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October 29, 2012

A Big Heart in the Wrong Place

Cindy A. Rose

It’s tough to get a decent crowd of people to a local debate. Let’s face it; it's hard to compete with the San Francisco Giants vs. the St. Louis Cardinals, the last presidential debate and the thing that almost kept me home, The Voice.


Go Team Ceelo (he has Nicholas David and Trevin Hunte, my picks for this season), but I digress.


I was pleased last Monday (the 22nd) when a fairly decent number of people showed up at Frederick Community College for the debates for the 6th and 8th Congressional districts and the Frederick County Board of Education.


My pleasure was short lived, however, because the crowd thinned as the congressional portion of the evening came to a close and the local Board of Education segment began. I was extremely disappointed when State Sen. Ron Young left and took six or eight people with him.


I don’t know, but as a local elected official, even if you know who you are voting for, I think out of respect for the candidates he and his entourage should have stayed.


Not only did they leave the auditorium, but they hung out in the hall making enough of a disturbance to those of us inside, I was compelled to go out and inform them they were being a bit loud. To their credit, they apologized and took their conversation elsewhere.


I understand Congressman Roscoe Bartlett departing; at 86 he’s lucky to be vertical at all, let alone after 8 P.M. Certainly Senator Young remembers what it was like to be on a stage debating and then be marginalized when half the crowd left after the “big guns” walk off the stage?


In case you don’t pay attention to politics and specifically, the Board of Education race, let me tell you it’s an extremely important race, one you might want to pay attention to. Our seven member school board oversees the spending of over a half a billion dollars.


Knowing how this election is going should be on the top of everyone’s list. It’s one of the few elections that allows the voter a significant amount of control over how this huge sum of money is spent. Finding out about who the players are and learning where they stand is crucial if you care about where your tax dollars are going.


If you had gone or paid attention to the clean-up team of the evening, you would have walked away enlightened on something I’ve been trying to call attention to for awhile now. Katie Groth, as much as I like her personally, knows nothing about the budget.


God bless moderator, Cliff Cumber, for asking Mrs. Groth the following question: "What are your operations budget funding priorities? Where would you cut the budget, and where would you increase spending?" Katie’s answer: Eyes raised to the heavens, fidgeting and a big fat, “I don’t think there’s any place the budget can be cut,” paraphrased by me.


Really, Ms. Groth? I’ve personally told you where you can save roughly $970,000.00* via 21st Century Learning Centers. Even with a Steve Hess report in hand that showed no measurable benefit of the program and a United States Department of Education report that said the program is actually harmful, Ms. Groth decided to renew it anyway. Her big heart is a detriment to the taxpayers of the county.


I love her big heart. I applaud her big heart. However, her big heart belongs in the private sector where I will gladly join forces with her and help all the inner city, environmentally and socially challenged children in the county.


Ms. Groth was like a deer in headlights. She could not come up with one thing to cut from a half billion dollar budget, partly because she doesn’t understand the budget (she told me as much), but mostly because she‘s too kind.


Our schools and our taxpayers cannot afford four more years of her failure to understand the financial aspects of our school system coupled with her very generous giving.


For these reasons I’m voting for the two fiscal conservatives on the ticket: Colleen Cusimano and Tony Chmelik.


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