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January 17, 2006

Like Father, Like Son

Chris Patterson

Whenever there is a particularly acidic radio host on the air or some column with venomous and personal attacks, people can’t wait to hear it, read it and talk about it. Sure, most of us say publicly that we don’t want to hear or read those kinds of things. Yet strangely they abound. Perhaps we like them more than we are willing to admit.

Why else would columnists like Roy Meachum or radio personalities like Blaine Young prove to be so successful at what they do? People love to slow down and look at an accident. We may throw our hands over our eyes, but we will also peer through our fingers to get a peak.

Deny it if you wish, but we love to hear someone say all the nasty, sarcastic and rude things we wish we had thought to say…or didn’t have the guts or the forum to say.

Most recently, Blaine Young took a cheap shot at Frederick’s departing mayor, Jennifer Dougherty, by taking out an advertisement in The Frederick News Post. This is a prime example of the delight many, if not most of us, take in not only kicking people around but watching them get kicked.

In the January 13 edition of the paper, the following simple, but large ad was financed personally by Blaine Young:

“Ding Dong City of Frederick, January 12th, 2006.”

Young, a talk show host with WFMD-AM 930, is a former alderman and the son of former Mayor Ron Young. Of course, everyone now knows that the senior Mr. Young soundly defeated Jennifer Dougherty in her bid for re-election to the city’s top seat in the September primary. During her administration, Blaine Young used his radio program as a platform for attacking Ms. Dougherty as often as possible.

Now it should be clearly understood that a common phrase used to celebrate Ms. Dougherty’s loss among her rivals was even immortalized on a few bumper stickers, I hear. The phrase was simply a precursor of the newspaper ad: “Ding Dong.”

In a story published by The Frederick News Post on the same day as the advertisement, Mr. Young denied that his ad had any relationship to the song gleefully sung by the Munchkins of Oz after a house fell on the witch.

However, it should be noted that the newspaper was clearly so aware of the common derogatory reference to Ms. Dougherty that it interviewed Mr. Young about the ad before it was published. They also interviewed Ms. Dougherty for her opinion about the ad before it was published.

Mr. Young’s claim that he was just ringing in a new day for the city and not referencing the derogatory song is unbelievable. No one in his or her right mind would believe him.

And if, (and I say if only to satisfy any litigation concerns of The Tentacle) he is lying, it is amazingly cowardly of him to do so.

If you are going to trash someone, at least have the cahones to own up to it. Mr. Young’s cowardice is simply shameful. Lots of people, including Mr. Young have said many derogatory things about Ms. Dougherty. Why deny it now?

Blaine Young’s behavior in taking out the ad but denying its true meaning is not just a case of a little boy ringing a doorbell and running away. This act was much more than just a childish prank from a man old enough to know better.

What kind of person would take a public and cheap shot at someone – anyone – after he or she is already defeated? Who kicks a dog when it’s already unconscious from the first beating?

Certainly it is clear where Blaine’s heightened level of hostility comes from. And it’s not at all surprising that he won’t let go of his prey. His Dad did lose after all, and his loss was essentially for doing the same thing – beating a dead dog, as it were.

Lots of reasons for Ron’s loss have been proffered but here is the real reason he lost to Jeff Holtzinger.

The truth is that even after the primary, the senior Mr. Young continued to run against Mayor Dougherty.

Perhaps if he had run against Mr. Holtzinger instead of continuing to fight a foe he had already defeated, he might have won the general election. Instead, he continued his angry battle against a defeated mayor and ended up the loser.

Watching the inauguration last Thursday, many residents of the city and county had a clear view of former Mayor Ron Young. He refused to stand or applaud when departing Mayor Dougherty was called to the podium for her farewell address. The whole audience stood, but the senior Mr. Young did not budge.

And when the speech was over, the audience again stood to pay their respects to this woman who worked tirelessly for the City of Frederick for four years.

This time, former Mayor Young did stand, but slowly and only after everyone else were on their feet.

So much for being a good loser.

It wasn’t Mayor Dougherty’s fault Mr. Young lost to Mayor Holtzinger. She had already tripped over her own ego and mouth enough times to easily give Ron Young the primary election.

What cost him the race were the television ads and interviews slamming Mayor Dougherty and her record of hard work. After the primary he didn’t let go of her. He held on to her throat like a dog with a good bone. Dog metaphors are great, aren’t they?

He’d already beat her. What did he have to lose by backing off? Instead he continued to hammer away with harsh criticism of Mayor Dougherty’s administration.

The public knew Ron Young was anything but civil. And in the end, his $120,000-plus campaign funds couldn’t buy him a seat in City Hall because enough people – who knew what kind of person he really is – got out and voted. The public saw an angry man and chose to vote for the positive and hopeful one instead.

No one was fooled by the face Ron Young displayed to the public.

Hopefully, no one is fooled by Blaine Young’s denial either.

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