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Monday, May 30, 2011

Young Given Carte Blanche

George Wenschhof

My immediate fear of the results from the county commissioner election last year in Frederick County, Maryland, has unfortunately been proven true. As I followed the election last year, I was disappointed that once again, Frederick county voters were subjected to a "growth" versus "no-growth" theme from the aspiring candidates.

I lamented on how this theme had dominated over the past twenty years and as a result, voters in Frederick County had suffered. My subsequent endorsements were aimed at an attempt to bring a balance board to office.
One, I believed Frederick County voters deserved.

The dramatic pendulum swings from one direction to the other every four to eight years have brought about instability, affecting everything from government services and economic development, to nonprofits who provide services to those in need.

The 2010 election followed four years in office of the so-called "Dream Team", a bipartisan group of four commissioners who fell into the "no-growth" category.

Knowing Blaine Young, who was leading the latest version of the "pro-growth" team,
would win big, due to the lack of strong candidates in the race, I choose to support Democrats Michael Kurtianyk and Linda Norris along with Republicans Paul Smith and Billy Shreve.

Although, Republicans would form a majority, I opined a balanced board would result.

While I was correct Young would win big, I underestimated his strength to carry three fellow "pro-growth" candidates into office with him.

Unfortunately, when the votes were counted, all Republicans were elected to the board, with David Gray being the lone wolf left from the previous anti-growth board. Gray has subsequently been regulated to taking up space at board meetings, his thoughts on issues totally dismissed.

Gray's attempts to raise the level of discussion on issues he is passionate about by holding separate meetings open to the public; have resulted in attendance by only a handful of far left wing activists. A sad picture to witness and one which supports my call for his defeat in last year's election.

Blaine Young, winning the most votes, has gone about making changes at lightning speed, since becoming president of the board.

The moves have been many; appointing a charter writing board, balancing the 3% budget deficit with draconian cuts to Head Start and non-profits, changes in county staff and department alignment, review of the controversial down zonings which took place during the previous board, privatization moves in county owned nursing homes, examining privatizing government services, reduction of fees charged to developers and adding prayer to the start of county meetings, are but some of the many changes made in less than six months.

Balancing the budget on the backs of needy children and seniors is not an action I will ever support. Cutting back funding to non profits during a time they are needed more than ever makes little sense.

The blitzkrieg assaults on Frederick County policies and procedures a result of Blaine Young being given carte blanche by the commissioners who rode his coattails into office; Billy Shreve, Paul Smith and Kirby Delauter.

Delauter, Shreve and Smith have taken the role of a devoted call in listener to Blaine Young's popular local radio talk show, never questioning what is being presented, or even offering a proposal of their own.

Delauter, who along with Young have made clear they are only serving one term in office, often expressing it in such a way; they should be honored by doing so. However, with only serving one term, there is no accountability to the voters and we are already seeing the destruction one can cause when there is no intent to run for another term. Promising to serve for only one term is hardly the pledge most voters want to hear from a candidate.

Adding further injury to voters is the state of Maryland has no recall provision for county commissioners.

Shreve and Smith, however, may wish to run for reelection and being a puppet to Young for four years will not endear or distinguish them to the voters when the 2014 election is held.

Blaine Young understands how to use the position he is in better than many who have served before him. However, his actions to date do not show the wisdom of reasonable and fair decisions, but rather, decisions based on reversing what the previous board had done.

Young is also showing he believes in the Republican Party mantra of government should be run like a business. Problem is, government is not a business and should never be run as such – It exists to provide services to all in a fair and equal manner at present and into the future, regardless of their status in life. Business exists to make a profit, and rightfully so.

The old saying "power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely" is one to keep in mind during the one term Blaine Young serves as president of the board. That is not to say Young will be corrupt, rather it is to point out too much power in the hands of one person is not what was intended in the county commissioner form of government.

Young understands in politics making moves early and quickly in one's term increases the odds of immediate success in those endeavors as well as the likelihood voters will forget by the time they go to the polls in three and one-half years.

As a result, at present, political opponents are on their heels, unable to mount a defense or present alternatives as the changes are happening so fast.

However, the actions taken by the board to date already ensures another destructive "growth" versus no-growth" election battle will take place in less than four years.

I believe we can do better. Frederick County voters deserve reasonable, fair, effective and balanced representation - They should demand it.


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1 comment:

Unknown said...

Please remember that out county had a good bond rating when Blaine was in office and businesses considering moving or expanding to Frederick County consider that.