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As Long as We Remember...

February 1, 2010

The Essential Blaine Young

Steven R. Berryman

“Hell froze over” Saturday at Winchester Hall, as the man known to his fans as “Frederick’s youngest good ol’ boy” was unanimously appointed to be its youngest county commissioner. Those knowing the man well were not at all surprised.


Coming out of nowhere, from the original field of 14 applicants, the Frederick County Republican Central Committee, under the leadership of Kelly Schulz, transported this most outspoken WFMD radio host to a destiny that runs in the family; this, except that Blaine is really “the anti-politician.”


He’s got a proven track record of fairly balancing principle over party.


This time, only one name will be sent to Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, making this the process that worked best.


It should be noted here that another member of the central committee recused himself from all deliberations: Billy Shreve will run for the Board of County Commissioners in the regular election cycle this year and had also applied for this appointment opportunity. His recusal was so thorough that even after failing the cut to the final three, he still voluntarily stayed on the bench. This, taking the Michael Hough lesson to heart.


Aside from Blaine, the other two finalists were interviewed Saturday via identical questioning, and under video camera scrutiny; they were also entirely qualified to serve.


C. Paul Smith is a seasoned GOP ex-alderman of The City of Frederick with a 30-year law practice and insider knowledge of the at-hand issues and local government inter-workings.


Donna Crook is a sitting member of The Frederick County Board of Education, and is easily as outspoken as Blaine, as difficult a concept as that is to conceive. She has taken many spears and earned much respect standing her ground with her peers.


But “the essential Blaine” does more than meld the best qualities of these final contenders; he has the agility to both recognize and impact an issue at the same time. He listens, takes criticism, and allows for an ego that knows when to apologize and adapt when added facts make this necessary.


And in today’s most contentious climate, being on the right side of an issue has little merit without the passion to break down walls, change minds, and carry an agenda forward.


Central committee member Dick Cheney, the current “Republican of the Year” in the State of Maryland, suggested in his uniformly asked question: In working toward a pro business climate, would you support formation of committee to seek streamlining practices, including permitting, if appointed commissioner. Blaine seized upon the thought instantly, owning several flavors of businesses now, including a partnership with Yellow Cab. In classic Blaine, he insisted in renaming it a “blue-collar task force,” fully adopting the thought almost to the degree of insisting that it was his own idea!


If “Blaine-Blaine the business making machine” were an aircraft, he would be a heli-co-opter!


In response to a question from committee Treasurer Bryan Smith, Blaine foreshadowed future actions: First establishing essential services and then isolating all else for dissection in the budget. Looking for duplication of services, and asking why we still fund permitting & code enforcement at the same level with only half of the development now taking place.


“Essentially,” Blaine reminded in response that such scrutiny must happen “in good times or in bad,” ever adding value to his own comments.


Blaine is the uncanny chameleon of local politics here in Frederick County. He served as a one term Frederick City alderman when very young, having learned some gaming from his Dad, former long-term Democratic Mayor Ron Young, and this as a conservative “blue dog” Democrat, even serving on the Democratic Central Committee!


He found his home with Republicans and switched affiliations to the Republican Party immediately after his term, jumped in, and never looked back.


But ever the impact-player, Blaine has stood tall with the new TEA Party Constitutional movement, and was a co-founder last April as an organizer, promoter, and keynote speaker of that seminal event.


As the GOP and TEA become “strange bedfellows,” it will be fascinating to see how he bridges the ideological gaps…as both groups claim ground and seek full identity.


This essential Blaine phenomenon also supports the anti-incumbency signals nationally, and he has signed the “no tax pledge.”


Don’t let the showmanship and perfect hair fool you.


Yes, when he runs the blow dryer in final check heading out the door, if not a hair moves, he knows his work is complete. He shares this similarity, and a passion for State Senator Alex Mooney’s Tenth Amendment resolution with Michael Hough, who is running for delegate in sub-district 3-B.


Michael is on the central committee, and is a past chairman. Certainly his words were persuasive on Saturday. His primary opponent is the recently appointed former County Commissioner Charles Jenkins, whose seat in Winchester Hall will be filled by Blaine.


But Blaine is the master of the moment and can really think on his feet. When he talks about opportunity, voter anger, and timing, you better listen. That said, I believe he would have run for commissioner this year even without this appointment. This simply will prime his pump.


A meeting today with executives of Clearchannel Communications, corporate parent of WFMD/WFRE will codify a new relationship between himself and his self-titled afternoon drive-time radio show. My guess is that they will work out rules of the road to satisfy elections boards.


In the most interesting example of instinct and guts, Blaine took open feedback directly from his fellow office seekers, Mr. Smith and Mrs. Crook on the radio show live on Friday, immediately before the selection final interviews. He handed the mic to fellow WFMD host of Seniors Talk Radio Adam Avery who sat in and moderated.


Me, I thought that was crazy at the time…


Bob Miller, the famous “Morning Mayor” of WFMD am930 on the early side of drive-time, had attended the final selection interview with yours truly Saturday. Comparing notes and speculating by cell phone afterward, we awaited the decision. We argued it both ways.


Bob knew that it was his passion to win, but was not as certain as I was.


We both decided in the affirmative, just before getting confirmation from a car speeding toward Deep Creek Lake…that he had just won…


Mostly because: he’s Blaine.


Woodsboro - Walkersville Times
The Morning News Express with Bob Miller
The Covert Letter

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