Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Politicians being politicians

So County Executive James Robey vetoed the smoking ban because it was too weak--that is, it took an extra couple of years to take effect--and now a compromise seems unattainable. As I said in my angriest post yet, this whole thing is just pathetic, and I don't feel like dwelling on it. If Robey and the five councilmen want to put on their big boy pants and actually do something, I'll write about it. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), that doesn't appear to be very likely.

If, like me, you're not interested in reading a bunch of whiny, unintentionally ironic quotes by our local elected leaders, skip the first part of the above article altogether. The second part of the article isn't much better, but it is at least focused on something I find interesting.

When Robey read Merdon's news release last week about proposing legislation to form a committee that will examine the effect of the thousands of government jobs heading to the region from the nationwide consolidation of military bases, he said he thought to himself, "Uh, wow -- I'm already doing that."

Six days after Merdon's announcement, Robey announced in his State of the County address that he was going to form nearly the identical committee that Merdon was attempting to create.

This is really strange. I'm not sure who to believe, though I think this may be the aim of at least one side of the argument. I applauded Merdon when he decided to form a task force, so I suppose I should applaud Robey, as well. Thanks, Jim.

Anyway, Merdon, naturally, isn't too pleased that somebody's stepping on his toes.

Merdon said he feels Robey is "going off on his own" instead of working collaboratively.

"I'm very surprised that he didn't even acknowledge the fact that I was already working on the task force," Merdon said.

Um, wouldn't Merdon be the one "going off on his own" if it's true that Robey has been working on this for three months? At the risk of over-speculating, Merdon's timing was a little suspicious--less than a week before Robey's State of the County address, which seems like as good a place as any for him to announce such a committee.

Of course, in much the same way as the smoking ban debate, none of this really matters. It's all posturing. What matters is that someone's studying the impacts of the base realignment on this county. Everything else is pointless...rather, politics (the distinction is probably unnecessary).

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