The curtain falls on another successful Great Frederick Fair tonight, the final day in the annual nine-day celebration of the county’s agricultural heritage.
From the food to the midway to the concerts and other events, the fair brought back a bit of normalcy after a year away because of the pandemic. Even if you didn’t go, there was a positive vibe from seeing the bright Ferris wheel shining on Frederick’s evening skyline and the smell of delicious foods wafting through the air.
If you haven’t made it there yet, you still have today to get to the fairgrounds before the rides, shows and food pack up until next September. The fair is open from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., rain or shine.
Speaking of the county’s agricultural heritage, we were happy to see the County Council voted to consider allowing 1,800 acres of county farmland to be considered for inclusion in a state preservation program.
If eventually included in the program, farm owners would maintain ownership of their land but they would cede development rights for their land to the state, even if the property would be sold to someone else. One of the top goals of the program is to keep farming viable, while also curbing overdevelopment.
The land being considered is a combination of a dozen farmers who have plots ranging from just under 40 acres to more than 300 acres. Preservation officials prioritized land with high-quality soil.
“It’s just another tool in our toolbox to preserve farmland,” county land preservation administrator Anne Bradley said.
It’s a good tool indeed if it helps keep our agricultural heritage alive.
We’re hoping the third time’s the charm for County Councilman Steve McKay’s suggestion to change the process for filling vacancies on the county school board.
This coming Tuesday, the council will vote on what to include in its legislative package to local members of the state delegation. Those items could then be heard during the Maryland General Assembly in January. Among the items being considered is McKay’s suggested change.
Presently, the county executive names a replacement to serve out the term of an open school board seat. McKay’s proposal would — in certain circumstances — allow the county executive to appoint someone to fill the seat until the next available election when voters would get their say.
This isn’t the first time McKay’s proposal has come up in the General Assembly — it’s been brought up twice before. Many thought it had a chance last session to become law but the quick pace of the session during the height of COVID kept lawmakers from focusing on it.
In year’s past, the measure has gained the support of the local state delegation so we’re hopeful that the state will approve this common-sense legislation, assuming of course, that the County Council once again signs on next week.
Redistricting, whether it be congressional or state legislative, is always going to be political in nature. And every 10 years, once the U.S. Census data is collected, the state legislature is responsible for redrawing the district lines using this new information.
The trouble is, the political party in power controls how the lines are drawn and they are almost never done in a bipartisan way, or without gerrymandering, as it’s called. Ten years ago, Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley and the Democratically controlled legislature reshaped districts with a goal of keeping its party in power. O’Malley admitted it. (On the flip side, the states where Republicans are in charge do the same thing.)
A quick look at Maryland’s current congressional districts shows split communities and districts that stretch from one end of the state to the other, all in an attempt to keep specific people in office. How does that serve the voters?
This time around, the Maryland legislature’s Legislative Redistricting Advisory Commission has its partisan eyes on redrawing the lines while Gov. Larry Hogan has established the Maryland Citizen Redistricting Commission, comprised of three Democrats, three Republicans and three unaffiliated voters.
There’s no doubt the maps drawn by these groups will be different, so we urge voters to pay attention to the results. Again, we don’t see any way of getting the politics out of the process, but a goal of keeping communities and regions from being split should be a reasonable goal.
Yeas and nays is a weekly feature of quick-hit opinions from The Frederick News-Post’s editorial board. Send your suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.