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Wednesday, September 25, 2013


"Hagerstown Mayor David S. Gysberts said Monday night that he is open to other projects at the downtown site, and that he would consider using eminent domain to acquire or speed up negotiations for any properties needed for redevelopment. Those projects could include other athletic facilities or a community or convention center, Gysberts said."

The Herald Mail
September 23, 2013

It turns out that all is not what it seemed with this candidate-now-mayor.

   I have supported Mayor Gysberts since he began campaigning for mayor in the last election. I know that a referendum was passed during that election to run non-partisan city elections in the future. In a perfect world that sounds like a good and noble idea, but voters will probably still tend to lean toward the candidate who leans towards their political ideals, and the candidates will probably still discreetly tow their party line. So with that said, I am an unlikely supporter of Mayor Gysberts, myself being a true blue Republican for most of my adult life (although not so much now), and having been very involved in the TEA Party movement. Why? Well he seemed so...non-partisan back then. He also seemed to be against building a stadium at the downtown site. He seemed to be against the use of tax payer money without at least equal private funds. It turns out that all is not what it seemed with this candidate-now-mayor. 
Skillfully played!

    Candidate Gysberts attended a meeting led by those in opposition to the downtown site. Those hosting the meeting said that the then-current mayor and council had refused to meet with them (although they had not been invited to this particular meeting). Candidate Gysberts skillfully appeared to be in agreement with this group without ever making a definitive statement about it. At least that is what he said after the election when those at the meeting were stunned to find out that he indeed was for the downtown site. Of course there were no audio or video recordings of the meeting. I was there and I can not without a doubt remember if he made a statement against it, but I do remember without a doubt that he did not make a statement for it. I do remember that the implication was that he was against it. It was implied by his very presence, by there not being any definite statement for it, by his commiseration about the incumbents and their lack of consideration for the citizens that were against it, and for his statements against the process. I have to give it to him. It was skillfully played. 

     I got over that disappointment pretty quickly because I still considered him to be a thoughtful man who would care about the will of the voters. Even the most liberal of the city council, Council Member Metzner, said that "the voters have spoken and they do not want a stadium at the downtown site." I hate to even have to mention that Council Member Munson, who has since reneged on his promise to oppose the site, claimed to have personally talked to thousands and that no more than 45 people were for that stadium site. So there was no question that the citizens of this town did not and do not want it. Certainly a thoughtful young man like Mayor Gysberts would represent the voters. Not so. Instead, he came out strongly for the site and promised to vote for it if there should be a tied vote. He was quoted many times in the newspaper in support of it, and even wrote a letter to the governor asking for taxpayer funds. Disappointing. 

    Disappointing went to incredulous upon reading that not only would this mayor continue to consider other athletic facilities for that site, but he went so far as to say that he would also consider using eminent domain! In short, eminent domain is the right of a government to take private property for public use, against the will of the property owner, with payment of compensation. He is willing to steal private property away from an individual or business to build a ridiculous baseball field at a site that the voters overwhelmingly do not want. This seemingly non-partisan candidate just revealed himself to be a  Progressive Liberal politician. 

So the mayor of this town, in essence, publicly threatens to take the property of a successful business for a venture that no respectable investor would touch?
    He made this statement about eminent domain just as a the Zoning Appeals Board voted unanimously to allow a private investor to expand and improve a property that would have been needed for the stadium or a similar project. The stadium project was unable to get the private investment needed to proceed. So the mayor of this town, in essence, threatens to take the property of a successful business for a venture that no respectable investor would touch? In the newspaper? How many would-be small business owners would locate in a town where the mayor publicly makes such a statement? 

He was against the process! Right...I mean Left!

     There is a closed-door city council meeting scheduled for October 1st. Council Member Alshire has stated that he would prefer the discussion to be held publicly. Candidate Gysberts raked ex-Mayor Bruchey over the coals for his lack of transparency during the deliberation and planning process concerning the proposed stadium. I don't hear him asking for a public meeting. Why doesn't he govern as openly as he expected and demanded from Mayor Bruchey? It appears that he is quite agreeable to closed doors now that he is at the helm of the process. 

Lets not be naive or dishonest about our expectations for non-partisan politics 
in city elections. 
     It also turns out that Mayor Gysberts is not as non-partisan as Candidate Gysberts seemed. He has been active in Democratic politics since being elected. For instance, he has endorsed Democratic candidate for governor Anthony Brown and he belongs to Mayors Against Illegal Guns. MAIG claim to be non-partisan, but one of the stated principles of this group is to "Keep lethal, military-style weapons and high capacity ammunition magazines off our streets." That is the kind of Liberal lingo that was used to pass a mostly Democratic supported, some would say unconstitutional, gun control law (SB-281) in the last legislative session. He is free to do so, but lets not be naive or dishonest about our expectations for non-partisan politics in city elections. Although I voted non-partisan, actually voting for the mayor and three Democrats for council members, I fully expect that politicians will be partisan no matter how they seem during campaign mode. 


    I admit it. I was played like a piano. Nothing about Candidate Gysberts was as it seemed. He may be a very nice man, but he is clearly a politician. I learned a valuable lesson. I will be more diligent about getting to know the person and his/her politics before voting for them. I will not go along to get along. I will be more aware of what the candidate did not say, not only what they said. I will ask more direct questions in order to get direct answers. I hope every voter that is reading this vows to do the same. And Hagerstown, for God's sake please don't let this mayor run amok promoting projects and acting against the will of the voters...even to the point of taking private property to do so. This mayor isn't what he seemed. You need to keep your eye on this one. 

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