Wednesday, February 08, 2006


I’ve got almost no time to write today, so I’m squeezing two stories into one post.

First, it looks like we might have another police chief make the jump to politics. However, contrary to the rumors in November about him running for county executive, Police Chief Wayne Livesay appears poised to go after the District 5 council seat…as a republican (the only way to win the western district). From The Sun:

…Livesay was a registered Republican from 1969, when he graduated from Glenelg High School, until 2002, when he became a Democrat to help support the re-election of County Executive James N. Robey, also a Democrat, and out of disagreement with Republican positions on gun control.
…The chief's entry into the District 5 race would complicate matters for both parties. Greg Fox is the only Republican announced for the seat so far, and he has received strong backing from state Sen. Allan H. Kittleman. Donald Dunn is the only Democrat in the race.
With his name recognition and long record as a western county resident and police officer, Livesay could be a formidable opponent.
That’s true, and one of the reasons Republicans don’t sound to enthusiastic about the chief’s intentions.
But (state Sen. Allan) Kittleman and Brian Harlin, the county GOP party chairman, said Livesay will have a tough battle if he switches parties again to run against (Republican District 5 candidate Greg) Fox.

"I don't know that Wayne's done anything in the party in the last 10 years. Greg has tremendous support in the party," Kittleman said yesterday.

"You can switch [parties] once, but not twice" without risking charges of political opportunism, Kittleman said.

Harlin warned that while anyone is welcome to run, Livesay is "going to have a hard time in the primary when candidates bring up quotes he made when he switched parties. You can't have it both ways."
My dime store take on this is that Livesay’s the better candidate, regardless of who the party is supporting. On the local level, it’s all about name recognition, which Livesay’s got in spades. I don’t think his party switching will matter as much to the regular voters as it does to party insiders, who usually take their party way too seriously anyway. I think voters want someone they know and trust, and that’s what Livesay is.

Item #2 for today involves the current councilman from District 5 and his overly ideological approach to fiscal conservatism. I’m no fan of government waste, though I am a liberal, but raising the pay of members of the county council doesn’t strike me as wasteful.
The council voted, 4-1, Monday night for a major pay raise for the next crop of elected officials, raising council pay nearly 45 percent to $49,000 and the executive's pay 8 percent to $147,000.

(District 5 councilman Charlie) Feaga, known for speaking his mind regardless of circumstances - a decade ago he suggested letting a house burn a bit longer if life and limb weren't at risk to save taxpayers' money - stood up for a smaller pay raise.
Well, yes, the 45 percent increase does look a little scary, but you’ve got to remember where we were starting from - less than $35,000 a year for a supposedly part-time job that in reality requires a full-time commitment and is treated by most councilmen as such. Prior to this raise, members of the Howard County Council were among the worst paid council people in the State-and we’re the richest country.

Look, if you want good people to serve the county, full-time or not, you’ve got to compensate them. The reality is that being on the council requires most members to neglect or “reprioritize” their other duties-work, family and otherwise. Instead of creating disincentives for service by paying council people next to nothing, shouldn’t we create an incentive by paying them a reasonable salary.

If you think I’m just a liberal unafraid to spend taxpayer money, check out a republican’s take on the Feaga silliness on Howard County Blog #1.

Short and sweet today. Gotta go for now…more tomorrow.


Anonymous said...

Chief Livesay is a highly respected public servant and lifelong resident of Howard County. Kittleman and Harlin think they are entitled to "annoint" the next Councilman from District 5, and when that premise is threatened they immediately go to negative comments - about our hard working Police Chief for goodness sakes. Thank God for democracy and let the voters decide.

Hayduke said...

I agree completely. The republicans should be thankful that Livesay's running as one of them, and not a Democrat. At least they'll get to keep the seat.

Further evidence of why having political parties on the local level is utterly pointless (and counterproductive to boot).

Thanks for the comments.