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January 23, 2015

Sticks and Stones

Joe Charlebois

It has been a great week for County Councilman Kirby Delauter. Not so much for fellow Republican and District 4 State Delegate Kathy Afzali. Three weeks ago at the Vigilant Hose Co. banquet, Ms. Afzali sent an anonymous text message to Frederick County Sheriff Chuck Jenkins that has her in hot water.


That text message made everyone forget about Mr. Delauter’s missteps. Mr. Delauter, in a frustrated moment, attacked The Frederick News-Post on social media. In airing his grievances he threatened a lawsuit against the paper for not seeking authorization to use his name in print. The county councilman realizes that we have the First Amendment and that his reaction to what he deemed as inaccurate reporting was mishandled. He has since apologized.


This week Delegate Kathy Afzali’s immature text messages and subsequent radio interviews did little to show that she is one that keeps her emotions in check when she feels she is being attacked. Ms. Afzali said that she thought she was in a private moment when she texted Sheriff Jenkins.


When the texts became public the delegate doubled down on her ensuing public comments on WFMD. On Mid-Maryland Live, Ms. Afzali continued her insistence that the sheriff was a “wimp” and “phony,” the same words she used in her text message.


Ironically, Ms. Afzali – as well as Maryland State Sen. Michael Hough – continues to insist that Sheriff Jenkins was somehow demeaning them on WFMD’s Saturday morning program Frederick’s Forum with Pattee Brown. Although Ms. Brown used the monikers “Icky” and “Power Ranger” for Delegate Afzali and Senator Hough respectively, Sheriff Jenkins did not use the derogatory names being used by Ms. Brown. Senator Hough falsely claims that the sheriff did indeed disparage his fellow Republicans.


Ms. Afzali likewise has continued to blast the sheriff for calling her names on the radio despite the fact that it can be proven that he did not.


Locally, Republicans just can’t keep from hurting themselves. The image of Frederick County’s political scene is taking a beating.


What has led to this self-implosion is the lack of politically sound decision making by the Frederick County Republican Central Committee FCRCC).


There has been no attempt to bring Frederick County’s Republican Party together by building a coalition. The FCRCC, “whose primary purpose is to work for the betterment of the Republican Party in Frederick County,” ignored the logical choice to fill the open delegate seat vacated by newly appointed Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation Secretary Kelly Schulz.


The logical choice in this case would have been to include Wendy Peters of Mount Airy in the final three candidates interviewed by the FCRCC. Those who supported the nomination of Ms. Peters point out that she was the next highest vote getter in the last primary election. She even beat out the eventual nominee Barrie Ciliberti, who will be presented to Gov. Larry Hogan as the nominee to fill the vacated District 4 delegate seat.


The FCRCC made a mistake in completely bypassing Ms. Peters in the nomination process. Instead the FCRCC looked to consolidate its power by presenting Mr. Ciliberti as the nominee over former Del. Paul Stull. The fact that Ms. Peters didn’t make the final three of nearly two dozen who submitted applications is indicative of the FCRCC’s need for control and power.


It is clear that as this drama proceeds there are now two distinct factions within Frederick County’s Republican Party – those who support Chuck Jenkins, Kelly Schulz and David Brinkley and those who stand behind Michael Hough, Kathy Afzali and Barrie Ciliberti.


Delegate Afzali, needs to offer a sincere apology to the sheriff, her constituents, and the citizens of Frederick County which she represents as the chairman of the Frederick delegation for the embarrassment this has caused our county. Then, and only then, will we be able to put this behind us as a regrettable mistake.


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