Mayor Carol Hirsch?
Since moving to Frederick some 30 years ago, I’ve had my political breath taken away several times. The 2013 municipal mayoral election comes in as the weirdest I’ve ever witnessed locally.
At the filing deadline, Carol Hirsch put her name in the ring, running against Alderman Karen Young and Del. Galen Clagett for the Democratic nomination in the September 10 primary. Her present job is Wal-Mart cashier. She has not been active in civil affairs. A leap of faith? Ms. Hirsch is deaf and hopes to improve life among those similarly disabilitated.
What makes this year initially stranger is that two former mayors have officially given notice they want the office back, Republican Jeff Holtzinger and erstwhile Democrat Jennifer Dougherty. During his four years in the City Hall barrel, Jeff received my criticism hardly; he seemed a well-balanced human being. His decision not to run again surprised. By contrast, I welcomed Jennifer’s.
Back in April, TheTentacle.com colleague Earl “Rocky” Mackintosh noted in his column that I once supported the Mount St. Mary graduate; however, he didn’t mention the reason for the split: Jennifer used official power for personal purposes. I found her, on close examination, too petty and vengeful. The voters made their own choices. She now offers herself as an independent candidate for mayor: an act of brimming ego.
The Democratic primary shapes up as an old-fashioned shoot-out without Ms. Hirsch. What looked like a walk in Baker Park has turned out really a mess for Karen Young. She has accused Galen Clagett of dirty tricks in a poll paid for by her opponent; the supposedly “neutral” survey proved ultimately prejudiced. Galen replied: Grow up! This is the nature of local politics. Not so, I commented.
The delegate may be conditioned by the first time he ran for Maryland’s General Assembly. He had his throat cut by James E. “Doc” McClellan. But since the then-Frederick political boss was forced into retirement by Anita Stup, things have been calmer. Still all’s fair in love and war and politics…
In the nearly 30 years I’ve known Galen, he has always been ambitious. Born in Brunswick, the former educator bust into my house on 4th Street and proceeded to proclaim I was looking at a future congressman; he had much to drink. Still, over time, I came to admire the now-retiring delegate who talks out a corner in his mouth; he’s extremely intelligent. His privately owned Clagett Enterprises are worth several millions, according to estimates.
Going in, Karen Young carried advantages that might have been lost. When she first vied for alderman, I pointed the Young name carried benefits into the polling places. She married into the electoral dynasty that her husband founded. Son-in-law Blaine started the local Tea Party; he appears five-days-a-week on WFMD Radio. They disagree emphatically politically, still Fredericktonians push buttons most frequently on recognition.
Blaine has come under scathing criticism, not without merit. TheTentacle.com July 2, 2013, column “Just For Whom Do They Work?” enumerates several. This Young might be old news when the elections occur.
The only Republican on the Board of Aldermen, Shelly Aloi, decided to face incumbent Mayor Randy McClement because he’d approved police health benefits. She was the other “agin” vote along with Democrat Young. I can’t imagine she will win the GOP primary. From where I sit, Shelly and Jeff will go down in flames.
Of course, the nature of politics is summed up: It’s not over until it’s over.