Are we just going to watch it crumble?

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This afternoon the county council will have a workshop on dilapidated properties and what the government should do about them. We can already hear the cries of the rights of property owners from our two bookends!

On Wednesday, the council is having another pow wow with the City of Frederick. Shrelauter tends to behave when in the presence of officials from other municipalities. Hopefully they can have a nice meeting.

This momo with the hashtag is confused again.

Since Donald a l’Orange started terrifying some members of the Latino community in Houston, rapes being reported are down more than 40%. Now Occam’s razor that. Did more than 40% of the rapists get magically beamed into prison? Hell to the naw. Those women are more scared of ICE coming and separating them or their spouses from their kids than they are of a rapist, so now they don’t call the terrifying police.

Do you know what happens when a criminal isn’t apprehended because the crime isn’t reported? Do they probably wake up the next day and turn into a nice non-violent person the morning after they raped some rich lady’s undocumented nanny? Or is this a more likely scenario. The rapey person (regardless of country of origin) is maybe going to climb in your window at night and assault someone like you or your daughter (regardless of your citizenship status as well)? NB: There’s absolutely nothing saying the person victimizing these ladies isn’t the head of the household where she works, who knows full well he can get away with it like a common ladycrotch grabbing “modern day presidential” person. Very possible, even though certain people assume the bad people are the scary boogeymen from Mexico described by Trump on the campaign trail. Here is one of about seven bazillion articles explaining that immigrants are less crime prone than the population as a whole.

The reason Texas cities are fighting to keep sanctuary policies is because they help everyone. It’s a true shame Sheriff Jenkins took that damned field trip down to the border and somehow came back having learned nothing about all of this.

Police chiefs in six big Texas cities — Arlington, Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, and San Antonio — vocally opposed the Senate bill, even as it won support from rural and suburban voters. Major Texan hubs like Dallas and Fort Worth are now torn between continuing policies they say make their cities safer and economically vibrant and enforcing the letter of the law and moving to deport anyone who may have entered the country illegally.

So police chiefs from 3 of the 10 largest cities in America are on that list of people who don’t want to see sanctuary city policies abolished. People with lots of first hand experience here. And then here is Kirby Delauter on the subject, and he is actually paying to spread this message as a Sponsored Facebook post, wherein the subtext is “I am a total simpleton and think nothing through.”

This is a serious issue. This man is seriously unable to handle anything more sophisticated than a party line talking point. Oh la la. 258 likes, though.

 

Local Yokel’s favorite thing about the super cool ESSL is Frederick County kids getting this lesson: if someone tells you something is true, you must ask, “What is your evidence?” If they have none, they are just talking. Isn’t that brill? Long story short. Be quiet, hashtag.

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.

Hey Frederick City residents, care to pay double?

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Every few months the County Council sits down  with the Frederick Alderman to have a pow wow. We love that our local governmental entities make it a point to sit down and communicate with one another. Two of your Yokels are city residents and we have to say that we are always so impressed with these ladies and gentlemen. The way they work together, know their issues, and just seem so much more functional than some other government body. The main item on the agenda was to discuss school  construction.  Tony wants the city to pony up for the schools that are being built within the city limits. Thankfully Aldermanic heroes O’Connor and Kuzemchak were not having any of that. As Mr. O’Connor pointed out, city residents already pay county taxes. AND, it’s the county’s job–not the city’s–to build schools. Why should city residents be expected to pay twice?  And what kind of precedence would this set if local municipalities were expected to pay for school costs? Would that mean the incorporated areas of our county would be at an advantage when getting a new school? Or that they would be expected to come up with the money every time they needed a new school? Without any support, and all kinds of facts against him, Tony backtracked. There was some discussion of perhaps the city lending the county some money. Or perhaps the city paying for the extra large gym at Butterfly Ridge elementary.  We’ll see if this comes up at their May meeting.

Last night our RALE friends went before the Board of Zoning Appeals in another chapter of their long fight against the MTC. Here’s Steve McKay’s report on what happened last night:

RALE was at the Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) tonight.

I’d like to tell you that we were successful, but we weren’t. The bottom line is that the BZA, which believes that County Staff is ALWAYS assumed to have acted correctly, decided that we didn’t count, that we didn’t have “standing”, and so they ignored the merits of our argument. I’m going to break this down but let’s first review what this appeal was about.

At the end of last year, AFTER the Council ordered the Monrovia Town Center case to start over again, we learned that an “Outlot” was being processed, based on the old, invalidated BoCC approvals, to accommodate the planned water tower to service Landsdale and MTC. The Planning Commission approved the Outlot plat recordation, and we appealed that Planning Commission approval. The Zoning Administrator (but not really, because it was really Cathy Mitchell acting on behalf of this guy) denied our appeal, saying that it was a “ministerial action” and, therefore, not subject to appeal. We then appealed their denial – because it was wrong – and that’s why we were there tonight.

Now let’s talk about the “standing” issue. First of all, the County didn’t even base their denial on a belief that we lacked standing. They based it entirely on their “ministerial” argument. It was the developer that raised the standing issue, and the County basically said – “oh yeah, we think that, too!” So the developer and the County were working together tonight – again – arguing that we don’t count. Their argument was based on the fact that RALE doesn’t own property. This is true. The much-fabled “RALE warehouse” doesn’t exist. But there is another element of standing that they ignored. You see RALE has “personal interests” in this case, and that should have been sufficient to establish our standing. You see, RALE has invested countless hours, effort and a whole lot of money (donated by all of YOU) to this effort. That’s the basis of our personal interest, our standing … that they ignored.

In the end, the appeals commissioners ignored that element and asked their County attorney whether we had standing or not. Not surprisingly, we lost the argument. On this point, I want to personally thank the people that testified about how RALE represents the community on this issue. The appeals commissioners didn’t hear it or acknowledge the point – but I did, and I thank you.

But now let’s look at the merits of the issue because although the BZA may have ignored this argument, or claimed ignorance to the issues (which was bull___), the County CLEARLY violated the zoning ordinance in submitting the Outlot for approval. Let’s start with the appropriate section of the Ordinance, shown below. The language and its implications are very clear. If an Outlot plat is part of a subdivision in a preliminary plan, then it must go through the final plat process.

In the other image, the preliminary/site plan CLEARLY shows the Outlot as part of the plan. This preliminary/site plan is NOT completed. Is NOT signed. Thus, the Outlot has not completed the final plat process, as required by the ordinance. It never should have been approved!

So you might wonder how the County attorney – Cathy Mitchell – responded to this argument. Basically, she didn’t! First, she said we lied but didn’t explain how. Then she justified the whole thing on the basis that the “County needed this plot of land” for the water tower. Now this pissed me off. We didn’t lie – we just caught them in an error. The language in the ordinance is clear and unambiguous and they violated that language. So I don’t appreciate being called a liar. Next, saying that the “County needed the land” is NOT a justification for violating the zoning ordinance. That’s Bull!

Beyond these points – which should have been enough – our argument boils down to this fundamental premise. This Outlot approval was based on a zoning approval from the BoCC. That approval was based on a record that has now been TWICE invalidated – by the Circuit Court and by the Council. You can NOT have a valid approval based on an invalidated record. Effectively, that record no longer exists. The Council decided to create a new record. The Planning Commission will now go forward, ignoring that past history. The record is null and void and any approvals based on that record are now moot.

So the bottom line is that County staff and Planning Commission should have never even entertained this Outlot plat recordation because it is based on an invalidated, non-existent record. But even so, they still violated the zoning ordinance by approving it! I’ll be real clear now – we will appeal this because it is wrong. It’s more time and money, but sometimes, you have to do what’s right.

Best regards, Steve

If you would like to help RALE with their legal expenses they are holding a raffle. Click here for more info.