Another year is gone. The storied baseball pitcher Satchel Paige has oft been quoted, “Don’t look back, the Devil may be gainin’ on ya’.” But the historian in me cautions that those who fail to remember history are doomed to repeat it, as a wise man once said.
There’s no denying that those are hackneyed phrases, wielded by we who wish to be regarded as erudite and socially aware. Nevertheless, any graying media hack is bound by tradition to take a few cracks at the bygones and express some hopes for at least the first few days of this new calendar year.
Goodbye Joe Baldi. We will miss his presence on the city’s Board of Aldermen the next four years. He was given a number of monikers by detractors over the years, but you could never fault him for not having the city’s best interests at heart. Joe had the chutzpah to cast votes that sometimes belied the clamoring far-right members of his party who will continue to find success eluding them. Never once did Joe mention his Sicilian family, but he “done good” and we are the losers without him the next four years.
Goodbye Alderman Bill Hall. “Pluck,” as so many of us know him, was the president pro tempore of the Board of Aldermen as the top vote getter in 2001. He let his real personality get lost in the fever of struggling with Mayor Jennifer Dougherty and never regained his dignity. She didn’t like Bill, or practically anything he championed, and obviously would not share the podium with any man. It’s hiatus time, Pluck!
Goodbye Dave Lenhart. He started out taking a stand for his Christian beliefs, confident that the good citizens would appreciate his efforts to protect the best ideals of an historic city. His offerings, though, faded early, perhaps a product of his health problems. He picked battles that overshadowed any successes he could claim. His was the notion that a residency requirement for mayor should be struck down. That battle should not have been fought, except that it ultimately succeeded in defeating Miz Mayor, while striking down the hopes of Joe Baldi. Best wishes as you transition to the Georgia clay.
Goodbye and Hello to Alderman Marcia Hall. Can you believe it? She was top vote getter in November and accedes to president pro tem of the board. Questions: Will the new mayor acknowledge her status as No. 2? Will she be able to formulate a plan of action without the guidance of her mentor, Jennifer? She certainly is amiable and has not lost her status at this desk as the “Orphan of the Storm.”
Goodbye and Hello Alder-Woman Donna K. Ramsburg. She doesn’t like “Alder-Man.” We laughed with her on Election Day when she complimented Joe Baldi on his Republican Elephant necktie. She chuckled, saying she had a Democratic Donkey pin, but she wouldn’t wear it because “lots of people think I’m one and I don’t want to give them the excuse.” She’s no dummy, but at some point we’d like to hear something profound during this term.
Hello Alderman-elect Dave Koontz. He’s been a terrific candidate for all those times he’s run for elective office and finally he wins one. We hope he didn’t lose by winning, but he is certainly savvy enough and does his homework. He has potential to be a good selection.
Hello Alderman-elect Paul Smith. Who’d-a-thunk a guy who barely had a sign out and even worked out of town could garner so many votes. He’s another one with potential to serve us well, but we’ve never seen him with gloves on and never seen him land a blow. Boy Scout leaders aren’t milque toasts and neither is Paul, but we urge him to “Be Prepared.”
Hello Alderman-elect Alan Imhoff. Yep, he had maybe two signs up for the primary election and was elected with a larder of chump change. His credentials are impeccable from City Hall to Winchester Hall where he’s had his way in many things. He’s smart, savvy, good in the clinches and used to having his own way. Alan knows how to play the game, though, and with improved PR skills he can be a mover and shaker.
Hello Mayor What’s-His-Name, oh, William Jefferson Holtzinger. Somehow we get the feeling our little Jeff is about to be out-heighted on the dais of City Hall. We’ll see if, when and how he’ll settle his family in town. The rest may be easy. Good luck, Your Honor.
Hello Linda, you’re super. It took the Frederick County School Board a long time, but 2005 saw members make a good decision, naming Dr. Linda Burgee superintendent. She’s no suspect out-of-towner, but a perky local educator, who has handled the demanding job with skill and class. Dr. Burgee may be the only superintendent capable of reining in the whiners at the Frederick County Teachers Association, whose thirst for money is never slaked at the country budget trough.
Hello, Goodbye Hollywood. We argued recently that many of my leftist acquaintances ignore historical records in favor of Hollywood cinematic fiction. Now my musical comrade and leftist political gadfly Barry Kissin urges citizens to look to Hollywood for “true” facts about the Munich Olympic Games massacre and the Islamic “brothers,” (who we know as terrorists). Barry and I are brothers in arms playing Dixieland and Jazz renderings on stage. However, his views of the world and mine are as different as his saxophone and my trombone. Neither of us is willing to change.
Hello, Again, John Ashbury. We all owe a debt of gratitude to The Octopus for coming up with the idea for www.thetentacle.com and making it work. Deac and Frances reared you right. They would be proud of your new journalism. Here’s hoping we have another great year – with more advertising! It gets better each day.
Hello, Can You Hear Me? This writer had an interesting journey through 2005, regaining some lost gesundheit and crawling back on this keyboard. As I look to 2006, all those for whom I have directed positives and negatives can be assured that if I didn’t respect them, I would ignore them. I’m glad to know them all. Happy New Year!