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

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June 2016

How does Billy define elitist?

Oh Jeeves, please stop being such an elitist.
Oh Jeeves, please stop being such an elitist.

At the last workshop Billy accused those of following proper legislative procedures of being (GASP) elite. So that begs the question; what else would Billy label elitist? Please participate in our fun  poll:

 

You did it readers: We’ve made the top five!

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Hey Yokels! We received this in the good old email box today:

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On August 5th we enter the next round of voting.  We’ll remind you again to put a good word in for us! Thanks for getting us this far!

Refuse the refuse: off gassing of the landfill discussion

Oh, man. Tread carefully around the landfill workshop held at Kirby’s behest.  By the time we got through the new business, day drinking seemed like an attractive option. It seems that ‘ol Hashtag thought he was going to get a constituent issue addressed by calling the Waste Management staff out so he and his drinking buddies could needle them about how they figure out if people are allowed to bring trash from outside the county and dump it in our landfill or not, which is not allowed. There’s some cautioning from staff about making imprudent decisions that could inadvertently drastically increase the amount of trash, filling the landfill faster.

There is some general agreement amongst thinking council persons and county attorneys alike that if a legislative issue is going to be solved, a bill is needed. A mystery person will have to identify the problem and draft said bill, because the person who needs to understand how all this works has no idea what everyone else might be talking about. His main point in a nutshell seems to be, “I know about a complaint my constituent has. No one else thinks it is a problem. No one else will fix it for me, but if you don’t do what I want, I will continue to waste vast amounts of time AND be a loud mouthed blowhard.”

The fact that constituent issues are not on the agenda for discussion at this time prompts a huge Delauterburst man-tantrum during the staff briefing. And you don’t have to take our word for it, because did Kirby Delauter take his tantrum to social media (also, it’s at about 43 mins on the archived video)? Well, does a bear poo in the woods? You betcha. Look at that. He didn’t even have to write this himself.

STFU morans.
“…have never ran?” You don’t say…well, we wouldn’t say that, but whatever. Language evolves, right? Semantics also take a big role in this whole brouhaha.

Bud tries to move on and thank the staff for their help during the briefing, and Billy cuts him short to say they aren’t done yet, and then says, “It’s like Romper Room in here.” Bud quietly offers back, “Sure is.” lololololololllllllllllll  (indeed).

Billy and Kirby should watch Romper Room and refresh their manners.
Billy and Kirby should watch Romper Room and refresh their manners.

Jessica proposes a workshop regarding human trafficking, because several counties have task forces applicable to the issue. And between the lines, right? If we are going to have a prominent former (and yet still aspiring politician) soliciting hookers, it becomes a pet local concern. Billy then says that there are lots of groups both for and against this issue, at which point we have to feel so grateful to Jerry Donald for saying (in the appropriate appalled voice) what we were shouting at our screens, “THERE ARE GROUPS THAT ARE FOR HUMAN TRAFFICKING?!?!?!?!?!” To which Billy mutters, “Well yah…depending on how you define human trafficking…” Good grief. The Confederacy lost, right? That passes 5-2 and we know you know which marionettes didn’t vote for that, right?

Billy has a whole festering bunch of ideas for workshops, making the entire New Business section of the agenda a train wreck. It’s hard to distill a word cloud of Billy’s brain into a cogent prose form. They are not even fully formed thoughts as Billy brings them forth as motions to add to the agenda, in most cases, and the others (with particular kudos to the patience of M.C. Keegan-Ayer here) try to divine what he means and reword these vague notions into something that can be worked within a “yea/nay” decision making format. This section is entirely analogous to his previous legislative priority to send to Annapolis, “Understanding what regulations impede the operation of roadside hot dog stands.” New readers, we swear we are not making this up.

These are various ideas along the lines of, “Understand how citizens make claims against the county, or how the county administers claims, what zoning stuff is obsolete, what it takes to file a complaint, a reasonable timeline for complaints, oh wait I mean for complying with zoning and building violations.” There are points at which Tony Chmelik seems to try and talk some sense into him, but he derides the need for word smithery. As though effective communication has no purpose in legislating. Tony notes that phone calls could be made to find out information.

Jerry Donald also suggests using email. Billy and Jerry repeatedly go at it, because Billy is peeved that you can’t just have a meeting every time he would rather not do anything like wait for a constituent concern, address it with legislation, and discuss it in a pertinent public hearing at that time. When Jerry Donald has to give an impromptu workshop on “How the County Council Works,” he gets called an elitist. It’s a point Billy throws at him repeatedly, when he continues to allude to the fact in rather diplomatic (if impatient) terms that he is wasting everyone’s valuable time. Not to be lost: knowing how to do your job is elitist in B.S. World.

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Another infuriating problem through all of this is that Billy accuses the government of being dysfunctional because it is meant to follow a clear procedure, yet he seems to be on an open door lets-look-for-problems-no-one-has-identified-yet fact finding mission, so that someone–but definitely not him or Kirbycan write some new legislation.

Please, Frederick County, at the next local election let’s take out our trash.

Oh dear…Kirby’s doing another workshop.

Hope this goes better than the lease back meeting!
Hope this goes better than the lease back meeting!

Kirby’s going to brief us on landfills this evening. Will this be about the Montgomery County trash or the flammable materials? Maybe we’ll get lucky and get a smidgen of both! We’ll let you know!

2016-06-27

What is a traitor? A primer for the hyperbolic amongst us.

Not quite Mr. Jenkins.
Not quite Mr. Jenkins.

If you’ve been a fan of the Yokel for some time, you know how we detest the hyperbolic language some of our county council members are so fond of. Last Spring, we had to give #kirbydelauter a lesson on what a dictator actually is. Now it looks like we are forced to do the same with Billy:

2016-06-25
The comments so far have not be in his favor. Add your name to the chorus by looking up his Facebook page.

First of all, we are glad this Bud is for us! Secondly, let’s explore what a traitor actually is. We’ll start with the good old dictionary def:

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So a person who is not loyal to country or friend, but really someone who betrays friend or country to their enemy. What examples does history lend us? Let’s explore…

Benedict Arnold
Benedict Arnold

Whoa this guy! You know the guy whose name we use when it’s too much trouble to actually say the word traitor? He was one of General Washington’s fave generals. But because he wasn’t promoted or maybe because his worm tongued British sympathizer of a wife was whispering sweet nothings in  his ear, he betrayed the American cause to the  British. For some good old cashola and a title, bye bye American Independence. Things didn’t work out quite the way he wanted and he never did gain the respect and money he thought he would.  However, he most certainly was a traitor.

Yes, a fictional character. But the internet lights up with his image when you google traitor.
Yes, a fictional character. But the internet lights up with his image when you google traitor.

Former Stormtrooper Finn betrays Kylo Renn to assist Rey and company. Depending upon what side you root for in the Star Wars series, you may consider him a traitor. However, if we go by the dictionary definition of betraying your cause to the enemy, then he most certainly is.

Robert Hanssen
Robert Hanssen

For over two decades, FBI expert Robert Hanssen, was feeding the Soviets info. He did enormous damage to our national security and  almost certainly got people killed. If you haven’t seen the movie Breach, it really is a must see. And yeah, absolutely, positively a traitor.

County Council President Bud Otis
County Council President Bud Otis

Elected to an At-Large position  on the County Council in 2014, Bud Otis was a long time member of the Republican Party. As a Republican he used the resources of the local party to get elected. Receiving the most votes in the election, the President position logically belonged to him. We hear from reliable sources that Billy wanted that title. Once elected Bud governed the way so many successful local politicians do. He practiced a philosophy of governing in cooperation with other local politicians, showing that he cared much more about making Frederick County a vibrant, tolerant and successful place to live. While others prefer to practice their rabid partisan and often downright bizarre politics to become the darlings of their far right Facebook spectators. Mr. Otis eventually came to the realization that he no longer had a place in a party where someone like Billy was the leader, and like the true gentleman that he is, he knew when to take his leave. Frederick County was not sold out, no one died and the dark side was not betrayed (well…).

So Mr. Shreve, who also questioningly sits as Chairman of the local Republican Central Committee, Bud is NOT a traitor. He was an old school Republican who could not function within the confines of your monochromatic definition of what a good Republican should be. As a result, Frederick County is much better off.

The June 21 meeting continues…and it ain’t good folks.

We covered the first part of last night’s meeting  in detail here. The second half reconvened at 7:00 and was a hearing about the repeal of Agricultural Rights Transfer Ordinance (ARTO) that was passed by the last BOCC. We had a lot of good speakers, many friends of the Yokel. We’ll let Kimberly Brandt educate you on the subject of ARTO, since she knows way more about this ordinance and it’s effects than we do.

Lastly we had our council member comments. Jessica started off the comments on a positive note talking about her newborn son, encouraging people to visit the Pride Festival this weekend and listing off the locations where kids can get a free lunch during the summer. Kirby wasn’t ready yet, so Jerry took the helm. He took the time to thank the people that came out to talk to him during his meet and greets, gave an update about pathways through Middletown Park and suggested people go to our local carnivals.

Now Kirby is ready. It’s time to disparage the decision to buy back the nursing homes.There was no reason to do that people! He then proclaims that the reason we can’t build schools is due to this decision. But don’t worry he’s got a solution. The secret developers are coming to the rescue! (We’ve already covered it here). He then wants to know who is going to pay for the Roddy Road bridge damage. The county is going after the truck driver, as it should be.

And then there’s Billy. His first comment? Hendershots, a shooting range in Hagerstown, contacted him and is willing to give all the council members free shooting lessons. Billy asks for a show of hands. Only Tony’s goes up and Kirby shouts out: “I am already a certified NRA instructor, so we can do it that way as well.” WHAT WAY? What kind of grandstanding, idiotic council member comment is this? Is he really surprised that no one else up there took him up on his offer?

Cinnamon is looking right at ya Billy!
Cinnamon is looking right at ya Billy!

He then concludes by telling us that there’s lots of new interesting developments in the wedding venue saga. So stay tuned!

Tony’s not talking tonight. M.C. reminds us about the city/county meeting and also encourages us to go to the carnival. Bud tells us all that he’s been up to this past month and whew! We’re adjourned til next time!

Meeting of the minds: city and county edition

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Tonight there is a joint meeting between the county council members and the city’s board of aldermen.

So Fancy!
So Fancy!

 

These meetings usually go fairly well, so we are hoping for another cooperative pow wow between these two branches of our local government. On the agenda are these four items:

a. Frederick Municipal Airport – Tim Davis, Planner, City of Frederick Planning Department

b. Frederick Community Action Agency (FCAA) – Mike Spurrier, Director

c. Economic Development Department- Richard Griffin, Director of The City of Frederick Economic Development Department and Helen Propheter, Director, Frederick County Office of Economic Development

d. Briefing on potential funding methods for an oversize gym at Butterfly Ridge Elementary School – Kirby Delauter, County Councilman

Things may get a little dicey on the last one. We reported last week on Kirby’s presentation of his “potential funding” and so far it doesn’t look feasible.  We’ll see how he tries to dress it up for the city government.

Let’s bring back the dunce hats! Your June 21 council meeting part one.

    These two are much cuter than the two who should be wearing them. These two are much cuter than the two who should be wearing them.

Pre-meeting public comment has no takers…again. Billy starts right in on the agenda. Moves to remove the item concerning appointments to the ethics board. M.C. initiates a discussion with County Attorney Chomel asking if they remove the item would be they be able to discuss it later on. The answer is no, once an item is removed you can no longer talk about it.  Billy then suggests to remove it and then to put it back on the agenda later for discussion. Chomel says, and I quote, that it would be “cumbersome  and futile” to remove an item just to put it right back on again. And, oh, how we laughed, and laughed because cumbersome and futile is the perfect description of Billy’s style of governing.

We fear that Billy is also confused about when he should say no and when he should abstain. He gave a hearty no to the agenda, but an abstain to the consent agenda and then a yes to the meeting minutes, which is a departure from his usual fashion. It’s hard to keep things straight when when you don’t have a real consistent philosophy.

Some very nice representatives from FCC came before the council to discuss the budget of their fine school. We learned that there will be a small increase in tuition and no increase in student fees.There seems to be some loss in the dining services department and this is where the talk gets a little dicey. Kirby and Billy want to know why outside companies are not being considered. Well, the nice lady tells the  story of how they looked into outsourcing the child care center and found that it was not feasible. And holy moly, I guess not everyone is on the privatization train. She even goes on to say she does not want to privatize the custodial or dining services because she would like those people to keep their jobs. Hurray! The only one to vote against the budget in the end was Billy.

Billy is the sole abstainer on the two appointees to the appeals board and then we are on to the real drama of the evening…ethics.

Let’s start off in praise of the four women  who sat before the council this evening. They kept their cool under some really trying circumstances. We have seen a few of these ladies speak in their roles as representatives of the League of Women voters. Every single time they have been articulate and well just awesome. Tonight was no different.

The discussion centered around the pilot program to chose people to sit on the ethics board. It was determined that in order to sit on the board, you would have to prove yourself to be non-partisan. There are a few criteria to prove this: You cannot have held public office in the last four years, served on a central committee for the last 10, have aspirations to run for office or have been involved in a political campaign. They would also like representatives from the two local universities, the United Way, the rotary club and the Unitarian church. The Unitarian church was chosen since it encompasses a variety of faiths. The potential members would only be interviewed by the nominating committee,  not the County Executive or the County Council, with final approval from the Executive. If you remember the beginning of our post we spoke of Billy trying to remove this agenda item. It was because he thinks the council should interview the members of the board. The ladies vehemently disagree with him as do the other members of the council. It shouldn’t be difficult to grasp the concept as to why an ethics board should not come before the council. Shouldn’t be being the two key words.

But of course we all know who is going to throw the biggest fit.

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We’ve written before of Kirby’s Pavlovian response to hearing the word ethics, and tonight was NO different. Our esteemed council member has a suggestion as to a new question that should be asked of our potential ethics board members. Are you ready?

“If your decision is overturned by Executive Order, how will you react?”

BAM! Take that Jan! But seriously people, how long is this going to go on?

Kirby continues by saying the reason you don’t have people lining up to be on the ethics board is because they are afraid that every decision they make will be overturned by Queen Jan. One of the patient nice ladies disagrees completely with this theory to which Kirby tells  her you can disagree but thems the facts. Jerry ventures out into the choppy waters to get clarification as to when the County Executive can issue Executive Orders. This causes our dear county contract-less council member to then scream: All the time! But no the answer is she can only make an order when the issue comes under the Executive’s power. Like county contracts. Kirby tries to say what she did was illegal, gets shut down again, but hey why let the facts get in the way? We keep forgetting he’s the only one in possession of the real facts.

Billy tries to disparage our fine ladies. Proclaims that two of them were involved in a lawsuit against the county. So how can they be non-partisan? And we do not know how these ladies keep their cool, but the one he seems to be addressing asks him directly to what he is referring to. Oh you know, proclaims Shreve. Well, no, no, no. The fine lady tells him that she was never a part of a lawsuit but a representative of a position for the League of Women Voters. And she wasn’t even a part of the ethics nominating committee so the big gotcha moment that Shreve thought he had totally blew up in his face. You know what Billy, citizens can have a position on a piece of county legislation with out it being a partisan affair. You know what else is a popular non-partisan affair in these here parts? Lamenting the legislating style of one Billy Shreve. The new members are appointed 6-1.

The final observation of the evening comes during County Executive appointments. Billy doesn’t like the fact that one of the committees, concerning loans, does not have an expiration date. He tries to put forth a motion, that M.C. tries to parse for him. It’s here that Jessica interjects telling M.C. that she shouldn’t have to make Billy’s motion for him. He is instructed to write his motion down and his reply? He doesn’t need to write it down two other people are doing it already.

We do as well Snuggles.
We do as well Snuggles.

 

 

County Council Drinking Game: it’s only Tuesday! edition

Gracious, y’all. Nothing like summer to make a random Tuesday sneak up on ya. We just about left you with nothing to drink this evening.

Yes, it’s a random Tuesday, and that normally means there’s some council stuff to attend to. For the most part the meeting doesn’t look too complicated. Barring that one sticky, sure-fire, hot button issue. Have you guessed it already?

First things first, though. If the Early Bird Special public comments section is all <<crickets>> mix up a Classy Cricket. We do think it’s probably a good idea to class it up early, because later is coming…

There’s some regular old budget transfers (Billy’s gonna abstain. Why bother even pretending he will do his job?).

There’s an opportunity for some grandstanding, since they need to pass FCC’s budget. If Billy, Kirby or Tony climb up on their soapbox, sip a clean martini. If all 3 of them chime in, slam the thing and steel yourself for the talk of…

Wait, wait not yet. Gotta get through appointments to the Board of Appeals.

Then it’s time to tango, because guess what folks, you know there’s some ethical stuff on the agenda (Review of the Selection Process, and confirmations) this evening and we are familiar by now with the Pavlovian response one #kirbydelauter has to this topic. If he throws a hissy fit. Why are we starting this sentence in a conditional construction? When he throws a hissy fit, we suggest a Murphy’s Law.

There’s more on the agenda folks. Some reappointments to numerous commissions, council information at the first reading of a bill to extend the option to pay a fee in lieu of building affordable housing units, and a public hearing about the Agricultural Rights Transfer Option (ARTO), but if we drink our way through all of these, you’ll have to call Billy for help, and nobody wants to see that happen! Remember, always drink through council meetings responsibly. Frederick County politics can kill ya!

Really!
Really!

 

 

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