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As Long as We Remember...

July 14, 2009

Looking at The Future

Farrell Keough

Been watching a local election with great interest recently. Noticed one very poignant aspect – there are two basic types of candidates: Fixers and Visionaries. It will be interesting to see who the voters decide on.


Fixers are necessary. There are always problems; and we always need people who can come up with strategies to fix problems. Everyone knows Fixers and little time need to be spent on defining this type of candidate.


Visionaries are a different kind of mix. Many have the ability to fix problems, although their abilities to deal with the minutia can vary across the board. What differentiates a Visionary is the ability to look at the broad picture and have a plan that will make a long-term difference. A Visionary desires to make a beneficial change for the future while a Fixer focuses on the here and now to fix immediate problems. This is why the two often need one another.


Over the past week, two candidates for Board of Alderman sat down to talk with my wife (She Who Must Be Obeyed) and myself. Joe Cohen and Amanda Haddaway gave us some of their time in downtown Frederick. Both would fall into the category of Visionary, but with differing levels of attention to detail – or, said another way, different Fixer qualities.


Joe Cohen is often known as the airport guy. As recently noted in the Frederick News-Post, the current mayor of Frederick is pushing for a tower at the airport. This leads directly into one of Mr. Cohen’s visions. This is not for a major airport, but rather, as Mr. Cohen puts it, for “puddle jumpers.”


Large national and international businesses use air flights constantly and consistently. Leveraging our county and areas of Frederick City into employing larger companies in hopes of local jobs requires an infrastructure in place that these businesses can access. Having the ability to go from Washington-Dulles to downtown Frederick via a “puddle jumper” is a far more realistic and attractive enticement in today’s business reality. Not to mention the ability to the local citizenry to access this capability as well.


This vision would also support the idea of a hotel and conference center – both sorely lacking in this area. Taking advantage of the BRAC situation at Ft. Detrick to harness companies like biotechs, and the other potential spin offs, will require the vision to plan for a future which already has the necessary infrastructure.


Having these kinds of facilities in place will allow for a future which includes local jobs and outside tax dollars coming into local government coffers.


Both candidates promote tourism. This kind of activity brings in outside dollars to an economy sorely needing such an infusion. With a hotel in place, people interested in the manifold tourist activities within and surrounding our area can enjoy a relaxed day of activities without having to worry about the long drive home or to an overnight stay. This will also means that meals, shopping, and relaxing within the city limits can bring in further infusions of needed currency. In short, local business and the underlying tax base would have an additional source of revenue – one not paid in full by local citizenry.


Both candidates understand the need for growth and the need to retain the beauty and charm already established in the City of Frederick. They recognize that growth is not an attempt to simply lay down more concrete or become like our sprawling neighboring counties – this is precisely the kind of growth they both abhor.


Growth includes ensuring small business does well so new employees can be hired, or things like insurance can be offered to existing employees. Growth can be as much a function of existing businesses doing well and growing as is bringing in new business for local people to enjoy good paying jobs without having to drive down the road.


Mr. Cohen has a decade of service to Frederick City as well as a thriving business. His love for our nation has recently led to his becoming a naturalized citizen.


Ms. Haddaway has a long history in the City of Frederick, her hometown. She remembers when the Golden Mile was the place to shop and when various neighborhoods were held in esteem as family friendly. This history gives her the ability to connect with the people who know the success stories of the past as well as the difficulties of today’s world – old timers and new comers.


Although much younger than Mr. Cohen, Ms. Haddaway has used her time wisely. A master’s degree and director at her current firm, she has pursued a life of hard work and diligence. This attitude shows itself prominently in her attention to details and the feverish work she has undertaken to understand the needs, logistics, agency interactions, and public welfare entailed in running for the Board of Aldermen.


Like Mr. Cohen, Ms. Haddaway has a larger vision for the City of Frederick. She has plans for revitalizing the Golden Mile, renewing neighborhoods which have come under disrepair and are no longer viewed as family friendly and viable mechanisms for accomplishing these ends.


Plans to increase the size of the city’s department of economic development is also on her radar. Ms. Haddaway feels this will directly impact business in two ways: additional staff can travel to prompt more businesses to move into this area and will increase the connections of existing businesses so monies and influence can be pooled for more efficient use. Her plans for developing this expansion involve some low cost methods to free up existing time by leveraging the existing manpower in the area.


Both of these candidates, while not running together in any fashion, are a hopeful sign of the change in the air. It was a pleasure speaking to them and seeing signs of a vibrant future proposed for the City of Frederick! Change may well be in the air and, if these two candidates are a sign, this new change will be one that truly will benefit citizens.

Yellow Cab
The Morning News Express with Bob Miller
The Covert Letter

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