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
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