Tag Archives: Ben McShane

Frederick City Election: on Nov 7…just fucking vote

So a couple things happening – but lets narrow all this down to 2 things to focus on.

  1. Subversive Zine #4 is out. Rad af.  Get it at a subversive joint in and around Frederick and read it front to back now.  I’m just getting caught up and didn’t realize there’s a spotify Subversive playlist – that’s how subversive this whole thing is – it slipped under my own radar!
  2. Frederick City general election is taking place Tuesday Nov 7 – polls open at 7am and close at 8pm. If you already voted when early voting was an option – you get a prize: having a democratic say in who will be the next mayor and who will represent you on on the city council – otherwise known as the Board of Aldermen.

Already early voter turnout last week was better than expected, 1400 showed up – but that’s in contrast to historic low turnout in the primary elections in September AND the last general election several years ago. 

Subversive has written about the anemic and incredibly lame voter turnout and how it’s contributed to the “bland arts” in Frederick visa vis Mayor “do nothing” Randy McClement getting re-elected. The newest piece on Frederick’s turnout is both shame inducing but hopefully constructive in urging people to come out and utilize their democratic right to regime change and a better direction for Frederick:

[from Subversive Zine #4]

And the winner of the Frederick City
Primary is: APATHY
Seriously folks, we’re talking 13.73% turnout here. Congrats
Frederick, that’s one of our lowest voter turnouts in recent history.
That’s a little over 4,000 voters determining the city’s fate out of
31,000 registered Republicans and Democrats (in a city whose
population is nearing 70,000). Maybe this does not seem too bad,
and likely compares to other similarly-sized cities, but I’m pissed,
and you should be too. Here’s why:

Frederick is growing…fast. Really fast. Anyone driving up and down
Route 15 can tell you that the rate of bulldozing farmland for shitty
condos and townhomes is way way up. The downtown seems to
be flourishing (particularly for the khaki/polo crowd), and, I am told,
Frederick is a hotspot for tourists. This means money is coming in,
and that means the city will continue to grow, and cities can grow
in intelligent ways or really dumb ways. This is a critical juncture in
Frederick’s existence: will it continue to grow in the most bland way
possible, complete with Jimmy Buffet cover bands and so many fountains that even they become
bland, or will its people
seize this opportunity to
city from the surrounding
Washington D.C. suburbs?

Electing the “right” people
is just one approach. We still need awesome people working at
the bottom to challenge the complacency of this town…make weird
art, organize anti-gentrification demonstrations, engage in urban
gardening, dive headfirst into the cultural diversity of the Golden
Mile, ride bikes with fancy leather seats that conform to your unique
ass shape, whatever…BUT we also need a more cohesive vision of
Frederick’s identity and future. It helps when the leadership can fulfill this need by listening to the people, thinking creatively, and
unifying a city. That’s all the city: diverse neighborhoods out on the
west end, weird townhome people living north along 26, the stalwart longtime downtown folks and their burning desire to have bulk trash pickup return, the metal crowd, and newcomer hipsters. Interesting cities that people actually bother to visit: Asheville, Lancaster, Shepherdstown…all have support for the arts and visions of what makes themselves unique. If we want to attract that kind of attention, not to mention interesting people who want to open businesses etc. we had better start cultivating a better identity.

So, that’s all to say that I am sick of our nonexistent leadership. I want a mayor and board of aldermen that I actually want to rally behind and give me the sense that they are forward-thinking and not just good at cutting oversized ribbons. I want a mayor that appreciates the potential this town has and gives a
damn about being proactive about
pointing it in the right direction. Was
I enamored with any of the primary
candidates? No, frankly I think we
need new blood, but at this point I
do know that I sure as hell do not
want another 4 years of Blandy

From Subversive Zine #4

Please, register and GO VOTE.
Fight off apathy for just the few minutes you’ll be in the voting booth. Give it a try and maybe you’ll start to feel like you have some more control over the city’s future. Maybe not, but it would be nice for Frederick’s fate to be determined by more people than the same few thousand that decide to vote.

Honestly, given the clusterfuck that is national politics we should all be taking a harder look at the local level and start to change things for the betterhere. With only a 1500 vote margin between the winning mayor and 2nd place last election it is a lot easier to have your voice heard here than it is when you’re yelling at Trump. Both are important, one just starts in your community.


Thanks for that Subversive —who will be finally putting some of their content on the interwebs after counter intuitively going analogue in a digital world all this time since launching in March.

This might not be a thing we’ll do with each election but we’re going to do it and take the plunge. WesternMachines endorses:


Michael O’Conner (D)



Ben McShane (D)

Roger Wilson (D)

Derek Shackleford (D)

Donna Kuzemchak (D)

Kelly Russell (D)


Find your polling place here.   Get out…and fucking vote.

Extra Time: November 25 might not register as a particularly important date but on that day in 1987, a weird and wonderfully unexpected thing happened. Fugazi – then really unknown except to the Dischord post punk scene in DC – drove up a few miles from their homebase and played the historic Weinberg Theater in Frederick.  Don’t want to give too much away but I’m doing a piece about this, it’ll be a little more expansive on just some unlikely events transpired into an even more unlikely venue pairing featuring THE most influential underground band of the past several decades  -at the prim and proper Weinberg. What impact would Fugazi coming up to Frederick have on the city?  Stay tuned…