Monday, February 01, 2010


Councilmember Trashes Montgomery County
Restaurants in Post Column; Dodges His Own
Role in County's Economic Collapse

Another Exclusive!!!

Montgomery County Councilmember George Leventhal (D - At Large) doesn't think much of the county's restaurants, according to a quote in yesterday's Washington Post; he says we in Montgomery are less "sophisticated" than our neighbors in Fairfax County:

"It is certainly true nowadays that if I want to take my wife to a four- or five-star restaurant... there are a lot more of them in Tysons than in Bethesda. Fairfax has become high-end."
- George Leventhal

When was the last time Mr. Leventhal dined in downtown Bethesda? His comment reveals how utterly out of touch this 8-year councilman is with not only the taxpayers, but with the businesses in the very county he governs! Holy smoke, what a bunch of hogwash!

Furthermore, Leventhal used this softball-filled interview to pontificate again on the state of the county's economy and tax rates.

Leventhal's post-McDonnell tactic is on display again: after serving in the same office for 8 years, he is trying to convince us that he was just elected in some kind of special election. And is now here on the scene to tackle a mess others made.

Just one problem: George Leventhal is one of the architects of this mess! George Leventhal voted early and often for the very immoral and Draconian taxes he is now criticizing. Talk about a 180 degree flip flop.

McCartney did not challenge any of Leventhal's assertions, so now, as always, you - the highly-informed, intellectual reader - have turned to, where the only real journalism in town seems to happen these days.

First of all, we've covered the Leventhal record of tax and spend, budget-busting, developer-boosting economics a few weeks ago. He can't dodge that record, and he won't dodge that record.

Leventhal is a tax and spend councilman, period. Examine his record.

Clearly, like many of his colleagues at the county and state levels, Mr. Leventhal is either planning to retire, or is so smugly overconfident of reelection that his hubris has reached sky-high levels.

How else could he make such a statement about Montgomery County restaurants?

Not only is it patently false and about 20 years out of date, but go back to that Leventhal record. One of the reasons top chefs have hesitated to open restaurants in Montgomery is the county's antiquated liquor regulations, which make it difficult to offer the selection and prices of the surrounding jurisdictions.

Leventhal has shown no leadership in 8 years to repeal these restrictive laws. Of course, with this New Leventhal, who knows what his position is on any issue at this point.

Secondly, Mr. Leventhal has spent the last 4 years raising the cost of doing business for restaurant owners in Montgomery County. He personally rammed through the costly trans-fat ban in 2007, and just slammed restaurants again with an expensive "menu reform" law a few months ago.

For taxer-regulator Leventhal, who has personally targeted the restaurant industry with new costs and burdens, it takes some nerve to criticize our restaurant owners. He has done everything in his power to make doing business in Montgomery County more difficult.

It's good he has so many friends in the local media. The bad news is, the voters aren't as dumb as he thinks.

And, unlike Mr. Leventhal, we exist in the real world of Montgomery County, not the rarified air of Elite Montgomery, where 1960s liberals bash their own constituents and businesses, and loudly boast of spending their money in another county.

Here in the real Montgomery County, we know that we have great restaurants from Tom and Ray's in Damascus to the restaurant capital of Maryland, Bethesda.

But what's more, we "unsophisticated" folk whom the Leventhals must get away from in "high-end" Fairfax County (give me a break), know that Mr. Leventhal is absolutely and utterly mistaken.

Contrary to Leventhal's outrageous assertion, Bethesda, in fact, has an astronomically greater number of 4 and 5 star restaurants than Tysons Corner. And more world-renowned chefs.

First, examine a short list of chefs we have in Bethesda:
Jose Andres - Hey, George, ever heard of this guy? He's only got his own PBS show, appeared on Top Chef, has his own cookbooks, and created the tapas fad that went nationwide. His restaurant? Jaleo, right here in... ...Bethesda.
Yannick Cam
Robert Wiedmaier
Geoff Tracy (at Lia's in Friendship Heights)
Michel Laudier - formerly chef at the famous Rive Gauche, now chef at Tragara in Bethesda (have you heard of the Rive Gauche, Councilmember Leventhal?)
And for a time, there was David Craig

Now, secondly, examine the Washingtonian Top 100 Restaurants List:

Montgomery County has 16 restaurants on the list... Addie's, Assaggi, Black Market Bistro, Black's Bar & Kitchen, Cava, Faryab, General Store, Grapeseed, Indique Heights, Jackie's, Nava Thai, Passage to India, Ray's the Classics, Spice Xing, and Sushi Ko.

Tysons has... 1! That's right, one! Inox.

Can you explain that, Mr. Leventhal?

It seems that 8 years of self-serving leadership and a lack of hard-hitting media coverage of this council's mismanagement of the county has produced "leaders" of a singular ego and hubris. So out of touch with reality, that they apparently do not even walk or drive around major cities within the jurisdiction they rule over.

If Fairfax is so much better, and Mr. Leventhal doesn't care to support our local businesses, why doesn't he move over there?

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