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Trying to shove local politics under your nose since before it was cool: Frederick County Edition

Month

June 2015

Best wishes to Mrs. Otis and Billy behave!

On this last day of June, a fine, fairly mild summer day, the Frederick County Council convened to take care of the business at hand. Before we get into the nitty-gritty of tonight’s meeting , dear readers, we must start off with a message to our BFF Bud Otis. We here at the Local Yokel sincerely hope that your wife is on the mend. We are very glad to hear that our EMT and 911 services are top-notch. And we are sure that since the “everything must be privatized” majority is gone they will continue to receive the funding necessary to keep them so.  Mrs. Otis please accept our virtual flowers and very real well wishes:

flowers

Now to the business at hand. If you were following our drinking game then you had a Stars and Stripes right out of the gate:

imageAt the top of the agenda was Budget Transfers. A fairly common occurrence, quickly discussed and voted on. Should be no surprise that Billy was the main hold out. But that’s become boring to us so let’s go to the next item.

Approval of the Frederick Community College FY 2016 operating budget. Very nicely presented by FCC representative Dana McDonald I must say. She explains how the county contribution has helped the school. Most importantly, how the contribution has helped keep tuition increases low. I don’t know about you but I believe that FCC is a wonderful institution. It’s a great place to start college without the high price tag or to gain a certification or simply expand your knowledge. One would have to be living under a rock to have not heard of the crippling student debt that many young people carry. It would be very hard to imagine that an elected public official would be ignorant of the fact that the high price tag of a Bachelor’s degree is a real concern in these United States of America.

Who is living here?
Who is living here?

Just kidding, we totally can image who…Billy! Not only is he the only one to give this poor woman any grief, but he once again renders a presenter speechless with his inquiries. He wants to know why county residents can’t pay more in tuition if they want to! He wants to know why county residents are given any special “subsidy” at all, because folks he would love to charge them all the out-of-state rate! Every single meeting we are presented with more and more proof that Mr. Shreve is not a big picture kind of guy. I offer this article on the economic impacts of high student debt so Billy can come out of the darkness and into the light. Fortunately, the other council members see the value in an affordable post-secondary educational institution and the budget was approved 6-1.

Time for another item of common occurrence…County Executive appointments. All passed unanimously, except for the planning commission in which Billy is trying to make some point about Trout Run by voting no.

Earlier in the week we posted about item d. on the agenda. Local Yokel is not a fan of giving Mr. Smith any money at this point. Well, the only council member who agreed with us was M.C.. She argued that, “as a lawyer he should have known better.” But with 6-1 she was clearly in the minority and Mr. Smith will be receiving almost $12,000 in legal fees that he claims were associated with his duties as a former county commissioner.

A couple of items about plumbing code and an amendment to the moderately priced dwelling unit bill and then we are on to the big-ticket item: Monrovia Town Center. In short, no decision. Of course Tony would love to see this rushed through and at one point he became very agitated at Jessica for asking a question that he deemed irrelevant. Thankfully, because of the leadership of M.C. Keegan-Ayer, the council is going to review this information on the MTC dating from January 2014 to the present. The council wants to make sure they can make a thoughtful, educated decision about what has certainly turned into a nightmare for everyone involved. Even though Tony wanted a 30 day limit to this thoughtful deliberation, more reasonable heads prevailed and a decision will be deferred until September.

A few thoughts on public comment. It is very sad to us that people have to thank the county council for behaving in a thoughtful, deliberate manner. Shouldn’t that be a given? But that’s exactly what speaker after speaker did this evening. Whether Kirby or Billy want to admit it, the last four years of the board of county commissioners was a dark time in our county’s history. Citizens felt disrespected and it was really frightening to us that our county government was in the hands of a group of people who don’t really believe that government should exist at all.  Billy gave us a flash back of this disrespectful behavior when he openly sparred with a member of our community, and then Jessica, over some concerns this community member has over Route 75. Billy was consistently rude and out-of-order during this whole interaction. As one woman stated, it is embarrassing to think this man represents our county.

Blaine's not there to back you up anymore! It's time to behave if you want to sit at the grown up table!
Blaine’s not there to back you up anymore! It’s time to behave if you want to sit at the grown up table!

Another point concerning public comments is that Tony took the brunt of the criticisms this evening. He was accused of not answering communications, not properly representing his district and the people are not happy! He tried to answer these accusations in his comments, telling people to stop smirking, but it’s fairly evident where Tony’s loyalties lay. He’s got a lot of fences to mend if he hopes for another shot at this council seat.

Is he listening? Time will tell.
Is he listening? Time will tell.

Not sure what’s going on with Kirby lately. He needs someone to fix his microphone because once again it was very hard to hear him. His comment at the end of the meeting was very strange. He announced that he received a text that a cement truck dumped its load on the side of a road and will someone look into it? This all seemed really out-of-place. Why is someone texting Kirby with this information? And why announce it at the meeting? Does he want us to know that people call him as well? Maybe he’s tired of Billy getting all the credit.

We will end this post with a Twitter update from Jen Fifield of the Frederick News Post:

What's this about? What is the developer getting a police escort?
What’s this about? Why is the developer getting a police escort?

Mr. Smith requests the county council pay up…now!

Give Paul Smith $11,000 in legal fees and nobody gets hurt!
Give Paul Smith $11,000 in legal fees and nobody gets hurt!

While perusing the upcoming county council meeting agenda we found this nice little item d:

Paul wants how much?!?
Paul wants how much?!?

So the aftermath of the FACT letter fiasco has left Mr. Smith very poor indeed. He is requesting the county reimburse him the nice little sum of $11,688.53 for all the trouble he has had to go through. In this letter to County Executive Gardner he complains that since she was elected everything has gone wrong for him.

Indeed the County initially did represent me in the filing of a Joint Motion to Quash the subpoena for my testimony. But after the motion was denied as to me, The County did not wish to file a Motion for Reconsideration, and the County filed its own Motion to Remand the appeal case. The County’s position on both of these matters conflicted with my position and my rights. These positions by the County reflected the change in position of the County after the election of the new Executive. It therefore became necessary for me to obtain independent counsel, which I did.

He continues:

Although the subpoena was quashed by the Circuit Court, the Court went on to rule on some other issues that could affect me–rulings with which I disagree.

So there County pay up! Paul disagrees with the county’s refusal to file another motion, Jan’s election, the court’s opinion, a woman’s right to work outside the home and who knows what else. What we love the most about this little packet of papers is the letter sent to Mr. Smith by County Attorney John Mathias.

image

Reminds us of a certain scene from that old 90’s movie “Singles”:

image

As far as it can be told, whether or not there was any wrongdoing concerning the FACT letter is open to debate. Mr. Smith cannot just proclaim himself to be in the right and expect everyone else to follow along. Just because he disagrees with the judge and the new administration’s position doesn’t mean he gets to override it. It will be interesting to see how the County decides on this Tuesday evening.

It’s time for yet another drinking game.

The County Council is set to meet on June 30th at 4:30 pm. We know this may a bit early on a weeknight for some of our faithful readers to start drinking, but it seems like you are really going to need one once you read the agenda. As always, we do not advocate making poor choices regarding the amount of alcohol you consume. Just stay home if you are playing along, or arrange for a ride home. As always, we don’t want to hear Billy complaining that he got a lot of calls for rides.

If Billy bows to the flag at the opening of the meeting, make yourself a Stars and Stripes.

If the Council can not even make it through voting on the Consent Agenda without someone breaking Robert’s Rules drink a Harvey Wallbanger.

If Tony mentions homeschooling as an alternative during the adoption of the FCC budget drink a teacher’s aide.

If the Council seems to approve paying Paul Smith’s legal fees you may need one of these to make sure your hearing is working after all the other drinks you’ve had tonight $11,000 cup of coffee.

If Billy, or anyone else for that matter, throws a fit about affordable housing options toss back a Brain Hemorrhage, since we know you will be close to having one.

If MTC hearings are reopened, Champibbles all around! If not, whatever you can scavenge out of the trashcans in Downtown Frederick on Saturday night will have to do.

This week’s poll question: Who penned this tome?

First off here’s the results from last week’s poll:

Mathilda is really popular this year! I hope she took the American Red Cross babysitting course! As for you four who chose Xenu and Gumption, we hope you are ready to be lectured about the E-meter at the end of the day! It looks as though the three amigos will have their summer wide open!

From a good source we were sent this picture of a letter that is taped to Kirby Delauter’s door at Winchester Hall. This week’s poll question is who penned this tome?

kirbyletter)

English-only ordinance wharblgarbl

Obviously we have already made clear what our perspective is on the repeal of the English only ordinance. In a nutshell, it’s discriminatory. As such, it reflects poorly upon our community. Being a screaming baby is not actually an asset in most circumstances, and it is certainly bad public policy.

Kudos to local blowhard Charles Jenkins for making it crystal barking clear what the problem is with this nonsense. Language barriers have nothing to do with immigration status; one of the biggest reasons to have a problem with English-only ordinances is that they marginalize other taxpayers whose language fluency may not yet be excellent. This is ridonkulous. He is so busy stereotyping people and making insults (Q: what does “nanny state” have to do with this? A: absolutely nothing, but why waste a talking point, amirite?)  that he has lost sight of making a lucid argument, if there were one.

Seriously, what did we read in the FNP today?
Seriously, what did we read in the FNP today?

Being American might mean things are easier if you learn English, but in point of fact the following quote from his column rant is false.

To become American means you adopt our culture, obey our laws, learn some of our history and learn to read and write English.

We do not have a national language. Which means maybe it’s going to be Spanish one day that you have to learn, Charles Jenkins. Language evolves. Instead of “What dost thou propose, ye churlish, white-livered villiago?” nowadays we’re all just like, “WTF?” Maybe (gasp) the language most popularly spoken will change, too. Is that what this is really about? Probably. Oh so scary. What if people who have always been here have to adapt (and they will, because you know how you make money? hint: catering to customers–your Texas raised correspondent can totes see into the future here, promise ya). You know where they are abierto for more people’s business, and a broader tax base? You’ll never guess: Montgomery County. They have a simple “Translate our Website” page with links to online translators. It’s so fancy and expensive, fredericklocalyokel could do it.

Don’t worry, the young ones will figure this out and proceed like, oh, say Canada and Switzerland manage. Some of the stubborn old folks won’t adapt, but we’ve all been around long enough that we all know what your position is on change is anyway.

Randomly Occurring Caption Contest

Yeah, we let our caption contest spiral out of control a bit. Excuse our tardiness in announcing a winner. Uh, drumroll please…

Anonuser takes the prize, uncontested, for the previous contest with “Ne ne na na nu.” We raise our Red Solo Cup to you, Anonymous commenter.

We feel sure you will all enjoy this next contest. Not one of us can look at it without dissolving into fits of giggles. Please revel in captioning this photographic festival of crazy. The more you look at it, the more you see. Like a Where’s Waldo of weird stuff. Enter as many times as you like. Eventually someone will be declared a winner.

Please caption this hot mess! We know you can knock this one out of the park.
Please caption this hot mess! We know you can knock this one out of the park. Photo taken from our dearly departed Gazette: support your local media, peeps!

Your Monday boredom report.

image

If you’ve read our past musings about Billy, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that he likes to post county documents to his Facebook page. Not all, only those that he thinks will get people all riled up. Take for example, that time he posted the legal documents in which Aurora made the county aware they were suing them. More recently he posted the English Language Ordinance repeal bill. No comment, just put it out there. Want to know what it is now? I am sure you don’t, but if I had to look at it:

Since Blaine doesn't have the bully pulpit anymore, I'll take up the torch!
Since Blaine doesn’t have the bully pulpit anymore, I’ll take up the torch!

That’s right it’s the county’s agreement with Regina Williams concerning her employment with Frederick County. Now please notice that this is addressed to Jen Fifield at the Frederick News Post. We applaud reporters for using the Freedom of Information Act and reporting to us what is happening in our government. And from that point of view, we get it! Newspapers are in the business of keeping us abreast of what goes on behind closed doors, without the media our democracy could not exist. Billy’s motives is what bothers us. From the Aurora payment, to the repeal bill to this. I don’t think there’s a whole lot of question as to why this may not have been the best working situation for both the County Executive and Ms. Williams. It was a conflict of interest when she was involved with the President of the Board of County Commissioners and it’s a conflict because she’s still in a relationship with the man who wanted Jan’s job. From every viewpoint this is a human resources nightmare. Billy seems not to know whom he represents. He puts stuff out there, quite often with no comment of his own, and it’s really hard to figure out what his point is. Plus, it’s really getting quite tedious bringing this stuff to light. So Billy, please, please stop it.

Voice support for the repeal of Frederick County’s English-only ordinance

Send a message to your county council representatives to support the repeal of the English Only Ordinance. You can contact them all at once via email at councilmembers@frederickcountymd.gov

Here’s why this makes sense:

  • The ordinance discriminates against and marginalizes English language learners. That’s right folks, people don’t arrive with linguistic fluency on day one. They are actively learning. It does not mean they don’t care to learn, but it can take a lot of time to get there. Having them participate in the community is a positive for all.
  • People who speak another language better than English are also taxpayers. 12.3% of Frederick County residents speak a language other than English inside the home.
  • There is no national language in America. Meyer v. Nebraska (1932) struck down an English only (education) provision. Relevant detail: The protection of the Constitution extends to all, to those who speak other languages, as well as to those born with English on the tongue.
  • It serves no purpose other than to make us look needlessly divisive, ignorant, and xenophobic. It was presented as a way to “send a message.” It does. It’s an embarrassing message to be sending.
  • The U.S. has no national language, yet functions despite this “impediment.” Couldn’t we get by with Frederick County following the lead on this?

    The ACLU, which is part of a group opposed to establishing a national official language, has published a paper detailing reasons that such a move should be opposed. It starts by mentioning an effort by John Adams, in 1780, to establish an official academy devoted to English, a move which was rejected at the time as undemocratic. The ACLU notes past efforts at English-only laws that abridged the rights of non-English speakers or which generally made life difficult for large non-English speaking populations. One example cited in Dade County, Florida, where, after a 1980 English-only law was passed, Spanish signs on public transportation were removed.

    The ACLU believes that English-only laws can violate the U.S. Constitution’s protection of due process (especially in courts where no translation service would be offered) and equal protection (for example, where English-only ballots would be used where bilingual ones were available in the past).

    (http://www.usconstitution.net/consttop_lang.html)

Well, well, well, what do we have here?

I know our readers are going to be shocked by this news. In this morning’s Frederick News Post, we are made aware of the fact that some of Blaine & Co.’s policies were fiscally irresponsible. “How can this be?”, you may be asking yourself. Oh, it be. In addition to extending the life of county vehicles, which seems to have been a huge mistake, the cost of contracting out these repairs has been “twice as expensive as previously expected.” We found this handy article about how mechanics not only charge for their labor, but they also mark up the parts. Therefore it’s super curious as to how it was ever conceived that outsourcing these repairs would ever be cheaper than having a mechanic on staff. Will this guy please explain all this to us?

Well, ummm. Government is bad? Is that the correct answer?
Well, ummm. Government is bad? Is that the correct answer?

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