December 19, 2013 6:45 pm ET
What’s next for the outspoken leader?
Source: Ayers Steps Down From NHCA
Inside the sparkling brand new auditorium of the Dundalk /Sollers Point High Schools (Congress should look so nice), John Ayers took center stage to bid “au revoir” (French for goodbye) to the Norwood Holabird Community Association (NHCA).
Afterward, it seemed like the foundation shook. Or maybe it was just me…
No one can ever say that John minces words. Anything that is on his mind makes its way to his mouth pretty quickly. As the saying goes, he wears his heart on his sleeve—however, that sleeve often comes unbuttoned, which usually sends ripples through the community.
John has battled community leaders, politicians, and even yours truly. We have had some knock-down, drag-out conversations over the years. And, in all fairness, I wasn’t always right. Personally, I never thought the new school was going to be built, but John did.
Oh well, I guess I can’t win them all…
The NHCA, at one point, became a burnt-out ember. Ayers relit the flame with his bombastic style, which garnered the attention of politicians and community members alike. Yes, he ruffled some feathers—in fact, some might say he ripped them to shreds and stomped on them—but I guess that would depend on which side of the fence you found yourself.
Now speaking of that fence, John sparred no one from his criticism … on either side. In his farewell speech, he blamed the community for not accepting the outcome of the government center and the constant bickering. Then, on the other hand (or should I say other fist), he blasted the county council for not dealing with safety issues that could beset the sale of the government center.
He’s an equal opportunity charmer, folks.
Another highlight from John’s speech: He referred to the “liberal socialist democratic party” for many of the ills that beseech our community. (If this didn’t wake up the room, the audience was DOA.) If this was my forum—and it is—I would say that I am in complete agreement with John’s assessment. (I am allowed to voice my opinion here, you know.)
John did offer an olive branch when he introduced special guest speaker Kevin Kamenetz. John stated that you don’t have to like the man, but we all have to work with him. With that said, he pulled another pin on a hand grenade by stating, “If you don’t like them, vote them out!”
Nobody misheard that remark. After all, with John, there is never any trouble with acoustics.
Now, in the sense of fairness, let me discuss some things on which John and I agree. Let’s start with the role of the Dundalk Renaissance Corporation, or DRC as it is called. John sparred no one the lash, least of all the DRC. To quote an East County Times article by Devin Crum:
“He also described the DRC’s ‘social-liberal imperialistic colonization of Greater Dundalk’ in what he sees as their stretch to gain more influence in a wider area of Dundalk. According to Ayers, the DRC’s Charter states they are only to operate in Historic Dundalk.”
They say the proof is in the pudding, and I’ve got a Snack Pack for you—an operative of the DRC recently joined the Dundalk Optimist Club and was supposed to, as a board member (who would have thunk [sic] it) make up the Christmas tree sale schedule. Never happened. The mole, as I refer to him/her, not only failed in that duty but has only been to the tree lot once since we began our yearly tree sale. I know because I am among a small group of dedicated members that keeps the sale going.
Another interesting aspect is the persistent problems impacting the DRC’s own backyard in dealing with the homeless, as well as the problems associated with that plight. According to police reports, this dire issue has been going on for years and has a negative impact on businesses in the historic section of Dundalk. And, with the millions of dollars funneled their way from government grants, one would think that issue would be a priority—especially since it’s in our faces, so to speak.
Never one to miss an opportunity, John wanted Mr. Kamenetz to address questions about how he was going to bring jobs to Dundalk and stop the decline moving us toward “another Detroit.” Mr. Kamenetz’s response was a pre-recorded message about the AAA bond rating, doing more with less, and no tax increases.
Yes, you bet that’s been working for us! (Sarcasm alert)
“These problems didn’t happen overnight, and they won’t be solved overnight,” Mr. Kamenetz said.
Surprisingly, he did not blame George Bush. I hear that is common…
Like John, I was not one to miss an opportunity. So, when Mr. Kamenetz was willing to take questions, I was quick to raise my hand. I asked a whopper about the issue of his police chief and the residency requirements to live in the county. (Read Devin Crum’s article on this issue) But I will save that for another blog.
In the end, it was the beauty that tamed the beast, when John met Sally (his wife) and moved to Middle River. I would say give it about a week before that area is struck by a “tsunami” by the name of John Ayers.
Finally, be sure to check out the photos to see who was recognized for community service at the event. And be sure to stay tuned for more fun words from Mr. Kamenetz and yours truly.