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As Long as We Remember...

September 27, 2010

The New Katzenjammer Kids

Shawn Burns

County Commissioner David Gray said immediately after the primary election on September 14 that he had “no intention of joining any team.” My, oh my, how quickly things change.


Less than 10 days after making that statement, Mr. Gray has apparently become a member of fellow Commissioner Kai Hagen’s “Dream Team.” This past Saturday Commissioner Hagen hosted a fundraiser that included county commission hopefuls Linda Norris, Janice Wiles, Ellis Burruss and Mr. Gray. Just like a typical politician, Mr. Gray says one thing and does another.


Mr. Hagen called this event his “fundraising celebration.”


It’s no wonder Mr. Hagen keeps Mr. Gray close to him since Mr. Gray once again displays the attention span of a nat and the memory of a fish. I almost feel bad for Mr. Gray and his inability to realize that Mr. Hagen has and continues to manipulate him as easily as an adult using a piece of candy to get a child to follow directions.


Since Mr. Hagen and Mr. Gray have officially hitched themselves to one another, it seems worth examining their voting records for the past four years.


So, here are some highlights of what Mr. Hagen and Mr. Gray have accomplished for Frederick County in the recent past.


3/13/07 – A motion was presented to reduce the constant yield by 7.48%. Neither Mr. Hagen nor Mr. Gray supported the motion.


4/12/07 – Mr. Hagen and Mr. Gray voted to repeal the semi-annual new construction tax payment discount.


4/17/07 – Mike Gastley, county budget officer, stated that the constant yield rate was calculated by the state at 86.6 cents per $100 of assessed value. At that rate, Mr. Hagen and Mr. Gray would have $16 million less in taxpayer money to spend. Of course, they both voted to get that $16 million and keep the constant yield rate at 93.6 cents per $100.


4/24/07 – Mr. Hagen and Mr. Gray voted to increase the Recordation Tax by 20%.


5/10/07 – Mr. Hagen and Mr. Gray voted to spend $16,090 for “noise meters.”


5/15/07 – Mr. Gray made a motion, with Mr. Hagen’s second, that officially set the constant yield rate 7.48% higher than the state calculation.


5/15/08 – Mr. Gray reminded everyone that 5/16/08 was Bike to Work Day. (I wonder if he rode his bike to work that day.)


5/15/08 – Mr. Hagen and Mr. Gray spent $61,307 of taxpayer money by voting to fund a grade 22 director position for the Office of Environmental Sustainability. They also spent $55,000 in taxpayer money by approving the Planning & Zoning traffic/travel “forecasting funding.”


5/20/08 – Different year, same result. Mr. Hagen and Mr. Gray refuse to save taxpayers’ money and do not support reducing the constant yield rate 7.48%.


6/12/08 – Mr. Hagen votes to increase impact fees for FY 2009.


9/9/08 – Mr. Gray proposes an increase in the commissioners’ salaries beginning after the 2010 election. Mr. Hagen was supportive of discussing it further.


11/6/09 – In working to finalize the 2009 Legislative Package, Mr. Gray wanted to include the issue of county commissioner compensation and pension/retirement program. Mr. Hagen wanted to include a position statement that plastic bags should be banned in Frederick County. (Great, while we’re in the middle of the second Great Depression, these two are worried about their taxpayer-funded paychecks and the evils of plastic bags!)


5/19/09 – Mr. Gray made a motion to increase the Tax Status Report Fee by 50%. Mr. Hagen seconded the motion.


8/25/09 – The commissioners passed a motion 4-1 to take the issue of the Maryland Partial Birth Abortion Act to a public hearing. Mr. Hagen opposed. (Apparently Mr. Hagen only wants to hold public hearing for issues he supports.)


8/25/09 – The commissioners passed a motion 4-1 to take the federal and state issues the board plans to include in the 2010 Legislative Package to a public hearing. Mr. Hagen opposed.


8/25/09 – Mr. Hagen and Mr. Gray voted against a joint resolution for the Maryland General Assembly to call for a U.S. Constitutional Convention regarding illegal immigration.


10/13/09 – Mr. Hagen and Mr. Gray opposed a motion to eliminate 77 of 95 positions that had previously been included in the county hiring freeze.


3/18/10 – Mr. Hagen and Mr. Gray support exploring the possibility of giving commissioners a bigger and better taxpayer-funded pension plan.


After looking over some of the accomplishments and good work that Mr. Hagen and Mr. Gray have done for the taxpayers of Frederick County, it’s no wonder they are now running together as part of Mr. Hagen’s “Dream Team.”


I, for one, can’t quite figure out why Mr. Hagen and Mr. Gray deserve to continue to represent Frederick County citizens again based on their voting records. This dynamic duo has done much more harm than good for the taxpayers. Voting records don’t lie.


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