Best wishes to Mrs. Otis and Billy behave!

On this last day of June, a fine, fairly mild summer day, the Frederick County Council convened to take care of the business at hand. Before we get into the nitty-gritty of tonight’s meeting , dear readers, we must start off with a message to our BFF Bud Otis. We here at the Local Yokel sincerely hope that your wife is on the mend. We are very glad to hear that our EMT and 911 services are top-notch. And we are sure that since the “everything must be privatized” majority is gone they will continue to receive the funding necessary to keep them so.  Mrs. Otis please accept our virtual flowers and very real well wishes:

flowers

Now to the business at hand. If you were following our drinking game then you had a Stars and Stripes right out of the gate:

imageAt the top of the agenda was Budget Transfers. A fairly common occurrence, quickly discussed and voted on. Should be no surprise that Billy was the main hold out. But that’s become boring to us so let’s go to the next item.

Approval of the Frederick Community College FY 2016 operating budget. Very nicely presented by FCC representative Dana McDonald I must say. She explains how the county contribution has helped the school. Most importantly, how the contribution has helped keep tuition increases low. I don’t know about you but I believe that FCC is a wonderful institution. It’s a great place to start college without the high price tag or to gain a certification or simply expand your knowledge. One would have to be living under a rock to have not heard of the crippling student debt that many young people carry. It would be very hard to imagine that an elected public official would be ignorant of the fact that the high price tag of a Bachelor’s degree is a real concern in these United States of America.

Who is living here?
Who is living here?

Just kidding, we totally can image who…Billy! Not only is he the only one to give this poor woman any grief, but he once again renders a presenter speechless with his inquiries. He wants to know why county residents can’t pay more in tuition if they want to! He wants to know why county residents are given any special “subsidy” at all, because folks he would love to charge them all the out-of-state rate! Every single meeting we are presented with more and more proof that Mr. Shreve is not a big picture kind of guy. I offer this article on the economic impacts of high student debt so Billy can come out of the darkness and into the light. Fortunately, the other council members see the value in an affordable post-secondary educational institution and the budget was approved 6-1.

Time for another item of common occurrence…County Executive appointments. All passed unanimously, except for the planning commission in which Billy is trying to make some point about Trout Run by voting no.

Earlier in the week we posted about item d. on the agenda. Local Yokel is not a fan of giving Mr. Smith any money at this point. Well, the only council member who agreed with us was M.C.. She argued that, “as a lawyer he should have known better.” But with 6-1 she was clearly in the minority and Mr. Smith will be receiving almost $12,000 in legal fees that he claims were associated with his duties as a former county commissioner.

A couple of items about plumbing code and an amendment to the moderately priced dwelling unit bill and then we are on to the big-ticket item: Monrovia Town Center. In short, no decision. Of course Tony would love to see this rushed through and at one point he became very agitated at Jessica for asking a question that he deemed irrelevant. Thankfully, because of the leadership of M.C. Keegan-Ayer, the council is going to review this information on the MTC dating from January 2014 to the present. The council wants to make sure they can make a thoughtful, educated decision about what has certainly turned into a nightmare for everyone involved. Even though Tony wanted a 30 day limit to this thoughtful deliberation, more reasonable heads prevailed and a decision will be deferred until September.

A few thoughts on public comment. It is very sad to us that people have to thank the county council for behaving in a thoughtful, deliberate manner. Shouldn’t that be a given? But that’s exactly what speaker after speaker did this evening. Whether Kirby or Billy want to admit it, the last four years of the board of county commissioners was a dark time in our county’s history. Citizens felt disrespected and it was really frightening to us that our county government was in the hands of a group of people who don’t really believe that government should exist at all.  Billy gave us a flash back of this disrespectful behavior when he openly sparred with a member of our community, and then Jessica, over some concerns this community member has over Route 75. Billy was consistently rude and out-of-order during this whole interaction. As one woman stated, it is embarrassing to think this man represents our county.

Blaine's not there to back you up anymore! It's time to behave if you want to sit at the grown up table!
Blaine’s not there to back you up anymore! It’s time to behave if you want to sit at the grown up table!

Another point concerning public comments is that Tony took the brunt of the criticisms this evening. He was accused of not answering communications, not properly representing his district and the people are not happy! He tried to answer these accusations in his comments, telling people to stop smirking, but it’s fairly evident where Tony’s loyalties lay. He’s got a lot of fences to mend if he hopes for another shot at this council seat.

Is he listening? Time will tell.
Is he listening? Time will tell.

Not sure what’s going on with Kirby lately. He needs someone to fix his microphone because once again it was very hard to hear him. His comment at the end of the meeting was very strange. He announced that he received a text that a cement truck dumped its load on the side of a road and will someone look into it? This all seemed really out-of-place. Why is someone texting Kirby with this information? And why announce it at the meeting? Does he want us to know that people call him as well? Maybe he’s tired of Billy getting all the credit.

We will end this post with a Twitter update from Jen Fifield of the Frederick News Post:

What's this about? What is the developer getting a police escort?
What’s this about? Why is the developer getting a police escort?

Paul is not going to jail for you or anyone!

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Today we became aware of a six page memorandum that Former County Commissioner Paul Smith sent to the County Council on June 12. It’s chock full of goodness, so we really suggest you read it. MTC_Paul_Smith_6.12.15 For those pressed for time here’s our summary:

  • He’s not signing any affidavit because he’s not going to jail for any of you jerks. And he has his 1st Amendment rights you know.
  • Even though he claims he’s not going to say anything about the FACT letter in the first paragraph, he goes on about it for the next five pages.
  • The judge was way wrong and ignorant in his interpretation of the Stevens case. Why can’t he get a judge that sees things his way?
  • He’s not guilty of any wrongdoing because you can’t prove what he did was “extreme” nor is there any “strong evidence”.
  • And these RALE people are just the worst.

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  • “RALE has maligned several of the County personnel in their vicious attacks… Of course they have also waged relentless, vicious attacks against those former Commissioners and those current Council members who disagree with them. These attacks are ugly, continuous, open, and each verbal stinger is then supported by the applause and cheers of their comrades. These ugly displays are a disgrace to civil government, and they are a bullying technique that is intended to make the Council cower before them and to submit to their desires.”

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  • None of you people really have any idea what fraud really is. And then let me show you how much these RALE people lie, lie, lie.
  • And I, Comm. Smith really like to talk about myself in the third person. It isn’t creepy AT ALL.

So there you have it folks. No affidavit, the judge can’t interpret law, RALE are just a bunch of vicious jerks and let me tell you, County Council members, how to do your job. No wonder this guy couldn’t win state office.

RALE tries to overcome “ethics-schmethics” approach of the last BOCC

Envision Frederick County has printed a letter from Michele Rosenfield to County Council President Bud Otis regarding the Monrovia Town Center development. It is well worth reading.

Here’s a short excerpt that explains why it is so important:

This Council faces an extraordinary situation. The Circuit Court has remanded the MTC proceedings based largely upon an established violation of state ethics law – specifically the ex parte laws that are specific to Frederick County and its rezoning proceedings. State law dictates that under such circumstances the Court “shall” remand for reconsideration. The circumstances surrounding that single ex parte contact led the Circuit Court to conclude that my clients’ “strong showing” of “extreme circumstances” warranted remand of the case. My clients call upon the Council to rehear the case in its entirety not only because a violation of the state ethics laws mandates such reconsideration, but because the circumstances of this case are otherwise so egregious that no lesser option is available.

Can we please stop pretending government serves no purpose? Thanks.
Community engagement, FTW!

Tuesday June 9 at 6:00 pm at Winchester Hall there will be a council meeting. The single agenda item pertains to considering the significance of the FACT (Frederick Area Council on Transportation) correspondence regarding the Monrovia Town Center. Another excerpt here highlights the FACT letter:

The Remand Order is only nominally about Commissioner Smith and the FACT letter.The Remand Order is more broadly intended to protect the “process” of judicial review by guaranteeing the soundness of a “record” untainted by procedural irregularities. The Court concluded that at a minimum the record is “tainted” by (1) Commissioner Smith’s conduct in connection with the FACT letter; and (2) the presence of the FACT letter in the MTC record.

This LTE in The Frederick News Post from President of Residents Against Landsdale Expansion Steve McKay provides their perspective on the Monrovia development.

On Tuesday (oops we fixed a typo–not Thursday), or any other time, can find FCG TV here.

If you would like to contact any or all of the County Council Members links to their pages can be found here in the sidebar. They may all be reached together at councilmembers@frederickcountymd.gov.