebook.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

RARE MARYLAND INDEPENDENT July 05, 2012 at 10:57 PM
Great video. Do not know who did it, but it turned out well. I would suggest Dongarra start getting ready for a run at that seat. This is a winnable seat. I do not like Tom Quirk. Something about him when he came up to my house when I was minding my own business to hand out his brochures. Just did not like him. It appears that he looks upon this job as a part time supplement to the income from his financial advisory practice. He can use the job to score tickets to Ravens games, provide for additional income, and set himself up for a nice supplemental pension. Now he is being questioned and his feelings are hurt. Not sure how this is a "personal attack", but that normally means he got caught with his hand in the cookie jar (or on the 50 yard line). Hopefully we can get him out next election cycle.
Paul Dongarra July 05, 2012 at 11:21 PM
No one should be surprise that I am part of the newly formed group that’s advocating for responsible land use in Baltimore County. We’re advocating, that if the State decides to surplus portions Spring Grove, a 50 acre regional park (not including forested buffer zones) be created funded through the economic activity of a UMBC’s research park expansion and the adaptive reuse of the most historically significant properties on the campus. We are not against any future redevelopment of Spring Grove. We are concerned about the impact that a 1.4 million square foot mixed use development would have on our quality of life. With the targeted high density development driven by Plan Maryland and the Red Line, we must actively acquire open space to facilitate this growth. The EPA states that, ‎"The implementation of locally based, long-term open space conservation plans are a critical element in achieving smart growth." http://tinyurl.com/dyw96bm “Communities around the country are learning that open space conservation is not an expense but an investment that produces important economic benefits.” http://tinyurl.com/cmh4b9j Members of the group collaborated on creating our first video, installing the 13 signs on properties (where we had permission), and in distributing the 1000 “Stop the Promenade” fans just before the parade’s start.
Paul Dongarra July 05, 2012 at 11:23 PM
Regarding our councilperson’s comments. If he didn’t want people inferring impropriety, he shouldn’t have taken large campaign contributions from Steve Whalen’s daughter, employees, and personal fitness instructor. He also shouldn’t have gone to a Raven’s game with this developer while running for office. It’s disrespectful to constituents to say he’d consider supporting mixed use development on Spring Grove but “that doesn’t necessarily mean the Promenade.” The MEDCO report on Spring Grove supports the sale of land to an “undisclosed developer” citing nearly identical parameters as the proposed Promenade. There’s no mention of an open bid process. Former County Executive Jim Smith’s letters written from 2007-2010 to the Secretary of Transportation refer to the Promenade and the 695/Frederick RD Bridge urging the “SHA to carefully consider the access proposal suggested by the developer to accommodate the future needs of the proposed development.” http://tinyurl.com/dx5xh2p
Paul Dongarra July 05, 2012 at 11:24 PM
This isn’t a personal attack. It’s a legitimate issue regarding everything that’s wrong with development practices in Baltimore County. There have been many other voices other than mine, including members of the press, that share these concerns. For this reason, I have turned this over to the State’s Office of the Special Prosecutor who are currently investigating the matter, the second of it’s nature since Councilperson Quirk took office. Our democracy was founded by and depends on concerned citizens committed to keeping a watchful eye on those in power. I chose to make time to be such a vigilant observer and I am blessed with the friendship and support of many others that share my opinions.
jane willeboordse July 05, 2012 at 11:29 PM
no, this is not just Dongarra but thousand plus residents who have spoken out against the councilman and his ties to the small developer with out-dated proposals Our politicians are not listening to the reasonable requests for responsible land use and a future that is not more of the same (big box vacancies and permanent loss of en space) If you actually voted for Quirk ask him how tight he is with this developer and how much business is the same in this county of failing commercial corridors. He still has a long way to go to display his integrity along with our other local politicians who have yet to figure out what growth should look like in 2012 and beyond.
Maureen Sweeney Smith July 06, 2012 at 12:05 AM
As a former member of the July 4th committee (so this is my opinion, not the committee's), I am sick of "Catonsville Voices" and the Dongarra family using the parade to promote their "issue of the week". Every year we ask the community to come together on the 4th and celebrate patriotism. Just patriotism. Not gambling, development, taxes, religion and/or social issues. Just Patriotism! Everyone in the community abides by this rule except the Dongarra Family who feel they are "special". Paul was walking down the parade route with a protest sign, right along side of the 12A team who supported the parade by writing a check, sponsoring a band, taking an ad in the program book and assisting the parade committee all year long. Every year, we do a sweep of Frederick Rd. a few hours before the parade to remove dozens of sign put up by carpet cleaners, politicans, work from home companies all trying to get free promotion. My husband had to remove your signage from the route after the parade began. Why can't the Dongerras follow the rules and quit using the parade for their selfish issues? Maybe next year, you could volunteer during the parade by being a collector or parade marshal, working to keep the route free of "special" people who believe their issue supercedes the theme of the day Try to do something positive for Catonsville instead of using the parade for your platform.
John Deere July 06, 2012 at 01:38 AM
last time I looked , and correct me if I'm wrong, but I seemed to have noticed a bunch of politicians riding down the center of Frederick Rd. promoting their parties and gaining endorsements and good will, not to mention the patriotic floats listing the businesses behind them, and even more blatant business signage rolling down the street gaining "free endorsements". so tell me who are the "special people"? The last time I looked, this was still America.
Maureen Sweeney Smith July 06, 2012 at 02:50 AM
Elected officials are permitted in the parade. Go to the July 4th website and read the rules for more insight. Or better yet, join the committee and deal with all the problems the committee encounters each year putting on the parade. On parade day, the committee has a permit and controls Frederick Road from curb to curb along the parade route.. Every entry paid to be in the parade. Most of the "special endorsements" you mention are actually business owners and groups who pay thousands of $$ to sponsor these bands and help us raise the $100,000 needed to put the events on.. Anyone can sponsor a band. Yes, this is America and Catonsville has the best patriotic parade in the region. This is due to community support and hard work by the volunteer committee. This is a day to be united and celebrate our country's birthday not an opportunity to divide the community. The Catonsville Voices/Dongarras have been doing these types of activities for years, despite knowing the rules and the spirit of the parade. Again, my comments are my personal view as a former member and I am not speaking on behalf of the C4JC.
Penny Riordan July 06, 2012 at 04:22 AM
I am not a lifelong resident or even a longtime one, but I am covering this community. Did anyone else have an opinion or a response to the obvious political signage along the parade route on Wednesday? Again, I'm not a longtime resident so I don't have the context, but I did at least notice it, hence the photo (s). Thanks for weighing in, readers!
OpenEyes July 06, 2012 at 11:14 AM
The rules of the C4JC do not suspend the constitutional right of freedom of speech. I believe dissent is the purest expression of American patriotism. If Ms. Sweeny Smith is concerned about parade rules then they should be enforced equally to all the official parade entries who apply. The rules state "CANDIDATES FOR OFFICE ARE NOT PERMITTED TO PARTICIPATE IN THE PARADE." In 2010, 3 of the 4 candidates for County Council walked in the parade, only one followed the rules and refrained, Rebecca Dongarra. This year the Republican candidate for the US House of Representatives walked in the parade. This rule is always broken, only selected officials and "their immediate families will be permitted on the parade route. Supporters/walkers are not permitted to march the parade. No campaign t-shirts are permitted in parade." Apparently this doesn't apply to Tom Quirk who walked through with people other than his wife and two children, most of which wearing Tom Quirk campaign tee shirts. Another rule is "Entries are not to espouse political, social or other themes or causes." Yet in the past the groups such as the following have been allowed in the parade: the PV Republican Club, SW Dem Club, Peace Camp, Peace Corp, and Les Consulting (Spouting off on his bullhorn on all sorts of political rhetoric). It seems to me that trying to take politics out of the 4th of July is like making apple pie without apples because Steve Whalen bought them all.
Texas Independent July 06, 2012 at 12:44 PM
"Why can't the Dongerras follow the rules and quit using the parade for their selfish issues?" Maureen - First Admenment to the Constitution - please refer to this for guidance on rules. This issue directly affects the people of Catonsville. I consider their efforts (at the minimum) a public service announcement, but more importantly a call to action. Too many people have been "snowed" on this and the Promenot group is peacefully using a "shovel" of informaiton and action to dig them out. If you stand for nothing, you'll fall for anything.
Geoffrey Atkinson July 06, 2012 at 12:55 PM
Not sure if going to a game with a businessman before you are elected is "corruption." Or if having ties to developers constitutes the same. Everyone knows someone - once elected your friends suddenly have access that they didn't have before. Should Dongarra be elected the same would happen. SSDD.... only the names and agenda have changed.... once she gets a whiff of developer money we will see just how strong her integrity is. Experience has shown that even the strongest morals rarely survive an encounter with money. Frankly if seeking office this doesn't seem like a very appealing way for her to go about it. While I am not a big fan of the various proposals I have heard for Spring Grove, I also am not a fan of driving to Columbia and Ellicott City to shop. Personally I would rather see the land and vacant buildings turned over to federal, state, and local government and used as offices. A mixed use government campus would bring in high paying jobs and save money... after all these are government buildings that tax payers funded... why tear them down and build new ones for some agencies? Rehab them and reuse them - save us tax payers a bundle. Maybe throw a government data center in there - I dunno but there are ways to reuse this property for government use. There is no such thing as "surplus" government land - it is simply government land that is *currently" not being used for government. Keeping it for government use will save tax money in the long run.
CerahAnd July 06, 2012 at 01:55 PM
So you want to take government property and use it to expand the capabilities of government in our area? That would just perpetuate the tax drain inflicted on us! As for the Promenade, I've seen Whalen's blueprints on this thing, and it doesn't make sense for this site. I come from the real estate space and I'm not opposed to development--just opposed to the scope of this one at this site. Frederick Rd would be choked, and our already busy streets would become further congested. I wonder how that would jive with the bike plans Baltimore County is trying to implement in this area? A plan that supports open spaces and some modest use by the university, or perhaps a small mixed-use plaza, might be something that most of our citizens can get behind as it would represent benefits to various sectors, and not to one primary developer. I'm not sure that most of our citizens want more retail space. If you're tired of driving to Ellicott City or Columbia to shop, the obvious solution would be to move closer to those areas; not to build a huge, mixed-use development with bars, grocery stores, hotels, a movie theater on what is historic state property. I don't want Balto Co to look and feel like Howard Co. As for marching in a parade without paying the fee/donation--that is a separate issue from the video presented in this article. Oh, and who keeps stealing all the Promenot signs we put out?
Geoffrey Atkinson July 06, 2012 at 02:36 PM
Disagree - instead of agencies buying new land and building new facilities they would - gasp - reuse facilities they already own. Oh no. Not that. Sensible stewardship of tax dollars. This is government land and government buildings paid for by the state of Maryland. Not a ball field. Not a park. Not a shopping center. Before procuring land and building a new state facility in the area they should consider putting it at Spring Grove. Same with county and federal agencies. Plan of UMBC moving in is a good one. More of the same should happen there. Yes it stinks driving to shop... but then again I personally would rather northern Catonsville not resemble Baltimore City... I'd take the look and feel of Howard over that any day.
Geoffrey Atkinson July 06, 2012 at 02:38 PM
PS I don't know who is stealing your signs - but while I agree with the sentiment they are an eyesore.
CerahAnd July 06, 2012 at 04:13 PM
Yep, you do belong in Howard County.
CerahAnd July 06, 2012 at 04:19 PM
And you're fooling yourself if you believe the cost to renovate and repurpose the property for any kind of government use wouldn't resolve in a tax hike. Preserve some of the buildings (which are currently underutilized by the gov't), and the existing fields and open spaces (which are presently used by the community), and come up with a sensible plan for some responsible redevelopment on a scale that our town's infrastructure can handle in this area.
RARE MARYLAND INDEPENDENT July 06, 2012 at 06:35 PM
Question: Are politician's allowed in the parade? One person says yes, one person says no. If they are allowed, not much can be done about it. I do wish they would not hijack events such as the parade, high school graduations, and now even football games. They are clearly using the power of their office to get face time. We can disagree on what to do with Spring Grove - if you talk to the folks in charge, they say nothing is going to happen as the facility is still an operating hospital. What we hope will not happen is that decisions are made because our politicians are in the pocket of developers - and this appears to be the situation with Mr. Quirk. I would encourage Mr. and Mrs. Dongarra to continue informing the public of these issues. I don't believe any damage is being done, except to Mr. Quirk's feelings. He should just walk down to Dunkin Donuts, have a coffee and donut and he will feel better.
al walker July 06, 2012 at 06:54 PM
steve whalen is a snake. look at all his property locations. what you see is what you will get. he is a developer who cant finish or take care of what he does. dorsey property is the only property he has that is half decent and that is most likley do to the casnio. he is a man who doesnt care where he puts buildings cause if he can put them in your backyard he will. dont be mad at quirk for taking his money. cause we will all take a dollar if handed to us. be mad at the snake who is using his money to buy someone else to do his dirty work. steve whalen is the problem not elected officials.
OpenEyes July 06, 2012 at 11:24 PM
CerahAnd, I agree with Mr. Atkinson in some regard in that the new district courthouse would have been a perfect fit for Spring Grove. What happened instead? The State paid Mr. Whalen 2.8 million dollars for a 6 acre track all the way over near Security Square Mall. This was done on Delegates Malone and DeBoy's watch, not Quirk's in fairness to him. The eventual separation of the courthouse and the Wilkins' Precinct Police Headquarters will make our officers work harder in terms of coordinating their time to get to court to testify. Malone and Deboy also could have weighed in during the passage of HB1161 that created the tax incentives for the redevelopment of a State Hospital. They also could have weighed in during the formulation of the MEDCO redevelopment plan. Their input? Nothing, yet every year they line up to take their 30 pieces of silver from Whalen. Shame! Shame! Shame on them!
OpenEyes July 07, 2012 at 01:05 AM
One other thing, I think this is the quickest I've seen a Bryan Sear's article disappear off Patch's home page. Stay on this issue Bryan the citizen's of the county need your help. Follow the money!
Adam Darchicourt July 07, 2012 at 02:41 AM
First of all, thank you for helping to ensure that Catonsville can always have enviable 4th of July celebrations to be proud of. The Dongarra's used to employ me, so I have been watching their campaign with some interest. Their fight against the Promenade is no "issue of the week"- they have been in this battle from the beginning! And I think that the fact that Tom Quirk singled Paul out in this statement means that the Dongarras are gaining some real momentum. Also, I'd like to note that American patriotism is founded on ideals of dissent, speaking out freely, and keeping a watchful eye on our elected officials. Finally, I find it hard to believe that the Dongarras did nothing to financially support our celebrations (Do we not have door-to-door collections? Does Catonsville Presbyterian not support the celebrations?), and it's really none of our business to know that. The Dongarras are supporting Catonsville, not only through their responsible, honest business, but also by spending their time and energy fighting for this just cause, and for that I am willing to excuse them and their organization in breaking a few minor rules.
Arbutus Town Crier July 07, 2012 at 03:09 AM
http://kittleman.com/election-closes-campaign-finance-talk-opens/ On Jan. 13, 2010 Catonsville developer Steve Whalen used nine LLCs to give $28,000 — seven times the $4,000 limit on individuals or corporations during a four-year period — to Baltimore County Councilman Kevin Kamenetz, then seeking the Democratic nomination for county executive. Kamenetz won the primary and the general election.
CerahAnd July 07, 2012 at 03:46 PM
I think the courthouse could have made sense too. I'm adverse to a government data center that Mr. Atkinson mentioned.
adminnikePrinz July 30, 2012 at 04:34 PM
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jack friese December 21, 2012 at 05:15 PM
If you believe this is all the facts on these illegal contributions, maybe Jim Smith, the retired County Executive could join forces with Whalen, Quirk, and Kamenetz, Malone, DeBoy and Kasemeyer and "sell" the Bay Bridge to some unsuspecting victim(s). The illegal contributions to Quirk, Kamenetz, Smith (and I am sure) others is just the tip of the iceberg. Let's see the indictment of Whalen who has enough money to make this crime disappear. He (and all his paper and phony companies) should be banned from doing any business with the State for three years as his punishment for these crimes. Then apply the maximum, monetary fine not minimum fines for his criminal behavior. Hold him accountable for this behavior. Voters were told about these shenanigans by Whalen during the 2010 campaign in district 12 by the Republican candidates. Dirty money prevailed and no Republican can win in this corrupt environment. I wonder really how much money was stuck in the pockets of Kasemayer, Malone and DeBoy (and others) for their participation in this rip off of Maryland citizens? This is not a Republican or Democratic issue, it is a moral issue and no one should be allowed to tamper with our political system because they have millions of dollars to throw around.

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