Friday, May 28, 2010


Another Exclusive!!!

Montgomery County's outgoing Planning Board Chairman, Dr. Yes, and sidekick Rollin Stanley - in league with the developers and the County Council - are touting "smart" growth. This involves not only massive projects like White Flint (Carmageddon East) and Science City (Carmageddon West), but, increasingly, having your neighborhood's commercial strip bulldozed for a new "walkable town center."

Never mind that only 15% of residents use transit (and before you start criticizing, I am a supporter of transit, just not one who is out of touch with reality). But the "smart" growth plan is really about two things: more property taxes from more units with wealthier residents, and gradually reducing the number of single family homes and farms in the county.

Neighborhood shopping centers are gathering places for the neighborhood. "Smart" growth turns them into regional destinations, which actually increases congestion on roads.

Here are some quotes from a USA Today article on a new "smart" growth movement in China; tell me if they sound familiar to a Montgomery County resident:

"Wang [Weiguo]'s attitude is to bring on the bulldozers."

(In Montgomery County, we can say that in 3 letters: ZTA: Zoning Text Amendment).

"The [Chinese] government plans a makeover dubbed the 'Beijing Time Cultural City,' which will create a large public square, museum, shops and underground parking garage in the neighborhood." (!!!)

Critics call the resulting town center "soulless...just a film set."

(Like many failed "town centers" recently built in the county, right? The outstanding exception, of course, is Bethesda Row. Bethesda Row is an example of good planning, combined with a well-thought-out effort to match demographics with businesses that appeal to those individuals. Furthermore, while traffic in Bethesda continues to be a nightmare, the city does have the transit infrastructure in place. It was enhanced by adding the free Bethesda Circulator, which is a fantastic example of how the right transit options and design can increase usage and mobility).

(Some people in Beijing are being "relocated," just as many current residents and businesses will be shut out of the "new" Wheaton, and have been in the "new" Silver Spring. That's just plain wrong).

In short, a growth policy designed to solely benefit developers and politicians is wrong, no matter what country or county you are talking about. Another strategy, make transit expensive - but make driving super-expensive through artificial means (mileage tax, parking rates, parking tax - Nancy Floreen's was $250) to force you out of your car, draining your wallet on transit costs.

We need a new Growth Policy based on reality and sound planning, and that protects rural/suburban/urban livability, mobility, schools and the environment for all residents of Montgomery County - not just a select elite who can afford Lexus Lane tolls.

Join me in this crusade, to bring Change Beyond Belief to Montgomery County. The future of our towns and neighborhoods depends on it.

Thursday, May 27, 2010


Chunky Soup spokesman - and, in his spare time, Redskins quarterback - Donovan McNabb has selected his new home in the D.C. area. And, unless you are a member of the Montgomery County Council, or are Steve Silverman, you probably wouldn't be surprised to find out that McNabb chose Northern Virginia over Montgomery County.

Why would he do that? Let me channel Mr. Silverman: "It's not because of our high taxes, our lack of airport access, our transportation gridlock, or the fact that - thanks to the county council's new budget - MCPS class sizes will increase this fall."

With new, regressive taxes falling squarely on the backs of the poor, the elderly and working families, Chunky Soup may just be too extravagant for MoCo budgets anyway.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Attn: Damascus, Germantown, Clarksburg, Barnesville, Boyds, Dickerson Ride On riders:

If your Ride On bus route hasn't been cut already by the County Council, you may be interested to know that they've announced you can no longer buy Ride On passes at the Upcounty Services Center in Germantown.

Your tax dollars - and the County Council's "commitment" to transit and "green" - at work.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Another Exclusive!!!

I was in Kensington last night for the Mayor and Council debate. To establish my Kensington bonafides, there is quite a bit of Robert Dyer music trivia and history there and in Wheaton.

My first professional recording was at a studio in the shopping center on Connecticut Avenue next to Hardware City. How this came about, the story behind the B-side of the single...'ll have to wait for the Robert Dyer "Behind the Music" episode someday. The A-side was a cover of Gypsy Road by 80s hair metal band Cinderella. That is off of their Long Cold Winter CD, which is not really hair metal at all, and you should check that album out on iTunes (well, at least when you're not downloading Robert Dyer). Great record.

But I digress. You get the idea, though, that someone who ate at Roy Rogers when there was a Roy Rogers in Kensington, and got a toy gas tanker truck from the now wrongly-maligned gas stations there doesn't cotton much to the idea of bulldozing the Connecticut Ave. strip for those cookie-cutter "town center" buildings. I've never thought badly of the strip through there, and it provides important services to a large number of people - many of whom do not live in Kensington.

Mayor Pete Fosselman does have a good point when he says the voters have spoken. Last year's election was a very clear choice of zoning change vs. keeping the current historic qualities of the town. Every person had the opportunity to vote, and my recollection was that the pro-development candidates won in a landslide. So while I favor keeping things pretty much the way they are, you have to respect the wishes of the voters. At least in Kensington, residents are able to have slightly more input into planning issues in their town, as opposed to those of us who live in unincorporated areas of the county.

In addition to the scoop on the debate, I'm about to scoop the Post and Gazette here (mainly because the Post doesn't cover Montgomery County anymore, and because the Gazette doesn't print until tomorrow): Mayor Fosselman announced that the third mayoral candidate, Duane Rollins, ended his campaign Monday morning. That leaves a matchup between Fosselman and longtime resident Richard Orens.

The council candidates are incumbents Sean McMullin and John Thompson, and challengers Lorri Simmons and Lydia Sullivan. This debate was a very civil and uneventful one. In past years, there have been a bit more fireworks between audience members and candidates; the format of question cards read by the moderator bypassed those sort of direct confrontations.

To give you a cheat sheet for the 45-minute debate, I would break it down like this:

If you favor the way the sector plan is going, more multi-family housing, and taller buildings, you'd likely vote for McMullin, Thompson and Fosselman.

If you are concerned about the budget, Fosselman, Orens, Thompson, McMullin and Simmons all emphasized their own concerns about the financial future of the town.

If you are concerned about getting a new trash truck, Thompson, Orens and Simmons spoke to that. Mayor Fosselman noted (is this another scoop?) that residents may be unaware that trash collection has been informally outsourced already, due to the emergency hiring of temporary collectors. Fosselman argued that there has been no noticeable decline in quality of service during this time. If true, that does add to the case for outsourcing.

Fosselman, Thompson, and McMullin referred to pending tax increases. Orens said he would transfer funds to buy the trash truck, and cut his salary to $8000, if elected.

Simmons spoke of the need for more Ride On service, especially at later hours.

No one seemed thrilled about the idea of take-out liquor sales, but Thompson, McMullin, Fosselman, and Sullivan gave the proposal varying degrees of support. Orens warned of young people "getting sloshed." Thompson said county police told him there have been no problems around the two establishments nearby that currently sell beer and wine.

Well, no big thrills, but the issues were pretty clear, as were the candidates' positions on them.

I saw Delegate Al Carr (District 18); he actually knew who I was, even though I've never met him before. Former Kensington mayor Jayne Plank was in attendence, as well. I met a few new potential voters before leaving; fortunately, I had some flyers with me.

Like the Woodley Gardens shopping center in Rockville, and many others around the county, the pending changes in Kensington indicate some of the development choices ahead.

As pressures increase from Damascus to Westbard to turn every corner of the county into a "walkable town center," the debates in Kensington and elsewhere are fascinating to follow.

Monday, May 24, 2010


Montgomery County Councilmembers Sign Off
on Record Tax Increases, Ambulance Fee;
Blast Off on Taxpayer-funded
NYC Vacation?

Another Exclusive!!!

...They're leaving today.

Two unidentified Montgomery County Councilmembers are joining a county "delegation" on an all-expenses-paid New York City vacation today.

After an OMG-we're-about-to-get-voted-out conversion to austerity, and a stiff reprimand to the residents of Montgomery County for making them spend all that darn money over the last 8 years, what is their next move?

Taking a taxpayer-funded day trip to the Big Apple! (At least I hope it's just a day trip).

Something tells me they won't be taking the Tripper or Vamoose bus, or (good heavens!) driving themselves there on 95 (some of our elected officials can't even drive themselves around the county).

So, who's picking up the tab for the Acela or shuttle flight?

What is the purpose of the trip? Supposedly, they are going to explain to the bond rating agencies why they shouldn't downgrade the county's AAA bond rating.

They're going to tell Gordon Gekko the same Orwellian tale spun by the council through the Washington Post last week: We had good intentions! The citizens of Montgomery County... they made us spend! They'll have to tighten their belts (even as we increase our own salaries over the years, collect pensions, buy the Webb Tract, take taxpayer-funded trips to NYC and OC, and give tax cuts to developers and keep spending on our political allies)! And now, you just gotta believe us! We've learned our lesson! We don't need to go to our rooms or go to bed without dessert!! Even though there is no evidence or reason to believe we'll change our ways after the election is out of the way, you just gotta believe us. Please!

Of course, they'll have to eat lunch - at taxpayer expense?

They might order a hot pizza pie at Motorino where they'll encounter NYC celebrities!

And for dinner, why not The Mark Restaurant by Jean-Georges? New York's new, posh dining spot on East 77th Street. According to Sam Sifton, it is "comfortable as wealth itself." Just what some Montgomery County big-spenders need. Hey, is that George Leventhal outside the MTV studios in Times Square?

I just have to ask: has anyone ever heard of Federal Express? The telephone (I hear Gordon Gekko still has his 80s original cordless)? Fax? Email? Teleconference? Go to Meeting? Say it with flowers? Does communicating a good fictional story to the agencies require an actual trip to Wall Street?

No, there's no substitute for the real thing. No, this isn't election-year theatrics. They've learned their lesson, just in time. Forget what they did for the last eight years, and that you're going to pay the bill for the next 80; the council is gonna make a brand new start of it - in old New York.

You just gotta believe 'em! The Post said so!

Friday, May 21, 2010


Incumbent Politicians Running
Scared as Candidate Forums are Cancelled,

Another Exclusive!!!

Why are the incumbent members of the Montgomery County Council in hiding? And why are community groups and organizations - apparently friendly to those incumbents - cancelling or delaying their usual election year debates and forums?

Well, if I had just passed a 300% Energy Tax increase, a Cell Phone Tax increase (how does using your cell phone cost the county government, anyway?), and water bill increase, an electric bill increase, and a whopper of an Ambulance Fee, I'd probably be hiding too!

I remember quite well, that 4 years ago, several candidate forums had already been held by this time. Strangely, we're nearing June 1, and none of these forums has been scheduled this time around.

What's changed?


With devastating cuts for seniors, MCPS, children, the poor, working families and the disabled, this budget retains full funding for the councilmembers' political cronies and the developers.

It's outrageous.

No wonder many groups who apparently used these powder puff, softball forums to highlight preferred candidates in past elections would like to wait for this to blow over. Or maybe just have hardly any debates at all. (To their credit, the Town of Chevy Chase is holding a District 1 and At-Large debate in the months ahead).

If the incumbents are so smart and super-qualified, why can't they come out and debate the challengers on the substantive issues? And that includes Republican challengers, by the way!

Come out, come out, where-ever you are...

The voters are waiting to hear you explain 8 years of failed leadership and Madoffonomics.

If the council is willing to pass hefty taxes now, just to save the developers and other buddies, can you imagine what your tax bill will be next year when they've gotten past the election?

You can stop the tax madness on November 2!

But here in the month of May, let's not be afraid to discuss the issues in public forums. I ask the incumbents to come out of hiding, and engage the council and county executive candidates in multiple candidate forums. If the incumbents are so much better than the challengers, what is there to fear in a civil, mature discussion of the serious issues and challenges faced by Montgomery County in 2010?

Thursday, May 20, 2010


Councilmembers Gambling with
Safety of the Public to Ensure
Budget Dollars Remain for Developers,
Political Cronies

Montgomery County At-Large Councilmembers George Leventhal, Duchy Trachtenberg, Nancy Floreen and Marc Elrich voted unanimously with a council majority to pass the dangerous Ambulance Fee yesterday.

This is their biggest and boldest move to put the public's safety at risk yet. Recently, George Leventhal described the rush job to merge the Park Police with the County Police as a "leadership moment." I call it a failed-leadership moment. Madly grasping at straws at the 11th hour, to keep budget funds for political cronies and the developers, and making a hasty decision before the impact on the safety of park users is fully understood, is not leadership. It's just plain reckless.

But a whopping Ambulance Fee on seniors, the poor, and the disabled is the biggest political game yet. This isn't only the latest attempt to undermine our county's volunteer fire departments by this council.

It is a trick played on the public. It is a law passed despite the opposition of a majority of county residents (that's called "governing against the people," last time I checked). It brought about unprecedented and unethical spending of taxpayer dollars, to produce a slick TV commercial and widely-distributed brochure touting the Fee - before it was law!

You can let the proponents of the Ambulance Fee know how you feel this November 2nd! And show your support for the brave men and women of our volunteer fire departments and BCC Rescue Squad, by voting for candidates like me, who oppose - and will strike down - this dangerous Ambulance Fee.

Help is on the way. No fee necessary.


This just in. The County Council and school board have reached an "agreement." They agree to cut 24.4 million dollars from MCPS. This is in violation of the state law requiring a minimum funding of schools - just like last year. The whole reason this law exists, is to prevent just such a set of wrong priorities from draining easy cash from education budgets, when times are tough.

It seems that all of these politicians are looking out for each other. Dr. Weast's threat of a lawsuit - which was the right thing to do - turns out to have been an empty one. No one will ever believe him again. No one can believe that any politician who signed off on cutting $24.4 million dollars from disabled and special education students, and ESOL and ELL students, is truly committed to meeting the current challenges faced by MCPS.

It's time to believe in a candidate who will stand up to the developers and special interests, and preserve the funding necessary to ensure Equal Opportunities in Education for every child in Montgomery County, regardless of race, disability or income level. That candidate is Robert Dyer. But it's not enough to "believe" in change. We need leadership that can deliver Change Beyond Belief. A change that will close the achievement gap and graduation rate disparity. A change that will close the early education, nutrition and technology gaps that cause the achievement gap. A change that will connect students to the changes in the county's economic engines that I will bring about. Finally, a change that lifts people up across the spectrum of education: from ensuring Pre-Kindergarten/Head Start for every eligible student to having economic opportunities and high-paying jobs available upon graduation from college.

We can have a Change Beyond Belief. All you have to do is join my crusade! Can you email my video to ten of your friends today?

Can you bring 1 person to the polls to vote? Can you email me through my website at to request a yard sign for your lawn? Would you like to volunteer for my campaign?

Each one of us can take a small action to bring a big change to Montgomery County this November - a Change that is Beyond Belief.


Wow! Seniors and working families across the county are about to get hit with massive electric bills. First, PEPCO is raising your rates. Second, the County Council voted to raise the tax you pay on electricity 300%! Three. Hundred. Percent. Even if you wear sweaters like Jimmy Carter, you'll still get a huge bill.

It's outrageous.

Then add on the next increase in your electric bill that will result from the County Council's other new Carbon Tax - the tax is on Mirant, but guess what: you pick up the tab, as you do with any other tax on business. Simple rule of thumb: any tax on business is a stealth tax on you. (I hear the council prefers the term "ghost").

Can you imagine the impact of all of this on those with fixed incomes, or who are just getting by paycheck to paycheck, even with food stamps?

Apparently, the councilmembers cannot. That's because they've made around $100,000 a year - at your expense. They don't have trouble paying their bills, and that can make a person grow out of touch with the reality of being a working person in Montgomery County.

Not everyone here is rich. They are just getting by, often to give their children the advantage of the high-quality education available in most county schools.

Flat, regressive taxes are not the answer. Making the real spending cuts the council is once again avoiding - and fundamentally restructuring government - are the only ways we can effectively fix our structural deficit.

We can't go on like this.

This new energy super tax has also ensured - ironically - that the county's revenues will continue to be low. That's because many county businesses will go out of business paying the tax, and because new businesses planning to relocate here have just called off those plans.

Where does the Chamber of Commerce come down on this? Will the Chamber finally stand up to the council? Will the Chamber endorse ANY of the incumbent councilmembers?

Are you tired of serving this council? Do you believe that public service means that the council serves the public, not the other way around? Do you think the council is required to keep the public trust by judiciously managing your taxpayer funds?

Then you are ready for Change Beyond Belief! You are ready to transform our government into one that serves the People, not the other way around!

Take action November 2! Tell the council who's boss! You pay their salaries. It's your turn to make a bold statement. You have the power. Take advantage of it, and exercise your right to vote.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


Monday evening, I spoke at a meeting of the Rural Women's Republican Club in Dickerson, hosted by Jay and Lynn Lipp.

Any opportunity to go to the rural areas of Montgomery County is welcomed by me, as regular readers know (especially if you've watched my tractor videos on the Robert Dyer Channel). That's where you'll find the real Montgomery County and the real America - and the kind of values that this county was founded upon. And where you would have found me Monday night!

Considering the downpours, it was bad on 270, but I've dealt with far worse on our woefully-in-need-of-expansion interstate. Once I got to Clopper Road, I was just about the only car out there, which really speeds things up; i.e., you can actually drive the speed limit.

Eventually, I was in Boyds, where the sign famously says, "Home in the Country" as you enter town. At one point, I passed over a small bridge and saw the creek below was nearing the top of its banks, and rushing fast - scary stuff. A while later, I passed over a similar bridge which actually had a sign warning drivers that this was a "Flood Area." The weird thing is, that creek looked pretty normal, while the raging one earlier did not have a "Flood Area" sign next to it. I love trains, and there are plenty around Boyds and Dickerson, including a CSX freight I saw near the MARC station.

On to the meeting, where there was plenty of food spread out, and a great turnout of engaged and enthusiastic Republicans. After a reception, each candidate had an opportunity to speak. I think there were 10-12 altogether. Eric Cary, who has a great chance to win the District 14 State Senate seat, was there along with Jim Pettit who is running for State Delegate.

Brandon Rippeon is the other Republican running for County Council At-Large, so you have two Republicans to vote for so far in this race. As evidenced by his speech, Brandon knows the issues. I think we represent the kind of common sense, responsible Republican leadership the voters are looking for, as opposed to the current council's highly partisan agenda, and inability to get anything done for 4 years. And we are both talking about education amongst our priorities, and that is a major concern for parents across the county right now, as our desperate councilmembers will cut anything except the money for their political cronies in the budget.

Several candidates running against Chris Van Hollen were also there, including Christine Thron and Bruce Stern, as well as Jim Rutledge, who is running to unseat Barbara Mikulski, who has been in Washington for an eternity. It's great to see some of these folks like Spector and Bennet finally being shown the door. They've collected millions in taxpayer money, lived like kings in Washington at our expense, and have expanded government to the largest size in history. It's called public service; it's not a career! Many on our County Council seem to think it's a career, as well. That's not what the Founders intended. Incumbents out!

Brian Murphy, who is challenging Bob Ehrlich in the Republican primary for governor, attended. He owns the Smith Island Baking Company, which makes the Smith Island Cake - the state dessert. Even Dan Campos was there, running for delegate in District 17 - this guy is everywhere and working hard in a race against stumbling incumbents.

It seemed like my speech went over pretty well, and people share my outrage with what is happening to our taxpayer money in Montgomery County. It's very generous of the RWRC and the Lipps to put on an event like this, and give candidates a chance to speak and meet voters. I look forward to seeing more Republicans in the rural areas - and Independents and Democrats, too! - as the campaign goes forward.

And we are going forward - to transform our government into one that serves the people, not the other way around.

I headed off onto the dark rural roads, and fortunately the dams held and the streams contained themselves. The rain lightened, and there was nothing but pitch black out there and a tiny orange stripe horizontally along the horizon. I love being out in the country at night. There weren't any stars Monday night, but it is so much quieter and the air is so much fresher. There isn't anybody much around, but you'd be surprised how many animals are hiding in those woods as you drive past.

We're going to preserve the rural areas, and our suburban areas, against the plans of developers and their buddies on the Planning Board and Council who want to turn this county into one big concrete canyon - and put you in a tiny apartment. We won't let it happen, and let's show them who's boss on Election Day, November 2!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

I'm curious if Maryland's "Protective Orders - Notification of Service" law, passed in 2009, also alerts the victim when her protective order is about to expire? It has been noted that many victims of domestic violence are often unaware that the time has passed, and are therefore unable to request an extension or new protective order in time.

North Carolina's Statewide Automated Victim Assistance and Notification program (SAVAN) does require such a notification by phone or email. No description of Maryland's HB1196 bill includes such a stipulation.

Either it has been poorly described, or this loophole in the law should be addressed at the county or state level, to ensure that victims have the opportunity to obtain a new order. SAVAN administrator Debbie Allen stated to WRAL 5 news in Raleigh that, in two-thirds of the 90% of domestic violence fatality cases where a protective order had been issued, the order had expired.

That statistic makes clear why such a notification is important.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

It seems that my message of fiscal responsibility - and priorities of public safety, transportation and equal opportunities in education - is resonating with the voters of Montgomery County.

My video announcement speech is the most-watched Montgomery County political/election-related video of the week on YouTube.

Have you seen it yet?

Find out what all the buzz is about right now:

If you like the speech, please email it to 10 of your friends who live in Montgomery County.

This is not a campaign backed by the Powers That Be; it's a campaign about the People of Montgomery County. So every small action you take - whether it is watching this video, emailing it to your friends, or having a Robert Dyer yard sign on your lawn, etc. - is magnified into a great action with great effects on the future of Montgomery County.

So take action now! Your small action is bigger than the biggest check! Join my crusade today, as we transform our government into one that serves the People, not the other way around.

Visit my website at

Together, we will bring Change Beyond Belief to Montgomery County.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010


The University of Virginia homicide is the third prominent, Montgomery County-related domestic violence incident in the news over the last two weeks. Latest developments include the suspected killer claiming it was an "accident." Another sad reminder that we must promote a proactive agenda to combat domestic violence. In cases such as this, all of the victim services in the world are useless. The question is, what agenda items could have prevented a tragedy such as this? We must take action here in Montgomery County, where the General Assembly has failed year after year to do so at the state level. I very much look forward to advancing this domestic violence agenda during the campaign this year. I hope all of you will join me in this effort.

A top trending topic this morning on Twitter is #HappyBDayChrisBrown. But today is a day to remember the victims like Yeardley Love, not celebrate abusers like Mr. Brown.