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As Long as We Remember...

November 29, 2002

Sometimes You Get What You Asked For

Blaine R. Young

The alleged back room deals and dictatorship did not die with The Grimes Administration. It has been a little over a year since the election in Frederick City. What has happened to the fresh approach and the open door Mayor Jennifer Dougherty promised?

Two recent happenings have to make you shake your head. The first was the back room deal giving water to MIE. The second was the recent announcement that the city is going to sell the ground on which the Ten Commandments Monument sits in Memorial Grounds.

We are being told and frighten on a daily basis about how much water we have left and residents and business being threaten with fines if caught using too much water. Only now we discover that a deal was cut with a developer. Other developers were working with the city until this water problem was solved.

A lot of developers could have brought lawsuits against the city and probably will now. But why did the city jump so quickly to please this developer? Maybe a look into the campaign contributions could help solve the mystery. Only a suggestion.

Even some aldermen are now saying after the deal was brought to their attention: "That's not what we agreed on." Well, I'm sure this one is going to cost the city a lot of money because, through the grapevine, I hear a lot of lawsuits are coming the city’s way.

It only took a couple of months for the press to find out what happened, but only after filing public information requests. So, much for opening the doors of city government. This story is not over, so stay tuned.

The second event was the agreement by the city to sell the strip of land on which the Ten Commandments Monument sits. So much for the promised public hearing. The deal was cut behind closed doors.

The county was left out in the cold because the city says the county does not own this piece of land with them. (The city acquired this particular parcel for a widening of Bentz Street in the 1920s.)

The vote was 2 to 2. Aldermen Donna Kuzemchak Ramsburg and Marcia Hall for and Aldermen Bill Hall and Dave Lenhart against. Aldermen Joe Baldi went to a birthday party for his daughter, and Mayor Dougherty broke the tie.

Of course, everything was keep quiet, so there was not a big crowd at City Hall when the announcement was made.

The sad thing is that this case is different than all the rest and may have been winnable in court.

So much for former Mayor Ron Young who put the monument there. He was never asked or consulted about this issue, or, for that matter, on any issue. So much for sticking your neck out and supporting someone at election time.

We could talk about what's happening at the Weinberg Center For The Arts and Stewart Seal, a guy in the arts community who tries to save a buck and gets his hand cut off.

Now, in no way, was Mayor Jim Grimes or his administration perfect. But people are starting to wonder if sometimes you are really better off with the devil you know.

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