Thursday, November 20, 2008

Thank You, Robin Ficker!

We offer a hearty congratulations and our deepest thanks this morning to an obnoxious pain-in-the-ass loudmouth whose very name has been little more than the punchline of a joke for the past three decades. Robin Ficker is an anti-tax gadfly in Montgomery County - someone who has railed against tax-and-spend local government for decades - and someone who had become accustomed to being roundly ignored by both local lawmakers and voters.

Ficker is known mostly for getting anti-tax referendums placed on county ballots - referendums that have been soundly defeated, until now. After a count of absentee ballots, Ficker's latest amendment has actually been approved by voters. The measure, which requires a unanimous vote of the county council to increase taxes beyond a cap set by the county's charter, will likely have little effect, and will likely be reversed as soon as lawmakers can figure out a way to do it.

But in passing Ficker's amendment, voters have done two things. They have told lawmakers to find other ways to generate revenue aside from increasing taxes. And more importantly, they have reminded elected officials that there IS more than one valid point of view in Montgomery County. Ficker himself told the Washington Post, "As evidenced by this vote, there are a lot of homeowners who feel their voices are not being heard," he said. "Someone is going to give these bipartisan homeowners a voice."

When I was a news director, I didn't take Robin Ficker very seriously, and neither did anyone I worked with in the media. Thank God for his thick skin and stubborn determination. Thank you, Robin Ficker.

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