Monday, August 17, 2015

Ox, You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

In this case the word is “fact”.

So there I was staring at the Casey Foundation report that I mention here, trying to put together a cogent post while clearly having summer brain.  Then, almost at that exact moment I get a comment posted from “Ox” the online moniker for Chris Oxenham, newest appointee to the Housing Commission.  Here is the comment in its entirety:

“This post was just brought to my attention and it should be pointed out that misinformation is being spread. While I appreciate your enthusiasm for local issues you have a point marked there that states "a rich white man to the housing commission to replace an African American woman who has dedicated her career to affordable housing" aside from me wondering how you got access to my tax returns to be able to make a comment about me being "rich", it should be pointed out that I did not in fact replace who you said I did. While you may personally dislike me which is fair game and I have no problem taking hits from you about my postings and comments, facts should still triumph over fiction.”

What is simply amazing to me is that Mr. Oxenham could have simply given an update and left it at that but instead choose to outright state that I was providing misinformation and “fiction” in my declaration on who he would be replacing on the Commission.  Of course I cannot know his intent but I suspect that there was a good deal of hubris in making such an accusation towards me when the facts are easily discernible through public information.

So, first of all, he is correct when he states that he “did not in fact replace who you said I did.”  However, my statement that he was nominated to replace her specifically is ALSO correct.  His statement is, at best, an update not a correction.

Mr. Oxenham was originally nominated to replace Ms. Mitchell, but the Administration eventually changed its mind and decided to have him replace the term limited Mr. Riemer.  The Council discusses this briefly when Mr. Oxenham is approved [1].  If you go to the page with the supporting documents on his nomination resolution you will find a memo from Chief Administrative Officer Lonnie Robbins to Council Chair Mary Kay Sigaty dated July 30 [2].  Here is the word for word text of the memo:

“The Administration requests that Council Resolution No. 109-2015 be withdrawn at the Council's next legislative session.
Also, with regard to CR 110-2015, the appointee, Christopher Oxenham, will be replacing Michael Riemer. Mr. Oxenham will not be replacing Regina Mitchell as previously indicated.”

I will not be so bold as to presume it was my blog post which convinced the Administration of the error of its ways.  It was much more likely the result of negotiations with Council members who are, as they should be, taking the responsibility of approving such nominations seriously.  Like I said, Mr. Oxenham’s comment is, at best, simply an update.  His referring to my post as misinformation and fiction over facts is blatant obfuscation.  Pretty quickly and easily proving one of the reasons I was so uneasy with his nomination to the Housing Commission in the first place.  The comment, however, does highlight a whole series of new questions for me.

Mr. Oxenham said, “This post was just brought to my attention”.

Was the attention bringer a member of the Kittleman Administration?

If so, did they also request that Mr. Oxenham obfuscate the history as he so clearly did?

If so why would the administration run from the change or want to pretend this wasn’t a change?   Are they afraid to admit they made a mistake or yielded to pressure?  Are they afraid to admit that they gave into pressure to keep racial diversity on a County Commission?

All just questions, for now without answers.

[1] I believe you can find it at the 12-minute mark.
[2] My post in question was dated July 23


  1. I think its great to see another blog with local political interest. You seem really into the local political scene which is cool. For all I know you know me, maybe not. Either way its all good and I appreciate the discussion.

    As for the real explanation don't stress it actually all makes a lot more sense than some conspiracy theory. There were two potential appointments. One of the appointees ended up getting another opportunity and pulled out of consideration. Leaving one appointee and two expiring terms. At that point it made more sense to replace the person who was term limited instead of the person who had remaining terms. A very simple and sensible situation with no political conspiring to make blog posts more interesting. Actually a sign of government efficiency.

    Respectfully here is where I think you went wrong, instead of using to resources to find out what happened you chose to make an accusations about me being rich without any knowledge of my income or tax bracket. Then tried to make bogus racial claims to stir up trouble.

    You seem in the know, so you could have easily found this out from your sources as to why this occurred the way it did but you chose not to so you could stir up trouble. See the real question here is why people are grasping at straws to create problems where none really exist? That is the troubling thing going on in Howard County. Blogging is a tough venture because your not a journalist so you don't have an obligation to gather the real facts of a situation. So the danger with some of these blogs is that you are instead just lighting fires for the sake of lighting fires. But that is definitely the world we live in now, where lighting fires is more fun. And hey if lighting a fire on me gets more people interested and involved then I guess its not the worst thing.

  2. This is Brad Myers, I chose Anonymous because for some reason I could not figure out(READ:wasn't worth the time since I will probably never read this rag of a blog again anyhow) how to sign up to comment with my name.

    Wow, what an interesting piece filled with additional false information aimed to stir up controversy where there is none. Anyone who knows me knows that I have a great love for this county, and will jump at the chance to make a positive impact on it should an opportunity arrive. Earlier in July that opportunity did arise, as I was honored and humbled by the County Executive's appointment to the housing commission. Unfortunately, around the same time, I was also lucky enough to be accepted into the 2016 class of Leadership Howard County. For your readers who are unfamiliar with Leadership, it is a wonderful, yet time consuming program that gives citizens an in depth look at the county and the problems facing it. There is also a class project that consumes several hours a week working in groups and independently. While it was not an easy decision for me, after long conversations with friends, family, and business partners I decided that the best way to make an immediate impact to the county as a whole would be through Leadership's program. I am already on the board of the Association of Community Services which tackles affordable housing so I have that bucket covered. Your attempt to make my personal choice to withdraw out to be a decision made by the Administration is not only false but offensive.

    I appreciate a different perspective, and having voices that will enlighten the community is always a good thing. However, when those voices not only choose to be anonymous, but also choose to write blogs filled with half truths and flat out lies, it becomes dangerous. I hope you will sit down and think long and hard about your next blog post before you write it to ensure that the content is not only responsible, but accurate. To take my personal decision to withdraw due to time commitment issues, which was the responsible thing to do in my opinion, and try to politicize it for your own agenda is disgusting and should not be tolerated by the citizens of Howard County.

    What ever happened to Choose Civility?

  3. Blogger, I realize you are new to this, but publishing something that is factually inaccurate is indeed misinformation and fiction. If that's a difficult concept for you to grasp then you should probably take a break from blogging and buy a copy of this book:

    Second, your response to Ox should have been "I now realize that I misstated facts about Chris' appointment to the Housing Commission. He did not replace an African-American woman and it doesn't matter that he was at some point weeks earlier slated to replace her. I admit that I don;t know anything about his financial situation so I apologize for branding him as 'rich' (which for me, the self-proclaimed "Progressive" makes him ineligible to serve on this Commission).

    Instead, you attack the individual - a tactic from Chapter 1 of the Progressives Playbook. You write an entire mostly negative post about him yet he's supposed to simply correct your inaccurate facts and leave it at that. Seriously? Is the goal of your blog to attract lots of comments, some short and some long, all to generate conversation. Or is your blog intended to simply give you a venue through which you can spread your opinion and misinformation without any meaningful dissent? That would indeed solidify you as a New Progressive!

    This blog is so obviously being run by someone in the inner circle of the anti-Kittleman camp and will be used to spread negative information, whether accurate or fiction, about Allan and everything he does. It will be just one more local blog used primarily as a medium through which county Democrats will wage the 2018 campaign 3 years early. Don't we already have enough of those?

    If you want to be a credible blogger, challenge yourself to poke everyone on both sides of our political landscape, tolerate dissenting opinions without striking back at the individuals who write them, apologize and correct your errors, have some fun with people who challenge you and your opinions instead of attacking them, and for goodness sake don't take yourself so seriously or nobody else will.

    I had to choose Anonymous because I'm obviously too dumb to figure out how to log in.

    David Yungmann