Tuesday, January 27, 2015

SHAM OF THE CENTURY: MONTGOMERY COUNTY INDEPENDENT TRANSIT AUTHORITY SET TO BILK TAXPAYERS

FIGUREHEAD AUTHORITY
WITH 
UNLIMITED TAXING
POWER IS 
TAXATION WITHOUT 
REPRESENTATION

I told you this was coming back in 2012, and now it's here. A new tax that will cost many Bethesda homeowners around $1000-1500+ a year has been planned by Montgomery County since that time. But the problem they've faced is, how to introduce the largest across-the-board tax increase in County history, but avoid the political damage to themselves?

Montgomery County Councilmember Marc Elrich has previously suggested having developers pay the cost for the $5 billion boondoggle known as Bus Rapid Transit, given that the system will generate more real estate developer profits than actual riders - even according to County planner Larry Cole' original ridership estimates (before he got a good talking-to from the MoCo political machine, and hastily revised his numbers).

If you follow county politics, home of the $72 million tax-cut for developers in White Flint, you know that developers aren't going to pay for this. You, the taxpayer will foot the bill, even as you deal with the traffic worsened by BRT taking lanes from cars on MD 355 and Georgia Avenue, reducing capacity on those already-jammed roads by 33%.

But how to do this politically? After all, the BRT is such a weak project, it qualifies for no federal funding, and proponents have been unable to identify or procure a single penny to build it.

Introducing the Montgomery County Independent Transit Authority.

While no one was paying attention, MoCo elected officials did a run-around the public. First they hid a state bill that would give them authority to create this Independent Taxing, er, Transit Authority. Then, after the deadline for bills from the Montgomery County Delegation, the bill was snuck in.

No public hearing. No public announcement.

The only way I found out about it, was that I was signed up for a County email list, and received a fact sheet on a Friday afternoon - and if you're in the PR and politics business, you know that's the time of the week that politicians dump something they want the public to ignore.

More secrecy. An unannounced public hearing will be held by the same delegation that hid this unlimited tax-hike bill from you for weeks, this Friday in Rockville, a mere 7 days after the bill's existence was even made public. It only exists on this website if you do a Google search, and 99% of the public doesn't even know it should look for it at all. It's outrageous.

What will Bill MC 24-15 do?

Not all of the implications are even know or understood by the public yet.

Here's what's known so far:

The bill will permit creation of a 5-member Independent Taxing Authority board. Those 5 members will be chosen by County Executive Ike Leggett, subject to approval by the County Council. They will have the power to raise taxes on everyone, including the poorest residents of the county. In fact, residents in places like Poolesville, Westbard, Potomac, and Damascus - who won't even have BRT to use in their areas - will have to pay the tax, too.

Most significantly, there is no limit to the amount of taxes the ITA could raise, even within one year. Leggett's Rapid Transit Task Force recommended a 15% property tax hike, which is what would lead to yearly payments in the hundreds of dollars for even those who own condos in older buildings, or more than a thousand a year for those in luxury condos and McMansions.

And as unelected officials, they are entirely unaccountable to the voters. Of course, that's the brilliance of this scheme, in that the County Council and Executive will be able to shirk the blame for higher taxes off onto this hatchet team that can be as mean and nasty as they want, without any threat of removal from the public.

That is Taxation without Representation.

But wait, it gets worse. Check out Line 6 of Page 4, and Line 7 of Page 7 of MC 24-15/House Bill 104, and you find out that not only would this Transit Authority be able to take on unlimited debt, but that the County can even shift debt and financial obligations to it. Theoretically, the County Council could transfer the "assets and obligations" of any boondoggle or pet project - including the Silver Spring Transit Center - to this body. And you would be stuck with the bill, while the County Council avoids having to be the body raising your taxes to pay for it, and gets to spend more money on its sugar daddies, the developers.

That makes the ITA a virtually unlimited vehicle to raise taxes and blow the County budget even beyond its already-ridiculous $5 billion proportions. And there will be absolutely nothing you can do to stop it.

According to Line 10 of Page 5 in HB 104, the ITA will not have to submit its capital and operating budgets for approval to the County.  To quote directly from the bill:

(6) Establish a budget process for the Transit Authority that:

II. May not require the Transit Authority to submit its capital or its operating budget to the County for approval. 

That directly contradicts claims that the County Council will have approval authority over its budgets.

But, wait, there's more.

Not only would the ITA be exempt from the "Ficker Amendment" to the County Charter, which provides what little restraint exists on the amount of taxes the County can raise in any year, but it gets even worse. According to 6C and 6D on Page 5 of HB 104, no amendment could be made to the Charter in the future that would restrict or cap the amount of revenue the ITA could raise at any time.

Meaning that, even if an activist like Robin Ficker were to collect signatures to get such an amendment on the ballot, it could not be applicable to the ITA.

While the tax issues may be the most blatantly abusive and offensive in this power grab, there are other provisions that must be examined, as well.

The ITA would have de facto eminent domain authority, and the ability to demolish homes and businesses. That raises the specter of the quiet plans to demolish 155 homes and businesses along Georgia Avenue between Olney and Wheaton for a BRT line. Don't like it? Too bad, the ITA is unelected, and would not be thrown out in the next election by angry residents (assuming they still had a house to reside in). And assuming a board member with ties to developers was appointed to the ITA (such as Mark Winston's ethically-questionable role on Leggett's Rapid Transit Task Force), the body could wheel and deal in the real estate market with public money, and developers could acquire private or County land at sweetheart prices, among other potential abuses.

There would also be a currently-undisclosed bureaucracy of new government employees who would be hired for the Authority, with the high-ticket pay and benefits one expects from Montgomery County. With many County departments currently understaffed for financial reasons, where would the money for that come from? From you, of course.

Who voted for this now-you-don't-see-it-now-you-do MC 24-15 bill?

Thanks to the Parents' Coalition of Montgomery County, that information is available.

In Bethesda, Delegates Bill Frick, Ariana Kelly and Marc Korman all voted to approve this "late-filed" legislation. In Rockville, Delegates Kumar Barve, James Gilchrist, and Andrew Platt all voted YEA, as well.

Worst of all, this bill has all the wrong priorities. Completing our unfinished master plan highway system would move the most people for far less money. Yet this ITA would do nothing for highways, or even to repair the ones we already have. In fact, it will use dirty tactics to fund a BRT system that would actually reduce highway capacity, and that the vast majority of residents oppose.

MC 24-15/HB 104 must be stopped. One citizen group is already organizing against it, and there is a Change.org petition online. The gumption of the county's elected officials is something to marvel at, given they just got walloped by Maryland voters who rose up in a tax revolt, of all things.

With all of the leeway in this legislation, $1000 per Bethesda resident per year could be just the starting point for the Independent Taxing Authority.

What's in your wallet?

72 comments:

Anonymous said...

You are truly the Glenn Beck of Montgomery County, good job.

Robert Dyer said...

5:33: And what are the similarities you find between myself and Mr. Beck?

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Robert Dyer said...

5:59: Are you referring to the MoCo delegation's impropriety in filing this bill late, or George Leventhal's attempt to secede from the state of Maryland?

Anonymous said...

"George Leventhal's attempt to secede from the state of Maryland"

Here we go again with that bullshit claim. And you wonder why your readers don't consider you a "journalist"?

Anonymous said...

Why not require developers to pay for the infrastructure they are asking for? Seems the most fair option.

I do like Leventhal's chutzpah in organizing his own group of big counties. He said rural MD is a nice place to visit, but he wouldn't want to live there.

Anonymous said...

@6:17am Are you speaking for all readers now? That's weird.
Own your comments, don't assume what the rest of us think.

Anonymous said...

"cost for the $5 billion boondoggle known as Bus Rapid Transit"

I stopped reading right at the beginning. Dyer, once again, chooses to blatantly lie about the facts. I honestly wonder how stupid he thinks we all are.

The cost of the original - full-scale proposal of over 150 miles of BRT lines was 2.3B-2.5B (15-17M per mile). There was political will for only about half the routes (81 miles of line), however, so total costs won't even be anywhere near that high. In addition, since deciding on the 81 miles of BRT (which would be built out over decades, not all at once), that number has already shrunk - people in Olney don't want a line so that's already been scrapped.

Ultimately, we're look at most at 75 miles of BRT lines which, again, only a fraction of that would be built anytime soon. At a 17M per mile cost, the county would need to build about 300 miles(!!) of BRT to approach the $5B figure Dyer pulled out of his ass.

Hopefully I've adequately explained why Dyer is a lying POS who literally has to make stuff up in order for his opinion to even make sense.

Anonymous said...

Good reporting on this one. People can quarrel with numbers here and there, but at the end of the day, this was snuck in at the last minute. The press release went out on Friday afternoon -- I know because I got it also. This just smells dirty.

What I don't get is this -- WHY does the county need an ITA? It seems to me like Ride-On buses and related transit are working perfectly fine without an ITA. What would an ITA add to this?

Anonymous said...

@7:52 Have you ever been on Ride-On?

Anonymous said...

All else being equal, if I get off the Metro and there's Ride-On and Metrobus option, I go with Metrobus. Their fleet is nicer.

There are more Ride-On buses with odd seat configurations.

Robert Dyer said...

7:41: You're calling me a liar, when the County itself gave a $10 billion estimate for the full system. It then, just as you said, was cut to half of the proposed routes. $10B÷2= $5 billion. This article is loaded with facts, and LINE-BY-LINE CITATIONS FROM THE ACTUAL BILL. When are the Post and Gazette going to put the full bill under thorough examination as I've done here?

Robert Dyer said...

6:17: Watch Mr. Leventhal's press conference. Read what language he has used in discussing his "Large County Caucus." He should have enjoyed Ron Paul's secession discussion last weekend - they've got more in common than MoCo voters would have realized. "The People are in the big counties!" You know, as opposed to the robots that apparently inhabit the other counties in George Leventhal's world.

Anonymous said...

They're planning a public hearing at 6pm on a Friday evening? Is this for real?
It's obvious they don't want anyone to show up.

Robert Dyer said...

10:19: Seriously. Friday night and no widespread announcement. This is the second coming of the Arlington streetcar. We all know how that ended for the egomaniacs on the Arlington Board. Treat your constituents like idiots, and you eventually find yourself out of power.

Anonymous said...

What was the last bus you rode on, Dyer? A school bus? If this was a fancy road or interchange we don't need, you wouldn't be making such a stink. When are you going to report on the need for better mass transit in this area, and support it with some experience?

Anonymous said...

"You're calling me a liar, when the County itself gave a $10 billion estimate for the full system. It then, just as you said, was cut to half of the proposed routes. $10B÷2= $5 billion. This article is loaded with facts, and LINE-BY-LINE CITATIONS FROM THE ACTUAL BILL."

wtf are you talking about? First off, no, you didn't cite your absurd figures (which, now you're throwing up an even more absurd $10B number). Even after calling you out, you still haven't provided factual breakdown of your bullshit number.

As I've already stated, the full cost of 150 miles of the BRT was estimated to cost $2.3B-2.5B. Due to that high price, the county immediately pared back the scope of the project.

http://www6.montgomerycountymd.gov/content/dot/mcbrtstudyfinalreport110728.pdf

More recently, the costs have been cited as being between 1B-2B, though that was when the county was considering 98 miles of lines. Again, the county has cut the scope of work even further, due in large part to keeping costs down.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/at-montgomery-fair-promoting-bus-rapid-transit/2014/08/11/191c7a98-216f-11e4-86ca-6f03cbd15c1a_story.html

For the currently projected 70 miles of BRT, we're realistically looking at about $17M a mile or 1.2B for the entire system (which, for the final time, would be built over decades, not all at once).

The notion BRT would cost $10 billion or $5 billion or whatever other batshit crazy, factless figure you pull out of your ass is absolutely, unequivocally, wrong. Quit pretending otherwise.

Anonymous said...

Excellent summary Robert. Keep up the good work. The 2.5 billion that the previous developer er I mean poster mentioned did not include property acquisition costs, operating costs or debt service.

Anonymous said...

I see the $10B number for the full BRT system mentioned by other media outlets, including NBC:

"The county had planned to install a 160-mile rapid bus network at a cost of between $8 billion and $10 billion. But the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy found that ridership wouldn't be high enough to justify such an expansive system."

http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local/Montgomery-proposes-scaled-back-rapid-bus-network-191820301.html

ETOlney said...

Love the emotion here folks. Look, the ITA is sneaky bad politics no matter what numbers are being quibbled about. The Wash Metro Constrained Long Range Plan (CLRP) just had 5 major projects eliminated from it this month. Three of them were: Columbia Pike Streetcar, Benning Rd. Streetcar, and Arlington Blvd. Streetcar. The Red Line in Balt. is dead on the vine, which bodes ill for the Purple Line given that the Gov can't easily kill one and justify the other. See a trend here folks? There is no money for these transit projects and the congestion relief just isn't there to justify over badly needed road projects. Oh, I'd love to have a Purple Line, BRT (w/o taking current drive lanes) and all sorts of great new mass transit, but we can't afford it, and it can't come before, or at the expense of other major congestion relief projects like a widening of I495 (w/tolled lanes and buss lanes) and widening of I270, and building M-83. Folks, the world is growing to 10Billion souls, and many will come to the Washington area. Get ready. And...Hogan didn't just get voted into Annapolis because the people of MD were happy about more taxation.

Anonymous said...

This isn't a debate - the bus line wouldn't cost 10 billion or 5 billion dollars. Just because an opinion piece of Washington Examiner or Robert fuckin Dyer say that's the figure doesn't mean it's true. There are these things called facts. Facts that have been widely reported. It doesn't even make sense the bus lines would cost $5B - both phases of the Silver Line COMBINED barely costs that much. One doesn't even need to be educated to know Dyer is full of shit - it's that obvious the number is completely inaccurate.

Anonymous said...

According to the NBC piece, County transportation planner Larry Cole said the full system would be $10B.

So, that number is referenced from various media outlets.

Anonymous said...

@ 9:53 AM: "Watch Mr. Leventhal's press conference. Read what language he has used in discussing his "Large County Caucus. He should have enjoyed Ron Paul's secession discussion last weekend."

And you can't even cite one word of what he actually said, to prove your bullshit claim that he even hinted at "secession" in any way.

Guess what, the people of Maryland DO in fact live mostly in the large counties. To be specific, 82% of the population lives in just 1/3 of Maryland's counties.

@ 10:38 AM - "Treat your constituents like idiots, and you eventually find yourself out of power."

Says the idiot who will never, ever find himself in power, thank God.



Anonymous said...

@1:48PM:
"who will never, ever find himself in power, thank God"

In politics, who knows?
I thought the same thing about Hogan :/

I like Leventhal sticking it to the small rural counties, but remember Hogan has a greater responsibility to lead the entire state, not just a few counties.

Robert Dyer said...

11:34: I've spent more man hours on Metrobus and Ride On bus than the entire County Council combined.

Anonymous said...

You spelled "short bus" wrong.

Robert Dyer said...

11:54: $10 Billion was the original projection by the County. Stewart Schwartz was in denial about that figure also, but it is on the record. The lowball figures you're citing are not accurate. BRT will cost more per mile than any of the 3 highway projects we could build instead, and any one of those roads would carry more commuters daily than the entire BRT system would.

Robert Dyer said...

1:16: You're the one with fictional numbers. Several articles have been cited by commenters here that back up the $10 billion figure for the full system. Not opinion pieces. Articles.

Anonymous said...

What's so bad about Ride-On? I have two routes that come in front of my house M-F. They work fine, and the buses are fine in my mind. Why does the county need an ITA to improve a service that is already working well?

Robert Dyer said...

1:48: Of course he wouldn't actually use the word "secede," but the media should have given him the Rick Perry/Ron Paul treatment for his comments even if they were in dog whistle form. Leventhal's assessment of the power balance between himself+Prince George's vs. the office of Maryland governor is wildly delusional. He is a tricycle chasing after Larry Hogan's campaign RV.

Anonymous said...

Well, isn't the 5:05PM commenter the lucky one, with not one but two bus routes passing by his house. I have NO bus near my house, and would have to walk a mile along a dangerous road with neither sidewalk nor shoulder to reach the nearest bus stop. BRT is being planned with NO parking lots. Maybe Mr. 5:05 would agree to eliminating one of his two routes so that others might have even one.

Anonymous said...

@ 5:08 PM: "Of course he wouldn't actually use the word 'secede,' but the media should have given him the Rick Perry/Ron Paul treatment for his comments even if they were in dog whistle form."

Is it at all possible for you to cite what he actually said? I mean, it should be quite easy for you to type the relevant couple of sentences. As I said earlier, this is why no one takes your claims to be a "journalist" seriously.

Anonymous said...

I should have voted for you Robert, instead of the corrupt suborned morons that make up our spineless gutless County Council.

Keep up the good work!

Anonymous said...

So Leventhal is a secessionist. Riemer is a Wall Street Corporate stooge trying to destroy the county. I guess now it's Elrich's turn. Let me get my tin foil hat.

Of course this entire article is based on misrepresentations, blatant fabrications, extreme hyperbole, etc.

Honestly, I'm not a fan of the entire BRT system either, but I base my judgements on rational, fact-based arguments. Hopefully one day we'll see some of that on this blog instead of the sensationalist propaganda.

Anonymous said...

It's interesting that Dyer considers himself a Republican since the unofficial motto of the Republican party (and some Democrats) is to protect corporations and their profits at any cost.

Yet, on his blog Dyer rails against corporations in MoCo (developers) with their evil greed and desire to urbanize the entire county, and how they've corrupted the county govt.

I guess capitalism and smaller govt doesn't apply to real estate developers...

Anonymous said...

I honestly don't understand how this is going over people's heads. I've cited the actual reports which break down the cost of BRT. No BRT on this planet cost anywhere near 5 billion dollars. That's a fucking absurd number. Please get it through your dumb as shit skull, Dyer. I can't stand how you blatantly ignore facts and the people who point them out to you. FACTS. COMMON SENSE. THEY AREN'T UP FOR DEBATE.

Anonymous said...

Any specifics you can cite that need correcting? That would help the debate here.
Dyer really just analyzed the proposal.

Anonymous said...

Serious question: did you follow Dyer's stance on the issues during the last campaign?

Anonymous said...

Dyer's "stance on the issues" is a bizarre, incoherent, and utterly contradictory mishmash of Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street talking points.

Anonymous said...

What were the Tea Party elements of Dyer's platform?

Anonymous said...

Good Job Robert and thank you for providing this information. You should ban the Riemer/developer troll. His/her abusive language violates not just Blogger's policies but the provider's as well. He/she is obviously not mature enough to have a real debate on facts.

Robert Dyer said...

7:06: Your argument isn't with me, it's with Larry Cole, the County planner who gave the $10 billion figure. The $10B figure was reported by multiple media accounts. So I concur, facts are not up for debate. Stewart Schwartz lied about it too, to a WUSA9 reporter, no less. I happened to be standing right there. Oops.

Robert Dyer said...

7:24: Which ones are from the Tea Party?

Robert Dyer said...

6:52: Wow, you guys are really on the ropes on this one. You're now reduced to denying what your own County planner is on the record saying regarding the cost of BRT, and you're claiming a line-by-line analysis of the ITA bill is fabrication? It's your team's own bill, in the language they drew up! I hope you'll base your judgements on the actual facts and legislation, as I did in this piece.

Robert Dyer said...

6:58: You could have fooled me. President Obama was hugely funded by Wall Street, as will Hillary Clinton be. Mitt Romney's favorite MoCo politician, Hans Riemer tweeted in 2009 that we should pass Obamacare without the public option. Riemer also happened to accept a fat check from a donor connected to the lobbying firm that a report showed received the most money to represent health insurance companies during the Obamacare debate. You know, the same companies that are making a killing off Obamacare because there is no public option to restrain their immoral greed at the expense of sick and dying Americans. Yes, I believe we should address corruption at all levels of government, starting right here, in Montgomery County.

Anonymous said...

https://www.change.org/p/shane-robinson-stop-the-mc-24-15-tax-and-spend-power-grab-now


Please sign the petition

Anonymous said...

Why does the county need an ITA to improve transit service? They already run Ride-On and they can adjust routes as they please. How will ITA change this?

Anonymous said...

@ 9:21 PM - So how many House and Senate Republicans supported public option?

Anonymous said...

"You know, the same companies that are making a killing off Obamacare because there is no public option to restrain their immoral greed at the expense of sick and dying Americans."

Public option would have been nice, but if it had been included in the final bill, healthcare reform might not have passed at all. And insurance companies would still be allowed to reject applicants with pre-existing conditions, drop policyholders after they got sick and retain annual and lifetime limits on benefits, and have no limit on out-of-pocket expenses.

So tell me again, Mr. Republican candidate for County Council, what exactly is your party's proposal for healthcare reform?

Robert Dyer said...

2:45: There is no consensus Republican platform, and even if there was, I wouldn't be bound by it. The idea that Obamacare wouldn't pass with a public option was a talking point to excuse the massive pay day it is for the health insurance companies, and the lobbying firms they hire. I honestly don't believe President Obama intended for that to be the outcome when he started, but after Congre$$ was finished with it... we have a system where everyone is required to buy healthcare that is more expensive than it was supposed to be. At the same time, the premiums are so high, people can't afford regular checkups and preventitive care or early diagnosis. Factor in that a lot of people lost their existing plans and doctors, and you have more people getting less healthcare for a higher price. And because many can't use their high-deductible plans, Obamacare looks like it has reduced medical spending, and more people have healthcare - so it can be claimed to be "working."

Meanwhile, the insurance and pharmaceutical firms are laughing all the way to the bank. Again, I don't believe that's what the President intended, and the fact is, Obamacare would have helped many more people if he had stood his ground on the public option. It was the linchpin of the whole thing. Take it out, and it's like smart growth without office space - it just doesn't work.

Anonymous said...

How did your own plan actually change? Your premiums? Your doctors?

Do you understand what the term "deductible" actually means?

Do you realize that many kinds of "preventative care or early diagnosis" are covered entirely, with no co-pay required, thanks to the ACA?

Robert Dyer said...

7:03: My premiums have skyrocketed since the ACA passed. A deductible is the amount you pay out of pocket before the insurer starts to pay. All plans most definitely do not pay for preventative care or early diagnosis. If you have a $5000 deductible you have to pay for the doctor visits to receive those out of pocket. Maybe there are some plans that do, but not all.

blennerhassett said...

@1:04 AM True MoCo can adjust Ride-On routes, but how often does that happen. I've lived here 24 years, and very little has changed. Many routes are too long, and travel heavily congested arteries. It would be cheaper to ditch the BRT, and go with a new fleet of smaller vehicles like the Bethesda Circulator to service the new smart growth areas near Metro stations.

p.s. can we stay on topic Mr. Moderator?

Anonymous said...

@ 9:19 AM -

"A deductible is the amount you pay out of pocket before the insurer starts to pay...If you have a $5000 deductible you have to pay for the doctor visits to receive those out of pocket. "

As I said earlier, you have no idea what the term "deductible" actually means. Thanks for confirming my suspicion.

Anonymous said...

"You have to pay for the doctor visits to receive those out of pocket."

Do you have the slightest idea of what you just wrote?

Robert Dyer said...

10:42: You either have a gold-plated health plan, or you need a new dictionary. Welcome to the world.

Robert Dyer said...

1:01: Why don't you join George Leventhal's effort to secede from Montgomery County? You'll have unlimited access to his healthcare expertise in The People's Republic of Developers.

Anonymous said...

You don't know what the word "deductible" actually means.

You can't actually produce your alleged quote from Leventhal. Because it's completely in your imagination.

Anonymous said...

I don't know what Leventhal's plan is, but why is he pissing all over rural agricultural areas of Maryland to make his point?
We can't be a sustainable community without our Maryland farms. He isn't representing the views of MoCo residents. George shoots from the hip too much.

Robert Dyer said...

5:30: Apparently your definition of deductible is different from mine. Mine happens to be backed up by Webster's Dictionary:

noun (in an insurance policy) a specified amount of money that the insured must pay before an insurance company will pay a claim.

Robert Dyer said...

8:44: Mr. Leventhal's assertion that residents of small counties don't qualify as people ("The People live in the big counties") is not only offensive, but also reminds me of his claim that homeless panhandlers are actually professional, drug addicted criminals who drive in from out of state every morning. He was later slammed in a report that said his effort to criminalize panhandling was "cruel and unusual punishment." There is pattern of trying to discredit people for political purposes. Kind of like the troll commenting on this blog. Hmm...

Anonymous said...

It is terrible that George wants us to feel guilty giving a homeless person a few bucks.

Anonymous said...

You still don't understand what the term "deductible" means, in the context of HEALTH insurance. If you think that you can't receive coverage for ANY medical care until you've met your deductible, then you are ridiculously poorly informed.

Anonymous said...

"Mr. Leventhal's assertion that residents of small counties don't qualify as people ("The People live in the big counties") is not only offensive..."

Gotta love Dyer's phony outrage. Who needs context, anyway?

"his claim that homeless panhandlers are actually professional, drug addicted criminals who drive in from out of state every morning."

So your "proof" of your previous completely imaginary "quote" is to publish another completely imaginary "quote".

And you keep wondering why no one takes you seriously when you claim to be a "journalist".

Robert Dyer said...

3:42: Total BS. If I go to a doctor for a problem, and the insurance won't pay for the visit and tests because I haven't reached the deductible, how did I receive coverage? Ergo, I cannot receive preventative care without paying out of pocket. Just because you have a gold-plated plan doesn't mean America's on the right track in healthcare. Did you not see the articles recently in the Post about people who can't get care because their deductible is so high after Obamacare? Good God, don't tell me you've added health insurance companies to closed sidewalks and Barwood Taxi as Things You Are The Only One In The World Who Is Enthusiastic About. "I just love waiting for Barwood cabs, and fighting on the phone to cover that expensive medical test!" - says no one but you, apparently.

Robert Dyer said...

3'49: Don't tell me, you missed that press conference, too, right? It was in all the papers. Your definition of journalist is about as accurate as your definition of deductible.

Anonymous said...

So it should be easy for you to provide a direct quote, then.

But you can't, since it only exists within your own vivid imagination.

Anonymous said...

Found you after a google search when I was alerted about this bill at a CCWRC meeting. After reading the language of the bill, I was scratching my head. How could anyone understand this? The language has "hide from the public" all over it. Thanks for giving me some insight

Anonymous said...

You are in over your head. Do you know that we already have a transit tax?

http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/finance/taxes/info.html

"County Property Tax – The General County tax is levied on all property in the County and funds, in part, such basic services as police protection, elementary and secondary education, the community college, transportation, health and social services, and libraries. There are additional County taxes that are levied either Countywide or in specially defined areas of the County to fund projects and programs. The following taxes are Countywide (all taxpayers pay these taxes): the Transit Tax, which funds public transportation services including the Ride On bus system..."

And if you care to be accurate, you would have done some research. The new transit tax would be levied by the Council, not this ITA. As are all county taxes.

Robert Dyer said...

7:17: It's so imaginary that a report called Leventhal's attempt to criminalize panhandling by the homeless as "cruel and unusual punishment." Baba Booey.

Robert Dyer said...

12:15: Duh, yes there is a tax. This one will be higher. The legislation gives the taxing power to the ITA, not the Council. Let's stick to the facts here.

Anonymous said...

Because Howard Stern is so famous for his concern for the less fortunate.