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Saturday, July 21, 2018
Fallout from planning commissioner's comparison of residents to ICE agents continues
Planning Board Commissioner Natali Fani-Gonzalez
Residents opposing the sketch plan for 4 Bethesda Metro Center at a Montgomery County Planning Board hearing Thursday are still stinging from a bizarre verbal harangue aimed at them from the dais by Commissioner Natali Fani-Gonzalez. Fani-Gonzalez compared them to ICE agents who are "putting children in cages," saying both believe they are "doing the right thing." She then raised her voice and added, "I'm doing the right thing from my perspective, which will be very different from yours."
It was unclear what a decision about placing the building further forward or backward on the Metro Center plaza had to do with federal immigration law, or the Latino community. That was the key question discussed in over 400 emails sent to commissioners by opponents of the sketch plan, which commissioners were to have reviewed prior to Thursday morning's hearing, and in public testimony.
Patricia Kolesar, a Bethesda resident who led the largest organized contingent of opponents, has now written to Planning Board Chair Casey Anderson suggesting that Fani-Gonzalez should apologize to those she targeted with her remarks. "Ms. Natali’s Fani-Gonzalez’s inappropriate lecture to the gathered regular Bethesda citizens, which compared us to ICE agents who put kids in cages, was beyond the pale," Kolesar wrote. "You may sweep this incident under the rug, or you may face it squarely and put a stop to this conduct immediately."
UPDATED: July 22 - This article was updated to correct a quotation error.