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June 18, 2009

What A The Week That Was

Joan Marie Aquilino

What a week it has been. Commissioner Charles Jenkins put the Waste-to-Energy plant back on the table. Anti incinerator proponents have gone into over drive, again in a panic.


Then there’s Frederick City forgetting how to play nice; and it’s smackdown time. The Frederick County Board of Education is trying to pull out a Hail Mary play in the last two minutes of the game.


We have a community theater group using a convicted sex offender as its director for a production of Annie. And Commissioner Kai Hagen is doing his 'look at me and follow my vision' activist role in someone else’s yard.


The loss of former Delegate Louise Snodgrass gives me pause and makes me wonder why anything else matters. Then I hear Louise's own words when she was fighting the battles she so bravely fought. Her personal battle with cancer, and, of course, her years of fighting for the local taxpayers. Her daughter’s words, about her mother, is what most wish for at the end of their days. One person really can make a difference. Louise Snodgrass did!


I'd also like to extend my condolences to Chris Cavey, one of the Tentacles’ own, and his family. Chris lost his own father last Friday.


Commissioner Jenkins set out with a list of questions he felt still needed to be answered before comfortably making a final decision on Waste-To-Energy. The answers are in and June 23 will bring another vote on the trash incinerator. Please! Let this finally be over.


Mayor W. Jeff Holtzinger announced he would not be seeking a second term. That wasn’t good enough. His critics wanted their chance to draw blood. They wouldn’t be deprived of the feeding frenzy and we were forced to witness politicians at their worst. As always, the taxpayers are the losers in antics like this because it takes away from more meaningful work.


The Board of Education is trying to pull out all stops to save themselves. BOE-TV is a failure before it starts. No more ‘norms,’ no more creative budgets. It should televise every meeting, including its planning sessions, and do accounting in a manner that everyone can understand.


School board members should stop their divide-and-conquer approach and remember they are accountable to the public which elected them, and not to the superintendent you hired.


Swimming gone, swimming back! Recycling no go! Recycling happening! Diving gone, diving back! Airing all meetings too expensive, yet BOE-TV is a go because it doesn’t cost money.


Roof falls in because no upkeep is done; so, now, they have to have a new building. Air conditioning doesn’t work because they’ve done nothing to keep it up; so, now, they have to have a new building. Cost of repairs would be $17 million according to school board math; so, now, they need a new building costing the same.


It seems that whenever they put in estimates there is an excess left over. Wouldn’t that same thing happen with their estimate for the maintenance on the Frederick County Public Schools’ Hayward Road and Church Street properties? If that were the case, the repairs might be half of what they claim.


I’m still baffled by the fact that enrollment is down and teachers didn’t receive raises. Fees went up for tickets and sports yet, they still couldn’t find enough money to run the system and ended up with approximately $17 million over last year.


The school board put $2 million in a new central office building savings account. It has $10-plus million of stimulus money and $4 million from last year’s budget. These are just lump sums. If you are confused by all this, then welcome to my world because the school board budget is 10 times more difficult to understand.


The local theater group (Fredericktown Players) has a convicted sex offender (who has served his time in jail and his parole/probationary period) as a director in a production where children make up half the cast.


I don't need to know all the sorted details, but I do know as a parent I should be given that information prior to auditioning. Instead it only came three weeks into the rehearsals after Bob Miller, of WFMD radio fame, brought it to public attention. Had that not happened, would anyone have ever been informed? The answer appears to be No.


The local activist, now an elected official is once again trying to dictate what municipalities do even though he lives in the county on 25-plus-or-minus acres in the hills near Thurmont. He’s done this in Thurmont, New Market and now the City of Frederick.


I'll be the first to say that if anyone views Commissioner Hagen as an anti-growth proponent, you'd be dead wrong. He is much more sneaky. He wants dense compact growth in very particular areas. His ideas are not his, nor are they new; but I have issues with their presentation and the way he bullies others. He should be honest and state what is on his mind and not try to make others look as if they are raping the land just because they are not in lock step with him


And at the end of the day:


Commissioner Hagen will be himself, but I wish he’d stop bullying and threatening anyone that doesn’t buy into his stick and that he’s just do his job and be honest in doing it. Not gonna happin.’


Mayor Holtzinger is not running again. Period! End of story. Let him finish his job without the drama.


Commissioner Jenkins, along with two other commissioners, I hope, has a solution for the trash issues that have plagued Frederick for the past 20 years.


Wheelabrator, the firm that developed a cost for the incinerator, should be given the option of building a waste-to-energy plant, but rethink your numbers. Please! Remember taxpayers are bailing out just about everyone and we need some help, too. I think Wheelabrator can do better for us if it tries.


Yellow Cab
The Morning News Express with Bob Miller
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