Whig Op/Ed Piece Misses the Mark on Comm. Demmler: What’s the Rest of the Story?

The Cecil Whig’s op/ed section continued the serialized report card for county commissioners today, as the “citizen columnist” turned his attention to grading individual board members.  The paper’s first installment awarded the board a “generous grade of D.”  Today’s report cards, which were handed out for Commissioners Demmler, Mullin, and Tome, were predictable to anyone following the writer’s work and having a little insight into the rumors associated with Republican Party politics here.  While we are not sure about the assessment’s validity, we noted one particularly harsh appraisal that doesn’t support anything we’ve seen.  Of course, we may not have all the information the political party insiders have, but it does cause us to wonder about the reliability of the other grades.  On the assessment of Commissioner Demmler, Mr. Cochrane mentioned that she had “quiet limited life experiences and, therefore, a very limited personal background . . . .” in areas of expertise needed by the political leadership.  To that he adds something about “limited intellectual curiosity” on the issues she does not understand, combined with an “unwillingness to do the necessary homework to better understand” issues.

That is not the official we’ve observed and the Whig writer is able to see something that’s not obvious to a neutral observer.  Whenever we’ve seen her consider an issue, we believe she’s examined it carefully, listening to people and doing whatever level of independent researcher supports a critical examination.  We’ve always been impressed with how open she was to listening to other viewpoints, being open to meeting with people, and in considering responses she’d heard from her constituents.  We think she’s one of the hardest working officials we’ve seen in the Cecil County for some time.

We recall a time almost a year ago during a tense, painful hearing about the new tax rate in Charlestown.  A large unfriendly audience attended the meeting, strongly making the point about the need to cut taxes.  It had to be hard for officials to sit through that (whatever you thought about their actions).  When it was over and the board voted to add a few more expenditures to the budget, Commissioner Demmler read a statement to the crowd, explaining her action.  It wasn’t well received, but we listened to the response, which was logical and clear. No indication there, of any problems with “intellectual” capability.  Others, as I recall, said almost nothing, except when it came time to spend a little more money.  Then they voted for that.   

On Someone Noticed, we’ll do the disclaimer thing right here since the Whig doesn’t do it for subscribers, leaving us to fill in the knowledge gaps with rumors.  Our politics tend toward progressive and Commissioner Demmler’s perspective on the role of government is far different than ours.  (Actually in Cecil County we tend to be more independent since neither of the local parties represents our views.)   We’re not in leadership roles with either party, whether it’s the central committees or the numerous clusters of people constituting splinter groups in the Republican Party.  (With all those committees the Republicans have you’d think they’d have things firmly under control!)  As for being a strong supporter of any of the commissioners as they managed the campaigns, that’s not something we’ve done either.  Oh  wait, just to be fair, we did make a small donation to Ms. Weygand, Commissioner Hodge’s opponent. 

While it is great to have insightful local content, including opinion pieces, the daily newspaper should fully disclose substantial matters such as when someone is a member of the central committee, a leader in the one of committees or a central part of the campaign for one of the officials.  There’s nothing wrong with these roles as long as the subscribers are informed, particularly since the Whig was our only media outlet (until the blogs came along).  We need that disclosure to help readers evaluate the source.  Also, provide other perspectives.  Surely there are other qualified writers in the county and the daily paper could call on some other views so we readers would have a range of opinions.  Or couldn’t some of the professional staff write hard hitting political opinion pieces?

Oh for next week, we’ll go out on a limb here since we think the results are predictable.  Last time, when the writer got involved in assessing the performance of Commissioner Hodge, he told us that “Commissioner Hodge was capable of handling the situation.”  Okay, Okay so we get it from the columnist’s perspective, he’s the only capable one.  Though we must tell you this gets our “intellectual curiosity” up.  The rumor mill is full of things about this situation, but we wonder what’s the “rest of the story?”  Were there some votes that were opposed are something, that’s causing this reaction?  Does it connect, somehow, with the SPCA mess?  We’ll continue to listen and if we come up with something substantial we’ll let you know.

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7 responses to “Whig Op/Ed Piece Misses the Mark on Comm. Demmler: What’s the Rest of the Story?

  1. OK Mike…. you know I have to put my 2 cents worth in here….

    1) You referred to Cochrane as a “writer” You must have meant this only in the strictest sense.

    2) As to the report on Demmler, my only observation of her was in regard to a matter concerning a chained dog. I hate to say it, but in this particular instance she knew not of what she spoke. (In a letter to a constituent she said it appeared that a dog left in the cold in an undersized dog house looked like it had adequate shelter) It did not. Which is not to say any of the other council members are “acolytes” of St. Francis.

    3) I agree that there is more to this puzzle than meets the eye. Isn’t it fascinating to watch the salmon try to swim upstream?

  2. Demmler said the dog looked like it had proper shelter. It is not even close! This property has been reported 5+ times. Lockhart passes the house everyday! The pic’s sent to the commissioners should frost on the dog’s head, becuase it was too large for the house! It never has food or water.

    They are also aware of the Amish farm! How can they run a puppy mill and not have a license? They hide the dogs in th back now. This has been reported to them for 2 years, and they do nothing!

    Now, we think the Whig will help and provide “fair” reporting and we see Cocohrane again! Someting is up!

    But then again, it’s Cecil~

  3. I respectfully disagree with Mr. Cochrane’s report on Commissioner Demmeler. In my opinion she is one of the most diligent and thoughtful commissioners that I have seen. Mrs. Demmeler does not make decisions rashly, she takes her time to study the issues brought to her attention. She has always struck me as a person of integrity and honor with an air of quiet dignity about her before taking action. Commissioner Demmler is also an eloquent and talented writer as demonstrated in her Last Straw newsletters that have circulated around the county over the last few years. She informed citizens about issues, meetings and tactics that were not reported in Cecil Whig. Additionally, Commissioner Demmler has the wonderful trait of actually responding to e-mail messages sent to her by constituents, a service to the public that some other commissioners don’t seem capable of performing. I disagree with Mr. Cochrane and I hope Mrs. Demmler continues her distinguished service

  4. Jon: Good to hear that the Whig’s op/ed assessment of Commissioner Demmmler isn’t universally accepted in the conservative and Republican movements in Cecil County. I didn’t think it would be since I’ve never observed anything that would justify statements by the Whig. To say she is lacking “intellecutal curiosity” in key area of importance for the commissioners, destroys any validity one might give grades for the others, including Commissioners Tome and Mullin. ( I’m sure she doesn’t know about all the highly specialized topics coming before the board, but no one pers9on would. ) But oh wait. The grades will be just fine next week when the Whig op/ed pages turn the newsprint to assessing favored commissioners. A little fair and balanced would be very helpful as the Whig tries to reach a wider audience.

    Thanks for letting us hear from other segments of the community.

  5. Mike, you said “thanks for letting us hear from other segments of the community.” The 3 people here are all involved with Del. Smigiel and his blog and Smigiel has been pulling Demmler’s puppet strings for a long time. it sounds like one segment of the community, not a lot of different ‘segments.’

  6. And how many have you pulled Louise?

    Again, I speak for myself, and do not allow strings….that is what you do~

  7. Oh “Louise” Now you are making claims about peoples level of “involvement” with Mike Smigiel because they post on his blog and calling them all one “segment” of the community? Please spare us. What segment are you…the anonymous antagonizer segment? If you had a clue about what or whom you were speaking of you would know I am at the opposite end of the political spectrum from Mike Smiegiel. Cheap anonymous comments like yours are a dime a dozen…which is why I never publish them on my blog. Come out from behind that curtain Louise, then maybe someone will take you seriously.

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