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December 16, 2016

Newspaper Article’s Factual Errors Corrected

Guest Columnist

Kirby Delauter


Just some observations on a recent front page article by Danielle Gaines in The Frederick News-Post entitled “A County Council Divided.” The piece begins by describing me speaking at a council meeting and goes through (with its best liberal effort) to describe the council reactions.


It painted Billy Shreve as seeing the comment as comical; it tries to show Tony Chmelik as embarrassed, and the remainder members of the council as studious and basically annoyed.


It described the scene as contentious. It stated that Jerry Donald rattled of items of success by the Democratic 4-3 majority such as the property tax remaining unchanged.


Well, nice try, but that’s not exactly true. Now, for two years in a row, the constant yield tax rate was ignored and the property tax rate was kept the same, which means the county collected more of your tax money in the process. The State of Maryland comptroller calls that “a tax increase;” and, yes, I voted against it.


Mr. Donald stated the bond rating has gone up. Again, this is true, but bond rating swings are like a cruise ship at sea, you do not turn them on a dime. In the case of bond rating swings (or, in this case, an increase) it started with the fiscal responsibility of the Blaine Young’s Board of County Commissioners – four to six years ago – when the county achieved the highest bond rating in county history.


Nice try, Mr. Donald, but you simply can’t take credit for what was done prior to your election. These are just of few of the items on his list of half-truths. He touts the 4-3 majority for 12 bills passed, but fails to mention 73% of these came through the council at the request of the county executive; and, yes, they came through with a rubber stamp etched with 4-3.


Councilman Donald likes to chide me for never introducing a bill in two years. Well, yes, if I have to introduce legislation for civility and water buffers we don’t need, then, yes, you will see no bills from me. I also want to reduce the size of government, not legislate our land rights and everything else under the sun to restrict our freedoms, all in the name of “good government.”


The article addresses personalities and how the elections may have had something to do with how council members act, but I can safely tell you it is simple common courtesy.


When a 4-3 majority (Bud Otis, M. C. Keegan-Ayer, Jessica Fitzwater and Mr. Donald) came out on day one in lockstep with the county executive, it’s hard to garner much cohesiveness in this group.


When the county executive targets business people with whom she disagrees, and issue executive orders (backed by the council by 4-3), it’s hard to gain cohesiveness as a group.


When a Republican elected official does a complete 180-degree turn from his election platform and throws his Republican counterparts under the bus at every turn, it’s hard to gain cohesiveness in this group.


When that same person (now unaffiliated Bud Otis) states in this News-Post article that “We are not a constituency service,” that speaks volumes as to his disdain for the voters who put him in office.


There is no leadership on this council, and it’s been said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. A prime example of proof of that axiom, by a 4-3 (Democrat vs Republican vote) Bud Otis was recently given a second term as president of the council. It’s apparent nothing will change, the council will be an extension of the county executive, and she will run the county through fear and intimidation, just as she has for the 20-plus years she’s been involved in county government.


I’m in a minority on this council. I get it, and I’m good with it. I will continue to point out the nonsense and serve all county citizens from my post as your District 5 councilman.


Just remember, 2018 is just around the corner Elections have consequences, and so do the actions of elected officials. Get involved, know what’s going on in your government – and vote.


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