State law requires MHT and DHCD to consult on practicality of plans that preserve the Birely building

Have the state agencies involved in reviewing the plans for demolition of the Birely Tannery been following the law? Under the Maryland Historical Trust Act of 1985 as amended, Sections 5A-325 and 326, a capital project getting state funds must be assessed as to whether it has an ‘adverse effect’ on any historic property. Despite its name Maryland Historical Trust (MHT) is a branch of State government housed in the department of planning in Crownsville MD and its Director, Elizabeth Hughes also has the title State Historic Preservation Officer reflecting her statutory powers.
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Another closed meeting on the hotel project — this time by state DHCD/City DED

The downtown hotel boondoggle is being promoted again behind closed doors in an unannounced meeting to which none of the public, no press, and no elected representatives are invited. Called a ‘Consulting Parties Meeting’ it was organized by the state Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) which has given grants of $850,000 of taxpayer money to this scandal-ridden project. Continue reading

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Why I filed an open meetings complaint with the state LTE Frederick News-Post

A few days ago (9/30) The News-Post reported that I lodged a complaint with the state Open Meetings Compliance Board on the behind-closed-doors meetings of the city’s Hotel Advisory Committee. I’d like to explain why. Continue reading

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San Jose CA does economic development the right way: no subsidies, no special deals, best deal for all

Sam Liccardo, mayor of San Jose California says his city won’t be offering any subsidies to Amazon to attract their 2nd headquarters and 50,000 jobs. Offering special incentives to big companies to locate in your city is “a bad deal for taxpayers,” he says. Benefits are just not commensurate with costs.

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City DED expunges ‘Hotel Advisory Committee’ now a ‘Project Advisory Team’

The City’s Department of Economic Development (DED) has determined that the downtown hotel project no longer has an ‘Advisory Committee.’ This crew is now deemed to be a mere ‘Project Advisory Team.’ Continue reading

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Behind-closed-doors-hotel committee — TEXT of complaint to the State Attorney General’s Open Meetings Compliance Board

COMPLAINT: City of Frederick Mayor Randy McClement’s hotel advisory committee (HAC) I submit, has been breaking state law for six years — a public body meeting behind closed doors. Maryland’s Open Meetings Act requires state and local public bodies to hold their meetings in public, provide adequate notice of meetings, and compile and release agendas and minutes of the meetings. Although they can go into closed session when discussing confidential topics, meetings of the City and County, political ‘sub-divisions’ of the State, must generally be notified to the public, documented and open. Continue reading

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City claims HAC ”not a public body within the meaning of the Open Meetings Act”

City spokesman Patti Mullins has emailed us saying: “The Downtown Frederick Hotel Advisory Committee is not a public body within the meaning of the Maryland Open Meetings Act. It is therefore not subject to any of the Act’s requirements, including those relating to advance public notice or meeting documents. Not all of the meetings had prepared agendas, and no official minutes were kept for any meeting.” Continue reading

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State law broken by Mayor’s hotel advisory committee (HAC) meeting behind closed doors for six years

Mayor McClement’s hotel advisory committee (HAC) has been breaking state law for six years — a public body meeting behind closed doors. Maryland’s Open Meetings Act requires state and local public bodies to hold their meetings in public, provide adequate notice of meetings, and compile and release agendas and minutes of the meetings. Although they can go into closed session when discussing confidential topics, meetings of the City and County, political ‘sub-divisions’ of the State must generally be notified to the public, documented and open. (Closed ‘smoke-filled rooms’ of similar cliques in New York and Chicago associated from the 19th century on with crony racketeering — cartoon nearby) Continue reading

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A pathetic Historic Preservation Commission — OPINION

The performance of the Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) last Thursday night in approving demolition of the Birely Tannery was pathetic. The commissioners were snowed by the shoddy Plamondon/City sales pitch. They fell head over heels for the garbage-economics of ‘impact analysis’ and its claim of great new wealth and employment arising from the dust of the Tannery building. They showed no interest in querying falsehoods peddled by the applicants, no curiosity about alternatives, and, worst of all, no fidelity to their core responsibility for preserving historic sites and structures. Continue reading

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Four reasons not to vote to demolish — speaking notes for HPC17-490 2017.09.14

Commissioners: demolition of the Birely tannery must be voted down for four reasons.

1. Demolition would bring on a very bland glass front for some 250 feet along Carroll Creek when there’s an opportunity for developing a point of interest 100 feet along and 12 foot down that tells the story of 19th century tanning and also of the history of floods and flood control. The plan hogs far too much of the Carroll Creek frontage for the proposed hotel complex.

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