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Dean Minnich: Meetings produce snarky responses

Commissioner Robin Frazier, that darling of developers and property rights zealots - and who isn't zealous about property rights? - is obviously in training to run for U.S. Congress.

Last week, she got snarky with Doug Howard, president of the board. Those who have worked with Frazier in the past are not surprised that she got snarky, because she has always shown a streak that some might find less charitable than opportunistic.

She elevated (?) the art of rudeness, contentiousness and just plain disagreeable behavior to what we've grown used to seeing in the nation's capital - or on the protest lines from foamy-lipped tea party libertarians.

In an exchange of Facebook posting, Frazier's political twin, Richard Rothschild, also skinned away at Howard, and vice-versa. Social media gone Jerry Springer.

Howard's transgression was that he and commissioner Haven Shoemaker had been communicating with citizens at a series of meetings around the county designed to (1) explain their reluctance to be quick to close schools, and (2) actually hear what local folks have to say.

To borrow a line from a famous movie, Frazier "don't need no stinking public meetings," she gets all the feedback she needs on how she's doing in small, private meetings.

It's inconvenient to have to listen to some who are so brash as to believe that local government should look out for all the people, on a wider range of issues that affect the quality of life and our neighborhoods, and not just Libertarians and Republicans whose turn signal is stuck in the Right Lane Only position.

So Frazier lit into Howard in a board meeting last week and actually criticized his leadership skills. Then she capped it off by hinting that she would be willing to relieve him of the burden of trying to be a little less, well, responsive to the people who put him in office. A responsive leader.

Howard's constituency is apparently a threat to Frazier. She likes to keep the home team huddled around building homes on farmland - forget about the best farm preservation program in the nation; that is of little use to residential home development industries, including lenders and realtors.

All she and Rothschild need is a large table, or maybe a back room, for meetings with True Believers.

Howard and, to an extent, Shoemaker, think that redistricting schools rather than funding teachers and facilities might be deserving of a wider discussion. And to ignore the consequences would be short-sighted.

Frazier has shown that she thinks short-sighted is good. Rothschild agrees, and Commissioner Dave Roush gives them his deciding vote - when they bother with voting. Too much planning takes away some of the options of the people who apply the golden rule to everything - those with the gold make the rules as they go along. And taxpayer money is better spent on making them richer than on making government more responsive.

Frazier and Rothschild would be right at home with the new conservatives in Washington. Like Rand Paul - wonder if he was named after the writer and right-wing hater of anything government Ayn Rand? - and Paul Ryan and Eric Cantor and some of the other full-of-themselves Young Guns in D.C., they are not really Republicans. They are Libertarians who fooled Republicans into voting them into office.

If you're on the losing side of reason, it's always a good plan to double-down on being unreasonable. At least you can claim you stand by principle, and your principle is not good government. It's less or no government.

Why pretend to have democratic government, including open meetings with citizens and voters, if all you need is cash money and support from fat cats who will secretly support your next campaign?

I hope Howard will not back down because of snarky remarks from a commissioner who failed to gain re-election after her first term because it was fresh in people's minds how she tuned out sensible dialog.

He and Shoemaker, even if they are the minority on this board of five, do the people they serve and the office they hold a high honor just by standing up to the kind of politicians who seek power so they can throw it around.

They keep the faith when they continue listening to parents who don't want to curtail education for their kids; who don't want to redistrict schools just so more residential development can pad the pockets of a few - many who don't live here, but come here to make their fortunes.

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