I can’t believe she’s back – yet again. She says she’s running because she loves Frederick. A lot of us love Frederick, and we love it a lot more when she is not mayor.
Jennifer Dougherty just doesn’t get it? She lost four out of five elections, and lost in the primary in her re-election bid in the mayoral race four years ago. There was a reason for that. Overall, she was a terrible mayor, an embarrassment.
In my view, her only win was a lucky break for her. The race was close. The former mayor – Jim Grimes – was ambivalent about running again, in spite of a respectable record. The Frederick News-Post was after him, and even ran banner headlines on the day of the election suggesting he was involved in a scandal (denied in smaller print a few days later).
Of the other candidates in that race, Meta Nash, who would have made a wonderful mayor, was associated in the public eye with the former mayor, unfortunately for Frederick. Alan Imhoff, although a quality guy, had tried before to become mayor and failed to win his party’s nomination again.
Jennifer got lucky, once.
After being elected, she did work hard.
She was also the most cantankerous, opinionated, controlling you-know-what for miles around.
She began her term by denying Alderman Bill Hall, the top vote getter in the election, a committee position that he wanted and deserved, awarding it instead to one of her chief supporters, Donna Kuzemchak.
“Ms. Open Government,” – her press conferences and “Frederick 101,” and perpetually simpering Joe Volz’s favorite notwithstanding – made many private decisions. One that immediately comes to mind was the installation of speed bumps and a circle on Fairview Avenue without citizen input.
She was completely unable to build consensus in the city, from near fisticuffs with an unnamed alderman, to any kind of reasonable relationship with the Board of Aldermen.
The city’s legal bills quadrupled during her term, if I remember the exact number correctly, because of all the lawsuits she inspired.
She, in her obstinacy, failed in negotiating the essential Potomac water agreement with the county commissioners.
She even drove people out of her restaurant with her rudeness, costing herself money! I have a friend who stayed away for a year after his cell phone rang there and was admonished for it.
After losing in the primary to popular former Mayor Ron Young, she worked behind the scenes to elect Jeff Holtzinger, a Republican, out of sheer vindictiveness. (I thank her for that.) She followed that almost immediately with letters to the editor castigating him.
This woman has all the leadership skills of a pit bull, and for that, I apologize to pit bulls.
Mr. Holtzinger, our present mayor, says he’s boring. He is a former city engineer, one of several city staff who resigned while Jennifer was mayor, and he is also an attorney. If Jeff is boring, I am happy to be bored. After four years of high melodrama, I am thrilled to live in a quieter, more organized city.
Jeff may not hold many press conferences, but he’s probably too busy for that, as he cuts wood for his parents, goes home from his Frederick residence to assist his children in getting off to school in the mornings, and occasionally even walks older citizens to their homes at night.
His veto of the aldermen’s approval of an expanded historic district was done in the interest of most of the citizens who live there, who had been very vocal in their opposition.
He’s made a mistake or two, and the retirement buyout may have been one, but he has also done a lot right.
The Board of Alderman actually has reasonably civilized meetings now.
We got our agreement to share Potomac River water right after Jeff was elected.
Jeff has noticed that we need more athletic fields and made an excellent decision in condemning the Hargett Farm, as there is no other appropriate land available. The present SportsPlex is holding athletic events at 11P.M. due to overcrowding. Preventing more development along Butterfly Lane, with no road improvement in sight, and providing parkland at this deteriorating end of the city, is a great plan.
As for the current bond issue, we need it, and we got good rates because, under Jeff, we are widely considered a good investment.
Jeff Holzinger, attorney and engineer, Frederick native, caring family man and nice guy, knows his stuff, and is doing a good job.
Sell houses, Jennifer.