Thursday, April 14, 2016

Montgomery "County officials" go off deep end, call Westbard plan opponents "a small group"

You expect developers to refer to opponents as "a vocal minority." We've heard Montgomery County Planning Board Chair Casey Anderson claim there is a "silent majority" who support the Westbard urbanization plan, despite he and other "officials" being unable to produce the live bodies, public testimony or written communications to support such a laughable notion. Now, Bill Turque of the Washington Post reports he's been told by unnamed "County officials" that the thousands of residents opposed to the plan are actually "a small group that does not reflect majority sentiment in [the] surrounding neighborhoods."

To get a sense of how out-of-touch these clowns are with reality and their constituents, consider that that "small group" just carried off the biggest resident protest against the County Council in several decades. Hundreds marched in the protests last weekend. Yet no one can produce even one live body to mount a counterprotest, and they would claim that their invisible phantoms outnumber a group that can get hundreds of residents to come out on cold, rainy days to protest?

At every public venue for input, the opposition to the plan at every stage was overwhelming. That fact is not up for dispute. Period. And it's all on the public record for anyone to review.

The only "officials" quoted in the article are Montgomery County Councilmembers. This is the first time I can recall councilmembers terming a mass uprising by their constituents to be "a small group."

What a rude awakening they will be in for on November 6, 2018, when they will be voted out of office - if term limits don't kick them out first.

This despicable, low-down dirty tactic is a new low even for the County Council. They should be ashamed of themselves for blatantly lying to the press and the public, and should be investigated, just as our Planning Department needs to be. Start with the Farm Road scandal, start turning over every rock, and you might be amazed by what the FBI could find.

The "battle over the future of Westbard" is just getting started, and will end with their defeat and ejection from office.

Three words for the County Council to mull over before May 3: "Neal." "Potter." "1990."


Anonymous said...

"unable to produce the live bodies, public testimony or written communications to support such a laughable notion"

Millennials (including yours truly) make up a growing portion of the county's population, and very much favor higher densities, more mixed-use development, and better retail/entertainment/eating/drinking options

However, since we actually have to work for a living, and have far more important things to worry about like paying back student loans, building careers and relationships, etc., showing up to a meeting during the day or early evening is very, very low on our list of priorities.

Instead, we vote with our feet when our lease is up, and move to DC or Arlington. So much for attracting highly-educated young professionals to revive the "moribund" economy.

Robert Dyer said...

6:33: So if you don't vote in November, you believe you have a greater say in how things should go than those who do? That's your argument.

There is a process. If you choose not to participate, you forfeit your right to complain.

Millennials are already going to DC and Arlington - that's where the jobs are. The MoCo economy is moribund because the impotent, incompetent, and corrupt County Council haven't been able to attract a major corporate headquarters here in almost two decades.

How do you expect "highly educated young professionals" to come to the County when they go where the jobs are?

You're claiming the doctors, lawyers, lobbyists, and other professionals protesting don't "work for a living"? Give me a break. Your job is more important?

If you don't care enough to show up, you don't have the right to complain.

Anonymous said...

Right, the majority of people (not just millennials) also work for a living, worry about paying back loans, raising children, keeping careers. Getting to a meeting during the day or early evening is very, very low on our list of priorities.

You're not so special after all.

And will you feel this way in 5-10 years? Or are we doing all this urbanization for the 18-35 crowd and the over 65ers?

Anonymous said...

When did I say I didn't vote? I just don't have the time to go to planning meetings/council sessions in the middle of the day, since I think my career is slightly more important. I've voted in every primary and general election that I've been eligible for, and am happy with how the executive, council, and planning commission are representing my interests, as well as those of the rest of the "silent majority."

The anti-development classist, ageist, racist NIMBY minority can expect to be disappointed again in 2018, when the executive and council that you hate so much is easily re-elected, thanks to county residents who would actually like to see this county progress.

I was using "moribund" sarcastically. It's obvious from the ridiculous statements that you post on this site that you know absolutely nothing about either economics or the meaning of "moribund." Any regional economist, C-level business executive, or quite frankly, anyone with common sense, would tell you that Montgomery County's economy is far from "moribund." Besides a couple of Westbard NIMBY firebrands, it's clear that nobody takes your commentary on economics or planning seriously.

People follow jobs, but jobs go to where the human capital is. Silicon Valley firms aren't going to move to Cincinnati or St. Louis no matter how business friendly they are. Ask Arne Sorenson what his priorities are in relocating Marriott.

Robert Dyer said...

7:19: Meetings were held at all hours of the day. You have no excuse to have not weighed in. You obviously didn't care, or would have been there.

Marriott's "priority" is getting the most money, and the biggest tax break.

I hope you are subtracting all the government jobs before giving your analysis of the private sector economy of Montgomery County, which is indeed moribund.

How many major corporations moved here since the turn of the century? ZERO.

If you enthusiastically support the MoCo political cartel, then I'm not surprised you disagree with a blunt, honest assessment of the mess your incompetent friends on the Council have gotten us into.

Anonymous said...

Let's be fair here for a moment. 300 protestors is a fairly good size. But it really ultimately is a small group all things considered with the county size, voter numbers, residents in the area, etc.

Robert Dyer said...

7:47: No, it is a huge group. Where have you seen a resident protest of this size against the Council, even on other controversial issues?

Hint: Never!

When you can turn that many people out for a real resident protest, you know the anger is widespread.

"County size" is completely irrelevant in the preservation of the quality of life in one of its neighborhoods.

Kgn01800111 said...

A VERY interesting follow-on story would be a closer examination of Berliner's campaign donations in 2015 from attorneys at Linowes & Blocher, one of the law firms representing developer Equity One in Westbard proposal:

Robert Dyer said...

7:19: Are you "happy" with the County Council policies that resulted in two illegal immigrants kidnapping and raping a 12-year-old girl in Wheaton? These are the clowns you tout as a success? #ThrowTheBumsOut

Robert Dyer said...

7:55: Indeed - or that Nancy Floreen got a $250 check from Equity One attorney Barbara Sears. Is that why Barbara Sears got to talk during the worksessions run by Floreen, while residents sat in silence? #PayToPlay

Anonymous said...

7:19 Again, do you think you are the only one who doesn't go to meetings because they're working?

The fact that you'll insult people so easily belies your true identity. "The anti-development classist, ageist, racist NIMBY minority" shows just how little you actually do know.

Slurs over substance is what makes you seem ancient.

Anonymous said...

"Are you 'happy' with the County Council policies that resulted in two illegal immigrants kidnapping and raping a 12-year-old girl in Wheaton?"

Wow, that was random. What does this have to do with a discussion on zoning/development policy?

Anonymous said...

So when is Dyer going to disclose who contributed to his two campaigns? Can we assume that anyone who contributed more than $1, owns his mortal soul?

Anonymous said...

Last evening I received an email from the PR firm representing Equity One, asking for support for their "scaled down" plan for Westbard. However, when I go to website, there is no link to the plan. They want people to sign their petition. Wonder if Robert knows what this is all about? Is there a link to this new plan? Thanks

Anonymous said...

(I'm 6:33 and 7:19)

"You obviously didn't care, or would have been there."

I was speaking in general terms. I don't live in Westbard and couldn't care less if the residents want to keep their "charming" neighborhood the way it is, although it is pretty sad to see so much ignorance and prejudice put on public display.

"Marriott's "priority" is getting the most money, and the biggest tax break."

If that was the case they would pack up for Texas. Of course they're using they're valuable position to coerce money out of the government (just like everyone else), but they're stated priority is securing a new space in a transit-accessible area appealing to millennials and other young professionals.

"I hope you are subtracting all the government jobs before giving your analysis of the private sector economy of Montgomery County, which is indeed moribund."

Well that makes sense. Let's decide to ignore the bread and butter of the regional economy before we analyze the economy. I didn't realize well-paying government jobs were worth less than well-paying private sector jobs, which have a tendency to shrivel up during the downside of the economic cycle.

By the way, last I checked Montgomery County's biotech hub was one of the nation's largest and is bursting at the seems. I know you're education on such things is very limited, but biotechs are typically classified as private sector enterprises.

There are 3,142 counties in the United States, 134 of them with populations greater than 500,000. I'm willing to bet that no more than 5-10 of them has attracted a single Fortune 500 company in the past decade, which I guess would make them "moribund," according to your absurd definition. And I'm sure if you took a close look at the jurisdiction's that did manage to secure these "major corporations," you'll discover that it cost them a ton of taxpayer dollars in financial incentives.

I'm not saying that it's a problem, but if counties like Fairfax (which is growing at a much slower rate than all of its neighbors, including Montgomery, by the way) have such amazing business environments, why are they paying these companies to relocate?

Anonymous said...

The Post article perpetuates the fiction that there are "two sides" battling over this plan.
Bethesda residents are overwhelmingly and firmly against this plan.

Where are the residents FOR the plan? They haven't materialized in numbers yet beyond anonymous online comments. The only folks FOR the plan don't live here and are involved financially (developer, Council members, etc.)

Anonymous said...

We need to secede Westbard from the county. Is there a way to get a referendum?

Anonymous said...

Probably more accurate to say Westbard residents are overwhelmingly and firmly against this plan.

The planning department and county council have seemed to reach a compromise between themselves.

The land owner is obviously for it (and more).

The construction company would welcome the contract.

Any new residents that move into the new housing are for it.


Hence the multiple sides perspective.

Anonymous said...

Nothing at all. Nothing at all.

Anonymous said...

Oh wow $250 is all it takes to buy a council member to make them do whatever you want??!!

Anonymous said...

9:12 - you said "it is pretty sad to see so much ignorance and prejudice put on public display" when referring to Westbard residents.
Come on, you're certainly intelligent enough to not buy into the whole invented biases crap, aren't you?
Then why perpetuate it with phrases like "anti-development classist, ageist, racist NIMBY minority?"

Anonymous said...

9:45 AM -

"Conversion thinking" is the projection of one's own qualities and intention onto other persons, social groups, or nations. A selfish person would tend to believe that other people primarily had selfish motives even when they appeared to be acting altruistically.

In this case, Robert Dyer assumes that, because the gift of a free restaurant meal will cause him to write a glowing review of said restaurant, our elected County Council members will sell their souls for a campaign gift of $250 or $500.

Anonymous said...

"Bethesda residents are overwhelmingly and firmly against this plan."

No, they're not. Even if a significant majority of Westbard-area residents were in fact against the plan, they would represent a tiny proportion of "Bethesda".

Anonymous said...

10:17 AM Where are the Bethesda residents FOR the plan? I haven't seen them.

You're not offering any evidence that there are anywhere near as many Bethesda residents for the plan compared to the masses we're seeing against it.

Anonymous said...

I am convinced that the county council "Vision for Westbard" is something 100% concocted and made up to promote their progressive Urban agenda that no one wants other than those with financial interests.

Because their is no actual "silent majority" (completely bogus) they are facing backlash like they've never seen and will ultimately cost them their positions in 2018.

During our Save Westbard march on Westbard Iast Friday , I was very interested to see these Equity One people and some supporters for the plan but all I saw were police cruisers called on us? Where are the supporters? No where to be seen.

Anonymous said...

If you polled people inside the boundaries of the vague area called "Bethesda" a majority would have no opinion of this plan. Most in the county probably have not heard about this.

Anonymous said...

@6:33 Are you female? If so, I'd like to marry you.

As for supporters of the plan, I like the Berliner plan as it seems like a reasonable compromise. All indicators I see are that this is the plan that will move forward, so why do I need to go to Westbard and protest in favor of something I think will happen anyway?

Anonymous said...

Have the majority of Bethesda residents given any opinion at all on the plan? No, they haven't. Does this mean that a small but very vocal minority of residents who oppose the plan should determine its future? No.

Anonymous said...

And concrete canyons, developers having council members in their back pockets or buddies, etc don't perpetuate it as well?

Anonymous said...

To the millennial (6.33, 7.19, 9.12) who supports the Council's plan, but then states "I don't live in Westbard and couldn't care less (see 9.12):

You prove Dyer's point. The people who live in/near Westbard overwhelmingly oppose the redevelopment plan. While Councilmembet Berliner's alternative is a step in the right direction, an even lower density/height plan such as the Save Westbard proposal needs to be considered for enactment.

Where are the supporters of this plan? They didn't even show up last Friday for free food offered by Equity One, a move intended to blunt the demonstration. I've attended and expressed my views at numerous public meetings, Planning Board hearings and Council hearings on Westbard. Across all of those meetings combined, there have been fewer than five residents who supported proposed densities and heights.

As for your comment that opponents of Westbard are ageist, classist and racist:
-That is shameful stereotyping. The Save Westbard protestors included minorities, people of all ages (elementary school, teens, young parents, middle aged, seniors) and people who live in Westbard Avenue apartments, including the Housing Opportunities Commission building.
-FWIW, I strongly oppose the original plan and support considering and perhaps enacting a scale down of the Berliner compromise. I'm also a supporter of affordable housing and racially inclusive neighborhoods. What I am against is over development and a planning process that favors the interests of developers over existing residents. I'd welcome an even-handed process in which the County acts as an honest broker. That hasn't happened yet.

Anonymous said...

Saith the Moribund Dyer:

"The 'battle over the future of Westbard' is just getting started, and will end with their defeat and ejection from office.

"Three words for the County Council to mull over before May 3: 'Neal.' [sic] 'Potter.' [sic] '1990.' [sic]"


Patty the Milkmaid was going to market carrying her milk in a pail on her head. As she went along she began calculating what she would do with the money she would get for the milk.

"I'll buy some chickens from Farmer Brown," said she, "and they will lay eggs each morning, which I will sell to the parson's wife. With the money that I get from the sale of these eggs I'll buy myself a new dimity frock and a chip hat; and when I go to market, won't all the young men come up and speak to me! Polly Shaw will be that
jealous; but I don't care. I shall just look at her and toss my head like this."

As she spoke she tossed her head back, the Pail fell off it, and all the milk was spilt.

So she had to go home and tell her mother what had occurred.

"Ah, my child," said the mother: "Do not count your chickens before they are hatched."

Anonymous said...

"They didn't even show up last Friday for free food offered by Equity One."

We don't show up wherever just because someone is offering free food. You are thinking of Dyer.

Anonymous said...

I think that a number of points are clear:

1. People who live in the vicinity of Westbard are overwhelmingly opposed to this plan.

2. The plan does not have substantial public support. The "silent majority" is indifferent one way or the other, hence their silence.

3. Developers and their representatives have had far more substantive access to planners and County Council staff (and possibly to Planning Board and the Council) than has been given to residents. This means that developers (not residents) have had much greater influence in shaping both the original plan and the Berliner plan. In other words, the process is weighted toward the interests of developers and citizens are short-changed.

Council member Nancy Floreen has called the degree of unhappiness with the Berliner compromise unprecedented. She's right.

Bottom line: Montgomery County's planning process is broken and needs to be overhauled. My question: what is the Council going to do between now and early May to allow concerned Westbard area residents to influence the final shape of the plan? Without that, the delay is just window dressing.

Anonymous said...

11.59: You're right. Westbard supporters don't show up for free food. You don't show up for charrettes, public meetings, or public hearings, either. But you're great at throwing snark at Dyer. Why not try something constructive for once?

Anonymous said...

"a small but very vocal minority"...classic PR firm line :)

Robert Dyer said...

8:28: The guy claimed he was thrilled with the job the Council was doing. We know they're losers at economic development and traffic congestion - how about their crime record? Whoops - they are horrific at that, too. Throw the bums out!

Robert Dyer said...

10:09: Hysterical comment. You sound like one of the councilmembers. All you have to do is look at their votes on development issues - and allowing $250 Barbara Sears to talk, but not residents - to know that, yes, these folks can be bought for $250.


Robert Dyer said...


They are outnumbered by Jim Webb and Jim Gilmore voters!

Robert Dyer said...

11:16: Because if the County Council thinks they'll lose their seats, it won't happen. They're counting on your complacency - and we know how well they can count, from their annual budget deficits.

Anonymous said...

Dyer still hasn't released his campaign contributions in 2010 and 2014.


Anonymous said...

2:38 PM If you're looking for Dyer contributions from the likes of Barbara Sears, Bane Capital, etc., I doubt you'll find them.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Elected officials know that for every citizen that writes a letter or shows up, there are another 8 - 10 that feel the same way. They are the people in the person's family or social circle.

A protest of 300 people is the equivalent of 3,000 citizens expressing the same opinion. That's just a reality. Is 3,000 a small number to our Councilmembers?

Commence with responses from paid lobbyists for developer, or are you watching the Caps game?

Anonymous said...

"A protest of 300 people is the equivalent of 3,000 citizens expressing the same opinion."

No, it's the equivalent of 300 citizens expressing that opinion. Really, where did you get that odd formula? How does one person magically equal "10 citizens", just because he/she expressed his/her opinion in the parking lot of the shopping center rather than from his/her keyboard at home?

Anonymous said...

His comes from McDonald's, Wendy's, Greenhill, Karr...

Robert Dyer said...

6:26: Well, if we go by your "one person one vote" rule, you're even more sunk, because proponents have only a sliver of the communication sent to Planning Board and Council.

Meaning the opposition is overwhelming any way you slice it.

Anonymous said...

6:20 PM You are still on the clock! Gotta get in those billables!

Yes, 300 is the equivalent of 3,000. That's a known formula.

Look it up! Get more billable hours in tonight! Do you get paid by the word count?

Anonymous said...

@2:38: Who do you work for?

Anonymous said...

The Council can do the wreckless thing and pass this insane plan that their constituents who are firmly against. No one can stop them.

The question is, can Bethesda residents organize and punish the Council at the ballot box?

Anonymous said...

"The question is, can Bethesda residents organize and punish the Council at the ballot box?"

Nope. Arithmetic is not on your side.

First, it's not "Bethesda residents". It's residents in the handful of neighborhoods around Westbard.

And now, the arithmetic. For the sake of argument, let's assume the wildest claims of 3,000 residents opposing the plan.

-Rice, Katz, Navarro and Hucker represent Districts 2, 3, 4, and 5. These districts do not include Westbard, or the Bethesda area in general.

-Leventhal, Elrich, Floreen and Riemer represent the entire County, with a population of 1 million. 3,000 is 0.3% of 1 million.

-Berliner represents Westbard and the Bethesda area in general. But he also represents all of western Montgomery from the District line to the border of Frederick County. He represents one-fifth of the County, a population of 200,000. 3,000 is 1.5% of 200,000.

Good luck with those numbers.

Robert Dyer said...

5:16: You're forgetting how many communities the Council has angered this term. Lyttonsville. Damascus. Westbard, to name a few. Aspen Hill next.


Anonymous said...

Don't forget the White Flint community, where hoards of people will happily cross 12 lanes of traffic because there's a pretty park in the middle. SMH

Anonymous said...

"Lyttonsville. Damascus. Westbard, to name a few. Aspen Hill next."

Lol so like <5% of the county assuming every single resident of those counties are unhappy with the council.

The only council member who would see any marginal effect whatsoever at the ballot box is Berliner, who is going to run for executive anyway. If communities downcounty want to keep their NIMBY ideals, they should incorporate so they can make their own planning rules. Rockville is incorporated and has their own anti-growth planning commission.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

"The Save Westbard protestors included minorities, people of all ages (elementary school, teens, young parents, middle aged, seniors) and people who live in Westbard Avenue apartments, including the Housing Opportunities Commission building."

Minorities? Lol. You might want to examine Dyers 300,000 pictures of the Westbard meetings and demonstrations.

And NIMBY grandparents who use their grandchildren to help them demonstrate does not count as age diversity.

Robert Dyer said...

7:07: You should examine them yourself to see that you were wrong - black, Asian American, Latino, young, old. And nobody judging people on their age or appearance, like you.

Now about your friends on the County Council who have opposed every black candidate for U.S. Senate from the state of Maryland...why are they so racist?

Anonymous said...

Now really, who other than pro-developers are going to be insulting children?

And why is 7:07 so intent on promoting bias?

Anonymous said...

Children can't vote. So their presence at last week's rallies is meaningless in terms of measuring the level of opposition to the plan.

Anonymous said...


One angry guy babbling about "Soviet style apartment blocks".

Anonymous said...

@7:30 am -

You have not met the Lyttonsville residents, have you? You probably forgot they were the community that stopped their local park from becoming a massive middle school.

Of course, you would not know about that effort because you do not even live in Maryland.

Anonymous said...

"...stopped their local park from becoming a massive middle school."

NIMBYs use overcrowded schools as a reason for opposing development.

Yet, NIMBYs oppose building new schools that would relieve this overcrowding. And they view blocking the construction of a new school, as some sort of perverse accomplishment.

"Tschootspa!" as Michelle Bachmann put it so eloquently.

Anonymous said...

#Neal Potter. YES.

Anonymous said...

@1:44 NIMBY's shop at Giant.
NIMBY's drive cars.
NIMBY's go to Ocean City.
NIMBY's pay your salary!

Goodness Nimby's are everywhere. What does it stand for?

Are you really this stupid?

The Lytonnsville community stopped MCPS from building a massive middle school in their park because they knew the history of the park. They were smarter than you!

They knew the park used to be an ammunitions location and could not be excavated.

Now, call them some more names. Because it only makes you look stupider and stupider.

Anonymous said...

Crabby NIMBY is crabby.

Anonymous said...

What vocabulary. U edumacated?

Anonymous said...

@7:20: Bingo. They are trolls, bought and paid for.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Neal Potter's dead, mang.

Anonymous said...

6:30 Troll at it again.

Anonymous said...

Can't you even wait three minutes, William?

Anonymous said...

6:42 Who do you represent? Are you a resident?

Anonymous said...

"Whom". Object of the verb.

Anonymous said...

7:09 Who or whom, still not hearing an answer from said troll.

Anonymous said...

What makes you think you are entitled to one, Grand Poobah of Upper Buttcrack?

Anonymous said...

7:30: That's of THE Upper Buttcrack troll.

No food for you here, move along.


Anonymous said...

"#IDTheTrolls", says Anonymous.

Anonymous said...

Who is William?

Anonymous said...

Take a look at some of the Save Westbard pictures. There were definitely minorities there: blacks, Asians, Latinos, people of Indian or similar heritage.

As for children: they were partcipating enthusiastically, with parents (not just grandparents.) That definitely counts as age diversity.

Try to let the facts penetrate your bias. This was a diverse crowd and representative of the area.

Anonymous said...

@ 7.27: Supporters of Westbard are trying to portray the opposition as seniors only. Observers are pointing out that people of all ages turned out. That is a fact.

Pretty funny how desperate Westbard supporters are getting. Seniors don't count! Children don't count!

But those who don't express an opinion-- they count!

C'mon. Give it a rest.

Anonymous said...

Nothing wrong with wanting to retain a park.

Anonymous said...

Meaningless comment.

Anonymous said...

I had to look up Neal Potter. He was a long-term member of the Montgomery County Council who became County Executive in an upset election in 1990. His platform was slow growth and careful development.

Potter was a man of integrity who relied on data. His stance was influenced by the taking of his family's farm to make way for the Beltway. He was praised for his intellect and his fairmindness. Potter died in 2008 at the age of 93.

We could use more Neal Potters in County government.

Anonymous said...

@ 4:17 PM - Funny, I've searched and I've searched Google, and I can't find anything about that park having been an ammo dump. Perhaps you're imagining things as usual?

Anonymous said...

Actually there are aerial back and white photos that were entered into "evidence" during the second site selection. It was not an ammo dump it was an anti air craft military installation. There were barracks for the soldiers stationed there. Once there was no more need, the property was transferred/sold to the county. The army installation was buried under what is now the soccer field, which is why it is a raised mound. If you go there you can also still see patches of concrete from the old construction. Back in the 1970s there was a lot less environmental concerns, it was just covered over and grass was planted.

I don't have it handy but the installation even had a number. There were several of these ringing DC during the Cold War.

Nearby Walter Reed, now called the Fort Detrick Annex, once the site of an exclusive girls private school, there was also a lot of medical waste buried in the baseball field. Guess that's the way they disposed of toxic waste back in the day.

Anonymous said...

Well, if there is a risk of unexploded ordnance there, then it shouldn't be used as a park, either.

Anonymous said...

We aren't worried. Just don't dog it up. But I have a feeling you weren't worried either, but couldn't come up with anything else to say:-)

Anonymous said...

That would be dig, dogs do dog it up.