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August 2, 2010

Same old song and dance

Shawn Burns

Our economy has collapsed since 2006. Banks won’t lend money. People are being laid off every day. People are losing their homes. Businesses are closing their doors. Frederick County government is looking down the barrel of a $34 million projected deficit next year.


And of all the candidates for Frederick County Board of Commissioners, Incumbent Kai Hagen is talking about growth – apparently his only subject. In the Frederick Gazette last Thursday, Mr. Hagen paints a picture that growth is the big issue in the county.


Walk around Frederick County and ask any person what they think are the top issues facing the county and I doubt you will find many who will say growth. Jobs, taxes and government spending, Yes! Growth, No! Mr. Hagen has shown his hand and he’s not holding a thing.


Mr. Hagen has made it clear that growth is his top issue. Not the top issue for county residents. And he has made it abundantly clear that he doesn’t really care what Frederick County residents think are the most important issues, because he knows best. Just trust and listen to Mr. Hagen and everything will be alright.


Growth can’t happen if there’s no money to pay for it. Just look around the county. Where’s all the evil growth Mr. Hagen speaks of?


Mr. Hagen is a one issue, one trick-pony candidate. He rode the growth issue into office four years ago and apparently is trying to ride the growth issue again as his horse in the race to get re-elected.


But, this time around, people are wising up to Mr. Hagen and his hollow claims. He would have us believe that Frederick County is disappearing, that there’s no land left in the county. But what Mr. Hagen won’t talk about is the fact that around 85 percent of the county is still rural, farmland and open space.


I’m not even sure Mr. Hagen knows anymore what he is actually talking about. He seems confused and as if he’s grasping at straws. Maybe he’s nervous about the possibility that come November he’s no longer going to able to sponge off the taxpayers of Frederick County. Or treat our tax money as if it’s his Monopoly money.


In The Gazette article Mr. Hagen claims that every Republican candidate for county commissioner is pro-growth. Then the next day he refers to himself as pro-growth on WFMD. Mr. Hagen also said on Mark Kreslins’ Mid-Maryland Live program that he thinks 1,200 to 1,500 new homes being built annually in Frederick County is a good number. Minutes before Mr. Hagen said this, fellow commissioner candidate Blaine Young said he feels 1,200 to 1,500 new homes is a good number.


Mr. Hagen uses the word pro-growth as if it’s the mother of all four letter words. But then he calls himself pro-growth and is in complete agreement with Mr. Young on the number of new homes that should be built in the county annually.


Well now, I’m confused. Is Mr. Hagen for growth? Against growth? Growth is his issue. And, according to him, it’s the only issue that matters. But Mr. Hagen doesn’t even seem to know where he stands on his only issue.


A few things are becoming clear about Mr. Hagen. Like every aspiring career politician, Mr. Hagen can’t and won’t give simple and direct answers to questions.


Without manufacturing growth as a major issue in the election, Mr. Hagen has nothing to say (at least nothing to say that makes any sense) and it appears that he doesn’t have a platform of any kind.


Mr. Hagen loves to talk about his baby, the Comprehensive Zoning Plan. And when Mr. Hagen is asked about the properties he supported to be down-zoning in the plan, he never speaks of the rights of the property owners who lost money they had invested in the land. Mr. Hagen basically says too bad and that the down-zoning is “good for the community.”


I’ve read that some people believe one of the reasons the Soviet Union collapsed in 1989 was because their economy had peaked and had no room to grow because individual citizens had no private property rights. No other rights matter, or are even possible, if individuals have no rights over the fate of their own property.


Karl Marx believed that communist philosophy could be summed up as the abolition of private property.


Since Mr. Hagen feels property owners have no rights, I suggest that the State of Maryland use eminent domain to confiscate Mr. Hagen’s land and turn it into a new state park. It would be for the good of the community.


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