Thursday, October 26, 2006
The Gazette lost credibility by endorsing Ms. Goldwater for reelection. They understated her legislative and campaign absences. They said she has assured voters that she won't be absent during the next session. How did she assure voters when she never appears in public? Why does the Gazette accept her word as fact, when those of us who have actively campaigned know that she has been missing all year? That says a lot about the editorial standards of the Gazette. If a politician is accused of a crime, will the Gazette accept his or her word as well? Without corroborating evidence, or interviewing other sources?
The Gazette's endorsement of Ms. Goldwater has stained its journalistic and civic credentials, and is an insult to our community's intelligence. The community should also know that the Gazette did not interview any of Ms. Goldwater's Republican challengers for possible endorsement. They don't know the candidates or what they stand for. When you don't know the candidates in the race, you can't make an authoritative, credible endorsement. Their endorsements are based on some other arbitrary criteria. Consider that after Knapp's Clarksburg, and yet another recent Knapp scandal just weeks ago, they endorsed Mike Knapp over Scott in District 2. They did not interview Scott for possible endorsement either. Much like my opponents, Mr. Knapp's votes relate directly to his financial contributors. It boggles the mind. Now it is revealed that Mr. Knapp, and others, pay the teachers union to get on the apple ballot. Imagine, politicians buying an endorsement and then claiming it represents teachers. Outrageous. What an insult to hard working, underpaid teachers in our county.
This all shows why you, the voter, should take time to read the voters guides and websites to make your own decisions. So many "endorsements" are a sham and a farce, and represent the special interests that work behind the scenes. Whatever your choice, please do vote on November 7. This is an historic election that will change our future.
Keep that copy of the editorial page from this week's Gazette. If Marilyn Goldwater is reelected and we end up with only 2 of our 3 votes until 2010, the Gazette will be a national laughingstock, like our transportation system. And Jack Palance wants a copy too. It will be on display in the Ripley's Believe It or Not! museum.
Sunday, October 22, 2006
"DISTRICT 16: Of five Democratic candidates, we recommend two energetic and
knowledgeable incumbents, William A. Bronrott and Susan C. Lee . For the third seat, now held by veteran Marilyn R. Goldwater, we endorse Regina "Reggie" Oldak. Over the years, Ms. Goldwater has served admirably, especially on health-care issues, but in the last year she was unable to engage in key legislative activities and in this campaign appears to have lost some of her longtime supporters."
Vote for the first name on your ballot: Robert F. Dyer!
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
When we went in, there were 12 members around the large table, easily the largest panel I've sat before in this campaign. There is a spectacular view of downtown Bethesda from the 12th floor, and towering construction cranes swung around in the near distance. So it was quite an appropriate backdrop to discuss the issues with the Chamber PAC panel.
The new Gazette is out today too, and has a profile of my father for the State Senate race. Strangely, events are few these weeks, but I've been too busy on my campaign anyway. Aside from my strategy in the final weeks, I'm waiting to read what the Post and Gazette will do with their District 16 delegate endorsements given the Goldwater situation. Their decisions will be quite revealing in regards to their civic role in the community and to their journalistic integrity precisely because of that Goldwater reality and its implications for our District for the next four years. Vote for Robert Dyer!
Mr. Berliner, in a contrast to his search for Common Ground on public access TV, emphasized his Democratic credentials. Mr. Denis spoke of his bipartisan cooperation and impressive voting record on the council. As I have previously noted here, Mr. Denis finished his latest term in strong fashion. It seemed that every significant action by the council was associated with his name, from mansionization to the successful resolution of the Seven Locks episode.
This year, Howard Denis has been the east coast version of Gov. Schwarzenegger, focusing on getting things done instead of partisan politics. This gave great weight to his arguments Monday night, along with a slew of endorsements by organizations that don't usually endorse Republicans. As he said, "Roger, all of the groups that endorsed you last time, have endorsed me!"
Mr. Berliner got some jabs in regarding developer contributions and those George Bush arguments popular with Democrats this year. But Mr. Denis was at the top of his game, in front of his home crowd, and was able to counter with his Neighbors PAC endorsement frequently. Able to list his accomplishments for Friendship Heights, including the reopening of the new Giant, Mr. Denis made a strong case for his record and reelection. He also had some jabs of his own, in return for what he referred to as Berliner's "sleazy" attacks. Mr. Denis recalled his previous collaboration with Ike Leggett on the council, and potential to work with him as County Executive, and then pointed out that Mr. Berliner had backed Leggett's opponent, Steve Silverman. And that Berliner had contributed $500 to Republican Roy Blunt. Mr. Berliner did a good job himself, but was unable to compete with a reinvigorated Howard Denis, passionate about his public service on the council and his accomplishments.
I congratulated Mr. Denis on his debate victory afterward, and he said "good luck to you" on my campaign. In the corridor, one man said to me, "I know who you are, I've read all about you." Hopefully it was positive! I was puzzled by newspaper editorials criticizing Mr. Denis for his focus on constituent service. Is that a bad thing? Anytime I've ever contacted his office about a problem, I've received a phone call in response within 24 hours. That's what officials should do, and I certainly would follow the Howard Denis example if I am elected.
Sunday, October 08, 2006
Fortunately, we had future U.S. President, and current U.S. Senate candidate, Lt. Gov. Michael Steele. But before he arrived, I headed over to Chevy Chase Cars for the Come Back to Bethesda car show. And to take advantage of the heated showroom. They had some of the greatest cars of all time there. (Skip ahead to the next paragraph if you find cars boring). Including a 2002 Camaro SS, which was the best Camaro since the 80s. It was red with the white stripes and "nostrils" on the hood, Corvette engine, and with the convertible top. Directly in front of it was a classic Camaro SS, also a red convertible. The great-grandfather and
great grandson, so to speak, which made for a clever display. Other standouts were the underrated 70s Caprice, a Buick Grand National, and a Fiero GT. The Pontiac Fiero was the exotic sports car with the engine behind the driver and a rather infamous habit of spontaneously bursting into flames in the 1980s. So what car did I vote for as best in show?
Sorry, but I have a soft spot for Monte Carlos. This one was a circa 1976 model in pea green. With whitewall tires, and white vinyl roof. The picture was sharper on my phone. But what a great car, a true classic. I have to say that the most exciting car on the premises wasn't an entry in the show but a brand new, black Corvette. This has to be the ultimate car you can buy besides the Dodge Viper. But far more luxurious, sophisticated, and civilized than the Viper. It has four, count them, four tailpipes and is a veritable artwork of automotive sculpture. But, as Ronald Reagan would say, "OK, back to work!"
I headed back over to the Taste of Bethesda and suddenly found that my fingers had black ink on them. And it was raining again. So I managed to get a lot of the ink off with a hand wipe, and looking like a fingerprinted escapee, I opened my umbrella. Angela was on her way back to the car show, where she was volunteering, and she said that Michael Steele would be there at 1:45.
Realizing that my inky bag would get on everything, and that my fliers were a lost cause in the rain, I decided to make the long, cold walk back to the garage to drop them off. Then my umbrella blew inside-out. At the garage by this time, people are circling, uttering that classic parking mantra, "Are you leaving?" Then I went back over to wait for Michael Steele.
Back at Chevy Chase Cars, Katie Parsley of the Steele campaign and State Senate candidate Dave Stegmaier were out front. I went back in to warm up and when I came back out, there was a crowd forming. With a Steele sticker on my shirt, I crossed the street with the group and the Steele campaign bus appeared southbound on Wisconsin Avenue. The crowd began chanting, and soon enough, Michael Steele himself emerged from the bus, wearing a Weather Channel-style jacket with a Steele logo instead. He greeted everyone, and we began to walk towards the Taste of Bethesda. Pointing to the words on my shirt, he said, "Vote Dyer... I love it!!," and clapped me on the back.
I was already as big of a supporter of Michael Steele as is humanly possible, but it was exciting to see the enthusiasm of people as he made his way around the event. I've never witnessed a Republican with this level of popularity in our Democratic state of Maryland. People of all ages and races were stepping forward to express their support and ask him to sign autographs and pose for pictures. Everyone wants to know where the puppy from the ads is, and a lot of people with O'Malley and other Democratic stickers were Steele supporters as well. Steele Democrats, as they say. Speaking of Democrats, we encountered Ben Cardin, O'Malley, and Chris Van Hollen who all greeted Lt. Gov. Steele cordially.
The walk went for quite a while, and I even forgot I was freezing. We stopped in an art studio, where the Haitian owner praised Lt. Gov. Steele and said "we all support you. You have all of our votes! We need to have black people in positions of power in this country." There was another woman selling a Haitian cookbook; I think it was actually a book signing going on. It was interesting to stop in there, with my background in Latin American and Carribean history. Many events in the history of Haiti are quite violent and sad, but the culture and literature are fascinating.
Eventually we were back at the bus again, and after a group photo, it was off to Annapolis for Mr. Steele. The bus made a U-turn and started north, chased by a secret-service type of SUV, black with flashing lights and siren. It left the bystander with the sense that a true celebrity had just left downtown Bethesda. And perhaps foreshadowed the future, in which I believe Michael Steele will be elected President. But first there's a Senate race to be won November 7, and my feeling is that Ben Cardin will be soundly defeated.
It's great to have a candidate like Michael Steele who you can be genuinely pumped up about supporting. For me, the number of candidates like that in my lifetime can be counted on one hand. And it's great to attend an event like this in Bethesda, the Athens of the modern world. We've entered the final month of the campaign, and this is what it's all about.
Wednesday, October 04, 2006
But it wasn't deja vu about that. It was from having this same meeting, about the same street, five years ago. And the same engineer from the County government, Tracy Wroe, was there to make the presentation and answer questions. Five years' worth of technological advances replaced the xerox maps with a blown-up satellite photo of part of the neighborhood, and one of those County channel-type TV programs about traffic calming shown on a TV wheeled into the room.
An informal vote showed a very slight majority opposed to bumps. Of course, the room did not contain all of the residents who will actually sign or reject any petition for installing the bumps. They will make the final decision. But it did make for another lively discussion that didn't get quite as heated as the previous meeting. What did emerge is a consensus that the No Right Turn on Westbard from River Road has created a problem with cut-through traffic. Both sides agree on that. But there doesn't seem to be much optimism about reversing it. And one neighbor brought up something even I don't remember, that there was once a dead-end at the Westbard/Ridgefield intersection.
Obviously, the concern is for the residential end of Westbard. But I've never quite understood why it was changed because the Giant 18-wheel trucks used to turn right onto Westbard at River. Since the change, those drivers have had to turn right at Ridgefield. If you've been at the light when they make that manuever, you really feel bad for them. It's far too tight of a turn for the truck, and dangerous for the Giant driver and other drivers. On rare occasions, they've struck the pole, and honestly, sometimes it looks like the truck is going to tip over and land on cars waiting at the light. Scary.
So I've long believed we should start by giving Giant access to Westbard again. The root cause of regular cut-through traffic is the poorly timed lights all along River Road and at Little Falls/Massachusetts Ave. We can improve that, and my proposed Express Bus along River Road will reduce some traffic there.
We need to find additional solutions, and quickly.
If I am elected, my plans for photo radar are far broader than our current delegates'. I am quite dissatisfied with the current photo radar law passed by the legislature. Furthermore, we can rotate cameras if necessary, while signage will suggest that a camera is always present.
Secondly, the County should add more police officers and set up rotating speed traps in residential neighborhoods during the worst hours. It's part of what I mean by priorities and values. When spending money, we need to address the critical issues of basic needs of citizens and public safety. Housing, health care, employment, utilities, transportation, and crime. After reading my web site, I am confident you'll find my priorities and values are more in line with yours than our current delegates'. By voting for Robert Dyer on November 7, you can finally have your priorities and values represented in Annapolis.
But we should encourage public officials to propose new ideas about transportation. The problem we've had is government doing nothing on rail transit for about 10 years. I have an ambitious plan for transportation, as you can read about on my website. And if I am elected, we will have new funds at the state and federal levels to help pay for them. So vote for Robert Dyer on November 7.
Monday, October 02, 2006
The results disprove the skeptics who say there is no potential ridership for projects such as the Purple Line. In fact, this study reveals the opposite. Note that there was a double digit surge in ridership on the DART system in Dallas. Why is that relevant? Because the light rail in Dallas is exactly the type proposed for the Purple Line: at-grade, and at times sharing roadways with vehicles. The report also echoes the need to lower fares for frequent riders and to unify the system into one farecard system. I have also proposed that fares be available to purchase through cellphones. We are far behind Asia in the concept of your phone being your wallet.
Finally, another report this week is bad news: the Federal Government is cracking down on so-called "exotic" mortgages. What this means is that fewer people will be able to afford to buy homes. This action is discriminatory, and hurts young people buying their first homes, as well as African-American and Latino homebuyers. This is an outrage. Elect Robert Dyer, so that I can work in Annapolis and make homeownership affordable for people of all ages, races, and income levels. It's time to stop discriminatory practices, and for the Federal Government to fulfill its obligations and be a full partner with state and local governments in making homeownership accessible to all.
Sunday, October 01, 2006
This is a great example of what we could do here in Maryland if I am elected. And we must also pass legislation that will notify parents and students when criminals are in the classroom. Our current delegates have done zero to protect students from violent criminals in our public schools. The results have been frightening. Elect me, so that I can introduce legislation to keep children safe and parents fully informed.
Speaking of great examples, Governor Schwarzenegger and Democratic leaders in the California Assembly have shown what can be done when partisan politics are put aside, by passing many significant bills this year. This is the exact opposite of the current situation in Annapolis. We can change that on November 7, with your help and your vote for Robert Dyer!