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February 17, 2014

A Benedict Arnold in Our Midst

Jill King

Typically, the free-market is there for a profit; it doesn't seem to be the case when comparing print to media in the Frederick area.


Apparently, free advertising is their thing when pimping candidates that they are partial to – upon announcement. While attempts to adversely affect the county executive race and sheriff’s post have been going on for years, their defunct competition – The Gazette – wasn't as soft on the Jan Gardner’s Board of County Commissioners.


There are many ways to reach out during political campaigns. Locally, The Frederick News-Post has printed numerous Letters to the Editor and blog postings from candidates who have declared.


The rules change a little when media, including television and radio, discuss candidates, or give them a shot to express themselves; equal time has to be provided. Radio is dependent on advertising to make its money.


With only one Republican candidate announced for the county executive office, David Gray, it seems odd that he would sign a Letter to the Editor with the opposite party's announced candidate, Jan Gardner. Or does it?


In this letter, the entire Gardner Board projects that it worked together. Also mentioned is the balancing of the budget and braggart ways of mentioning a bond rating. What it doesn't tell is how Ms. Gardner, then president with David Gray as vice president, had great difficulty at the end of the term to the point it had to conduct a closed door budget meeting, with John "Lennie" Thompson boycotting, and wrote a 61-page letter to the state for relief from funding Maintenance of Effort, for the Board of Education.


Yes, it was Commissioner Thompson's goal to have open and transparent meetings all along, but closing a budget meeting in the final year shows there was a cry for help. The Gardner Board’s spending was out of control and even though an economic downturn was apparent, they didn't try to pull in the reins until desperation struck. It left the board elected in 2010 – headed by Blaine Young – with two choices: raise taxes to fund Gardner and fellow commissioners’ spending spree or make hard choices in funding.


If anyone can fake it and make it, certainly David Gray, a member of both boards, has had a long history of deceiving the public. Not only has he had frequent absenteeism, which is well documented, but his opting in to pensions and health benefits, when all other members of the Young Board opted out, shows it is much more than the public's interest and welfare that keeps him on the campaign trail. Some ponder why he changed parties. The answer is simple: he couldn't win as a Democrat in Frederick County.


Being a lifer in a paid public position is not embraced anymore. Maybe Commissioner Gray didn't get that memo either. If he were to be elected county executive, he would finish out his term just short of his 80th birthday. Most people would be enjoying the relaxation and appreciate their home life by this point. So, why would he even consider a run for county executive?


With the threat of Blaine Young entering the race for county executive, the Democrats and some moderate Republicans have embraced Mr. Gray's theories, finding he is a good listener. Those paying attention see that he is clueless in doing any research on his own or preparing prior to meetings.


While trying to make everyone think he is about the people, his recent decision not to vote on the Monrovia Towne Center proposal immediately after announcing his candidacy proves his political posturing.


Unless you have a conflict of interest, the vote is “yes” or “no.” There is no reason a policy maker should abstain in a public meeting. Yes, he was campaigning and thinks this would be attractive to those in the area of impact – or detrimental if he voted the way he normally would have.


Besides his potential conflict of interest that was mentioned in a previous column, one of the questions was: Is he a Trojan horse for the Democrats? Surely, he can't be serious in thinking he can win with the small pot he swears to raise.


Politics has become a game of strategy. His announcement could only possibly be to garner votes in the primary from those unhappy with reducing the size of local government or allowing more development.


Wait... development can't be it. Commissioner Gray has voted for most of the development that has come up during his current term.


The only reason, as far as the eye can see, is that he is a Democratic operative, a sympathizer, a Tory, throwing the Republican Party under the bus to get more votes for Ms. Gardner.


If a run for county executive is announced by Blaine Young, his radio air time will come to a halt at some point. He will not be able to utilize his Mid-Maryland Live program on WFMD/930AM to boost his campaign.


Surely, David Gray was put up to this by the Democrats; he is not county executive material, nor would he have come up with this on his own.


Yes, politics is now about strategy with the struggling two-party systems. Betraying the party to which you belong in order to prop up the opposing party is reprehensible.


Retraining my brain for the future, conferring with the past...


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