Journalistic Black Eye
My Friday TheTentacle.com column was based on Del. Michael Hough’s quote to the local newspaper. Over a couple of days, on my own, I learned Galen Clagett is running for mayor of Frederick – no thanks to The Frederick News-Post!
The political ignorance of the managing editor is to blame. The story should never have stood. His boss should have insisted the reporter dig deeper; he would have discovered that Mr. Clagett is already claiming victory. He brags that the business community is united in his support. In my 30 years of owning homes in downtown, I can testify the delegate has always had enemies in Frederick. When I was his friend, I supported him in lean and triumphant times.
As president of the Board of County Commissioners, his eyes firmly fixed on Annapolis, I recall political boss James E. McClellan pulling me into a North Market Street doorway, alerting that he was afraid of Mr. Clagett’s ability to get more votes than the county machine could. “Doc” McClellan cut Mr. Clagett’s political throat.
Royd Smith spent four years waving a finger in my face – and then vanished. But his single term proved the clout of “Boss” McClellan. Former Board of County Commissioners chief executive Anita Stup proved the machine’s fragility – but too late for Galen Clagett. He wasn’t elected to public office until 2002, 16 years after he left Winchester Hall.
In his last term, the delegate lobbied hard for the charter form of government, as I said in Friday’s column; his obvious goal, becoming the county executive. The electorate voted in November to limit the powers of the commissioners, in favor of a single individual who would – with the board’s advice and consent – make most of the decisions, the job Mr. Clagett honed for in 1991.
But bad luck continues to hold his life enthralled.
The county executive’s position, according to the charter adopted, would forbid him of owning a local business, subject to Winchester Hall – in exchange for $95,000. Clagett Enterprises has more than tripled since 1991; it includes real estate inspection services, property management, B2B Property Management and real estate agents, including state Sen. Ron Young – the husband of his greatest competitor for City Hall’s Democratic mayoral nomination.
Alderman Karen Lewis Young and the retiring delegate will certainly joust in the municipal primary. At a breakfast this weekend, a friend said: “You can be sure, Ron and Karen will ring more doorbells, shake more hands and get on to more front porches, than he (Galen) will.”
A political hurricane is coming into the county. Mr. Clagett knows all about winds of the political sort. Maybe he is so smart that it prevent a battle in the Democratic primary. The Republicans’ gain might receive the top office on Court Street.
As for The Frederick News-Post, at the same breakfast on Saturday, there was general agreement that since George Delaplaine was forced to sell, all the integrity and intelligence have been drained out. We all have no hope in recovery of the local newspaper.