Bob White and Steve McKay respond to Kirby Delauter diatribe

For a variety of reasons, I’m generally reluctant to link to columns published at The Tentacle. And I especially would not usually share a poorly-written attack piece by county council member Kirby Delauter.

But, in this case, because The Tentacle also published two excellent responses to Mr. Delauter’s column, I’m sharing links to all three pieces, and encouraging you to take just a few minutes to read what Delauter said…and what Robert (“Bob”) White and Steve McKay wrote to “set the record straight.”

kirbydelauter180x261Demagoguery and a Questionable Appointment

The Tentacle
April 10, 2015
by Kirby Delauter

In his column, Kirby notes that the Monrovia Town Center is, once again, a “hot button land use issue in the county.” says that the the last Board of County Commissioners approved the very controversial development “since it met all criteria,” jumps to the legal challenges to that approval filed by Residents Against the Lansdale Expansion (RALE) and other, acknowledges that the court has remanded the matter back to the county because of the problems associated with the now infamous letter from the Frederick Area Committee for Transportation (FACT), defends former commissioner Paul Smith and his role in the matter, and…just that quick…manages to attack RALE and utterly diminish any concerns about either the letter or the entire Monrovia Town Center.

Seriously. Nothing to see here. Move along.

He then homes in on his primary target, to criticize the recent appointment of Robert White to the Frederick County Planning Commission by County Executive Jan Gardner. (The appointment was narrowly confirmed by a 4-3 vote of the county council.)

The gist of his criticism is about Mr. White’s former and recent association with Friends of Frederick County (which he erroneously calls “Friends of Frederick”). Delauter has had plenty of negative things to say about Friends and RALE and other organizations over the past few years, and those associated with them, but in this case, his focus is on the fact that the Friends of Frederick County “has been suing Frederick County for more than five years, mainly in reference to land use issues.”

Personally, given the way the previous Board of County Commissioners dealt with land use and development issues, I think there is a legitimate basis for the legal challenges.

You can read Kirby’s substance-free and somewhat caustic column here.

It ends by noting that “the inmates are now running the asylum.”

Anyway…after Kirby wrote his piece for The Tentacle, Bob White and Steve McKay (the president of RALE) each wrote a response, which are worth reading, and are linked below, starting with Bob’s, which was published five days after Kirby’s piece.

bobwhite180x261.Expanding and Correcting the Record

The Tentacle
April 15, 2015
by Robert White, Jr.

In his column, Mr. White, who previously served 17 years on the Frederick County Planning Commission, including two terms as Chair, and three years on the Frederick County Board of Appeals, addresses some of the comments made by Delauter.

White identifies and briefly responds to four points which he describes as “factual and logical inconsistencies.”

He then adds these additional observations:

“While I was not involved in Friends of Frederick County’s decision-making on filing the lawsuits in question, it apparently was this lack of regard for law and due process that had prompted the FoFC lawsuits in the first place. In fact, Friends of Frederick County may simply have been responding directly to the dictum laid out by Mr. Delauter’s former Commissioner (and now Council) colleague Billy Shreve, who stated: “We can do whatever we want unless we get sued!”

Though I was not part of the decision making by FoFC, that arrogant attitude certainly explains why Friends of Frederick County might have deemed it necessary to sue a county government which it may have felt had repeatedly violated established county law and land use and planning procedure. It was apparently left with no other avenue for addressing potentially unethical and/or illegal actions taken by the former Board of County Commissioners. Those commissioners may have left them no alternative but filing lawsuits!”

Bob ends by noting that he is “responding as a private citizen and not as a member of the county’s Planning and Zoning Commission” and “just wanted to set the record straight.”

Two days later, The Tentacle published a column from Steve McKay, who took aim at Delauter’s characterization of the FACT letter, and his blithe dismissal of the letter’s importance and significance.

stevemckay180x261RALE President Responds to Delauter Column

The Tentacle
April 17, 2015
by Steve McKay

McKay was also “compelled to set the record straight.”

He starts out by challenging Delauter’s assertion that the Monrovia Town Center “meets all the guidelines of county code.” He notes that Delauter and other commissioners “weakened and undermined several pertinent codes” in the first place, highlighting the weakened Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance, for example.

McKay makes a number of other points that illustrate serious problems with the way the previous board handled the process leading to its approval of the Monrovia Town Center, including the needed infrastructure and the lack of adequate planning and funding for roads and schools, the piecemeal zoning, the inconsistency with the Frederick County Comprehensive Plan and the flawed nature of the public process.

Then he turns to the primary subject of his column, focusing on the letter from the Frederick Area Committee on Transportation (FACT) that is the reason that Circuit Court Judge William R. Nicklas remanded the entire matter back to Frederick County government…and the new county council.

PLEASE SEE: “Monrovia Town Center – When is a FACT NOT a Fact?” by Steve McKay (June 5, 2014)

When McKay then compares the judge’s findings and with the too-quick and casual assertions made by Councilman Delauter, one can’t help to wonder if the councilman is capable of understanding the serious nature of the specific concerns raised by the court.

I’d like to express my appreciation to Bob White and Steve McKay for making the effort to respond to Kirby Delauter’s blithe diatribe.

Blithe: showing a casual and cheerful indifference considered to be callous or improper.

Diatribe: a bitter and abusive speech or piece of writing


Please note that Robert White is one of the eight current members of the Envision Frederick County Board of Directors, and Steve McKay has been a frequent contributor to the Envision Frederick County guest blog.