April 28, 2016 11:12 am ET
Citizen of the Year winner has political overtones
Photo/The Optimist Club; the scene of the…?
When I found out about the Optimist Club’s Citizen of The Year choice, I was shocked along with other members and citizens who shared their thoughts with me.
That’s an understatement, folks.
After I regained my senses, I made some phone calls to verify the facts.
Then I was shocked again.
So you can share in my shock, here are the facts, as confirmed by yours truly.
Councilman Todd Crandell’s aide, Ron Metzgear, is the club’s choice for this prestigious honor. That, folks, is what is gnawing at me. I immediately thought of “connect the dots,” and there are plenty of them to connect.
Obviously, this was a very politically influenced decision.
Now here is where it gets dicey and the truth comes to the surface … like sour creamer in your coffee.
I will keep quiet about the various members I spoke to because this is about the overall issue and not about one person.
One of the callers I spoke to said, “You’d better not write your BS (spelled out in actual words) about the Optimist.”
That of course led to a heated exchange during which I asked, “What BS are you referring to, when I have never known that you actually read anything that I have written?”
I was also accused of writing BS regarding the police department. Again, that was a pretty baseless accusation.
How easy they forget all of the Police Officer of the Year awards I covered year after year.
I am surmising that the person meant that I do not have a right to voice my opinion on this subject, which goes against the one of the main principles that we hold dear in this country.
I was told that I should just pay my dues, which I do. I guess that meant that I should be a good little Optimist and keep my mouth shut.
However, this is one of those issues that won’t allow me to keep quiet.
In my heated discussion, I mentioned some very interesting issues with the club’s choice of Mr. Metzger.
Before I get into the meat and potatoes of this blog, I will say that (obviously) Mr. Bob Crandell is featured prominently within those proverbial dots. However, I will say that I told him one night at a board meeting that I felt bad (because he was my friend) about my coverage of his son.
He told me, in a nutshell, that his son makes his own decisions and he holds nothing against me for my writing on the issue.
Politics is a very contentious issue on both sides.
Now, back to business…
Concerning Mr. Metzger, I offer the following as “exhibit one.”
Here is an email that I sent to Mr. Crandell’s office after I was told by Baltimore County Code Enforcement that I cannot request a rat eradication program myself—it would have to come from the councilman’s office. To that end, I had the following email from Mr. Metzger:
Thank you for your quick reply. I will investigate Code Enforcement complaint #CC1507406 and see if I may be of assistance.
Thank you for your time and attention.
That email was followed up by this one.
Your email has been received and duly noted. I will try to answer your questions and concerns.
The councilman was made aware of numerous complaints during his walk through with Captain Lilly and since that time the Councilman had Baltimore County address those issues and as of this writing they are waiting for answers from the community of Boston Courts.
Councilman Crandell was also successful in having the County invest $100,000 in storm water management ponds for the community in the past year.
I don’t know what action you are referring to when you state you filed a complaint with code enforcement and were told it was up to the councilman to request such action, but if you would give me the Code Enforcement Complaint Number I would be happy to investigate and if your complaint has merit I will follow through.
The Councilman is proud of the constituent services offered to the residents of the 7th District and insists every concern be taken seriously.
Drugs and prostitution are a Police matter which the Councilman has deep concerns about and has discussed the matter of enforcement with Captain Lilly. I believe there is an ongoing investigation into this matter and at this time any data given regarding this matter would be incomplete. Regarding “rats invading” the resident’s homes. This office can and will request a sweep or rat eradication if ask but please be aware that until the residents start using trash cans with tight fitting lids (so as not to feed the rats and encourage breeding) rats will remain a problem that local government will not be able to solve.
In closing it is the Councilman’s wish that you might take the lead to see if there is any interest in the community of Boston Courts for a meeting.
Thank you for your time and attention.
Now here is where it even gets more interesting regarding the last part: “Interest in the community of Boston Court.”
Here is how that went—in order to read the rather detailed emails, and the complete ignoring of our situation, please click on the following link:
You can see where this is going with Crandell’s office—exactly nowhere!
That was the last I heard from Mr. Metzger. Did I mention there was absolutely nothing done regarding my complaint by code enforcement, although I did see a street-sweeper clean the middle of the road.
Now here is another email to prove my point. Sorry, but due to the length, you’ll have to click on the link. The person who wrote the email was our community leader. I redacted his personal information.
Now one has to ask who was at the meeting who made this infamous decision?
Well it was Mr. Bob Crandell, Optimist Club President William Feuer who is also the president of the DRC. There were others as well but we’ll leave that for another time.
The DRC is a major component concerning these dots.
On another matter involving Mr. Metzger, you might remember this article I wrote.
This person was dedicated and awoke every morning, put on a green “elect Crandell” shirt, and stood in the cold waving an election sign.
That is what makes it so egregious when this person reached out to the Councilman’s office for help. The person spoke to Mr. Doug Anderson, another assistant, and also attempted to speak to Councilman Crandell, who never returned their call.
The person finally spoke to “Citizen of the Year” Mr. Ron Metzger, who stated point blank that there was nothing he could do.
This incident goes beyond one person, as it involves some of the top community leaders in the district.
The person was constantly being ignored or told to contact the county directly.
Now since this decision has started to raise its ugly head, tongues are wagging and I can assure it isn’t good chit-chat.
I would categorize this whole event regarding the Optimist Club as a conflict of interest, since the nominating committee had other choices but chose to go with the potential influence of the DRC, whose president is also president of the Optimist Club.
Don’t forget Mr. Bob Crandell, who is also part of the nominating committee, although he reportedly recused himself from the vote. That means, with the exception of one person, the rest of the committee had ties to the DRC.
My final thought on this choice is quite simple: It reeks of political influence.
As a result, I resigned from the Optimist Club. I just can’t be optimistic when there is so much pessimism abound.
(Journalist hold those in power accountable; from the movie Spotlight)