I understand now! I woke up this morning thinking about my testimony and how I was confused about the Washington County Commissioners—all Republicans—promoting an expensive public works project that takes the property rights of nearly 800 property owners and getting this far in the planning (this has been in the works since at least early 2011*) by keeping the public and the property owners in the dark.
The promoters of this boondoggle aren’t primarily Republicans they are the members of the Ruling Class—some call themselves Republicans or Democrats, but Ruling Class is the best description!
Please everyone take a few minutes and visit Angelo Codevilla’s seminal work on the Ruling Class vs. the Country Class in which the former professor of International Relations tells us it doesn’t matter whether the participants are Republicans or Democrats, the real political battle is between those who view themselves as the smart people, you know the cool people, who believe they are entitled to be the RULING CLASS. The rest of us are the COUNTRY CLASS that isn’t smart enough to participate in government because we couldn’t possibly be intelligent enough, or cool enough (frankly, it is not too different from a high school clique!).
The Rail-Trail proposal is a prime example of BAD government run by the Ruling Class and Ruling Class wannabes. Another is the Hagerstown Stadium plan also being done to exclude citizen participation—the Ruling Class is calling the shots, citizens be damned!
Back to the issue at hand and why the Rail-Trail proposal being put forth by some members of the Washington County Commissioners is a great example of the Ruling Class keeping the Country Class out of the decision making and is thus an example of BAD government.
Yesterday, the Hagerstown Herald Mail published its second biased report on the Thursday meeting misleading the public into thinking that support for the project out-weighs the opposition by quoting four people in favor and only one against. No wonder many people in Washington County no longer read the paper; if you were at the meeting and then saw this report, you would be laughing your head off because the bias is so blatant. Anyway, one of the proponents of the project is quoted as follows:
Boonsboro resident Heidi Welsh said she did a study in 1993, talking to area residents who were for or against the Civil War Railroad Trail, but things have changed since then.
“At that time (the representatives) did the wrong thing,” she said. “They showed up in people’s backyards with survey stakes, and people felt pretty attacked.”
She said that 20 years later the issue has been handled differently. [That makes me laugh!–ed]
“The commissioners should be commended for doing this public participation,” she said.
The truth is that some Commissioners tried to keep the public and the landowners out of this for nearly a year or more (we are working on a timeline) and I discussed that very fact with Commissioner Ruth Anne Callaham before the meeting began.
The Commissioners have committed a grave error, but par for the course in Washington County—planning a project, getting it as far down the planning pipeline as they possibly could (even getting town governments on board in Keedysville and Boonsboro) before alerting those who would be most affected—the people who would lose their security and their privacy when tens of thousands of trail users enter their back yards and farm fields—the homeowners.
Here, for example, the Herald Mail reports (and Baltimore Spokes brags) that the Commissioners supported the project in April (land owners got official notice to give their views in May and as you know the ‘hearing’ just happened a couple of days ago).
The M.O. of the Washington County Ruling Class (WCRC)
This is getting long, and I will have a lot more to say about the Washington County Ruling Class (WCRC) in the coming days and weeks, but I came across an article by Art Callaham (the husband of Commissioner Callaham for those of you unfamiliar with the WCRC) about the stadium and unbelievably he tells us his view of how things should be done by the smart people. He calls his concept for pushing projects through—the Community Development Corporation—which would come together, get a project past the taxpaying citizens in cahoots with the press that acts as the Public Relations wing for the Ruling Class (LOL! The Herald Mail!).
Here is Callaham in a piece published last year in the Herald Mail (of course!) promoting the controversial stadium plan. And, who might those “decision influencers” be?
What’s been missing that would turn discussions into actions? In my opinion, it is the lack of cohesive energy within the community that holds us back. Cohesive energy manifests itself in having decision influencers with a common interest in community development around a common table planning or reviewing plans. Those influencers balance the two major impediments within any plan — money and risk — with a mandate to help turn decision makers into “action takers.”
Who are these decision influencers — the community at large [LOL! as long as the critics keep their mouths shut!—ed], money folks, planners, government, the press? I call this group a Community Development Corporation. You may call them whatever you wish [O.K. I call them the Ruling Class—ed], but we need to foster this kind of a group.
Money! Planners! Government! Press! and those who disagree can shut up and sit down! That is a recipe for BAD government especially as it relates to the complicit PRESS. By the way, the Ruling Class in Hagerstown is steadfastly blocking any discussion of a public hearing on the stadium.
Callaham’s cabal thesis is the ultimate in BAD government. It isn’t the government’s job to build monuments and pyramids (or bike trails for the special few)—only to take care of the essential needs and safety of the citizenry with efficient and cost-effective stewardship of the taxpayers’ money.
And, again, my mistake in my testimony was assuming that party affiliation and principles matter, with the Ruling Class the only thing that matters is power and prestige—NOT principles! Certainly not party principles.
Be sure to visit our whole category on the Washington County Rail Trail for all the facts we have developed so far—visit often as we reveal more information that the Ruling Class is keeping from you!
* We will be developing a time line for the Rail Trail secret planning being done with special interest lobbyists for the biking hobby ‘industry,’ and we will get you the names of the other leaders of the Washington County Ruling Class!