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June 2, 2014

False Accusations and Winning Elections

Jill King

The ebb and flow of political parties in Frederick County is inflammatory. It is a battle of the will of the people on both sides hoping to claim victory. Propaganda – much like a Stalin-run Soviet Union has emerged in Frederick.


So have very personal public attacks on one’s character and ethics.


Special interest groups are becoming far too desperate in winning seats in Frederick County. Haven't we all learned to drive defensively, knowing that being on the offense is preferred? Offense always gets the most attention, scoring is better than blocking constantly.


Predictions were made that this is going to be the ugliest campaign session in history. Unfortunately, it is far from over, and it is becoming more vitriolic every day. Life lessons have taught us that if you push someone's buttons hard enough, they will react. I personally am guilty of this. It is a tactic that can be effective in certain forums, dependent on the desired outcome.


This could have started at an interview in which Adam Avery asked a question of County Executive candidate Jan Gardner on WFMD’s Frederick’s Forum with Pattee Brown during The Home Show at the Frederick Fairgrounds. When he asked her what municipalities supported her, all she could squeeze out was Middletown and Brunswick. Well, the latter isn't a shock since one of its elected officials sits on the board of Friends of Frederick County, a notorious anti-growth organization. Mrs. Gardner must have cried all of the way home and tried to appear the victim. The show is not available at for those who missed it.


In this instance, Mrs. Gardner was called out on her record. It is very public and easily researched that she had a difficult time getting along with municipalities.


Now, when someone purposely suggests or accuses someone publicly of a wrong doing because they feel they are protected and coached to know the line before it becomes slanderous, we should call their bluff.


Opponents seem fixated on potential conflicts of interest with Commissioner Kirby Delauter who owns a construction business, yet have no such reservations with teachers running for office.


Teachers running can affect half of the county budget, potentially more. Their decisions on budgetary issues would be a direct assault on taxpayers and could provide for the betterment of their incomes. This may not end well, as their income, including first year teachers, as pointed out by others, is well above the average income in Frederick County. There is no reason that raising taxes and raising their pay would be a disadvantage to them, but it will hurt businesses and residents who are being slammed with new regulations and higher prices of goods and services.


Yes, they can and will control what the Frederick County Teachers Association (union) brings to the table and make sure the demands can be met.


A county resident, Chuck Honse, challenged Commissioner Delauter in a public meeting, and even though he said "I believe," he was suggesting a conflict of interest. In an effort to correct the record, Commissioner Delauter faced a man who refused to accept that his time was over, talking over him and refusing to adhere to the etiquette of the meeting.


Was Commissioner Delauter pointing in a threatening manner? Of course not. Anyone that knows him knows that he talks with his hands moving.


Could this have ended better? Sure. Mr. Honse could have sat down, obeyed the rules of the forum when Board of County Commissioners’ President Blaine Young persistently banged the gavel to get the meeting back to order and just listened.


The fact is Mr. Honse was proven wrong though later testimony and he is still claiming to be the victim, or maybe it is just those “anti's” want us to think of him as a victim.


If Mr. Honse felt there was a breach of ethics, he should have followed up with the Frederick County Ethics Board, not made statements in a public meeting about the dynamics of the issue. There is a reason why ethics complaints are to be reviewed in private.


Running to the press, just to be proven wrong, is a move by One Frederick Many Voices, which is run by Washington County resident Kimberly Mellon. Her high hopes of affecting a Frederick County race have once again been foiled.


We are still waiting for a public apology by Mr. Honse and Ms. Mellon for the accusations that they made very publicly in attacking a sitting commissioner’s integrity. Both still have the mindset that their mission was accomplished.


Each one of the examples provided above show that accusations can be tough when attacking someone on a personal level. Records are fair game; personal hits, which control people’s livelihood, their family, or their manner of income, are just wrong, especially when they are concocted and incorrect.


Persuasion comes in many forms. It is better to be honest and not let emotions rule the day. There are no winners or losers, nor victims when you perpetuate lies and false accusations about candidates.


Grown adults should conduct themselves in the best manner; but, just remember, everyone has that breaking point. The conduct and precedent has started. How long before this gets violent and not just sticks and stones?


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


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