Friday the Cecil Whig’s Op/Ed page was concerned with which Cecil County politician would receive credit for resolving the serious SPCA problem. The day before the editorial writers finally got around to suggesting that the county needs a new animal control plan. That is almost two weeks after the story broke on the Internet and in Baltimore media, with the Whig coming onboard with a version of the major headline grabbing occurrence after it was old news in Cecil County. It’s remarkable that they were busy worrying about our politicians for the first week-and-a-half, rather than calling for a decent animal control plan. But they’ve finally caught up with everyone else calling for action.
In the Friday issue, the two columnists, advancing concerns to a level that never occurred to us, worried about which Cecil County politician will receive credit for a successful intervention in this damaging situation. “Hodge has come up with several solutions for resolving the animal control problem in the county,” the editor reassuringly wrote. “Is Smigiel jealous that the county commissioner may steal some of his political thunder?” he queried.
The other local content columnist said that while two other commissioners made preliminary remarks, they couldn’t advance soltutions beyond a few opening thoughts. Commissioner Mullins was unable to say what he meant when he mentioned that an external agency was willing to help out. Commissioner Demmler wanted action but couldn’t say what that was. The writer concludes we shouldn’t worry because one Cecil County politician, Commissioner Hodge, is capable of handling the still growing entanglement at the SPCA.
We have several reactions to those opinions. It appears we are finally “coming in on a wing and prayer” since the politicians are worrying about getting credit for straightening the situation out. It took an extraordinary amount of public pressure to get an investigation going and that mass built once the complaints were widely known on the Internet and then Baltimore outlets. Yes it is a sure sign that things are under control when they’ve reached the stage of worrying about making sure people know they’re the politician that fixed the problem!
Now that everyone, including the Whig editorial page and the SPCA has finally called for the investigation, the politicians are beyond that preliminary state, the one where you see which way the wind is blowing. So by reading between the lines we think the political leadership knows that actions are underway for getting the matter out of the headlines too. Otherwise if it was all still up in the air or positive political outcomes weren’t clear, we suspect they wouldn’t want anything to do with the entanglement. Surely the people on the front line of this situation, the citizens that are attending the commissioners meeting, making the complaints, and keeping the issue before the public, would have been happy to have the support of any of these Cecil County politicians months ago, when they were voices all alone, desperately seeking someone, anyone, to support them.
It’s astonishing how long it took for all this to bubble up. If the SPCA and other parties had been listening when those complaints were presented, perhaps we wouldn’t have such an escalated situation. Someone should have started back in October when the Baltimore television station showed up to do an investigation. Think if the SPCA had sought out a competent review at that point, what a much more defensible position its board of directors would be in. When all those other television cameras showed up, they could have waved around the clearing document, showing how an independent authority had vacated all charges. However “supporters of the SPCA” were busy back in October building a blog that attacked the TV reporter, rather than concentrating on fact-finding, which would be of great help right now. Walls of silence and alleged attacks on individuals aren’t going to resolve the operational problems at the SPCA (if they exist). The fact that they didn’t take a course of action most organizations would have sought out promptly, creates initial impressions that aren’t favorable for the agency.
But now that the Whig is worrying about which Cecil County politician is going to receive credit for straightening things out, we assume that they have inside information from political circles that the corrective actions are around-the-corner. At leat that leaves us hoping that we are coming in on a wing and prayer to settle this thing the right way for the animals, the taxpayers, and all interested parties as the midnight hour rolls over Cecil County.
Our position is that we are not concerned with which one of them (Delegate Simigel or Commissioners Hodge, Demmler, and Mullins or anyone else) gets the credit, nor do we think most people are. But we’ll let the Whig and the political leadership bother themselves with that anxiety since it something that is important to the newspaper.
If we are ever concerned with that we’ll ask the people involved in the front of this thing, the everyday citizens, for they will know better than the Whig, Someone Noticed or Cecil County politicians, who has supported them. Let’s stop worrying who gets points this thing and just make sure it move properly through the steps.
One finally disagreement with the Friday editorial pages, while we are at it. We have watched Commissioner Demmler in action for two years and we are impressed with how she goes about the people’s business. She listens, critically evaluates, seeks independent data, and comes to sound conclusions on public matters. She also stays in touch with constituents for if you contact her you will receive a thoughtful response. Even if you don’t agree with her position, you will see how thoughtful her approach was. We are very impressed with Commissioner Demmler and wish we had more public servants of that caliber for the good of the county. As for not being able to articulate additional thoughts on her preliminary comments, we suspect that is because she is still evaluating what is going on with this still unclear picture. On Commissioners Mullins and Hodge, we don’t have sufficient data to make a statement, but over the next year or so we’ll have certainly formed opinions. While unclear now, some initial impressions are beginning to form as we watch how they manage this mess.