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This Summer Election

August 9, 2005

by Jack Lynch

This summerís election season has brought us the bursting yellow daffodils of Dougherty signs, and now it seems the second wave of Young placards in their tulip coloring lettering, so one might soon expect to smell the rosesÖbut alas, the moments of real campaign, beyond signage, are few and far between.  I suppose that I donít get out to the right meetings of the business and critter clubs for all that.  How is the ordinary voter to distinguish the candidates and form an opinion on issues?

What we have had is the flap over Mr. Youngís rather insipid cheap shot about mythical gazebo permits being held up on the Mayorís desk, and sheíll be damned if she going to let some vague unnamed guy build a decorative shelter in his backyard!  What a monster!

Why canít we get a real controversy to stir the pot?  Couldnít someone break out of the box and suggest something radical?  Like, forget Monocacy Boulevard.  It will never be more than an industrial road of flex buildings for distributors, printers and low tech companies like cold storage warehouses.  No glamour.  No Carroll Creek of sleek businesses and Martha Stewart condos.  It wonít even be a desirable place to drive through after a time, it will probably have all the character of Route 1 between Laurel and Baltimore today, after all the roadside charm has fallen into decrepitude, or been lost.

Why canít somebody lose their head and suggest something of outrageous common sense, like moving the airport to where it has room to expand in another fifty years?  Like out where one existed at what is now Crumland Farms?  Along the mountains and within the Frederick annex zone.  Then we could redevelop a mixed use neighborhood, along the great Monocacy Boulevard, that might actually create an ambiance of downtown and attract a business base for consumers.

If not ideas.  Why not issues?  And not the false horse of civility, gag me with a spoon!

Mr. Young has tried to paint the Mayor a taxaholic.  And I suppose that broad brush does fit somewhat, but then again, a Republican dominated Board also supplied the votes for it, and then turned around with a relief plan, playing both sides. You canít take money in from the people without spreading it around.  We expect that of politicians.

Mr. Young has again turned out one which is beneath his presumed dignity and experience.  He did this by posting a ĎTop Ten City Income Tax Listí on his mayoral race website, which included Frederick, as eighth highest in taxes.   But it was wrong and he knew it full well.  Thatís politics.  And he shrugged it off as Ďthe tax situation in generalí according to the Frederick News Post.

One of Youngís great claims to fame in Frederick is fathering the Carroll Creek vision.  And if we give him that status, it may be exactly why we donít want his vision back downtown.  As a downtown worker, one looks around at all the fabulous restaurants and cannot find many reasonable places to have lunch.  

One of Ronís great decisions on downtown reportedly included telling the Plamondon companies when they wanted to build a Roy Rogers restaurant there, was that they werenít wanted on North Market street, historic faÁade or not.  Thanks Ron!   Not only canít I get that good meal at midday, but how many more workers are employed in a fast food, than in an antique shop?  Downtown development needs to envision everyone participating in a livable area.  I often wonder how some of the boutiques survive, and of course, many donít survive, they churn.

If you want to change downtown and make it more vital for residents, in addition to the condos, letís give an incentive to turn unused second and third floors over businesses into apartments and  condos at affordable housing rates for moderate income residents.  A tax incentive , or reduction, now thatís right up Ronís alley, but heís hoping instead to find those slots filled at top rates once the downtown is pumped fully with even more expensive boutiques below at street level. 

Pate de foie gras, mon ami?

Itís all the rage in Paris!