Demagoguery and a Questionable Appointment
Currently the hot button land use issue in the county is the Monrovia Town Center (MTC). The last Board of County Commissioners approved the Town Center since it met all criteria set by the state and the county for approval.
Several citizen groups, one in particular, Residents Against the Lansdale Expansion (RALE) have filed suit and is currently in court trying to deny these landowners their right to develop their land, despite the fact that the MTC meets all the guidelines of county code.
The county commissioners heard testimony for in numerous public hearings over approximately eight months on this project and came to the conclusion that the project met the county and state guidelines for development.
Unless there is an appeal filed, MTC will come to the County Council for resolution. The issue at hand is the Frederick Area Committee for Transportation (FACT) letter that was brought up by former Commissioner Paul Smith.
RALE has demonized Commissioner Smith for allegedly using FACT to sway the previous Board of County Commissioners into believing that MD Route 75 in Monrovia would be adequate if and when MTC moves forward.
I was on that Board of County Commissioners and I can tell you with no doubt in my mind that Paul Smith was not using anything to sway opinions, He was simply making sure that all information was available so that sound decisions could be made. Anyone that knows Mr. Smith knows there is not a dishonest bone in his body, and for RALE to suggest he is somehow dishonest in what he did is just plain wrong and vindictive.
The MTC brings me to my next question. Why was Bob White appointed to the Planning Commission? Mr. White has been a member of Friends of Frederick (FoF) for a number of years; and, while he has held a position on its board of directors, this group has been suing Frederick County for more than five years, mainly in reference to land use issues, including MTC. So, County Executive Jan Gardner puts Mr. White up for appointment and the County Council had to approve that appointment.
It was brought up that Mr. White was a board member of a group that is suing the county over land use issues for a number of years. The argument was made that he – just a week before his nomination by Ms. Gardner – stepped down as a board member of FoF, so appointing him should not be an issue.
This makes about as much sense as our federal government using names such as Kiowa, Apache, Longbow, and Lakota for names of military attack helicopters, yet they consider the name “Redskin” unacceptable for the name of a football team.
Who comes up with this nonsense? Worse yet, who accepts it? In the case of placing Mr. White on the Planning Commission, it wasn’t a matter of accepting it, it was literally shoved down the throats of the council and the 27-plus other applicants who applied but were never even given an interview.
So, we now have a person, who up until a few weeks ago was actively participating in suing Frederick County, appointed by our county executive and approved by four members of the County Council, to help decide planning decisions in Frederick County.
As I mentioned, we also had many other candidates who never (yes, never) received an interview. Bob White was the slam dunk for the county executive, all she needed was four votes from the Council and she got her wish.
She did receive the four votes, three Democrats and one Republican vote from Council President Bud Otis, who was the swing vote confirming the appointment.
So, now we have a person who has been actively suing the county over land use issues, now serving on the county’s Planning Commission who decides, yes……land use issues.
The inmates are now running the asylum.