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November 4, 2010

The gloves are off…

Amanda Haddaway

I feel like a new person! I had been censored from writing about the Board of County Commissioners’ race because I was working on Michael Kurtianyk’s campaign. While I understand the position of our editor, there were quite a few times that I had trouble biting my tongue. So, now that the election is over, my gloves are off.


Here are some of my key observations from the race:


1. Several weeks prior to the election, some news came to light about Janice Wiles and the Girl Scouts. I could care less what happened to the cookie money or whose hand was in the cookie jar. However, I am concerned that Ms. Wiles wasn’t able to manage a seemingly small budget, but now she wants to manage the entire county budget. This is the aspect of this story that should concern voters the most.


2. Is she or isn’t she? This was the question that was asked most about Linda Norris and her affiliation with the Kai Hagen’s slate. My sense is that Linda was on the Kai slate when it worked to her advantage. However, as she was trying to earn conservative Republican votes after the primary, she tried her darnedest to separate herself from Mr. Hagen and Company. She may not be in lock-step with Mr. Hagen as much as Janice Wiles and Ellis Burruss, but I think they do share a good bit of the same ideology.


Furthermore, the weekend before the election a direct mail piece went out with the “non-slate slate” members on it. The mailing prominently displayed Linda’s name along with Commissioner David Gray and the aforementioned candidates.


3. Does anyone else find it odd that a private citizen, Jim Racheff, would spend his own money on a glossy direct mail piece telling people to get out and vote – and who not to vote for? Sorry Jim, but I can make up my own mind without your assistance. I am so very sick and tired of being told who NOT to vote for. I want a reason to vote FOR someone. Same goes for those anti-Waste-To-Energy crusaders. They keep telling me why it’s so bad, but they don’t have a viable alternative solution. In my book, doing nothing and shipping our trash somewhere else are not solutions. It is important to note that Mr. Racheff was campaign treasurer for Ellis Burruss. I wonder if Mr. Burruss knew about the mailer and if he printed the materials. (Mr. Burruss owns a printing company in Brunswick).


4. At the last forum at Frederick Community College, Billy Shreve’s performance was a little over the top. He came off as being argumentative and arrogant. I hope he will treat citizens better than he treated his fellow candidates. I’ve found Billy to be a nice guy one-on-one, but I am not a fan of this new machismo routine.


5. I was surprised by the number of people who took advantage of early voting. I’m a purist and waited until Election Day. The candidates didn’t really know what to expect from this new voting opportunity, but I think it will mean that more money will be spent sooner in future campaigns instead of having mail pieces drop and robo-calls made during the last weekend before the election. Consequently, some of these expenditures may show up on the final campaign finance report that is due before the election.


6. I wonder if Frederick County will ever move to non-partisan races for local offices other than the Board of Education. I have always believed that there are some real advantages for voting for whom you think are the best candidates and not solely basing a decision on party affiliation.


7. And speaking of disregarding party affiliation, former Delegates Charles Jenkins and Rick Weldon wrote a letter to the editor supporting Paul Gilligan in the 3-B delegate race over Mike Hough. I wonder how many votes this swayed, as both Charles and Rick are still held in high regard in the district.


8. Of all the candidates running this year, State Sen. Alex Mooney was the most aggressive in his direct mail and telephone campaigning. In the two weeks prior to the election, I think I received either a direct mail piece or a call almost every day. Several of the calls were invitations to join a tele-townhall. I can’t wait to see how much he spent in total during this campaign. The number will be huge, I’m sure.


It’s been quite a ride this election season! Good luck to those who were victorious as they prepare to be sworn in and start their terms. We’ll all be watching…


Note: This article was submitted before the election results had been determined.


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