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Cast of familiar names makes commission race a must-see

July 11, 2006|by TIM ROWLAND

Two dozen is a nice number if you're talking about doughnuts. But Washington County Commissioner candidates? I'm not sure.

Apparently, Greg Snook is the only person in Washington County who does NOT want to be a commissioner. So we have one smart one, anyway.

Twenty-four, count 'em, 24, county commissioner candidates. It's enough to start their own volleyball team. Oh wait, did I say volleyball team? I meant volleyball league.

The field is littered with elections both past and present, including one member each of Hagerstown City Council and School Board looking to graduate to the rank of commissioner.

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We have all manner of past commissioners, council members and school board members and the field is quite the walk down Washington County's memory lane. The only person missing is Ron Bowers, who is even leaving his state-office job this summer. Man, for the last time he wasn't associated with some public enterprise or another, he probably has to go back to age 5.

But everyone else, present and accounted for. What, no Barbara Stansberry? Must not have gotten the memo.

Look, I thought we were having an election, not a family reunion.

Of course with 24, there's some new blood, too, although good luck getting any traction amid all that name recognition - which in this county is everything.

Washington County Voter (to himself) in voting booth: "John Wayne Gacy, John Wayne Gacy. Hmm, I know I've heard that name somewhere before, he must be OK." Check.

On seeing the full list of candidates was announced, my friend Tom Firey e-mailed to imply that, at that very moment, he pictured me, head cocked back against the top of my chair, drool running out the side of my mouth and my eyes kind of slowly opening and closing in some sort of religious ecstasy over the potential "fodder" (his word, not mine) this field presents.

I was, frankly, a little insulted that he would leap to the conclusion that I would consider something as serious as a County Commissioners race as mere sport. I do, but I was still insulted that he leapt to that conclusion.

True, I suppose I did take a casual, sideways glance at the candidates for all county offices when it was printed in the paper, but only in the interest of learning something valuable I otherwise might not have known about.

For example, who knew that School Board member Russell Williams' middle name was "French?"

Russell, you want to put that on the ballot? In Washington County? A name change might be in order, something like Russell Freedom Williams.

But back to the commissioners. Being a strong environmentalist, I plan on voting for an all-outdoors ticket: Pete Waters, Ed Forrest, Nathan Green, John "Killed Himself A" Barr (when he was only 3) and Jacqueline Fischer. The fact that I had to reach into the School Board race to snatch Fischer's name leaves me irked with her for putting her political interests ahead of my comedic congruity.

Politicians are thoughtless like that. I had a great poem that incorporated all the candidates' names right up until the last day to file, except that I couldn't figure out anything that rhymed with "Aleshire."

Thank goodness Commissioner John Munson is running for re-election. I've come to depend on him. Me without J-Mun would be like a North Philly resident without his crack.

We differ on politics, but share one of the world's great burdens, that being ownership of a Jack Russell terrier. Which reminds me, I owe the commissioner a Jake Biscuit column, which I will get to presently as my way of saying "thanks."

In the end, I'm not sure why one person would want this job, much less 24. Can't get enough of that sewer-capacity issue, I suppose. But I'm glad they do. For without candidates to pick on, what is the sound of a lone humor columnist falling in the Ed Forrest?

Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist.

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