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July 22, 2011

“Hurry With Waiting”

Roy Meachum

The Frederick Board of County Commissioners was going too fast. That’s what I tried to say in my June 24 column (“Winchester Hall’s New Start”). There was a crying need to bring taxpayers into the loop in the rush to privatize so many county departments and jobs.


By rejoinder, the all-Republican board, and its fervent Tea Party supporters, insisted they operated under a voters’ mandate to hurry up in saving public funds. They even spent $25,000 for a survey to prove the point that privatization works. The study was made in a Georgia community most local people never heard of before. Additional examples were pulled from Michigan cities that collapsed along with the auto industry.


What I predicted turned out. Objecting to the closed-door pattern of the commissioners-with-a-mandate, public reaction boiled up in The Frederick News-Post Letters to the Editors, and on local radio talk shows despite hosts largely belonging to the Tea Party. When the commissioners opened Winchester Hall for forums on the subject, the auditorium – literally “hearing room” – rang with frustrations and impatience-fueled invectives.


At first, my right-wing friends attributed the display to county workers, their families, and other self-serving individuals, while insisting the board operated under a voters’ dictate. The protesters swelled in numbers until commissioners’ President Blaine Young and the three stalwarts elected with him were jolted by a taxpayers’ revolt.


This week the commissioners unanimously tabled abruptly consideration of the report from the already-paid consultants that said their proposals would save tens of millions dollars. The only clear hero that emerged was Commissioner David Gray, who tried to moderate his fellow board Republicans’ pell-mell tactics; he was not part of their election team but wound up grouped with them by party. I think his stance on development is myopic, robbing the local economy of needed jobs. Because of our disagreements in that regard, I cannot knee-jerk reject any other idea that Mr. Gray proposes.


As reflected in the June 24 column, I didn’t buy totally all the leading elected board’s campaign rhetoric; but, of course, I’m years older and a registered Democrat to boot. But I stand firmly on the principle that every newly elected official deserves the opportunity to make good on his vision and promises, as I’ve written before. Even when my experienced nose crinkles, my fingers remain still. I even suggested George W. Bush deserved a shot, and he made the nation very willing to accept any candidate who was not a member of his GOP.


So far, Blaine Young and his slate have proved they are still capable of listening to the voices of people who may have opposed them at the polls; I figure they are trying to act in the people’s interest, in a true democratic way.


Incidentally, this column’s heading is literally translated. The true Frederick accent can be blamed – attributed – to the early settlers who were German; I once spoke the language. “Hurry with waiting” is the old proverb “Eilen mit Weilen.”


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