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Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Schmidt Will Not Run in 2017 City Election

Dave Schmidt
George Wenschhof

It was nearly four years ago when I interviewed Dave Schmidt who was running for alderman as a Republican in The City of Frederick 2013 election.  He would lose that election but stay involved in politics.

We kept in touch and I last saw him at the Frederick Pulse vigil.  I wanted to know if he intended to run again and hear why he had changed his political affiliation to Democrat.

At that encounter, Dave indicated he remained interested in running for alderman and promised to let me know when he made his decision.

Last week we would sit down and catch up.  I asked “why the party change”? Dave would tell me it was a culmination of an evolution of changes of ideas.  In particular he supported Democratic positions on social policy where he was a proponent for equality.  In addition, he believed an important goal for local government is to provide a safety net.

Dave also favored the increase in the water and sewer rates by Republican mayor Randy McClement who claimed the increases were necessary when the city began to implement state mandated changes. 

Interestingly, Dave would tell me he was having a discussion on this issue with a Republican friend who told him that his position made him a Democrat.  Dave told me he believes “clean water is important and of course, let’s raise the rates”.  He said after thinking about what his friend had told him, he changed his registration to Democrat.

Schmidt added he also likes and is comfortable with the Democratic members of the Frederick County Council.

He would then tell me he will not run in next year’s city election, but is not ruling out a run in the future.  A family owned business and family issues have his focus at the moment.

He also is enjoying being co-host with Pattee Brown on the local WFMD AM radio program Frederick Forum that airs from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM on Saturdays. By taking his candidacy in the upcoming race off the table, he hopes to have a greater impact on the show.

I asked him “what issues he felt would impact the city election”? Dave said “I continue to support open primaries and district representation for aldermen”.  When I pressed him on the open primary election, he indicated he supported a hybrid election where everyone could run by party affiliation.  For example, he said the top two mayoral candidates would then advance to the General Election, regardless of their political affiliation.

Dave would name several other issues he felt might dominate the city election.  One issue is the planned downtown hotel/conference center that has been met with opposition.

Another is the disposition of the Hargett Farm, a costly acquisition by the city for a planned park that also has a costly development cost.

The announcement of Wal-Mart pulling out highlights the continued development fiasco of the former Fredericktown Mall property.  Dave told me that he feels people on that side of the city fell neglected.

Lastly, Dave told me he believes economic development is important for the city.

At the conclusion of the interview, I asked Dave if he had a favorite candidate for mayor.  It was intriguing to hear the recently turned Democrat tell me “I will support Republican mayor Randy McClement, if he runs again, adding he is a good friend”.

Stay tuned.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Kristopher Fair Committed to The City of Frederick

Kristopher Fair
George Wenschhof

The time flew by recently when I sat down and interviewed Kristopher Fair.  The 2017 City of Frederick election will soon be upon us and I had heard his name come up often in talk around town about possible aldermen candidates.

Many may know him for his lengthy experience in working with the highly successful annual Frederick Festival of the Arts, several of those years as the one in charge.  Others may also know him for his work with the LGBTQ community in Frederick.  He has been director of Frederick Pride and chairman of the board of The Frederick Center.

His extensive work with the Frederick County Democratic State Central Committee, including serving as vice chair and campaign manager in 2014, led to him earning the Democratic Volunteer of the Year award in 2015. 

Kris also has completed the nine month course “Leadership Frederick County” and was named “One of The People to Watch” by the Frederick Magazine in May of this year.

For over the last eight years, he has been general manger of the New York New York Salon, Inc. where recently he experienced learning all about the city land management code, zoning requirements and more.  The owner of the Salon purchased a vacant property that required many nuances to repurpose the use of the property.

When we began talking city politics, Kris told me he would not make a decision on whether he will run for alderman until after the national election.

He told me he is concerned with what he described as “a disconnect” with downtown Frederick and the rest of the city.  He would like to see equity of services throughout the city.  He mentioned the development of East Frederick Rising and the Golden Mile Alliance makes him feel there needs to be a central focus on the development of Frederick.

I asked him about the recent news that Wal-Mart had pulled out of their agreement for property on the Golden Mile.  Kris said he opposed the rezoning of the old Fredericktown Mall property for a Wal-Mart over three years ago.  He said he would like to build the identity of the community first and then move forward.

When I brought up the proposed downtown Hotel/Conference Center, Kris told me he loved the idea.  He felt it would “connect all the dots” by supporting downtown business, providing event space and also be located near the airport.

In regard to those who oppose the proposed public/private development, Kris said he believes “communication is the key” and he would encourage sitting down with those who oppose.  "While I certainly support the hotel and conference center, I believe things could have been done differently. Many individuals, who are concerned about the project, express the project has not been transparent. The solution is simple; bring everyone to the table and fully explain the project, its scope and impact. The city's role should be to dispel any misinformation and assumptions."

When I asked him about the “Bighted Property” issue in the city, Kris said “Blighted properties can affect crime rates, property values, and public safety. It’s a serious issue that needs to be addressed. I believe we should be scouring the country looking for best practices. We also should be partnering with our incredible entrepreneurs around the state. There are too sides to this conversation, the owner and a potential buyer. The city should be working both angles, working with the property owner on developing their site and helping identify potential buyers who may see the property as an investment opportunity.”

Kris also shared with me “many NAC meetings are filled with people concerned about speeding and their requests always seem to be the same, they want more speed cameras. The city should recognize that need the citizens in every major NAC are pushing for and identify what they need to bring in to address those fears, speed cameras, greater police presence, etc”.

In concluding the interview, Kris told me he believes strongly in equity and increasing the stature of how the city is viewed in the state.  Kris added he would like to see the city do a better job communicating what they do for and can do for our citizens.  For example, he would like to improve the city website to explain process for permitting, the Historic Preservation Committee and more.

The City of Frederick election is a year away and the tossing around of names of possible candidates will surely intensify, but Kristopher Fair will be one to watch.

Stay Tuned.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Talking Maryland Politics

I invite you to visit and “join us” to view my new online video political discussion program, Talking Maryland Politics. The video program focuses on political issues in Maryland and features elected officials and community leaders/activists from across the state.
Last week I visited Bethesda in Montgomery County and today on my Blog, are my interviews with Maryland Democratic state senator Brian Frosh, who is running for Attorney General, Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett(D), who is running for a third term and long time Democratic politico and attorney Stanton Gildenhorn.
You can watch all of the exclusive interviews on for an introductory low annual subscription fee of only $19.95 a year! 
It is through your membership fee and contributions we are able to bring you quality video programming throughout the year. I encourage you to forward this email to your friends and invite them to "join us"!
Sign up takes only a few minutes and is safely secured by Pay Pal.  Major credit cards and your debit card are accepted.  You can sign up here:
I want to thank the many who watched our first show that focused on the change to charter government in Frederick County, Maryland.
My guests included Democratic candidate for county executive Jan Gardner, Maryland Democratic Party Treasurer and local attorney Robert Kresslein who was co-chair of the charter writing committee, local businessmen and political commentators Michael Kurtianyk and Jim Racheff, Frederick County Teachers Association President Gary Brennan, local activist and Residents Against Landsdale Expansion (RALE) president Steve McKay.
You can watch, for free, my twenty minute interview with Jan Gardner and Steve McKay here:
Each week we will strive to bring you an hour video program, posted on the Blog in twenty minute segments to make for easy viewing.  Of course, they are always available for viewing when you have the time.
Next week we will air a recent interview I conducted with Kevin Grubb who is challenging incumbent Frederick County Sheriff Chuck Jenkins in the Republican Primary. 
Also next week, you will be able to view a great interview I had with Frederick County Circuit Court Judge Danny O’Connor who was appointed by Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley.  Former Frederick County state’s attorney Scott Rolle is challenging O’Connor in this election.  
Joining me in another segment is Dave Weaver, the chair of the Judicial Nominating Commission for Frederick County.  Weaver details what is a very thorough nominating process.  
Your suggestions for guests and the issues to be discussed are also welcomed. Email me at
Remember to subscribe today to at the low introductory annual fee of only $19.95 by clicking here:! 
Also be sure to “Like” Talking Maryland Politics on Facebook and follow us on Twitter at TalkMDpolitics. 
Thank You!
George Wenschhof 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Launch of Talking Maryland Politics Blog

I am pleased to announce the launching of my new Blog, Talking Maryland Politics, that will feature a video political discussion program.

The Blog will be a subscription Blog and the annual introductory fee is only $19.95.

Please click on "Join Us" at the top of the page at today!  

The sign up is easy and your payment is secured by Pay Pal. You can use your existing Pay Pal account or it only takes a few minutes to complete your Pay Pal registration.  
Major credit cards or debit cards are accepted. You will create a user name and password to gain access to the Blog for a full year.  At the end of the year, you will be given an option to renew.
I am excited about bringing you elected officials, local activists and community leaders from across the state of Maryland discussing the issues that matter most to you.
The first show will focus on the change to charter government in Frederick County, Maryland and will available for subscribers to view on Monday March 24, 2014. 
Guests will include Democratic candidate for county executive Jan Gardner, Maryland Democratic Party Treasurer and local attorney Robert Kresslein who was co-chair of the charter writing committee, local businessmen and political commentators Michael Kurtianyk and Jim Racheff, Frederick County Teachers Association President Gary Brennan, local activist and Residents Against Landsdale Expansion (RALE) president Steve McKay.
I will strive to bring you discussion from decision makers on topics important to you.  Your membership enables me to bring this program to you. 
Please share the launching of the Blog; event with your Facebook “Friends” and your email lists.   
The more memberships received will allow the annual subscription fee to stay low for everyone.
Future guests will include candidates for governor, attorney general, comptroller, congressmen, state senator, state delegate, county executive, county sheriff and local elected officials from across the state of Maryland.
Your suggestions for guests and the issues to be discussed are also welcomed. Email me at
Please click on "Join Us" at today!
Thank You!
George Wenschhof