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How Am I to Decide...Who to Vote for...for Mayor of Frederick?
October 10, 2005
by Jack Lynch
Having lost my first choice, and yet being a yellow dog Democrat in many regards, I am faced with an unusual dilemma in the next month.
It is tough to find favor in Mr. Young, regardless of his primary election victory.
And second choice, I was hoping to have Mr. Baldi as my solid backup position, but he’s out of the game too.
It would not be in character for a dedicated citizen like myself to not vote for any candidate at all, since electoral choice is primary to democracy and citizenship.
Mr. Holtzinger is firm on the costs of outlying development as being far greater than the benefits of typical development in the City. As far as I know, he has not placed a bet for, or against slots, which is a major issue that is being ignored soundly. He has said that he would not actively halt a proposal however, only that he would site it away from negative neighborhood impacts.
Does he recognize the need for greater emphasis on healthcare for residents and for truly affordable housing, or does being both an engineer and lawyer hold one aloft of issues important to the working and indigent classes?
Mr. Young is said to love the City, and why not? Having been sheltered under its wings many times before and brought back from his dotage to once again reach for the brass ring? He also sounds hollow on a City APFO. The business and developer dollars are flowing out to him as he ascends to good old boy heaven.
And what of his stand on slots? Without a word, he must be somewhat approving, calculating an advantage in the immediate income. We can expect the Weinberg to continue under his tutelage I suppose, which is fine, but then again, what about the social issues? We live in a different time than his last command, when community needs have grown against the pressures of economy and the world’s economic demands.
What of water?
Everyone says we need it, for growth, and no one says we’re destroying the Monocacy River as it runs through Frederick City with urban waste and excessive runoff. When the News-Post runs an aerial photo of the Golden Mile, as it did recently on the cover of their weekly business section, one sees the sea of asphalt and it’s no wonder that the creek behind it is decimated and dead.
When we do that kind of damage, we’re shooting ourselves in the foot for the long run. We may not always be upstream given the County’s planning process as it currently stands.
Everyone says we’ll get an agreement for Potomac water, which is fine, but what of the fifty years after that runs out? Not even the County has expressed a serious plan and done the planning to acquire the land it will necessitate to impound further water supply.
The entire region is facing the fact that groundwater is a precarious and uncertain supply, the Maryland Department of the Environment has cut most new well allotments in half and blocked further well growth in places locally.
So we hear talk of diversified water, but we don’t really see it.
We’re tied into too many development plans for our own good. Good government investment is when we encourage a business to invest in land, buildings and jobs, not when we subsidize the growth within our comprehensive planning.
Monocacy Boulevard, touted by every Alderperson alive, and the want-to-be candidates, is not a magic bullet, it is a dubious gamble. It was made worse by previous political dealings.
While critical of Mr. Young, I must give him his strengths, which I see as less his far removed experience locally, and more his smooth and easy going nature and ability to connect with people comfortably, that’s a real plus, he eases into contact and has a great social interaction style, that makes friends and eases contentiousness. It is easy to imagine him orchestrating a vibrant community effort.
He clearly seems confident that this race is his to lose, and even announced that he has a plan of accomplishment for his ‘first 100 days.’ The specific points in it are a review of City budget and personnel and projects, an Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance (APFO) draft, review of lawsuits, and infrastructure.
One of Young’s sticking points could be development planning, already higher density development is on his tongue, and voters realize that means even greater traffic and quality of life, not the envisioned, walkable neighborhoods. And, he does not say it's infill development, which might be a good goal, only new development, which could mean more infrastructure costs and we fear, more developer subsidies.
I really like Mr. Holtzinger’s nuts and bolts background. In an era of limited government, tax pressures and critical infrastructure, and high gas prices, I want a regulations and numbers geek. As the Gazette reported, he doesn’t think that the City should throw money at a problem before they understand the problem. When you look at the millions of dollars that will be poured into Monocacy Boulevard, I want leadership that recognizes the pertinent issues and not just a lovely vision. Not seeing the reality has been a downfall of some fairly recent officeholders.
I think that Holtzinger sees a blueprint in his mind, rather than a vision, and that’s how things really get built. Rising from the ranks of staff means he has real recent vision on how to make government efficient and effective. I would hope that won’t mean a wholesale purge, but you already see folks running for the door. Dependent on crossover votes like mine, I hope that he will temper his politics with justice, rather than revenge.
Holtzinger would also review budget and personnel and efficiency, tackle an APFO, and infrastructure. Most notably, he says that he’d kill the 'Executive Cabinet' that has been in for two administrations, saying it was too ‘political’ for technical issues. We applaud that. He also criticizes the placement of a water treatment plant in a neighborhood when it was unnecessary and caused damage to resident’s homes. Kudos there too! And he’d open up security at City Hall; we agree, if only to get to the Coke machine, you need something to stay awake through some of those meetings!
As I take stock of these two choices, I remain a good Democrat, but will seek with my vote to be an even better citizen.
I think that we would have a fine City under Mr. Young, in many ways exciting and productive, but I’m leaning to Mr. Holtzinger.
I’d like to see a new take on the City, from a solid and skilled guy, who knows the pipes as well as the song.