Your council thingy for today. Billy Shreve has a proposal. (Isn’t that the beginning of a spooky campfire tale?) Well, here, we were going to transcribe it, but have a screen grab for efficiency:
We are not “a lawyer”, but how does the County legislate the State? If the thing we think is a thing is a thing, chug a 40.
READER UPDATE: Anne Hicks (thank you, Anne!) points out that Billy wants these residences to be edible! Dipped in sewer sauce. YUM.
Next decision is whether or not the preferred bureaucracy gets to oversee a photovoltaic (that’s solar, yo) array at the Ballenger-McKinney wastewater treatment plant. This is for reasons of red tape and red tape minimization specifically. Billy will whine impertinently, because whining about solar is one of his hobbies, ranked just after rollerblading and growing out that mullet-tail. If we are also right about who whines here…do nothing. Because a serious horror show is coming, and you will want to be in top form for…
In case you are new here, every year Kirby comes up with “fat” that we can trim from the budget (also Tony and Billy, but mostly Kirby) in the form of unicorn and rainbows amendments. He proposes a bunch of stuff without knowing really what this money does or what happens when we take it away. Like today when we tried to cut the money for library staff at Walkersville and Myersville. Oopsie-daisy-dummy. (Failed) Sometimes he has to pull his own amendments because he didn’t know what they were. Weird how that happens.
We breezed onto the scene right about the time Billy tried to suspend the rules and let The Yellow T-Shirt Brigade take over. We expected shenanigans and malarkey, because Billy was involved, but in reality this was the Career Firefighters’ Association, and their presence there and contributions everywhere are very much appreciated by Local Yokels and all of our friends everywhere. We are very pleased that our assumptions are wrong, because they were somewhat dark, based upon Billy’s Twitter feed and the black hole of intellect that can drag a yokel into. On the upside, Billy Shreve’s State Senate page only has 35 likes, so we may be free of his torment soon.
Something like this scene occurred (text transcript)
Kirby just got petulant because they don’t want to cut $$ for MET to go do theater programs at schools with high percent FARM (that’s free and reduced meals, if you don’t know the lingo) lunch kids because they had no problem voting down a quarter mil for Classical Charter.
Man, oh man. Even the broken sidewalk budget cuts are part of the historical record! (Tonight Kirby explained that he had made a handshake deal with the mayor of Emmitsburg and he’s going to split the cost of the sidewalk repairs. M.C. was as uncomfortable as we would have been not knowing whether or not Mr. Mayor had agreed to this, but Jerry counseled that it was Kirby’s D and if he didn’t want to fix the sidewalks one way or the other, that would be his problem in the end. So fine. That all works out spiffy.)
But enough about Kirby, because Tony Chmelik got in a complete snit over $45,000 for an administration position in the Office of Economic Development. Since they’ve been doing a grand old job, even though they haven’t filled a position, but have needed to for four years, it’s obviously fine to continue overworking people there who are covering that shift, so to speak. Surely nobody who is doing extra work all the damn time will find a new job where they don’t have to put up with that. Right, Billy and Kirby? Suggestion: you volunteer your time, just like teachers do when they are grading and planning and documenting after school and on weekends, and sacrifice pay for being useless human bookends to the council since you apparently earn money for other things that you do in life. The pay of two marginally sentient council persons will cover one administrator in the OED. Problem solved! Also, tons of egregious mansplaining from Tony Chmelik here. The Lady Yokels felt that Helen Propheter was a particular heroine tonight, because who wants to be treated like that IN PUBLIC for their job? Nobody. Billy and Kirby also had “contributions” to this discussion in the form of: won’t we need to build all the houses you keep telling us to stop approving? NO. The answer is no. Some people already live here and could work closer to home, and would even like that. Question: what if we just made Jefferson TECH Park make the leap from fiction to nonfiction?
Jessica is a hero tonight, over and over again. Every time Kirby and Tony tried to snip, snap the budget she jumped in, diplomatically, like an excellent teacher, to guide them toward the information showing that they are so very, very wrong. For all her hard work this evening we present her the following award:
We are also happy to report that Bud landed on the side of county employees by helping to defeat Kirby and Tony’s austerity amendments. Nice to see you back on the team, Bud!
Here is an exact transcript of our text messages concerning the first part of the meeting (yawn):
Billy voted against the agenda.
Abstained on the budget adjustments.
Voted for the minutes.
He is such an idiot
Then both he and Kirby gave the same tired old argument about how keeping the tax rate the same is the same as a tax hike.
For the 4th year in a row.
Then there was a magical interlude of professionalism wherein the Retired Military Tax Credit was combed through by county staff before it passed, and we moved on to the circus events.
Billy had proposed legislation requiring that council members receive some minuscule amount of education regarding what the hell they are supposed to be doing there. Presumably this is because Billy is confuzzled. Possibly because he says he took a thing online with a quiz and it took five minutes, so what’s the big deal? How very educational. M.C. Keegan-Ayer proposed some amendments, which Tony Chmelik felt neutered the power of that legislation since it made it a mere suggestion. M.C. was basically like (to paraphrase this as we would have said it), look, don’t get all snippy with me, I was just trying to polish Billy’s turd here. Nobody was into making unnecessary laws, except Billy. Failed 1-6.
Then there was the zoning violation drama, which is naturally a big ol thing to the nincompoop faction, in large part because of the great wedding venue drama of 2016. Billy and Kirby are both very upset that zoning complaints can be filed anonymously and for some weird reason they are allergic to anonymous criticism (neener-neener), and so Jerry Donald had to explain to them that some people may be afraid of their neighbors–and for good reason. (Tangential thought: can you imagine if Billy Shreve or Kirby Delauter were your neighbor? And you had some sort of property dispute? Scary.) At one point M.C. made it clear that she was not even able to try and fix this. Sigh. This failed too, because obviously. Turd status: unpolishable.
Also there was the wood chipping scandal (it’s as if these bills Billy launch begin a listicle of Billy and Kirby’s prior buffoonery and proof that neither of them deserve to hold current office and certainly do not deserve to be entrusted with any additional responsibilities). Their position here, in a nutshell, is that these people have been in violation of the law for ages now, and how is it fair that someone noticed and is going to make them stop? Scandalous indeed! In fact, it becomes rather clear through Kirby’s bellyaching about County Executive Jan Gardner’s role in these zoning violations matters that he still does not understand the different branches of government under the charter. How is he going to be the county executive if he doesn’t know what that is? It will be a lot like the current status of Billy Shreve, who does not know what he is supposed to be doing ever.
This bill failed because the one business it was initially custom tailored by Councildolt Shreve to benefit–until Tony Chmelik took over the turd polishing operation–was likely to be harmed by it, and hardly anyone thought that was a good idea. At one point during the discussion of this (or it could have been the earlier bill, but no matter) Billy was so stuck in oppositional defiant mode that he started opposing his own position. It was really a scene. Billy still remembers to like his own dumb ideas in the end, though. And after all that grandstanding and noise that Kirby made here, he voted against it!
Off-track betting passed unanimously. It now has to go back for public hearing.
Hey, folks. Two stories popped up on the news junkie radar yesterday, and got us thinking about Sheriff Jenkins “expertise” in a couple of key areas. When Jessica Fitzwater promoted the Human Trafficking Task Force, and the Frederick City Police Department took an active and engaged interest, but the Sheriff’s Department found it unnecessary (and Billy Shreve #neverforgetsaid that some people are in favor of human trafficking) we developed a new awareness of this horrifying issue that our Fredneck Trump Train Faction seems so untroubled by. Oh, and Cindy Rose had some thoughtsabout that too, now that we recall. It was allegedly some sort of scam for teachers to get more training or something that makes covfefe amount of sense. How could you possibly look more foolish than dismissing the efforts to keep kids from being sex trafficked as an evil liberal teacher plot! But, you do you, crazies. Please proceed.
Well, yesterday The Washington Posthad a story about a training program the Texas Department of Public Safety has launched to help officers recognize when they find a child who is being trafficked and what they can do to help. The officers down there have found it to be so helpful, they want to see it go nationwide! This is a fantastic story about good policing–please do follow the link. Isn’t it a wacky coincidence that this type of training was the exact reason cited for forming a task force locally? Is there some reason we wouldn’t be promoting good policing?
It’s incredibly disheartening to review the local discussions surrounding this issue. The more we learn about it, the more monstrous the ambivalence toward–or, more accurately, the hostility toward acting to stop this seems.
But there’s more Texsplaining to do, because another thing that we read yesterday in The Houston Chronicle deals with immigrants and crime. We’ve bristled before at our local “expert”on the border and what exactly would qualify someone on the Mason-Dixon border to act as a special adviser on these matters. Well, it seems that the quite well-known and esteemed conservative think tank, The Cato Institute, has research indicating that undocumented immigrants in Texas are less likely to commit crimes than native born Texans are. In the immortal words of Rick Perry, “Ewps.”
“Using data from the Texas Department of Public Safety, researchers from the conservative think tank Cato Institute found the arrest rate for undocumented immigrants was 40 percent below that of native-born Texans.” — Fernando Ramirez, The Houston Chronicle, March 6, 2018
Law enforcement officers in real border states uphold sanctuary policies as a tool to help them to solve crimes, because it increases the reporting of those crimes and the cooperation of witnesses. It seems like The Cato Institute’s research suggests something in support of that thinking. Maybe we could learn a thing or two from people who have first-hand experience and research in support of their positions? Just a thought.
Your Yokel Ladies have been in and out of this meeting for the past couple of days. It’s a lot to contend with, so we are chunking it up and throwing it down, bit by bit.
No Shreve, what a relief! Meetings are always nicer without him!
Steve Horn and friend are in the house to present the Livable Frederick plan. You can go to this website to see all the details, plus the entire plan as it stands today. We say today, because there are still chances for change. If you read our drinking game, you saw that Kirby called this plan a POS. He doesn’t use exactly those words, but he does have things to say. For example, he wants Steve Horn and Co. to explain why the modeling software they use isn’t some kind of soothsayer. It is explained, ever so gently, that all modeling is, by definition, a guess. However, Mr. Horn also points out that the accuracy really isn’t the point here. The point is to see what different paths the county can take based on the possible outcomes that may occur. It’s called PLANNING. Well, Kirby isn’t done. He tells us that the market should decide where people live because the market is NEVER wrong. That’s right people: NEVER. Well, he is also very gently told why that isn’t true. Jerry clears up the erroneous notion going around that this plan is going to downzone properties. It is not. Tony complains some, but it’s pretty much nonsense. After an hour this discussion wraps up.
Unsurprisingly to anyone who pays attention around here, Tony was the council member contacted to introduce legislation having to do with Off Track Betting (OTB). He brings in four representatives, including local lawyer Rand Weinberg, to discuss this pending legislation. Essentially, they want to identify a local restaurant to set up OTB, kinda like Cracked Claw before it closed down. First reading of this bill will be soon.
The Veterans Affairs Council had a lovely professional presentation that introduced the panel of distinguished advocates. Please keep doing what you do. We are relieved to see this move forward. There isn’t a lot of new information to report. Well, other than that a miracle of trans-partisanship that occurred when Bud Otis (unaffiliated), M.C. Keegan-Ayer (D), and Tony Chmelik (R) pared down the originally proposed bill, which had “timed out,” and according to the knowledgeable panel this bill is a reasonable step forward in accomplishing the goal of having a “one stop shop” for veterans to get assistance in accessing the services that are available to them. We know this is a huge problem, and the point that it is unreasonable to expect a veteran with PTSD to sit on the phone through a menu of options for 13 minutes is absolutely true. There were other ghastly anecdotes, so please know that we thank you all for working on this, and we apologize that we aren’t giving this the focus that it is due. There is just so much to say about so much today (and another meeting tonight, people!).
There was the Interagency Internal Audit Authority thing: a panel of accountants working on a bill to codify the existence, charges, and governance of their authority (the interagency aspect is the county, FCPS, and FCC). Work on this bill began in 2014 with the transition to charter government, and they are doing the formal work to ensure that the appointments to the body will not be under the control of those being audited. In other words, a county executive should never be making those appointments, nor should FCPS or FCC be sending their people to do the work. They propose that the current members will nominate future members. Sounds good.
Then we reach the issue of the proposed pipeline under the Potomac River at Hancock. Some environmentalists (yay! go Sierra Club!) ask that a letter be drafted–ideally from the Council, but if not, by individuals on the Council– asking for Governor Hogan to withhold the 401 Water Quality Certificate and request a full environmental impact review of this project from the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE). This is requested because:
We are downstream from an 8 inch pipeline that would tunnel under the Potomac River to connect a proposed pipeline in West Virginia with an existing one in West Virginia
A bunch of municipal governments both up and downstream have already said, “Hey, let’s be careful!” and sent their own letters, including Hagerstown, Boonsboro, Washington County, Montgomery County and P.G. County. hm.
The geology (that’s rock formations, yo) of the land they will tunnel under is extra risky, because the Karst geology (science term) is Swiss-cheesey, so if a blowout occurred, the chemicals could be dispersed in any direction. Many pipelines already go under the river, but none through this type of geological formation.
Frederick County get lots of our drinking water from the Potomac (91%). And the City of Frederick also gets some of its water supply there, too, (17%) so we would theoretically not want to risk poisoning our water supply.
The Chesapeake Bay is also downstream (for good measure).
This is all well and good for the reasonable, and even seems likely for the less reasonable eventually, reluctantly, however it pains them, to agree that we shouldn’t be reckless with our drinking water. However, it must be noted that we have two drilling savants, both Republican, on our esteemed County Council, so the curt reaction to the idea of a letter from Tony Chmelik was, “It depends on what the letter says.” Well, they only asked for a letter to exhibit caution and thorough review, not to declare pipeline construction forever abolished, so the hang up is hard to understand, but thank goodness we could be treated to some gassy emissions from these guys. We probably don’t even need a pipeline, since we create our own energy like that. Fun fact: one of your local ladies used to work in the gas pipeline accounting, so we know a thing or two round here, too. Gas is tricky to account for, as a matter of fact, due to particle dispersion. That and the Swiss-cheesy thing are a double tricky combo.
**Ten Minute Break because they’ve been there since 4:30; this is taking an eternity and there is a lot left.** Stay tuned. Holy moly, they’re trying to kill us, y’all. There’s another meeting tonight, you know.
So it seems kind of like Billy’s blissful absence and Kirby “#ImReallyRunning4CountyExecutive” Delauter’s recently located partial degree of restraint (NB: we didn’t watch Council Member Comments, so we could be wrong about that) freed the air for Tony Chmelik to fill the role of council insurgent. At this point we are losing all the patience that we never had, but Ray Barnes and the legal advice come with him, and also Steve McKay, think that the move to ax the section of the code pertaining to DRRAs entirely is no bueno and will cause a bunch of legal problems and their advice is to not move forward with that. They have other ideas. And obviously Tony has a problem with them going before Dog and Everyone implying that he meant to do away with DRRAs forever (“What would the developers think???” <<clutches pearls>>) when he would NEVER. He and Jerry Donald have a back and forth that is pretty priceless, wherein Jerry admits that was his goal, and he also thought that was what Tony wanted. We are pleased with Jerry Donald. He is funny but not mean. We have a hard time with that. Then Jessica Fitzwater asks the question we are wondering too, which was, to paraphrase in LocalYokel jargon, “WTF were we trying to do for real then?”
We have finally thought to ourselves somewhere in the midst of the MXD discussion: we do not like this bill either. We would all be pissed if we bought a house and then they changed the zoning and we lived next to a warehouse now. We aren’t going to listen to this anymore. We. Are. So. Done.
Our current favorite is Billy Shreve’s (failed) proposal that mobile homes be sold as real property and not as vehicles. Here is the best way to explain why it ain’t never gonna happen: what mortgage lender would find it in their interest to make a loan where the collateral can be up and VROOM VROOM coal-rolled right off into the sunset? He had another one about exemptions from the Forest Resource Ordinance that fell flat due to insufficient information provided. Why can’t they have a staff to understand things for him, freeing him from the obligations of his job?
Jerry Donald FTW with a measure to deregulate the liquor industry (if you click on the FNP link up above they say it’s come about because of something impacting a Brunswick brewery). YEEHAW! The current code does not allow smaller banquet facilities–those with less than a quarter of a million dollars invested in non real estate type stuff–to have a liquor license. Donald points out that this seems to be a measure to eliminate competition. Look, we’re all Republicans on this one. More competition! Oh wait, when was the last time a Republican busted up a monopoly? Never mind then. Still not Republicans.
Modest hat tip to hoodie clad and newly beardless Tony Chmelik (we get the feeling he was under the weather with that awful thing going around, and boy do we sympathize: get well soon, Mr. Chmelik!) for moving his school related priority through the Board of Ed. ICYMI, he wants homeschoolers to be eligible for county school sports teams. Kudos to him for being the lone current Republican of the Council who seems to understand how processes and procedures best work.
Y’all aren’t going to believe this one. The King of the Deplorables and his buddy (these are Billy Shreve and Kirby Delauter, if you’re new here–we’ve written a bit about this particular issue) voted against a position statement favoring providing support to youth victims of human trafficking. Billy interjected a complaint about not knowing what it was until they saw it written out, which becomes ultra weird immediately afterward when…wait, no. It’s already ultra weird. Gross.
Kirby. He had an idea about investigating funding for school resources, so that perhaps funds from the state allocated to one project might be moved to another if they are not used for the one they were intended for. He tried to inexplicably call this a position statement. This already had us furrowing our brows, so when fellow semantics enthusiast Jessica Fitzwater pinpointed the issue we were grateful. More than position statement, this seemed a (likely reasonable) call to investigate. It needs to become a fully fledged idea, and that’s fine–even for Billy–to leave in the hands of Roger Wilson and the County Executive’s office, even though we certainly had the impression that we don’t currently know precisely what it says. Perhaps we should simply be glad for a rare sign of good faith. Passed 7-0, too! Well done! Was this a moment of bipartisan harmony? Perhaps we were hallucinating.
There was what felt like a long hearing about the Forest Resource Ordinance. It had us mostly sawing logs like it was a zoning discussion. We did perk up when Kirby mused about what this was actually protecting and was told that there is a definition of forest and the county and the state use the same one. Guffaw!
Loquacious lecturing Tony Chmelik–imagine our surprise when we fret that Shrelauter will muck things up, and then he takes the reins. He got into orator mode again this week, and man we can do without the Tony with a condescending tone schtick. Sighhhh.
There was long discussion of the River Board process, which had Councilman Chmelik frustrated with the time these things take and the lack of television air time, but the bulk of his grievances centered on County Executive Jan Gardner’s public briefing last week regarding the school capacity report and traffic study. And he wrote and delivered an exhausting, pompous speech on the matter, in lieu of discussing like a normal person.
Jessica Fitzwater criticized him for wanting to spend additional taxpayer dollars to find something that reached conclusions he agreed with, and after listening to him complain about money already spent and tiresome, lengthy processes, it was hard not to see her point. He had some great ideas in there, though, such as how it would be inaccurate to assume all the houses would actually be sold (????). We find that kind of funny coming from someone with as large a family as he has. Why didn’t the report assume families of twelve would move into every one of those homes? We can come at this from both sides, dude. It also bugged him out that increasing costs of construction weren’t factored in, and isn’t that shooting yourself in the foot, if you want to say maybe we don’t need to plan for big expenses? We have a confuse.
At any rate, that finally ended (if you’d like to know more, the Frederick News Post has a good run down that won’t make you want to stab yourself in the ears; we cannot recommend actually exposing yourself to the archives of this meeting) and they went into closed session. Chmelik helpfully acknowledged during Council Member Comments that we had probably heard enough from him. Hoo-boy. Truer words never spoken.
And then, apparently national laughingstock Kirby Delauter wanted to take it outside with Jerry Donald over that meme someone made with Jerry spanking Kirby. We’ll put it in here for educational purposes, since he’s opened the door to that (genius!), and ICYMI. It’s in reference to Jerry Donald using his social media account to publicize the inaccuracy of Kirby’s assertions that the Democrats on the Council are planning to make Frederick a sanctuary county. How dare he insist Misleading Push-Poll and Fake News Employer Kirby stick to the facts. This caused Kirby to (allegedly) call him another name for a trendy pink knitted lady hat, approximately one time for each woman who attended that march, it sounds like. He wants Jerry Donald to monitor his Facebooking more closely, which is beyond hilarious, considering the source. Maybe Kirby should worry about the damage he does with his own Facebook account. Or lippy outbursts.
A Miner Detail spoke with Delauter, who claims that M.C. Keegen-Ayer and Jerry Donald just want to make the council look foolish–an assertion that causes us to hoot in side-spitting, knee slapping laughter, given the dedication he has to looking like a fool all by his own self.
Do you know what? Billy Shreve wasn’t even worth mentioning. That’s how bad all this was!