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September 26, 2013

Autumn Full of Likes and Dislikes

Patricia A. Kelly

Summer is gone, in a flash. As I clean the garden for winter, cutting down plants I hardly remember enjoying, much of autumn activity has already passed, in spite of summer officially ending only a few days ago.


The Great Frederick Fair has come and gone. Plenty of business this year, but fewer animals. Does that portend ill for Frederick as a farming community? I hope not.


I heard an earful from a dairy farmer's wife, who says her husband works seven days a week, and was able to take only $20,000 in salary out of the farm this year. She said that regulation is killing them, and that she wouldn't encourage her children to continue this family tradition, passed down on both sides, because she doesn't want to see them work so hard for so little. Although the family is opening a farm-related side business and hopes it will increase revenue, her full-time salary is what keeps them going now.


Most interesting besides her comment about the number of animals shown was her assertion that the biggest polluter of the Chesapeake Bay in terms of nitrogen runoff is not farms, but the Baltimore-Washington Thurgood Marshall International Airport. According to her, farms are the only ones impacted by legislation attempting to improve things.


Frederick's In the Streets Festival coincided with the first official day of the Fair. Whether it decreased attendance is uncertain – from what I've been told.


School has started, of course, and, on Tuesday I attended a local charitable organization's scholarship donors meeting. We were told the number of scholars applying has been decreasing. It seems that students aren't willing to go through the application process, which, in response, is being streamlined for their benefit. We were also told that a significant number of promised letters of recommendation weren't sent, disqualifying those applicants. This year the applicants will be allowed to retrieve the letters and send them in themselves.


Just think of the effort donors have expended to scholarships in our community. I would hope that potential recipients and their supporters will step-up to the plate this year and take advantage of the opportunity so many have worked so hard to give them.


This month is the anniversary of the September 11, 2012, attack on our Benghazi, Libya, Consulate. The looming debt limit expansion crisis and the attack on the shopping mall in Kenya have certainly diverted our attention.


Senator Ted Cruz (R., TX) talked for 21 hours in favor of defunding Obamacare in association with a continuing resolution to fund the government into December. That's quite a filibuster.


Other news this week includes President Barack Obama's fairly conciliatory speech at the United Nations, followed six hours later by Iranian President Hassan Roukani's fairly conciliatory speech. Roukani promised that nuclear weapons will never be a result of Iran's nuclear enrichment program, and compared U.S. sanctions to violent and unjustified attacks on Iran. Not too conciliatory....


City elections are coming. There will be a debate on October 18, perhaps a good chance to get a better handle on whom to elect. Turnout at the primaries was abysmal. The population of Frederick City is 65,000, with a workforce of 20,000.  Frederick's turnout in the national elections is normally above 70% of the electorate. Turnout during the primary was less than 15%. That means that 4,082 of the population of 65,000 decided the outcome. So much for separating local from national elections to increase attention.


All politics being local, and the running of our city being one thing you can do something about, I urge you all to register to vote, and to actually turn out on November 5. Now would be a good time to start learning about the candidates, if you haven't already. It won't take that much time. Elected officials can usually count on the electorate to stay busy making the money that supports them, and thus, not have time to figure out what they're up to. Let's not let that happen here. The future of our city depends on us.


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