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February 5, 2010

Blaine Young

Roy Meachum

His exact age I’ve never known, but I think he was 12 or 13 when we met: sitting on a Winchester Hall bench beside his mother, waiting for election results. His father was again roaring to victory that night. City Republicans had a hard time finding anyone to run against him. Ron Young was the longest serving Frederick mayor in modern history.


Politics may not be a transmittable characteristic. But it can be absorbed in the very bloodstream by an impressionable child. It’s not unfair to say at that age Blaine Young adored his father and his friends. His older child is named for Frederick’s longtime political boss, James E. McClellan, as well as the ex-mayor; I’ve never known the boy referred to in anyway other than “J.R.”—who was the leading character in a 1980s’ TV primetime soap opera, “Dallas.”


When I could not support his father in the 1989 election, Blaine dropped out of sight for me: off getting an education and a job; he was WFMD sales manager when we reconnected, and running for alderman. In the proper family tradition, he won going away. Bill Hall received the top votes; as president of the board he contended directly with ex-Mayor Jennifer Dougherty. My young friend helped.


More important than his progress in politics, Blaine took a wife. Karen Young is the most important person in his life; her presence and guidance lend a sober element to his core. Fortunately, his misdemeanors were all out in public, shortstopping surprises. Forsaking all others, she and he marched down the aisle.


The best gifts he ever received, Karen delivered baby boys; it would be a total understatement to say he dotes on J.R. and his brother, A.J. He beams when they’re in tow.


Since leaving City Hall and all that strife, Blaine branched out; he acquired a moveable billboard advertising company; and, as most people know, he entered into a partnership with Jerry Wood, the longtime owner of what is now Frederick’s Yellow Cabs. The new name is only the outer sign of the way Jerry allowed the junior partner to merchandize and promote the company.


Meanwhile back at WFMD, Blaine resigned as sales manager, while keeping his Saturday Frederick Forum show. His hefty load of sponsors can be considered the result of his on-air personality, as well as his salesmanship. Could he unload ice boxes on Eskimos? I would guess he could.


In this time of Republican discontent, he has built a mighty monument to himself, by keeping unrelenting pressure on local and national Democrats. His crusade was made easier when station manager Doug Hillard proposed to spread Blaine’s reach to five days a week. (Former Frederick News-Post columnist Katherine Heerbrandt took over Saturday’s Frederick Forum.)


In recognizing his greater influence and devotion to the party, the young man, once on the Winchester Hall front bench, was selected to take an office inside. The Republican Central Committee chose the younger Mr. Young to take the chair of Charles Jenkins, who was selected to assume the unserved time of Rick Weldon, who returned to City Hall; he’s now executive assistant to new Mayor Randy McClement. Rick is the one who began the offices roundelay by returning to the desk he occupied under Jim Grimes.


Doubtless, Blaine Young finds the whole prospect exciting; he’s going to run again, for the Board of County Commissioners this time. I wish he wouldn’t. Political differences are not involved; I care much more for human beings than how they vote or what offices they hold.


My younger friend’s mind, perception and patience are too much to be comfortable working in a committee, which Abraham Lincoln once described as designing a camel when they meant a horse. The other day Doug Hillard was quoted in the News-Post; he said he had no problem with his afternoon star continuing the show as long as he’s only appointed. The situation drastically changes when and if Blaine becomes involved in elective politics.


Does he really want three hours of public hearings? The foolishness that results of fencing with bureaucrats? Most of all, the feeling that the other committee members do not understand and sympathize with his position?


Without really knowing how he lives now, I think he should enjoy: His wife and children who would not see him for all those night sessions in Winchester Hall; the grasp on the community’s vitals that the radio shows give him; the way he can wheel and deal with the cab company.


As my youngest son says: “Whatever.”


At least 10 years older than Blaine Young, Paramedic Michael Andrew Meachum, his brothers and sister taught me my generation’s values are not the same as their generation.


Still I wish the young man I met on a Winchester Hall bench would not run for an office on the upper floor.


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

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