As you’ve noticed, we’ve been taking it easy here at the Yokel lately. The council functions pretty well and there aren’t any local elections for a spell. Last week we jumped back into the fray with Blaine’s LTE because we know what’s up with all that! Now we feel compelled to come back because the last part of Tuesday night’s meeting was a real
The tone was not well set by the Frederick Conservative Club (you know the group that splintered from the Frederick Republicans because their candidate didn’t win the primary), and folks we are so sorry to have to show you this exchange. Kirby makes an appearance (hasn’t changed a bit!) and it’s a real shame how people have fallen into Donald Trump’s fear-mongering and mischaracterization of immigrants who are desperate to come here to make a better life for themselves. Really shows a lack of empathy. There is one hero in the mix.
We know some members of this group were in attendance last night because there’s an odd 3 minute video on their Facebook page inviting people to come down. A lady speaks for about 15 seconds, then there’s someone in the background talking about the police presence, while the person holding the phone is recording those who have shown up. The most recent post on their Facebook page is what they probably think is a real coup de gras to the Frederick County Republicans, but in reality just makes them look like a rejected boyfriend trying not to care that he just got dumped:
Now back to the meeting. There was no official notice on the agenda for discussion of the 287g program, however it was understood by all that the public comment time at the end of the meeting would be used for people to discuss their feelings on the issue. FULL DISCLOSURE: we are not fans of this program and feel as though it doesn’t need to be implemented in our fine county. (Especially by our High Sheriff, but more on that later.) However, we feel what M.C. said at the beginning of the comment time was 100% correct. The council is powerless on this issue. The Frederick County Sheriff’s Office is an independent branch of the government with its own elected official who is in charge of that department. Cutting off money would not matter as the county does not fund this program. M.C.’s comment brought forth a lot of anger from some fine speakers last night, but folks, we need to operate in the realm of reality. Calling the council members (many whom are probably very friendly to your cause) cowards, weak, and other colorful adjectives is not helpful. I mean it’s bad enough they had to listen to the pro 287g people say things like: “The first pretense of the topic”, aligning disagreement to this program to support of the Confederates, and outrage that anyone would liken the pictures found in this article to a concentration camp. That is enough to deal with. The Sheriff is the one that needs to be confronted, and yes he canceled the meeting and he shouldn’t have, but that doesn’t mean you go out and vent your frustration on people who can’t do anything about the situation.
So, what can be done? Three things. First, keep making your displeasure known to the Sheriff. He obviously hasn’t been doing that great of a job with this program because he just got hit with a lawsuit accusing his department of racial profiling AND was found guilty in Federal Court after his department violated the civil rights of a Salvadoran immigrant. Which may put him in violation of the Memorandum of Agreement he signed with ICE that states he cannot violate people’s Civil Rights according to Federal Law!
Secondly, we can change our form of government by referendum to make the Sheriff’s office come under the purview of the County Executive and the council. And thirdly, we can work hard to elect a new sheriff who would eliminate our county’s participation in this program.
And folks posting comments on public posts on Facebook, please remember that we can all see you.
One thought on “One of the worst public comment sessions in the history of Frederick-and it was for a good cause!”
Though Council President Keegan-Ayer indicated a powerlessness to take action regarding the Sheriff’s Office, she did acknowledge limited budget authority, the ability to reduce the Sheriff’s Office budget. She further indicated that the costs associated with the 287(g) agreement were hidden in the Sheriff’s Office budget, hidden from the County Executive, the County Council and county taxpayers.
Legislation that would prohibit the use of appropriated funds (a budget reduction) until the Sheriff provides a full accounting of the costs associated with the 287(g) agreement may be possible. Of course, this would not satisfy those calling for the elimination of the 287(g) agreement. However, it would demonstrate the Council’s willingness to listen and take action that is within their power, to provide greater transparency in the budget process and use of taxpayer dollars. It would show that the Council takes its fiduciary responsibility seriously, a cornerstone of good government.