By Ken Rossignol
THE CHESAPEAKE TODAY
News and Commentary
LEONARDTOWN (Originally published in Dec. of 2013) Updates are provided in this republication and more will be included in the June print edition of The Chesapeake Today )— Assuring that next year’s election will be lively, two candidates have appeared on the stage of local politics and a third announced his entry into the commissioner district presently represented by the only local official who officially attempted to hang herself, a feat most voters would like for most politicians to emulate, but with a fervent desire for them to be successful in the endeavor. Others are drifting around the rumor mills and wanna-be kingmakers are jousting, threatening, intimidating and otherwise pouting as politics in Maryland’s Mother County gears up for yet another round of fun, frolic and of leap-frogging fatuitous gasbags providing great entertainment for most of the citizenry and especially this writer.
One fresh face in politics, a welcome relief to the old lineups came on Friday, Oct. 4th, Bryan “Puff” Barthelme, 62, of Mechanicsville, filed in Annapolis, for the Republican Primary election in District 29-A. Accompanied by his treasurer, accountant Syd Moreland, of Colton’s Point, Barthelme completed the process for entering the race for the Maryland House of Delegates. Barthelme, married to Elizabeth, a teacher in St. Mary’s County at Dynard Elementary and father of two sons and grandfather of one, Barthelme has a long record of service. Serving on the Metropolitan Commission, the Planning Commission, and various church, civic and fraternal groups, Barthelme is well-known in the district he hopes to represent in Annapolis.
One opponent in the GOP race, real estate agent Matt Morgan, moved to St. Mary’s County from Charles County for the purpose of running for office, having been on the ballot in 2010 in an unsuccessful challenge to Del. John Wood (D.) The district was changed in the last reapportionment and Morgan would have had to run against Charles County Del. Sally Jamison but instead, decided to move. Morgan’s challenge in the last election came as he legitimately lived in the district which was composed of one election district in Charles County and northern St. Mary’s County.
Now Morgan has actually sold his house in Charles County and bought a home in St. Mary’s and in the process bestowed upon his Republican Primary opponent an overwhelming gift; that of being a carpet-bagger in the tradition of candidates whose lust for public office knows no boundaries, particularly geographic ones. It remains to be seen if any of the 600 voters that Morgan picked up in the area of Charles County in which he lived until last month decided to move with him, as he may need them to diffuse the issue of being a carpet-bagger.
Barthelme made it clear in his first announcement to his friends and family on Facebook about where he stood on several issues. As a conservative with a long background in sales, Barthelme said last week that he intends on working hard to sell himself and sell St. Mary’s County to legislators instead of participating in political gridlock and partisan bickering.
“One of the most important obstacles to families has been the ever-increasing tax burden imposed by the Democratic-controlled Maryland General Assembly and Governor Martin O’Malley. These higher taxes and fees strip money out of the pockets of families and threaten the economic security of folks who are trying to educate their children, assist older family members with health issues and plan their own retirements.
This was part of Barthelme’s message he sent out as his announcement earlier this month:
“I will not ever vote to increase any tax or fee and will work hard to find ways to lower taxes and attempt to retain businesses in Maryland. Gov. Rick Perry of Texas is right, lower taxes encourage business, produce jobs and spur the economy. Gov. O’Malley has proven that raising taxes drives businesses out of Maryland and kills jobs.
“As we work to protect our families from further encroachment on their economic security, we need to be sure that a fair share of state revenue is appropriated for schools, roads and public safety in St. Mary’s County and in Southern Maryland; rather than having the big counties clean out the treasury, leaving us with crumbs.
“We have to be sure that adequate public facilities accompany or are in place in advance of growth so as to make sure St. Mary’s County does not get swallowed up like Waldorf has been consuming Charles County and becoming overwhelmed with crime, congestion and traffic. As St. Mary’s already has more than one hundred thousand residents, at this point, the only smart growth is no growth.”
This last statement ought to irk at least one prominent developer in St. Mary’s County who has been at the center of much of the growth the county has experienced — Barthelme’s father-in-law Elliott “Sonny” Burch, who has also been a major player in the good old boy network of crony capitalist Democrats. Whether or not Barthelme’s father-in-law votes for him remains to be seen but his approach to controlling growth and stopping the march to become Waldorf South ought to have real appeal to voters.
While Morgan has been telling his friends on his website and Facebook that he is going to file, Barthelme’s entry into the race may have him erecting a for sale sign in front of his new house in Charlotte Hall.
Republican Party leaders have been lining up solidly behind Morgan due to his race four years ago against incumbent Democrat Delegate Johnny Wood. Various GOP party bosses have been attempting to get Barthelme to withdraw from the race, as they didn’t anticipate that anyone else might want to take a part in the political process. (Update: Matt Morgan filed in the District 29 A House of Delegates contest, along with former Commissioner Tommy McKay — who has lost races in 2006 and 2010.)
Del. Wood has been advising his friends that he plans to make up his mind about running in December and has little backing from family who believe it’s time for Wood to call this present term his ‘last hurrah’. But Wood, like many facing their own mortality, seems to be having trouble coming to the same conclusion. (Following publication of this article in January, Wood withdrew from consideration for a 2014 race and announced his decision not to seek reelection.)
Sitting on the sidelines and chomping at the bit to get into the delegate race is former Commissioner Tommy Mattingly, who was embarrassed by a dramatic loss in the race for Mayor of Leonardtown to Dan Burris. Mattingly, who billed taxpayers for hundreds of trips to Annapolis so he could network and hobnob with state power brokers and curry favor with lobbyists, while his actual duties involved simply attending meetings in the Walled City of Leonardtown, lusts for the chance to go to Annapolis.
Mattingly’s fame as the brains behind the land scheme known as the Fishy Deal of the purchase of the Hayden Farm included paying twice what the property was worth, not knowing part of the property was worthless and even promising the Hayden family that the county would name a new school for them. To top it off, Commissioners Dan Raley, Kenny Dement, Jack Russell and Mattingly all insisted on holding a public hearing on the purchase on Christmas Eve. They saw nothing wrong with it, which ought to be very instructive to you if you are voting for the first time in St. Mary’s County. These bozos are not only stupid, sneaky and corrupt but they are in your face as well.
Developer John Knight Parlett Jr has longed for the opportunity to be elevated to the post of either delegate or commissioner. His stated views at a county meeting that St. Mary’s should select a commissioner-executive type of charter government might be back on his personal agenda. Parlett stated that he thought that the county needed a benevolent dictator to run the county as a county executive. That statement may have ended his political career. An earlier decision made when he was the School Board chairman to forbid students from promoting posters that stated “God Bless America” to raise money for victims of the 9/11 attack on America in 2001 went over like a lead balloon with most everyone. Parlett cancelled a planned race for Commissioner President the next year as his esteem with the public plunged.
A Charm? State’s Attorney Race to See Third Mattingly
Leonardtown lawyer Shane Mattingly told THE CHESAPEAKE that he is seriously considering running for St. Mary’s County State’s Attorney for the post held by Republican Richard Fritz since 1999.
Fritz’s record in elections reveals that when he has been opposed by tough competition, he has lost the elections. In 1994, Fritz was a Democrat and ran against his long-time boss, Walter B. Dorsey in the Democratic Primary and lost by a large margin.
In 2004, Fritz attempted to unseat sitting Circuit Court Judge Karen Abrams. Judicial candidates are required to run in both political party primaries. Fritz, who had run as a Republican in 1998, came in third in the GOP judge race behind two Democrats. As Judge Abrams won both the Democrat and Republican primaries, she won a 15-year term on the bench. Prior to the election, Fritz had been gloating over his anticipation of taking the robe from Judge Abrams as he assumed the role of Judge. The women of the county had another thought in mind, not only did they wish to retain a sitting judge who was the first woman in history to be a Judge in St. Mary’s County, but many watched the ABC 20/20 segment in which Fritz was alleged to have raped a woman along with two other men, a crime to which he was able to get off with a plea agreement. As a college student, Fritz pleaded guilty, as a 52 year-old lawyer, Fritz trashed the woman, who was interviewed by ABC and said that the three held her down and took turns raping her and that she “screamed the whole time”.
ABC anchor Chris Wallace was skeptical of Fritz’s claim that the 15-year-old girl had consensual sex with all three of them. Fritz told Wallace, “…it happens all the time”.
In 1998, Fritz beat Democrat Joseph A. Mattingly Jr. by a margin of less than 1500 votes after he, Sheriff Richard Voorhaar and six deputies swept all available copies of ST. MARY’S TODAY newspaper from the newsstands the night before the election in order to prevent voters from reading critical articles prior to voting.
In 2002, Fritz won over Democrat Alan Cecil and in 2006 he was unopposed. In 2010, Fritz indicted his opponent, Leonardtown Attorney John Mattingly for various land fraud charges. Mattingly was found not guilty by a jury and a special prosecutor was appointed due to Fritz’s conflict of interest, as indicting political opponents may be old hat in St. Mary’s politics but Fritz was forced to yield. The Special Prosecutor reviewed the charges and the evidence and found them without merit and dropped all the remaining charges. In the meantime, with a heavy emphasis on the word “mean”, Fritz had jailed John Mattingly, cost him his business and sent him deep into debt as he successfully cleared his name but left him broke.
Any attempt to do the same to Shane Mattingly may be more problematic but Mattingly is philosophic about wearing prison garb and getting his bail money ready following filing for office against Richard Fritz.
Then States Attorney Joe Weiner indicted one of his opponents prior to the 1970 election, later was appointed to the bench and served as Circuit Court Judge for 18 months before losing the election for Judge to Joseph A. Mattingly Sr. in 1972.
Will Democrats Steam Back into St. Mary’s Commissioner’s Board?
Scrambling for the seat currently held by St. Mary’s Commissioner Larry Jarboe (R. Golden Beach) are at least three people, one of which is little known but has filed in the GOP side: John O’Connor and Democrat Joe St. Clair, who lost to Jarboe in 2006 in a race marked by a contrast in campaign styles as developer St. Clair drove around the county in a large Humvee while Jarboe drove his electric car.
Republican Jarboe’s opposition to expanding development in the northern end of St. Mary’s County is likely to be a prime target of St. Clair should he win.
Democrat St. Clair has long been a pal of the developers and has served as chairman of the Economic Development Commission, on the Planning Commission and on the Metropolitan Commission, thus if any voters might wonder what policies he would favor in the future need only look at the traffic congestion along Rt. 235 and the over-crowded schools for their answer. St. Clair has run in prior elections with the strong support and endorsement of Congressman Steny Hoyer, who has been frustrated in his attempt to rule St. Mary’s County politics in the same way he has long exercised in Prince Georges County.
Complicating the coronation that St. Clair is planning is the filing of Randy Guy into the race. Guy just might whip Russell. A retired Air Force chief, Guy has been running a small business in the area since 1997 and serves on the county Board of Appeals. Guy is also active in the American Legion post at Avenue. Guy ran for Commissioner President in the GOP primary in 2010 and lost a close race to former St. Mary’s Commissioner Tommy McKay who then lost the general election to Russell, in the midst of a GOP record year.
Also running with the Democratic establishment support is Republican Tom Jarboe, a defense contractor and son of the late Dr. Pat Jarboe, who served one term as St. Mary’s Commissioner from 1974 to 1978, losing the election that year to the late Commissioner President George R. Aud.
As the Good Old Boy – Democratic Party Alliance shapes up, Commissioner Todd Morgan (R. California) is kicking off his re-election campaign later this month with a fundraiser, as if anyone needs to dump their money into millionaire Morgan’s kitty.
Morgan, a liberal Republican who votes solidly with Democrat Jackie Russell, Commissioner President from St. George’s Island — is one of nineteen new millionaires created when Eagan McAllister was sold to a national defense contractor.
Tom Jarboe is the nephew of former County Commissioner Dan Raley and no relation to Commissioner Larry Jarboe, either through immediate or distant family and certainly not by politics, but perhaps by hair styles.
Todd Morgan’s campaign signs in 2010 were placed next to those of Hoyer in major intersections just as their politics have intersected.
Morgan pushed hard for a Good Old Boy development project, the extension and construction of FDR Blvd., with over $50 million in taxpayer funds set to be spent to build a road to nowhere, at the same time that the Navy is moving ahead on a plan to provide large portions of the Patuxent River Naval Air Station complex for office development. Many office buildings around Lexington Park and California have significant vacancies and more will develop as the Navy begins construction of private offices on the base.
But Morgan’s debt to various contractors and construction concerns far outweighs his worries about loading the county down with debt. He has loudly proclaimed that this a great time to borrow money.
Only Commissioners Jarboe and Dan Morris (R. Oakville) voted against the FDR Blvd. project while Commissioner Cindy Jones (R. Valley Lee), who billed herself as a fiscal conservative when she beat Democrat Elfreda Mathis in 2010 after ousting Republican incumbent Kenny Dement in the GOP Primary, joined Morgan in the approval of the ‘road to nowhere’.
The plan by Cindy Jones to run against Senator Roy Dyson (D. St. Mary’s, Calvert) is fueled by her desire to flit around and look important after her embarrassing interlude with a rope and bottle of booze in her barns. She remains my favorite politician as I am always in favor of any of them doing away with themselves, but I heartily recommend a gun for their continued success and our happiness.
The guy who nobody can remember his name, who ran against Dyson in 2010 and nearly nailed the Senator who has been winning elections since 1974, has filed to run again, encouraged by his snatching 49 percent of the vote. This candidate bought a home on a cliff that is, little by little, falling into the Chesapeake Bay and somehow thinks the taxpayers should ease his pain, which tells a lot about his political philosophy.
Dyson probably should retire, he will get around $70,000 annually from the federal government as a pension for the ten years he was a member of Congress from 1981 to 1991 and he will find another taxpayer treat for him as a pension for his six years in the House of Delegates and five terms elected as State Senator. The Republicans have a hard time running against Dyson as he votes a fairly conservative line and they can’t sneak around him on the right.
The GOP seems to put up a parade of fruitcakes to run against Dyson, starting with the popular but eccentric James Manning McKay in 1994; a retired school teacher who lived in Lusby in 1998; former St. Mary’s Commissioner Barbara Thompson in 2002, and Commissioner President Tommy McKay in 2006, who was exposed as lying about having a college degree while attempting a land scheme with a Baltimore developer for public property next to a state park — the infamous “Hackerman Deal”. McKay blew through at least a hundred grand and lost big to Dyson, who started accepting money from PACs.
The no-name guy (Steve Waugh) who is the cliff dweller from Lusby came the closest of them all but close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades and the smart money in this race in 2014 should have to be on Dyson as he remains as close to being ‘unbeatable’ as anyone since Democrat County Commissioner Eddie Bailey held that title until he was beat by Commissioner Larry Jarboe in 1994.
The Republicans have a web site which provides all manner of information to visitors about what they stand for and news of their candidates. They are nice folks and are trying hard but they need to learn how to use Google and they would find that the Democrat legislator who represents the southern end of St. Mary’s County and has done so since 1999 is Del. John Bohanan, not “Brian” Bohanan. For the record, Bohanan has three sons, which we know of, and none of those are named “Brian”. Also the Judges of the Orphans Court are referenced in the GOP website and the first name of Judge Dean is Linda not “Lisa”. This shouldn’t be a big deal except that the “communications director” of the Republican Central Committee is also a teacher in the St. Mary’s Public Schools and has very interesting views on the opinion segment of the website that he edits and maintains. Maybe when he is teaching kids about our Founding Fathers, he doesn’t tell them about Wilbur Washington, our first president.
Republican Deb Rey is running against Bohanan, so the GOP claims and she has three things going for her: she didn’t vote for same sex marriage and Bohanan did, in fact, he cast the deciding vote in order to appease liberals from the big counties so he can achieve his dream of becoming Speaker of the House; she is a woman and women voters turn out for no other reason than they are fed up with men screwing up the government; she is a Republican and Republicans are fed up with Democrats screwing up the country. Thus, since she, as far as is publically known, has not attempted to hang herself and then blame it all on her kid like Jones did, she would have a decent chance of beating Bohanan.
None of this really matters to newcomers to the county, such as that GOP carpetbagger Matt Morgan, as there is plenty of time to figure all this stuff out and the Democrats really are just beginning to learn how to use email and if they had a website, they would just figure out a way to soak the public for the cost and set it up to take illegal donations from fat cat developers.
There is still plenty of time for candidates to file and be included in this modern-day version of Cheap Shots as the filing deadline is Feb. 24th but since the voting machines are always rigged, there is one person who knows who is going to win in 2014 as he has reported back from Charlie Hall’s Politics Club. Remember, only The Shadow knows for sure!