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As Long as We Remember...

April 26, 2011

Sour Grapes and No Sugar

Shawn Burns

Attempts to entice the residents of Frederick County to change our form of government have failed to move voters at least four separate times in the last 45 years.


And here we are again, looking down the barrel of the same issue. The old saying – “the more things change, the more they stay the same,” – certainly fits this current exercise to transform Frederick County.


The current Board of County Commissioners feels that exploring a charter form of government is a good idea. The current commissioners and other candidates talked about it during the election campaign last year. These elected commissioners then publically stated they wanted to form a charter writing committee. They created a deadline for accepting applications from any interested registered voter living in Frederick County. From the applications submitted they held public interviews and made their decision on the nine-member committee plus three alternates.


Everything the county commissioners did in creating and appointing this committee was within their power. All rules, regulations and laws were followed throughout the process.


Still, many people didn’t like the choices made by the commissioners. Some of those opposed to the committee’s makeup are so opposed to this group of county commissioners that if one of the commissioners says, “it is a beautiful day today,” these people will raise some kind of objection with that statement.


In comes Ellis Burruss. He ran for county commissioner in the fall and, based on the fact that he finished ninth out of ten possible choices, it is clear that county voters were not moved by anything he had to say.


Even to the casual observer, it is abundantly clear that Mr. Burruss’ motives are more political than the noble double-speak he has been spewing in the local newspapers as of late. His so-called concern is nothing more than a thinly veiled attempt to hide his contempt and bitterness regarding the current commissioners and his poor showing in the fall election.


Mr. Burruss strongly dislikes at least four of the current county commissioners. His stunt to force a special election to choose the members of the charter writing committee stinks of a wounded and self-inflated ego.


Not only did Mr. Burruss lose handsomely in his bid for a county commission seat, he submitted a letter of interest to be appointed to the charter writing committee and was not one of the citizen-nominees chosen.


So, now Mr. Burruss is chasing people around Baker Park in an attempt to get signatures on his petition.


By the way, Mr. Burruss and the other seven people who are trying to force a special election are calling themselves, “citizen nominees,” as if somehow the people who were chosen for the committee are something less. If Mr. Burruss had been appointed, would he not consider himself a “citizen” committee member? Of course he would. And if Mr. Burruss had gotten his way and had been appointed to the committee, would he now be crying foul? Of course not.


Based on some of the quotes in local newspapers, Mr. Burruss and his cohorts are somewhat misleading the people they meet by says things such as “we are moving toward a charter form of government.” No, we aren’t. This makes it sound as if once a charter is written, it is a done deal.


No, once the charter is written, it will be placed on the ballot in 2012 for voters to decide whether or not we change our form of government here in Frederick County.


As a side note, some of the people joining Mr. Burruss in demanding a special election did not even submit a letter of interest to be on the committee. So, now suddenly, they are interested? This is no different than the person who doesn’t vote on Election Day, but then complains about the results. This is just another example of how this is nothing more than a political stunt.


And why wouldn’t Mr. Burruss conduct his little stunt? It won’t cost him anything. No, that bill will be paid for by you, me and all the other taxpayers of Frederick County.


If Mr. Burruss and his crew garner enough signatures to force a special election, I propose that the people who didn’t even participate in the original process shouldn’t be eligible to participate now. They are clearly people to whom Mr. Burruss said, “Hey, come on, let’s have some fun.”


And for the others, if they cry hard enough and get their way, why don’t they foot the bill for this special election?


Or, here’s another idea. Participate in the public meetings with the currently appointed charter writing committee and see how it evolves.


And then in 2012, if the charter makes it onto the ballot, vote yes or no. Seems like a pretty simple solution and process to me.


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