Petitioning change

Frederick News Post
08/08/2013
Commissioners President Blaine Young is dismissive of their value, saying no local petition has changed his mind on any important question. He mentions two hot-button issues — the proposed waste-to-energy incinerator and education funding — as examples. Commissioner Billy Shreve is of the same mind, especially when he receives a form letter from an online petition site such as Change.org, which anyone can weigh in on. Says Shreve, “If I get a letter from someone in Australia, I pay zero attention to it.” But for average citizens, petitions can be a means to express their displeasure with local government and its decisions, and the simple act of doing so can be rewarding. While the effort may not succeed, there is value in it for those who participate. Frederick resident Ed Hinde, who promoted an online petition to recall Young, admits that he’d be hard-pressed to name any petition drive that’s had an effect on the commissioners. But he says, “I think the ones I’ve participated in are a venting of public angst. The basic premise is getting people educated and engaged.” Hinde makes a good point.