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April 9, 2014

Charter Prospects and Usual Suspects

Patrick W. Allen

If your county votes to inaugurate a new and sovereign form of government, and you are guaranteed that polarizing political retreads will be gifted with positions of leadership, do you really have a new and sovereign form of government?


For Frederick County, this election cycle should be a time for celebration; but instead, it will quickly deteriorate, as it is, into a mud wrestling match. Blind loyalties and arm-twisting, backroom deals will dominate the public square discourse.


Legions of partisan surrogates will focus their barbed rhetoric toward the top of the ballot county executive race, stealing all available oxygen from qualified down ballot county council candidates to introduce themselves to the electorate. Repeatedly, throughout this election cycle, surrogate Letters To The Editor will appear in Frederick’s remaining newspaper, advocating or opposing the 10 reasons why one executive candidate should be selected rather than the other.


Let The Coronations Begin. At the county executive level, this election cycle looks more like a two-party coronation process than a legitimate electoral process.


The Queen. Long before Jan Gardner made her decision to run for county executive, her posse had already begun planting the seed for her candidacy. Using a play from the Hillary Clinton playbook, Mrs. Gardner’s surrogates made sure that Democrats resigned themselves to the fact that Mrs. Gardner would be the Democratic choice (a.k.a. 2012 Garagiola For Congress coronation scheme). In other words, others need not apply.


The King. Blaine Young has taken a noticeably different tact toward constructing the county executive office into his new political residence. Mr. Young realizes that being county executive is not enough, not enough to continue his dictatorship over the citizens unless he can also manufacture a voting bloc majority on the new county council. To do that, the Slate Scheme is being resurrected from 2010 for reuse in 2014. With a war chest full of money and promissory notes, Mr. Young seems to be well on his way to measuring the drapes.


Executive Summary. At some point during this election cycle, these two candidates will have to confront several serious issues which directly link each to the other and have been in the public domain for over a year. With an astonishing lack of local news media investigative reporting, citizens will have to ask their own questions and demand answers regarding numerous allegations against Mr. Young and Mrs. Gardner’s conspicuous silence.


Or, the electorate can pretend these issues do not exist and once again embrace the status quo.


For the established political parties to look backwards and repurpose recycled candidates to move Frederick County into the future under a banner of new government is troublesome and will serve to be problematic. Given the palpable partisan divide, which exists among the county’s electorate, it will ensure that it continues for years to come.


King or Queen, We’ll Still Need a Court. Looking down the list of competitors, across the political spectrum, running to become a member of Frederick County’s new Charter government county council, you’ll see a handful of names that are easily recognizable as well as a handful of names you should get to know.


This year’s Charter government election is far too important to rely on name recognition alone, as if this were a high school popularity contest. The issues and future of Frederick County are also far too important to take an apathetic position regarding the seven member county council.


Corrupt, crooked or crazy – no one gets a free pass, regardless of political party affiliation.


Continuing with this week’s theme: Why would anyone consider recycling politicians associated with the commissioner form of government? …the list of viable candidates for county council can be whittled down to a manageable few by removing the usual suspects.


Hey, it’s election year. What do you say we toss a little mud around?


Harold “Bud” Otis, former chairperson, Frederick County Ethics Commission and running as an at-large council candidate with his own history of questionable ethics [1], completely failed in his sworn obligation to the citizens when he denied an ethics complaint [1] [2] against Blaine Young.


Without a doubt, Mr. Otis understood that the allegations against Mr. Young contained criminal offense implications, but he chose instead to look the other way. In some circles, that is known as quid pro quo, politics as usual or status quo.


This columnist applies a different label to Mr. Otis’s betrayal of sworn responsibilities and distorted loyalty to the good ole boy style of Frederick County politics.


Kirby Delauter, Billy Shreve and Dwaine Robbins are men of differing political party affiliations, but documented Blaine Young patrons. Each are also named in a 20-page ethics complaint [2] document which is currently pending somewhere between the Frederick County attorney’s office, the Maryland State Attorney General and the Maryland Office of the State Prosecutor.


There are additional Blaine Young political groupies running for council, their names can be found on the Blaine Young endorsement list.


County Council Summary. There are a number of qualified candidates running for Frederick County’s Charter county council, without having to resort to recycling persons of questionable judgment and ethics.


So, for the folks who actually care about what happens to Frederick County’s future, the qualified and non-tarnished candidates should be on your voting inclusion list.


But, for the Blaine Young Kool-aiders and groupies, Mr. Otis, Mr. Delauter, Mr. Shreve, Mr. Robbins, Wayne Creadick and others represent extraordinarily bad choices whose vision for Frederick will continue to stunt the county’s evolution as a progressive metro Washington area county.



Sources and References

[1] Financial Loss in Columbia Union, Parts I and II

[2] Ethics Complaint                    

[3] Ethics Commission Violations 


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