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The Tentacle


July 27, 2007

"Fluke" Mayor

Roy Meachum

You may have a different opinion: But I'm fed up to my teeth with the cheap shots being taken at Jeff Holtzinger.

The mayor's offended some in my trade because he is not as chatty as his predecessor. One columnist at least openly lamented at Mr. Holtzinger's cancellation of the weekly press conference.

Frederick is not Hollywood or Washington. Nobody is hanging around with bated breath for the latest poop on remodeling roads. As a matter of fact, there has been no mass movement against the way the mayor does his job. I find the official silence refreshing.

After all, we have an elected official who works hard getting the work done. And not spend endless hours talking about the things that will be pulled from the pipeline, with appropriate drums and bugles.

In part, at least, Ron Young lost his comeback bid because some folks remembered the rambunctious City Hall he ran. Having the defeated mayor's coterie of noisemakers at his throat did not help the Democratic nominee's chances in the last municipal election, as I've said before.

There is a sound political principle: Between elections everybody wants to hear nothing but good things from elected officials. The last person in Mr. Holtzinger's job proved that proposition. (While I'm up, so to speak, County Commissioner President Jan Gardner has tamped down the blather around her generally very well.)

Especially since the alderman had a close relationship with the woman voters kicked out the last time around, she apparently learned no lessons from the last election. I simply cannot fathom why Donna Kuzemchak takes wide and erratic swings at the mayor's head. Has she managed to wipe her memory clean?

A few votes only kept the alderman from waking up in political oblivion that next November morning the last time around. Politicians are not the only people who blame their misfortunes on anyone else. But I cannot believe Mrs. Kuzemchak is too dumb to understand she shot herself in the foot, not with bullets but a big mouth.

She's still at it. Wednesday's Frederick News-Post ran the following quote: "Our job is to do what's best for the citizens. You know," she wrote the mayor, "the ones who actually live in the city."

That's called a cheap shot.

In fact, as all the world knows, over the past months, there have been persistent and consistent attempts to prove his city residence is a complete sham. They all failed. They should have.

Because their father felt a "civic duty" and decided to become mayor, why should his children be penalized any more than they have? They did not run for high office. They are not politicians. There has been no skullduggery.

But then the kids had not worked for the former mayor and had their stomachs turned by how she tried to run the city. Lest anyone forget, the ex-city engineer resigned rather than put up with things happening in City Hall.

Jeff Holtzinger and I don't always agree, but I know he is an honest man; he's too open to be anything else. And he went to school in the city, lived all his life just over the county line and furthermore deceived no one when he filed to run for mayor. Once elected, he accepted the need to live in his new post's jurisdiction. And he did.

As you know, he will almost certainly turn out to be the last elected here while living somewhere else. Only because his predecessor failed to move expeditiously to clarify requirements could the life-long county boy hope to run the city. The fence is high now and trimmed with legal barbed wire at all Frederick's perimeters.

The former mayor went through a bad spell with the law that simply should not have happened. The situation smells very suspiciously like she ignored both common sense and legal advice, which she has done before. Her teeth got kicked out in federal court attempting to defend the charter's self-serving residency requirement. I think Pushkin reads the Constitution differently than she. But the English pointer reads with no political or selfish bias.

The ex-mayor, President Pro Tem Marcia Hall, and Ms. Kuzemchak all have their hats tilted to run for mayor as soon as they can. They're counting on the incumbent giving up a job that brings grief and loses money; the older kids are looking at college very soon.

But they're going about it the hard way. Above all they should pull back from the possibility of triggering his anger. Jeff Holtzinger will not skip away. He's stubborn as a pack of donkeys mixed in with a herd of wild elephants.

The erratic, egocentric politicians really don't want to get that side riled up.



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