Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Friday, June 25, 2010
Before you blast off for Ocean City this weekend, have you taken an action to change our community for the better? If not, you can do so in about 1 minute: simply pass this video announcement along to 10 of your friends who live in Montgomery County:
Elect Robert Dyer to the Montgomery County Council At-Large to bring Change Beyond Belief to Montgomery County!
Thursday, June 24, 2010
Montgomery County Council At-Large Candidate Jane de Winter (D) will "debate" fellow Democrat incumbent Nancy Floreen on MMC 16's Political Pulse program this week. It's sure to be a tense and controversial debate, when both candidates are from the same political party, right?
While almost every Democrat At-Large candidate has received at least 30 minutes of TV time on MMC 16 alone, de Winter joins fellow Democrat George Leventhal in now racking up a full hour of "me time" on the taxpayer-funded channel.
Meanwhile, I still have not received an invitation to appear.
All Republicans have also been excluded from the July 12 County Council At-Large debate being held by the Gaithersburg-Germantown Chamber of Commerce.
This unethical use of public airwaves, exclusion of the other party from a debate, and the unprecedented cancellation of long-traditional candidate forums in May and June by organizations apparently fiercely loyal to the struggling Democrat incumbents, really reflect the use of a 2006-era campaign playbook.
What can you do, other than wait for the reality of 2010 to catch up to them.
The voters of Montgomery County are angry. And now they are significantly poorer, as well, thanks to the County Council's massive tax increases last month. Do you think that made them more appealing to the electorate? Not quite!
So, you could join the handful of people tuning in to the 2006-era Floreen-de Winter "debate" (after all, you are paying for the program to be produced and aired)...
...or, you could join the hundreds of County residents who have tuned in to a video message from a new, next generation Montgomery County leader, with a completely and fundamentally different approach - me!
Watch my video message right now, and don't forget: if you like what I have to say in this video, be sure to email it to 10 of your friends who live in Montgomery County!
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
I was on my way to the monthly Montgomery County Republican Central Committee last night, and was caught in a terrible, violent thunderstorm between 270 and our HQ. I've been in heavier rains, but these were torrential. Lightning was striking all around, and it's my understanding that there were a number of power outages in the area. I was on time for the meeting, but I had to just wait awhile in the car outside. There were many nearby lightning strikes, and a few objects were knocked over by the wind around the area. I was about 10 minutes late as a result, but there wasn't anything on the agenda worth being struck by lightning for!
If you are just finding out about my campaign for the Montgomery County Council At-Large, here is a short video message for you:
If you want to help bring Change Beyond Belief to Montgomery County, and transform our government into one that serves the People, not the other way around, email my video to 10 of your friends in the county!
Monday, June 21, 2010
I have written before about the issue of parking in "smart" growth developments. But after Roger Lewis' column about the new "Social Safeway," in the Washington Post, once again touted behind-building and garage parking, I have to respond here.
Parking areas in front of commercial businesses are not only welcoming and convenient to passing motorists, but are also demonstrably safer for patrons. As I have written before, consider a customer who is being accosted by a criminal or gang members in a county parking lot. If this were to occur in a traditional front-of-store parking lot, these criminals would have to make a bolder move in victimizing a citizen. Any such criminal activity could be witnessed from the street by passing motorists, pedestrians, and - most importantly - by police passing by on a routine patrol.
Now consider if the incident is taking place behind the store. A passing police officer will not see it happening. Police cannot possibly drive into and behind every single "smart" growth, mixed-use development as they drive down 355, for example. And if the incident is occuring in a private garage, forget about it!
We need to stop putting aimless development, and the greedy political wish for more property tax revenue, ahead of the safety of the public. Not to mention that the current parking in front of county shopping centers has so far helped us avoid the "concrete canyon" concept my opponents want to impose on the county.
Let's keep it that way, and when you hear about "smart" growth, "density," and "walkable communities" - and especially if those terms are applied to developments further than 1/4 mile from a transit station - that's your signal that you've been had. So take action on November 2, and vote for Robert Dyer. I will help us take a responsible approach to development that protects the environment and education, puts the infrastructure horse back in front of the development cart, and preserves the quality of life in our desirable rural and suburban neighborhoods.
Thursday, June 17, 2010
This week, Charles Duffy will welcome incumbent Councilmember George Leventhal, and challenger Fred Evans, to his program, Political Pulse. Both are Democrats, and this is Mr. Leventhal's second(!!) appearance on taxpayer-funded MMC 16's two politics programs (he appeared on Inside Out several weeks ago). Meanwhile, I have not been invited even once to appear, and still await my FCC equal time - now up to 60 minutes - on MMC 16.
It will be 60 minutes of softball questions, and no tough follow-ups to my answers.
But for this week, you'll have to settle for Leventhal and Evans. Leventhal voted for unsustainable spending for 8 years straight and played a leading role in destroying the County's finances; Evans was quoted in a local paper saying he would have handled the budget the same as Leventhal, et al. So it sounds like it should be a real debate on there, folks!
Yes, sir! A vigorous discussion of contrasts! Sharp disagreement! Opposing ideas! Philosophical differences that broaden minds, and advance the dialogue through civil discourse!
Just the sort of hearty debate you'll find each week on Political Pulse and Inside Out, where all the guests are Democrats.
People want to hear new ideas, not the same old excuses, Doublespeak, and self-serving revisionist history of the last 8 years.
So let's have a real debate. That begins by not only having candidate forums (all of the forums in May and June were cancelled to protect the incumbents), but by having equal time appearances on both Political Pulse and Inside Out by me, Robert Dyer.
Now that will be (equal) time for something completely different.
But if you can't wait for that, visit my own TV channel, and watch my video message!
And then join me, as we transform our government into one that serves the People, not the other way around! Elect Robert Dyer for fiscal responsibility, and to bring Change Beyond Belief to Montgomery County!
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
I've been promoting the expansion of MARC rail for four years now, and April's ridership numbers are up to record levels on current routes.
And this is just the beginning. Why do I say that?
Because there is more demand than there is parking! Part of the Orwellian Doublespeak practiced by developer-backed "smart" growth organizations and blogs, is the bizarre concept of reducing parking - everywhere! And one of the strangest places they want to reduce parking, is at Metro and MARC stations(!!).
Let me get this straight: You supposedly want everyone to abandon their cars, and use mass transit. Okay, so where do I abandon said car? These "smart" growth "proponents" want to reduce parking, and charge higher rates to park in the spaces that remain.
That sounds like a winning strategy, right?
Seriously, it's time to stand up to these phonies with real transit solutions.
The MARC lots at Germantown and Boyds, for example, are in need of expansion. Overcrowding is pushing some potential riders to take their cars instead. If our so-called smart growth politicians succeed in their "no parking, have-the-poor-subsidize-the-rich-fare-increases" plan, transit will never grow beyond the 15% who use it now.
What we need is more parking, at an affordable daily price, at all Metro and MARC stations. And lower Metro and MARC fares. Imagine what ridership might be then. MARC rail for the Purple Line and CCT could allow us to use the money saved to build additional MARC routes or extensions.
Finally, we need to implement a Unified Transit Card to increase convenience and ease of use.
More parking + more transit options + convenience = higher ridership.
Monday, June 14, 2010
The latest example of the Montgomery County Council risking the safety of the public for political gain, is the reckless idea of having private security guards replace county police officers on patrols of county parking garages. And it's one that brings to mind one of this blog's "greatest hits:"
They haven't even filmed Paul Blart: Casino Cop at Arundel Mills mall yet, and now our County Council is helping to write the script for the third movie: Paul Blart: Garage Cop!
Rather than pay our police officers overtime - a relatively modest amount of money budgetwise - the council would have XYZ Security Agency take over patrols in county garages.
Now, if you were a woman (or a man, for that matter!) returning to your car by yourself after an evening out in Bethesda, who would you want patrolling the garage you are entering? A highly-trained, professional county police officer, or... Paul Blart?
As Tommy the Matchmaker used to say, "Isn't it obvious?"
There is no comparison! Our police officers are trained to deal with any number of violent or potentially-violent situations. What a private security officer can, would, or is allowed to do in a violent crime situation is unclear - and that's assuming these guards would even be armed at all. A police officer would have far more training, discretion and judgement to handle dangerous scenarios than a security officer.
The City of Rockville has its officers patrol the Town Center garages. With our developers and their agents on the county council replacing the county's dwindling number of public surface lots with riskier garages - and with gang activity increasing each day - garage safety is more important than ever.
If you were being accosted by a criminal in a county garage, which vehicle would you hope would round the bend at that moment: a county police cruiser, or Paul Blart's Segway?
Your answer will determine your vote on November 2.
Saturday, June 12, 2010
Wow, someone else in Montgomery County is finally saying what I've been saying for months. That the County Executive, County Council and Inspector General had falsely accused police officers, and one officer who ran a private law enforcement training firm, of ripping off the taxpayers. And of buying "subsidized guns using taxpayer money."
Of course, this was all hogwash. Ike Leggett and the County Council are in a terrible financial hole, thanks to their out of control budget practices. To close the budget gap, they have tried to scapegoat county police officers to cover up their own fiscal mismanagement. They tried to bankrupt Officer (and firm owner) Aaron Bailey, by demanding almost $1 million dollars in compensatory and punitive damages.
In truth, however, these officers were innocent of all charges, and were simply taking the courses approved by Mr. Leggett and the County Council. And, as I argued on this blog months ago, who in the county would we want to have a gun more than a well-trained, law enforcement professional? What is the danger in a police officer owning an additional gun?
Now, a highly-respected Montgomery County Circuit Court judge has ruled in the case, finding the defendant not guilty. In the process, the judge spoke out, and was quoted in the back pages of yesterday's Washington Post, which had initially failed to report this very important story.
Take it away, your honor:
"There was an amount of embarrassment at some point that caused the county to bring this action. If the [executive and council] feel they got duped, or they feel embarrassed, or they feel they shouldn't have to pay [Bailey], well, that's their fault, that's not the defendant's fault. ...I am going to assume that these [officers] got quality courses and are better law enforcement officers for it, and that our county is safer now for having gone to this course. And I'm also going to assume that they got a discount on a gun, and we want law enforcement officers to have guns. It helps to fight bad guys."
What it boiled down to is this, in the words of Post reporter Dan Morse:
"Montgomery County officials were so stung by criticism over a tuition assistance program that they filed a groundless lawsuit against a police officer to recover more than $400,000, a judge said as he dismissed the suit this week."
The exonerated defendant's attorney summed up the executive and council's action in this analysis:
"The county filed its complaint in bad faith and without substantial justification in an effort to deflect clearly anticipated criticism aimed at the responsible county officials... and to attempt to preserve their reputations in the upcoming elections in November 2010. [Bailey and his firm] thereby became the scapegoats for the county's egregious mismanagement of taxpayer monies."
These are words to take with you to the polls on November 2, as you can throw out the politicians who have repeatedly made county police officers scapegoats for their own fiscal mismanagement.
Friday, June 11, 2010
The MMC 16 countdown continues!
Just think, Charles Duffy and Pat Smith, your political program, too, could have a guest who represents the other side of the arguments! Just like the ones on national TV!
That guest would be Robert Dyer!
Now that you've had all of the Democratic candidates for County Council At-Large on your programs, it's time to give some of that taxpayer-funded airtime to a Republican candidate in the race - one who filed months ago.
30 minutes of softball questions, just like they got.
The voters are waiting to find out how long you can shut me out from equal time, which is required by the FCC. It just makes sense to give the voters a chance to hear what I have to say.
And let's have some additional debates, as well!
How about having two more televised debates in July and August?
How about it?
Why can't we have several civil discussions of the issues facing Montgomery County?
You won't find this in the Washington Post - the newspaper that falsely accused members of the Montgomery County Police Department of ripping off the taxpayer, simply by taking courses that had been approved by the county government, and outrageously referred to them as "crooked cops" - but the Examiner reported yesterday that Detective Aaron Bailey was not guilty of the trumped-up charges pressed by the county.
Remember I told you that no crime had been committed? Now a judge has said so, as well.
This was only the latest disgraceful episode in which the county executive and council tried to make our county police scapegoats for their own mismanagement of the county's finances.
Last year, they tried to accuse disabled officers of falsely collecting retirement benefits. Every officer was cleared in that case, too, by the Federal government and the Washington Post's own investigation.
According to the Examiner, the county isn't done disrespecting police officers yet; officials are now threatening to "reduce paid leave for officers involved."
Let me get this straight. Ike Leggett and the County Council are going to take away paid leave from police officers who have been cleared of any wrongdoing by a court of law?
Support our police officers, and volunteer and career firefighters by electing a councilmember who will restore their raises and COLAs, oppose any attempt to reduce compensation for public safety employees, and - perhaps most importantly - finally restore a sense of respect on the council for these employees and volunteers who risk their lives each day, to protect the citizens of Montgomery County. Elect Robert Dyer!
Thursday, June 10, 2010
My entry that exposed how the county cable office is using "MMC 16" programs "Political Pulse," and "Inside Out" to promote the Democratic County Council At-Large candidates - while not extending a similar invitation to me - has gotten quite a bit of feedback from readers.
Don't worry, we're going to continue to hold them accountable and bring this violation of the FCC's Equal Time provision to the public's attention, until they extend the invitation to me to appear for a similar 30-minute, relaxed, easy-going conversation with softball questions and no tough follow-ups to my answers - just like George Leventhal, Duchy Trachtenburg, Marc Elrich, Hans Reimer, Becky Wagner and Jane de Winter have had!
What are "Political Pulse" and "Inside Out" afraid of? Another viewpoint that doesn't support the incumbents' delusional talking points? A candidate who will actually fundamentally restructure county government, instead of just raising taxes on the poor, the elderly, working families and the disabled?
Do Charles Duffy and Pat Smith want another 4 years of flat, regressive taxes on the poor of Montgomery County?
Is a new type of county leader, with new ideas that might actually solve the major problems we face, an inconvenient voice to have on these programs?
Is it frightening to them to consider that the public might actually find what I have to say appealing?
Let's keep the heat on MMC 16.
What's the deal?
When am I going to receive equal time on this taxpayer-funded channel?
Where's my invitation to appear?
A lot of people are waiting for the answers to a lot of these questions.
It's going to be interesting to see how long they hold out, when the partisan bias is becoming more apparent every passing day.
Is there no intellectual curiosity among the Montgomery County political elite? Imagine if the Greek philosophers had locked themselves in an echo chamber. Where would our civilization be today?
Is this how we advance the county? By advancing one set of messages over and over each week? The same old, failed messages that have left our county's finances, economic base and infrastructure in ruins?
(By the way, there is no website, email or phone contacts for either program, so they apparently are not open to public input).
Charles, Pat: Call me.
Montgomery County Councilmember Marc "No Developer Influence" Elrich is at it again. Four years ago, it sounded like he and Marilyn Praisner might be the only rational voices on development on the council. By 2010, however, Councilmember Elrich's voting record tells a different story. Now that it's time to face the voters, and still hold on to his newfound developer supporters, Elrich is telling quite a few different stories.
In yesterday's Gazette article on the retirement of Royce "Dr. Yes" Hanson, Elrich speaks of a "disconnect" between the Planning Board and residents who live near the future "Science City."
After calling for, and getting, tax cuts for developers (while you, the citizen, got tax increases), Elrich is suddenly sounding like his old 2006 self:
Elrich (correctly) charges that county planners favor an "obscene level" of traffic gridlock. And (correctly, again) that the Planning Board views residents as an "obstacle" to their plans.
"We've heard a lot about planning for 20 years from now, but not for people who live here now - I think that's wrong," thunders Elrich in the Gazette.
"This is the largest group of un-listened-to people I've ever seen," fumes Elrich (actually, it's not - the largest such group is the taxpayers of Montgomery County, who strongly opposed the new taxes and dangerous Ambulance Fee that Mr. Elrich defiantly voted for, in yet another example of the County Council governing against the People - who pay their salaries!).
There's just one problem with all of this unrighteous "No Developer Influence" indignation:
Talk about a "disconnect."
Mr. Elrich has claimed to oppose this sort of monster, out-of-control development. Yet Science City and White Flint are the most extreme examples of such development. If Elrich did not assert his "no developer influence" independence at those moments, when in the future would he ever do so?
Science City and White Flint were the big tests of whether or not developers would be able to run absolutely wild across the county. Guess what? The developers controlled the Planning Board, Dr. Yes, and the council. They won. And Mr. Elrich did not make a principled vote to stop it.
Now he wants to be his old self again, but it's too late. Pandora's box is open, and if this council and Mr. Elrich are reelected, 9 mph is the new top speed for rush hour in Montgomery County - it says that in the plans Mr. Elrich and every single one of his colleagues voted for!
On November 2nd, you'll have the opportunity to elect a new councilmember - Robert Dyer - who doesn't change his positions every 5 minutes, who stands on principles, who can provide the kind of leadership that can deliver Change Beyond Belief. If elected to the council, I will promote a sensible growth policy that doesn't sell the county's soul to the developers. That protects our waterways, doesn't crowd our classrooms or worsen our traffic gridlock. And I can take action to "stop payment" on the blank check this council gave the developers at Science City and White Flint.
Is that the kind of councilman and growth policy you want? Elect Robert Dyer!
Did RobertDyer.net do it again? The malfunctioning TV tower lights on River Road in Bethesda that I wrote about yesterday morning were fixed by the evening. I'm sure there were residents who complained about the lights. However, in searching the internet, I could find no one else discussing the issue besides my blog. So it certainly didn't hurt to have my exclusive expose online early yesterday morning.
Wednesday, June 09, 2010
Look, up in the sky! Is it fireworks? Is it lightning? No, it's the TV tower (formerly WDCA 20) on River Road in Bethesda. Apparently, workers installed new safety lights on the tower during the day Monday. Then they went home. After the sun went down, residents in neighborhoods around the tower were in for quite a light display.
The explosive flashes are the most blatant form of light pollution I have ever witnessed. They are a major distraction whether you are just walking, or are attempting to drive on the streets below. You literally cannot miss them. Imagine a silent 4th of July fireworks display... ...that never ends! And each flash lights up the entire sky as far as you can see - just like lightning.
The flashes reflect off of the upper floors of houses as far away as Woodacres Park. Worse yet, is the effect on residents of the Westwood Tower, Park Bethesda, and Kenwood buildings. If you have a unit on the tower side of those buildings, you either have the world's thickest curtains, or you are being devastated by the atom-bomb-like flashes.
What were they thinking?
The severe degree of light pollution makes clear that these lights are in violation of several county and state codes. Yet, as of this morning, no action has been taken.
The fact that this can be let go - despite all of our elected officials' empty words about "light pollution" - is yet another example of failed leadership on the basic, day-to-day community issues.
How many councilmembers does it take to change a light bulb?
Tuesday, June 08, 2010
You've probably heard about the state of California's budget catastrophe. This is the state that had to issue IOUs, remember? California is in just about the worst fiscal shape of any state in the union. They've eliminated their welfare safety net, and are in the process of releasing prisoners just to save money(!!).
In fact, says Bruce Cain, a Berkeley political science professor, California is "America's poster child for fiscal recklessness," in a Washington Post op-ed.
So what would you think if Dr. Cain went on to tell you that our County Council is even more "reckless" with finances than California?
To quote Cain:
"Maryland's Montgomery County, home to about 1 million peoople, including a number of California's most prominent national critics, has a budget deficit of $1 billion. Based on California's population of nearly 36 million, if the state spent like Montgomery County, its deficit would be almost twice current projections."
Wow. Do you realize the significance of what he is saying? Everyone in America who follows national events would likely agree that the state legislature in California has been fiscally irresponsible in both creating, and addressing, its financial crisis.
So when an actual expert tells you that your county council is even more reckless and irresponsible with your taxpayer dollars than the "poster child for for fiscal recklessness," and that entire body is running for reelection...
...you are ready to vote for Change Beyond Belief. Elect Robert Dyer, and we can restore fiscal responsibility to Montgomery County.
My opponents are still running scared and hiding, as all candidate forums for May were cancelled. Now we're into June, and this month's forums are cancelled so far, as well. Where are they hiding? Well, they're spending a lot of time in the Montgomery County Cable Office.
Regular readers know that I have kept you up to date on the activities of County Cable Montgomery (Ch. 6), which have included the use of taxpayer funds to produce and air what are essentially 30 min. campaign ads for Gov. Martin O'Malley and Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown. Ike Leggett used taxpayer-funded airtime on his "One on One" program (one of about 3 recurring programs Mr. Leggett has at his disposal on CCM) to engage in campaign activity in 2009, when he criticized special election candidate Robin Ficker. CCM airs an advertorial series on the MTA, which provides no transit service within Montgomery County; ergo, why are taxpayers paying to have it broadcast when it has no relevance to us? And how about that slick Ambulance Fee ad on which taxpayer funds were spent - before it was even county law?!
I could go on, but, wait, there's more!
In the midst of an unprecedented budget crisis, with a $1 billion dollar deficit, somehow our humble County Cable Office was able to expand and purchase expensive and unnecessary new equipment!
What the heck?
Allow me to introduce you to "CR." This doesn't star George Clooney (that was ER). CR is a slick, new program that does the same job as the others on CCM: promote the executive and council.
But there's a new, expensive twist: Filmed with the aforementioned new HD camera, CR airs not only on CCM, but also on most - if not all - of Comcast's "local" channels, including Rockville 11, Takoma Park 13, and the Montgomery College channel.
This means that, at just about any hour, you can find the inescapable CR running on one channel or another. Ethical questions abound, as Rockville residents - who might not hear the latest fictional accomplishments of county leaders whose names they don't even recognize - now get a daily dose of Leggett & Co.
Do you know what CR on every local channel reminds me of? That law that says you can't put campaign literature into a mailbox or mail slot. The county cable office is essentially stuffing campaign ads into the broadcast "mailboxes" of local residents.
Hold on though, because we're throwing in a complete set of oven mitts and a free cookbook!!!
Something called MMC 16 is also producing political ads for local candidates - free for the candidates, but not for you, the taxpayer!
Two shows, "Political Pulse," hosted by Charles Duffy, and "Inside Out," hosted by Pat Smith, have managed to feature just about every one of the Democratic candidates for Montgomery County Council At-Large. Strangely, neither myself, nor Brandon Rippeon, the other Republican candidate for CC At-Large have received an invitation to appear.
George Leventhal, Duchy Trachtenburg, Marc Elrich, Becky Wagner, Hans Reimer and Jane de Winter each have had a half hour to introduce themselves to you, the voter, on MMC 16. (And those are just the shows I happened to catch!). And in a very friendly environment.
On these programs, hosts throw more softballs in 30 minutes than Jennie Finch. (BTW, did you hear the Super Whammy Mr. Duffy let Gov. Martin O'Malley get away with last week? Gov. O'Malley said, in preposterously defending the irresponsible cart-before-the-horse growth policies of this council, that - in essence - we have a grand tradition in America of growing before we put the infrastructure in place. And that citizens shouldn't be too hard on our poor elected officials for that reason. Mr. Duffy's follow-up to that outrageous assertion? Nothing. Unbelievable! That's the best one since Michael Laris called George Leventhal a "pro-business councilman" [hey, no giggling, please] and let Mr. Leventhal declare he is solely motivated by delivering services to the poor. Again, no follow-up from Mr. Laris, either).
No incumbent has been authoritatively grilled on their direct responsibility for the fiscal crisis they created. You've heard the new talking points by now. You know, this whole thing just kind of hit us by surprise... It's an international economic downturn... We had good intentions... The taxpayers and unions made us do it, but we've taken charge and the crisis is solved! [Hey, I said no giggles!]
Yeah, solved until that $900,000,000 bill hits the dais next May - and that's if we don't have another blizzard (Snowgate 2011?) this winter, and doesn't include the teacher pensions no one wants to talk about.
It's sure to be another budget disaster. So why can't challengers such as myself be heard on these taxpayer-funded, "public access" programs?
It could be that they just haven't gotten around to the Republicans yet. But there's also another reason to delay my appearance: It's the same strategy that Hillary Clinton tried against Barack Obama, and that John McCain and Rudy Giuliani tried in 2000 and 2008, respectively - the aura of inevitability.
Their reasoning may be that if you see Marc Elrich or Becky Wagner this early, and not me, that, well, they're the only ones running, in the minds of the viewers.
How successful was the "inevitability" strategy for Hillary, Mac, and Rudy? Get back to me on that.
I'm asking the incumbents again to meet the challengers in a series of debates. Some can be televised on these wonderful county cable channels! And I want my free 30 mins. on MMC, with a relaxed, easy-going question and answer session, like my opponents have had.
I'm ready for my close-up. I'm demanding equal time. I believe there is an FCC regulation on that.
I want my DEMtv.
At what point do TV programs become in-kind contributions of campaign ads? I feel we are rapidly reaching that point, if I am not invited to appear on these programs soon. I have filed for office a long time ago. The discrimination has to end.
Above all else, the use of these local channels is simply out of control. There's no way equipment should have been upgraded at a time like this. These channels are for the purposes of showing council meetings, traffic cameras (for CCM), and providing emergency information. If there is so much free time for puff programs beyond that, then clearly there is budget cutting to do.
That's why I've said we must "pull the plug" on these other uses of local cable channels, particularly when they are used to promote politicians.
Let politicians pay for their own ads, not the taxpayers.
Thursday, June 03, 2010
The Montgomery County teachers union kindly informed me last evening that I would not be receiving its endorsement. As a result, Robert Dyer will not be on the now-infamous Apple Ballot. I am disappointed but only a little bit surprised.
The implications for the future of union negotiations in the county are far greater than the implications for my campaign. This is probably a year in which having your name on the Apple Ballot will hurt as much as it will help. The anti-union Washington Post has spent much ink criticizing the endorsement process, and has suggested that one must make a contribution to receive the endorsement.
I can say that at no time was I asked by the MCEA to donate funds. Beyond that, having not been endorsed, I can't tell you if the request is made after you have been endorsed.
But back to those union negotiations, and a major question: are the county's unions still a potent force in politics, that can punish councilmembers who vote against them, or are they just paper tigers?
I'm encouraged that the police union is making some noise, and actually protesting what's happening. I hope they will continue to do so, as the council has repeatedly disrespected county police officers by scapegoating them for the budget disaster the council itself created.
In contrast, the MCEA is in the paper tiger category. Why else would they endorse George Leventhal and Marc Elrich? Remember, Leventhal and Elrich both voted for a budget that violated the state's education Maintenence of Effort law, and contained further MCPS cuts. And they voted to prevent teachers from receiving raises and COLAs multiple times (despite having agreed to give them both in a legally-binding labor agreement when cash was more plentiful).
The council has broken any labor agreement it pleased to over the past 2 years, and for the MCEA at least, that is apparently not a problem. In reality, though, it is a problem. The council has pushed the unions, and they have given up some of what their members were legally entitled to. At some point, compromise and expediency will fail to quiet county employees who will have gone several years without COLAs or raises.
So a situation now exists where negotiations will be almost meaningless, as the executive and council can promise the world, and just take the world back after the election.
Does that situation also include a dynamic where the politicians who take back what they promised county employees are not punished in the next election?
Again, it does for the MCEA. Sure, they didn't endorse Nancy Floreen. But Duchy Trachtenburg withdrew her name from consideration. So that left two openings, and two incumbents who voted to hurt county employees to preserve their own political careers (even though they owed those careers to the employee unions [go figure!!]).
I'm anxious to find out what will happen next. What's the point of fooling voters that certain names will support education, when there are no consequences for defying the trust of teachers and voters in general? Leventhal and Elrich have gotten away scot-free, and are laughing all the way to the bank.
I made a strong case before the MCEA interviewers. If elected, I will still follow through on my goals for MCPS, including all-day Pre-Kindergarten for every eligible child, full MOE funding each year, providing equal opportunities in education regardless of race, income or disability, and transforming our lowest performing schools.
Of course, we still have to address waste in the MCPS budget. We'll have to address the teacher pensions in 2011, and possibly the health benefits as well. And, unfortunately, we simply cannot afford to pay teachers CEO salaries in Montgomery County. I am concerned that cities like D.C. and NYC are turning education into a game of greed. Not only is a passion for education being replaced by Powerball-esque salaries as the main motivation for entering the field of teaching, but now children are being paid to do their schoolwork(!!). It's beyond outrageous, and deeply disturbing. I can't imagine we'll follow that obscene model here, because - if for no other reason - our county is financially broke, thanks to our incumbent councilmembers.
Whether or not I had been endorsed, my approach to all of these issues would have been the same.
I'm committed to having equal opportunities for every student in Montgomery County, and to restoring the public's trust in our county's financial practices.
I don't mind being the Lone Ranger in doing so, because the voters are telling me every day that they are ready for Change Beyond Belief on November 2.
Tuesday, June 01, 2010
What do Robert Dyer, a giant walking cookie, and former Gov. Bob Ehrlich have in common?
(I'll bet you thought this was a trick question).
All 3 of us were working the crowds at Rockville's Hometown Holidays celebration this past weekend.
If you were lucky enough to be in Ocean City, then you missed a giant cookie walking around Rockville Town Center. You missed Bob Ehrlich (I actually missed Gov. Ehrlich myself on Saturday, because I was there from 5-8pm). You missed the Taste of Rockville. You missed Buffalo Wild Wings and Gordon Biersch.
And, you missed me doing my James Carville-on-the-Montgomery-County-Council-Budget-Crisis impersonation!
"They could have sent the Woods Hole people! They could have sent the Scripps people!"
By the way, although the Washington Post took the council mightily to task in yesterday's editorial, I found their concluding recommendations troubling. The Post declined to "finish" the editorial: based on all of the evidence laid out in the earlier paragraphs, the editorial should have ended by calling for the ousting of every member of this failed County Council.
Instead of that - or even substantive suggestions for fundamentally restructuring government, or cutting a bloated, $4 billion budget - the Post said "candidates" should forgo union donations, "refuse to answer any" questionnaire question "that would commit them to undefined future spending" (News Flash: the MCEA is the only county union to send a questionnaire so far, and none of the questions asked me to "commit" to "undefined future spending," so I'm not sure what the Post is talking about), and said the county "should beef up its rainy-day reserve funds."
By themselves, these steps would do nothing to solve our structural deficit!
"They've got to get down here and take control of this, put somebody in charge of this thing, and get this thing moving!"
The council's budget in no way addressed the structural deficit; it merely raised taxes and fees astronomically, and slashed all the wrong items, balancing the budget squarely upon the backs of working families, the poor, seniors, children and the disabled.
"We need to launch a criminal investigation..."
Then, in January, the council will raise taxes like you've never paid before. Again, that does not solve the structural deficit, and will put the county in danger of bankruptcy. Not to mention the loss of our AAA bond rating. So why has the council refused to take action?
"There's a thousand things that they could do, they just need to get down here and start doing something!"
The council has new talking points, but no voter I talked to in Rockville this weekend was buying them. Those who know about the county council's Energy Supertax are furious; those who didn't know were about to explode when I told them about it. Imagine living paycheck to paycheck during a recession, and then your county council drops a financial atomic bomb like this on your family's finances - just because they believe it will get them reelected! (Heckuva strategy).
It sounds like November 2 is going to be a day of reckoning for this out-of-touch council. Don't panic; help is on the way! With one press of the voting machine touchscreen, you bring Change Beyond Belief to Rockville and Montgomery County, by voting for Robert Dyer.