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The Tentacle


September 25, 2012

Lennie’s Voice Again Heard

Roy Meachum

John L. “Lennie” Thompson no longer occupies a Winchester Hall office. But still, being Lennie, he’s making political noises anyway, amplified across the top of The Frederick News-Post Sunday front page.

 

The ex-president of the Board of County Commissioners asked the current bunch to pledge their personal fortunes that the licenses to developers will succeed – not all of the serving officials. David Gray did not join his four colleagues in approving 1,100 houses in the Landsdale part of Monrovia. This was the first time around. The board has another chance.

 

Having looked forward to the next stage, Lennie was quoted: “This (guarantee) is a way for taxpayers to receive assurances that the commissioners really do believe the developers are going to do everything they say they’re going to do.

 

“If the government is to be run like a business, then the people making these decisions that favor business should be more than willing to put their reputations on the line,” he said. “If they don’t, then it’s fair game to question their sincerity.”

 

Lennie targets Commissioners Blaine Young, Paul Smith, Billy Shreve and Kirby Delauter. News-Post Reporter Pete McCarthy included responses from three.

 

Mr. Smith considered the call to sign a pledge as a joke, “I think Lennie Thompson has a great sense of humor.” As for the pledge, Mr. Delauter dismissed it, saying he listened to staff’s recommendation. “We’re just enabling those people to do business,” he said. Signing the statement “would mean absolutely nothing.” With his customary sangfroid, Mr. Young blew it off, but he admitted that he’s heard the idea previously: “I’ve seen it before.”

 

But, for many citizens and taxpayers, the concept is novel. Holding officials personally responsible, instead of taxpayers, would be a breath of fresh air. Thinking about it, I wonder why it was not a rudimentary principal of the Tea Party, which did not exist when Lennie Thompson was active in county politics.

 

What if the past presidential candidates were liable for programs and policies they promulgated, including the wars and the fact that their fellow wealthy are paying income tax at the same rate charged in 1929, the first year of the Great Depression. Extending Lennie’s idea a step further:

 

What if those in charge had to pay with blood for all the lives needlessly wasted? The publishing of succeeding casualty lists of young men and women disgusts me beyond measure.

 

The past president of the Board of County Commissioners was always creative. We differed and he was fodder for more than several columns over the years. But a humorous idea must be saluted. I don’t remember from his active service that he was anti-developers, but as my own life proves: things change.

 

But Lennie Thompson’s idea flops out of the gate. In this great republic, we could never talk men and women into running for office. Part of the sheer joy politicians accrue is playing with money belonging to taxpayers, not their own.

 



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