Frederick city officials limit LLC campaign donations

Frederick News Post
Jen Bondeson
11/08/2013
Business owners will now all be limited to the same standard when they make donations to candidates in city of Frederick elections, whether they own corporations or LLCs. The Frederick Board of Aldermen approved an ordinance Thursday that limits the amount of money an owner of multiple business entities may donate to a mayoral or aldermanic candidate. The limit is the same as it is for individuals and corporations that donate: $2,500 to an individual mayoral candidate, and $1,000 to an individual aldermanic candidate. The change comes after owners of multiple LLCs used the LLCs to donate beyond the maximum corporate donation to two mayoral candidates, Delegate Galen Clagett and Alderwoman Karen Young. When noticing the donations, the city's Board of Supervisors of Elections and the aldermen asked city staff to draft an ordinance, calling it a loophole in the law. When drafting the ordinance, the city's legal department mirrored the language in a new state law. The General Assembly passed a law this year that limits the owners' donations. It takes effect in 2015. The city decided Thursday expand the law even further than the state, at the suggestion of Alderman Michael O'Connor.

Frederick re-elects Mayor Randy McClement

Frederick News Post
Jen Bondeson
11/06/2013
Mayor Randy McClement will lead Frederick for four more years. In the city’s general election Tuesday, residents chose McClement, a Republican, over his two challengers, Democratic Alderwoman Karen Young and former Mayor Jennifer Dougherty, who ran as an unaffiliated candidate, according to unofficial city results. McClement received nearly half the votes, with 3,714 votes, or 48.75 percent; Young received 2,407 votes, or 31.59 percent; Dougherty received 1,480 votes, or 19.43 percent. Of the city’s 35,498 registered voters, 7,648 residents cast a ballot Tuesday, for a turnout of about 21.5 percent.

City Notes: State says Frederick is a sustainable city

Frederick News Post
Jen Bondeson
10/27/2013
After a couple of years working hard to prove to the state how "green" it really is, Frederick is now certified as a sustainable city. The city was one of eight in the state to receive the Sustainable Maryland Certified award at the Maryland Municipal League conference last week. Joe Adkins, the city's deputy director of planning, has been working with staff and volunteers since 2011 to complete requirements for the certification. The city was ahead of the curve when it started to work on this. It had created a Sustainable Practice Action Plan back in 2009. Most of what the city needed to do was already done: farmers markets, mixed-use paths and bicycling initiatives, stormwater management, forestry preservation, housing elements, stream cleanup and buy-local initiatives. Other than that, Mayor Randy McClement just needed to establish a Green Initiative Team, which he did last year, Adkins said.

Election supervisors want to cap LLC donations

Frederick News Post
Jen Bondeson
09/26/2013
Frederick's law regarding how much business owners can donate to candidates in elections should mirror the state's law, the city's Board of Supervisors of Elections decided Wednesday. The board will recommend to the mayor and Board of Aldermen that they pass an amendment to the city's election law that limits the amount a person who owns multiple business entities, such as limited liability corporations, is able to donate to each candidate. Anne Leffler, the board's president, said the change is long overdue. The business owner would be limited to the same amounts allowed to a resident or corporation — $2,500 to one mayoral candidate and $1,000 to one aldermanic candidate — no matter how many business entities that person owns or is making donations from.

City board: Clagett broke electioneering rules

Frederick News Post
Jen Bondeson
09/26/2013
Delegate Galen Clagett broke electioneering rules during Frederick's primary election Sept. 10, according to the city's Board of Supervisors of Elections. Clagett, District 3A, lost the Democratic mayoral primary to Alderwoman Karen Young, who will be on the Nov. 5 general election ballot. The elections board voted at a Sept. 18 meeting to pursue legal action against Clagett, who illegally entered polling places and displayed campaign material on Sept. 10, according to the board's meeting minutes. Clagett said he was within his rights when visiting the polls and never violated any electioneering rules. Anne Leffler, the board's president, declined to comment. Multiple election judges told the board that Clagett violated city code by "entering numerous polling places, introducing himself and conversing with the judges," the minutes state. Clagett "refused to leave when asked to do so."

McClement, Young clinch mayoral nominations

Frederick News Post
Jen Bondeson
09/11/2013
Mayor Randy McClement and Alderwoman Karen Young each clinched their party’s nomination Tuesday and will move on to the Nov. 5 general election, according to unofficial election results. In the Republican race, McClement defeated Alderwoman Shelley Aloi and former Mayor Jeff Holtzinger. He brought in 49 percent of the total with 808 votes; Aloi had 32 percent with 534 votes; and Holtzinger had 19 percent with 317 votes. In the Democratic race, Alderwoman Karen Young defeated Delegate Galen Clagett and newcomer Carol Hirsch. Young brought in 50 percent of the total with 1,168 votes; Clagett had 40 percent with 925 votes; and Hirsch had 10 percent with 237 votes.

Frederick leaders consider city's role in incinerator project

Frederick News Post
Bethany Rodgers
08/13/2013
Questions about the county’s waste-to-energy project are starting to smolder among officials in the city of Frederick. Though most decisions about the incinerator project have happened at the county level, at least two aldermen believe city leaders have a role to play. In an email sent to fellow board members last week, Alderwoman Karen Young recommended calling an optional evening meeting to hear from both sides of the debate over the incinerator. “I do believe that this is a City issue because City participation will be needed to make this project viable. In addition, if it is a major concern to our residents, then it becomes a City issue,” she wrote. Her email came in response to a message from an incinerator opponent who had detailed his concerns about the project and urged the aldermen to look into it more deeply.

Frederick leaders consider city’s role in incinerator project

Frederick News Post
Bethany Rodgers
08/13/2013
Questions about the county’s waste-to-energy project are starting to smolder among officials in the city of Frederick. Though most decisions about the incinerator project have happened at the county level, at least two aldermen believe city leaders have a role to play. In an email sent to fellow board members last week, Alderwoman Karen Young recommended calling an optional evening meeting to hear from both sides of the debate over the incinerator. “I do believe that this is a City issue because City participation will be needed to make this project viable. In addition, if it is a major concern to our residents, then it becomes a City issue,” she wrote. Her email came in response to a message from an incinerator opponent who had detailed his concerns about the project and urged the aldermen to look into it more deeply.

Roundtable Discussion with Frederick’s Mayoral Candidates (VIDEOS)

Frederick Gorilla
08/01/2013
On July 8 Frederick Gorilla and WFMD Radio, assisted by the Young Democrats and Young Republican clubs of Frederick County, kicked off the contest for City Hall’s top office by hosting a roundtable with the candidates for Frederick’s mayor. Candidates who participated included Randy McClement, Shelley Aloi, William J. (Jeff) Holtzinger, Galen Clagett, Karen Lewis and Jennifer Dougherty. Of note, Carol A. Hirsch, who is deaf and also running for mayor was unable to participate in the roundtable due to a last-minute cancellation of her interpreter. The forum was moderated by Pattee Brown.

City, county officials back regional transportation plan

Frederick News Post
Bethany Rodgers
07/31/2013
Residents should speak up for easier commutes and road and bridge repairs, according to Frederick city and county leaders. At a joint news conference Tuesday, Frederick County Commissioner Paul Smith and city Alderwoman Carol Krimm praised a drafted transportation priorities plan that is under development by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments. Almost all major transportation projects need the council's blessing, so it's important to make sure the group's long-range plans reflect Frederick's needs, said Smith and Krimm. The Frederick area has significant infrastructure issues, the officials said. "We are actually behind the curve," Smith said.

Mayor: City has done more with less

Frederick News Post
Jen Bondeson
07/30/2013
Mayor Randy McClement characterized his administration Monday as one that has managed to do more with less. McClement used his State of the City address as an opportunity to highlight his administration’s work on maintaining Frederick’s fiscal health, pushing forward road and public work projects, and helping spur commercial development — all during the recession. The mayor, whose first term ends this year, focused on the city’s current state, rather than giving specifics for what should happen in the future. “It was important to me that we not reduce service levels or increase taxes, but be more creative and do more with less,” he said. “I feel that with the passage of the fiscal year 2014 budget, the aldermen and I have done just that.” In the speech at City Hall, McClement addressed ongoing issues such as the second phase of Carroll Creek Linear Park, the city’s unfunded pension and other post-employment benefits, the downtown hotel and conference center project, and blighted and vacant properties.

Will Wal-Mart Vote Impact City Election?

Frederick Politicis
George Wenschhof
07/19/2013
Redevelopment of areas of cities affected by economic and social demographic changes will always be a challenge for city planners and elected officials. Looking outward to discover what other cities across the country have done successfully in similar circumstances is a must. Having the courage and conviction to develop a vision and implement it is paramount. It remains to be seen if the Wal-Mart will be built and if so, what long term impact it will have on the area. Meanwhile, the city election nears, with two of the current aldermen; Kelly Russell (D) and Michael O'Connor (D) running for reelection, two running for mayor; Karen Young (D) and Shelley Aloi (R) and one; Carol Krimm (D) intending to run for Maryland state delegate next year. Will their vote on this issue influence voters when they go to the polls this Fall?

City makes way for Wal-Mart on Frederick Towne Mall site

Frederick News Post
Jen Bondeson
07/19/2013
The stage is set for a third Wal-Mart in Frederick. After hearing more than an hour of impassioned public comment Thursday, the city's Board of Aldermen voted 5-0 to rezone the Frederick Towne Mall property. The rezoning will allow Rockwood Capital, which owns the 20 acres on U.S. 40, to move forward with a proposal to bulldoze the nearly vacant mall and build a Wal-Mart. The developers will need to bring forward a site plan before finalizing its plan.

Clagett Signs on Yellow Cabs Stirs Controversy

Frederick Politics
George Wenschhof
07/16/2013
Over the weekend, Democratic candidate for mayor; Galen Clagett signs were spotted atop yellow cabs in Frederick. It did not take long for comments to begin in what promises to be a hotly contested race for mayor of The City of Frederick. Community activist Kimberly Mellon first reported on the Clagett signs with a photo on her Facebook page “One Frederick, Many Voices”. When I asked her to share her concerns, she sent me the following: “I am appalled by what appears at first glance to be Galen Clagett's campaign staff's ignorance to Interstate Mobile Advertising's (IMA) Taxi Top Ads used for sponsoring Blaine Young's rhetoric on his self-named WFMD Show.” Blaine Young is Republican President of the Frederick Board of County Commissioners and host of a daily radio show. Mellon added “I'm left pondering Clagett’s intentions. Are Clagett's and Young's stars aligned with developer’s interests? Mellon mentioned an article in The Gazette dated April 25, 2013 that said in part “The bill, introduced by Del. Galen Clagett (D-Dist. 3A) of Frederick, will prevent opponents from asking the Frederick County Board of Appeals to overturn any of the long-term pacts — called Developer Rights and Responsibilities Agreements, or DRRAs — that can be in effect for a quarter of a century.”

Mayoral candidates say city needs to act on big issues

Frederick News Post
Jen Bondeson
07/09/2013
Candidates for mayor in this year’s election have their disagreements, but there is one thing they agree upon — there needs to be more movement on the city’s big issues. Blighted and vacant properties, Hargett Farm, Carroll Creek redevelopment, Frederick Towne Mall, and plans for a hotel conference center downtown were all discussed Monday night at the first forum for mayoral candidates. Six of the seven residents running faced off in the forum, hosted by Frederick Gorilla and WFMD radio at The Faux School. The only candidate who did not participate was Carol A. Hirsch. Hirsch is deaf and was not able to obtain an interpreter in time.

Frederick's race begins in earnest

Frederick News Post
07/08/2013
The field is locked down and -- if you’ll forgive us the cliché -- the race to lead the city of Frederick for the next four years is on. The primary has a swathe of candidates -- 21 in total. All told, 12 and one independent will go through to the General Election on Nov. 5. It’s inspiring, given Independence Day was less than a week ago, that so many want to stand up and be counted and do their civic duty. The primary is Sept. 10, so party voters have only two months to familiarize themselves with a lot of political wannabes; and those wannabes, those of them who aren’t incumbents with a degree of name recognition, will have their work cut out raising their profiles with voters. All 21 will be scrambling for a cut of the pathetic number of people who generally come out for the city election. Barely one in five of Frederick’s registered voters came to the polls for the Sept. 15, 2009, primary.

Frederick’s race begins in earnest

Frederick News Post
07/08/2013
The field is locked down and -- if you’ll forgive us the cliché -- the race to lead the city of Frederick for the next four years is on. The primary has a swathe of candidates -- 21 in total. All told, 12 and one independent will go through to the General Election on Nov. 5. It’s inspiring, given Independence Day was less than a week ago, that so many want to stand up and be counted and do their civic duty. The primary is Sept. 10, so party voters have only two months to familiarize themselves with a lot of political wannabes; and those wannabes, those of them who aren’t incumbents with a degree of name recognition, will have their work cut out raising their profiles with voters. All 21 will be scrambling for a cut of the pathetic number of people who generally come out for the city election. Barely one in five of Frederick’s registered voters came to the polls for the Sept. 15, 2009, primary.

Prepping For The Primaries – The Faces Behind Frederick’s Political Landscape

Frederick Gorilla
Emily Holland
07/03/2013
The filing deadline for candidates in Frederick’s primary election has passed, and Fredericktonians will be faced with more than a dozen names of candidates. For the aspiring-to-be-informed citizen, there’s a lot of homework involved. But don’t be afraid just yet: Frederick Gorilla is making the task easier with a preliminary, informative kick start guide to the candidates and the election itself: The Lay of the Land: Six candidates are vying for the mayor’s seat in the primaries, with a breakdown of three Republicans, two Democrats and one unaffiliated. The competition includes an unusual mix: two former mayors, one incumbent, two current aldermen and one current delegate. Seven Republicans and eight Democrats are in the race for five aldermen seats. Eleven of those candidates have never held an elected office, while two are former aldermen and an additional two are incumbents.

Six former or current politicians, one resident run for Frederick mayor

Frederick News Post
Jen Bondeson
07/03/2013
One familiar face and one newcomer to Frederick's political scene filed to run for mayor Tuesday, the last day for candidates to file in this year's election. Alderwoman Shelley Aloi (R) and resident Carol A. Hirsch (D) will have their names on the Sept. 10 primary election ballots. Aloi announced her bid in front of family and friends on the steps of City Hall. Hirsch slipped into City Hall to file without a public announcement. Hirsch, who lives on Madison Street, has never run for office in Frederick. She did not respond Tuesday to an email request for comment. She will take on District 3A Delegate Galen Clagett and Alderwoman Karen Young in the Democratic primary. Aloi, 52, will challenge Mayor Randy McClement and former Mayor Jeff Holtzinger in the primary. Former Mayor Jennifer Dougherty is running unaffiliated and will compete only in the general election Nov. 5.

Two former mayors now in running for Frederick's top spot

Frederick News Post
Jen Bondeson
06/28/2013
Frederick’s last two mayors and current mayor are now in the running to lead the city for the next four years. Jeff Holtzinger, who was mayor from 2005 to 2009, filed Wednesday to run against Mayor Randy McClement in the Sept. 10 Republican primary election. Jennifer Dougherty, who was mayor before Holtzinger, is also in the running. She has registered as an unaffiliated candidate and will compete in the general election Nov. 5. State Delegate Galen Clagett, D-District 3A, and Alderwoman Karen Young have also filed to run for mayor. They will square off in a Democratic primary. Candidates have until July 2 to file for the primary.