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December 30, 2019

2019 In The Rearview Mirror

Jennifer Baker


As we close out 2019, let’s take a look back together at the great moments in county government we were witness to this year in Frederick.

A new county council was sworn in at the beginning of the year with a Democrat majority. Jan Gardner defeated Kathy Afzali in the 2018 election to start her second and final term as County Executive.

The new county council started out with a bang as the Monocacy River Board Plan update was up first for completion. The Monocacy Plan was a joint effort by Carroll and Frederick Counties and after much debate and revision a new plan was agreed to by both counties. Sadly, while Carrol County was able to pass the revised river plan, Frederick County played political football with it and punted it to the new county council. They then voted it down, disbanded the board and decided to just roll all things Monocacy River into Livable Frederick.  Confused?

The summer brought new allegations from local RISE Coalition with accompanying protests when the Sheriff, after last year’s meeting was continually interrupted by protestors inside and outside of Frederick County decided to cancel the yearly meeting on the 287g program.

Ethics become the next highlight of the year.  After RISE announced a new lawsuit against Frederick County, Councilwoman Jessica Fitzwater promoted and marched in a RISE protest against the county she was elected to represent and highlighted it on her political Facebook page.  Video from the county council ethics training was explicit in how county council members were allowed to engage organizations. Sadly, while the ethics panel voted to move the ethics complaint forward the county attorney dismissed the complaint without any understandable reason.

The drama around the 287g program continued on with calls for an audit of the Sheriff’s department.  An audit that simply had to be done by an independent auditor. In “bipartisan” fashion, Councilmen McKay and Blue decided to join Democrat county councilmembers in agreeing to an independent audit with the thoughts that it would surely end the drama with the Sheriff and 287g.

Unfortunately, the audit was soon panned by RISE members as invalid and not proving anything.  County residents can feel good about the money spent on that, right?

The fall brought Livable Frederick to the forefront in the county council. Council members decided that while drug use and infrastructure demands remain, Frederick would instead prioritize the “climate crisis” as a county priority. Eastalco after much debate in Livable Frederick, remains a land without a real purpose, with its rail system and usable utilities left to waste away.

December brought yet another great moment to close out the year with the new balloon ban. Mylar and rubber are no longer welcome in Frederick and parents be aware to double knot those Sponge Bob balloons on your child’s wrist as there will soon be a fine for any that happen to rise to the sky. After all it’s just another litter law that technically is unenforceable and will cause law enforcement to divert resources to tracking balloons…right Councilman Dacey?

Happy New Year Frederick. 2020 should be interesting.


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