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As Long as We Remember...

July 19, 2010

Friends of Frederick County Fraud

Shawn Burns

Here are a few bits of information that Friends of Frederick County would never make available on their website or in their literature:


Frederick County totals over 424,243 acres of land. And of that total, 195,827 acres is farmland.


Frederick County currently maintains over 32,187 acres of public parkland.


Frederick County currently maintains 17 acres of open space and parks for every 1,000 residents.


Frederick County has 40,190 acres of land in various kinds of agricultural land preservation programs.


Frederick County leads the state in milk production. Our dairy herd accounts for 25 percent of the state total. (Those in the dairy industry in the county are too successful here, so they won’t be moving or selling their land anytime soon.)


Not one fact on this list will ever be uttered by my “friends” of Frederick County. Nor will this information ever be spoken by Commissioners Jan Gardner or Kai Hagen. And make no mistake about it; they are thick as thieves with this bunch. Don’t be surprised if Ms. Gardner announces she is working for them in the near future and if Mr. Hagen gets the boot in November, I’m sure he’ll resurface with this bunch.


Ms. Gardner and Mr. Hagen and their “friends” have tried to con the people of Frederick into believing that we are facing some sort of a land crisis.


It is a flat out lie and a fraud.


Every time the Friends of Frederick County begins to spout its nonsense, the spokesmen are purposely attempting to deceive and mislead every resident of the county.


Last fall this bunch of self-serving “friends” tried and failed to get enough signatures to put the potential annexations of two properties north of Frederick on the ballot as a referendum item.


They could not – and did not – meet the minimum requirements to have the issue placed on the ballot. Although, one member of Friends of Frederick County recently bragged in a letter to the editor about how they did get a lot of signatures on this issue from hobos.


The annexations came before the Frederick City Board of Alderman and were approved.


Annexing those two properties is a good and wise decision for the city for several reasons.


These properties smack up against the city. If the city did not annex them and they were left in the county, the city would have absolutely no say in how and when they are developed. By annexing them the city has that control.


By annexing these properties, the city expands its tax base. If they remained in the county, the city would not see one dollar.


One legitimate concern is this: if these properties are developed too fast, it will make U.S. 15 North an even bigger mess than it already is. I understand that argument. There is no question that this major highway is a situation that must to be addressed, particularly at Hayward Road. But with aggressive leadership (which has been lacking), we can work to get it fixed.


We should encourage development along major arteries. That is exactly where the development should go as opposed to the interior and back roads of our county.


There is no question that Frederick had a crazy amount of growth in the 1990s. But between Friends of Frederick County and Commissioners Gardner and Hagen, Frederick has been turned into an unfriendly place for growth of any kind.


I am not suggesting paving over Frederick and putting townhomes on every inch of ground. But we need some growth. The extremes either way are bad for all of us. And as the saying goes, “If you aren’t growing, you’re dying.”


The Crum and Thatcher properties total 436 acres. That’s .222% of the 195,827 acres of farmland in the county.


Nowhere, and at no time, has Friends of Frederick County ever mentioned the rights of the property owner to sell their property to an interested party as they see fit. That is the most important part of this. The seller should be able to sell without interference from a third party, or in this case, our “friends.”


Our Founding Fathers believed strongly that the right to private property had to be protected by law as a basis for individual liberty, to promote a free society and as a basis of a free economy.


As a citizen, I cannot do something that will harm or devalue your land. So, why is it legal – or allowed – for “Friends” of Frederick County, Ms. Gardner and Mr. Hagen to trample the rights of property owners across the county?


Friends of Frederick County spreads lies and misinformation and files lawsuits when they don’t get their way. And once their frivolous lawsuit against the city over the annexations is dismissed, I hope they are ordered to repay the city for all legal costs incurred, because this lawsuit by our “friends” forces the city to use our tax dollars to defend against their nonsense.


The agenda of Friends of Frederick County, Ms. Gardner and Mr. Hagen hurts all of us. It hurts our ability to bring new and better jobs to the county, which would allow more of us to not only live here, but to work here and be closer to our families.


All those Frederick County residents who sit for hours every day on I-270 driving to work and miss their child’s big game, can thank our “friends” of Frederick County.


Friends of Frederick County is a complete fraud.


They are a fraud because if they truly cared about preserving land in the county, they would do like other legitimate regional and national land preservation organization do and purchase the land they want to preserve and put in into a land preservation trust.



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