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As Long as We Remember...

October 16, 2012

Billy Shreve, Shut Up!

Roy Meachum

Colleague Harry Covert’s complaints expressed in his Friday column (“Books: Frederick’s Endangered Species”) found a veritable host of agreers.


Billy Shreve started it; he declared in July that the county library was wasting taxpayers’ money by buying books and magazines that were unnecessary, according to his point of view. He was accused of Nazi-like tactics when they publicly burned volumes before the world’s eyes. Of course, he didn’t go that far.


In an effort to save bucks in the budget, Billy suggested out loud the system’s purchases should be curtailed; he said public schools have adequate libraries. He mentioned law enforcement and fire stations as better choices. With no visible effort that they were asked in advance, Sheriff Chuck Jenkins and county fire “Chief” Tom Owens could be counted on to endorse the idea of more money in their coffers.


Board of County Commissioners President Blaine Young and fellow member Kirby Delauter went along. Paul Smith, the sole attorney on the board, reserved his lawyerly opinion. David Gray fought the idea, taking along public opinion: The Frederick News-Post published many letters that backed him.


Once again Billy Shreve has rung a large cow-bell that attracts attention. In my Friday column (“Next Year’s Election”) I reported the commissioner may run for City Hall: “From the News-Post front-pages, County Commissioner Billy Shreve is running hard, either for re-election to Winchester Hall or for City Hall; I’ve been informed by trusted friends that he’s going to be in the municipal race in 2013.”


Since the town registers more Democrats than Republicans, running for mayor contains more peril for the commissioner. As has been demonstrated forcefully, the county is under GOP control. In order to defeat the present representative, the General Assembly “watered down” Frederick: The lawmakers realigned Maryland’s Sixth Congressional District by bringing in more Montgomery County residents from our next-door “pink-ish” neighbor. This is presently of no concern to Billy. All county commissioners are elected at-large.


Unless his political ambitions match his noisy mouth, there’s an overwhelming need for attention. In that event, all bets are off: he will run for mayor and the next year stand for re-election, aiming for Washington. And why not? He looks like he’s still in the forties and seemingly in splendid health; not married and with wavy blond hair. He’s a prime bachelor specimen. He should have many years in him.


Running counter to this assessment, Billy Shreve tends in a big way to court controversy, but not with the same finesse as Blaine Young; the commissioner president, of course, appears daily on WFMD930AM radio. In addition to the library system, Mr. Shreve pushes for an increase in Frederick County Community College’s tuition, and that generates few fans at the time when education figures importantly in formulas for success.


Commissioner Shreve is still regarded largely on riding into Winchester Hall on Blaine’s coattails. Of course, in advance of the 2010 election, Commissioner Young broadcast, on the radio and in person that he would not run for re-election. If the vote for the charter this November works out, he could vie for county executive; meanwhile he’s announced he has in mind the state governor’s desk.


I regard Billy Shreve fondly; he’s younger than my children. Therefore I am free to advise him to tone down; to put it simply, shut up!


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