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The Tentacle


January 10, 2005

A Plethora of Topics

Alan Imhoff

What started out as an occasional piece to help out a friend on this Website has now surpassed 60 articles over two full years. As I begin this third year I thought I would go back over those articles and briefly "classify" what I wrote about.

I listed several categories and here is how they broke out: City of Frederick issues six, Frederick County issues eight, and Frederick County Public Schools seven. Politics in general garnered seven, while fiscal/budget and voting had six each.

The top two were planning issues with 10 and what I called "Fun Stuff" also had 10, which included my most recent one on the "red" and "blue" coloring to describe political reporting.

What amazed me was the close percentage on the topics, as I had not set out to keep any sort of balance. So was it a fluke, or does it reflect more on what was being discussed by the general public at the time?

As the City of Frederick will gear up in the coming months for their election year, I wonder what will be the topics for debate. Well, if history is any lesson, or my unscientific distribution of articles, we can expect to hear a lot on planning or lack of it.

There will most assuredly be a lot about budgets, property taxes and the like. Somehow public schools and the city's relationship with the Board of County Commissioners will find be bandied about from time to time.

And we cannot forget what will be among the biggest issues at the very beginning, residency requirements and the voting process in general. Should be an eye-catcher for those who are interested.

Which leaves the "Fun Stuff." Perhaps some of these topics for debate will focus on the rationale for the required no-greater-than-six-foot length of Christmas trees to be left curbside, instead of being hauled by each taxpayer to a more cost efficient recycling site.

Or maybe another topic will be to extend the 2-hour parking limit to all the side streets around Baker Park where City Hall and other downtown employees have migrated to in parking their cars now that parking close to work has become so expensive.

Perhaps at the county level there will be talk on a special Task Force to study the relative reliability of the latest Maryland Office of Planning growth statistics as they relate to $400,000 plus new homes being sold to "senior" citizens with no kids for the school system and the regressive use of the Impact Fee to cover the difference,

But, then again, there will be nothing new. We will hear about "overcrowded" schools, congested highways, insufficient revenues to cover ever-expanding costs of health-care and insurance. We will hear about the difficulty in getting things done because it is an election year and politics will stymie efforts to move forward.

So maybe it is time for me to find some other topics to write about.

Perhaps I could write a few articles about how it would make sense to convert the old Pennsylvania Railroad right-of-way, now owned by the State of Maryland, from the Monocacy Village Shopping Center to the Worman's Mill train station under the Rail-to-Trail process - oops, already suggested that one.

How about "Land Value Taxation in Urban and Smart Growth Policy" whereby shifting the emphasis from buildings to land brings better revenue streams of tax dollars to government.

Perhaps the Energy Policy Act and Executive Order 13149 requiring federal agencies to add alternative fuel vehicles (a.k.a. AFV's) to their fleets and how this might effect our local government vehicle fleets.

Or this one: a performance comparison between Aquatic Root Zone and Textile Medium - Integrated Fixed-Film Activated Sludge (IFFAS for short) wastewater treatment systems, a relatively new entry into treating wastewater (albeit old technology when dealing with water hyacinths and the like) for public buildings.

Yes, all three of these are viable topics, but I am sure most of you have never heard of them, but somehow I don't think The Tentacle readers are quite ready for them yet.

So I guess I'll stay with the tried and true. Besides I owe you an update on my 2005 Frederick County Public School System enrollment projections, as well as my foray into a new area for me - the plight of senior citizens today ("senior" is currently defined as those of us over 50 years of age) with perhaps a little insight into another new area, the effects of the mandated 2005 Federal Base Reduction Act.

Stay in touch.



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