Sunday, March 31, 2019
In August 2007, he was named Commander of the 2nd District, which includes Bethesda, Chevy Chase, most of Potomac, Kensington and a small part of Silver Spring. During that time he was often found at community and civic association meetings to brief residents on public safety issues.
Hamill is expected to remain acting Chief until a nationwide search for a new police chief is completed. He is a lifelong resident of Montgomery County.
Photo courtesy MCPD
Saturday, March 30, 2019
|Rumble's first D.C. area location,|
at 2001 M Street, N.W.
Boasting celebrity clients such as Justin Bieber, Hailey Baldwin and Kendall Jenner, Rumble is banking on boxing being the next spin bike. Rumble doesn't just offer boxing classes, but like Equinox, targets a higher income bracket than most gyms. Standard punching bags are tossed aside in favor of water-filled "teardrop" boxing bags. Hip-hop and house tracks are custom-mixed just for Rumble's 45-minute, ten-round conditioning and strength-training workouts.
|Rumble D.C.'s staff of trainers|
Photos by Trapp Photos
Friday, March 29, 2019
The proposal summary reads:
"The Authority could have the following attributes: It could include governance for both BRT and Ride-On (and other County transit initiatives like bike trails, micro transit pilots, etc.); It would have separate bonding authority not linked to the County’s limits; It could have a 5-7 person board made up of appointees by the County (Executive and Council), the State and perhaps larger municipalities in the County; It could have authority to levy a small increase to the State gas tax or sales tax to finance County transit projects."
While you'd think it's unlikely County elected officials would dare to include the insane provision of the original ITA proposal - the inability of the elected Council to sign off on the unelected ITA's budgets, that question is not covered in the brief ITA proposal in the report.
Other major concerns were that the Council could offload massive amounts of debt from their own capital budgets to the ITA, and that the ITA would have unlimited taxing authority without any accountability to County voters. But it's no surprise that the MoCo cartel is trying to revive the ITA's corpse for a third try.
The ITA was conceived by the cartel for practical reasons foremost - specifically because it is literally the only way to fund the County's proposed $10 billion Bus Rapid Transit network, and secondarily, because the funding scheme for the Purple Line is going to drain away so much money from the future pot for transportation projects in the County. Because the ridership of BRT will be so low, there is no way to create a public-private partnership to fund it - there's no profit potential for a private partner.
Again we are seeing the overconfidence of a political cartel that thinks itself invincible after defeating their decades-old boogeyman, the Columbia Country Club. New property and trash taxes, a proposed drop in speed limits, and the creation of a monster spend-and-burn ITA that could bankrupt the County if taxpayers were held liable in the end for its debts. What will they think of next?
Like most Montgomery County taxes, the new trash tax is a regressive tax that will hit the poor and middle class the most. The new Pay-as-You-Throw trash tax will also hit working families and large families hard especially hard. Rich people who dine out every night, not so much. Thanks to one Bethesda citizen who stood up in recent years, the WSSC's attempt to bilk large households with illegal punitive water fees was found unconstitutional by a judge. The utility, while dragging its feet slowly and mightily, is now being forced to reduce those fees on large households.
Montgomery County's proposed trash tax is likewise unconstitutional, and targets specific residents with exorbitant fees. The more trash you generate, the higher the trash tax will be. Regular trash fees will also rise, to cover the costs of replacing residents' own trash cans with "official" trash cans. As other jurisdictions have found, the result will be a large increase in public dumping by those who either cannot afford the multiple County trash cans, fees and new trash taxes, or who find they have more trash than will fit in the number of official County cans they have. This is going to be a disaster for our streams and watersheds, which are already filled with trash thanks to the Council not making any effort to arrest those dumping and littering in large quantities.
Will residents stand up and fight the new Montgomery County trash tax? Predictably, the local media wasn't seeking out many who would after the cartel officially floated the trash tax trial balloon Thursday. A majority of taxpayers did not punish the Council after the passage of the bag tax, which utterly failed to reduce plastic bag use, and was proven to be a revenue grab only. If you don't fight the trash tax, you're going to get the trash tax.
Why is the trash tax being floated? Trapped politically, and by activist-attorney Robin Ficker's successful property tax cap approved by voters, the Council nevertheless wants to keep spending insane amounts of money on their developer sugar daddies and other cronies. As they've forced the rich to flee to lower-tax jurisdictions in our area, revenue has continued to plummet, while spending only increases annually.
They want to keep giving massive raises to County employees, as well. I strongly support honoring labor contracts; a deal is a deal. But County Executive Marc Elrich was informed soon after his victory about the bleak budget and revenue forecast. So, while I agree strongly with his positions on development, I was surprised at the size of the pay increases he agreed to with union leaders. Now those wages and benefits have to be paid, but there's little political room for a massive property tax increase. How to raise taxes massively, and disguise it as a fee?
Enter the trash tax. But, in short, the trash tax itself belongs in the trash.
total vindication for
new bridge advocates
Already, the Legion Bridge meltdown is being ranked as one of the D.C. region's Top 5 traffic disasters of all time. But imagine if this had occurred during a terror attack or other disaster. Sadly, the local media - out of political bias or simple ignorance of history - largely did not inform their viewers, listeners and readers about exactly why they were stuck in Carmageddon 2019: The failure to complete the D.C. region's freeway system, and most-specifically, Montgomery County and Maryland's childish refusal to build the new Potomac bridge to appease radical anti-car ideologues and developer sugar daddies who need traffic congestion to justify high-density development in the suburbs.
Nobody could take a lap around the Beltway yesterday, but this morning, I'm taking a victory lap as the only Maryland candidate in the 2018 elections who was not only advocating for the new Potomac River crossing, but made it a centerpiece of my campaign.
Simply put: I told you so.
And the tens of thousands of you who voted for me for Montgomery County Council At-Large, along with more than 6000 additional Democrats who voted for me across party lines, can also take a victory lap this morning. You weren't just tired of sitting in traffic; you did your homework before voting. And this morning, like me, you can celebrate total victory and total vindication.
Just as I was the only candidate representing you, the taxpayer and commuter, in the election, now I am sadly perhaps the only journalist who is telling the truth this morning. The truth about our "leaders" failing us by blocking a bridge critical to commuting, national security and Montgomery County's economic development - including the need for direct access to Dulles International Airport. But also the truth that yesterday's fiasco produced clear winners and losers.
And as my readers and my 2018 election supporters know, sometimes it's better to lose with a winner than to win with losers.
The local media and a number of community organizations colluded with the Montgomery County cartel to prevent any coverage of my campaign and platform. But the fact is, I was the sole County Council candidate who ran on the priority of building the new Potomac crossing, and completing Montgomery County's master plan highway system. I'm looking very smart this morning.
It's safe to say there is extreme voter remorse among low-information Montgomery County voters this morning. Those voters were poorly-served by the very media that claims it informs the public, and prevents democracy from "dying in darkness." Casual voters need to know now that they must begin to take their responsibility more seriously - if the Washington Post and other local media aren't informing you about the choices on your ballot, you need to sit down for an hour and research the candidates online before voting. And that having every seat on the County Council won by a Democrat every election kept you in bumper-to-bumper traffic for hours last night. A hyperpartisan victory is ultimately an empty and Pyrrhic victory, as yesterday proved.
Robert Dyer voters
New Potomac River crossing advocates
While I've been alone as a candidate and activist on our side of the river in pushing for the new Potomac River crossing, the bridge doesn't lack for high-profile advocates. Virginia Senator Mark Warner, the Northern Virginia Transportation Alliance, former Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation Chair Bob Buchanan, and former Virginia Govs. Bob McDonnell and Terry McAuliffe are among those who have supported a new crossing in recent years.
D.C region commuters, especially those who live in Montgomery County.
Montgomery County Council
Each member of the current Montgomery County Council (and the previous Councils this decade) has openly opposed a new Potomac River crossing in their public statements. They should be facing the wrath of their constituents today via phone, social media and email, and at the ballot box in 2022. They are almost entirely to blame for yesterday's catastrophe.
Gov. Larry Hogan
Incredibly, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan - a real estate developer, no less - has come out against a new Potomac River bridge. While claiming reducing traffic congestion is a key priority for his administration, Hogan instead became the latest governor in Annapolis to let the phone go to voicemail when Virginia's top leaders have called to discuss a new crossing.
Hogan's claim that the bridge is cost-prohibitive is simply false; the bridge and required highway extension from I-370 can be built privately as a toll facility, at virtually no expense to taxpayers. Our County's structural budget deficit shows what the costs of not building it are - year after year.
Like many bridge opponents, Hogan has made the suggestion of instead "improving" the existing Legion bridge. The problem is, even a magical 16-lane American Legion bridge would have been closed for the same number of hours yesterday. We need more crossings. Period.
New Potomac crossing opponents
Developer-funded bridge opponents ranging from the Coalition for Smarter Growth to Greater Greater Washington to the Rockefeller Foundation aren't looking too "smart" this morning. I would love to have seen them walk from car-to-car in the backups of commuters desperately trying to get home to family and dinner last night, and pass out brochures opposing the new bridge. And to witness the response of drivers!
Thursday, March 28, 2019
|Motorola Solutions document showing types|
and placement of the proposed antennas on the
River Road TV tower
|Site plan of proposed utility building and|
diesel-powered generator at the base of the tower
|Google Maps satellite photo showing proximity of|
Westwood Tower apartments (left) to the proposed
diesel-powered generator (right)
Wednesday, March 27, 2019
|WTOP article parrots Montgomery County Council|
claim that no veteran is homeless in MoCo in 2015
Change it Montgomery County did - with eager help from their cheerleaders and Fellow Travelers in the local media. While actual homeless advocates working in the community would be the first to acknowledge the claim was impossible, and that it was based on a belief that there would be available housing units in the future as homeless veterans were identified, that is not how the County's elected officials and their buddies in the local news media promoted it to the public.
|Montgomery County government "Paperless Airplane"|
headline from January 2016
I've now confirmed that there are indeed homeless veterans on the streets of Montgomery County, and ironically, I came across one due to the failure of our County Council to provide a functional master plan highway system. Last week, I spent 90 minutes traveling between Bethesda and Shady Grove due to an accident-related backup on the Beltway and I-270. Along with many other frustrated drivers, I exited to Old Georgetown Road, to begin a red-light-at-every-intersection crawl north.
Lo and behold, when I arrived at the intersection of Old Georgetown and Rockville Pike, there was a homeless man panhandling in the median. He was holding a sign that read, "Homeless Veteran." We all know he is not the only one. But the County is putting a $10 billion Bus Rapid Transit boondoggle, a $1 million-a-year Ride On Extra carrying one passenger in each direction, tax cuts for developers, and millions in kickbacks to supporters and campaign donors in the "non-profit" community ahead of our great veterans.
Fact check: Although the latest false claim easily earns a Four Pinocchio rating, the ongoing mendacity of our corrupt elected officials has required me to follow the Washington Post in adopting the new "Bottomless Pinocchio," which it describes as "a new rating for a false claim repeated over and over again."
Rating: BOTTOMLESS PINOCCHIO
Tuesday, March 26, 2019
Some downtown Bethesda residents heard an explosion around 7:30 AM Sunday morning. A large cloud of white smoke was seen rising from a trailer at the 7900 Wisconsin Avenue construction site. What was it? Now, it can be told.
A source reports that a Pepco electrical cabinet exploded, causing a small fire. This cut electrical power to the construction site, which reportedly remained without power Monday morning. By yesterday afternoon, a generator was transported to the site to provide power. Pepco and the construction contractor will meanwhile continue working to restore electricity to the site, the source reports.
In other 7900 Wisconsin news, watch for modifications being made to one of the tower cranes on the site, which will increase its height.
Monday, March 25, 2019
The permanent sign and statues have just been installed outside the restaurant. There's still a lot of work to be done inside, however. The owner told me that there were some delays getting the necessary permits from Montgomery County, which held up construction. They have a liquor license hearing scheduled for May 2, so that should give a rough idea of how close opening day is. This is the most grand restaurant entry in White Flint since the Lerners went berserk and demolished White Flint Mall, taking the impressive statuary of P.F. Chang's along with it.
The contractor performing the installation has requested a nighttime noise waiver from Montgomery County to allow the overnight work hours. Stock up on earplugs this week.
Sunday, March 24, 2019
Gone is the Chevy Chase Lake Supermarket and shopping center. In its place are excavation and grading equipment spread over a brown landscape. The Purple Line is under construction on the southern end of the site, as well.