Kevin Earl Dayhoff Art One-half Banana Stems

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Sunday, April 30, 2006

20060430 An analysis of the FY 2007 Westminster City Budget

An analysis of the FY 2007 Westminster City, Carroll County, Maryland Budget

Why a tax increase is not necessary.

The following was posted on the Westminster Eagle Website on April 30, 2006.

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April 30, 2006 By Kevin Dayhoff

Recently the City of Westminster (City) announced a proposed budget of $27,334,713.00 for Fiscal Year 2006 - 2007, (FY 2007) which begins July 1, 2006, ends June 31, 2007, and has requested feedback from Westminster citizens.

The proposed budget includes a 6-cent increase in the City’s property tax. This will raise the property tax from 40 cents to 46 cents – a fifteen percent increase, probably the largest in the City’s history.

There have since been published reports of folks who do not want a tax increase. Well duh, who among us wants to pay more for anything unless we are to receive a commensurate increase in a tangible product or services in return?

The City, in press reports, has said that the 6-cent increase is needed for “rising fuel prices (an increase of $65,000;) health care costs (an increase of $212,542;) the city's growth ($?;) new technology (an increase of $40,000 – G10.-391 and the General Fund’s portion of the last installment on the new financial accounting system - $348,468;) road maintenance (an increase in the road overlay program of $500,000) and ‘so many other things ($?)…’”

What has been lacking in this year’s budget discussion is any published analysis of the budget so that citizens may arrive at an informed decision. Citizens need to know what has been proposed for our health, safety and welfare and just what a 6-cent increase in the property tax looks like to those of us who have to pay the bill.

Moreover, it is imperative upon those folks who disagree to do more than be disagreeable; they must recommend a thoughtful and intelligent alternative suggestion for debate and discussion.

Disagreement is not inherently a negative thing, as long as it promotes a meaningful and constructive exploration of the issues in order to arrive at a win-win consensus that will make as many folks happy as possible.

Westminster has one of the more sophisticated, intelligent and well-educated citizen-bases in the state; and yet, an alternate proposal has not been presented.

So, let’s explore the matter and see what we can do to develop an intelligent alternative approach that says no to a tax increase.

For this analysis of the City budget, it would be helpful if you had a copy of the proposed budget handy. Most of the expenditures and revenues will be identified by their “account number” - a “G” number; for example, “G26.5000” is the identifier for “Hospital Insurance.”

A copy of the proposed budget should be easily available by calling (410) 848-9000 or stopping by City Hall.

Nevertheless, do not worry if you do not have a copy of the budget handy at the moment, as hopefully, I will still be able to explain where cuts are possible to avoid a tax increase.

If, after reading this analysis, you agree that there are cuts available to avoid a tax increase, it would be certainly helpful for the City to know where your suggestions of additional proposed cuts can be found by referring to the “G – account number.”

As we discuss the following numbers, bear in mind that each penny increase in the City’s property tax nets the City $143,947.50. A 6-cent increase will net the City $863,684.00.

The last several budgets have been very difficult.

To be sure, the last number of budget years have been extraordinarily difficult. For several years after September 11th, 2001, the economy was stagnant and municipal revenues greatly curtailed – and in some instances, City revenues got smaller or even disappeared. To add insult to injury, the state balanced its budget on the backs of local government.

All the while, in the last several years, the City has witnessed an increased demand for services and expenses have disproportionately increased.

For example, one line item in the City’s budget, account number G26.5000, “Hospital Insurance,” was $767,920 in FY 2005; $948,054 in FY 2006 and has now jumped another $212,542 for this year to $1,160,596.

The salary and operating cost of trash removal, G12.4300, increased from $752,245 in FY 2005 to $858,134 in the FY 2007 budget or an increase of $105,889.

Fuel costs have increased for FY 2007 by $65,000.

Beginning July 1, 2003, the new police retirement plan, the Law Enforcement Officers Pension System (LEOPS) began an increased expenditure in excess of $364,000 per year.

During these difficult budget years – through FY 2006: the City built two parking decks; re-built a portion of Uniontown Road, upgraded the parking meters, built a much needed additional parking lot on West Main Street, supported the renovation of the Carroll Arts Center, embarked on an expensive upgrade of the 25-year old - 1978 financial accounting systems, gave the police officers an enhanced pension system - the Law Enforcement Officers Pension System and gave the police officers a unilateral last minute, “triple-step” pay increase for FY 2006, which cost $125,686.

All of this was accomplished without a tax increase. In fact, FY 2005 had $812,000 left over – almost the amount of money generated by a 6-cent tax increase.

How was this accomplished without a tax increase? For one thing, it involved many sleepless nights and an exacting conservative approach to examining each and every budget line item and making many difficult decisions. Not to mention, an overriding conservative approach to keep government as small as possible and meet the many demands on finite resources with no tax increase.

It should be noted that the Westminster Common Council took the $125,686 in unilateral pay increases for the police out of my proposed FY 2006 budget line item of $250,000 set aside to address the increasing salary disparities for the City’s employees. In addition, while take home vehicles were taken away from non-police officers, that benefit was expanded for police officers.

Did the police officers deserve the pay increase? Yes. So do the other employees.

In the last several years, what did not happen is any substantial pay or benefit increase, beyond routine cost of living increases for the out-of-date and uncompetitive salary structure of non-police employees, in spite of the fact that it has been well known that it is needed, since February of 2003.

Needless to say, this has disheartened many city employees.

Where to begin?

The City budget is divided into four funds: General, Housing, Sewer, and Water. Most of the following is a discussion of the General Fund budget.

A review of the water and sewer budget indicates that water and sewer service will never be as inexpensive as it is today. It is a matter that is beyond the City’s control.

In the last number of years, federal and state regulations, (unfunded mandates - laws passed down without the money to pay for the costs,) and changing interpretations of existing water and sewer appropriation laws have caused a great deal of financial strain on the City’s water and sewer service.

And we must not ignore a 1966 court decision that requires the City to provide water to anyone requesting it within a reasonable distance of the existing water service area – whether it is in the city limits or not. It may be time to find a good court test of that decision which causes the city to have essentially no say in many residential annexations, for which we, as a community have made a collective decision, that we have no interest.

We must support the City employees.

First off, the $555,375 for City employee salary reserve that is set aside for pay equity implementation needs to remain in the FY 2007 budget.

The $92,164 - two percent matching contribution to the preferred compensation plan for eligible employees, must be funded.

It has been suggested that to not support the tax increase is to not support the employees. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

Scapegoating the employees is unquestionably unfair, especially since the main reason we have not had a tax increase in the last several years is because the hardworking, dedicated professionals who work for the City. They have consistently rolled up their sleeves and done more with less – all the while doing the work for less pay than they deserve. It should also be noted that the City fully funded LEOPS for the police officers without a tax increase or unwanted political attention.

How are we to pay for this?

Let’s not forget the $812,000 unallocated surplus carryover (money left over in the previously audited budget at the end of the year) for this year’s FY 2007 budget - an increase of $258,944.

And this year, for FY 2007, the City will see an increase in state Highway User Fee (HUR) revenue of $96,809.

Tax revenue for the FY2007 budget will increase by $1,706,438 – read: 1.7 million dollars - due to increased property values and increased commercial tax base through annexations. Compare that to a decrease of $11,832 for FY 2005 to 2006.

To recap - please add $258,944 in increased unallocated surplus carry-over; to $96,809 in increased HUR revenue; to $1,706,438 in increased tax revenue and that adds up to: $2,062,191 ($2.06 million dollars) in additional funds with which to balance this year’s budget.

And yet, a review of this year’s budget indicates that it is extremely tight.

Where’s the money going?

Well, it includes the $555,375 pay equity implementation; $212,542 for increased health care costs; $65,000 in increased fuel costs; the general fund’s portion, $110,156, of the last installment of the financial accounting technology upgrades; and trash and waste collections will increase $105,889. Your calculator should say: $983,962.

Okay, something doesn’t add up – looking at the big numbers, we still have approximately $1 million available.

Other additional increases in the proposed budget:

Well, FY2007 proposes an increase in the road overlay program of $500,000 from the previous fiscal year (for a total commitment of $750,000, this year.)

And then, for example, there are other increases FY2007 over FY2006:

$40,000 in technology upgrades, G10.-391;

$23,750 to replace the carpet in City Hall, G10.-921;

$26,660 increase for downtown revitalization, G10.1014;

$24,100 for engineering services to correct City boundaries with GPS, G12.21OH/G12.210H2;

$400,000 to purchase “workforce” properties for resale to qualified low-income residents, G10.10952;

$119,000 to repair the City swimming pool, G18.14103;

$223,000 to replace Trucks #40 and 24, G12.61003;

$51,428 to replace two police cars, G11.151103;

$25,000 for Pa. Avenue phase two streetscape improvements at the intersection with Union Avenue, G12.52PH3;

$75,000 for the SHA sidewalk retrofit program, which is the City’s 50 percent share of $150,000, G12.52SW3.

This totals another $1,007,938 – to include the road overlay program brings the total increases to $1,507,938.

Rescind the recent decision to hire a City Administrator.

Not mentioned in this list is the newly created City Administrator position, which has been reported to cost $100,000. Perhaps we may want to amend that cost by adding the $22,500 for the consulting group hired to find this person and additional dollars for benefits, relocation expenses, office space, staff support and computer equipment. It has been whispered that this new position will cost the taxpayers as much as $200,000 – over a penny to the tax rate.

Hiring a City Administrator is an affront to the employees and destroys a sense of team. Westminster citizens “hired” the mayor to do this job. In 1991, the last time the city hired a City Administrator it didn’t work. Previously in the 1980s, the City also did away with the position in lieu of the department-director cabinet form of government. It works. If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.

Money to be used on the City Administrator is not necessary and could be better spent elsewhere. The City Administrator will only add an additional insulating layer between employees and the elected officials. The City Administrator position does not have support of many employees. Often citizens currently have direct access to city employees and can get things done quickly and efficiently. The City Administrator adds a complicating layer between public and city departments.

A City Administrator is another step towards “Big Government.” Westminster has never been tolerant of “Big Government or “tax and spend” management.

How many additional cuts in the budget are necessary to avoid a tax increase?

The simple answer is that a 6-cent increase in property tax will net the City $863,684. If you would like to avoid a tax increase, $863,684 in additional cuts are necessary.

Please go to the previous section and identify the cuts you would propose.

To get the conversation started, how about considering cutting:

$23,750, G10.-921, to replace the carpet in City Hall;

$40,000, G10.-391 in technology upgrades – pay for Finance’s technology upgrades first;

$223,000, G12.61003, to replace Trucks #40 and 24 – re-evaluate at half year;

$51,428, G11.151103, to replace two police cars – re-evaluate at half year;

$25,000, Pa. Avenue phase two streetscape improvements – apply for state grant;

$75,000, G12.52SW3, SHA sidewalk retrofit program;

$100,000, City Administrator position;

$24,100, G12.21OH/G12.210H2 for engineering to correct City boundaries;

$300,000 reduction in the road overlay program (that leaves $450,000 for this important work).

That totals $862,278 – and no tax increase.

This is not the year for a property tax increase.

The above is just a suggestion that attempts to spread the cuts over the widest range of expenses, without a cut in core services. Perhaps you may want to develop a different list of cuts and give that feedback to the City for their consideration.

Taking into consideration the precipitous increase in property assessments, citizens will already be paying a great deal more in property tax this year. Add to that, for example, the increased costs of gasoline, gas and electric, and health insurance; this is not the year for a property tax increase. Not to mention the chilling affect a tax increase will have on vital economic development and jobs creation right here at home.

What do you think?

Please get a copy of the proposed budget, review the above proposed expenditures and perhaps identify some different expenditures that we, as a community may want the City to consider cutting.

After doing your homework, write or e-mail our elected officials today. Better yet, attend the public hearing, with your proposed cost cuts and present them to the City. Be friendly, positive and constructive – after all, these folks are our friends and neighbors.

The location of the Public Hearing on the Proposed Real Property Tax Increase for the Tax Year beginning July 1, 2006 has been changed from City Hall to the John Street Quarters of the Westminster Fire Department located at 28 John Street, Westminster, Maryland. The time and date remain the same: 7:00 P.M. on Monday, May 1, 2006. Please contact the City Clerk at (410) 848.4938 with any questions. If you can’t attend the meeting, the public comment period should remain open for several weeks, so still submit your suggestions.

Putting together a budget is hard work. The choices and decisions are difficult. We are all in this together. Only by putting out heads together and working with the City, we can be sure to arrive at win-win for everyone.

Kevin Dayhoff writes from Westminster Maryland USA.

E-mail him at: kdayhoff@carr.org

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Friday, April 28, 2006

20060426 MD Delegate Bennett Bozman passes away


Veteran MD Delegate Bennett Bozman, dead at age 69

The Associated Press and Delmarva Daily Times is reporting this evening that veteran Maryland Eastern Shore, Maryland Delegate Bennett Bozman, D., Dist. 38B, Wicomico & Worcester Counties has passed away.

Del. Bozman died en route to Johns Hopkins… The Berlin, Maryland resident passed away from bacterial meningitis “while being transported from Atlantic General Hospital in Berlin to Johns Hopkins in Baltimore.”

The photograph of Delegate Bozman, is from The Daily Times’ Web-site.

Ms. Canfora elaborated, “Bozman, 69, a democrat who served District 38 covering Worcester and Wicomico counties, was a retired pharmacist and long-time politician. He is survived by his wife, two children and three grandchildren… See continuing coverage in Friday's The Daily Times.”

To find delegate Bozman’s Maryland House of Delegates brief bio, go: here.

He was an early riser, who often started his days at 5 AM and it was not uncommon for him to work through until midnight. He was known for using a series of cloth bags in order to keep his various categories of paperwork in order, eschewing the standard Annapolis briefcase.

For lunch, he was known for eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Not quite what one would think of when the ranking member of the House Ways and Means Committee and deputy majority whip has a power lunch.

The Associated Press article says, “Bozman, a Democrat, joined the House of Delegates in January 1991. He had served as deputy majority whip since 1995. He was a member of the Ways and Means Committee, Joint Committee on Federal Relations and the Joint Audit Committee.

“Bozman was born in Norfolk, Va., in 1936. He attended Washington High School, in Princess Anne, Md. He graduated from the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy. He served in U.S. Coast Guard from 1961 to 1969.”

In my Tentacle column of February 24, 2006, “Kelly’s Dream Deferred,” I wrote:

“As a newly minted elected municipal official in the late 1990s, I have fond memories of those folks who were friendly and helpful as I tried to unravel the byzantine rituals of the Maryland General Assembly. Perhaps, first among equals in that helpful group was Delegate Kelly... Most members of the Frederick and Carroll County delegations were very supportive... Several of the other names that quickly come to mind when I think of friendly folks who went out of their way to lend a hand were: Del. Brian R. Moe (D., Anne Arundel/PG); Del. Bennett Bozman (D., Wicomico/Worcester); Del. Norman H. Conway (D., Wicomico/Worcester); Sen. Donald F. Munson (R., Washington); then-Del. Charles McClenahan (R., Somerset, Wicomico & Worchester); and Judge Paul G. Goetzke, then Annapolis city attorney.”

My wife, Caroline and I have a number of very good memories of Delegate Bozman. One of my many favorites is when we visited Crisfield, Maryland in September 2000. (See: "20060426 Sept. 2000 Tawes Card Crisfield Museum Presentation.” on www.kevindayhoff.com.

On September 2, 2000, my Caroline and I traveled to Crisfield, Maryland and attended the 53rd annual Crisfield Crab Derby Labor Day Weekend. After lunch, Caroline and I presented the Governor J. Millard Tawes Historical Museum with a framed "1938 J. Millard Tawes for Comptroller of the Treasury of Maryland Campaign Card"

Delegate Bennett Bozman was very helpful in arranging for Caroline and I being able to make that donation to the museum.

I certainly did not agree about everything with Delegate Bozman. But he worked tirelessly for his constituency and he had a deep all abiding respect for his responsibilities as a Maryland elected official. With Bennett, there was always something positive to discuss and I always enjoyed his company. He always greeted me with a smile and friendly conversation. He will be missed.

Kevin Dayhoff writes from Westminster Maryland USA.

E-mail him at: kdayhoff@carr.org

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20060426 Sept. 2000 Tawes Card Crisfield Museum Presentation.

1938 J. Millard Tawes campaign card donated to the Tawes Museum

On September 2, 2000, my wife, Caroline and I traveled to Crisfield, Maryland and attended the 53rd annual Crisfield Crab Derby Labor Day Weekend. After lunch, Caroline and I presented the Governor J. Millard Tawes Historical Museum with a framed "1938 J. Millard Tawes for Comptroller of the Treasury of Maryland Campaign Card"

If memory serves me correctly, the folks at the Tawes Museum had none in their collection and were not aware of the existence of a "1938 J. Millard Tawes for Comptroller of the Treasury of Maryland Campaign Card."

At the time, attempts to donate another Tawes 1938 campaign card in our possession, to the Maryland State Archives were unsuccessful. Perhaps we should try again?

Delegate Bennett Bozman was very helpful in arranging for Caroline and I being able to make that donation to the museum.

The text of my remarks that afternoon explains things:

It is a pleasure to be in Crisfield today. I'd like to extend my greetings to Mayor Richard Scott, Vice-President Councilwoman Catherine Brown, Councilwoman Carolyn Evans, and Councilman Danny Thompson.

I am Westminster City Councilman Kevin Dayhoff and this is my wife Caroline Babylon.

Westminster is a small town in Carroll County - not unlike Crisfield and not unlike Somerset County. Both are rooted in the traditional values that have made this country great.

It is quite an honor to be here today for the 53rd National Hard Crab Derby and Fair to make this gift to the Governor J. Millard Tawes Historical Museum.

I want to particularly thank your Delegate Bennett Bozman (D) for his tireless efforts in helping bring this: 1938 J. Millard Tawes - Democratic Candidate for Comptroller of the Treasury of Maryland - card back to Governor Tawes' hometown- which spawned his brilliant career of leadership in Maryland.

Indeed, your entire great Delegation to Annapolis was instrumental in bringing this 1938 Tawes campaign card home. We all owe a great debt of thanks to Delegate Norman Conway (D), Delegate Charlie McClenahan (R) Senator Lowell Stoltzfus (R) in addition to Delegate Bennett Bozman (D) for their support in this effort.

On August 13, 1938, the Westminster Riding Club was having it's Fourth Annual Horse and Pony Show. Our Aunt Eleanor Babylon was a founder of the Westminster Riding Club and was the Secretary for the Horse Show.

The Babylon Family has a rich and long history in community leadership. Our great-grandfather served as President of the Westminster City Council in the 1890s and my father-in-law - Caroline's father - served as President of the Westminster City Council for 25 years.

In 1938, Aunt Eleanor Babylon took it upon herself to correspond with a number of officials and leaders throughout the state - soliciting sponsorships for the Horse and Pony Show.

I'm not exactly sure how it is that Aunt Eleanor came upon the idea of writing to Mr. Tawes, but Margaret Lee Tawes graduated from Western Maryland College in Westminster, in 1932. Aunt Eleanor Babylon also attended Western Maryland College in that time frame, which causes one to speculate that they knew each other and were friends. This may have given Aunt Eleanor the idea to contact J. Millard Tawes, who at the time was running his first statewide election campaign.

Mr. Tawes responded with two gracious letters in which he contributed $10.00 towards the Horse and Pony Show. I find this significant and foretelling, as $10 was a good deal of money in the depression in 1938, and Carroll County is quite far away. It speaks directly to the early signs of Governor Tawes' great statewide leadership. One of his letters included this campaign card, which we found in Aunt Eleanor's personal papers several years after her death.

As students of history, Caroline and I immediately understood the value of the card. Our evaluation was heightened by our keen interest in Maryland's Eastern Shore. My brother, in search of the traditional values we grew up with in Carroll County as children, moved to Talbot County - on the water - in 1983. As children, my family traditionally spent its August vacation on the Nanticoke River.

As many of you are quite aware, the Tawes 1938 election campaign for Comptroller of the Treasury of Maryland was a pivotal event in Governor Tawes' distinguished career. Earlier, in 1930, at age 36, Governor Tawes had begun his political career when he was elected Clerk of the Circuit Court in Somerset County by narrowly defeating his republican opponent, Harry T. Phoebus by 72 votes. It is interesting that Mr. Phoebus later served Somerset County and the lower Eastern Shore honorably as a State Senator.

Governor Tawes won the 1938 campaign for Comptroller of the State of Maryland by defeating his opponent, William G. Jack by nearly 140,000 votes.

Without further ado, on behalf of myself, my wife Caroline, and the Babylon Family – on behalf of your delegation to Annapolis: Senator Stoltzfus, Delegate Conway, Delegate McClenahan and Delegate Bozman, I present to the Governor J. Millard Tawes Historical Museum, this framed 1938 J. Millard Tawes for Comptroller of the Treasury Maryland Campaign Card.

That day, there was a parade through town. As Caroline and I were talking with Delegate Bozman and Delegate Norman Conway (D), Delegate Charlie McClenahan (R), all representatives of the then-District 38, Somerset, Wicomico & Worcester Counties; the conversation turned to who was going to drive the new pick-up truck in which the three elected officials were going to ride in the parade.

Delegate Bozman turned to me and said, “well Kevin’ll drive.” And that was that. Caroline and I, who, as best as we could remember, had never been to Crisfield before, drove the three elected officials through town in the parade.

Later, Delegates Bozman, Conway and McClanahan, Caroline and I took a trip in Delegate McClanahan’s boat over to the Bayside Inn, in Ewell, on Smith Island.

We had the “Two crab cakes plus all you can eat lunch buffet.” It was $12.95 and delicious.

We later returned home after a wonderful day in Crisfield with memories that will last a lifetime and Delegate Bennett Bozman was instrumental in the occasion.

We have since returned to the lower eastern shore on several occasions. Most recently, on February 25, 2006, Caroline and I made a presentation for the Mar-Va Theater Annual Chicken Dinner meeting on “The economic benefits of the arts in a community.”

Each and every time we have visited the lower eastern shore, we have been greeted with the same hospitality and graciousness.

Kevin Dayhoff writes from Westminster Maryland USA.

E-mail him at: kdayhoff@carr.org

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Wednesday, April 26, 2006

20060426 Lunch at Illiano Family J&P Pizza, Taylorsville MD


Lunch at Illiano Family J&P Pizza in Taylorsville MD

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Lunch today was at the Illiano Family’s (www.illianopizza.com) latest restaurant. It is located in Taylorsville, at the intersection of Rte 27 and Rte 26 in southern Carroll County Maryland.

The drawing, “Clem’s Firewood” is the view of the intersection from my table.

They have excellent food, but today I just wanted to eat and run, so I had the Greek salad. My server was Katie P. She used to work at Baugher’s in Westminster, another one of my favorite restaurants.

My Mom’s side of my family is from the Taylorsville – Mt. Airy part of southern Carroll County – the “Wright” family. (And the Warfield, Gilliss, Farver and Haines families…)

The family church, since 1879, is there in Taylorsville, the Taylorsville United Methodist Church. I do not know where the family church was before then. I stopped by and visited my grandfather, William Earl Wright and some other family members, after lunch.

Why not stop by the next time you are in the area? They have excellent food, the restaurant is locally owned and Frank Illiano is a strong supporter of the local community. The money you spend stays in the community.

Frank Illiano, his Family and the History of New York J&P Pizza

The history of New York J&P Pizza, below, is taken off their website, http://www.illianopizza.com/history.php, on April 26, 2006:

Growing up in a small Italian town with his six brothers and five sisters, young Francesco Illiano had two great passions – soccer and restaurants.

At just eight years of age he was spending his afternoons as a right defender, taking the ball away from the opposing team’s best striker, and his evenings washing dishes in the midst of a bustling bistro kitchen.

Shortly after his 12th birthday, and already developing the skills of an expert pizza chef, he left home to live with an older sister and work full time in a traditional Italian family restaurant.

Then, in his early twenties, following a spell in the Merchant Marine traveling the waterways of the Mediterranean and Northern Africa, he arrived in the United States to work at a friend’s restaurant.

In 1983 he took ownership of a small Westminster, Maryland pizzeria and sub shop known as “New York J&P Pizza” – and the first chapter of this great American success story had been written.

Today, Frank Illiano remains just as passionate about his restaurants – with New York J&P Pizza now one of central Maryland’s most successful family restaurant chains – and is never happier than when coaching a soccer team with his young son Gennaro playing right defender.

The original Westminster restaurant is gone but five New York J & P Pizza locations in Carroll, Frederick and Montgomery counties continue the tradition of authentic Italian cooking in a true family atmosphere.

Frank, his wife Miia and their two older children Amber and Randy are all involved in running New York J & P Pizza’s Mt Airy location. The Hampstead restaurant, which opened on 5th December 1983, is run by Frank’s older brother Augusto; Younger brother Tony runs the Spring Ridge location; Miia’s mother Tina is in charge in Damascus and her cousin Leho in Finksburg.

In the spring of 2005, a sixth J & P Pizza was added to the fold – with the addition of the Taylorsville location. In a remarkably quick turn-around, Frank and his team were able to transform an existing restaurant into the newest J&P Pizza – with the great food and great atmosphere that J&P patrons have come to expect. The Taylorsville location – situated on the busy corner of Routes 26 & 27 – also features a Crown gas station with breakfast hours for coffee, sandwiches and doughnuts.

Kevin Dayhoff writes from Westminster Maryland USA.

E-mail him at: kdayhoff@carr.org

####

20060425 Introducing Hot Air


Introducing Hot Air

Read Michelle Malkin’s Introducing Hot Air

Hot Air can be found here: http://hotair.com/

3…2…1…

http://hotair.com/archives/the-blog/2006/04/24/321/

April 24, 2006 4:15 AM by Michelle

We’re live! Welcome to Hot Air, the world’s first, full-service conservative Internet broadcast network. Tune out Katie Couric and tune …

Conservative Internet Broadcast Network Debuts

http://www.emediawire.com/releases/2006/4/emw376471.htm

Features daily newscast with Michelle Malkin • Staff blogs w/the hottest vidclips & headlines • Affiliates across the globe • Right-leaning movies, podcasts & animation

Washington, DC (PRWEB) April 24, 2006 -- Hot Air (http://www.hotair.com/), the world’s first conservative Internet broadcast network, launches today. Founder and CEO Michelle Malkin leads a multi-talented, tech-savvy staff on the cutting edge of the Internet video/TV convergence.

Hot Air’s ground-breaking, irreverent daily video newscast, “Vent with Michelle Malkin,” tackles media sacred cows and left-wing shibboleths -- harnessing the best blog reporting and analysis across the Internet. Today’s inaugural newscast skewers U.S. high-tech titans kowtowing to China’s tyrants.

This is not your father’s nightly news.

Hot Air exposes new viewers of all political stripes to the world of videoblogging, animation, and podcasting. The network has signed on independent affiliates from Paris to Washington, D.C. Advertisers have lined up; Hot Air has already sold pre-roll video ads through the first week.

The next great information revolution is here. Tune in at http://www.hotair.com/.

To schedule an interview with Michelle Malkin, e-mail hotairnetwork @ gmail.com

# # #

Monday, April 24, 2006

20060421 Support Your Local Michelle Malkin


Support Your Local Michelle Malkin

April 24, 2006

For the Who, What, Why, When, Where and How on this image… start your reading with: 'A PERSONAL NOTE' from Michelle Malkin.

It appears that the image credit belongs to: Frank J. at IMAO in a post dated

April 18, 2006, at 09:58 AM, “Support Your Local Malkin!”

And for even more background, this is Ms. Malkin’s post on April 19, 2006:

I AM NOT AFRAID OF YOU

By Michelle Malkin · April 19, 2006 08:53 PM

You know who you all are.

And if you think I'm going to stop blogging/writing/making a living because you've plastered my family's private home address, phone numbers, and photos and maps of my neighborhood all over the Internet to further your manufactured outrage and pathetic coddling of a bunch of lying, anti-troops punks at UC Santa Cruz...

...you better think again.

***

Oh, and here's just a reminder of the kind of poor, "peaceful," innocent "children" at Santa Cruz engaged in throwing rocks, slashing tires, and running military recruiters off their campus:

Click here.

And here.

That's what this is all about--not me. Them.

***

Previous:

The moonbats strike back
More thuggery at Santa Cruz
Cut off tax money for UC Santa Cruz!
Seditious Santa Cruz vs. America
UC Santa Cruz hates our troops

For some context and balance – this is what her critics are saying. Decide for yourselves…

Michelle Malkin knows better than publishing a private person's information

By King Bastard | 4/19/2006 3:06 PM | 37 words

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She published the information of a deleted press release which contained private citizens' phone numbers.

Michelle Malkin's home address:

(Ok, maybe we're not that mean)

Click here for Her Bastard of the Blogs card.

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Hypocrisy, publicly available information and Michelle Malkin

http://www.thosebastards.com/trackback/2312/

By King Bastard | 4/20/2006 7:09 AM | 341 words


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For a short period last night, we had her personal address on this site. After a second thought, we took it down. I think it was up for about an hour, which with our site traffic roughly translates to about three readers, give or take 20 readers.

We were wrong in doing so.

However...

It's not like we had to search long on the web to find this publically available information -- it took a bit of searching, but it was easy to find. Most people's personal information is pretty easy to find on the web. This is page that is still up on the web.

So in justifying the post, we're going to use the same reason Michelle Malkin uses:

I linked to that still has the SAW contact information publicly available to anyone...

She's gone all moonbat, saying she's not going to be intimidated. Of course, when she posts other people's information, she calls it justified and feels good about herself. When we do, she thinks we're intimidating her.

(I'd tell you where the page is at, but then that kind of defeats the purpose of not calling it out).

There are hordes of information. We make a big stink about Google CEO Eric Schmidt objecting to his personal information showing up on the web, even though it was Google's own search engine that made it possible (and his company profits off of the indexing of such information).

Regarding how this all started, Michelle Malkin went to a cached page, took a screenshot, and posted the image on her site because didn't like the politics of the people. Michelle's it's not your place to justify the disclosing of this information because you deemed that they were terrorizing people. That's an issue for the Santa Cruz police department to deal with, not your own brand of vigilante justice.

How vindictive. How un-professional. How Malkinesque.

If you're so bent of out of shape over the posting of personal information, why did you post their information, Michelle? How do you sleep at night knowing you're such a hypocrite and terrible person?

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Thursday, April 20, 2006

20060419 Dems Smear Politics in Maryland


Dems Smear Politics in Maryland

April 19, 2006

Although it has received only perfunctory coverage locally, it appears that our state continues to grab national attention for what happens when a single “state-sanctioned” majority party runs a state government and ignores the citizens it is supposed to be serving. It’s a storyline that sounds like the fodder for a paperback novel about intrigue in a developing nation.

Read what Gregory Kane said here, and what the New York Post and the New York Sun have recently said…

What is capturing nationwide attention is a March 27 confidential report prepared for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee by a top National Democratic Party strategist - Cornell Belcher - and paid for by the Democratic National Party.

The March 27, 2006 report reflects what many have understood to be the Democratic response to Lt. Governor Steele for quite some time – smear him before he starts being a perfect suitor for Maryland voters in this fall’s election and inspires a full fledged revolt in the Democratic forty-year strangle-hold on African-American voters and Maryland politics. (From my April 19, 2006 Tentacle column, “Guess Who’s Coming to the Election.”)

Republican Maryland Lt. Governor Michael Steele is a front-runner to replace the retiring longstanding liberal democrat, U.S. Senator Paul Sarbanes, in this fall’s Maryland election.

Conservatives from both parties have historically governed Maryland. However, in response to the warning signs of the mid 1990s, the Democratic Party incomprehensibly took a precipitous turn to the left, leaving many party members behind shaking their heads and counting on voter inertia to sustain them.

Voter inertia is no longer working as voters want vision, new ideas and approaches and all they are getting from the majority party is partisan politics.

Like the incoming tide lapping upon the fragile wall protecting a castle in the sand, what started as a trickle is continuing to become a major breach as liberal Democrats in the state increasingly whisper that the times are a changing.

Consider the following statistics cited in the March 27 Democratic National Committee report. According to the Washington Post - Black voters most likely to consider backing the GOP Senate candidate:

Voters ages 18-29: 60%;

Men under 45: 55%;

Baltimore residents: 53%;

Voters with a high school degree or less: 51%;

Women under 45: 51%;

Weekly churchgoers: 50%;

Men 60 and over: 45%;

Women 60 and over: 36%;

Prince George's voters: 35%;

Voters earning more than $75,000: 30%.

The warning signs have been appearing for years, yet the Kool-Aid drinkers are still in denial. In 1994, a Democrat was narrowly elected Governor; the party faithful said it was a fluke.

Many political scientists actually credit the hard right wing of the Republican Party for the Democratic victory for not fully supporting the candidacy of Ellen Sauerbrey.

A mistake not repeated in 2002, when Republican Robert L. Ehrlich was elected governor of the State of Maryland. The first Republican governor in Maryland in almost four decades.

As voter discontent is starting to become obvious over the temper tantrum thrown by the Democratic leadership in the single party controlled 2006 session of the Maryland General Assembly, many thinking Democrats are starting to see the handwriting on the wall.

Snubbing and attempts to discredit good people voicing discontent or outright defecting from the Democratic Party is becoming a major department in the organization of the Maryland Democratic party apparatus.

While the Democratically controlled Maryland General Assembly plays the blame game and “let’s change the rules,” other African-American leaders are finding their voice and stating the obvious.

In July 2003, then-Denton Mayor Victoria Goldsborough said, “This party is moving and shaking, and I just want to be in it.”

With that parting comment, Ms. Goldsborough, an outspoken Eastern Shore African-American joined with Easton Mayor Robert Willey and changed to the Republican Party.

Both had been taken for granted by the Democratic Party and coupled with their differences of opinion with an increasingly liberal agenda, petty annoyances compounded into major friction and they bolted.

In February 2005, Annapolis Alderman George O. Kelley Sr. defected. A life-long Democrat, Alderman Kelly, a former police office and minister of an influential African-American church in Annapolis cited core values, public safety policy and fiscal responsibility differences with the Democratic Party.

Granted, several local elected officials here and there does make for a flood of defections. But coupled with the information that more first time voters are registering Republican and increased numbers of citizens are switching party affiliations; it all leads up to not just a qualitative shift but a quantitative sea change that is sure to continue to be reflected at the polls.

Former Prince George's County executive Wayne K. Curry, a 1972 Western Maryland College (now McDaniel College - in Westminster, MD) graduate, was quoted: “There hasn't been this kind of revelation of the diversity of thinking among African-Americans, and Steele's campaign has brought that into focus…”

As the majority party in Annapolis continues to react badly to the growing threat of republicans, we saw many votes in the 2006 legislative session cast, not according to the merits of the legislation, but on mean-spirited partisan politics.

Memo to the Maryland Democratic Party: a leader like Lt. Governor Steele is not an anomaly as you would like for the electorate to believe. He is simply a sign of things to come.

At present, we may not even know the name of the next “Michael Steele,” but their will be many more as Republicans continue to be relevant and Democrats continue to give African-Americans lip-service or otherwise simply take this vital Maryland constituency for granted.

Republicans are often their own persons, as has been evident in recent well-publicized disagreements between the President George W. Bush’s administration and the national Republican leadership.

Political scientists note that it is a sign of the growing relevancy and strength of the Grand Old Party that it is tolerant of leadership disagreement in pursuit of service to the citizens they serve. This also serves to attract additional folks to the Republican Party as the mantra of the Maryland Democratic Party is: “their way or the highway.”

Picturing the Lt. Governor with President Bush is inside baseball and in the end, is meaningless to the average voter at the polls. (Although, I for one would love to have a picture of the Lt. Governor and Condoleezza Rice for my office. It will not affect how I vote but it would brighten my day.)

In a recent interview with Steele campaign spokeswoman, Melissa Sellers, she summed it best when she said: “Michael Steele is committed to uniting Marylanders behind his vision of opportunity and empowerment. This stands in clear contrast to his opponents’ documented strategy of divisive race-based attack politics.”

Kevin Dayhoff writes from Westminster Maryland USA.

E-mail him at: kdayhoff@carr.org

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Monday, April 17, 2006

20060417 Maryland Dems Smear Steele At Their Peril

“Maryland Dems Smear Steele At Their Peril”

The Web site, Real Clear Politics is carrying an insight post, today, by Gregory Kane on Maryland Democrats once again playing the “race-card.”

“If Maryland Democrats were smart, they'd listen to Wayne K. Curry.

That is, if they were smart. But they aren't, so they probably won't.

Curry is the former county executive of Prince George's County, Md., one of the richest counties in the state, if not the country. Curry is also black and a Democrat.

Two weeks ago, Curry warned his fellow party members not to demonize Maryland's Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate, Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele.”

Read the rest of the post:

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2006/04/md_democrats_attack_steele_at.html

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

20060407 Schaefer defends schools takeover

Schaefer defends schools takeover at Carroll meeting

Baltimore Examiner Carroll County Edition

Matthew Santoni, The Examiner

Apr 7, 2006 7:00 AM (4 days ago)

“Carroll County - Comptroller William Donald Schaefer defended the state’s takeover of 11 Baltimore City schools and fended off calls for more state funding of Carroll County schools Wednesday night at a meeting of the South Carroll County Democrats…

“The former Baltimore mayor and Maryland governor praised state Superintendent of Schools Nancy Grasmick as the “top-notch person in the country,” and chastised members of the state legislature who call the takeover politically motivated..."

Read the rest of the article here.

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Thursday, April 06, 2006

Gordon Parks - An American Cultural Icon passes Away at 93


Gordon Parks - An American Cultural Icon passes Away at 93
April 5, 2006 By Kevin Dayhoff

A tribute to the life of a man, in which love, dignity and hard work overcome hatred and bigotry.

Last month on March 7, a cultural icon and one of America’s greatest artists, Gordon Parks, passed away at the too-young age of 93, in Manhattan.

Born in abject poverty, Gordon Roger Alexander Buchanan Parks came into this world on November 12, 1912 in Fort Scott, Kansas, to a tenant farming family.

He was the youngest of 15 children. By age sixteen, at the dawn of the Great Depression in 1928, his mother died and he ended up homeless in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Kenny Irby wrote a poignant March 15, 2006 retrospective on “Poynter on Line” - “Gordon Parks: From Country Boy to Renaissance Man, A True Photographic Idol, IN MEMORIAM: 1912-2006.” In his essay, Mr. Irby called to our attention:

“Delores Johnson -- formerly with The Kansas City Star, now, with The Virginian-Pilot -- photographed Parks in April 2004, at what is believed to be his last extended photo session.

“Parks was the first black photographer to penetrate through racial barriers at Life magazine and many other agencies. During his photo session with Johnson, he recalled how some whites would not allow him to photograph them, how he was often turned away because of the color of his skin”.

There are many fascinating aspects of the Gordon Parks story, which spans many “revolutions” in the history of American public policy, scope and approach of government and social progress.

But, for an artist as prolific and accomplished as Mr. Parks, many folks are not aware of his name, although most are aware of his work.

Mr. Parks credits his mother with having a profound influence upon his life. Isn’t it so with many of us? She taught him that he could do anything to which he set his mind to do.

Mr. Irby reveals, “In one of (Mr. Parks’) autobiographies, "A Choice of Weapons," he says his mother "placed love, dignity and hard work over hatred, she always told me that I could do whatever little white boys did and that I had better do it better."”

Indeed, it was by his work ethic and his enormous talent that he escaped the chains of poverty or simply becoming another sad statistic of the Great Depression.

It is reported that he was famous for being a workaholic and a taskmaster well into old age.

In an excellent 2,700-word memoriam in the New York Times, Andy Grundberg wrote that Mr. Parks was a “photographer, filmmaker, writer and composer who used his prodigious, largely self-taught talents to chronicle the African-American experience.

“But as an “iconoclast, Mr. Parks fashioned a career that resisted categorization.”

For most of the 1930s, he supported himself by playing piano in a brothel, basketball and working as a busboy. It was in 1938, while working on the Chicago to Seattle train as a waiter, Mr. Parks noticed a discarded magazine with photographs from the Farm Security Administration, and became interested in photography.

In 1937, he purchased a “Voightlander Brilliant” camera, for $12.50 at a pawnshop in Seattle. He began free-lancing as a fashion photographer at local department stores in St. Paul, Minnesota.

It was here that he happened to take a photo of the heavyweight boxer, Joe Lewis’ wife, Marva Lewis. Impressed with the photo, she encouraged him to move to Chicago, where he gained attention doing a photo-documentary series of the poorer black areas of town.

In 1941, he had an exhibition of these photographs that earned him a fellowship from the Julius Rosenwald Foundation. The fellowship paid him $200.00 per month so that he could find photography assignments. That year, he joined the photographic documentation project of the New Deal’s Farm Security Administration, in Washington, D.C., as an intern.

At the age of thirty, Mr. Parks found himself working with photographers such as Marion Post Wolcott, John Vachon, Jack Delano, John Collier, Dorothea Lange and Russell Lee, under the direction of Roy Emerson Stryker.

The photograph for which he may be the most famous was “American Gothic,” which he took while he was with the FSA, in 1942. Mr. Grundberg, describes it best in his New York Times article: “it shows a black cleaning woman named Ella Watson standing stiffly in front of an American flag, a mop in one hand and a broom in the other. Mr. Parks wanted the picture to speak to the existence of racial bigotry and inequality in the nation's capital. He was in an angry mood when he asked the woman to pose, having earlier been refused service at a clothing store, a movie theater and a restaurant.”

Landon Nordeman, in a May 1, 1997 paper written on Walker Evans and documentary photography, gives us an idea of the extraordinary fortunate consequence of the FSA photographic documentation project for generations of historians; in 1944, 270,000 negatives and 77,000 prints by FSA photographers was deposited with the Library of Congress in Washington.

The Farm Security Administration was discontinued in 1943, as the nation’s attention continued to focus on World War II. Mr. Parks transferred to the Office of War Information.

Numerous accounts recall, “One of his assignments was photographing the training of the first unit of black fighter pilots, the 332nd Fighter Group. Prohibited from accompanying them to Europe and documenting their participation in the war effort, Parks left in disgust…” (www.gale.com)

He resigned in 1944 and moved to Harlem in New York City and began free-lancing for Vogue magazine.

According to a biographical sketch by Sharisse Foster, “… He then shoots for the Standard Oil Photography project in New Jersey. It is here that he produces some of his most inspiring work including "Dinner Time at Mr. Hercules Brown's Home” (1944), and "Grease Plant Worker” (1946). In these images he depicts the industrial workers in small cities.”

After several years with Vogue, he was able to attract the eye of Life magazine. In 1948, he took a job as a photojournalist with Life that until 1972, took him all over the world, photographing everything from fashion in Paris to the slums of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil to celebrity portraiture.

In 1963, he wrote an autobiographical novel, “The Learning Tree,” in which chronicled much of his childhood in Kansas. In 1969, he adapted “The Learning Tree” into a screenplay, wrote the musical score and directed the movie, by the same name.

It wasn’t until the late 1960s, that the baby boomer generation started to take notice of his work, mostly documenting the Black Panther movement and the struggle for civil rights.

But it was when he burst into the world of commercial Hollywood in 1971, with what many refer to now as “blaxploitation films,” that he gained the attention of the emerging pop culture of the children of the 60s.

Yes, this is the gentleman who in 1971 directed "Shaft," starring Richard Roundtree as the cool, black leather jacket-clad private detective.

The movie was released on July 2, 1971. I saw it in Greensboro (or Burlington – as one gets older the mind is the first to go) NC, where I witnessed much of the audience get up and leave the theatre not too long after the movie began…

Remember the music score was by Isaac Hayes? Wikipedia confirmed some old notes that the “movie was adapted by Ernest Tidyman and John D. F. Black from Tidyman's 1971 novel of the same name…. It won an Academy Award for Best Music, Song for Isaac Hayes for "Theme from Shaft". It was nominated for Best Music, Original Dramatic Score…. In 2000, the United States Library of Congress deemed the original film "culturally significant" and selected it for preservation in the National Film Registry.”

Mr. Parks followed this up with "Shaft's Big Score!" in 1972. What is little known is that originally, “Shaft” was written as a straightforward detective movie with a white detective.

However, with the huge success of movie, “Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song,” a few months earlier, it was quickly realized that the money was in the neophyte genre of blaxploitation movies and the film was quickly adapted.

Many of the younger readers became aware of this genre of movies when Samuel L. Jackson starred in a remake of the movie in 2000.

Mr. Parks continued to write books, do films for television, pursuing photography and even composing music right up until his death.

Seldom do contemporary artists exhibit talent in so many different ways. His legacy is that of overcoming obstacles with hard work, focus, perseverance and determination.

He was an artist with a profound social conscious, who never lost track of his responsibility to the public, from which he earned a living.

He set the standards high and served as an example for many of us, that life is not about excuses. It is about taking personal responsibility for our lives, rolling up our sleeves and just going it.

Mr. Parks life is a tribute that love, dignity and hard work will always overcome hatred. One wonders what he could have accomplished if he didn’t have overcome the barriers of hatred and bigotry. Wouldn’t it better if we lived in a world, in which love, dignity and hard work could utilize the springboard of an enlightened society where color, race, religion or ethnic background didn’t matter.

Dr. Martin Luther King said, in his famous August 28, 1963, “I have a Dream” speech, “I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

In 1959, in “The Measures of Man,” Dr. King shared with us, “Man is man because he is free to operate within the framework of his destiny. He is free to deliberate, to make decisions, and to choose between alternatives. He is distinguished from animals by his freedom to do evil or to do good and to walk the high road of beauty or tread the low road of ugly degeneracy.”

History has fortunately judged Gordon Parks by the content of his character and his choice “to walk the high road of beauty.” We have been fortunate enough to benefit from the content of his character and the beauty he left behind.

Gordon Parks is an inspiration for all of us, whether we are artists or community leaders or whatever role we wish to play in making our planet a better world.

Gordon Parks will be missed. May he rest in peace. God Bless.

Author’s note: On March 29, 2006, I wrote a tribute to Gordon Parks in The Tentacle. This memoriam expands upon much of that column, but takes advantage of not having a word limit.

Kevin Dayhoff writes from Westminster Maryland USA.
He may reached at kevindayhoff AT gmail.com or visit him at www.westminstermarylandonline.net

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20060405 Gordon Parks
*****