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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Frederick Co. MD Democratic Buzz

George Wenschhof Bio

City of Frederick Election - only newcomer to the race is Republican Randy McClement who filed for Mayor. Pressure is mounting for incumbent Republican Mayor Jeff Holtzinger to announce he is running for reelection. Expect him to do so and local chatter has Mr. McClement withdrawing and filing for Alderman. While many will tell you McClement is a nice man, few will tell you what his platform is or why he is running for Mayor. If Holtzinger runs for reelection, he will beat McClement easily.

The only Democratic candidate for Mayor, Jack Lynch had lunch with a supporter last week who is expected to help him with some video on his website. Another nice gentleman, his managed growth platform needs to pick up some steam with the voters. Word has it, one Frederick County Democratic elected official who is supporting a run by Jason Judd has already mentioned to him about switching to a run for Alderman. Mr. Lynch assured me he is in the race for Mayor to win.

Speaking of Jason Judd, he quietly filed papers on January 9, 2009 with the City of Frederick to register an organization "Friends of Jason Judd". This has allowed him to raise funds as he continues to organize prior to officially filing for the office of Mayor. The Treasurer of the organization is Kelly Chapin who owns the business, National Fusion in downtown Frederick.

Judd's first fundraiser is February 26 at Cafe NOLA, located on E. Patrick Street just before you reach N. Market Street in downtown Frederick. It starts at 7:00 PM and will have the band "Hard Swimming Fish". The suggested donation is $20. When I asked Jason Judd how the fundraising was going he indicated they were encouraged with both the fundraising and organization to date. Realize that every candidate will say the same thing when asked - the proof is in the finance reports when filed. Mr. Judd is not very well known, but for $20 why not go hear what he has to say.

Still no word on when Alderman Marcia Hall will file for Mayor. While she is a two term Alderman and the top vote getter in the last election, she is not a shoo in for the Democratic Party nomination. The spotlight is more intense on the mayoral candidates than it is on the aldermen candidates and she has yet to unveil a platform with how she will be better for the voters than the incumbent Mayor Jeff Holtzinger.

The perceived weakness by some voters, of the campaigns by Lynch, Judd, and Hall, adds fuel to the rumor which says former one term Mayor Jennifer Dougherty will enter the race. It appears uniting the Democratic voters behind the winner in the primary will once again be a challenge. Stay Tuned.

As to the Alderman race, Kelly Russell remains the only Democrat to file, although her campaign to date has been quiet. I informed her we would be happy to publish an announcement from her that would include why she is running and the issues that are important to her. We will do the same for all of the Democratic candidates when they file. We have yet to receive anything from her.

Incumbent Aldermen David Koontz and Donna Kuzemchak will run again, although David Koontz is another who is tempted to run for Mayor. The chatter on the street is he can not get behind supporting Marcia Hall for Mayor. Stay tuned.


WTE - Waste to Energy will be the focus this week as the Frederick County Commissioners have scheduled public hearings - The Hearings will be held today beginning today at 6:00 PM and Thursday February 19 beginning at 7:00 PM.

At issue? How to deal with trash in Frederick County. This discussion has been going on for years now with four of the five County commissioners favoring building an Incinerator. One lone Commissioner, Kai Hagen who along with others from the community, has expressed opposition to the building of an Incinerator. However, to date, no one has proposed an alternative, leading to exasperation by the other commissioners and supporters for and against the Incinerator.

Eight months ago, we offered Democratic Commissioners Jan Gardner and Kai Hagen the opportunity to write a series of detailed columns on the issue, to which they agreed, and we published from July to September in 2008. We still have links to their columns located in the right margin of our Home Page.

It has become painfully obvious that the only reasonable alternative to the building of the Incinerator is the construction of a Landfill. In fact, I published a column stating this on November 25, 2008 - you can read that column here.

The mention of the word Landfill seems to be taboo and to have taken on the image of the boogieman. This, due to the difficult siting and condemnation process which occurred twenty years ago for the existing Landfill on Reich's Ford Road. It should not be so. A landfill will be needed regardless of the method chosen for disposal - the issue is how big and what other components to include on site - ie. a resource recover park and a materials recovery facility.

If 500 to 1000 acres are needed to do so, then a search for the site location and a estimated cost for acquisition and construction should take place so a cost-benefit comparison could be made between constructing a Landfill or a Incinerator. Both options have positives and negatives. But, before Frederick County Commissioners vote to approve what is now a 500 million plus Incinerator, let's cost out a Landfill alternative.


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Jim Racheff said...


I think you're right on the mark on this landfill issue. IMO the county has created a far too restrict criteria for evaluating candidate technologies. We need to make the effort during the "pause" that Comm. Gardner recently mentioned to rethink our assumptions and revise our financial and population models.

Anonymous said...

Commissioner Hagen does have a composting/recycling alternative to the incinerator. It's a quite detailed plan.