Thursday, April 30, 2009


According to an email from a member of the Little Falls Watershed Alliance, there are currently bubbles and foam in the creek, as well as in Willetts Branch. (Willetts Branch, of course, runs behind the Westbard industrial zone). A test will be conducted by the county department of the environment. The cause may be natural, or it may not. More information as it becomes available.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Were you wondering what that machine was approaching out of the distance in "Ultimate Tractor Video - Part 1?" Now see it up close on the Robert Dyer Channel at in another exclusive video from the 2009 Montgomery County Gas & Steam Engine show.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


This was a real surprise to hear. Wayne Goldstein was a significant figure in county politics on everything from development to speed bumps over the last two decades. The rest of us are going to have to fill the vacuum, to speak for the citizen over the developers and special interests.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Enjoy a video of the Montgomery County Agricultural History Farm Park on the Robert Dyer Channel this morning at There are also more tractor photos if you missed them over the weekend.

Sunday, April 26, 2009


Westbard Circle Street Sign is Knocked Down

A Exclusive!

I was walking on Westbard around 7:00 PM Friday afternoon, and saw the Westbard Circle street sign laying flat on the grass between the sidewalk and the street.

Was it hit by a car or truck coming out of the shopping center?

Saturday, April 25, 2009


Budget Priorities Out of Left Field and
Out of Touch with Reality

Our County Executive and Council have presided over a $500+ million shortfall.

We've been told that library hours will be reduced. Police stations will close overnight, endangering citizens and costing several department employees their jobs. Police, firefighters, and teachers have lost cost-of-living increases that were in their legally-binding labor agreements (signed off on by this same executive and council). Disabled police officers have been threatened with the loss of retirement benefits. I'm sure Ike Leggett will again try to take away overnight career ambulances away from the Glen Echo, Hyattstown, and Laytonsville VFDs. (Consider the vast Upcounty losing two overnight ambulances - it is a downright reckless proposal). RideOn bus service has been slashed or eliminated. Senior citizens are having their dentures taken away (I am absolutely serious about this - it is 100% true!) and forced to make risky decisions on dialing 911 due to the promised Ambulance Fee. This at a time when many retirement accounts have been devastated by the convenient economic "crisis" that occured after John McCain was ahead in the polls.

But at the same time, we're told that the county mysteriously has $162 million to buy the Webb Tract. Several million to cover the cost of Big Government entering the private housing market in Germantown. Additional funds to power Big Government in the form of increased "code enforcement." How can this possibly add up?

Much like the state budget, gimmicks, Federal Democrat bailouts, and political free passes from Democrat allies will substitute for the needed county budget overhaul. Mark my words. That means that structural budget issues will continue to plague the county for years to come.

And the budget calculations above mean that our executive and council have redefined "new math."

Unfortunately, that new math is adding up to a dangerous reduction in public safety.

Friday, April 24, 2009

There's a new video from the Montgomery County Gas & Steam Engine Show on the Robert Dyer Channel. And more new tractor photos from the show. Go to and enjoy.

Thursday, April 23, 2009


This has been a great week if you like tractors. I have a new video for you on the Robert Dyer channel which has the 1924 Fordson tractor and a tractor-pulled hayride. And another photo of the Fordson. All of this is from last Saturday's Montgomery County Gas & Steam Engine show, and you can find it at

And there is more to come!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Another Exclusive!!

Last night at the meeting of our Springfield Civic Association, handouts containing a few pages of the Coordinating Committee on Friendship Heights' alternative Westbard Sector Plan were distributed.

My initial reaction was surprise, in that the blueprint (in the exclusive image displayed above) looked like what Capital Properties would propose, not what the neighborhood would want. When it was made clear that this was in fact the CCFH counterproposal, I was a bit flabbergasted. I think the title at the top of the page says it all: "Westwood Village." How does a shopping center become a village - and benefit the neighborhood in the process?

The CCFH plan, designed by graduate students at Catholic University, does contain 2 positive elements in my initial examination of it:

1. It obviously offers lower building heights than CP's 12-story towers, and presumably less density than the 1500 units proposed behind closed doors with the CCFH (not the residents).

2. It eliminates the wacky new road CP wants that would run from River Road to Westbard on the current American Plant property.

Unfortunately, in most respects, the CCFH plan does not reflect the interests of the neighborhood. Anyone familiar with the tactics of the negotiation process in any situation would know that you should start with a position most advantageous to you. That gives you room to move toward the opposing side in an inevitable compromise. Under the CCFH plan, we would already have compromised significantly before negotiations have even begun. That weakens our hand.

I'm quite troubled by the 2 new roads(!) in the CCFH plan; I had not even imagined roads within the Westwood Shopping Center property under the CP plan. I'm equally troubled by the significant 4-story garage parking. It's being revealed in Rockville Town Center and Clarksburg that garage parking is an utter failure in the suburban setting, and scares away grocery chains and other retailers who know their customers are uncomfortable with garage parking.

At last week's Rockville council meeting, councilmembers and Town Center business tenants alike proclaimed the town center as failing in part due to the poor overall design, and garage parking. And like Rockville, the CCFH plan is still proposing condos and townhouses for which there is no demand. In fact, the failed Town Center (which I predicted) is the albatross now for Royce Hanson (Dr. Yes) and his right-hand man, Rollin Stanley and their strange concept of future development in Montgomery County. RTC is quintessential Hanson-Stanley down to the dungeonesque garages. If you build it, they won't come, ladies and gentlemen. Let's stop this failed experiment now; enough environmental and economic damage has been done already.

When I stressed the fact that Westbard is a neighborhood shopping area, and that the CCFH plan looks like Bethesda Row, the CCFH representative stated that they are trying to offer a realistic plan. And that there will be 1.5 million county residents in a few decades.

Well, I would say, let them move in to all those vacant mixed-use condo buildings in Rockville, Bethesda, and North Bethesda!

Speaking of grocery stores, it is absurd to think that Giant would move across the parking lot. Giant has a 90-something year lease, and just finished renovating the store. There is no way they will tear that down. And I believe Giant has made that clear already, and they are entirely correct and justified in taking that position. We like Giant right where it is.

Here's another problem, and I've addressed this in the past: The CCFH does not speak for our neighborhood. Period. The Planning Department better accept that soon, and Capital Properties needs to recognize that as well. The CCFH covers a huge area. Frankly, people in Friendship Heights or Glen Cove may like or dislike a plan, but it's the people in Springfield, Westbard Mews, Kenwood Place, and Kenwood who'll have to live with it. That's why any advisory board is going to have to be weighted with extra residents of each of those neighborhoods.

Instead, the process continues to unfold behind closed doors. Some kind of meeting is happening between the CCFH and somebody (at the Planning Dept.?) tonight, and the CCFH has discouraged our association from telling us where it is. The explanation is that the room is small, and it will be packed. Our association president suggested the meeting be moved to the site where our SCA meetings are held, so that all interested residents would be able to attend. His suggestion was rebuffed, and the meeting stays - for all intents and purposes - closed tonight.

We, the citizens, need to be involved in this process soon, or we are going to push back in the political arena. Make no mistake, CP is restricted by current zoning from building that same-old mixed-use-Dr. Yes-Rollin Stanley development. CP knew that when they acquired the properties. If they want to change the zoning, they have to work with the neighborhood.

A plan like this CCFH proposal just doesn't reflect popular opinion. I mean, just examine the map. "H = Coffee Shop?" Ever heard of Starbucks? We have two Starbucks in the shopping center right now.

Don't misunderstand me. We are at the beginning of this process, and everything is subject to change. And I've said before, CP could go a long way towards getting the neighborhood on board by proposing something bold, unique, and architecturally-appealing. The CCFH plan is simply a hodgepodge of every mixed-use project in contemporary Montgomery County. Mixed-use is a failure throughout the county, as the many empty apartments and boarded-up storefronts attest. Wake up! The exclusive zoning concept made sense for a reason, and it ought to stay that way, with all due respect to Dr. Yes and Mr. Stanley. (In fact, Rollin Stanley himself has acknowledged the pathetic cookie-cutter architecture going up every week in the county).

One clear source of the CCFH plan's blundering is the list the designers supplied in the glossy book passed around at last night's meeting. (Which we were supposed to digest in a few minutes, while trying to listen to the CCFH speaker simultaneously). They used as their touchstones a number of failed mixed-use projects around the area.

Why weren't the succesful ones used as models instead? They include the Shops at Sumner Place (a.k.a. Little Falls Mall), the Collection at Chevy Chase/Chevy Chase Giant shopping center redevelopment, and the Damascus Centre. You might even include the Fallsgrove center on that list. These are all 2-story centers zoned as commercial. They are well-designed. They have ample surface parking. And they work.

Mark my words, as they have done everywhere from King Farm to Clarksburg to Twinbrook, the developers will mysteriously "win over" a handful of residents. Those lucky few will shuffle zombie-like to charette microphones, and speak forcefully, using developer-supplied talking points. "This is a win-win." "It's inevitable." "That big parking lot is terrible for the environment." (And putting buildings in the same spot is an improvement?) "Our shopping center is dilapidated and outdated; this will be upscale." Etc., etc.

Remember when I told you that the chambers of commerce and boards of trade really run things around here? Well, rumor at last night's meeting has it that the "COG" - Council of Governments - wants to turn Westbard into a "transit hub." This could involve a bus station or a Purple Line extension to Northern Virginia. The plot thickens.

The rest of us are going to have to stand up and say "no" to the same-old overdevelopment scheme. If you were unable to attend last night's meeting, I've posted a photo of the document above - you should be able to zoom in on it.

Better yet, I've posted a video on the Robert Dyer Channel. I and my power finger tell you everything you need to know about what's wrong with the CCFH plan in one minute and 28 seconds. You won't find this exclusive Westbard coverage in the Washington Post or Gazette. Only has the Robert Dyer Channel exclusive series, "Westbard: The Last Stand." Watch the newest episode, filmed last evening, right now!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


As promised, Part 2 of the Ultimate Tractor Video is now available on the Robert Dyer Channel. It contains more exclusive video from last Saturday's Montgomery County Gas & Steam Engine Show.

Just go to the main menu at and click on the Robert Dyer Channel link.

My photos from the show are starting to go online, and there will soon be a link at to the entire collection.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Here is the pink tractor photo I promised... by popular demand.

It's a pink 1948 Farmall tractor. Zoom in on the plaques to read that the owner has a sense of humor. This was taken Saturday, April 18, 2009 at the Gas & Steam Engine Show.

The tractor show is over. But even as you are reading this, some of those machines are back at work on farms in Montgomery County.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Yesterday, I went to the Gas and Steam Engine Show at the Montgomery County Agricultural History Farm Park. Farmers and tractor collectors from Poolesville to Mount Airy, and from Damascus to Etchison, converged on the park to show their prized machines. The weather was beautiful, it was sunny and warm, and a great day to be outdoors on a farm. And tractors. And funnel cakes. Was this a great day, or what?

It's a long drive from the 270 exit, and you pass by the Road to Konterra (a.k.a. the ICC) site on the way there. They are working furiously on that there and on I-95. If you've been up that way recently, you know what I'm talking about.

Anyway, I went up the winding road into the park and followed the signs up a grassy hill where I parked. The first thing I saw was a small number of classic cars. To the left was the information booth where they had a map of all the displays. Suddenly there was a loud blast from a steam engine. Not a locomotive, but one that runs like a truck on wheels.

Beyond that was a set of stalls where you could buy funnel cakes and french fries. Every so often, some piece of equipment roars by and sends up a cloud of gravel dust. That is just life on the farm.

There were some vendors selling farm-related merchandise. But I came to see the tractors. Going down a dusty gravel road, the machines finally came into view. The first one on the end got my attention: a gray and red 1924 Fordson. The owner said he is in the process of restoring it.

Farmalls were well-represented. Lots of red ones. One that really stood out was the pink one. That's right, a pink tractor. A pink 1948 Farmall tractor, to be exact. You'd probably not be surprised to find out that this tractor belongs to a woman. I got pictures of this and many other tractors, so you'll be able to examine them for yourself.

There were also some of my personal favorite, John Deere. Of all sizes and types. Some of the tractors were operating while I was there, and I've got all of this on video. So if you weren't able to go to the Show, you'll still be able to enjoy all the best parts right on your computer/cell phone. Except the funnel cakes.

Just go to and click on "Watch the Robert Dyer Channel." The first pictures will be here, and I'll direct you to others as I upload them.

While examining the tractors, occasionally a guy would blast by on some kind of motorbike. There were also hayrides going on. I got all of that on tape, too.
Across from the tractors was an engine-powered water pump that was on display, and operating. The ad for the show said something about "kiddie tractor pulls," which turned out to be a guy on some kind of tractor pulling kids along in little train cars. I don't remember very well. Mainly I was just trying to avoid getting run over.
So it was a great day on the farm. This is what America is all about. I hope you enjoy the photos and videos, and there are more to come.

Saturday, April 18, 2009


2 Former County Officers are
Cleared of All Charges in Retirement Probe

After already disparaging our county police department with repeated (and clearly disproven) accusations, Councilmember Duchy Trachtenberg has gone one step further.

Quoted in the Washington Post (in another anonymous editorial on disability retirement "reform" [has the Post ever been more invested in an issue??]), Trachtenberg said the following:

"[Having any new retirement system only apply to
officers joining the force after July 1 would be] giving [disabled officers] a
get out of jail free card."

- Duchy Trachtenberg

Consider what that statement is implying: It is equating a disabled police officer attempting to collect retirement benefits to a criminal in jail. And that allowing him or her to collect those benefits (negotiated in a legally-binding labor agreement) is the equivalent of letting that officer "out of jail free."

It's outrageous.

Not only did the Washington Post's own investigation reveal that not one single officer has improperly received benefits, but now even the federal investigation is over. And both former county police officers were cleared of every charge by federal investigators. Period.

The police union, like the fire and teacher's unions, is under absolutely no legal obligation to renegotiate the terms of a legally-binding labor agreement.

I am not sure what the end result of these absurd and unnecessary negotiations will be, but the county executive and council have done irreparable damage to the county's future ability to negotiate with labor. Nothing the county says in future negotiations will have any credibility, thanks to the actions of our current elected officials. That is because just about every labor agreement has been illegally put in the trash can by Ike Leggett and members of the council.

This illegal attempt to ignore negotiated benefits for disabled police officers should conclude in a legal fashion: in court or by arbitration.

Should the county succeed in its efforts to deny disabled officers the benefits they have every legal right to, it means that labor agreements would now be worthless in Montgomery County.

Remember, a deal is a deal; there is no legal authority for the council to break the existing agreement.

That's right: You've got to pay close attention here, ladies and gentlemen. It doesn't matter if a new system is 2 tiers, 3 tiers, or 150 tiers; the whole point of a new system is that some officers currently eligible for benefits are going to be denied those benefits. Despite having a lifelong injury suffered in the line of duty, protecting the citizens of Montgomery County. And where would those officers' money go? Right into the hands of the developers and special interests.

Our elected officials need money to reward those benefactors who get them elected. Just one problem! For purely political reasons, they can't raise taxes this year (even though your property taxes quietly went up anyway). Where to get the money? Ah, county employees.

Make no mistake, every single one of these eligible officers - past, present, and future - is suffering physical pain each day as a result of his or her injur(ies). Each one has limitations on what employment and leisure activities he or she can pursue for the rest of their life. Denying benefits to any one of these officers would be a moral outrage.

Friday, April 17, 2009


Intersections of Westbard/Mass. Ave,
Little Falls Parkway/Mass. Ave. Backed Up


A WSSC contractor is continuing work on the water line under Massachusetts Avenue, and is currently working at the intersection of Westbard and Mass. Ave.

It would be best to avoid this intersection during rush hour, until repairs are completed.

This project has been ongoing since late last summer. Despite the traffic problems - this should not be done during rush hour - this is probably a positive development. The WSSC actually maintaining its system would be a welcome improvement. So it is difficult to complain.

One driver told me that it took over 30 minutes to get from River Road to Mass. Ave on Little Falls Parkway because of the traffic jam.

From my crow's nest high above the intersection, I captured some exclusive video for your enjoyment.

Watch this, and more exclusive video, on the Robert Dyer Channel at and click on the Robert Dyer Channel link on the Main Menu.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


If you live in Montgomery County or in the state of Maryland, you are an expert on high taxes. Here we have the 5th highest taxes in America to start with, and then the county takes even more.

It's about to get a lot worse. President Obama and the Democratic Congress are preparing to raise taxes to historic levels. Our state and county have raised fees, and want to add $9-20 a month to your WSSC bill. Comcast and PEPCO bills are at an all-time high.

Despite the Washington Post's Democrat Protection Program coverage of county government, the truth is that most homeowners are being hit with a property tax increase this year. That's right, an increase. On top of our already immoral, draconian property taxes after years of one-party, Democrat-monopoly rule.

Here are some more taxes in the works, and it's likely you're not even aware of them:

Parking Tax - Councilmember Nancy Floreen's $250(!!) "Parking Tax" is back in the form of a proposal to increase parking costs to $1 an hour. Councilmember Floreen can't think of a better way to help business owners in Bethesda, than to increase parking costs to Orwellian heights. But just watch as the local chambers of commerce support Ms. Floreen in the 2010 election. Why? Because those local chambers are currently tools of the Democratic Party.

Richard Madeleno Internet Sales Tax - Temporarily on hold in Annapolis, but you should know that Sen. Madeleno attempted to charge you a sales tax (6%) on many internet purchases you currently receive tax-free.

Our elected officials never met a tax-increase they didn't like. I can hear the wallet vacuums firing up as I type.

Don't be confused by the ideological madness pushed by the liberal media: you've heard people like Michael Kinsley and E.J. Dionne claim that wealth is mysteriously just produced by America. And that that wealth needs to be distributed more equitably.

The truth is that individuals create that wealth. If you shut down their businesses and discourage free enterprise, you reduce the amount of wealth created - and the jobs that result. Government rules don't create wealth or jobs; Americans do.

The socialist model has been discredited everywhere in the world.

What will get this economy going again is more money in the hands of the citizen, not government.

I'll leave you with perhaps the greatest quote about taxes since the Revolutionary War:

"If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. If it stops moving, subsidize it."
- President Ronald Reagan

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


I'll have to tell you about the brief interruption to this blog over the weekend later. Interesting story.

Right now, we need to get out in front of this new tactic being pushed by developers and special interests in the District 4 County Council special election: Namely that overdevelopment is good for you. And that slowed development (caused by the economy, certainly not the county's pro-developer policies) is causing the local economic crisis - not the county executive and council's failed fiscal policies and mismanagement.

The failing Washington Post has come out swinging on behalf of this bizarro-world talking point. Besides further damaging its collapsing ethical standards by declining to endorse a candidate in the Republican primary(!!!) - the most childish action I've witnessed from a major metropolitan media outlet in some time - it used overdramatic language to redefine politics in Montgomery County:

The Post said that those who oppose the status quo (overdevelopment on the mixed-use Bethesda Row/Rockville Town Center model, excessive spending and taxation, incompetent leadership, no solutions to transportation gridlock, constructing buildings to help the environment[?!]) are "anti-development zealots" (!!) who are therefore to be barred entirely from elected office. (By the way, did anyone else catch that line where the Post's anonymous editors said that Lou August and Andrew Padula had no experience in county government? Strange, because the developer they endorsed - Ben Kramer - has no experience in county government either!! So what is the point of that statement?)

Furthermore, no experience is required to hold elected office. Read the rules, Washington Post!

I'm sure the various boards of trade and chambers of commerce that really run things around here enjoyed the editorial.

But those of us trying to live in this county, and who have different priorities such as safer neighborhoods, fiscal responsibility, and a cleaner environment, are simply bewildered by Stone Age economics, environmental hypocrisy, and 1960s transportation plans.

Saturday, April 11, 2009


Post Co. Director Buffett Has Ownership in Utilities;
Would Profit from Success by Dominion Power, etc.


Once again, the Washington Post has failed to disclose its financial interests, and has published another editorial which serves the financial interest of its director, Warren Buffett.

Yesterday's editorial - from the self-proclaimed "green" Washington Post - supported Dominion Power and other utilities' plans to build new transmission lines. No matter what the environmental or public health cost, the Post said. No matter how many historic Civil War sites are disrupted, the Post said.

Why this passion and fervor? Longtime readers of this blog know the answer, as I have uncovered the secret long ago on this website. Ladies and gentlemen, did you know that if Dominion, et al get their way, that Mr. Buffett's other American utilities will also get to build new transmission lines and nuclear facilities?

Journalism is rapidly becoming a thing of the past, as liberal newspapers crumble away across the lower 48 states. Americans increasingly turn to blogs like this one for the real story, which you can't find in papers like the Post anymore.

Senator Ben Cardin (who, I have it on good authority, actually read for the part of Tom Willis on The Jeffersons back in the '70s) is calling for the government to operate failing Democrat house organ newspapers nationwide, using your taxpayer money! Unreal! Heck of a job, Cardy!

I wonder how the Post reporters would cover Democratic politicians who would pay their salaries. (About the same as they do now, probably - the coverage of Montgomery County and Maryland Democrats is positively worshipful [worshipful!!], no matter how big the budget deficit gets, or how incompetent or reckless their leadership style is).

The best part is, when the Post ceases publication, the Washington Times will become the only daily newspaper in town.

The Post continues to destroy itself by slowly eliminating the very things its older readership still subscribes for - stock listings, comics, Book World.

But mostly it is destroying itself through the constant lowering of ethical standards. Its continuous failure to disclose financial conflicts of interest is at the top of that list.

Friday, April 10, 2009


"More Progress for More Prisoners,"
No Progress for Victims of Domestic Violence

Another session is winding down in Annapolis, and once again, Governor Martin O'Malley and his cronies in the General Assembly have failed to do anything about domestic violence. The only "domestic violence" bills that passed were 2 thinly-disguised gun control bills which will actually set back the cause when O'Malley signs them into law.

Allow me to put politics and hyperbole aside for a moment (unlike our elected officials) to explain.

The theory of a law to remove guns from the hands of violent domestic abusers was a credible one. And such a law could have been passed without violating the second amendment rights of innocent gun owners.

Instead, O'Malley & his gang decided to push two in-your-face, old fashioned gun control bills through the House and Senate.

Here's the 2-part problem. What I and other advocates for victims of domestic violence would like is to change the standard for issuing a protective order from "clear and convincing evidence" to "a preponderance of the evidence." The reason is that judges should err on the side of caution. And if a suspected abuser must only stay away from his alleged victim for the duration of the order, his Constitutional rights have not been violated. So if it turns out he was falsely accused, his legal injury is minimal.

Now, to justify the new gun control bills, advocates stress that orders require "clear and convincing evidence." So apparently, those advocates have abandoned the quest for easier-to-obtain protective orders at the altar of Gun Control. This is a huge mistake. It could well have doomed the chances of changing the standard. I don't even believe that victims will have a "false sense of security." Because they know that any abuser willing to hurt or kill won't have any trouble finding a different weapon - or an illegal gun - where a criminal usually gets them. And trust me, that's not at a gun store.

This is what happens when partisan politics and secondary agendas are injected into the domestic violence debate. It seems that some want to use the issue to further ideological goals rather than the health and welfare of victims.

Witness the defeat of a bill which would have given victims of domestic violence the ability to carry a concealed weapon.

And then, surprise surprise, O'Malley investing valuable time fighting the proposed law allowing D.C. residents to buy guns in Maryland.

It's the usual story in O'Malley's Maryland: keep power in the hands of violent criminals, and out of the hands of the innocent. Courtesy of your Gun Control Governor.

The other day, O'Malley said Maryland wouldn't be Maryland without the Preakness.

So I ask you, what is Maryland without the U.S. Constitution?

Tuesday, April 07, 2009


Anonymous Editorial Writers Continue to
Attack County Police, Press Special Interest Agenda

Can anyone remember an issue on which the Washington Post has expended so much time, energy, and ink as it has on the police disability retirement issue in Montgomery County?

We know the Post's, Ike Leggett's, and the County Council's agenda: create a fake scandal, make disabled police officers scapegoats for the county's self-inflicted budget crisis, and steal the retirement money from disabled cops to give to the developers and other special interests.

Now the Post hits a new low, with yesterday's editorial in which it stated that disabled police officers "don't deserve" disability retirement benefits.

This hit newsstands shortly after several horrific incidents around the nation, in which many police officers were killed in the line of duty.

Such tragic events remind most civilized people of the dangers and realities that our police officers face each day. But twisted minds such as those of the editorial board at the Post are inspired to respond in a more disgusting and despicable manner: by telling the world - again - that our police are somehow "ripping off" the taxpayer, when there is no evidence to back up that claim. And now adding that disabled cops "don't deserve" benefits.

It's outrageous.

The story continues to be entirely one-sided, so let's review a few facts:

1. The current disability system works, and was agreed to without complaint by Ike Leggett and every member of the County Council. No one, including the Post, complained at the time.

2. The Post's own investigation revealed that not one single officer has committed a fraud or improperly received benefits. All officers had a genuine disability.

3. That means that the proposed "reform" of the system is now guaranteed to deny retirement benefits to some, or even a majority of, disabled police officers.

The union should not concede anything on this, as there is a legally binding agreement. No officer should be denied benefits. A vote is now scheduled for April 28, unless the union caves in to the executive and council's illegal refusal to honor a labor contract.

I believe the elected officials who have disparaged our police should step down immediately. And that the Washington Post's unsigned editorials "don't deserve" to be taken seriously.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009


Update on a Exclusive!

USA Today reports that the EPA - which is going to monitor air quality around several dozen schools across the nation - will not be testing the air at schools around the Westbard industrial zone.

Readers of this blog will recall that - after I brought to light several environmental incidents in the industrial zone that surrounding neighborhoods were not notified of - USA Today gave support to those concerns, when it revealed that nearby schools have far worse air quality than any other Montgomery County school.

And that the airborne pollution was consistent not only with some of the substances involved in the zone incidents, but also with the buried World War I munitions near Spring Valley.




Leggett and Council Governing in an

Alternate Universe Without Rules,

As They Tear Up Binding Agreements with

Public Safety Personnel

Sunday's Washington Post had one of those statements from County Executive Ike Leggett's office that makes you wonder if there are any rules or standards left in our government.

A Leggett representative spoke in reaction to an arbitrator's ruling that the executive could - unbelievably - simply leave contractual COLAs for firefighters out of the budget. The arbitrator went on to say that Leggett's office gives him the right to shrug his shoulders about any financial obligation in the name of balanced budgets. The Leggett spokesperson said something to the effect that "we usually honor our labor agreements, but not in this case."

When can a binding agreement be broken by one party without consequence?

This is the same issue in the police disability retirement "reform." The executive and council agreed to the current system; they could have raised objections at that time. Now that money is tight, and they still need to fund the special interests that got them elected, they plan to get the cash by taking it from disabled police officers.

The good news is that none of the many attempts by our elected officials to raid the compensation packages of public safety personnel are a done deal yet. The county council still must agree to fund the provisions of any budget submitted by Leggett - and that includes all compensation and retirement issues. And don't forget about the Ambulance Fee...

So now is the time to turn up the heat on our greedy elected officials. Citizens need to make their voices - and their support of our police, and career and volunteer firefighters - heard.