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November 24, 2009

The Pain of Taking a Break

Farrell Keough

I have been on hiatus. I would say sabbatical, but that involves payment during the absence and considering the vast sums we are paid here at, how could one possibly expect our esteemed editor to pay us when we are away?


So many things have happened since I’ve been away – what a plethora of topics on which to write. Let’s see, one of the more outspoken Board of Education members, a member with a Ph.D. who voraciously promoted the Norms, (p. 20 of pdf) determined they did not apply when she goes off on one of her rants against other members. The comedy and irresponsibility of this rant included a declaration that she had transcripts of a local radio show to prove her point – said radio show does not make transcripts of their interviews. Keep in mind, this school board member will be up for re-election soon, so expect some populist rhetoric to help her public image.


And then there was the brouhaha between the City of Frederick and the Board of County Commissioners. Who has the ultimate power and wants to “grab” even more? So many issues were brought forward during this very public fight: traffic, over-development when so many homes are in the pipeline, the ability of a municipality to determine its own destiny, and finally, school overcrowding.


This last argument seemed to gain some weight with the commissioners. They are now pushing for more authority by forcing municipalities to accept their requirements for annexation and school capacity. The irony is that it is the county schools that have declared overcapacity, not the municipalities. Funny how government can be part of a problem, yet declare they are the only ones to solve it. Can you say Health Care?


Another irony to this situation is that the school board would not weigh in on the battle. Rightly so, the board of education declared this is an issue of oversight and authority between two equal government entities and not, as professed, a mechanism to assure the public that children would be protected. And, once again, the county commissioners and the school board are at loggerheads.


And it did not stop there with the commissioners. Not only did the Frederick County Planning and Zoning Commission vote that the Waste to Energy plant did not meet Comprehensive Plan requirements, but the commissioners elevated the situation and proposed a lawsuit to overturn this decision.


Given that the purview of the planning commission may well have been exceeded by this vote, the reaction by the commissioners was amazingly over the top. Like the interactions with the municipalities, the county commissioners do not seem to be able to work well with others – kind of an important trait for a political body, wouldn’t you say?


People, these were just some of the local politics going on! On the national scene we had so many hurried and irresponsible bills put forward it is beyond one simple column. And, anyway, if you have not been following these situations, you are in for a real shock! There is a level of relevance that is worth noting. Like our federal government, our local government has begun to involve itself in too many aspects of our lives.


“Government is a necessary evil, because people can necessarily be evil. But always remember, government is composed of people.” We speak of limited government on a national level constantly, but we need to consider how this same thing needs to be recognized and pursued on a local level as well! Government does not exist for our wants and desires – it exists for our needs.


Government, by its nature, is punitive. Government is there to enforce laws to control those few who cannot operate in an ethical and socially manner. Government is not a giveaway program and it does not exist to take over the responsibilities we have as human beings in a society. Once we abdicate these responsibilities, we open the flood gates for more and more government intrusion.


We will be discussing some of these issues in coming columns – what are the functions of governments; what are alternatives to government monopolies; and how do we recognize when these intrusions are taking place – “baby steps” of government, as I call them.


And, I wish for each of you a wonderful Thanksgiving when you consider how truly blessed and fortunate we all are!


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