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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?”
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:
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.
We’ve been slowly digesting the post-Thanksgiving workshop from Tuesday like leftover turkey and dressing, but a lot less tasty. The overarching theme this week is: if you build houses, you will also need roads for the drivers and schools for the kids living in them. This fact is so glaringly obvious that it is difficult to understand why you would need a very, very long workshop for it, but how else will Billy Shreve attempt to set up a gotcha trap while actually possessing nothing?
Some of our observations include, in no particular order:
Janice Spiegel is exactly as awesome as everyone says she is. She presents an interesting tool for anticipating growth from the known approved housing in the pipeline. In spite of all the hypotheticals, she must reiterate continuously that she has not prepared a budget document, and does not predict a timeline for this. Simply the issue is if you build all those houses, people will live in them, so heads up. It’s a completely new concept for the two critters who helped approve those developments, Aside: when other people see Blaine stuck in all the traffic, are you as tempted as we are to roll down the window and scream at him, “This is your fault, you ridiculous fool! And also, Dog the Bounty Hunter called and he wants his outfit back!”
Tony Chmelik’s questions seem to imply that it is silly to focus on geographic regions. Would he recommend redistricting your kids like Newton’s Cradle every year, any time they could hunt down an empty seat to stick them in, just, “tok-tok-tok, all fixed; we’ll move you back next year when there’s an empty seat here, probably?” Would he send kids from his neighborhood to Libertytown, even knowing they will be stuck on the other side of a truck wedged under the CSX bridge 3 out of every 5 weekdays?
Kirby Delauter can manage to behave himself. It was so weird. Kampaigning Kirby disagrees quite respectfully (until he gets all worked up about Jan Gardner, and then he returns to his ranty man thing). Kirby “The Sky is Falling” Delauter worked really hard to minimize the impact of the development pipeline and acted like everyone else (Jan) is the problem. The actual problem is that 800 more kids showed up for school this year than had been predicted, so perhaps it is not over-erestimating that is the real danger here. The actual problem is that this pyramid scheme where development theoretically increases the tax base so that you can build roads and schools by starting construction of those some number of years after you build houses that people move into is a patently ridiculous idea that will make everyone miserable, and also make the property values not very attractive.
Billy Shreve wants to reinvent the wheel. Billy wants to know how they predict the number of kids, and birthrate patterns, and Millenials and elders don’t seem to have babies. It wasn’t presented at all with the degree of snark we think it merits, but it sure sounds like the state is actually able to inform about the number of babies that are born in a given year, and then add 5 years to extrapolate for kindergarteners.
We are tired. We are sorry for not saying anything nice about the nice people who did nice things and tried to promote the less academically able up the levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy. It has been too dramatic a week for your average news junkie, so. G’night.
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!