Monday •  July 18, 2022

Guest Commentary Letter: “Something Strange Going on in the Democratic Race for the District 4 Howard County Council Seat”

By Sharon Boies

In my opinion, we have something strange going on in the Democratic race for the District 4 Howard County Council seat.  A “Trump type“ candidate is staining our local politics with the most dirty campaign that I can remember.

 

In addition to mailing inaccurate and extremely distasteful campaign flyers with hurtful photoshopped photos from a bygone era, District 4 County Council candidate Janssen Evelyn is using misrepresentation and personal attacks against his opponent, incumbent County Councilwoman Deb Jung, as his primary approach for being elected.

 

Evelyn claims to have been elected twice to his community village board. 

 

This is untrue.

 

Evelyn was first appointed (not elected) to the Hickory Ridge village board and was so unpopular after his first partial term that he came in last out of the five community members who were elected to serve on the village board when he ran again in 2021.

 

Why?

 

Many of Evelyn’s Hickory Ridge neighbors say it’s because he opposed the vast majority of his own village by supporting Kimco Realty’s attempt to redevelop the Hickory Ridge Village Center — a highly unpopular proposal that put at risk the Rouse “New Town” model that was ultimately denied by the majority of the Howard County Zoning Board, with the help of a “No” vote contributed by County Councilwoman Deb Jung.  

 

Evelyn justified his support of Kimco’s disruptive plans by claiming that he was supporting affordable housing despite the fact that the project was focused on luxury housing.

 

Could the basis for Evelyn’s actions against the majority will of the community be because he has tied himself to big business interests who wish to make millions at the expense of the Rouse model and the law?

 

Not once in Evelyn’s election campaign flyers is it mentioned that he has taken tens of thousands of campaign dollars from special interest groups who have tried (and still continue to try) to suppress the majority will of Hickory Ridge village residents who have been desperately working to protect the environment and their local schools, control traffic, maintain diversity, maintain the current quality of life and keep Howard County as a desirable community.

 

Evelyn also doesn’t mention that he opposed election reforms adopted by his own village designed to keep big money out of elections. No surprise when you see his huge campaign signs on commercial properties.

 

Mr. Evelyn also claims that he supports environmental goals, however he failed to support positions of the Sierra Club, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, many other elected representatives, and members of the local environmental activist community in opposing a Columbia project that the Maryland Department of the Environment has found to be deeply flawed.

 

If all of this isn’t enough, there’s more. According to a local watchdog group (HoCo Watchdogs), Mr. Evelyn has been involved in a campaign tactic that allegedly violates local criminal laws by allowing the use of the Howard County official seal in campaign activities for himself even though it is forbidden by law.

 

Has there been any response from Evelyn about these serious concerns?  We’re still waiting…

 

Evelyn’s personal attacks against Deb Jung have gone so far as to include in his campaign literature a comment stating:

 

her views perpetuated…destructive mindsets and systematic patterns of segregated housing…”

 

While this is a terribly offensive and baseless claim on its face, it isn’t the first time that Evelyn has used racial-charged mischaracterizing attacks against his political opponents. 

 

During Hickory Ridge Board meetings while serving as a village board member, Evelyn openly employed such mischaracterizing attacks against local residents who are not only ardent supporters of racial equality, but who also have long histories of promoting the unique diversity that Columbia’s founding was based on, even going so far as to personally attack certain residents based on their age

Considering the seemingly limitless bounds to personal attacks that he has demonstrated during his time as a local village Board member, it’s no surprise that he is now doing so to try to get elected to the Howard County Council.

 

This is entirely unacceptable behavior from a local village board member, much less a Howard County council member….

…and therein lies the comparison to Donald J. Trump. 

 

By all of these concerning actions detailed in this letter, Mr. Evelyn is presenting the image of a “wannabe” local politician who fails to show interest in respecting all of his fellow community members and the wishes and values of the clear majority of residents.

 

Not only are Evelyn’s political tactics classic “anti-democracy” in the mode of Donald Trump, but his current attempt to try to grab and hold onto political power in any manner and at any cost is classic “Trumpism”.

 

Howard Countians need to reject this form of political nihilism that is sadly now invading our local Democratic Party.  If we don’t, we too will suffer the consequences of the “values” folks like Mr. Evelyn choose to use to seize and maintain power at any cost.

 

Aren’t we as individuals and as a county better than that?

 

Shouldn’t we keep our politicians honest and untainted by money?

 

Sharon Boies

Columbia

DISCLAIMER: This post is HoCo Watchdogs Guest Reader Contribution. 

 

The opinions and views expressed in this publication are solely those of the listed author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or views of HoCo Watchdogs, LLC or the HoCo Watchdogs main blog author, Steven Keller.

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