Thank you for visiting our website

Featuring breaking political news and commentary on local, state, and national issues.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014


George Wenschhof
The win by Jerry Donald(D) over Ellen Bartlett(R) was significant as it creates a more balanced and hopefully, more effective Frederick County council.
The change to charter government in Frederick County, Maryland will be reviewed closely over the next 4 years following the swearing in of the new county executive and seven member council.
How to best manage growth was once again the front and center issue in the 2014 election with Democrat Jan Gardner easily beating Republican Blaine Young.  This result bucking the nationwide trend in a midterm election year where Republicans won a majority in the U.S. Senate and also expanded their majority in the House.
The arrogance and ill conceived actions taken by Blaine Young in the one term he served as president of the board of county commissioners contributed heavily to his loss.  Rubbing the Young loss in even more was the win by Republican Larry Hogan for governor of Maryland, a state where Democratic registered voters outnumber Republican voters by a 2-1 margin.
Interestingly, Blaine Young also only served one term (1997-2001) as an alderman with The City of Frederick.  Then, a Democrat, he would become embroiled in a “Black Book” scandal involving a local Madam.  This humiliation, combined with his support of Republican James Grimes over Democrat Fran Baker for mayor in the 1997 election, led to his changing party affiliation and reinventing himself as a conservative talk show host.
Where he goes now and whether he chooses to reenter the political arena remains to be seen. A man with a lot of political talent, he remains his own worst enemy with the inability to display an even temperament and failing to offer forth reasonable proposals.
Democrat Jan Gardner also displayed a single sided approach when she served one term as president with a board that supported her positions on growth.  Her actions also upset many voters when she down zoned properties and proposed reducing the amount of money due back to municipalities under the tax equity program.
Her steadfast support of building an incinerator only added to the ire of many voters, leading to the win by Blaine Young and company. This led to a reversal and then some over the next four years of the many policies enacted by the Gardner led board.
The win by Donald over Bartlett by 25 votes, in council district 1 gives Frederick County voters a 4-3 Republican council and a Democrat county executive.  Former member of the Frederick County Democratic state central committee Russ Currey told me prior to the election that Donald was working very hard and may just upset Bartlett.  He was right, as the outcome was not decided until the final count of the absentee and provisional ballots.
With county executive elect Gardner also not having a Democrat governor to help her, she will not experience the support she had when serving as president of the board of county commissioners.
Perhaps, as a result of the implementation of charter government, Frederick County voters will experience what I have longed for; a more balanced government and an end to the back and forth pendulum swing on how best to handle growth.
Gardner will need a majority vote from the council for her appointments to boards and commissioners as well as staff that serve at the pleasure.  The exception to this is the board of appeals whose members will be appointed by the council.
With the Donald win, it also keeps Republicans from holding a 5-2 super majority on the council.  Look to see at-large council member elect Bud Otis emerge as the swing vote on pivotal legislation.  Instead of just voting along the lines of the other 3 Republican council members ( two of them: Kirby Delauter and Billy Shreve currently serve as commissioners and are supporters of Blaine Young), he would be wise to work to become the consensus builder over the next four years.  This would position himself well if he chose to be a candidate for county executive in 2018.
Stay tuned.

No comments: