At the November 21 legislative session of the Baltimore County Council, District 4 Councilman Julian Jones introduced Bill 85-16 to limit store size on Kimco’s Mall property. See “Jones For President?” for details. It was the right and politically smart thing to do.
Today, roughly between 1 and 2 PM, just 8 days after he introduced it, Councilman Jones withdrew the Bill. By process of elimination, it had to have been because Kimco talked him out of it.
That Kimco would resist Bill 85-16 is clearly proof positive that it does, in fact, intend to put a Walmart Supercenter on its Mall property. If that weren’t the case, the language of Bill 85-16 would be irrelevant.
Couple of things…
– Kimco is a multi-billion dollar publicly-held company that doesn’t vote, that isn’t one of Councilman Jones’ constituents whom he is sworn to represent. Put another way, Councilman Jones is supposed to work for the people of District 4, not including Kimco.
– Kimco’s new center is just 3.3 miles from the established Supercenter on Liberty Road and 2.7 miles from the regular-size Walmart on Reisterstown Road. Both stores will close and remain “dark” (empty) when a new Supercenter opens on the Mall property.
It’s no wonder that almost no one in the District – not Councilman Jones’ constituents, not local businesses, not the County Planning Department and not County Executive Kamenetz – wants a Supercenter on the Mall property. Nobody wants it. So what’s up with Councilman Jones? Why is he ignoring everybody and his brother to do Kimco’s bidding? What’s Kimco got or offering that trumps the support of his constituents and other business interests in District 4?
Let’s assume that Kimco has assured Councilman Jones that no Walmart Supercenter is coming to the Mall property and that he doesn’t need a Bill to make sure that won’t happen.
Councilman Jones is one of the good guys, but he’s legislatively shy and just naive enough to believe Kimco. Well folks, the rule in business is that if you mean what you say, you’ll be willing to put it in writing. By that simple, tried and proven standard, Kimco shouldn’t have a problem with Bill 85-16 or, in lieu of a bill, with a written covenant that stays with the property forever, even if the property is sold to another developer.
Politically, having introduced and then withdrawn the Bill under pressure from Kimco, he comes off as a weak and ineffectual Councilman who doesn’t know what to do or how to effectively represent his constituents – certainly not if it means standing up to a big corporate interest.
Of course you’re disappointed and Councilman Jones needs to hear that from you. So please, take a moment to email him the following text or words to this effect…
I can’t tell you how disappointed I am that you have withdrawn Bill 85-16.
Either you no longer believe that a Walmart Supercenter on the Mall property will adversely impact commerce and neighborhoods along Liberty and Reisterstown Roads or you have received some assurance from Kimco promising you that no Supercenter is coming.
My request is that you GET IT IN WRITING! – either by re-introducing Bill 85-16 or via a written covenant that stays with the property should it ever be under new management.
GET IT IN WRITING! If Kimco means what it has promised you, it shouldn’t hesitate to support the Bill or write a covenant.
Councilman Jones, with all due respect for your office and appreciation for your personal efforts on our behalf, you don’t work for Kimco. You work for the people of District 4 and represent our best interests. I’m counting on you to stand up and do your job by protecting commerce and the families that live nearby along Liberty and Reisterstown Roads.
Too much to copy and paste or retype? Then just do your best with “GET IT IN WRITING!!” in your subject line.
Either way, here’s his email address…
Councilman Julian Jones
Thank you for stepping up and sending Councilman Jones your concerns and support for Bill 85-16 or a written covenant having the same effect.