Friday, December 18, 2009

2010 Candidate Interview: Buzz Beeler

In 2010, conservative Democrat Charles "Buzz" Beeler is primarying my incumbent County Councilmember John Olszewski, Sr. I wrote a piece on his candidacy about a week ago.

Wanting to learn more, I decided to contact Beeler about his candidacy. He told me that he's running a self-financed campaign and is not seeking any organized labor endorsements. Beeler said, "I am also not seeking any monetary support from people during these difficult economic times. I am using my own and as the saying goes, 'I will put my money where my mouth is.' I am not seeking any endorsements from labor unions because I want to be the voice of the people, not special interest."

Beeler was willing to answer a few questions from me. The responses are as follows:
M.R. Newman: What do you feel is the most pressing concern impacting Baltimore County?
Buzz Beeler: The most pressing concern in Baltimore County is the State budget shortfall of $2 billion dollars. The county relies on this money from the state, and the shortfall will have a negative impact on a variety of issues facing the county.

MRN: Do you feel we need any specific changes in the pension process for Baltimore County Council members?
BB: The county council pension needs a complete overhaul. I would ask an independent auditor to review the system and recommend equitable changes. The changes should reflect the private sector of our economy.

MRN: What grade would you give our current representative, John Olszewski, Sr., and why.
BB: F. Since his term in office, spanning over ten years, we have lost most of our major employers, including Beth Steel, Western Electric and General Motors. This accounts for 46,000 jobs.

Our infrastructure is crumbling and continues to decline rapidly. Fifty percent of all rat infestation calls come from John’s district, and there is no present rat eradication program. His office is made up entirely of family members. Nepotism should not be a part of county government. He does not respond to constituent’s complaints in a timely fashion. I have experienced this first hand while hearing complaints of this nature at the councilman’s town hall meetings. Olszewski has consistently sided with labor unions and land developers, who in turn fatten his campaign coffers.

We are being taxed to death without any noticeable improvements. We have the second highest unemployment rate in the state. School performance tests in this district are the worst in the county. In the last ten years, 35,000 people have left the district. There is nothing here to attract them in the way of jobs or affordable homes.

There is an abundance of vacant buildings in this district that have become eyesores. (Beeler suggested the following link)

Mr. Olszewski, knowing the facts regarding the above news story, along with available trans scripts of the depositions, voted for Mr. Hohman’s $35,000.00 a year raise. Any other county employee would have been fired, demoted or suspended over such an incident.

Currently, there is a Federal investigation into Baltimore County regarding Mr. Hohman and his handling EEOC (workers compensation) filings. John is also aware of this and still hails Mr. Hohman as a valuable asset to Baltimore County. Through the PUD process (Proposed Urban Development), Mr. Olszewski’s close friend and campaign contributor, John Vontran purchased the land; know as the York Way property, for $1.2 million dollars. The price to the county taxpayers was over $18 million. In a recent Sun article, one GOP leader called the current political situation in the county a cesspool.

MRN: What would be the first piece of legislation you would propose, if elected?
BB: I would rewrite the county’s code enforcement laws, giving them the power needed to address these types of issues.

MRN: Much of your platform appears decidedly more conservative while the leadership of the party, particularly in Maryland, has continued to shift towards the left on most major issues. Do you still feel at home in the present Democratic Party?
BB: I am a lifelong member of the Democratic Party. There are many conservative Democratic members in this district. They are waiting for someone to represent them and their concerns that apply to this district.

One of the conservative concerns of this district deals with illegal immigration and its impact in our community. Issues such as gang activity, language and culture clashes are on the minds of the many voters I encounter.

I plan to address many of these issues. Currently it is costing the State of Maryland $1.4 billion dollars in dealing with illegal immigration.

MRN: What experience do you feel most qualifies you for a position on the County Council?
BB: I spent 30 years working this district, the whole district. I have spent many years working not only the streets, but the administrative side as well. The jobs of two recent councilmen have included one as a car detailer (John) and one as a florist, Mr. Dale Volz.

I wrote policy for the department, managed the alcohol unit of over 100 officers and preformed many other duties that directly involved county government. Early in my career, I worked as a special investigator for the county executive. As a police officer, I have dealt with all of the above issues of which I speak. I have also learned to formulate a team of highly qualified people who advise me. It is a foolish man who thinks he knows all.
Beeler comes with an impressive and interesting resume and a platform that definitely could be appealing to Republicans in the District. Beeler comes across as genuine; he's been a lifelong Democrat and has sadly had to sit by as his party left him and his values. I do hope people like Beeler can change their party. If he is able to beat Olszewski in the Democratic primary - I could definitely support his candidacy in the general election. Frankly, part of me is disappointed he won't be running as a Republican.

If you are interested and would like to learn more, check out Beeler's website here.

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