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March 19, 2014

Charter Elections: A Time for Tri-Partisanship

Patrick W. Allen

It’s time for the Unaffiliated voters, who have been repeatedly disenfranchised, as well as Republican and Democratic Party rank-n-file, who have been often disregarded, to band together and say, “enough is enough.”


To disenfranchise and disregard voters is as unconscionable as the failure by the Charter Writing Board to produce a framework of governance onto which Frederick County will depend following the 2014 elections in November.


Disclaimer: Nothing in this text is intended as an endorsement of any candidate running for office in Frederick County, but rather an attempt to provide an objective and realistic analysis of the political landscape in Frederick County, paying specific focus to political organizations and political races which will have a direct influence and impact on the 2014 election cycle and the county’s future.


County Executive Race. As of today, unless the statistical front runner withdraws…voluntarily or otherwise…this race is over.


The Democrats are putting up an unopposed candidate with Jan Gardner, prior Board of County Commissioners’ president and former staffer to U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski, who gets to skate past the primary and focus her attention on the general.


The Republicans, following the certain charade of a primary with Blaine Young, David Gray and Mark Sweadner, will be putting their money on Blaine Young, current Board of County Commissioners’ president, to run against Jan Gardner in November.


Mr. Young and Mrs. Gardner are both polarizing figures in local politics, depending on the issue and who you talk to, but with a majority of Republican registered voters in the county, and the tribal mentality of a two-party system, Blaine Young will win the General Election.


A Republican win for county executive is a political calculus that Blaine Young has evaluated and realized would result in his favor. Why run for governor and lose in the primary with embarrassing numbers, ending your political career, when you can stay close to home and remain the big fish in a small pond?


County Council Races. These races will be overshadowed by the commissioner form of government retreads, who are looking to continue feeding off the public trough. Blaine Young’s 2010 commissioner voting bloc election slate, along with his former Ethics Commission chairperson and a Planning Commission member, who Mr. Young admits he put on the Planning Commission to give him a fast-track to county council, will be running to maintain Mr. Young’s good-ole-boy leadership over the county.


Kirby Delauter, having previously stated as a commissioner that he should only have to work one day a week, is now seeking a position on the county council that pays half of what he gets as a county commissioner. Does that tell you anything? And the remainder of the commissioner government posse, now on Mr. Young’s 2014 election slate, don’t fare any better.


When you place Kirby Delauter, Billy Shreve, Harold “Bud” Otis and Dwaine Robbins into the “I don’t think so” category, a broad spectrum of new faces and fresh voices emerge to choose from. It’s like picking apples from a tree…toss the rotten ones aside and take home the good ones.


Changing The Expected Course of History. There is a plan afoot, circulating around Frederick County, to have Unaffiliated and Democratic Party voters re-register as Republicans to defeat Blaine Young in the June primary.


This is a misguided and foolish attempt to accomplish the election engineering that many would like to see as a reality. First, there are not enough registered Unaffiliated and Democratic Party voters willing to cross over to make a difference. Secondly, any Democrats that take this step will be outted and ostracized by the local Democratic Party leadership (ye olde Democratic Central Committee).


So, Mr. Smarty Pants, what will it take to make sure that Frederick’s new form of government doesn’t look and act like what we have now?


Well, that is an easy question to answer. However, the short answer needs some background information first.


The principle argument and county-wide discussions are generally centered on the questionable inevitability of the county executive race. With that in mind, the primary consideration for the new county executive for the voters should be that the new executive is a pragmatic thinker, they have a history of working across the aisle (plays well with others) and they have an unquestionable institutional knowledge of Frederick County.


The two obvious challengers in the 2014 county executive General Election do not meet these criteria.


The inauguration of Frederick County’s new form of Charter government does not deserve to begin under a cloud of suspicion and controversy. With eight months until the election, there is no telling what information, investigations and/or indictments will surface regarding those running for office.


The solution is a simple one. When voters begin to cast their votes in November, and are confronted with the Frederick County executive ballot position…simply choose the “Write In” option and enter “David Gray.”


When it comes down to you and the voting machine…set your political party affiliation and your cup of Kool-aid aside. For the benefit of Frederick County, put the best interest of the county ahead of your personal interest or preference.


This is not an endorsement, but rather an objective analysis to select a county executive and county council to build a productive and prosperous future for Frederick County rather than replaying its past. Mr. Gray meets all of the necessary criteria, but each voter will have to make up their own mind as to who gets their vote.


Just in case you need help, it’s spelled “D A V I D    G R A Y.”


With the “Write In” matter settled, voters can now pay close attention to surrounding Mr. Gray with a county council that will work together and with the new executive, a council and new charter government we can all be proud of.


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