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.

Russell, O'Connor lead field in aldermanic race

Frederick News Post
Bethany Rodgers
11/06/2013
Four Democrats and one Republican led the field in Tuesday’s contest to become the next five aldermen in the city of Frederick, according to unofficial election numbers. With all 12 polling precincts reporting, the top contenders included two incumbents, one former alderwoman, an attorney and a director of government affairs. However, with hundreds of ballots yet to be counted, the highest five vote-getters didn’t have large enough leads to put them out of reach of other contenders. If Tuesday night’s standings hold, the partisan balance on the city board will remain unchanged when the next batch of aldermen take office Dec. 12. Preliminary totals from the general election showed Alderwoman Kelly Russell and Alderman Michael O’Connor finishing ahead of the other eight candidates, with 4,212 and 4,169 votes, respectively. Tuesday’s unofficial tally put Democrat Josh Bokee in third place with 3,789 votes. Republican Philip Dacey and Democrat Donna Kuzemchak took fourth and fifth place, earning 3,781 and 3,656 votes, respectively.

Aldermanic candidates mix of old, new faces

Frederick News Post
Bethany Rodgers
09/11/2013
wo sitting aldermen and two former aldermen are among the 10 candidates who are poised to face off against one another in the city of Frederick’s general election, according to unofficial primary results. On the Republican side, city voters Tuesday chose Philip Dacey, Katie Nash, Alan Imhoff, Dave Schmidt and Daniel Cowell to move on to compete in the city’s Nov. 5 general election, according to the preliminary totals for the primary election. The top five Democratic vote-getters were Alderwoman Kelly Russell, Alderman Michael O’Connor, Josh Bokee, Donna Kuzemchak and John Daniels, according to the preliminary numbers.

City officials pass ordinance to fight blighted properties

Frederick News Post
Jen Bondeson
09/07/2013
The city now has a bigger hammer to help it fight its most habitually blighted and vacant properties. Frederick's Board of Aldermen voted unanimously Thursday to pass an ordinance that would allow the city to set up a receivership program. With receivership, the city could take the owner of a habitually vacant, unsafe and nuisance property to court. The court could either force the owner to make upgrades, or take the property from the owner and sell it to a qualified owner, with requirements attached to fix up the property in a set time frame. Alderman Michael O'Connor said the city does not believe receivership to be "the magic solution." The city would use the tool sparingly, if at all, said Alderwoman Carol Krimm.

Glendening describes mismatch between housing supply, demand

Frederick News Post
Bethany Rodgers
09/05/2013
he American dream is changing, and community design must keep up with it, former Maryland Gov. Parris Glendening told a Frederick group Wednesday. In a talk focused on smart growth, Glendening said an increasing number of people are eschewing large, single-family houses in the suburbs and instead settling in dense, walkable communities. However, there’s a growing disconnect between the types of housing people want and what’s available on the market, he said. “Keeping our downtowns strong and keeping our communities economically vibrant in the long term will require a different approach to growth than we have been doing for the last 60 years,” he said during the event at Frederick City Hall.

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.

Frederick residents mixed on mall’s decided fate

Frederick News Post
Jen Bondeson
07/20/2013
When envisioning the future of the abandoned Frederick Towne Mall site on U.S. 40, residents focused on opportunity. They imagined a place where they could live, work and play. They saw themselves walking down winding sidewalks to mom-and-pop shops, like in Bowie or Rockville. Some may not have pictured what the land may now become — home to Frederick's third Wal-Mart. Residents have mixed thoughts about the Board of Aldermen's unanimous decision Thursday to rezone the property from mixed use to general commercial, which will allow developer Rockwood Capital to continue drafting plans for a Wal-Mart on the site.

Frederick residents mixed on mall's decided fate

Frederick News Post
Jen Bondeson
07/20/2013
When envisioning the future of the abandoned Frederick Towne Mall site on U.S. 40, residents focused on opportunity. They imagined a place where they could live, work and play. They saw themselves walking down winding sidewalks to mom-and-pop shops, like in Bowie or Rockville. Some may not have pictured what the land may now become — home to Frederick's third Wal-Mart. Residents have mixed thoughts about the Board of Aldermen's unanimous decision Thursday to rezone the property from mixed use to general commercial, which will allow developer Rockwood Capital to continue drafting plans for a Wal-Mart on the site.

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.

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.

Monocacy, U.S. 15 interchange is funded. Now what?

Frederick News Post
Kelsi Loos
07/08/2013
Now that the city has secured funding for the long-planned Monocacy Boulevard-U.S. 15 interchange, Frederick is trying to set new priorities. City planner Tim Davis said that the item had been the No. 1 transportation item since he started the position 11 years ago. Maryland's Transportation Act set aside $82 million for the interchange during the last General Assembly session. Davis met with the Board of Aldermen on Wednesday to discuss the city's Highway Needs Inventory and set new goals. The inventory is a requirement of local governments to request state funding for road projects. The list does not guarantee funding, but it's a primary step to secure it.

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.

Carroll County officials to consider departure from incinerator pact

Frederick News Post
Bethany Rodgers
06/27/2013
Carroll County commissioners today might map their exit from a partnership with Frederick County on a regional waste-to-energy incinerator. Though several Carroll County commissioners want to bow out of the project, the timing of a potential withdrawal is a point of contention. Some board members want to call it quits despite possibly incurring a $3 million penalty, while others hope to hold off until they can avoid the cost, said Carroll County Commissioner Richard Rothschild. Today's board meeting will allow commissioners to discuss whether to set aside funds for a potential penalty payment should they end their involvement with the incinerator. Frederick County Commissioners President Blaine Young said he would bear no ill will toward Carroll County leaders if they opt out of the project to build an incinerator. But Frederick County needs Carroll County to decide one way or the other, he said. "Their problem is they want to get out of the responsibility of paying anything. It doesn't work that way," Young said.

Wal-Mart, zoning and blight among topics pondered by city officials

Frederick News Post
Ed Waters Jr.
06/15/2013
ssues ranging from a proposed downtown hotel to a Wal-Mart on the Golden Mile were informally discussed Friday by Frederick's mayor and aldermen at a meeting with the Frederick County Chamber of Commerce. "If the same plan came in without the Wal-Mart name, people would support it," said Alderwoman Shelley Aloi of a proposal to put the big-box store at the former Frederick Towne Mall site on the west side of the city. "It is not our decision to say who goes into a property, it is up to the property owner and the market," Aloi said. "Is the best use for the property residential? No. There is already dense residential use in that area." Alderman Michael O'Connor and others moved to dispel the notion that all businesses on the Golden Mile stretch of U.S. 40 are hurting."Just go out there and see the traffic and the businesses," O'Connor said.

Young Heavy Handed with City Alderman over Proposed Citizens/Montevue Sale

Frederick Politics
George Wenschhof
06/13/2013
The proposed sale of Citizens Care and Rehabilitation Center and Montevue Assisted Living, already beset with legal questions surrounding deed restrictions on a sale, has now entered a new contentious stage. In a strongly worded official letter, dated June 11, 2013, Frederick Board of Commissioners President Blaine Young (R), used strong language when addressing the members of The City of Frederick board of aldermen, who oppose the sale of the Citizens/Montevue complex.

Frederick Zoning Board of Appeals member files to run for alderman

Dacey: ‘I want to see the right kind of growth when it comes to Frederick’
Gazette
Tripp Laino
05/09/2013
Frederick Zoning Board of Appeals member Philip Dacey has joined the expanding list of candidates vying for a spot on Frederick’s Board of Aldermen. Dacey, 34, a Republican, said he grew up in Frederick, graduating from Gov. Thomas Johnson High School in 1996. He is currently director of external affairs at the Motor Vehicle Administration, and is formerly a lawyer. He said his primary reason for running for the board was concern over the city’s growth, and making sure that the city grows responsibly.