The ironies of the Mount Airy election
April 29, 2010
Special for The Grogg Report by Kevin Dayhoff - Crossposted on Kevin Dayhoff Soundtrack
Mount Airy’s citizens go to the polls to select new leadership for the town on May 3.
The town’s approximately 5,350 registered voters will choose between Wendi Peters and Patrick Rockinberg to lead the community for the next four years in the mayor’s office.
Mount Airy citizens would be wise to turn over the challenges of the mayor’s office to councilwoman Wendi Peters.
Four of the five town council and mayoral candidates for office in next Monday’s election are relatively new to Mount Airy, whose history and heritage dates back to the 1830s. They live in one of the new 198 single-family homes in one the town’s newer developments, Summit Ridge.
They came to Mount Airy as part of the latest generation of families who were attracted to the town for its small town feel and quality of life and helped grow Mount Airy approximately 61% in the last ten years.
It is an irony that for many residents in town, Summit Ridge is the very same development that became the straw that broke the camel’s back in Mount Airy’s struggle to keep the very same traditional small town values, for which the candidates from this seemingly semi-autonomous northern region of Mount Airy, aspire.
It was as early as 1993 that residents of Mount Airy began to realize that the growth and development initiatives of the 1970s and 1980s, which were formulated to ensure the survivability of the town in the face of the population decline and downward spiral of the town in the 1950s and 1960s - were now imperiling the town.
In short, the post World War II population trends which witnessed a flight of citizens to the cities had reversed and by now unhappy urban refugees were fleeing the chaos and decline of the cities to come to the suburbs and places like Mount Airy.
Who could blame them? Once the new residents arrived they quickly became determined that they would not allow the problems associated with urban population density to happen to their newfound home.
The Mount Airy planning commission began to take a hard look at growth in 1989 when it noted, “During the 1980s the town again experienced rapid development and approved several large annexations…”
The 1993 Mount Airy comprehensive plan observed, “Mt. Airy’s rapid growth in the 80’s is typical of many towns outside major metropolitan areas across the country. In many communities this rapid development has significantly impacted natural resources and threatens to outpace the capacity of utility and infrastructure systems. Another effect of this growth that is equally important is a growing perception that the qualities of community are being lost.
“Mt. Airy has done well to avoid many development-related problems: however there is a real concern that the qualities of Mt. Airy that attract new residents are becoming endangered by the development that accommodates this growth.”
That last paragraph came to a head on May 1, 2006 when voters overwhelmingly went to the polls and said that they did not want the town to annex the Zeltman farm that had been in the town’s master plan for growth for 10 years.
For many voters in the 2006 election, it was the example of the negative impact of Summit Ridge on Mount Airy - that cause that caused them to vote against Zeltman, dubbed Summit Ridge II.
To add to the irony, many of the candidates for office in next Monday’s election found their interest in politics after Summit Ridge was built-out and they coalesced in opposition in 2006 to the Zeltman farm, and last fall to a proposed annexation of the Rigler property on Buffalo Road which is contiguous to their “new” Summit Ridge development.
Fast-forward to next week’s election and by now all the candidates “get it” that an overwhelming majority of citizens want Mount Airy to stay a small town.
The disagreement over growth and development in Mount Airy has exacted a huge toll on the community. In yet another irony in a town full of ironies, the desire to maintain and promote Mount Airy’s small town charm by waging a holy war on annexations has deteriorated the community into a seething cauldron of toxic bitterness.
What is left is a shell-shocked community in which a generation of families is being taught to confuse family and community values with yelling, screaming, and bitter hateful character assassinations of Shakespearian proportions.
New approaches and new leadership will be necessary to face the community’s future recreation and park needs, facilitate the state and county relationships necessary to address schools, devastated economy and business environment, budgetary deficits, water, sanitation and basic infrastructure deterioration.
Of the two mayoral candidates Councilwoman Peters has the experience to address the town’s challenges.
Ms. Peters has the collective benefit of the previous two generations of her family who have served as Mount Airy elected officials to help guide her in the perilous waters that lay ahead for Mount Airy.
Many have been swayed by the endorsement of Ms. Peters by B.J. Dixon, who recently retired after serving as an employee of the Mount Airy town government.
Ms. Dixon spoke for many when she said: “Having worked with Wendi over the years, I believe she has the experience to lead the Town into the future. Wendi understands the workings of our government, she is a problem solver and possesses the ability to stand up and take on tough decisions.
“We need to quit drawing lines in the sand. We need stability and continuity back in our town. We need Wendi Peters to do just that. With her experience, her leadership and her commitment…”
What Mount Airy needs is someone with the experience, knowledge and abilities that can only come from decades in the arena making the difficult decisions and having the scars to show for it. There’s plenty of blame to go around, it’s time to concentrate on the future...
For coverage of the May 3, 2010 Mount Airy municipal elections click on: Elections 20100503 Mount Airy
Labels: Carroll Co Dist Mt Airy, Dayhoff photos, Dayhoff photos Carroll Co, Elections 20100503 Mount Airy, History Mount Airy MD, People Peters-Wendi Mt Airy Council
Related coverage: http://kevindayhoff.blogspot.com/search/label/Elections%2020100503%20Mount%20Airy
Ending the Mount Airy Civil War Wednesday, April 28, 2010 Kevin E. Dayhoff
The mayor’s office and two council seats are up for grabs when Mount Airy’s citizens go to the polls to select new leadership for the town May 3.
The town’s voters will choose between Wendi Peters and Patrick Rockinberg to lead the community for (hopefully) the next four years in the mayor’s office. In 2009, a total of three citizens took turns in the mayor’s office in a year of public bickering and disagreement.
Mount Airy has stayed in the news in recent years with political turmoil, allegations of ethics violations, quarrels over growth and annexations, recreation, and water. It is time for the soap opera to stop.
Of the two candidates for mayor, Mount Airy citizens would be wise to turn over the challenges of the mayor’s office to Councilwoman Wendi Peters.
Read the entire column here: http://www.thetentacle.com/ShowArticle.cfm?mydocid=3728
Mount Airy prepares for town elections League of Women Voters of Carroll County to hold candidates’ forum. March 31, 2010 Special to be crossposted on The Grogg Report by Kevin Dayhoff http://kevindayhoff.blogspot.com/2010/03/mount-airy-prepares-for-town-elections.html
Wendi Peters for Mount Airy mayor campaign profile http://kevindayhoff.blogspot.com/2010/03/wendi-peters-for-mount-airy-mayor.html Posted March 31, 2010
Mount Airy town elections a little over a month away League of Women Voters to hold candidates' forum March 31 Posted http://www.explorecarroll.com/news/4173/mount-airy-town-elections-little-over-month-away/ 3/29/10 by Carroll Eagle, Eldersburg Eagle, Westminster Eagle
Scott Strong for Mount Airy town council campaign profile March 29, 2010 http://kevindayhoff.blogspot.com/2010/03/scott-strong-for-mount-airy-town.html
BJ Dixon nominates Councilwoman Wendi Peters for the Office of Mount Airy Mayor By Kevin Dayhoff for Soundtrack March 29, 2010 http://kevindayhoff.blogspot.com/2010/03/bj-dixon-nominates-councilwoman-wendi.html
Mount Airy town elections a little over a month away http://kevindayhoff.blogspot.com/2010/03/mount-airy-town-elections-little-over.html League of Women Voters of Carroll County to hold candidates’ forum.
March 19, 2010 by Kevin Dayhoff
Current Mount Airy Mayor Helt nominates Mr. Everich http://kevindayhoff.blogspot.com/2010/03/current-mount-airy-mayor-helt-nominates.html
The Mount Airy Lottery in The Tentacle: http://www.thetentacle.com/ by Kevin E. Dayhoff Wednesday, March 24, 2010: “The “awful aughts” were not kind to Mount Airy. The last decade seemed to have been on the minds of citizens who crowded into the Mount Airy town hall on March 8 to nominate candidates to vie for elected offices in the upcoming election….”
“Mount Airy electoral nominees named” By Jennifer Jiggetts, Times Staff Writer Jiggetts http://www.carrollcountytimes.com/news/local/article_27f19880-2d92-11df-9131-001cc4c002e0.html Friday, March 12, 2010
“Mount Airy announces nominations for mayor and Town Council” Originally published March 10, 2010 By Nicholas C. Stern News-Post Staff http://www.fredericknewspost.com/sections/news/display.htm?StoryID=102271
“Peters, Rockinberg to face off for mayor - Two nominated for mayor, three for two open council seats in Mount Airy's May 3 election” by Angie Cochrun Staff Writer Thursday, March 11, 2010 http://www.gazette.net/stories/03112010/mounnew162451_32547.php
David Blais Candidate for Mount Airy Town Council web site
Kevin Dayhoff Soundtrack: http://kevindayhoff.blogspot.com/ = http://www.kevindayhoff.net/ Kevin Dayhoff Art: http://kevindayhoffart.blogspot.com/ or http://kevindayhoffart.com/ = http://www.kevindayhoff.com/ Kevin Dayhoff Westminster: http://kevindayhoffwestgov-net.blogspot.com/ or http://www.westgov.net/ = www.kevindayhoff.org Twitter: https://twitter.com/kevindayhoff Twitpic: http://twitpic.com/photos/kevindayhoff Kevin Dayhoff's The New Bedford Herald: http://kbetrue.livejournal.com/ = www.newbedfordherald.net Explore Carroll: www.explorecarroll.com The Tentacle: www.thetentacle.com