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As Long as We Remember...

May 20, 2011

County 1, Petitioners 0

Joe Charlebois

One petition has failed while another will apparently succeed. The petition to overrule the commissioner’s selection of a committee to write a charter for Frederick County and instead have a special election to elect one failed terribly due to numerous mistakes in the implementation of the petition campaign.


According to the Frederick County Board of Elections data, the needed 2,000 signatures fell short by 259 valid ones. Nearly 600 of the 2,915 signatures collected were signed incorrectly. The remaining errors were either invalid or duplicate signatures, or the signer was not a registered voter in Maryland.


Statewide, a very effective petition campaign to halt the implementation of the new law permitting illegal immigrants to pay in-state tuition at state colleges has begun. The organizers have used modern technology to use voter rolls to download voter information directly to a petition and automatically add the circulators name, address, the language of bill and an address of a post office in Funkstown, MD.


The organizers also set up a table to collect signatures during a recent local townhall meeting with the Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach and Frederick County Sheriff Chuck Jenkins.


One wonders if the intentions of the leaders of the Frederick County petition were indeed serious. There were so many breakdowns in communication as to what a proper petition required that it is hard to believe that it ever would have been accepted by election officials.


Whether you were a proponent of an elected charter writing board the failure by the petitioners saved the taxpayer at least $250,000. Ellis Burruss, who spearheaded the effort, stated that the election would cost the county residents only 90 cents per person – a small price to pay for “true representation.”


The appointment process itself was the most transparent a process as can be accorded the public. The interviews were broadcast on the local government channel with a chance for all to watch. The eventual appointments include a board that represents Frederick County. It has been suggested that the board is somehow in the back pocket of developers as if those appointed are our new county commissioners.


This suggestion boggles the mind, how is it that a small group of individuals looking to establish a charter form of government will have any impact on the laws and administration of those who enact and administer the county’s laws years into the future. The board is composed of members of the Frederick community who love this county; they are simply looking to establish a form of government that will reflect our growing county.


Rocky Mackintosh, one of the charter writing committee’s most outspoken members, is also likely the best at describing the group’s role and positions. I urge those who have not go to his MacRo Report Blog to read more from his point of view.


Now that the petition has failed, it remains to be seen if the petitioners will be successful in challenging the Election Board’s decision in court.


The statewide petition to block the implementation of the immigrant tuition law will have its first deadline shortly.


As a supporter of this petition, I personally delivered my signed petition to the Funkstown post office. The staff there told me that they have received thousands of petitions already – he then added thousands per day!


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