Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Incumbents reelected to Springfield Civic Association board in Bethesda (Photos)

A record crowd of 200 jammed into a room at Wood Acres Elementary School in Bethesda last night to elect officers of the Springfield Civic Association. Because paid membership was required to vote, it is also believed the association has achieved its highest membership level in history. Much of the interest in the election was in regard to the Westbard sector plan, and pending redevelopment of sites there owned by developers Equity One and Capital Properties. Springfield directly borders the sector plan area.

As the election went beyond the 9:00 PM scheduled end for the meeting, most people had to leave before the results were announced - incumbents President Phyllis Edelman, 1st Vice-President Rob Snow, 2nd Vice-President Steve Schultz, Secretary Tom McCann, Treasurer Jason Sartori, Security Chair Colin Helmer, Zoning Chair Pete Salinger, Environment Chair T. Reid Lewis, Traffic Chair Ted Hermes, and Newsletter Editor Amanda Wood were all reelected by sizable margins. Exactly 200 ballots were cast.

Edelman announced that the SCA has hired land-use attorney David Brown to represent the neighborhood's interests related to the Westbard redevelopment. Attorney Michele Rosenfeld is already representing a group of residents who have sued Montgomery County over alleged violations of County and State law by the County Council and Planning Board in approving the Westbard sector plan.


Anonymous said...

MoCo loves incumbents! Buh-bye, Question B.

Anonymous said...

Talk to us again on Nov 9th. You may be singing a different tune.

Anonymous said...

They need term limits.

Anonymous said...


Springfield Resident said...

What you need to know is that the challengers were members of the Save Westbard group who hoped to coop the good name and finances of the civic association for their own purposes. So think of this as a takeover thwarted by record voter turnout rather than a re-election of incumbents by disinterested voters. Save Westbard made a number of unfounded & unpleasant allegations in their electioneering irking residents who responded by rejecting the challenger canddiates.

Anonymous said...

Thanks 1:48PM!

Anonymous said...

@1:48 pm:

You have repeated an untrue and ugly smear about the SaveWestbard for Springfield candidates.
-FACT: There was no attempt at a "takeover".
-FACT: The challengers were long-time Springfield residents who have lived in Springfield for an average of 20 years each.
-FACT: The challengers slate included active members of SCA who have worked hard for the association.
-FACT: Members of the incumbent board have publicly complimented members of the challengers slate for their Westbard advocacy and communications with the community.

As for untrue allegations in the challengers' electioneering: I heard none, and would be interested in details. What are they?

(I did see one pointed email about late-breaking changes to the SCA election process: a new photo ID requirement and a new 1 minute limitation on candidates' presentations. These changes were announced October 29 and November 1 and arguably worked against the challengers. The incumbents made these changes unilaterally and I can understand why the challengers were concerned.)

Anonymous said...

@1:48 pm and Springfield community:

I have worked with *both* SCA and Save Westbard, and am friends with leadership in both groups and candidates who ran on both skates. Both groups are comprised of good people who care deeply about Springfield and the Westbard issue. Both groups have their strengths and limitations:
-The newly-reelected SCA leadership knows County planners and leadership well, and is effective in working inside the current system. On the other hand, they are cautious and have been reluctant to "push the envelope" in their advocacy.
-Save Westbard is just the opposite. They are innovative and creative and have found new ways to advocate for the community (lawsuit, use of electronic communications, rallies, surveys, formation of alliances across neighborhoods.) On the other hand, their direct challenges to County officials have upset some.

Interesting both conservative/"insider" approaches (SCA) and direct/"outside" approaches (SaveWestbard) are needed to address the Westbard issue comprehensively. Together, SCA and SaveWestbard would be a powerhouse.

Both groups and their leaders are smart, honest
and effective. They should pool efforts and collaborate.

SaveWestbard said...

Dear @1:48:

Your slanderous comments are inappropriate and offensive. If you are going to slander us, do so under your own name and OWN your comments.

TRUTH: Before this election, the SCA had not mentioned Westbard or the development or the Sketch Plan to residents since June 26, 2016. That's an awkward 5 month silence on the biggest thing happening around Springfield and the wider community, don't you think? SaveWestbard, meanwhile, manages to update residents on a weekly basis. SCA can own their communications failure. Miraculously, on the eve of the election, SCA managed to file comments on the Sketch Plan; they even managed to tell the residents about these comments on the eve of the election, unlike every other time they file things "on our behalf."
TRUTH: The claim that SW was going to "coop the good name and finances" of the SCA for their own purposes reeks of ill will. If SW residents care about their community, then they have every right to challenge those who suppress information and behave in a secretive manner. By the way, "their money"??? That money belongs to the good citizens and residents of Springfield; the Board merely oversees the funds. Gee, I paid into that "community action" fund, you know, the one that was supposed to be used to hire a lawyer? Oh that's right ... NOW they have a lawyer, finally.
TRUTH: SCA demanded photo IDs on October 29 ... do they really think that Springfield residents are going to LIE about their residency? Offensive.
TRUTH: The SCA will be a BETTER SCA because of the challenge to their positions. They're already getting better ... you see, SCA was suddenly chock-full of information once they understood that residents expected the civic association to COMMUNICATE with them. They are on notice that residents expect more from them. That is a WIN for everyone, no matter what. Transparency is the best policy.
TRUTH: The SCA looked for TWO YEARS for a lawyer to help Springfield. Golly, it's HARD to find a lawyer in DC. Not. SW found a lawyer in May, 2016, right after the Council decision. SW raised the money to pay the lawyer. Meanwhile, SCA diddled around and didn't look into the litigation option. Ineffective applies here.
TRUTH: SW is better at communications and advertising than the SCA.
TRUTH: The SCA President reads EVERY SINGLE SW communication. Yes, really; MailChimp doesn't lie. She even clicks our links to access the documents that she NEVER provides to the citizens. Other citizen associations freely share SW emails because they know that SW is making a difference. Too bad SCA is so short-sighted.
TRUTH: SW managed to run two community surveys. How many did SCA run? Oh, that's right, NONE. The 10-year old CCCFH CUA study should have been updated; it was not.
TRUTH: SCA LIKED the Berliner shell game "compromise." Maybe SCA should have asked the residents prior to lapping-up the CCCFH resolution? Hint: The residents did not and do not like the CCCFH resolution and/or the Berliner compromise. How do we know? Because WE asked them, unlike the SCA.

REPEAT: If SCA improves its communications, and becomes a BETTER board because of their challenged election, then we will ALL be better off. I've heard of sore losers, but in this case, 1:48, you are quite the bitter winner. SW put on its big-boy pants and publicly congratulated the incumbents. Sounds like SW is prepared to soldier onward and advocate for the community. Perhaps you could take a cue?

4:16 got it right. Thanks, 4:16.

5:32 PM

Anonymous said...

Thank you, citizens of Springfield, for your heroic resistence against Robert Dyer's attempted Anschluss.

Anonymous said...

Glad to see that @1:48's comments have been disputed. Why are SCA supporters, even after victory, resorting to vilification about their defeated opponents? This smacks of fear and paranoia, neither of which is accurate or fitting.

Springfield was lucky to have a choice of two good slates. That is democracy in action.

Elm said...

"Slanderous comments are inappropriate and offensive."
Save Westbard is getting a taste of the attacks Robert Dyer received from the Westbard developer's PR firm and their paid associates in local legacy media.

Anonymous said...

Save Springfield is getting a taste of the attacks Robert Dyer's many critics receive from Dyer's lone shill and many sockpuppet accounts.

Anonymous said...

The late Montgomery Gazette and Dyer have been the only two media outlets that reported comprehensively and fairly on Westbard. I disagree with many of Dyer's political views, but his reporting on Westbard developments has been accurate.

Westbard area residents owe a vote of thanks to Dyer for his reporting. Bethesda Beat and the Washington Post can't hold a candle to him. How do I know? I have attended most of the Westbard events on which Dyer reports. He gets the story right.

Anonymous said...

Excellent point.

Anonymous said...

This comment is incoherent. Try again.

Elm said...

8:29 PM Agreed, but duck since you're about to be anonymously attacked by the Bethesda Beat guy who can't stand seeing a positive word about Robert Dyer.

Westbard Concerned Citizens said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Wow Save Westbard folks have thin skin and zero class.

Westbard Concerned Citizens said...

Hi, 8:32 a.m.

I will remove my prior comment because it has upset you. Also, upon further reflection, your comment made me realize that -- despite known and verifiable facts -- it does not really matter at this point. While airing the truth in this matter is important, I am far more concerned about what will happen with regard to excessive over-development at Westbard than whether or not all the residents have consumed and understood all the relevant facts. The SCA needs to communicate more effectively, and needs to be more transparent, especially where a conflict of interest exists in plain view. The conflict of interest could be resolved, of course, by an acknowledgement by the SCA that it exists and that steps have been taken to ensure that the conflict does not negatively affect Springfield. That was the point of my prior post.

Anonymous said...

When you have no facts, insult your opponent. Trumpism, right here.

Is it really 'democracy in action' when the incumbents present their case for over an hour, and challengers are held to a single effing minute? Whichever side you're on, you ought to be able to recognize this as Putinesque.

The flip-flops by SCA over the years astound me; the residents, by contrast, seem consistent in their passivity and acquiescence to the governing regime. To limit challengers to a minute or two of "free speech" better resembles the county's
structuring of public hearings, that even denies supporters the flexibility of pooling their alloted time to speak, than anything we might recognize as deliberative democracy.

There is a deep cultural divide here, between folks who believe that being 'consulted' and then accepting Berliner's shell game as a 'compromise' is effective representation, and on the other hand, folks who believe--and perhaps understand from past experience with the county--that playing by their rules leads to only one result. As Stalin said, I don't care about elections, if I can count the votes.

If term limits pass, you think the MoCo tools, or their familiars in SCA, will reform? Rather, with the gravy train facing an expiration date, they'll redouble their abasement before developers. More tax hikes for residents, and more relief deals for developers.

Anonymous said...

A clarification is in order: the SCA Board member was hired as a part-time consultant to the Planning Department. Still, the larger point is correct: SCA should have disclosed this to the community as a matter of good faith.

Had a question about this not been raised by an audience member, most SCA members would still be in the dark,

Note: this does not mean that any impropriety occurred-- just that SCA should have proactively communicated this to residents.

The big win: SCA appears to have stepped up its communications since the election challenge. All since the election challenge in late October:
--Vastly improved websites
--New progress reporting from SCA

Let's hope that SCA continues in this vein. Thanks to the SaveWestbard challengers for bringing beneficial competition to the Springfield neighborhood elections.

Congratulations to the SCA incumbents on their victory.