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

Month

April 2016

Special education (or, why don’t words have meaning?)

In an incredibly frustrating move this past week, the Maryland State Board of Education rejected the possibility of opting out of standardized PARCC testing for Maryland students. Including special education students.
Now, the Yokels have made no secret that we don’t think Cindy Rose’s candidacy is anything special in itself. Over testing of students and onerous curriculum restrictions that impede teachers’ efficacy in their classrooms are concerns shared by absolutely all of the school board candidates running for election in 2016, even if Rose is much angrier and more aggressive in the tone she takes. This issue simply does not make her special enough to stand out from the pack –at least not in any positive light.
That said, just as we criticized her willingness to paint the special education students with a broad brush that could prevent their achievement, this criticism is equally true of the state board’s position. There appears to be absolutely no reason for it, according to the FNP’s editorial from April 30, 2016.

But looking at the statistics of students aged 6 to 21 served under IDEA, it appears unlikely that offering the opt-out option to the parents of severely mentally impaired students would threaten federal funding. According to the Maryland Board of Education’s own Fact Book for 2013-2014, which contains enrollment statistics, 102,578 students were in special education out of a total population of 866,169. Of those, 30,876 were classified with specific learning disabilities — about 3.6 percent of the total school population; 8,095 were classified as having developmental delays. While the fact book doesn’t outline specific details of how many severely mentally disabled students are served statewide, it’s hard to imagine they comprise more than a fraction of that 3.6 percent, and that not testing them would come close to violating that federally required 95 percent.

Special education and IEPs (individualized education programs) are antithetical to standardization. Individualized is not standardized. They are opposites. Why on Earth would you take a child receiving highly individualized services, and then try to make them function in a standardized situation? It defies reason. Wasting the time it takes to administer tests simply so they can check the “done” box when you are working with a student whose learning objectives have nothing whatsoever to do with the test is the very definition of absurdity.
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We do wish that Mrs. Rose would take up her issue with the Maryland State Board of Education. They appear to need someone to come along and rattle their cage, and she seems like just the lady for a bull-in-the-china-shop sort of task. Maybe she can teach them a thing or two about the meanings of words (but lets keep the four letter ones she likes so much out of it). If she comes back to town with some educational experience to put on her resume, that might have a great outcome for everyone invested in Frederick County Public Schools.

Hyperbolic happy fun time…Billy vaporizes the English language.

Not sure Sweetums. Sorry you had to be exposed to this!
Not sure Sweetums. Sorry you had to be exposed to this!

So Billy’s wordsmithing again. We know, we know, you don’t want to look. We’ll try to sum it up as nicely as we can. But it is always helpful to see the words first hand. A friend of the Yokel recently told us that the best strategy is to hand the idiot the microphone and let them do their thing.

Before we get into the breakdown, besides Kirby, does any other elected official go around writing terrible things about their co-workers? Seriously folks, is this a thing anywhere else? Or are we just special here in Frederick County? We sure as hell know that in any other workplace situation this type of behavior would be grounds for dismissal. He doesn’t just argue points of disagreement he says things like this:

Frederick County is being ruled, not governed. Is this what you wanted when you voted for Charter Government? One person rules the County? Bud Otis has allowed the County Council to be diminished to vapor. Bud is being lead around like a trained monkey by the Democrats.

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You know, we here at the Yokel are feeling generous today so we are going to try and help Billy out. Instead of of saying the county council has been vaporized and Bud is being led around like a trained monkey, perhaps something like this:

“I have some real concerns that the county council has not had enough input on the budget process. I also feel as though President Otis is not listening to my concerns. Perhaps we can set up a time and talk about this like grown men? How about next Tuesday at 1:00?” And then Billy, you listen and communicate like the grown up you are suppose to be!

Isn’t that so much nicer? And maybe, just maybe your fellow council members would be more willing to listen to what you have to say. We can imagine that your co-workers and the County Executive may not want to deal with someone who refers to them as tyrants, monarchs, incompetents and primates. But maybe that’s just us.

Let’s continue with the diatribe. Even though Billy has done this budget thingy for 5 years he still can’t get it. Despite the others talking with the head of every department and the budget director (who seems like a very knowledgeable and friendly fellow who has yet to be jaded by Billy’s antics) offering his help and advice at every step of the way, it’s not enough. So Billy tries to disparage his fellow council members (sans two of course):

Your tax dollars, $550 million of them controlled and approved by a history teacher, music teacher, PTA activist, and former Washington bureaucrat. None of them are qualified to review a $550 million budget, none of them CPA’s, none of them with any previous budget experience.

What do you do exactly Billy? How many people in our U.S. Congress are CPAs? Or what about in the State House? Good Lord, grasping at straws. If he feels, after 5 years of doing this, that he still can’t get it, then maybe, just maybe it’s time to admit this isn’t the job for him.

The end goes like this:

Bud Otis did make one budget request this year…. He wants a security detail for himself. He calls it executive protection. The comments on his Facebook page, your calls and emails.… He wants protection.

We looked through the budget and could find no such request. And if Bud does feel like he needs protection, we bet it’s for good reason. It’s not out of the realm of possibility that Bud has been receiving threats and at times may feel unsafe. And IF that is the case, Council Member Shreve, perhaps you share some responsibility in that.

Brace yourself: Billy’s shenanigans are coming.

Well, maybe not the best. But at least it sure makes Billy whine.
Well, maybe not the best. But it sure makes Billy whine.

Oh Yokels, we cannot begin to convey to you how torturous it is listen to a budget meeting populated by Tea Partiers whose very mission is to dismantle it. But we did…you’re welcome!

The beginning of our meeting tonight was a presentation by County Attorney Mathias over amendments to the charter. Some dates…The  council must have any proposed changes in by July 29th, as well as any petitions from the public. The changes will then go on the November ballot to be voted aye or nay by the public. Now Billy has been getting tons of calls (we know Billy loves taking your calls) from the public asking how to get the old BOCC system back. Now he’s just asking questions folks! He wants to know how many signatures and just how quickly the charter system will be thrown out. Because sure, let’s give up after less than two years.  Quitter.

 

And all of us as well!
And all of us as well!

So Yokels, now we are going to have to be on the look out for this petition. Because we just know it’s going to happen.

So on to the budget amendments. Three hours worth, and they had to cut it short.

Kirby goes off on the amount of time they have to review the budget. M.C. agrees and almost makes his head explode. However, they are constrained by the charter and the timeline within. Therefore, make an amendment to the charter for this November. We are reasonable folks, Kirby. We’ll give that to ya!

Tony doesn’t like to create jobs. Questions many, many new positions. It gets quite tiresome. But the creme de la creme was his suggestion to remove $4.5 million to the  BOE to teach them a lesson. He wants to “hold their feet to the fire” on the issue of teacher salaries. He reasons if we take the money away but hold it in some little secret bunker they will be forced to deal with this. Seems to us that they’ve been wanting to do that but some old BOCC wouldn’t give them the funding. Is this really about keeping the MOE number down? We think so. Doesn’t pass, which Tony admits he knew would happen. Budget director also has to warn him of unintended consequences of such an act. 20 minutes wasted.

Even though there is a clear process for a non profit to get money from the county (they have to fill out forms and be investigated), Tony still feels like we are picking the winners and losers. Kirby will write you a check. Well, unless you are a local high school football team, but he doesn’t want to force others to. Then, M.C. comes to the rescue about how government should help those less fortunate. Doesn’t fit into their worldview though.

More quibbling over that timeline, because Kirby has many (according to Billy, anyway, there will be many–possibly substantive–budget amendments). But, Kirby is late with his budget amendment homework because what he was scribbling on probably blew away when he was peen’ in the side yard. That was a half baked version (his own words–yep–he’s just got a “half baked” thing). Of course, there was no time to think on this, because that charter that Blaine needed is very tricky. So, again, in his own words, he’s just gonna send em in a e-mail. Does anyone remember Kirby’s nonsense budget last budgeting season? Because this feels a lot like that, but it is due by noon on Thursday. But not if its substantive.

If there is any question at all in anyone’s mind that the basic approach of certain partisans is to absolutely destroy a functioning government so that they can sit back and watch it burn (and then tell you what a clusternut the whole thing is) it would really behoove said skeptic to watch a local government function that incorporates the input of two or so Tea Party jesters.

Don’t go back to Rockville…

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John who?

So we heard that John Kasich made an appearance in Rockville yesterday.  We don’t know any Yokel that actually attended. Yawn. Shouldn’t he be hanging around with O’Malley by now?

Billy is going to bend the county council procedures to his whims!! Your April 26th county council workshop edition.

Zeus give us strength!
Zeus give us strength!

Continue reading “Billy is going to bend the county council procedures to his whims!! Your April 26th county council workshop edition.”

You don’t get to gloat unless you go out and vote!

Do it!
Do it!

If you haven’t taken advantage of Maryland’s early voting, then makes sure you get off your butt and vote today. You need to choose your party’s Presidential candidate, Senator, Congressperson and delegates to the party convention. And let us not forget our own local school board race. Please pick three from this slate of wonderful, qualified candidates:

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What’s that you say? You thought there were 8 candidates. Well, yes, but you can read about the 8th one here. Lots of good reasons to steer clear of that one. Do your civic and yokel duty and exercise that right that our ancestors have paid for with their blood, sweat and tears.

Putin for Prez?

Our faithful readers will remember way back when Kirby and Billy equated Jan to a tyrant. We did a whole post illustrating the difference between an actual tyrant and someone whose political viewpoints differ from your own. Well, sorry Yokels but it seems as though we are going to have to re-visit that point. In the Yokel mailbox we found this:

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This isn’t the first time we’ve seen some Putin lovin’ on Kirby and other Obama hater’s pages.  Before there is a call to do this:

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Maybe we should do a little investigatin’ into this  Putin character:

  1. He invaded and annexed a portion of Ukraine.
  2. He jails journalists and entertainers who speak out against him.
  3. He sold arms and has supported a known genocidal ruler.
  4. He allegedly has billions of dollars in offshore accounts.
  5. His aircraft has been “buzzing” U.S. ships.

This list is very incomplete. If you want to read more about President Putin, fire up Google.

So maybe if Obama invaded and annexed Nova Scotia, jailed some liberal Hollywood actors or maybe a certain English editor that Kirby thinks is mentally ill, then he will be a fan. Sounds pretty reasonable to us. Why does it seem as though those who rail against tyranny are always the fans of the tyrant?

 

How low can we go?

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You may have heard that the scourge of modern day American politics slithered his way out to Hagerstown yesterday. What you may not have heard is that Blaine, Kirby and Billy decided to get the band back together so they could scream like a bunch of groupies at a Justin Bieber concert.

Someone needs to work on their selfie technique. What's going on with Kirby? And poor Billy, put in the back again.
Someone needs to work on their selfie technique. What’s going on with Kirby? And poor Billy, put in the back again.

Blaine, Kirby and Billy have all been very vocal about their support of Trump. Billy seems especially giddy over the possibility of a Trump presidency. Look what he said to the FNP:

Shreve, who is also running as a delegate to the national convention, said Trump’s comments mirrored the campaign promises of himself and Delauter.

 

“It’s really similar to the things we said when we ran for office. He said, ‘We’re open for business,’” Shreve said after the speech. “If he wins, you’re going to see our style of politics get big again in Frederick County.”

Hear that folks? “Really similar.” And do we want that “style” of politics back in Frederick County?

We’ve made no secret how we feel about Trump, and how dangerous his rhetoric is. Not to mention the fact that he has absolutely no experience nor does he possess the temperament to be President of our fine nation. It’s nice to know some of our local politicians admire these traits in him.

 

What a week it’s been!!!

So much has happened this past week in Ye Olde Fredericktowne that your friendly Yokels have decided to do a weekly roundup. Let’s start with the County Council and happy budget fun time.

We’ve written two posts this week about budget talk. Read it here and here. However, we were very interested to find this in the Political Notes section of the paper this morning:

County Executive Jan Gardner’s budget announcement last Friday included a new little nugget. Well, five of them.

Gardner said she extended an invitation to all seven Frederick County Council members to talk about the budget, including a list of their priorities. Five members took her up on the offer: Democrats Jerry Donald, M.C. Keegan-Ayer and Jessica Fitzwater and Republicans Bud Otis and Tony Chmelik.

Gardner said she couldn’t meet all of their requests, but each was considered in her proposal.

Councilmen Billy Shreve and Kirby Delauter, also Republicans, didn’t take Gardner up on the offer, apparently.

It seems they have other plans.

Shreve, who is still upset the council doesn’t have a dedicated budget officer, gave handouts to his colleagues, showing that they are the only council in the state without such help. Nevertheless, Shreve said he was going to dig into the numbers.

“I’m going to work on this budget. Look at it. See if we can make some changes,” he said Tuesday. One major change he pitched included scrapping a plan to keep the county’s property tax rate steady — which will yield increased revenue — and instead lower the rate and cut spending.

“The easiest solution … is if you have the same amount of revenue as you did last year, you adopt the same budget you did last year,” Shreve said.

Kirby and Billy are fine sitting on the couch thank you very much!
Kirby and Billy are fine sitting on the couch thank you very much!

So not only are they refusing the County Executive’s invitation to come discuss the budget, which really is a dereliction of their duty, but Billy is all fine and dandy with keeping everything the same. Why should we strive to improve? A real brain stumper!

Next on our wrap up is Sheriff Jenkins. As we are sure you all know our Sheriff testified in front of Congress this week about illegal immigration. Last night, Sean Hannity had the Sheriff and two other guests on for four minutes of the most exquisite fear mongering we have ever seen.

Is that comment for reals?
Is that comment for reals?

Look, we here at the Yokel do not want anyone, be it citizens, immigrants, or illegal immigrants, committing crimes. And if someone had hurt our kids, we cannot say that we wouldn’t feel the same way that poor woman who testified with the Sheriff does. However, this kind of sensational talk does nothing to bring about meaningful immigration change.  What it does do is incite fear and discrimination against the Latino community. Not one of us wants criminals running around our community. Building a wall is not a realistic solution towards that goal. Also, it is a known truth that huge numbers of “illegals” arrive by plane and overstay an expired, once-valid visa, so wasteful government spending on a stupid wall is stupid and wasteful. But now we totally get why Fox News watchers are so angry and paranoid all the time. Jeeze O’Flip that channel! And we also didn’t realize how scary a place Frederick is to live, the internets must be wrong about us.

 

Who exactly is the beast in this scenario Gaston?
Who exactly is the beast in this scenario, Gaston?

Last on our roundup: You may have heard that a certain Presidential Contender was in town yesterday. Another nugget from the Political Notes section was this:

Apparently, that relationship stuck. Ahead of Cruz’s rally on Thursday, Hough picked Afzali to pick up the candidate from the airport. And if Cruz’s camp was impressed with Folden’s driving skills, they may have had a different review of the Afzali Cab Service. “My husband went slow, because I needed to talk to Ted,” Afzali said. “We had a lot to talk about.”

If Cruz wasn't so terrible we might have felt sorry for him. But since he is, we laughed and laughed.
If Cruz wasn’t so terrible we might have felt sorry for him. But since he is, we laughed and laughed.

If you missed our tweets about his speech head on over to @fclocalyokel and take a looky look. The most disturbing story to come out of that mess was the transgender student who was thrown out of rally. You can read the story here. But James, we would be remiss if we did not officially give you a Yokel tip of the hat:

Thank you for having the courage to stand up for what you believe in. Always be proud of who you are!
Thank you for having the courage to stand up for what you believe in. Always be proud of who you are!

We really don’t get all this fervor over public bathrooms. Whether you like it or not transgender people have been using public bathrooms for years. And has society crumbled as a result? No! Because nothing bad has happened! You really should be more afraid of former Republican Speakers of the House and U.S. Senators. But if you can’t get past it, Kirby has a solution:

Brilliant!
Brilliant!

 

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