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As Long as We Remember...

May 1, 2009

Sunrise Without Lennie?

Roy Meachum

Former colleague Katherine Heerbrandt hit John "Lennie" Thompson a mighty whack in her Wednesday News-Post column. At the same moment she was feeding the county commissioner's constituency their favorite dish: Publicity.


Mr. Thompson's political career has lurched from crisis to crises. When the wind is still, he sets out to create a mighty storm. For example, in the same edition of the local paper runs a story about his voice being the single vote against an incinerator compromise. If you've spent a year or more outside Frederick – perhaps in Nome, Alaska – you might not know what the fuss is about.


Somehow or other, a study or non-study, came up with the recommendation that the "smartest" way to handle the county's escalating trash problem was a new incinerator. Furthermore, it was decreed the fiery machine should be built next to the Monocracy Battlefield. In any event, the commissioners were informed in 2005 that the county's capacity for handling mounting trash was narrowing fast.


Recognizing a "hot" issue, state Sen. Alex Mooney leapfrogged into the fray. He sponsored a bill, in the last General Assembly session, which would keep all such devices at least 10 miles from any spot where Civil War blood was spilt. The commissioners united in their appeal to the legislative delegation to keep Mr. Mooney out of micromanaging their business. They won.


That's when Lennie Thompson really mounted his barbed steed and heated up the controversy to the level that turned other commissioners off. Sometimes he was joined by colleagues David Gray and newcomer Charles Jenkins. After Mr. Gray packed it in, giving President Jan Gardner and Commissioner Kai Hagen no-go proposition a majority, Mr. Jenkins went along with the majority. That isolated Mr. Thompson. Not the first time he found himself stubbornly alone.


As noted before, at this stage in his political career all signs and indices point to Lennie wrestling for David Brinkley's state Senate seat – and losing. Tucked in among four other commissioners, Mr. Thompson has managed to survive at the ballot box. The last time he won by the slimmest of majorities. He took the lowest chair.


Running one-on-one proved disastrous when he attempted to unseat Circuit Court Judge Terry Adams; he failed miserably. Next year he hopes a strictly personal matter makes Senator Brinkley vulnerable. But with 16 months to 2010's GOP primary, Lennie Thompson's bad jokes and insinuations about the gentleman from New Market no longer provoke sly smiles and stomach poking.


Can the electorate take seriously a man who delights in keeping small children, women and their men up half the night when it was patently unnecessary? I don't think so.


Let there be no doubt, Frederick County Commissioner John "Lennie" Thompson has enjoyed every moment when the sun of popularity shines down on him. Would the county miss his ministrations and the staged spectacles if he would vanish after this midnight? I don't think so.


I can't recall a sunrise without Lennie hovering over the new day. But I'm more than willing to try.


Woodsboro - Walkersville Times
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