Thursday, June 30, 2016

Growing consensus on Montgomery County's moribund economy

Regular readers - and struggling businesspeople, entrepreneurs and job-seekers across Montgomery County - already know our County's private sector economy is moribund. I've been writing about it for years, and our impotent County Council has been in denial about it just as long. But in recent weeks, my message is finally being amplified by the mainstream media and...the County Council's own former staff members.

Recently, Washington Post reporter Bill Turque wrote about the County's "economically moribund eastern sector." Now, remarkably, that assessment is being reinforced by the former Chief of Staff for Councilmember Hans Riemer, Adam Pagnucco. The Post editorial board withdrew its 2014 endorsement of Riemer after considering the councilman's non-existent record of legislative accomplishment (although educated voters still await the newspaper's thorough review of Riemer's heavy donations from Wall Street and pioneers in outsourcing jobs overseas, like Mitt Romney's Bain Capital and Danaher Corporation).

Writing for The Seventh State this week, Pagnucco details the County's "stagnant economy" and "weak economic performance." He notes that per capita income in the County plunged during the Great Recession (which was caused by many of the same banks and Wall Street interests whose lobbyists donated to Riemer's 2010 and 2014 campaigns). And remarks on the County's "sluggish growth."

Pagnucco backs that up with devastating job numbers that show just how poorly Montgomery County has performed in relation to its rivals in the region. Listening to the Council that presided over this mess, you'd never imagine that MoCo actually has less private sector jobs today than it did in 2001. Ouch.

The rest of the region during that time? Their private sector job numbers actually grew at an average of 9.5% as we were declining, Pagnucco writes.

How many jobs did we gain during that time? None. In fact, we went into the negatives, losing 3885 jobs!

How did our rivals do during that same period?

Loudoun added 42,929 jobs. Double ouch.

D.C. added 78,011 jobs. Triple ouch.

Who else whipped Montgomery County under the leadership of this Council, the core of which has been in their seats since 2002?

Many rural Maryland counties including Frederick and Charles. And little dudes like Rappahannock in Virginia and Jefferson in West Virginia. That's right, the MoCo cartel had their [briefcases] handed to them by the backwoods of the region. Humiliating.

So much for Councilman George Leventhal's bizarre 2014 secessionist primal scream that "the people are in the big counties!!"

Of course, regular readers also are quite familiar with the reality that our County's lack of direct highway access to Dulles Airport, via a new Potomac River bridge, is one of the major reasons corporations don't want to locate here (along with the terrible business climate and high taxes). Would you believe that Pagnucco acknowledged this also in his piece? Yep.

These are major steps forward.

The Post editorial board has consistently told us this Council is wise and highly-qualified, and that their challengers are novice fools. But let's look at the facts.

If you ask the Council, they'll tell you business is booming. I've said it's moribund all along. Just the facts: Not a single major corporation has moved here in nearly 20 years. Not a single Chamber of Commerce in Montgomery County endorsed any sitting councilmember in the 2014 election, an unprecedented vote of no-confidence by business leaders. And now an actual Post journalist, and a former chief of staff for a sitting councilman, are sharing my assessment.

The Council has told us for years that we need massive residential development in order to reap the additional tax revenue. During all of that time, I've written that new development alone doesn't cover the costs of the new services and infrastructure it requires. Just the facts: Our ongoing structural budget deficit after a decade of massive residential development (such as Clarksburg growing in population by 800%) proves that the revenue simply doesn't cover the costs. If it did, we'd have a budget surplus. We don't. That's why the Council raised your taxes to a historic new level last month. And now several of these same councilmembers are admitting for the first time that development revenue is not covering the costs that same development creates.

The Council thought it could regulate free speech in crisis pregnancy centers. The Council was destroyed in court. It thought it could target one company's power plant to make it shut down. It was crushed in court again. It thought it could criminalize homelessness and panhandling. A non-profit condemned their efforts as "cruel and unusual punishment," in violation of the U.S. Constitution. Are these the wise men and women of law and letters of whom we've been told?

Not quite.

The emperor has no clothes, and the well-honed Council message is starting to sport some really nasty cracks in its cheap facade.

Montgomery County's private sector economy is indeed moribund. The word is out on the street.

Pagnucco is right. Turque is right. The Chamber of Commerce is right. The more than 10,000 people who have signed the petition for term limits are right. And I think the Council now has to admit, I've been right all along. 

Who is more qualified to serve on the Council? The guy who has been consistently right, or the impotent, incompetent people who have been consistently wrong, wrong, wrong?

Speaking of wrong, I do have to strongly disagree with Pagnucco's repeated assertion that the only people providing coverage of news in Montgomery County are Turque and Bethesda Magazine publisher Steve Hull. Again, if you're a regular reader here, you'd have to agree that's a bizarre and ridiculous statement.

Not only does this blog cover Bethesda and local government seven days a week, but my media company Suburban News Network has news sites that report on Rockville and Silver Spring/Wheaton/Takoma Park.

Rockville Nights is the leading Rockville news site, extensively covering government happenings in both the City of Rockville and the County, as well as dining, real estate and more. Check it out for yourself, and you'll find in-depth coverage of Rockville not available anywhere else.

And East MoCo reports on all of our "moribund eastern sector" of Montgomery County. Every weekday.

What makes Pagnucco's assertion about the supposed lack of local news outlets especially embarrassing, is that he himself commented on a lively discussion about my East MoCo blog on Facebook on February 24, 2014, and stated that I was "very active across a number of media platforms."

It takes some gall by Pagnucco, and old media gatekeepers like the Post and the Washingtonian (who both regularly promote websites more friendly and obsequious to Montgomery County elected officials) to continue to somehow deny I exist. This blog just turned ten years old last month. Ten years.

And guess which site reported our economy was moribund first?


Anonymous said...

(╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻

Anonymous said...

Cry me a river Dyer! Not like your policies would improve things around here.

Anonymous said...

No one reads Rockville nights. Half of the content there is just rants recycled from this blog, several days or weeks later.

Anonymous said...

"I exist, dammit!" saith Dyer.

Anonymous said...

How come Dyer's home town of Alexandria lost almost four times as many jobs, percentage-wise, as MoCo?

Anonymous said...

It's interesting that someone who refuses to post actual numbers to support ridiculous claims chooses to dig deep to cherry pick single words like "moribund" and then copy/paste stats from articles written by disgruntled political aides.

"Speaking of wrong, I do have to strongly disagree with Pagnucco's repeated assertion that the only people providing coverage of news in Montgomery County are Turque and Bethesda Magazine publisher Steve Hull. Again, if you're a regular reader here, you'd have to agree that's a bizarre and ridiculous statement."

No, what's bizarre and ridiculous are the biased, unfounded rants on this blog filled with invective, anecdotes, and personal attacks that you think qualifies as "news coverage." Even people who dislike the county government don't agree with your outlandish assertions.

"Riemer's heavy donations from Wall Street and pioneers in outsourcing jobs overseas, like Mitt Romney's Bain Capital and Danaher Corporation"

A. Lol. Riemer must have bullied you in school or something. This obsession is becoming unhealthy
B. All the Fortune 500's you love so dearly send jobs overseas
C. Aren't you a free-market Republican?

"He notes that per capita income in the County plunged during the Great Recession"

Yeah so did 99% of the other counties. You seriously are just discovering this? There's a reason it's called a 'recession.'

"Of course, regular readers also are quite familiar with the reality that our County's lack of direct highway access to Dulles Airport, via a new Potomac River bridge"

Hahaha. Let me fix that for you: "Of course, regular readers also are quite familiar with Dyer's disconnect from reality in his repeatedly bringing up the need for a $5 billion bridge that even Governor Hogan doesn't want because of the sheer absurdity of it"

Seriously, out of the thousands of comments on your political diatribes I doubt that even 1% agrees with you on the bridge, "moribund economy", or any of the other crackpot claims.

"How many jobs did we gain during that time? None. In fact, we went into the negatives, losing 3885 jobs!"

To those of you actually interested in facts I've posted Montgomery County's Employment and Wages below. Pretty much the one factual statement in Dyer's entire post is that Montgomery County did in fact lose lower wage private sector jobs since 2001 (obviously cherry picked since it was the peak, any other year would have shown a gain), but added 9,000 jobs overall during that period.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

2001 45893
2002 47198
2003 48886
2004 51801
2005 54160
2006 56396
2007 59700
2008 60881
2009 62392
2010 64305
2011 66238
2012 66983
2013 66172
2014 67512
2015 69988(P)

2001 449881
2002 453252
2003 449846
2004 448683
2005 458809
2006 464876
2007 459387
2008 457736
2009 443185
2010 441887
2011 447238
2012 450496
2013 451869
2014 455820
2015 458936(P)

Anonymous said...

Hey Birdbrain! I don't think they count amateur bloggers like you as professional news coverage of the County!

Steve Hell said...

Old legacy media forever!

Reporting from freelancers and summer interns from Bumfuck University is the future of MoCo journalism.

The Council will continue to be coddled.

Print media is the future, Dyer!

Anonymous said...

@ 8:48 AM - Still waiting for Dyer to promote you up from Mom's Basement's Sub-basement?

Anonymous said...

7:45am no one reads Rockville Nights? Lol.
It had four times the traffic of the old Rockville View blog last month, according to public web analytics.
It's pretty clear that Rockville Nights is the most popular Rockville news source.

Anonymous said...

If you want "rants" & "political diatribes", Bethesda Magazine serves those up daily.

The only diatribes on Dyer's site are from the nasty not so anonymous guy :)

Anonymous said...

8:29 Why do you feel you have to attack Dyer? Most of your rant is opinion. Like it's a personal vendetta or something.
And, let's be honest here, anyone can choose statistics that match their POV. You see it all the time from extremists to traditionalists.
And then... Do you think Dyer is the only individual who wants another bridge? It's always the same thing: the people want it and would use it, but the special interests & politicos don't. You know what? If they'd just built the damn thing all those freakin years ago, we wouldn't have the gridlock on the American Legion Bridge. And as far as a new bridge bringing more sprawl? Well, that's what planning boards are supposed to be for. Seriously. And here you would have thought planning boards were to see which developer would put the most money in their pockets.

Anonymous said...

@ 9:43 Just because someone has a different [and more logical] opinion than Robert's sorry ass, doesn't mean he is ATTACKING his scrawny, fast-food reviewing ass. Grow up and learn how to formally debate you heathen.

Anonymous said...

There is literally zero chance 943 is not Dyer

Anonymous said...

@ 9:43 - you have no way of proving that "we wouldn't have gridlock on the American Legion Bridge" if the second crossing had been built. An equally likely scenario would be BOTH bridges with gridlock.

Anonymous said...

@ 9:43 - just be happy that you have 1 bridge to hurl yourself off of. they don't need to build a second one for Dyer to jump with you either, there is plenty of room for the two of you

Anonymous said...

I'm 9:43AM. Now you're beating up on me?
I know how to debate and it doesn't involve insults. 8:29s post is full of personal attacks. He's not debating. Brush up on that reading comprehension, 10:09.
10:10 Wrong again. You might not want to bet on any baseball this weekend.
10:15 - maybe, maybe not. But, opinions are just that, opinions. That was mine. And you gave us yours.

I make an effort to keep it as real as I possibly can.

Anonymous said...

The county needs to remain strong. We need to get rid of problem areas. Once Westwood is built, and all that low income housing is in place, we need to convince all the Westbarders st start a 'Wexit' initiative to leave Montgomery County. That way, Westbard can join Prince George's county, which will be a better match for them.

Anonymous said...

@1042 shut up

Anonymous said...

@ 10:42 AM - you sound like a defensive, whinny little bitch. must be dyer

Anonymous said...

Silly little people. Scared of truth and questions.

You have a nice day though.

Anonymous said...

@ 11:13 AM - Wesbexit!

Anonymous said...

12:15 I DID read your entire post. And I replied to it. With the exception of the ending table, those are your opinions.

Do you think everyone who doesn't share your opinion is Dyer? That's pretty weird.

Anonymous said...

@ 12:29 PM - We think that anyone who shares Dyer's opinions is brain-damaged.

Anonymous said...

12:46 PM Pagnucco & Turque agree about MoCo's moribund economy. The chorus of voices in growing!

Anonymous said...

"It thought it could target one company's power plant to make it shut down."

Are you referring to Dickerson? That will be decommissioned next year. No more coal smoke for you, Dyer!

Anonymous said...

Hans Riemer's chief of staff and Robert Dyer reach common ground on a key problem: MoCo's stagnated economy.

Anonymous said...

"Loudoun added 42,929 jobs. Double ouch."

During that time period, Loudoun's population increased by over 200,000. So they had 5 new residents for every new private sector job created there.


Anonymous said...

MoCo's population grew by 125,000 during that same period.

Montgomery County
New residents - 125,000
New jobs - -3,885 (loss)
Job deficit - 128,885

Loudoun County
New residents - 200,000
New private sector jobs - 42,929
Job deficit - 157,071

Advantage - MOCO MACHINE!!!

Anonymous said...

@ 1:58 PM: Including Dyer, that "chorus" is one short of a barbershop quartet.

Anonymous said...

You can't spin the raw numbers that Dyer, Pagnucco & Turque are using.
Montgomery County has lost jobs. There's bi-partisan agreement on this among these three men.

Let's get the MoCo economy moving again!

Anonymous said...

"Raw numbers", in the complete absence of any kind of context, are meaningless.

That's why Dyer fails so miserably at any kind of numerical or statistical analysis.

Anonymous said...

7:49pm it's you against the numbers. Hard to spin a decrease in jobs.
Our people deserve better.

Robert Dyer said...

8:29: You sound like a maniac. The numbers Pagnucco cited ARE from the Bureau! And they regard the topic at hand, which is the moribund private sector economy in Montgomery County, and loss of jobs since 2001.

The jobs lost are not "low-wage" jobs, you're flat-out making that up.

Your barrage of statistics are not related to the topic in any way. Wages and employment do not measure the health of job creation in a jurisdiction, particularly in a moribund one like Montgomery that borders vibrant job centers.

The wages paid, and the jobs themselves, are mostly in Northern Virginia and DC. Unemployment rates in Montgomery County don't tell you anything about the job market within Montgomery County!

In contrast, the data presented by Pagnucco, and cited here, is actually germane to the topic, and does indeed show us that job creation is not just stagnant, but moribund - it's in the negatives. We've LOST jobs while Loudoun, Fairfax, and even the boondocks of Maryland and West Virginia GAINED jobs.

What about these hard numbers can you possibly dispute? What don't you understand about facts?

Robert Dyer said...

5:15: What's the positive spin in what you are presenting? We LOST JOBS!! Loudoun gained jobs. How would getting whipped in economic development and jobs possibly give MoCo an "advantage" over Loudoun, et al? Are you NUTS?!

Anonymous said...

"Not a single major corporation has moved here in nearly 20 years."

Wrong. Lots of corporations have opened offices, stores, restaurants, laboratories or other places of employment here.

Anonymous said...

The county's economy has calcified just as several do-nothing Councilmembers have calcified in their seats.

Folks like Mr. Leventhal need to move on. I swear he plans to hold on to his seat until he's 100. We need new voices with urgency on economic issues.

Anonymous said...

Leventhal was elected, then re-elected by the people of Montgomery County several times.

As opposed to Robin F*cker and Robert Dyer, who can't even get elected once.

If you don't like the choices of your fellow Montgomery County residents, maybe you need to move.

Anonymous said...

Nope, time for new leadership.

The numbers are stark- we're losing jobs.

Mr. Leventhal needs to wake up and focus on economic issues or move on and let someone else do it. We don't have to watch this man calcify in his seat while jobs evaporate.

Anonymous said...

"It takes some gall by Pagnucco, and old media gatekeepers like the Post and the Washingtonian (who both regularly promote websites more friendly and obsequious to Montgomery County elected officials) to continue to somehow deny I exist."

Dyer takes the food from Pagnucco's hand, then promptly bites it.

Anonymous said...

@Dyer 4:47

To those wondering why Dyer is acting so upset. It's because I destroyed his make-believe with actual facts and numbers. The subject is Montgomery County jobs and wages, well here are the numbers (as posted at "8:29 am"):

Total Montgomery County Jobs 2001 - 449,881
Total Montgomery County Jobs 2016 - 458,936

Montgomery County Average Annual Wages 2001 - 45,893
Montgomery County Average Annual Wages 2016 - 69,988

You can do the math, but somehow I doubt that any thinking person could come to the conclusion that "Montgomery County's overall economy is moribund" as posited here.

Please, don't take my word for it (I'm not Dyer):
1. Go to:
2. Look for: Quarterly Census of Employment & Wages - QCEW
3. Choose: Montgomery County, MD

No amount of Dyer's delusional ranting and raving will change the facts above, so it's no wonder he's so angry. Makes you wonder why he's consistently ignored, even by others who don't agree with some of the council's actions...

Anonymous said...

According to Dyer, Pagnucco says that Dyer "doesn't exist".

That kind of wrecks his credibility, doesn't it?

Anonymous said...

That's a dangerous site to get caught up in. I could make charts all day. I haven't yet been able to replicate Pagnucco's chart, so many options.
I have come up with a few interesting local charts and info.
Like between 2014 and 2015 the number of county employers reporting wages-paid dropped by .4%.

But 7:39, I do see what you're saying. Were you able to recreate Pagnucco's chart?

Robert Dyer said...

7:39: "No amount of" severe mental illness on your part will change the topic of this article, which you keep trying to change because you can't change the numbers.

This is about PRIVATE SECTOR jobs, not all jobs. MoCo has LOST private sector jobs since 2001. This is not about what wages people who live in Montgomery County earn, nor about how many of them are employed, because many of those wages and jobs are located OUTSIDE OF THE COUNTY.

Robert Dyer said...

8:28: It doesn't change the data.

Anonymous said...

How many residents of Loudoun County are employed outside that County? Given the deficit of new jobs to new residents, it's likely a substantial number.

Anonymous said...

Dyer @ 8:38 AM - "the data" is right when Dyer says it's right, wrong when he says it's wrong.

Robert Dyer said...

5:58: Sorry, but a CVS opening doesn't count as CVS moving their headquarters here. Wake up.

Anonymous said...

Ignoring, for a moment, your silly implication that the only new jobs in Montgomery County are minimum wage jobs...

When a CVS opens, that's new jobs created. If the corporate headquarters of CVS were moved here, those would be existing jobs transferred from elsewhere. In fact, most of the staff would be from the original location of the office rather than new hires in Montgomery County.

Robert Dyer said...

8:39: That's the whole point - the topic is about private sector jobs created WITHIN each jurisdiction. That's where the chart shows Loudoun destroyed Montgomery since 2001. You keep trying to add in public sector jobs that are plunked down by Uncle Sam regardless of business climate, and use unemployment rates, which DO NOT represent the job creation rate because they include jobs outside of Montgomery County.

It's clear that that the devastating numbers have rattled the MoCo cartel, based on your frantic and belligerent attempts to obfuscate the facts.

Robert Dyer said...

8:46: So why did Volkswagen have a massive hiring event for its new Virginia corporate headquarters a few years ago?

Anonymous said...

@8:36 Dyer

Hahaha. You of all people, are really in no position to call anyone mentally ill.

Anyways, you're clearly too caught up in your own delusions to read and comprehend my post, in which I agreed to the only factual statement you made--that Mont. Co. did lose [low-wage] private sector jobs between 2001 and 2015.

Maybe one day you'll wise up and take an economics class to figure out what a "moribund economy" actually is instead of ranting on about subjects you know absolutely nothing about.

Anonymous said...

Leventhal's folly is turning MoCo into a bedroom community. He's been on his Council Council seat so long that he's lost touch with reality.
Remember, Leventhal says he has to go to Northern VA to find a decent restaurant.

Anonymous said...

8:55 I'm curious. Do you know Dyer personally?
I'm asking because you inject personal information into your arguments, which makes me think you know him. Did you go to school with him?

Robert Dyer said...

8:55: Both BillTurque and Pagnucco agree with my assessment. Are they crazy, too?

Anonymous said...

@ 9:41 AM - One doesn't need to know Robert Dyer personally, to realize that he's batshit crazy. His own articles and comments here make that crystal-clear.

Anonymous said...

10:54AM So that would be a no.

You're judging by what is posted here? If that's your criteria, then 90% of the commenters here are bat-shit crazy, a few frighteningly so.

Anonymous said...

Rockville Nights isn't as good as Bethesda Row. First, it's got a really weird layout, and second, there are only posts on there a few times a week (as opposed to a few times a day) at most.

Anonymous said...

10:54 you're always dancing around the genesis of your obsession with Robert Dyer. You don't want to share your private pain with us I guess.

Anonymous said...

11:24AM Yeah, the layout is different and the background is a little overwhelming on Rockville Nights. Where else can you get Rockville info though? Has the downtown area ever had positive spin?

Anonymous said...

Dyer @ 10:05 AM - Do you agree with Pagnucco's assesment that you don't exist?

Anonymous said...

@ 11:32 AM - Psycobabble Shill is back.

Anonymous said...

Dyer @ 8:54 AM -

Volkswagen Group of America's headquarters used to be in Detroit. Poaching anything from that loser city is nothing to brag about.

Also, Volkswagen just got fined $18 billion, in the USA alone, for falsifying the emission tests for their diesel engines. Moribund!

Robert Dyer said...

6:45: You just dodged the question, and lost the debate several days ago.

Anonymous said...

Dyer @ 3:38 AM - "massive hiring event" sounds like something you have for minimum wage jobs such as janitors and other building staff. How many were actually hired at this event? How many of those positions were not minimum wage?

Robert Dyer said...

7:24: None of them were minimum wage.

Anonymous said...

Dyer @ 7:46 AM - Do you know this for a fact?

G. Money said...

7:54 - Everything Dyer says he knows for a fact. Dyer controls reality!

When Dyer said the Phillipines wasn't part of SE Asia, boom, it left SE Asia!