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The Tentacle


December 29, 2005

Santa's Three Bags Full

John W. Ashbury

It has become increasingly difficult in recent years to uncover the gifts Santa leaves for local politicians. But this year special thanks go out to President George W. Bush and the National Security Agency in Laurel for making it so much easier.

Over at Del. Galen Clagett's Frederick City home Santa left a bevy of gifts. First was a 2-gallon pitcher for his House of Delegates' desk to keep him supplied with the Kool-Aid served by Speaker Michael Busch.

Under the tree Mr. Clagett found a pretty package which - when unwrapped - revealed a party dress for the delegate to wear in Annapolis so he can better appear to be former Del. Sue Hecht, whose voting pattern and record he continues to emulate.

And on Mr. Clagett's bedside stand was a copy of Adam Smith's book on economics which is designed to teach the freshman delegate what is good for business in Maryland - which doesn't include an increase in the minimum wage (should be left to Congress) and a measure requiring big business to pay a tax to the state when health insurance costs don't meet what the state thinks it should.

At soon-to-be ex-Mayor Jennifer Dougherty's house Santa left several lengths of Velcro to sew on all her garments so she can remain closer to Baltimore's Mayor Martin O'Malley, a fellow Irishman no seeking to replace Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich. She also received a new business plan for her restaurant to help her avoid insolvency.

Santa left Del. Rick Weldon a size 3x suit of armor to wear in Annapolis to protect him from "the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune" as he continues to apply common sense to issues facing the General Assembly to the chagrin of both Democrats and Republicans.

County Commissioner Jan Gardner received a book defining hypocrisy - with examples culled from her comments at workshops and public meetings.

Commissioner John Lovell received a 52-week course at the Dale Carnegie Academy of Personality Development.

Commissioner Mike Cady got an implanted, battery operated device which gives him a short electric shock every time he brags about all he does for the citizens of the county. This gift had been suggested by a Frederick Countian who wasn't aware that there were four other commissioners who also worked for the citizens.

Commission President John L. "Lennie" Thompson received a dark suit. Seems Mr. Thompson, not known for his fashion sense, wasn't aware that one doesn't wear a white suit after Labor Day, and especially not just before Thanksgiving.

Incoming Mayor of The City of Frederick Jeff Holtzinger received a clone of himself to allow him to coach midget league football while remaining at his City Hall office to correct the mess he inherited from his predecessor.

On the doorstep of the Frederick County Builders Association, Santa left a year's supply of Nexium to help its members deal with the coming Frederick City Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance.

Retiring Frederick City Alderman David Lenhart got a one-way ticket on a midnight train to Georgia, a gift suggested to Santa by Mayor Jennifer Dougherty.

Soon-to-be former Alderman Bill Hall got a book on how to run a campaign for state delegate and a huge bottle of valium to calm him when soon-to-be former Mayor Jennifer Dougherty announces her run for a seat in the General Assembly.

Alderman Marcia Hall, soon-to-be president pro-tem of the Board of Alderman, received an abrasive pole to put next to her City Hall seat to assist her in shedding her skin.

Alderman Donna Ramsburg unwrapped perhaps the smallest package of all. Inside was a note telling her that it isn't nice - much less legal - to seek another term in City Hall just to protect your relatives who are employed by The City of Frederick. Obviously Santa thought she had been naughty rather than nice.

Santa also left in their City Hall offices a combination gift for Aldermen Hall and Ramsburg. It was a box of going-away cards for City Hall chiefs and directors who will be looking for work in the coming year.

State Senator Alex X. Mooney received a letter from Santa. It explained to the two-term office holder that - under Maryland law - elected officials are required to live in the district they represent after the election - and not just on a part-time basis.

Santa's letter also explained to Senator Mooney that that big, red, oblong thing with the gauges on top in the corner of his basement is an oil tank; that his furnace draws sustenance from it; and that this must be done before heat is supplied.

Alderman-elect David 'Kip' Koontz received a teddy bear to carry with him at all times as a reminder that no matter what other people think, he is still loved - even if it is only by a stuffed animal. Santa also reminded Mr. Koontz that he isn't Don Quixote.

Alderman-elect Alan Imhoff received a razor and a can of shaving cream. Apparently it was meant as a not-so-subtle hint that people his age and size do not meet the criteria necessary to look like a swashbuckling man-about-town.

Santa also left Mr. Imhoff the ability to tell the difference between being elected an alderman and being elected mayor of The City of Frederick.

As a group, the county commissioners received from Santa the realization that it isn't wise to criticize the Frederick County delegation to Annapolis by saying they are ineffective and without influence in the General Assembly just days after begging those same state officials to support the passage of a large number of bills they want passed in the upcoming session.

Former City of Frederick Mayor James S. Grimes got a big bottle of smile remover and a frown to replace that grin he has sported since September 13.

The Frederick County Board of Education received a reading program that will actually result in all students in the Frederick County Public School system graduating with the ability to read.

The administrative employees of the Frederick County Board of Education received a note from Santa instructing them to implement this new reading program or else he won't leave them any goodies next year.

To those advocating for more affordable housing in Frederick County Santa left a big bottle of Pepto-Bismol to cure their belly-aching .oops. their aching belly.

And at the Town office in Thurmont, Santa left a large bag of cash to be used to pay the utility bills of town officials who aren't able to pay them themselves - or who just plain don't want to - particularly in light of the big electric rate increase coming in July.

There were lots of other gifts for these and other officials but the decoder rings were overloaded and needed a rest to recharge. More next year.



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