They spoke Sat. during the Great Brunswick Barbecue Take Down.
Brunswick, Md (KM) Two elected officials, who don’t normally agree on anything, squared off on Saturday during WFMD’s “Frederick’s Forum.” County Councilman Kirby Delauter and County Executive Jan Gardner debated ethics and immigration.
On the issue of ethics, Delauter questioned whether Gardner is a champion of ethics reform for the county. He pointed to an instance “where the County Exec was in negotiations with Comcast, and at the same time, that Comcast would make a donation to her. And you don’t see that donation until January. While Hough is saying that would have been made public almost immediately while she was in negotiations, it could have been talked about then,” he said.
State Senator Micheal Hough has introduced a bill which would require candidates running for County Council or County Executive to disclose any campaign contribution of $500 or more be made public almost immediately.
“I did take a check from them about a year ago, and I know some people there who support me and it’s good to have business support,” Gardner responded. “But we are negotiating with them starting about the middle of the month of March of this year. So there’s about a year between that campaign contribution and the negotiations.”
She said the talks involve Comcast using rights of way in the county in exchange for providing the county and the school system with fiber optics and certain TV channels.
Gardner also said Senator Hough’s bill is very weak. “His bill did have instant reporting in it only for certain county officials, not for delegation members. But it also had no penalties in it. So I think it was a very weak bill. It also had constitutionality issues, and we can’t pass something that’s unconstitutional,” she said.
The two also debated immigration. Councilman Delauter said he was against any proposal for “sanctuary cities.” The city of Frederick is considering that idea, where local police would not cooperate with federal officials in the enforcement of immigration laws. “Illegal is illegal,” said Delauter. “You don’t make an undocumented withdrawal from a bank. It’s called a bank robbery.”
He also criticized Alderman Michael O’Connor for his support of not letting local police cooperate when it comes to enforcing federal immigration laws. “I think Michael should open the door to his house and let people wander through and eat his food, and use his restroom. That’s what you’re basically telling them you want them to do,” he said. “It’s a sanctuary place. You don’t know who these people are; where they came from; if they’re a member of a gang. It makes the Sheriff’s job that much harder. He’s got to deal with it.”
But Gardner said this issue needs to be addressed on a national level. “This is really all boils down to a local issue because of Congress’ failure to address immigration successfully,” she said. “And I really feel that people should spend their time and energy focusing on having federal immigration reform to address their issues no matter where they are.”
Both Gardner and Delauter were attending last Saturday’s Great Brunswick Barbecue Take Down when they stopped by the WFMD tent to be on the show “Frederick’s Forum.”
By Kevin McManus