Annual tradition: fantasy budget cuts

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.

Just as long as you don’t become the County Executive, do whatever.

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.
M.C.’s reply: We haven’t voted on that yet.
Kirby: Well, the last two years!
Yokel text: Oh my God. You know what we should do? Find the post we wrote about his amendments last year and see if it matches up. Just to prove what a dead horse beater he is!
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:
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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!

What’s that you say #HATESLATE? Kirby’s raffling off MAGA guns? And Tony didn’t pay his taxes?

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This is going to be all of us soon!

Oh gentle readers, do we have a bunch to catch y’all up on! We are very sorry to tell you that the #HATESLATE, which continues to insist that they are not a slate, has slated together to form a new Facebook page! Take a look at this diverse artwork they chose for their cover photo:

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And the slogan!!! Lord, you can’t make this stuff up!

Next, let’s look at the first post on this newly formed page:

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Uhhh, the first thing we have to say is that pointing out that you are fear-mongering is not a personal attack. It is a fact that everyone needs to know about. Secondly, what is the message exactly? We hear lots of complaints and Chicken Little proclamations, but not one solid proposal on how to fix all that they say is wrong with the school system. Unless, of course, this meme that Seth posted is actually under consideration:

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Thirdly, there have been PLENTY of people in the community, ourselves included, who have specifically pointed out (USING ACTUAL FACTS) how wrong the #HATESLATE is!

If you missed our two most recent posts about their claims, go ahead and read them here and here. Also, new blogger “The Rank Stranger” took the time to go through their claims and made two excellent posts (WITH DATA), here and here.

Current BOE President Brad Young, who according to Seth is not even on the board, has been fighting their misinformation like a champ this week!

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It is amazing the low opinion the #HATESLATE has of the kids within our school system.

And, because you are running for the Board of EDUCATION, you should have a basic understanding of how the English language works! That is not an unreasonable expectation!  Therefore, we enlisted a teacher friend to show ya’ll your mistakes:

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Grammarly is an excellent resource folks!

Anyone in the mood for a pre-Mother’s Day fundraiser?

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Let’s get a close up of that MAGA themed Kel Tec shotgun, shall we?

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Do we have to point out all the negative connotations this decorating of the weapon entails? How are we to make America great again? By shooting everyone up? For freedom? We hope that Kirby realizes that his position as County Executive doesn’t entail writing gun legislation.

And last, but certainly not least, we have yet another county council man delinquent on his county taxes! How is this possible?! Mr. Frederick County First:

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Owes over $3000!!!!

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It’s almost May, so the countdown to June 26 is quickly approaching! Make good decisions for the future of both our school board and our county government. #Localelectionsmatter!

 

 

April 17th meeting menu: third reading casserole with Fredneck salad

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.

 

Piecemeal digest of February 27th Workshop

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).
In case you were wondering where this thing is supposed to go. You can kind of see the Eastern Panhandle Expansion converging with the Potomac there, but unfortunately the County Seal and headings got in the way of some of the relevant details on a couple of these slides.
  • We nicked their slides. Hopefully they don’t mind. Here is the Karst Swiss Cheese. Get the idea?

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.

20/20 hindsight? We have 20/20 foresight! It’s your weekly drinking game time.

Pulease hold onto your liver. This meeting could put you 5 steps closer to cirrhosis. Grab your agenda while we look into our crystal balls to predict how this meeting is going to go down.

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Just kidding. This is our Cristal. Get it???

When Billy abstains from the agenda, shake your fist at your screen and fix yourself a drunk uncle.

Since Kirby was such a jerk last week, and Tony was the week before, we predict the public will show up to comment at the beginning of the meeting. The public wants to be heard. When this happens swing back a shot of brandy to steel your nerves.

Next up are several budget adjustments for emergency services and les pauvres enfants. Shrelauter usually talks up how important fire and rescue are until it is actually time to spend money. When one of them starts squawking, pour yourself a screaming eagle.

Next up, business items.

There are board confirmations, and then two items related to transportation. Then Tony Chmelik will discuss the state legislative issues, so have a Flying Dog during the business items, because there are some dueling beer bills in Annapolis, and our small craft breweries are at risk. (If you would like to be a beer advocate, details about the beer bills are here). Be good to our local businesses.

First reading calendar. The agenda lists dueling senior tax credit bills. Kirby already tried and failed to propose a fully thought out tax credit bill for public servants, so we are not holding our breath that this first reading of his will be any more successful. Fortunately, Jerry’s bill is up first. Cristal is telling me that we should all have a bottle on standby. When Jerry’s bill is well received take a swig. If you just want Kirby to stop talking, take another swig.

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We are looking at you Kirby.

M.C. Keegan-Ayer is proposing legislation that would make more stringent guidelines to the effect that if your neighborhood pool isn’t in your neighborhood, then it’s not your neighborhood pool. If that makes sense to you, have another swig. If you think your neighborhood pool should be outside your neighborhood, you know nothing. You get nothing.

Now we are all the way up to the dramatic third readings, and y’all. We’re nervous. Not gonna lie.

A decision will be made on Jan’s Bill regarding DRRAs (Developer Rights and Responsibilities, if you’re nasty). Finish the bottle. Finish it before they start talking or voting, and then steel yourself for…

Permitted Uses in MXD. Council decision. Pick your poison. And there’s an addition of a proposed amendment by Council President Bud Otis.

Then there is a public hearing on a Water and Sewerage Plan Amendment, which sounds like the perfect time to pass out after what may happen above. Especially since they go on a break and reconvene at 7:00 to cover the Amended Forest Resource Ordinance and Public Comments.

Council Member Comments would be a good time to loudly crunch some ice chips.

Fin.

 

 

 

 

 

Epic meeting of February 6th: round 2 (a doozy)

The public hearing on the MDX amendment to “the Zoning Ordinance to specify additional permitted uses in the Mixed Use Development District” is an instance when zzzzzzzzoning is unfortunately not boring.  To briefly touch on this, the perception is that this amendment is hand crafted to target the Jefferson Tech Park area and that to adopt it would mean these people end up with distribution centers such as what we see out on Buckeystown Pike in their neighborhood, to the detriment of their property values. Since Steve McKay, who has frequently spoken on zoning issues in the Monrovia area, and Stand Up Frederick have already posted thoughts on this, please see those links for information while we focus on how much we were confused by what happened at the lectern last night. (P.S. you probably know that Steve McKay will be running against Tony Chmelik in the District 2 Republican Primary, and after Chmelik’s abominable behavior this evening we could not be more pleased that he is doing so.) If Mr. McKay and Lisa Jarosinski, who is running in the Democratic primary, are the candidates in the D2 general election, that will be one lucky D indeed. Those are two fine candidates.

First of all, it was a great joy to hear from The Public at this meeting. The Public is a lot more interesting than Our Regular Cast of Characters. Ray Barnes spoke on behalf of County Executive Gardner and gave three concerns. He was questioned at length by Billy, who kept trying to rile Mr. Barnes up with his circular dislogic. Mr. Barnes kept his cool throughout this display, and was ultimately dismissed by Bud who claimed he never heard these concerns before tonight and he wants to know hear from the public. The Lawyer for the Jefferson Tech Park–why did he get his three minutes, plus many, many more minutes of chit chat? Is this how it is supposed to work? We don’t get that. That does not seem reasonable to us. This guy tries to bog us down with legalese, claiming it’s in the interest of public safety that the council approve this bill. He also throws out the term “belts and suspenders legislation,” to which we can only think, “When has that fashion combo ever been a good idea?”

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Steve McKay spoke knowledgeably, per usual, as did Kai Hagen.

Then Kai also got the many, many more minutes of chitchat “privilege.” We chuckle a bit that Kai is never succinct (and of course, we recognize that this is because he is thoughtful and diplomatic, so he makes an effort to be thorough and careful) but this really wasn’t about him at all. Because it was about Tony Chmelik being rabid, ranting, obnoxious, asking him questions in a rude and angry tone and then talking over him every time he tried to answer. We don’t typically give Tony Chmelik too much grief, because as compared to the Shrelauter bookends, he tends to stand out in the more normal grownup conduct spectrum. Well, not last night! And then we have no one stopping it. M.C. Keegan-Ayer tried to introduce a point of order in all this, and was completely ignored. we were under the impression that someone wields a gavel at these things and is supposed to maintain order? Who is that? It took far too long for any effort to be made to curtail this behavior. Kai may be an At-Large candidate for the Council, but currently he is The Public. The Public doesn’t deserve to be treated with such rudeness.

Tony sniped that Kai hasn’t taken responsibility for this issue. Well. We have thoughts. That thought is that as an elected representative in this county it is currently Tony Chmelik’s responsibility to shirk. If he wants to make this a special responsibility of Kai Hagen’s, we can all follow his dreams. We can do so by electing Kai Hagen to our County Council. So there’s a thing to think up on. It appears to be the one simple trick to respecting everyone involved here.

Here are some handy dandy campaign resources; we are in no way affiliated with any of the candidates and this message was approved by no one:

Lisa Jarosinski

Steve McKay

Kai Hagen

Tony Chmelik (hahaha–if you’re looking for his page, you’ll have to find your way there unaided by us!)

 

Epic meeting of February 6th: round 1

The yokels all missed the very beginning, only to tune in as Melanie Cox of the League of Women Voters was saying, “…give us a chance to speak.” The immediate assumption is that this is about the botched process for changing Frederick County’s representation to the Maryland Association of Counties (MACO). If we’re wrong about that, let us know and we will edit. We keep threatening to write a meeting up without watching it and see if we can guess what happens, because we know our characters purty stinkin well at this point. For example, Melanie Cox is a classy lady for whom dignity and propriety is important, so under the circumstances, it makes sense to leap to the conclusion that she would have liked to see a transparent process for the thing that…spoiler alert…comes to fruition later on.

Regular examples of totally predictable events: Budget adjustments. Everyone votes for those, except Billy the Abstinent. Then everyone votes to approve the minutes, except Billy the Obstinate. And you also already know that he couldn’t bother to speak into his microphone.

We have a presentation on a Mutual Aid Agreement with the Washington County Sheriff’s Department and the Hagerstown P.D. A member of the Sheriff’s department comes in our Sheriff’s stead, because… hold on to your little ACLU fold-up Constitutions…because Jenkins is out of pocket. Why? Because he is meeting with The President about immigration. Another of the Yokels had a boss who used meeting with the president as her euphemism for going to do her powder room business, which makes us snicker.

Mr. Yokel observes from the other couch, “The President of What???” We will not go into our skepticism of Jenkins’ qualifications on this subject, from the vantage point of living on the Mason-Dixon border. Riding Arpaio’s coattails onto Fox is all the qualifications the Dunning-Kruger Administration requires. Mr. Yokel still believes this tale is sound and fury signifying nothing, and since Newt Gingrich declared that facts are no longer a thing (and heck if he isn’t painfully right), we will all believe in whatever manner our emotional states’ require. The decision is in favor of a cooperative approach to providing for the common defence.

We move on to stripping M.C. Keegan-Ayer of her appointment to MACO so that Tony Chmelik can have it. M.C. is classy and abstains from voting on a matter that pertains to herself. Guess who doesn’t?! Both of them speak in favor of improving the process by which this is done. Great idea…

There’s a presentation about closing the intersection of Old Frederick Rd. at 15, for the sake of safety and traffic efficiency. Much more of this is needed in that general area–both in the safety and efficiency department.

We come to the First Calendar Readings, which is mainly the Throw Covfefe at the Wall and See What Sticks section, as far as Billy Shreve is concerned. Steve McKay said it best:

Council Member Billy Shreve is introducing a bunch of bills. I guess you can tell that it’s an election year. Billy Shreve – known to abstain on most votes – is all of the sudden introducing a handful of bills. Sorry folks, but after three years of his disagreeable nature, this doesn’t impress me a bit.

No one wants to speak, making us wonder if there are any redeeming qualities these bills may have if their authors cannot be bothered to enlighten us. Chemlik feels a bit of shame and takes up his own cause on the wood chipping bill. Isn’t local politics sexxxxxxy? Shreve is the definition of shameless.

Justin’s bringing sexy back Fredneck style.

And we are on a break!