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As Long as We Remember...

March 3, 2006

Lenny and the Pro Developers Club

Edward Lulie III

Roy Meachum and Blaine Young share the same world view, at least when it comes to Commissioner Lenny Thompson. Let me begin by pointing out that while it is perfectly reasonable for people to disagree, you cross the line when you start trying to destroy someone by comparing them to people like Adolf Hitler and their actions to those that helped to create the holocaust.

Lennie just doesn't share Blaine's and Roy's love for some people in our community frequently referred to as good ol' boys or often merely by the increasingly denigrating term "developer."

Developers have money and have bought themselves several politicians, Lenny isn't one of them. I guess the fact that he got more votes than everyone else matters not a whit to Blaine or Roy when they take aim at Lenny. It is an effort to make someone happy when they cross the line and begin slamming Lenny. Now who could that be?

Frederick County is quickly becoming overcrowded. Our schools are either palaces or 30 years old relics; there seems to be no happy medium here.

Developers want to build and make money, that's what they do. There is nothing inherently wrong with that. Without them we would have few houses at all to live in and many fewer jobs.

The problem is that the county has to take a viewpoint that balances growth with a preservation of lifestyle and resources. Blaine and Roy's club just seem bent on opening the floodgates until we look just like that disaster to our south, Montgomery County. Let it be clear, I'm against that and I am on the same side as the "infamous" Lenny Thompson. He also doesn't believe that every farm looks better covered with houses instead of cows.

Frederick County is changing. Newcomers to our county want to see the quality of life remain high. That accounts for the NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) response of the fellow that just moves here and immediately wants to slam the door shut so that no one else can move in.

They vote, much to the dismay of developers, Roy and Blaine. They vote for Lenny and anyone like them that appears at the voting booth. So those political candidates who are pro growth hide themselves when they run but get lots of money to win from developers. Not Lenny, voters know what they are getting when they vote for him; more voted for him than for anyone else.

Yet everyone that wants to save Frederick from over-development is not a "Nazi" or Nimby; so why do developers and their friends continue to vent their frustration and anger at Lenny?

Arrogance and power come to my mind. It wouldn't surprise me a bit to discover that some of the politicians who get money from the developers have done things they shouldn't have or that money went places to influence politicians in ways that crossed the line.

But they can't buy Lenny. That frustrates those who are used to special treatment from delegates and commissioners.

At Good Ol' Boy Clubs and Watering Holes across our county the subject of the day is rarely "How can we improve the county?" It's more often "I could make some money if only that *&^%$%#@ Lenny Thompson would get out of the way."

I guess Roy and Blaine must hang out there often enough that this sentiment has settled in with them.

The closeness of special interests to local government often spawns corruption and bribery. We haven't seen any such cases in a long time. Does that mean they don't exist? Don't bet on it.

Historically every place where growth is high has had its share of corruption and it seems to defy belief that Frederick alone has avoided it. You have to wonder if those who should be leading the charge against corruption, reporters, writers and commentators like Roy and Blaine, aren't just looking the other way while it goes unseen and unreported.

What does it tell us when the loudest yelling and bitterest vitriol is vented against a man who won't be bought?

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