Monday, May 22, 2017
Judge not intimidated by Trump-style attacks, issues ruling that has Purple Line near death
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.