“Trust but verify!” It’s your duty!
I've been watching with interest, slight amusement and a tad bit of annoyance the letters, editorials and blogs discussing the city’s annexations of the Crum and Thatcher farms. The same claims rehashed nothing new, just more emotional rhetoric at this point.
The reason I say “claims” is because they offer little else; no proof of anything is given, many threats are thrown and empty promises spewed.
It's election season and instead of giving voters something of substance ‘they’ go for the emotional jugular and offer nothing other than emotional scare tactics. You can’t get emotional with things like the budget. That’s pretty cut and dry. Either you have the fortitude to cut or you don’t; therefore you see them run the other way when these issues are being discussed. Annexations, growth and trash are items easily used to capture the emotional attention of voters.
I personally don't care if people differ in their opinions; disagreements, with facts attached, even heated, can only lead to better solutions in the end. That isn't what is being offered. Those who don't want to see growth happen offer little to discuss, other than they don't want it.
Camouflaged in shades of “‘smart’ growth, directed growth, managed growth… basically they all mean the same thing, nope “not gona happen if they can stop it type of growth.” Be honest, if you don’t want growth, or you want ‘special’ growth, be brave enough to state exactly what your vision is. Don’t hedge your bets trying to please everyone long enough to gain their vote. ‘They’ come into the fray a day late and a dollar short making big noise and little else.
As an engaged and involved voter in this county I'd like to offer not “who to vote for” but rather some suggestions on things to look for when making your selections. Don’t confuse yourself with this being an R or D thing. I’m as disgusted with some of my own R’s as I am with the D’s.
Ask candidates questions point blank and get them on record. If they give you answers that leave you wondering what the heck they said, take a deep breath and ask again – painful as that may be. But keep asking until you get a real answer.
Look at the City of Frederick annexations. Like it or not, they were done and done by those elected to govern the city and they were done according to rules, regulations and laws in place.
Crying foul after the fact is like closing the gate after the horses are out. So many of those supposedly against the annexations are little more than people who moved to our county with little if anything vested in either it's land, it's life or it's community. Please don't come to our county because of things you like about it and then immediately try and change it to meet your personal criteria. If you don't like us, that gate that opened and said welcome can also swing the other way and say goodbye, too.
If there are so many of you who want growth stopped or done according to your whim, then – by all means – buy those parcels of land and leave them undeveloped.
‘They’ were going to gather enough signatures to turn it around. That never happened, not because they couldn't get enough; but, according to their claims, there weren’t enough days, not enough help, not enough money, plenty of excuses, no solutions.
The public seemed to reach its saturation point when it came to excuses, so there was a cooling off or backing down period. However, it's starting again, with scare tactics, empty promises, and the ever-present excuses.
Forget that many of those challenging the multitude of excuses have lived here their entire lives, multiply generations, and will continue living here long after the newly arrived depart.
I'm bringing all this up because it is election season and this is the typical shuck and jive that “wanna be's” offer. This year try something different. Don't let those who want your vote dictate the information offered. Instead you do the questioning.
You choose what you want in an elected official and demand they answer your questions. Ask yes and no questions. Ask them how they plan to accomplish budget cuts, growth, trash, schools, parks, jobs and business, water and sewer issues.
Ask how will they deal with the Board of Education, other municipalities, etc.? How do they see the Board of County Commissioners in relationship to and with the Board of Education and municipalities and their elected officials.
Ask them if they will ask for a raise or support one if offered by others.
Where are they on term limits and retirement benefits?
Ask them if they are willing to make votes without regard to re-election.
Ask them if they are willing to challenge the state and federal government to protect our community on a variety of issues and in particular what efforts will they personally make toward dealing with illegal immigration.
Push the limits now and see if they can handle the pressure and how thick their skin is – not after they are elected. We’ve already learned that lesson the hard way.
Last but not least, I beg of you not to assume their answers are the truth. People lie while dripping sincerity and looking you straight in the eye. Actions speak much louder than words and they are normally much more truthful. Promises are empty until or unless they are fulfilled. Ask those in office, what have they actually accomplished; and to those wishing to gain office, what have they done in preparation?
This economy has hit us all hard and the best and most financially responsible thing to do is educate yourself and vote accordingly. No single issues, no empty promises, no threats, no scare tactics and, of course, take it from the best, "Trust but verify".
. . . . .’til next time. . . . .