Underrepresented on growth

Frederick News Post
11/16/2013
The growth task force, recently formed by the Board of County Commissioners to investigate ways for development to pay for its impact on our schools, roads, water and sewer supplies, and other infrastructure, lacks a broad enough membership to deliver a comprehensive and fair solution. Groups represented include the Frederick County Association of Realtors, Frederick County Building Industry Association, Frederick County Chamber of Commerce, a municipality, and the senior, education and library communities. Elected officials from Frederick County’s delegation of state delegates and senators will also serve — it was the choice of precisely who from that delegation would join the task force that caused some contention earlier this week. Delegate Kathy Afzali, a Republican who represents northern Frederick County, was rejected as a participant by a fellow Republican, Sen. David Brinkley. Brinkley instead selected Sen. Ron Young, a Democrat, and delegates Patrick Hogan (R) and Galen Clagett (D). While we understand the argument that Young, Hogan and Clagett represent districts that include the city of Frederick, an area naturally suited for more growth, we also understand Afzali’s position that she represents Monrovia, an area in which the debate over development is current and controversial. “Afzali is about Afzali and not a solution to the problem,” Brinkley told reporter Bethany Rodgers. Yes, Afzali has an annoying tendency to want to grab headlines, but she makes a good point about the task force’s composition: It has a clear bias toward developers, builders and real estate agents. While we understand that those representatives are some of the key industries affected by either a transfer tax on the sale of existing homes or an impact tax on the sale of new ones, what the group lacks is representation from county residents — the taxpayers — who also have skin in the game.

Afzali passed over for seat on growth task force

Frederick News Post
Bethany Rodgers
11122013
A state delegate who raised her hand to join a Frederick County growth task force was passed over for appointment after a fellow legislator questioned how “fair and open” she would be on the panel. Delegate Kathy Afzali, R-District 4A, argued she would bring a much-needed perspective to the growth group because her constituents in the eastern areas of the county are among those most affected by local growth issues. In a Nov. 4 letter, she asked Sen. David Brinkley, R-District 4, to put her on the county-led task force. In response, Brinkley challenged Afzali’s impartiality on the question of creating a transfer tax to fund infrastructure improvements. In a Monday phone interview, he attributed Afzali’s interest in the work group to a desire for publicity. “Afzali is about Afzali and not a solution to the problem,” Brinkley said. Despite Afzali’s request for the task force assignment, Brinkley offered the opening to Sen. Ron Young, D-District 3, and Delegate Patrick Hogan, R-District 3A, before finally naming Delegate Galen Clagett to the work group. Afzali said her goal is to represent district residents who have concerns about development in the county. Controversial development projects such as the Monrovia Town Center heavily affect her constituents, she noted. Clagett, D-District 3A, represents the city of Frederick, where building does not generate as much opposition, she said. “I’m the one who’s fielding the calls from irate citizens who are going to have the traffic jams and the noise and the safety issues from this kind of growth,” she said.

Hogan: “I never intended to make a career out of elected service”

Frederick News Post
Bethany Rodgers
08/14/2013
Maryland Delegate Patrick Hogan announced Tuesday he will not seek election to a third term, a decision that will allow him to spend more time with his wife and three young children, and explore other career opportunities. Hogan, 34, said he started thinking about his future in state politics soon after winning in the 2010 election and reached the conclusion that his current term would probably be his last. Commuting back and forth from Annapolis to Frederick has been a challenge, especially during the 90 days the Maryland General Assembly is in session each year, he said.

Hogan: “I never intended to make a career out of elected service"

Frederick News Post
Bethany Rodgers
08/14/2013
Maryland Delegate Patrick Hogan announced Tuesday he will not seek election to a third term, a decision that will allow him to spend more time with his wife and three young children, and explore other career opportunities. Hogan, 34, said he started thinking about his future in state politics soon after winning in the 2010 election and reached the conclusion that his current term would probably be his last. Commuting back and forth from Annapolis to Frederick has been a challenge, especially during the 90 days the Maryland General Assembly is in session each year, he said.

Delegate Hogan Announces he will not seek re-election

Frederick Politicis
George Wenschhof
08/13/2013
In a press release, Maryland Republican state delegate Patrick Hogan announced he will not will running next year for the seat in district 3-A. Hogan said “I am grateful to the citizens of Frederick for giving me the opportunity to represent them in the legislature,” said Hogan. He continued, “I never intended to make a career out of elected service and now it is time for me to move on to the next chapter in my life.” He added "he is particularly proud of working to secure funding for important local school construction and transportation projects as well as working on the Environmental Matters Committee trying to balance environmental protection with economic growth." There are two state delagte seats in district 3-A and Democratic delegate Galen Clagett, who is running for mayor of The City of Frederick has already announced he would not seek another term. The Maryland state election is next year and it is commonly known Democratic city alderman Carol Krimm, who is not seeking re-election as an alderman in the city election this year, will run for state delegate next year. Also, in the rumor mill is Democrat Ryan Trout, who ran for state delegate in district 4-A in the 2010 election. He now lives in Frederick, which is part of district 3-A.

Choosing Young’s adventure [and] Legislators get low marks from group [and] Center sale opponents organize rally

Frederick News Post
Bethany Rodgers
07/19/2013
A state environmental scorecard for 2013 was released this week, and a couple of Frederick County legislators scored zeros. Sen. David Brinkley was one of the two local lawmakers who failed to win (any) points with the Maryland League of Conservation Voters in 2013. But Brinkley says it is important to consider how the league arrived at its evaluation about this year’s session of the Maryland General Assembly. Lawmakers were penalized for opposing a gas tax increase and working to delay a requirement that certain counties create a stormwater fee. “They can call themselves about conservation, but they’re not. They’re about an agenda of increased taxation,” said Brinkley, R-District 4. While Brinkley and Delegate Kelly Schulz, R-District 4A, both got the lowest possible grades from the league, some higher scorers weren’t happy with the report, either. Sen. Ron Young, who earned a 71 percent score from the group, said he thinks the organization dropped the ball this year. Young’s scores suffered because he didn’t vote on the offshore wind bill and supported the agricultural certainty bill, which gives farmers who voluntarily follow certain practices a 10-year exemption from new state and local environmental regulations. Young said he is upset that the league didn’t back his legislation to create low-interest loans for building green homes. “I would downgrade them,” said Young, D-District 3. “I think they had their heads in the sand.” Young and Delegate Galen Clagett, D-District 3A, tied for the delegation’s highest score, and the grades take a pretty sharp downturn from there. Delegate Donald Elliott, R-District 4B, received a 50-percent score; Delegate Patrick Hogan, R-District 3A, got 43 percent; Delegate Michael Hough, R-District 3B, got a 25 percent; and Delegate Kathy Afzali, R-District 4A, got a 20 percent.

Choosing Young's adventure [and] Legislators get low marks from group [and] Center sale opponents organize rally

Frederick News Post
Bethany Rodgers
07/19/2013
A state environmental scorecard for 2013 was released this week, and a couple of Frederick County legislators scored zeros. Sen. David Brinkley was one of the two local lawmakers who failed to win (any) points with the Maryland League of Conservation Voters in 2013. But Brinkley says it is important to consider how the league arrived at its evaluation about this year’s session of the Maryland General Assembly. Lawmakers were penalized for opposing a gas tax increase and working to delay a requirement that certain counties create a stormwater fee. “They can call themselves about conservation, but they’re not. They’re about an agenda of increased taxation,” said Brinkley, R-District 4. While Brinkley and Delegate Kelly Schulz, R-District 4A, both got the lowest possible grades from the league, some higher scorers weren’t happy with the report, either. Sen. Ron Young, who earned a 71 percent score from the group, said he thinks the organization dropped the ball this year. Young’s scores suffered because he didn’t vote on the offshore wind bill and supported the agricultural certainty bill, which gives farmers who voluntarily follow certain practices a 10-year exemption from new state and local environmental regulations. Young said he is upset that the league didn’t back his legislation to create low-interest loans for building green homes. “I would downgrade them,” said Young, D-District 3. “I think they had their heads in the sand.” Young and Delegate Galen Clagett, D-District 3A, tied for the delegation’s highest score, and the grades take a pretty sharp downturn from there. Delegate Donald Elliott, R-District 4B, received a 50-percent score; Delegate Patrick Hogan, R-District 3A, got 43 percent; Delegate Michael Hough, R-District 3B, got a 25 percent; and Delegate Kathy Afzali, R-District 4A, got a 20 percent.

Incinerator support divides delegation

Frederick News Post
Patti S. Borda
01/23/2013
Five members of the Frederick County delegation to the General Assembly have written to state officials in support of the Northeast Maryland Waste Disposal Authority's application to build and operate a waste-to-energy incinerator in the county. The Friday letter to the Maryland Department of the Environment supported the plan to build the facility at the McKinney Industrial Park. The department's administrations for management of air and radiation, land and water are to hold a Jan. 30 public hearing on permit applications from the authority. The delegation encouraged the department to act expeditiously in the permitting phase of the project. The letter was signed by Sen. David Brinkley, chairman of the delegation; Delegate Galen Clagett, vice chairman; and delegates Donald Elliott, Patrick Hogan and Kelly Schulz. "We support this sustainable, environmentally-sound and economically viable waste management project that will promote waste reduction, recycling, renewable energy and landfill diversion," they wrote.