Monday, April 03, 2017

MoCo Planning Dept. sought to withhold Westbard cemetery info from Planning Board, public, emails show

2015 Planning Department
"Confidential" internal map
showing cemetery
Emails reveal senior staff at the Montgomery County Planning Department sought to keep detailed information about a Bethesda African-American cemetery from being shared with the Planning Board and the public, during the Westbard sector plan process. Montgomery Parks and Planning Department staff knew the exact site of the cemetery, and had found no evidence to suggest those buried there had been removed. The troubling picture comes to light from a batch of public information request emails obtained by Robert Dyer @ Bethesda Row, giving more context to the current controversy over the graveyard between the department and Macedonia Baptist Church, whose earlier members are among those buried there.

A press release from the church this morning calls the effort to keep cemetery details "confidential" a "vast government cover-up." The Planning Board is scheduled to hear an update on the cemetery investigation, which it had ordered the Planning Department to have completed by now, on Thursday morning. But that investigation has not even begun, and the Board is now likely to instead discuss a letter from County Executive Ike Leggett, directing them to have an independent arbitrator resolve the dispute between the department and the church. MBC leaders are planning a protest at the Planning headquarters at 8787 Georgia Avenue during Thursday's meeting, at which the public is being denied the right to speak.

The internal emails, primarily from 2015, show that Senior Planner for Historic Preservation Sandra Youla had uncovered a significant amount of detail about the hidden cemetery, which was already desecrated by construction workers building the Westwood Tower apartments in the late 1960s. Developer Equity One and the Montgomery County Housing Opportunities Commission are now actively seeking to build a parking garage on the cemetery site, which would desecrate the cemetery once more. Youla, who was responsible for one of the few bright spots of the Westbard sector plan - an extensive historical background section - provided land records, aerial photographs showing a tree-covered cemetery site, newspaper and oral history accounts, and even a map showing the plot's location on the Westwood Tower site.

All of this information was labeled, "confidential." But as a Planning Board bus tour that would include the cemetery site neared, senior department leaders sought to prevent commissioners from learning the details Youla had provided.

In a September 15, 2015 email to Montgomery County Planning Director Gwen Wright, Youla said Westbard sector plan project manager John Marcolin "will be in touch to ask how to handle questions on this potential archaeological site on the upcoming Westbard PB [Planning Board] tour on 9.17.2015." Youla appears to have been advised by senior staff that the cemetery details should be kept tightly controlled at this point, even as the Board and the public should have had full access to be able to provide feedback on the plan. "Please do not distribute further until we discuss," Youla warns several Parks Department employees in another September 13 email with attachments of a cemetery history and maps.

A September 8, 2015 message explicitly identifies the burial site as encompassing "Parcel 175...and Parcel 177," and asks if those parcels are being considered for purchase by the County as parkland. Of course, Equity One and HOC were at the same hour steaming ahead with a plan to build a garage on the cemetery. It might be a good idea to let the Board and the public know that the cemetery is on that site, right?

Not so fast. "[M]y understanding is that we are not bringing up the topic of the cemetery at all," wrote Area 1 Division Chief Robert Kronenberg on the morning of the bus tour. "I hope Sandra [Youla] understood that." Later that day, after the Planning Board bus tour has ended, Department of Parks Cultural Resources Manager Joey Lampl expresses her concern to Kronenberg that the "Planning Department did not wish to bring [the cemetery] up this morning," arguing that it is essential "that Planning and Parks agree on when to bring up this important subject to the attention of the Planning Board...sooner, rather than later."

"Thanks for meeting with me and John Hench the other day to clarify who is saying what on the tour today," Park and Trail Planning Supervisor Brooke Farquhar wrote to Marcolin, Youla and Historic Preservation advisor Scott Whipple the morning of the tour. "The plan is:
1. There will be no site-specific indication of where the cemetery was because now it
is considered an archaeological site."
2. Gwen will respond to any questions about the pre-existing cemetery and its

Note the highlighted words referring to the cemetery in the past tense, and citing its "relocation." Huh? The information Youla provided these staff members with, in fact, showed no evidence that the cemetery had been relocated. She was unequivocal in her finding on that matter:  "No evidence has been uncovered yet that human remains were relocated from the one-acre parcel."

My own research has uncovered no records or documents showing any authorized relocation of remains from this site, and neither have the separate research efforts of the Macedonia Baptist Church and Little Falls Watershed Alliance. In short, while we know that some remains on the site were illegally relocated downward from the Westwood Tower footprint by construction workers, and an unspecified number of other remains may have been illegally relocated to Howard Chapel Cemetery by Westwood Tower architect John d’Epagnier, there is no evidentiary reason to believe the hundreds of other gravesites there have been disturbed or relocated. The article by Bill Turque in the Washington Post that recounted the alleged reburials at Howard Chapel also revealed further cover-ups by the Planning Department, which never informed the public of the information it had regarding d'Epagnier's actions, nor that all documents related to the construction of Westwood Tower had been mysteriously "shredded" in 2015.

Youla also made several significant recommendations. First, that the African-American cemetery and an unrelated family cemetery "be added to the Montgomery County Cemetery Inventory, and perhaps this should be added as a recommendation in the Westbard Sector Plan." Second, that the "River Road African American cemetery should certainly be commemorated, regardless of whether there are still remains on site." That is the same position MBC's Pastor-elect Segun Adebayo has taken publicly.

"[I]t is reasonable to explore purchasing both parcels P175 and P177 as park land," Youla wrote, another recommendation of MBC, which wants to build a museum commemorating the River Road African-American community. Youla also suggested the Parks Department conduct ground penetrating radar tests to delineate the cemetery, and that Equity One should be notified of the graveyard.

Notably, Youla also wrote that "There may be remains on other nearby parcels, since cemetery boundaries may not have been precisely marked and it is a frequent occurrence that graves extend beyond cemetery boundaries." That is precisely one of the concerns MBC and the community had when the Planning Board rammed through Equity One's sketch plan in February - could there be remains either already in-place, or illegally relocated, on adjacent parcels which now could be redeveloped thanks to that decision. Youla brought up the question of whether the Planning Board should make an official declaration in the sector plan that any remains on-site should be left to rest in peace, even if Equity One has the legal right to move them.

"We all need to be on the same page," wrote Park and Planning Stewardship Division Chief John Hench on the morning of the bus tour. It appears the Planning Department, Equity One, the Planning Board and the public were anything but. Youla's recommendations and findings were watered down in the final Westbard sector plan. At one point, the plan dares to declare, "The cemetery is no longer extant, the land having been sold in 1958."

Advocates for historical preservation of the cemetery and the lost black community are questioning what the effort to downplay the cemetery in 2015 was all about. "The question remains whether upper echelon officials were utterly left in the dark throughout the process, or if they were privy to the cover-up and had a part in structuring the proceedings in a way that could provide them plausible deniability," Macedonia Baptist Church asked in its press release this morning.


Anonymous said...

Regency should have hired Clinton's team to help delete these emails! What were they thinking leaving a paper trail like that? That's almost as stupid as Dyer's dumb fucking face.

Anonymous said...

Why was the cemetery abandoned?

Anonymous said...

My god this post is so ridiculous. Westbard is a complete dump. This development is so necessary and this cemetery is such a convenient stall. Please move to a boring, horse and buggy town all you NIMBYs and let us move on to the modern days with a nice place to live.

Can you report on how we can help accelerate this development in the dump known as Westbard? Thanks. Get on with this construction already please!!!! I feel like I'm in an episode of Columbo when I drive there.

Anonymous said...

By the way, this is not a COVER UP. This is public officials have internal discussions prior to making a determination. Westbard is a dump and wasteland. I wish these protestors would get real jobs and stop standing in the way of improving a dump.

Anonymous said...

9:49 AM An historic cemetery of freed slaves is a "dump and wasteland"?
This is about protecting history.

Having a "pause" in the process makes sense right now. Don't rush this.

Anonymous said...

Montgomery County touts its "professional planners." Professional to whom? The team that planned Watergate?

The only Planning Department staffer who retains some credibility in this debacle is historian Sandra Youla. The other "planning professionals" involved in hiding the facts about the cemetery deserve to be fired.

Anonymous said...

I'm in favor of Westbard redevelopment and I think MBC brought up their claim suspiciously late in the game, but these emails make Planning look both incompetent (except for Youla) and perhaps in bed with developers.

Who is the oversight for Planning? Is there an inspector general for MoCo? If so, did MBC report it to them? They should.

Anonymous said...

10:47 here. Indeed there is an OIG:

I assume MBC will take it upon themselves to report this. I hope they do.

Anonymous said...

No, this is public officials *covering up* a pertinent fact about the Westbard site.

The public had the right to know about the cemetery at the time that development was being considered.

The Planning Department's failure to bring the matter to public attention during the Westbard sector plan process is deceptive, unethical and contrary to best practice guidelines.

It is outrageous that public tax dollars are supporting this conduct.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Westbard is a dump and a wasteland. Hideous asphalt and concrete and underdeveloped, causing residents to go elsewhere to shop and dine.

Oh suddenly it's precious land.... Where were all of you and your ancestors when these people were buried?! What a bloody joke. Make a standing sign commemorating these folks and be done with it. This stalling is so ridiculous and over-the-top. This so called cemetery doesn't mean development should stall and take people (with no real jobs and too much free-time) into circles. Slavery and discrimination in this country should be part of our moral and historical education.

Anonymous said...

10:47: You are correct. This matter warrants investigation. Thanks for pointing this out.

Roald said...

I hate the way Planning and the Council dealt with this plan from the beginning.

There was never any support from Bethesda residents, so who is Planning and the Council working for?

Anonymous said...

There is and always has been support for this from Bethesda residents. They may not have blogs and time on their hands to march to the council and make posters and yell on the sidewalks, but there is support from MANY residents.


Anonymous said...

I agree that Westbard should be redeveloped-- so does everyone else. The question is one of appropriate scale. Obviously, there is disagreement on what scale is best.

The cemetery, though, is another matter entirely. The County presumably undertook an historic review at least in part to reveal past uses such as these. FWIW, generally accepted planning guidelines recommend that potential cemetery sites be identified and investigated as early as possible during a master planning process.

Why then, wasn't the existence of the cemetery discussed in the master plan and an archaeological investigation required by the County *before* the developer was permitted to submit its sketch plan for the Westbard site?

Something is very wrong about the way that this was handled.

Roald said...

11:11 AM And yet, these phantom supporters never materialized.

The only strong support I've seen is from anonymous commentators here, who are probably Planning staff or the developer's PR firm.

Anonymous said...

The so called cemetery has been desecrated. It is very sad. Time to move on and develop. Enough is enough. Robert Dyer is just a bitter individual who eats too much fast food and is angry that he didn't get elected to county council.... and likely never will. Why can't we ever have anything nice?

Anonymous said...

They are not phantoms. They are hardworking people and high earning people who are tired of living in an area that is starved for development.

Anonymous said...

We shouldn't build garages on a historic cemetery. Full stop.

Why is it so hard for the developer and planning to say that?

I'd like to see a museum as well. I never knew Westbard had so much history be reading Dyer's reporting. Let's celebrate Westbard's past!

Anonymous said...

There is no full stop. It's about weighing feasibility and benefits, even the most strict Catholic would say that. This museum is another cost to the county that is already heavy with cost. I do not want to pay for a museum. If you do, please, make one in your home.

Anonymous said...

Cemeteries are moved all the time. This cemetery was abandoned a long time ago, and desecrated more recently. Locate the remaining graves, relocate them respectfully, and move on.

Anonymous said...

There have been 5 community surveys conducted on the subject of the Westbard redevelopment. They all show majority opposition to the densities and heights being proposed by Equity One/Regency Centers/EYA. Strong majorities also have favored retaining the 1982 sector plan, instead of the one adopted by the County Council in 2016.

Yes, the community wants a new shopping center. But they don't want the type of redevelopment that the County and the developers have advocated.

The 5 surveys were conducted by 3 civic groups: Sumner Citizens Association (2 surveys, 2015 and 2016), Save Westbard (2 surveys, 2016) and CCCFH (2006, published 2008.) That 5 surveys conducted by 3 different groups came up with substantially the same findings is persuasive. In addition, these survey findings are consistent with virtually all of the public testimony on the Westbard sector plan and the developer's sketch plan.

There is very little support for the plan advanced by the developers and approved by the County.

Roald said...

11:28am has data! I like that. It proves there was no support for this plan among Bethesda residents.

Anonymous said...

Yes let's stay in 1982. That's brilliant. People and their needs have not changed one bit! Life has not changed at all.

Many people who are for the development don't advertise it or yell or make a scene and participate in the process because they are busy, but the idea of development does generate willingness to live there for them. Please go to the wastelands elsewhere. Density > dump.

Anonymous said...

Roald (@11:13) is 100% right. The public has never been happy with the Westbard redevelopment plan.

Latest Example: the February 23 Planning Board hearing on the developer's Sketch Plan.

Approximately 35 persons/groups testified. Just one-- the developer-- supported the Sketch Plan. All the others (approximately 34), opposed the Sketch Plan. The objections included:
-Failure to sufficiently investigate/delineate the cemetery site.
-Construction proposed in the Willett Branch stream buffer zone.
-Insufficient green space.
-Excessive height/density.

The testimony took over 4 hours. At the end, the Planning Board put the cemetery site on hold, but otherwise approved the developer's Sketch Plan without revision.

That's the way that Westbard has been handled throughout: the public has been disregarded and overlooked.

Anonymous said...

@11:38AM: It might be different if the shopping center had EVER been updated to add more density; gradual growth is easier on the community. However, I learned to drive in that shopping center parking lot in 1967 and it hasn't changed (except for a superficial facelift) since. Yes, that's 50 years ago!! No changes for over 50 years! The 1982 plan would provide a lot of progress. The developers want to make up for all that lost time all at once. Most local residents want an updated shopping center but not the extreme amount of additional housing units (with related traffic and parking issues) being forced on us. That's the reality of the situation, sorry.

Charlottesville_Cav said...

I love the idea of the museum. It would be a public amenity. Great way for future residents to explore the original sin of Westbard which was desecrating the graves decades ago for development.

We need museums and history so we don't keep making the same mistakes. I hope Planning doesn't make the same mistake of decades past.

Anonymous said...

Hey Dyer ^ Yours!

Anonymous said...

The point is not to stop the entire development. (The shopping center is across Westbard Avenue from the presumed cemetery site.). The point is to delineate the boundaries of the cemetery and plan the site respectfully. That is a very reasonable request and is what should have happened in the first place.

Roald said...

11:54 AM Sounds reasonable! Can we all agree on this?

Anonymous said...

So they don't have 10-15 minutes to participate in a community survey? Hard to believe. There is not one shred of evidence to support your "silent majority" theory, and numerous polls, hearings and public meetings that show you are wrong.

Plus: 4 local community associations (Springfield, Sumner, Westmoreland Hills and Wood Acres) have voted to donate $5,000 each to support the lawsuit against the Westbard sector plan. So far, that's all the community associations that have voted: a 4-0 track record.

Anonymous said...

I love moribund westbard!

Anonymous said...

Dyer on the hunt for the immaginary bogeyman again!

Anonymous said...

And that might be the way to proceed,

BUT: the probable existence of the cemetery should have been shared with the public and the matter debated during the master planning process.

That is the point of the planning process: to have an open and respectful review and public discussion of the condition and use of a site. As well, the views of the public should be reflected in the plan, along with the views of the developer. The problem with Westbard is that the views of the public were not weighted sufficiently and the information about the cemetery not disclosed to any meaningful degree.

The citizens of Montgomery County deserve better.

Anonymous said...

12:14: Nothing imaginary about those cover-up emails. All too real...

12:10: We all want to see a redeveloped Westbard. But the redevelopment should reflect, at least in part, what the community-- including Macedonia Baptist Church-- wants to see. So far, important facts (the cemetery) were not shared with the public on a timely basis, and the plans supported by County officials have not reflected the desires of most residents. That's a bad way to govern.

Maloney Concrete said...

12:30 PM Yeah, it is not sustainable for elected officials to ignore residents wishes. It catches up with them once residents figure it out.

That's how we got term limits!

Ayrlawn Jersey Cow said...

Dyer is trying to get votes from dead people!

Typical Republican - handwringing about "Democrat voter fraud", then they go and actually do it themselves!

Anonymous said...

Yea I also suspect comment fraud from RD.... some of the anonymous comments are suspiciously RD like... That's fine I guess. Whatever. #moribundwestbardforlife

Anonymous said...

I wish the planners, developer and Mr. Berliner would just do the right thing.

Mr. Berliner stood up against Walmart and blocked them. Can he block future desecration of the cemetery by this developer that wants to build a garage over bodies?

Anonymous said...

I agree, Maloney Concrete. I typically vote Democratic and I voted for term limits because of the County's actions on Westbard. This. Council. Does. Not. Listen.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Robert Dyer, for focusing on this issue. BTW, the current, ossified"Planning Bureaucracy" needs a house cleaning when a new County Executive takes over.

Robert Dyer said...

11:11: So you figure there was a "silent majority" in America who opposed the American Revolution, but they just never found the time or energy to show up on the battlefield?


You guys in the Montgomery County political cartel are a joke. You could argue your case for urbanization of the suburbs on the facts and merits of your opinions. But you know you will lose, so instead you have your spokespersons like Dan Reed, GGW and Casey "My friends and political patrons gave me an award!" Anderson float these insane talking points like "silent majority."

In our Republic, there is no such thing as a silent majority. You either are passionate, show up, and speak out, or you don't care and stay home. There was not a single event or node of public input that showed any significant community support for this Westbard plan. Period.

For you to claim otherwise makes you a laughingstock at best, and a delusional mental patient or paid operative at worst.

Bethesda Samzidat said...

Let's see how quickly Dyer deletes genuine spam versus links or even oblique references to local news. This should be fun.

Robert Dyer said...

9:45: I realize bringing to light corruption and institutional racism within the Montgomery County political machine is something you, as one of their Guy Fridays, oppose. People invested their money to live here, and appreciate the suburban residential character - that's why they chose to live here.

No, the community is not obligated to leave the neighborhood THEY CREATED and the real estate values THEY CREATED - not Montgomery County, which has historically ignored the Westbard area, and took no previous planning steps to facilitate parks or updated retail centers.

All of the value - the gold in the hills of Westbard - created BY THE BLACK COMMUNITY AND THE LATER RESIDENTS OVER 150 YEARS - is now due to be extracted for the personal profit of New York developers and Montgomery County government officials. Your support for that speaks for itself.

You're correct about this being an episode of Columbo - we keep finding out "just one more thing" crooked about the Westbard sector plan process, and can't wait for the next episode of this exciting crime drama.

Roald said...

I wish we could have consensus with the planners and Berliner on letting those souls rest in peace rather than desecration again.

Anonymous said...

Dyer's just mad he's going be forced out of his mom's basement when the property values drive her tax rates too high

Anonymous said...

Is there a recall mechanism for planning board members? How long do they serve?

Robert Dyer said...

7:28: There are only 2 mechanisms to remove the current Board: 1) To contact the Montgomery County Council and Executive, at whose pleasure the commissioners serve, or 2) More realistically, vote for County Council candidates in 2018 whose positions on development align with yours, which will then be reflected in future appointments to the Board.

Anonymous said...

Will you be running for office? I know you have made stabs at it in the past, but the way the council has handled everything, a fresh face such as yourself would be great for the community.

Robert Dyer said...

6:19: It is definitely under consideration, is what I can say at this time.

Anonymous said...

"Will you be running for office? I know you have made stabs at it in the past, but the way the council has handled everything, a fresh face such as yourself would be great for the community."

Lol are you serious? Let's set aside Dyer's nutty, right-wing policies and Trump support for a second. All opponents would have to do is to direct voters to the profane, insulting, and childish comments he writes on this blog.

Of course Dyer is thinking, "well Trumped was profane, disrespectful, unintelligent, bragged about sexual assault, and said some of the stupidest statements to ever leave the mouth of a presidential candidate...and he's in the White House!" True, but this is Montgomery County, MD, where the knowledge and reasoning skills of the electorate, exceeds that of much of the country by a factor of four or five.

Trump only managed to get 19.4% of the vote here (which is still shockingly high), and Dyer thinks he can do better?

Anonymous said...

"It is under consideration"

Why the weird use of passive voice, especially since this is about you alone?

Just say "I am considering it".

Anonymous said...

"A pasty-white, greasy face such as yours would be great for the community."

More accurate, and grammatically correct.

Anonymous said...

The passive voice underscores the writer's hesitancy or uncertainty. In this case, it is a stylistic choice.

Anonymous said...

8:05 AM: "A vitriolic and bullying voice such as yours would be disastrous for the community."

Even more accurate, while maintaining correct grammar. Be civil.

Skippy said...

7:38 AM Gov. Hogan is very popular. Republicans, including Dyer, will get a closer look from voters next cycle. There's also plenty of dissatisfaction with most of the current leadership in MoCo.

Everyone (including me) never thought Hogan could win. He did and he has a high approval. Maybe given Republicans a shot to do the same at the County level.

Anonymous said...

Yes, MoCo voters have excellent knowledge and reasoning skills, but most of us haven't paid attention to what County officials are actually doing. Pre-Westbard, I was part of the problem. I voted for current Council members repeatedly, naively assuming that they were representing me and my neighbors well. I was shocked and disappointed to discover that this was not the case.

Unfortunately, Montgomery County residents are the last consideration in a land use process that revolves around an "iron triangle" comprised of developers, planners and the County Council. Overturning this entrenched system will be my top priority in the 2018 elections.

I am on the opposite side of the political spectrum from Trump and Dyer. I fervently hope that 2018 candidates for County office will include principled centrists and liberals who want to clean up the land use planning process.

I doubt that I would vote for Dyer. But if centrist and/or liberal candidates don't make reforming the land use process a priority, I'd say that Dyer has a chance.

Anonymous said...

Because the African-American community was displaced from the Westbard area when development got underway in the late 1950s and 1960s.

The current treatment of the cemetery site recalls and amplifies this original injustice.

BTW, this question has been answered repeatedly on this site and elsewhere. The argument that the cemetery was abandoned has been used in an attempt to justify ignoring it now. This argument doesn't hold water.

Anonymous said...

No comment fraud from me. Just an engaged citizen who is thoroughly disgusted with the County's conduct on Westbard.

Anonymous said...

11.38: No one, including Westbard's opponents, wants to live in 1982. A key point is that a new shopping center could be developed under 1982 zoning. The second significant point is that the County's (and the developers') plans are so out of step with what residents want that a majority would rather keep 1982 zoning in place. That speaks volumes about the failure of the Westbard sector plan to embody community priorities.

Are you contending that the thousands of County residents who have called and written letters to County officials, signed petitions, attended Planning Department charrettes and public meetings, testified at hearings, participated in surveys or donated to the Westbard lawsuit are yelling, making a scene or aren't busy?

Didn't think so.

Finally, you are (unsuccessfully and inaccurately) trying to reframe the debate as one of: accept the developer's plan or leave Westbard as is. The actual debate is: 1)accept the developer's plan or 2)scale the plan down to reflect community desires. The community-- as shown by survey data-- overwhelmingly prefers Door #2.

Anonymous said...

"Gov. Hogan is very popular."

Lol Hogan is not "very popular" in Montgomery County. And Hogan is a a moderate Republican who went as far to ban fracking and support the Purple Line. Dyer is a racist wingnut extremist like his hero Trump.

Skippy said...

1:21 PM Dyer's positions last cycle were moderate and reasonable. If you disagree, please be specific on what was "extreme". (No ad hominem attacks please).

Gov. Larry Hogan, Robert Dyer and other Republicans are on the same team. Should be interesting to see if MoCo voters take a look at Republicans considering the success Gov. Hogan has had. There's a case to be made that a few Republicans would be a good thing on the Council or as County Exec.

Anonymous said...

The emails cited are hilariously innocuous. Just redevelop Westbard already. It's one of the most garbage parts of the county. I can't fathom why a few people - including Dyer - are going so far out of their way to try and stall progress.

Jif said...

Skippy @2:14 - Yes, Putin's team.

Robert Dyer said...

1:21: "Racist?" There's absolutely nothing I've ever said or done that could even remotely be described as racist. It's sad that you are of such limited intellect that your definition of debate is, "But...but...Racist! Xenophobe! Hitler!"


"Right-wing wingnut?" Psh. The Seventh State said I was running to the left of the Council.

Democrats saying they would never vote for Robert Dyer - don't be fooled by the Montgomery County cartel reinventing itself for 2018, or you'll find yourself dealing with the River Road sequel to the Westbard sector plan, and an urbanized Aspen Hill, just to name two.

If you think you are on the other side of the political spectrum from me, you may be surprised to know Marc Elrich and I are the only potential 2018 candidates either in District 1 or countywide (so far) who support rent stabilization and oppose Wild West planning and development.

I also have been advocating for universal Pre-K since 2010, the current Council wasn't for it in 2010 or 2014, but like the Legion Bridge and shuttles, they are now suddenly giving lip service to a Robert Dyer Lite version of Pre-K.

I am more progressive than the Council, yet I have advanced understanding of how the economy, business, infrastructure and transportation work.

Before dismissing me out of hand, read up on my policy positions. And don't make a clown claim that I'm a "racist," because I can give you chapter and verse about how our current Council, Planning Department and Planning Board - and the MoCo cartel - are the real racists.

Robert Dyer said...

7:55: The most garbage spot of the county is whatever space you currently occupy. So, you too are unable to answer whether an out-of-town developer now owns the remains of former slaves? And you call other people racist...

Anonymous said...

"I have advanced understanding of how the economy, business, infrastructure and transportation work."


Anonymous said...

Gwen Wright should be fired.

Anonymous said...

Who cares if the developer is from out of town? They are familiar with the area and it's business: it's about fulfilling a demand and yes, profit.... oooooh that's so wrong and un-American.... shame on them.

Anyway, I suspect that Robert Dyer has latched onto this for many reasons, but also because he is understandably bitter about his past election loss and may want to run again, which he has admitted here. This probably gives him some network to do so and he probably thinks it will draw votes.

Westbard is a dump that needs to be developed, yesterday. It's a wasteland and the sooner, the better. The cemetery has already been "desecrated" and removal of the remains, should they be found, is sufficient.

Robert Dyer said...

5:18: I'm a lifelong resident. I don't have to "latch on" to anything. I've been here all along.

So you're okay with the out-of-town corporation taking ownership of the bodies of former slaves, just as their plantation masters did prior to Maryland emancipation?

Tell me more!

The Montgomery County Council and Planning Department have neglected "Westbard" for decades. Now they're suddenly coming in and claiming things are so bad. Their solution isn't to force the landowner to update their aging shopping center, but instead to pillage the gold from the hills of Westbard - gold real estate value that was created BY US, the residents who have created and maintain a successful and desirable community. That community was founded by freed slaves, who equally helped create the value that you and other real estate investors seek to harvest.

Your troll comments may earn you a sandwich and a run-down apartment from the MoCo cartel, but your white supremacist views of the cemetery issue won't earn your buddies on the County Council any votes in 2018.

Anonymous said...

Dyer, did your family live in MoCo at the time of the Civil War? If so, you are very likely descended from slave owners.

Robert Dyer said...

6:02: I'm not aware of any slave owners among my ancestors. But MoCo sure is trying to whitewash its Confederate ties.

Anonymous said...

"I am more progressive than the Council"


Why you're just like your hero Trump. You don't even try to make your lies sound believable.

"There's absolutely nothing I've ever said or done that could even remotely be described as racist"

Haha you were railing against Hispanics all last week and accused the Women's March protesters as terrorists. Your bigotry has been on full display despite your attempts to hide it.

Robert Dyer said...

7:51: Argle Bargle. All false statements. Trump is in favor of rent control? Tell me more! "Railing against Hispanics?" Never happened. Fake news. The terrorists were in town on the day of the inauguration, not the Women's March. More fake news.

You're the guy saying to build on top of the African-American cemetery, and you want to throw out words like "bigotry?" Please. As we've seen, the institutional racism of Montgomery County's government and elected officials "has been on full display" in the River Road cemetery controversy.

Anonymous said...

"The terrorists were in town on the day of the inauguration, not the Women's March. More fake news. [<-] More fake news"

Haha you've got that right. At least now you admit that you're a compulsive liar.

"the institutional racism of Montgomery County's government"

I'm sure Ike Leggett, Craig Rice, and Nancy Navarro would get a chuckle out of hearing that they're "racists"

"You're the guy"

Lol do you even know who you're talking to? You're just as delusional as "wiretapping Trump"

Robert Dyer said...

8:35: Most handling the Westbard cemetery issue are white, as are the majority of the Council. Wake up.

There's only one troll here, so I do know who I'm talking to.

Anonymous said...

"There's only one troll here, so I do know who I'm talking to."

Aw... you always say that to me too, just before I prove you wrong. Good times.

Love & bacon,
The long-term county resident who spars with you

Glen Echo Heights resident said...

Thanks very much bringing out in the open.

Absolutely support the position that due process is key to resolving this. The information on the grave sites should not have been suppressed during the planning process. Fortunately it has come to light before ground has been broken the issue needs to be reconsidered carefully.

It is also important to send a clear message that withholding relevant information from public planners deliberations is not to be tolerated. I hope the perpetrators are appropriately sanctioned.

Development is fine and appropriate development deserves support. However it needs it be planned in light of all facts.