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March 23, 2015

Scorched Earth and Winchester Hall

Norman M. Covert

I’ve been off line for some time because of medical and other issues, which have nothing to do with old age or clear reasoning. I feel like Dr. Seuss’ and his “Green Eggs and Ham.” I have tasted the Winchester Hall cooking and “...I don’t like it, Sam I am.”

Herbs and spices cannot reverse the bitterness many express. Charter government monarch Jan Gardner has achieved what clear thinkers feared before the November election. Her shredder is filling up; her decisions have been ineptly challenged; she feels no restraint to her agenda and R.I.N.O. Bud Otis, confused president of the county council, is her lap dog.

Miz Jan appears dead set – like the legendary Yankee Gen. Ulysses Simpson Grant – on a scorched earth policy in Frederick County. She will, by cracky, undo every positive action taken by our last Board of County Commissioners. She will succeed.

Shame on my friend Blaine Young. He displayed great skill and élan the past four years righting this county in a time of fiscal and social crises. Curiously, he abandoned us his last 100 days in office. Blaine apparently left his political savvy along his taxi route as the election loomed in the summer.

Understandably Blaine’s personal life was off track. His conversion, like Saul on the Road to Damascus, earned no empathy despite his sincerity. His public confession was ridiculed in the Daily Blather’s sophomoric editorial sheets.

Nevertheless, it is clear he forgot his constituents depended on him; they are convinced he blew the election and war chest before the first shots were fired.

Clearly amateurism and immaturity are afflicting both Democrat and Republican council members. Elected representatives must do their homework – a snow day is no excuse for not knowing the laws and their job descriptions.

The People demand integrity in their elected leaders, but that quality seems hidden like the mice in Winchester Hall. Nothing is to be gained by revamping the ethics commission if it cannot make determinations unfettered. The situation is an affront to the citizens. The calendar, optimistically, provides time for our leadership to right itself!

I listened last Friday to radio host Tim May on 930WFMD (“High atop Grove Hill Road… the best day of your life.…”). Miz Jan was his guest. Too bad there was no camera to show the county executive’s face as he tossed out good questions and challenged her answers.

Miz Jan dodged and “rope-a-doped” (see Muhammad Ali) trying to justify shenanigans in her first 100 days in office. She claimed to have legal legs to stand on, apparently having cowed county attorney John Mathias.

There is more to come. Apparently Miz Jan has all the testosterone right now.

Radio gadfly Tim often rails about Charter Government surprises, from its budget overruns to the abuse of employees. The charter, overwhelmingly approved by the electorate, was brought to us by a well-meaning group of solid citizens. The authors obviously missed the variable that unskilled, potentially nefarious and agenda-driven individuals can skew the outcome.

Santa put coal in our stockings, it seems. Chaos permeates Winchester Hall. County employees admit low morale and confusion about where they might be four years from now.

Clearly the inmates are back in charge of the asylum – along with the usual suspects.

Consider that the appointment last week of Bob White to the Planning Commission is a real coup for Miz Jan and “The Friends of Frederick,” who are determined to reverse our growth and prosperity. Defenders are saying the affable Bob can recuse himself on any issue that includes law suits in which he was a signatory. Realistically, he won’t be able to cope with it all and should just stay home.

I agree that we have a bitter pill to swallow with this Charter Government dodge. We have not saved a penny; not gained or lost a whit in Annapolis. We cannot afford anymore demagoguery from Winchester Hall, but Miz Jan has her “Friends.”

“I would not, could not! I do not like it, Sam, I am!”


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