Trick question - Are you mayor material?

February 21, 2006|by TIM ROWLAND

All right, I thought we had this down, but obviously not. So let's go over it one more time, folks: Just because the envelopes addressed to you say "Hagerstown" on the front, it doesn't necessarily mean that you actually live within the City of Hagerstown municipal limits.

I know it's confusing. I know it is difficult to understand. I know a lot of times it seems as if you "should" live in the city because you have a lot of houses around you and the streets are paved and they made you get rid of your septic tank.

And just because when someone asks you where you are from you say "Hagerstown" and not "Chicago," once again this does not automatically make you a resident of the city proper, and hence eligible to become its mayor.

Look, it's not that hard. If you want to know where the city boundary is, wait for Hagerstown's Bulk Trash Pickup Day and then look for the mountainous piles of refuse that county folk have dumped just over the city line.


Other clues: If you have paid Hagerstown taxes, you might be a Hagerstonian. If you have voted in a Hagerstown election, you might be a Hagerstonian. It may not be easy, but you can figure this out.

Whew. It never fails. Every time I start out a column with "Only in Hagerstown ..." I figure this HAS to be the last time I'll ever have to write those words. It just can't get any weirder. But of course it isn't, and it always does.

This time, the city thought it had covered its bases. Following the hasty resignation of Mayor Trump a couple of weeks ago, the council opened up the replacement-selection process to everyone (big mistake), saying that those who wanted to be considered for Mayor of Hagerstown could fill out an application and submit it to the city attorney.

Knowing their audience, council members kept the questionnaire very, very, very simple. What is your name? What is your quest? What is youre favorite color?

There was no trick question, no "What is the capital of Assyria" or "What is the air speed velocity of an unladen swallow?" Get your name right and fine, your hat's pretty much in the ring. Oh yes, one other detail, you have to be a Republican who has lived in the city for a year.

Simple enough instructions, right? Ohhhhh no. Not here. Not. Even. Close.

Turns out a full 35 percent of the applicants to become our next mayor live in Washington County, and not the City of Hagerstown.

Haven't we been through this once already this year, the county folk wanting to control the city politics? How'd that work out for ya? And now this. Um hm, nice try, Fountain Head.

There is progress to report, however. To my knowledge, none of the candidates for mayor of Hagerstown are from West Virginia. So we're slightly ahead of last spring. And everyone apparently is using his or her own name for the most part, and not some AOL screen name.

Now there is the matter of one Darrell "Bikeman" McCammon - he signed his name thusly on the application because, he told a reporter, he uses a bike to get around. Hey, don't knock it. With that one statement, he has already made more sense than some of the council members have their entire term.

Apparently, my pleas to Hagerstown icons Plastic Man and Mohawk Man to enter the fray went unheeded, but Bikeman came through.

Bikeman, you da MAN. The bike man, as it were. (But please keep in mind that just because I endorse you does not necessarily mean that I want to talk to you. I want to stress this. I made the mistake of doing a recent column on The Wig Man, and now he spends more time in my voice mailbox than Save the Children.)

And yes, the Bikeman has had his brushes with the law, including the time he was accused of filching a bicycle patrol officer's bicycle. I'm not prepared to hold this against him, however. If your name is Bikeman and you come across an unattended bike, what are you supposed to do?

Question: If Bikeman becomes an actual member of City Hall and he does this, is he arrested or do the cops give him a ride to the nearest bike shop?

If they don't go with Bikeman, I'm throwing my support to Bharatumar Jesangbhai Patel who listed his address as the Comfort Suites motel, but who voter registration records show actually lives at the Econo Lodge motel. Probably read about the city council junket to North Carolina and figured he'd fit right in. What else could he bring to the council table, free soap?

Actually, I think all 14 of these candidates should be selected as co-mayors. For continuity's sake, I just want to be certain the next six months are as dysfunctional as the last six, and that seems the only way to ensure it.

Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist.

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