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Now that the Smoke has Cleared...
November 8, 2005
by Jack Lynch
Now the smoke has cleared and we can see that the election has brought us a real change.
What will it mean for City government? Surely we’ll see some movement of roles and responsibilities, along with some staff losses and additions. Operations will follow a new guidance and structure to some degree. It remains to be seen how it will fall out, but at least it is being guided by many folks with good experience and even handedness and likely a fair amount of thought about what works and what doesn’t work very well in government.
What we do not know is how partisan the atmosphere will be around City Hall. I tend to hope that Mr. Holtzinger’s experience there will result in a fairly moderate approach. I would not expect a partisan bloodletting or a revenge impulse towards anyone doing a good and needed job. I would expect a rationalized and engineered restructuring to achieve a real efficiency and logic. It will be very interesting to see what happens with the large legal department created under the recent administration, can it be pared down or adjusted to fit the needs?
What the citizens want to be assured of is the productive use of governmental resources, the responsiveness to citizen needs and interests, and the openness to impact the process with ease and support from public servants. In addition, an attempt to educate in the arcane areas of the process would be a wonderful thing.
Holtzinger ran because he found the government of the City to be too political for his temperament, so we can hardly imagine that he will now try to incite a partisan rally in the City, he’d lose all credibility. And the fact that his transition team, led by Delegate Weldon, garners support from former Mayor Mr. Grimes, as well as former mayoral candidate Meta Nash, bodes well for the future discussions and direction. Take the advice where you can and run with your own judgment, that’s the way to build a plan and lead well.
I’ve long argued that the average citizen needs a program, call it Planning 101 to assist in their understanding of the process and the appropriate input into the discussions on land use. We’ve seen with Comprehensive Planning and rezoning that the concepts of the bureaucrats are not amendable to the citizens on the ground.
Mr. Holtzinger ran on bringing infrastructure issues to the forefront of the debate over the City’s growth and quality of life, and we hold him to that benchmark. He stood out where the planned Monocacy Boulevard would have joined Gas House Pike and said to just look at what a mess that poorly planned project would create. We agree with him on that.
But the Comprehensive Plan passed by the City recently will be a major issue. It calls for broad annexation across the Monocacy towards Walkersville and even farther North. The issues involved in getting the required sewer and water issues resolved, and the work paid for in a reasonable manner, may tax the new Mayor, and then tax the citizens in a way that is unjustifiable.
After the nuts and bolts stuff, there will need to be a vision articulated. That’s the stuff that drives staff and citizens. It keeps a gauge on whether we’re on track and moving in a direction that everyone can support. At least, we expect that it will be very different than what Mr. Young would have proposed. The past wholesale land annexations, being one example of what has cost the City taxpayers much concern.
It wasn’t anything about hating Mr. Young, or that he was in the election by lawsuit and hadn’t lived in the City until recently, or support for Ms. Dougherty that led to this Democrats vote, and my joy at the outcome, it was choosing a person who struck me as most worthy of being my Mayor.
So the Republicans who may spin this one as meaning anything beyond a local Frederick decision, better hold your tongue. The day of real proof will come next year.
Whenever Mr. Holtzinger speaks of his own foibles, he’s as honest and likeable as anyone, and I could easily call him my friend, and that really counts for me. And his issues aligned with mine better than Mr. Young’s.
There are a lot of prominent Democrats walking around town with egg on their faces over this one. Just desserts, I say. The rumor mongering and lying crowd were whipped by a good old boy, the kind that runs around in good old buddy clothes, and speaks plainly to real folks.
That’s just fine for Frederick.