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December 19, 2006

Something Curious

Roy Meachum

Frederick's GOP Central Committee does not like the notion, fostered by fellow Republican David Gray, that the presidency of the Board of County Commissioners should be awarded to the highest vote-getter.

As presently written, Mr. Gray is the president because among the three members of the Grand Old Party elected last month, the job is his, even though Democrat Jan Gardner received the most votes. Mr. Gray's near-panic at the prospect of taking over Winchester Hall may very well be how he served the cause of local government best.

Few folks can recall pleasantly the last time GOP commissioners were under Mr. Gray's sway. It was an embarrassing spectacle provided by a man who, seemingly, never wanted to make up his mind. If that were not enough, as a freshman counselor, John "Lennie" Thompson exhibited ruthlessness in his willingness to take over the gavel. And all his world.

Every board meeting threatened to degenerate into Lennie browbeating his colleagues: to the point that Mrs. Gardner's tears became the target of numerous bad jokes on the streets. Mr. Gray retreated into a petulant silence. The whole spectacle that frequently took over, leaving out logic and common sense, prompted Commissioner Ilona Hogan to resign. (Her replacement was Rick Weldon, who now serves in Annapolis as delegate.)

Would Mr. Gray revert to his former ways of treating Winchester Hall as a place to drop by, once in a while? He's trying desperately to create the probability. He's asked for a backseat on the county delegation four years ago.

Would Mr. Gray revert to his former ways of treating Winchester Hall as a place to drop by, once in a while?

He's trying desperately to create that probability. He's asked for a backseat on the county delegation. The most important thing that, because of past experience, seems likely is that he would avoid the problems that come with his charge.

Now, no one seems to know what Ms. Gardner will do with the power the voters thrust upon her, if Mr. Gray supported by Mr. Thompson prevails. Going into the story, there was an enormous buzz about how he had run the county before. And let there be no nonsense that being president is a meaningless job, entirely devoted to arranging meetings and rapping knuckles when commissioners goof-up. That's never been true.

In a sense, there should be regards for Mr. Gray to acknowledge his failure to do well by the county before; on the other hand, it would be nice to see if the four years in exile maybe changed him. And how.

Frederick's story has become very Russian, it seems from here; it reeks of hasty phone calls and closed doors. The anti-development crowd can practice dirty pool as well, or better; just the other day I picked up a brochure I had never seen before.

In the pro-growth's mailing pieces there were pictures of supporters cavorting beside a pool. Moreover, there have been instances when the anti-growth crowd has looked as ridiculous.

The next chapter in this drama should include buying an ice cream cone, at that bar close to The Museum Shop. On all political levels I find very strange when strangers claim the capping of a high scoring defeat will make their future. It's only a game. Or is it?



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