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Marks' Campaign Responds to 'Tammany Hall" Blog

"I have never forgotten my roots as a community leader," Councilman David Marks writes in a letter to campaign supporters.

Councilman David Marks said Sunday that he's keeping to his community roots despite questions being raised about the in an upcoming fundraiser.

The Perry Hall Republican, in a Sunday email to campaign supporters, addressed the issues of campaign contributions, development money and his record during the first two years in office.

"Two years ago, I made the difficult decision to quit my job in the federal government to run for the Baltimore County Council," Marks writes in the email. "My family stood by me, despite the threat to our livelihood. We ran with strong community support and pinched pennies to buy the yard signs, bumper stickers, and handouts needed for a successful race."

"Many of my contributions in that first race, and over the past year, have been from friends and neighbors who made small donations because they believed in me," writes Marks.

The email was sent after an Insider Politics blog post raised questions about the involvement of David Gildea, a Towson land-use attorney, in hosting a campaign event with tickets costing up to $4,000 each.

The councilman did not address his decision to allow Gildea to help the Nov. 1 campaign event despite making statements three years ago. Those comments at the time implied the attorney's involvement in events for other candidates could lead to influencing the council on zoning decisions.

In a brief email reponse, Marks confirmed the email originated from his campaign but declined to respond to additional questions.

At issue was a question asked about a statement Marks made when he was preparing to run for County Council.

In a December 2009 story published by the Towson Times and the Baltimore Sun, Marks called fundraising efforts by some development attorneys a "Tammany Hall-style political machine" and lamented the effect such fundraising could have on development decisions by those recipients if they were elected.

Last week, following nearly a year of not raising money, Marks' campaign announced its first fundraiser. The event at the in Carney is being hosted by a number of developers and related attorneys including David Gildea, one of the attorneys who raised money in 2009.

The events in 2009, as now, do not break any ethics of campaign finance laws. Gildea's involvement merely raised questions about an apparent conflict between Marks' words at the time and his actions now.

The blog post also spurred Meg O'Hare, a Carney community activist, to write on her own blog for Patch that Marks is

The email sent Sunday by Marks does not directly address the councilman's decision to allow Gildea to help host the event.

The councilman did not respond to requests both last week and on Monday for an interview.

Here's Councilman Marks' email in full:

----- Original Message -----
From: David Marks
To: undisclosed-recipients
Sent: Sunday, September 16, 2012 10:05 AM
Subject: Never Forgetting My Community Toots

Two years ago, I made the difficult decision to quit my job in the federal government to run for the Baltimore County Council. My family stood by me, despite the threat to our livelihood. We ran with strong community support and pinched pennies to buy the yard signs, bumper stickers, and handouts needed for a successful race.

Many of my contributions in that first race, and over the past year, have been from friends and neighbors who made small donations because they believed in me.

I have never forgotten my roots as a community leader. Anyone who has read the Patch, particularly the stories written by the regional editors, knows of my work over the past 20 months:

During the rezoning process, we limited growth on 417 acres, the most downzoning in the Fifth District in two decades.   This downzoning will not only lighten the impact of future growth on schools and roads, but it will save taxpayers money by helping the county focus on improvements to existing infrastructure.

I worked with my colleagues of both political parties to pass legislation that created the first open space zoning in Baltimore County history. Then, we applied it to 173 acres, more than in any other County Council district.

We banned panhandle building lots in the environmentally-sensitive Carney and Cub Hill areas. During the rezoning process, our work eliminated homes from being built behind Summit Avenue and a 7-11 convenience store from being approved at Magledt Road near the snowball stand.

Some of my decisions have not been popular with developers and landowners, but they were best for our communities.

I am very proud of the good work we are doing for our communities, and of the many friends and neighbors who believe in me. I will never forget my local roots, which is why I work nearly six or seven days a week to make our neighborhoods better. Thank you for your support.
 
County Councilman David Marks

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.

Bruce Robinson September 22, 2012 at 04:07 PM
I waded through all of the comments to both blog items, holding my thoughts until the end. The last one I read, from Ann Miller, explained what was clear to me throughout. The 2010 fundraisers were driven by Gildea & Smith to support the apparently hand-picked-by-CE Smith candidates for open seats on the council. That looks like a political boss picking who will run the government and ensuring that they all are beholden to him. Ergo, Tammany Hall. David Marks was not part of that. Now, two years into his first term, his work has garnered continuing support from the people in the communities he serves as well as those who did not support his election. Mr. Marks has worked with all of the interested parties involved in issues coming before him. He is willing to listen to all reasonable arguments. Smith & Gildea have learned this and find him to be someone worthy of their support. They could just as easily support a Democrat challenger. They didn't. Mr. Marks have often spoken about the general non-partisan nature of the work of the County Council. Occasionally, partisanship can raise its head, but on the council, that is rare. Local government needs needs cooperation to meet the needs of the citizens and their communities. David Marks gets that. And we should all be able to get the difference behind Tammany Hall Politics and good governance.
Buck Harmon September 22, 2012 at 07:03 PM
Marks has still failed to address the change of direction , leaving much to the imagination in both directions. Your post here seems to defend him but why has he not been straight forward himself?
Bruce Robinson September 22, 2012 at 10:02 PM
The statement two years ago was about apples, and the current issue is an orange. G&S were raising 2010 dollars for rookies. The current fundraising is for a sitting councilman. Different issues. Logical disconnect.
Buck Harmon September 22, 2012 at 11:24 PM
Sounds like a banana excuse to me ,unless you can speak specifically to the issue. You may well be a friend...or friend of the family with an attempt to justify the difference..
mort slumber September 23, 2012 at 02:55 PM
The proof of the pudding is in the pie.The prior councilman for the fifth district served for 20 years,and during his last two years did nothing substantial for his constitutents . However, in his last year he took care of his buddies Kamentz and Moxley,who also served their last terms on the council,by voting to make sure they could double dip pension wise by serving in another County position.The real question is not who gives financially to a candidate or potential candidate, but, rather,what the individual does once in office that demonstrates his voting record.Marks' voting record and constitutency service speaks well of him.I would only expect him to continue in that same light during the next two years regardless of where the money comes from.

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