Monday, May 22, 2017

Judge not intimidated by Trump-style attacks, issues ruling that has Purple Line near death

Be careful what you wish for. The Montgomery County political cartel demanded U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon issue a ruling immediately in the Purple Line case. Leon did today, and delivered a strong rebuke of federal, Maryland and Montgomery County officials. His ruling reiterates that study of Metro's declining ridership and safety issues must be done before he will allow the Purple Line project to move forward.

The judgement is a near-fatal blow to the Purple Line light rail project, which would connect Bethesda to New Carrollton in its newest iteration, one that strongly favored developers with real estate interests along the planned route. Many have criticized the extreme environmental impacts the project will have, now that its footprint has expanded enormously beyond its original single-track vision. The judge will rule on those issues in the near future. Leon also blasted government officials for trying to weasel their way out of the required studies, noting that they relied on existing data, despite his direct orders for new and further study.

Elected officials' smug response to Leon's 2016 ruling ultimately became outright contempt, as the June 1 funding deadline for the project approached. After criticizing President Donald Trump for his attacks on judges, the Washington Post editorial board took the same approach to Leon. The Post's board characterized the judge as "snoozing" on the job, and called him "reckless and irresponsible." Declaring Leon "divorced from the real world," and "cavalier" toward his duty, the Post said the judge "won't do his job."

With one of the house organs for the MoCo cartel only stopping short of calling Leon a "so-called judge," other house organs chimed in with biased, anti-Leon reports. County Executive Ike Leggett, Council President Roger Berliner, and even Gov. Larry Hogan took Trumpian swings at Leon.

Many are probably wishing they had kept their mouths shut today. The Purple Line is not dead, because there are literally billions in developer profits hanging in the balance. Look for the MoCo cartel to pull out every stop in their playbook. But they can't get around the judge's ruling - they must study the real problems of Metro, and there is no shortage of those.

30 comments:

Anonymous said...

For someone that considers themselves the news, several true media outlets beat your blog to the ruling on the purple line

Robert Dyer said...

Nobody had the in-depth analysis, which is what this piece is. It wasn't meant to be a hot take.

Scott Orkin said...

Studies are a huge waste of time and money

Anonymous said...

Robert, sincere question: I'm assuming you consider this a blog given the biased reporting (nothing wrong with that, I keep a blog as a hobby too). I can't believe you'd consider this actual objective news. Is this a campaign site, blog, or your attempt at news? Any or all are fine. Just wondering...

Anonymous said...

robert needs new memes.

Anonymous said...

"Many are probably wishing they had kept their mouths shut today."

It seems the author doesn't fully understand how this process works. The whole point was for Leon to rule one way or another. With today's ruling there is a path forward. Without a ruling the entire project was held in limbo. Literally nobody is regretting putting pressure on Leon.

Anonymous said...

I've always wondered why the timestamps on comments are three hours ahead of Eastern time; I just realized timestamps on articles are, too. People are saying it could be an attempt to make it look like Dyer isn't getting scooped. (In this particular case by Bethesda Magazine, Greater Greater Washington, the Post and others.)

Anonymous said...

I don't like to see the attacks on judges.
We've been told that won't be tolerated because they are wise.

Robert Dyer said...

12:52: Not quite. First of all, a story like this is going to be reported first by the Post, no matter what. As an editor, if 5 TV news helicopters are over the scene, nobody is going to turn off the TV in favor of me or the small and slightly-failing magazine. At that point, my advantage is in providing in-depth political analysis that TV reporters don't have the time or deep knowledge to provide about Montgomery County. And good luck finding a brutally honest analysis like mine in virtually any other local media outlet, as they are unable to print this without losing their super-official "Journalist" badge from the Montgomery County political cartel.

But if you're going to be picky, the magazine was at least an hour behind the Post and WTOP. So, not much to write home about there. That's funny, I didn't see you trashing them for getting beat by the Post and WTOP. Hmmm.....

Anonymous said...

The time stamps are actually in honor of Hans Reimer who is from California. Dyer is not smart enough to change the time of his articles anyways.

Anonymous said...

The Purple Line lurches to oblivion on the same day Ford ousts their CEO and replaces him with the head of their autonomous car division.

The writing is on the wall for old school public transit systems. People simply aren't using them as much.

Roald said...

Dyer is an important voice on MoCo transit issues.

Anonymous said...

Wow, did Dyer actually say something negative about Donald Trump???

Anonymous said...

"MoCo Cartel?" You misspelled "Hogan," Bobby.

Anonymous said...

This won't change anything regarding the Writ of Mandamus. Judge Leon still only ruled on the one issue he's ruled on before. The other 23 issues remain un-ruled-on, so the state still can't appeal (you can't appeal a partial ruling....until he rules on all 23, the state can't appeal any of them). Since the Writ was about precisely that (leaving the state in limbo without a way to appeal), this ruling is nothing more than gamesmanship on Judge Leon's part (and, most likely, a way for him to send a message to the appeals court to say "I've been busy, please don't embarrass me").

Anonymous said...

Dyer is an important voice in Roald's head.

Roald said...

If this thing is dead, can we apply the money to other badly needed transpo projects?

Anonymous said...

lets take that money and build light rail to westbard for all the new development that is coming soon.

Anonymous said...

Is Westbard even real?

Anonymous said...

Notice Dyer doesn't even acknowledge the question about timestamps

#DodgingDyer

Anonymous said...

for the amount we hear about westbard you'd think it was more than like two blocks with a whole foods.

Robert Dyer said...

1:43: Good point - interesting that the Council doesn't understand that, and were promising an immediate appeal.

Anonymous said...

Dyer @ 6:06 PM - What does your comment have to do with what 1:43 PM wrote?

Robert Dyer said...

7:30: I guess you missed Roger Berliner's tweet today in which he called for an immediate appeal to reverse the judge's decision. According to 1:43, that's not possible. We're always told the Council are a wise bunch, and some are even lawyers, like Mr. Berliner. Yet they are regularly wrong when it comes to legal matters (see court defeats on freedom of speech, Mirant plant, and soon, SSTC, Clarksburg and pesticides). More proof that the bar to serving on the Council is very low.

Anonymous said...

Why is this blog of PST time zone?

Anonymous said...

Who follows Berliner's tweets? That's your job.

G. Money said...

2:46PM - You must have missed the Post article that pointed out that cancellation of the Purple Line would cost MD more than $800M in sunk costs and contract fees. That's the opposite of being able to reapply money to other projects.

Anonymous said...

other projects like actually fixing the current metro....

Anonymous said...

"And soon, SSTC"

I notice that you did not disclose your current business relationship with Foulger-Pratt, the contractor who botched the SSTC so badly.

Robert Dyer said...

8:00: I have no "business relationship with Foulger-Pratt," moron.