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July 27, 2010

Two for the Road

Farrell Keough

This column may come as a shock to some, as it will be about Those People!  In fact, it will not only be about Those People, but will actually promote a couple of Those People!


I speak, of course, about Democrats. Like it or not, they exist and live among us. Why they chose that particular ideology is indiscernible, but they have made their choice. And what’s more, they constitute a large portion of our voting public. To that end, there are two running for different offices that have piqued interest – Brad Young running for Frederick County Board of Education and Michael Kurtianyk running for Frederick Board of County Commissioners.


As many of you know, the school board has been the subject of many shenanigans and accounting oddities. While this group has had years of covering their tracks, it seems they have finally gone beyond the pale and realize a time for change is at hand. That change can and should come in the form of Brad Young. If ever there was a person whose background, activities, and resume screamed Board of Education member, it is Mr. Young.


As many of you are aware, Mr. Young was the brunt of an idiotic decision by the school board and Frederick County Public School system about alcohol being consumed at a private party for the team he coaches at Walkersville High School. Mr. Young has coached this team for six seasons and last year, 16 out of 17 of his players got a high academic scholar award.


Of course, this situation was an impetus for Mr. Young to consider running for this office, but by no stretch of the imagination the only reason. You see, Mr. Young comes from a family of educators – his mother was a school principal for 30 years with a strong perspective that fancy buildings and amenities were not the major consideration; it was all about the children.


With a budget more than half a billion dollars, Mr. Young realized he needed to step up and accept this responsibility. Thank heaven!


So, while his background for this position is extensive, let’s outline at least a short list to give you reason to consider giving him your vote.


Fifteen years serving on the Board of Trustees of Frederick Community College with appointments from both Democrat and Republican governors and three years as chairperson.


Seven years on the Executive Maryland Association of Community Colleges Trustees, also serving as chairperson.


Seven years on the board of the National Association of Community College Trustees.


Advisory Board at the Universities at Shady Grove.


Eight years teaching at Mount St. Mary’s College in Corporate & Personal Financing & Investment – including five three-hour credit sections last year.


Teaching Junior Achievement in business for 13 years at Thomas Johnson High in Applied Economics.


Fifteen years in banking including 10 years owning an investment company and making payroll and the difficult decisions of business.


This is really a no brainer – Mr. Young will most certainly turn a sorely broken board around and not only benefit our children, but finally give taxpayers’ true representation.


We shall now shift our focus to a candidate running for the Board of County Commissioners. Michael Kurtianyk declared early on and has pursued this position with amazing vigor. Through many months of emails and conversations, Mr. Kurtianyk has become tremendously well versed on the issues. Having followed his progress, it has become very evident that Mr. Kurtianyk will take the necessary time to understand and commit to his decisions.


This presents an interesting and unfortunate aspect to politics – many of those who have recently declared as Democrat candidates have determined that Mr. Kurtianyk does not follow in the lock-step desired.  There seems to be a slate with many of these newly declared candidates, and they seem bound to present only one perspective. In short, the issue of the Waste-to-Energy plant which has already been voted on by the current Board of County Commissioners.


But, why would Mr. Kurtianyk not follow in lock-step? Actually, Mr. Kurtianyk was in lock-step when he first declared his interest in representing us as a commissioner. But, after many months of research, conversations with experts, and well-considered thought, he changed his mind and determined to support the WTE plan. Not because it was the perfect solution, but rather no other alternative would truly solve our 25-year-old problem of waste disposal.


Consider this decision – not only is Mr. Kurtianyk bucking many in his own party, but he accepted the difficult proposition that the many proposed alternatives will not in fact solve our difficult situation. That is leadership – making the hard decisions when many in your own camp are against you.


Unlike many who have registered as Democrat candidates for the Board of County Commissioners, Mr. Kurtianyk is far from a one-issue person. He has committed to proposing a committee to draft a charter form of government. As noted by Rocky Mackintosh in a previous column on, this may well be time for our county to make this change.


Mr. Kurtianyk has also laid out positions on improving our county’s problems with having a rather business unfriendly environment. He is acutely aware of the serious situation between the commissioners and the municipalities and is willing to take the time to remedy this seriously broken relationship.


Finally, the number one issue of the budget is his primary concern. Making the wise choices on where and how to cut expenditures will be his number one priority. Having a variety of well reasoned and different perspectives on these difficult tasks is paramount. Mr. Kurtianyk will offer such variety.


As time goes on, more candidates will be reviewed in these columns. As you might guess, Republicans will be the primary focus, but we have to remember that Those People live and work among us. They have the same rights we do and can and will vote predominately for Those People.


Keeping this in mind, it is good to review who might represent us best, even if they are not one of us. While there may be a Republican landslide, the likelihood of one party rule is slim. Hence, we need to keep our eyes open to those in the other camp who may be worth considering.


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