Your locals bounced into the show late mid-Monocacy River Plan Presentation and it does sound like the early part of the meeting was worth listening to because there were some comments made with bipartisan concerns about things that were eliminated from the plan and we don’t have the low down on that. Our chief take away really is that it is a plan. It isn’t legislation, although it may be the basis for crafting legislation that uses the plan as a resource. If that’s the case, then you get to go through the whole process that is normal when you have an elected public official you have to talk to. Part of the plan is specifically that eminent domain should not be used, so the entire land grabbing narrative is silly. Like so many things. And we will have to return to how representative democracy works later when we had to consume the entire bottle of Barefoot Bubbly.
They ticked through the public hearing portion of the bills the council is considering rather quickly, after a brief interlude of disco video game psychedelic electronica music. Who picks that stuff?
Then there was a discussion about bills for the council to offer support to or withhold sending support to for the state delegation, and holy moly. It would be appropriate to hit the sauce just so that we can address this in writing. We are going to award the nickname Philly to Phil Dacey, due to an uncanny likeness this evening to Billy Shreve’s confusion over
Roberts’ Rules everything. Tonight he was incensed that they must quickly offer opinions on items they don’t know enough about. This would seem like a BFD, if it were true that the public never gets to weigh in. But here is the thing: the public elected Delegates and Senators and Joseph(ina) Q. Public is perfectly free to contact the people who will actually be voting on these bills to let them know what their priorities are. The council opinion is not meant to convey the constituents’ opinions, so much as it is meant to offer insight from the standpoint of officials who have a closer relationship with all the invested players in the business community and pertinent county agencies. And hey, we can understand if you aren’t familiar with this process that it seems a little crazy, but at least they asked for your opinion. You can give it, or not. And there’s a little foreshadowing for you folks…
First they were to offer support or decline to support a bill to establish a registry of private laboratories that have biohazardous materials so that in the event of an emergency the first responders know about the biohazards. This is of particular concern to Frederick County for reasons that are hopefully obvious to most everyone. Steve McKay referred to this bill as a “no-brainer” because (per his explanation) basically we are talking about nasty stuff that is one step away from being weaponized. Philly indignantly snapped, “Are you implying the state delegation has no brain?” There was more agony with the hand wringing over not knowing anything about this and having to decide in a hurry (glug, glug, glug) and Kai piled on, seconding the “no-brainer” quality of this needed legislation. I mean, whoever heard of it being a big deal if anthrax happens to get out into the environment, right? Oh and also this has come up thrice already with unanimous support from the Council in every previous year, but it has passed the House of Delegates and failed in the Senate repeatedly. Jerry Donald contributed that Ron Young is optimistic that it can be passed at long last because the thorn in the Senate is not longer in office. Fingers crossed. 6 ayes, 1 abstention on this one. You can’t make this stuff up.
That he was getting nowhere with tabling the opportunity to give an opinion to the delegation started to really grate at Dacey, and in turn agitate your Yokel on duty. The next one was somewhat confusing, because of a sort of double negative setup. Here’s the query: Should the Council oppose including Frederick County in State Legislation exempting Agritourism businesses from being required to meet certain life safety building and zoning standards.
Some of the more interesting work of the previous Council was working to have farm wineries and breweries and allow special events in these spaces. Because many of them are charming old barns they are susceptible to certain safety hazards (like flammability), and so this having been a thing that was extensively cultivated involving the various interested parties like brewers and vintners and farmers and county agencies, the thinking was, “Nah, we’d not like to have gone through all that and have these things exempted from safety measures.” Fire safety regulation has had its opponents previously, if you followed the rogue wedding venues dramas of the past year or so. (If not: Here, here, here.) Philly moved to table the opportunity for opinion giving. Back and forth and forth and back and then got snippy that he had a motion and M.C. had to explain that nobody seconded the motion, and then no one did, so the motion failed.
There was so much whining and undignified begging. It was truly disrespectful of the process that he was so desperately trying to knight-in-shining-armor save from itself. Steve McKay and Jessica Fitzwater both said they were comfortable with taking a position, because it was a position not to do something rather than a position favoring a new measure. We have to disagree here. That is entirely beside the point, which is up above, but we will revisit. We are all free to contact our representatives in Annapolis. That is how government works. We don’t need it to pass from us through Kai Hagen and Michael Blue or whomever. Annnnnd…On that note, we are so terribly remiss in bestowing an award of gratitude upon Michael the Miracle of District 5–this is such an improvement from He Who Shan’t Be Named. With that, we will end on a positive note. Deep breaths.