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As Long as We Remember...

September 3, 2010

It's Black and White: Gray Must Go

Adam Avery

Admittedly, I enjoy political rhetoric, especially when aimed at inept leaders. One of my favorite barbs is an alleged announcement by a former chairman of the Board of County Commissioners that David Gray is the "dumbest person I have ever met."


Others have alleged similar assessments. In particular, Commissioner Gray's record of attendance and attentiveness as the commissioners’ liaison to Frederick Community College has been described as less than effective if not downright incompetent.


His uneducated pronouncements regarding green-roof technology made me wonder how in the world a man seemingly clueless had the wherewithal to gain election to four terms of sub-par public service.


I decided to give Mr. Gray the benefit of the doubt and a clean slate, as I set out to measure his intelligence in person. The venue: The Republican commissioner candidate forum at Frederick Community College on Wednesday night last. The test: a couple of questions and five opportunities to rebut challenger's assertions.


The results: a colossal failure.


Mr. Gray opened with a jaw dropper. Despite his voting record and despite never as much as having whispered the virtues of a free market, Commissioner Gray exclaimed: "The market determines growth." That's right; the market controls growth, not his beloved rewrite of the comprehensive plan or his insatiable appetite for government-induced growth suppression.


Commissioner Gray is also the commissioners’ liaison to the Frederick County Board of Education. One would think that he would have insight pertaining to the subtleties of traversing the relationship between increasingly competing boards.


One would be woefully mistaken.


Incredibly, he remained silent and motionless when given the occasion to rebut a question requesting viable approaches to improve the working relationship between boards. No wonder the school board runs roughshod during budgetary hearings.


Two blunders down, three to go.


Fellow candidate Billy Shreve, while explaining his understanding of the impact on growth by proposed annexations, was interrupted by Mr. Gray's blurting, "I don't know what Billy is trying to say." Mr. Shreve concisely reiterated his position which was punctuated with Mr. Gray's sheepish acknowledgment that "I agree with Billy."


It was one of those loss-of-focus moments others have used to describe Mr. Gray's apparent inattentiveness.


Fortunately, there was still time to rebound. Commissioner Gray was tossed a meatball: what would he do to market Frederick's agricultural industry? His Celebrity Jeopardy opportunity for any answer to propel him into the lead, Mr. Gray responded with an inane explanation of the importance of preserving farm land.


He could have saved his evening with a self-deprecating and assuredly endearing "Put me out to pasture."


Mercifully, we were spared any further nonsensical drivel, for the compulsory question and non-answer component of his performance was over.


Alas, it was time for his closing statement.


Within 48 hours of his casting a vote in accord with Commissioners Jan Gardner and Kai Hagen to shoot down a commissioner's "wish list" to our delegation to include a show of support for legislation akin to Arizona's efforts to mitigate our federal government's inability to address illegal immigration, Mr. Gray implored those in attendance to contact their state senators and delegates to let their voices be heard.


In a word; flabbergasting.


I approached Mr. Gray after the forum and asked how he could call upon the audience to cheerlead for illegal immigration reform after recently failing to do so himself on behalf of his constituents. He replied: "You are taking what I said out of context."


I followed with a question as to why he didn't jump at the chance to enlighten us as to the difficulties that the commissioners experience when working with the school board. His response was: "I only had five rebuttals, and I had to use them wisely."


Finally, I suggested that after 16 years of failure, he should be noble and step aside to spare us the chance that his lack of leadership might continue for another term. He said firmly: "I like what I do and I don't want to risk the comp plan in other's hands."


I assured him that was a risk we are willing to take.



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