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As Long as We Remember...

September 9, 2013

Apathy may bode well for Mayor Randy

Steven R. Berryman

The incumbent mayoral candidate, our Mayor Randy McClement, is adept at flying under the radar. He’s lowest of profile, Teflon coated, and as such has served the City of Frederick well during these last three-plus years.


He’s a gentleman, and I’m comfortable just calling him Mayor Randy.


Having had a plethora of personal dealings with him in my capacities of political novice, activist, homeowners association officer in the city, and columnist, I think I’ve got his number. He frustrates the bejeebers out of me!


How so you ask? Relative to candidate and former Mayor Jeff Holtzinger, Randy just does not draw lightning bolts; nor does he seek them. No land acquisition scandals, no development or annexation complaints, ho hiring or residency concerns. I once ran into Randy at a chance retail encounter, and urged him to offer up to me some minor tidbit of scandal that I could turn into a column. You know, like pleading guilty to a lesser crime.


My theory was to get him on the record for something controversial, in order to keep the Katherine Heerbrandt’s of the world at bay via inoculation…some grist for the mill, as it were.


He paused, thought for a moment, and just in “no news is good news, right….boring, but that’s okay! “ He just wants to run the city...


By contrast, former Mayor Jeff Holtzinger relished the media attention, and usually used it for good...knowledgeable as an engineer/attorney, he was always down in the nuts and bolts.


By contrast, Mayor Randy was an entrepreneur and business owner. He and his wife ran the bagel business, and did funny, homie commercials on WFMD930AM radio.


I first came to know Randy during my first-hand indoctrination into Frederick County Republican politics. As a frequent guest of the Frederick County Republican Central Committee’s monthly meetings under then president Kelly Schultz; all of the potential candidates eventually came through the meeting on Citizens Way for a vetting, some advice, and to be interviewed.


He spoke professionally and passionately about the city he loves, glorified nothing, and seemed to relish the “nice guy image.”


Does Mayor Randy get things done? Yes. He’s “of the people” for one thing. He’s very open to helping out in affairs large and small. In directing issues from traffic calming to extra police patrols when asked in the community of Dearbought, to communications of city happenings right down to security at the Thursday “Alive at Five” concert series, he’s right there.


He personally returns e-mails and Facebook messages in a day or so, and again, is a great liaison with his police department.


From development procedures and financing on the Carroll Creek project, to trash removal scheduling, he’s a go-to manager.


But the man just does not know how to make news, darn-it. And I suspect your average Fredericktonian likes this.


And the man is everywhere; from the “In the Streets” fest, to concerts, from Jekyll & Hyde Tavern for dinner with his lovely wife, Mary Jane, to retail establishments, he will always stop to chat, get your take on subjects of mutual interest, and respond thoughtfully.


An insider Facebook page (one of many) that I publish was jokingly named “The Apathetic Club of Frederick County.” It’s fun to post on, but was inspired by a lack of connection by citizen voters on the basic building blocks of our connections to politics.


The City Primary Elections tomorrow being an operative example of this!


Voters will stay away from the polls in droves, surely underperforming former apathetic under-achievements. Excuses will be like: I had to caulk my building exterior EIFS finishes. And…Time to re-organize my comic book collection again…


I understand. But even though Mayor Randy is no Shelly Aloi – spunky, activist, and worldly – I believe he brings the correct tenor and demeanor to the City of Frederick. He’s proud, driven, and passionate; he’s quiet and does not seek limelight.


Quiet thinkers among our voter base will surely realize this and vote accordingly.


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