Ric Metzgar’s town hall took on a strong GOP tone
Thursday, 23 January 2014 14:12

Republicans have high profile at Metzgar event

by Ben Boehl

    Ric Metzgar may have originally intended it to be a bipartisan town hall-style public meeting, but the Jan. 16 gathering he organized ended up seeming more like a Republican campaign event.
    The Republican House of Delegate candidate said he invited all Democratic and Republican candidates and elected officials to the meeting, but the turnout and the content of the event — and the fact that there were “Ric Metzgar for House of Delegates” posters on display by the podium and Metzgar asked for contributions to his campaign at the end of the event — gave the evening at the Del Capri the feel of a GOP rally.
    Nonetheless, he tried to keep the focus on the attendees’ concerns rather than on speechmaking by candidates.
    “It’s a time for me to listen to residents and business owners in the district,” Metzgar said before the event. “It’s a time for me to hear from them. Not a time for them to hear from me.”
    Fellow Republican House candidate Dan Liberatore attended the event along with Republican state Senate candidate Johnny Ray Salling. 
    House candidate Jake Mohorovic and central committee candidate Carl Persiani were among the few Democratic candidates at the event.
    Del. Pat McDonough of the Middle River-based 6th District was the only elected official at the meeting.
    One of the topics discussed was the proposal to increase the state’s minimum wage.

“When I was younger, minimum wage was a job to get started,” Metzgar recalled. “If I got better and improved my work, I would get a raise.”
    Essex resident and local musician Gene Vincentt agreed with Metzgar.
    “The only way I was going to get a raise is if I did a better job. This generation is spoiled,” Vincentt said.
    Liberatore, who is also a restaurant owner, said that raising minimum wage to the proposed $10.10 would be a 35 percent increase from its current $7.50 rate. As a small business owner, Liberatore said, he would have to raise his prices or lay off some of his staff.
    “Minimum wage hurts the guy that gets paid the least,” he said. “It’s going to hurt the dishwasher or janitor. You will probably lay off the guy that needs it the most.”
    McDonough stated that he thinks there will be an increase in  minimum wage passed during this year’s session.
    Other issues discussed included the implementation of Common Core education curriculum and the stormwater management fee known as the “Rain Tax,” which McDonough said he now considers to be county issues.
    McDonough has been a critic of the Common Core and Baltimore County Public School superintendent S. Dallas Dance after it was revealed that Dance held a part-time job with SUPES Academy and it was later reported that Dance approved an $875,000 contract with SUPES to train principals in Baltimore County.
    According to McDonough, it will be hard to overturn the “Rain Tax” on the state level, but he believes it can be overturned on the county level.
    “I believe we need a new county executive who is willing to change the rain tax in the county,” McDonough said, who said he is considering a run for county executive.
    Other highlights of the night included John Long, founder and president of the Clean Bread and Cheese Creek clean-up group, who suggested that Dundalk follow the model of Frederick and try to become a tourist town that offers history on the War of 1812.
    Eastwood resident Frank DiCara noted his memories of the late Baltimore City Councilman Dominic “Mimi” DiPietro and how he would always be accessible.
    “When we had a problem, we would go to the politicians like Mimi DiPietro, and they would take care of it,” DiCara said. “Why can’t we get somebody to take care of our problems today?”
    Metzgar told DiCara that he would be accessible if he is elected to the House of Delegates and said he would hold quarterly meetings open to the public.
    “I’m not looking for a job. I’m looking to help people,” Metzgar said.