This is in response to the April 7 letter to the editor titled “Bad Politics at Work.” It might have been more appropriately titled “Bad Information. At Work.”
The Downtown Hotel and Conference Center (DHCC) project is a complex effort that has evolved over the past nine years. Very few hotel and conference center projects have been completed in an urban area without a public investment. This is because of the increased infrastructure requirements in an urban setting. These obligations are compounded when the location is in a historical district.
In response to constituent concerns, the DHCC project was reconfigured so that the developer would absorb 100 percent of the costs for the hotel and conference center. Public funds will be allocated to parking and other infrastructure needs that will have a public benefit. In addition, the city will own the land and lease it to the developer. From a business and risk mitigation perspective, this is a good idea.
For the past two years the Senate has initiated the funding for the DHCC project. In fact, in 2017, even though the budget was initiated in the House, House leadership insisted that the Senate put in the funding for the project. Honoring a commitment to me, Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller made that happen during budget conference meetings.
This year the Senate was fully prepared to put the $16 million back in the budget. However, the House felt that the project was not “shovel ready” and other projects that needed funding were ready to go.
Former Mayor Jennifer Dougherty further illustrates her lack of accurate information when referring to the Maryland Historical Trust (MHT) situation. Toward the end of 2017, the MHT was on the verge of finalizing its work on this project. However, they received a call from the governor’s office telling them to stop all efforts on this project until December 2018 (after the upcoming election).
Given that obstacle, the House Appropriations Committee put language in the budget to bypass the MHT. Approval from the City of Frederick Historic Preservation Commission addressed the same issues. Perhaps if Ms. Dougherty had reviewed the Capital Budget or contacted any of the three Frederick County legislators who sit on the House Appropriations Committee, she would have discovered this information.
Ms. Dougherty likes to share Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s famous quote: “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.” As a candidate for state senator, I would recommend that she practice her own preaching and run a campaign based on accurate information and innovative ideas rather than political slander.
Originally appeared in the Frederick News Post