John Culleton: Primary brings a time for change

’Tis the season for planting flowers and political signs. As a confirmed Democrat, I have advised all my Democratic brothers and sisters to reregister as Republican. Dean Minnich heard that approximately 900 have reregistered, with or without my guidance.

The reason is self-evident. Votes cast in Carroll County will have little or no impact on the state and national races, but have a big impact on local races. Locally, we get to pick commissioners as well as delegates to the state legislature. In those areas Joe and Jane Carroll-Countian can have an impact, but only if they vote in the Republican primary.

It has been more than a decade since a Democrat got elected to a partisan county office. So the primary is what counts, not the November coronation.

Since the ill-advised commissioners-elected-by-districts scheme was approved, we each have less say then we should have. In my district, District 5, we have incumbent Doug Howard. He is perhaps one of the two best of our current lackluster board. And Haven Shoemaker has moved on to run as a delegate. The other candidate in District 5 is named Cathey Allison. I see no reason to select her over Howard.

District 1 is another matter. The incumbent, Robin Frazier, was already defeated once for re-election. Her current incumbency has confirmed the wisdom of that earlier defeat. She is the prime mover behind the totally unnecessary flap over opening county commissioner meetings with a prayer from a commissioner. She does not heed the advice in Matthew 6.6: “But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.”

She and Richard Rothschild have never seen a bad idea yet that they wouldn’t espouse, from financing a climate-deniers meeting to the tune of $30,000 in Pikesvile to spending $400,000 in each of the last two budgets on private schools and home schoolers while our public schools are cutting positions and also losing good teachers because of low salaries.

But there is a problem. She can win her district with a mere plurality. Last election she sneaked in with about 1 percent of Carroll’s total registered voters choosing her in the primary. So those who would show her the door need to settle on one opponent.

Her principal opponent, Steve Wantz, offers these objectives: “We have an obligation to provide quality education, ensure public safety and maintain our county infrastructure. We have the duty to promote the economic, social and environmental well-being of our communities.” Notice the absence of political cant. I can’t find a single thing to disagree with in that list of objectives. Wantz has a long record of service in emergency services, often in leadership positions.

There are two other Republican candidates in that district, Tina Mawhinney and Cynthia Foley. Neither has bothered to put up a campaign website. The best way, in my opinion, to retire Frazier is to vote for Wantz.

The remaining district where I have a strong recommendation is District 4.

Again it is my opinion that Rothschild richly deserves retirement from public office. His sins in office are too many to list. Of his two opponents, I am most impressed by Barbara Joan Biller.

On her website she sets out these objectives: Education to prepare students for the future; economic development to add jobs; public safety to serve and protect. Again, I agree with her objectives and welcome the absence of political cant.

Her service to the county on the Board of Trustees of Carroll Community College, and as a member and officer of Carroll County Economic Development Commission, shows long-term commitment to public service. 


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