Friday, June 27, 2008


Executive and Councilmembers Dodge All
Blame and Accountability for WSSC
Water Main Break Scandal

"It's a...county government that doesn't appear to have anyone in charge."
- Nancy Floreen, Councilmember (D-At Large)

They said it. The Montgomery County Council has defied all rational logic in declaring itself separate from the Montgomery County Government. All comments by councilmembers at yesterday's public hearing described the county government as a separate entity to be blamed for the WSSC Water Main Break Scandal. Each member spoke as if he or she had no responsibility, and was out of the country at the time the debacle occurred.

This is laughable of course. But take them seriously for a minute, and the statements are shocking. The county council is suggesting it is not a part of the county government. Second, the councilmembers are claiming they never had any knowledge of the water main break, nor of the government's mindboggling failure to inform the public that tap water might be contaminated. In essence, the current council is not "in the loop" with current events in the county, according to their own statements. Therefore, who is running Montgomery County? The career council staff? (That is closer to the truth than any councilmember will ever admit). If the councilmembers are so oblivious to the daily operations of government, they have abdicated their responsibility as leaders, and violated their oaths of office.

So, really, whether you believe their claims or not, it is a lose-lose proposition either way. And a public relations disaster. Just remember these quotes when you go to the polls in 2010:

"Elected officials in Montgomery County said yesterday that they have little confidence in the government's ability to quickly warn residents of potential public emergencies..."

-The Washington Post, Friday, June 27, 2008

In other words, they have little confidence in themselves, because they are the government!

"It's a...county government that doesn't appear to have anyone in charge."

- Nancy Floreen, Councilmember (D-At Large)

At large, but not in charge! That is a whopper of a quote.

"Don't presume because we didn't use all the tools in this emergency that we're not going to in future emergencies."

- Foghorn Leghorn (a.k.a. Gordon Aoyagi, Outgoing [seriously!] County Homeland Security Director)

Ooh, I'll bet the bad guys all over the world are running scared now...

Mike Knapp admitted that the county government should have done "a lot more than putting out a press release." But Ike Leggett thought a press release was good enough. And don't forget, Mr. Leggett got in a good run on his treadmill that Monday morning, while county residents were drinking possibly contaminated tap water. And while another one of those Democrat, highly paid political appointees was slowly ambling in to headquarters to post a warning on the county web site that would be read by about 1-5% of county residents.

New Director of Homeland Security Darlene Flynn decided to skip the meeting altogether! Just as Mike Knapp, ever in denial of the average citizen's economic burden, skipped a conference on home foreclosures of which he was to have been the moderator! Now that's leadership for you.

"Somebody has to be accountable next week when you're gone."

- George Leventhal, Councilmember (D-At-Large [but not In Charge either]) to Foghorn Leghorn

Gosh, Mr. Leventhal, maybe next week you can be accountable! And encourage your colleagues to be mature grownups, and do the same, as the elected leaders of a county government that failed spectacularly under pressure during a relatively minor emergency. But one that could have been major, thanks to the inept leadership of our elected officials.

"How do we instill confidence in our residents that we can do the big things well if I couldn't understand when I could or couldn't drink water?"

- Mike Knapp, Council President (D-District 2)

Ladies and Gentlemen, I can't make up quotes as good as these. Of course, if you live here in Montgomery County - and you're not a billionaire Democrat - you already know that our all-Democrat government can't "do the big things well." You know, transportation, affordable housing, cleaning up pollution. Well, I guess now they can get back to the "big things" like restaurant menus.


Post Company Board Funding Obama

Oops. There they go again. When the Post hasn't been using its articles, editorials, and advertising space to promote Gerald Connolly for Congress (check out how the money moves from the Washington Post company to Fairfax County Government... and then from the Fairfax County Government back to the Post in the form of advertising - wow, somebody get Woodward and Bernstein on the phone)....'s been helping Dominion Power build new transmission lines and coal-firing plants in the state of Virginia. That's because Washington Post Company Board Member Warren Buffett - and hence, the Post - owns major financial interests in power companies worldwide. Dominion's success in violating environmental standards and running roughshod over affected communities will set a precedent allowing Post power companies to do the same in other states. Pretty slick, eh?

And now, what do we have here? The same Post Board member, Warren Buffett, is hosting a massive fundraiser by the rich for the benefit of ...Barack Obama! Wednesday, July 2, in Chicago. That means the Post is financially bankrolling Barack Obama's Presidential Campaign. Corporate America is fired up! He's Ready to Go! And the Post is Ready to Bankroll him!

Thursday, June 26, 2008


Montgomery County Councilmember Mike Knapp is on a crusade to drive the working man and working woman out of Montgomery County... forever. Income taxes, property taxes, cell phone taxes, takeout taxes, $5 a gallon gas, skyrocketing food costs, skyrocketing utilities, toll roads, toll lanes - it's still not enough, and apparently the developers' second favorite man on the council has found out that there are still a few pesky non-millionaires left in the county!

What to do? What to do? Mike Knapp knows: Residents will now have to park their work vehicles in special county lots, far away from their homes. Now, we already know what Montgomery Village's truck ban has done. When you drive through there, it's a complete mess with trucks parallel parked up and down the main roads. That's because working people can't park in their own driveways. How is having thousands of trucks clogging the road an improvement?

Are people going to walk miles from a county lot to their home after work? More likely, they will just move out of the county which is what our one-party Democrat government wants.

A county for the rich, and no one else! That's the Montgomery County way. Slap an Obama sticker on your bumper, and you are absolved of all sin, all racism, and all responsibility to those who are less well off than you. Until next time, Mike Knapp, Ike Leggett, the County Council, and Governor Martin O'Malley are toasting the champagne wishes and caviar dreams of the wealthy limousine liberals and developers of Montgomery County.


Knapp Says County Should Have Used
Reverse 911; Lacefield Says Only Public
School System Has Reverse 911

Well, does the county have a Reverse 911 system or is it Jerry Weast's MCPS that has it? Mike Knapp doesn't seem to know. Isn't that his job? Whoever has reverse 911, the bottom line is that the county government failed to use this modern tool to alert residents that the WSSC's tap water was potentially dangerous to drink last week.

Why are Knapp and his colleagues just complaining now? Are they out of the loop of the county government during emergencies? If Reverse 911 was not being used, why didn't Knapp order that it be activated? To absolve themselves of all responsibility now, is simply foolish. I've heard of a Monday morning quarterback. But Mike Knapp and Co. have managed to be the Sunday quarterbacks who lost the game, and then spoke from their armchairs as Monday morning quarterbacks. The real losers were the residents, who have good reason to fear what will happen should a truly catastrophic weather disaster, chemical spill, or terrorist attack occur, under the inept leadership currently in office.


The Supreme Court today confirmed what most of us knew all along: we all have a Constitutional right to bear arms. The murder capital of the world, Washington, D.C., can no longer operate under a system where only the criminals have guns after today's historic decision.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


Monopoly Utility Had Money to Upgrade
Infrastructure, Prince George's Executive Says

My long standing argument for competition in utilities is building up steam as new critics, including the leader of Prince George's County and former Montgomery County Civic Federation President Wayne Goldstein, join the ranks of those asking... ...why hasn't the WSSC maintained its infrastructure? And why should area residents now pay the price for decades of mismanagement?

Instead, it's time to investigate, and find out who was responsible - and hold them accountable. But the WSSC is refusing to allow anyone to examine its books, and until it does so, we will never know where all those public funds went.

We only know that they didn't go to maintaining infrastructure, and now the WSSC's system is collapsing. The County Executive of Prince George's County argued yesterday that the WSSC, in fact, had the funds to maintain and upgrade its system, but chose to spend the money elsewhere.

Once again, Robert Dyer is vindicated. Until we have competition in utilities, customers will continue to pay the price, while the WSSC's favored elected officials, such as the Montgomery County Council, allow the outrages to continue. Outrages and outages would be more accurate, as residents and businessowners will not soon forget last week's historic collapse of the county's water system.


Rockville's Failed Luxury Apartment
Complex Gets a Frat House Makeover?

60% Vacant Former Condo Rumored
To Have A Major Surprise for
Rich Tenants: College Students

Well, I kept telling you that Rockville's Town Center has been a failure. A massive surrender to developers such as Federal Realty, the Town Center is sparsely populated, and little-visited outside of lunchtime and weekend nights at the Regal Theater.

It was reported that the Town Center's sole surviving condo building had 7 tenants at last count. And the Fenestra - once planned as a condo during the real estate fantasy bubble - was a 40% leased apartment building. Yet somehow it mysteriously stayed in business, much like the other overcharging apartment buildings in the county.

Then, its ultra-rich tenants were hit with rent increases, as the smallest studio went from $1300 to $1600 in just the last two months. Were there new amenities on the way?

No, just fraternity and sorority members. It has been reported on local apartment websites that the Fenestra has quietly pulled a Park Bethesda, and leased itself out to local colleges for use as a dorm. Again there is no official announcement, but this is the rumor being heard.

And you know how well college students take care of their dorms, right? Again, why take less from college students instead of just lowering the rent for the hard-working general public?

This is a supplemental chapter to the Park Bethesda - American University dorm lease mystery. All we know for sure is that the powers-that-be want average, middle-class college graduates to leave the county. And that's a concept that must be opposed if we are to restore the American Dream in Montgomery County.


Weast, School Board Keep Full Funds for
Political Interests; Order School Kids to Walk
Two Miles to School to Save Bucks on Gas

Well, Ike Leggett, the County Council, and the Montgomery County School Board have to make cuts somewhere to afford the massive pay packages they've approved for their union and political allies. You know, the organizations that paid the big bucks to get them elected.

Instead of cutting government waste, or cancelling Ike Leggett's luxury master bath suite, or reversing its forays into the development and real estate fields, they've decided to... cancel your kid's school bus route. Yes, it's true - and if you are a Democrat, you are still going to vote for them next time?

Now your kids will have to walk up to 2 miles to and from school, so that the gas money can be transferred to $100,000+ political allies in the school system administration and to other Democrat special interests, as well as to the massive pay plans (paybacks) gifted by the all-Democrat County Council and Executive.

Ok, let's get this straight. The massive taxes paid in Montgomery County go to "world-class services." And in the last week, we've had no electricity, no clean water, and now no school bus transportation for kids. Are there any more basic services than those? And again, the hypocrisy of the "green" county council - putting more cars on the road to take kids to school is not "green." But what's coming out of your wallet and going to Mike Knapp and Co. certainly is.

Just think, the energy generated by your child walking to school is fueling the foreign-built luxury sedan of a union or Democrat special interest representative on his way to the next county council meeting.

Wealthy Democrats Unite! You have nothing to lose but your kid's school bus route.

Isn't socialism fantastic?

Sunday, June 22, 2008


Decades of WSSC Neglect and
Mismanagement Lead to Historic
Shutdown of Public Water Supply

Montgomery County Executive, Council, and
Officials Proven Incompetent, Reckless

You were not alone last Sunday and Monday if you were drinking potentially contaminated tap water north of the Beltway in Montgomery County. The Montgomery County government and the WSSC failed to inform the public that a catastrophic water main break had occurred, and that water might be unsafe to drink.

The latest manifestation of WSSC mismanagement, and failure to maintain its infrastructure, was the largest breakdown of a public water supply in Maryland history. Montgomery County's failure to communicate with residents revealed that the county's preparedness for a major emergency is virtually nonexistent. Had there been a toxin placed in the water supply by terrorists, for example, and the county's response been as it was last week, there would have been mass casualties.

In the rush to fill county positions with politically-connected Democrats, someone forgot to maintain standards and verify qualifications for the job. I have experienced the same phenomenon in Martin O'Malley's state government: In an ongoing quest for answers about environmental incidents, I am not only constantly stonewalled by the Maryland Department of the Environment, but encounter junior political appointees who cannot even transfer me from one phone to another. That's part of the job description!

The fact is, no one on duty in Montgomery County knew how to operate the emergency email system. More frightening is the fact that county officials believed an email alert would be sufficient anyway. What were they thinking? Does this mean that during a terrorist attack, our many senior citizens who do not use the internet - or citizens who simply are not online 24/7 - will not be informed? It seems that Montgomery County is operating from the same emergency manual as Virginia Tech.

Every citizen should be concerned about the incompetence and failed leadership of our county government in this episode. But they should also be prepared to hear again that they will be forced to pay outrageous water bills to compensate for decades of such incompetence and mismanagement by the county and WSSC. The bottom line is that the WSSC failed to maintain its infrastructure, and local governments allowed that to continue. Where did all the money go? It obviously didn't go to infrastructure, or we wouldn't be in this mess.

Before you accept this incident as a good reason to raise water bills, remember that this pipe was only 28 years old. Do the math. How often can the pipes be replaced? They need to be maintained - and that is where the WSSC, Ike Leggett, and the County Council must be held accountable. Instead, county councilmember Mike Knapp is skeptical of a fully-qualified African-American candidate for the WSSC board, during his interview before the council. And subtly questioning his qualifications for the position. I hope that is remembered when Mr. Knapp is up for reelection in 2010. Is that leadership by Mr. Knapp and the County Council? Definitely not.

Once again, my criticisms of our monopoly utilities - WSSC, PEPCO, Comcast, etc. - have been proven valid. We are always told of the wonderful "services" we receive in Montgomery County. Yet, last week, most of our neighbors north of the Beltway did not have fresh water to drink, and county restaurants took a hit of $5-10 million dollars. And yes, council Democrats, that means you'll get less tax money into your Big Government coffers as a result of your own failed leadership. The future of public safety in Montgomery County is frightening indeed, and voters should remedy that as soon as they have the opportunity.


Citizens Forced to Go Through the
Motions as Developers Move Swiftly to
Ram "Concrete Canyon" Through Planning Process

There are quiet announcements about public meetings and "charettes" where you can give your "input" on the future of Rockville Pike. Alas, the developers and their friends in Montgomery County and Rockville City Government won't be listening. That's because they've already completed the plan, and are cynically forcing residents to waste time pretending they can change the outcome.

It's done. Here it is. You'll only read about it here on - not in the Post or Gazette, papers in the tank for the developers; or on that "unofficial" Rockville blog:

A concrete canyon of Bethesda Row-style mixed development stretching from Bethesda to Clarksburg. Every strip mall and shopping center bulldozed for empty luxury apartments with first-floor shopping.
An urban planning disaster. The wide, cosmopolitan layout of Rockville Pike, with convenient free parking, shopping, and restaurants - which has functioned just fine for decades - will be replaced by concrete monstrosities which will block out the sky and loom over the Pike.

And the Pike is the main issue. Anyone with an IQ higher than their belt size can tell you that the Pike must be widened to deal with its current congestion. To do that, we must keep the buildings back from the road as they are now. There need to be bus lanes as well, or are we once again revealing the hypocrisy of our "green" officials? Monster development on the Pike doesn't sound very green to me. Neither does a new arena planned beyond the reach of Metro!

The Rockville Pike planning "process" is a puppet theatre of the absurd. Feel the strings behind you and applaud when the sign lights up.

Monday, June 16, 2008


(Offer Only Good For Elected Officials).
All Others: Pay Your Bills and Keep Quiet

Now that you've paid to refill your refrigerator, cleaned up the mess from the one that melted during the power outage, and maybe have even paid a hotel bill, what are you going to get in return from PEPCO? Nothing.

Unless you are an elected official, that is. PEPCO gave one D.C. Councilmember $135 tickets to the Ice Capades, and another councilmember $100 tickets to a Washington Wizards game. Wait a minute, how do long-suffering customers get in on this deal?

It is interesting to consider that lawmakers keep allowing PEPCO to raise rates on the residents of Montgomery County, and in turn, PEPCO then has that much more money to give to those lawmakers. And then you wonder why those same elected officials don't criticize PEPCO for slow response after storms, failure to maintain infrastructure, and skyrocketing electric bills. What a surprise.

Maybe you can ask them about it next time you're at a Wizards game.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Montgomery County Planning Board,
Developer Meridian Destroyed
Bethesda Metro Center's
Popular Ice Skating Rink in
Back Room Deal Years Ago

Oops! While mega-developers and high-powered business interests clashed before Dr. Yes (Royce Hanson) and his Planning Board Thursday, an unfortunate detail came to light.

Many here in Bethesda wanted to know: why was the very popular ice rink at the Bethesda Metro Center suddenly eliminated?

Well, it turns out that the Montgomery County Planning Board (prior to Dr. Yes' tenure as chairman) made an old-fashioned, smoke-filled back room deal with developer Meridian: we'll let you demolish the skating rink that is so heavily used by the unwashed masses, and you'll tidy up the Metro Center plaza with "improvements."

This was recounted by opponents of Meridian's disastrous proposal for an aesthetically-repulsive, dumb-growth disaster of an office building, that would destroy the Metro Center plaza forever. Many of us were hearing this for the first time. What's more: Meridian never delivered on its "improvements" promise!! So we lost the ice rink, and we gained... nothing!

Now maybe we can start investigating the rest of the story: the cancellation of holidays in Bethesda, the downsizing of those that remain, and their wholescale (developer-engineered) movement away from the Metro Center to Bethesda Row. Bethesda was the original suburban Athens of the modern world. Now it is falling behind Rockville, Clarendon, and Silver Spring, and the demographics are trending toward stagnation. It shows what developer-controlled planning, and failed political leadership, can do. It's outrageous.


A representative of Federal Realty "accidentally" used his Blackberry phone to disrupt the audio feed of his presentation to the Rockville Planning Commission Wednesday evening. After squelching his own presentation so that citizens watching on The Rockville Channel could not hear the details, he suddenly just knew that his Blackberry phone was the cause. How convenient!

Now, when the session is replayed on Channel 11, that portion of the testimony is now edited out entirely. Leaving Rockville citizens in the dark as to what Federal Realty is doing on this particular project proposal. Double convenient! Clever. Clever. You'll only read about this here on not in the Post or Gazette, or on that "unofficial" Rockville blog.

Thursday, June 12, 2008


Beneficiaries of PEPCO Donations
Laud Monopoly Utility's Slow Repairs
After Routine Thunderstorms


That's what Ike Leggett gave his friends at PEPCO in his after-storm report card. But the Foghorn Leghorn Award goes to Gordon Aoyagi, Montgomery County’s director of homeland security:

After comparing these routine thunderstorms with Hurricane Isabel(!!!), Mr. Aoyagi was just getting started:

"their ability to restore power within two to three days was very good,” Aoyagi said. ‘‘...‘‘Now we’re experiencing the heat advisory, so imagine if Pepco had not been as responsive as they were.”

Oh yes, two to three days when temperatures are at 100 degrees is "very good." Good if you are a rich Democrat in an air-conditioned mansion or McMansion, I guess. Worst yet, Mr. Aoyagi appears to have not been in the area at all, when he claims that the heat began after PEPCO had restored power. Wrong! It was already underway during the blackout.

Give a Democrat official enough money, and he'll tell you, two to three days in the year 2008 is a rapid repair by a monopoly utility. It's outrageous.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008



This is happening literally as I type this... Like everyone else in the neighborhood, I'm now awake. It's going on 2 A.M., and dozens of police cars have been tearing up the main roads nearby. Now the Maryland State Police helicopter is flying over the neighborhood, searching for a criminal on the loose. What is going on? The non-emergency dispatcher of the Montgomery County Police refuses to disclose any details. That is a change from the past. The citizens have a right to know what's going on.

All that's known is that something has happened in the vicinity, and there is at least one dangerous criminal at large around here.

You won't read about this in the Post or Gazette in the morning... only here on where I will post more information when it is available.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008





Planning Board Chairman Leads Body on

Rubber Stamp Rampage

Approves Reckless New Projects;

Admits He is Abandoning Upcounty Transit,

Downcounty Road Improvements; and

Wants Tolls on Every Major County Road

If you are a developer, or part of that powerful group that decides the future of the Washington D.C. area (wealthy Democratic politicians, developers, trade groups, chambers of commerce, assorted industrial interests, large power companies, and various other shadowy entities, etc.) Royce Hanson is the man you have on speed dial in Montgomery County. Or as I like to call him, "Dr. Yes."

Dr. Yes, because Chairman Hanson apparently cannot say "no" to a developer. The man has never met an insane, mixed use development project he didn't like. But the county not only approves these projects - it also fails to create the infrastructure necessary to support them.

Recently, Dr. Yes said "Yes!" to the following catastrophes-in-the-making:

  • Several low density, high-luxury condo buildings in downtown Bethesda, which will likely stand empty for years, have a handful of MPDUs, and fail to utilize this space near Metro for tall buildings which could have housed many affordable units and lowered rents and prices by increasing volume.

  • An old-fashioned, smoke-filled back room deal that gave developers everything they wanted on Hampden Lane, while again abandoning affordable housing goals.

  • A new office building that will destroy the Bethesda Metro Center, while increasing traffic gridlock in every direction from downtown Bethesda.

  • Postponing the Westbard Sector plan revision, to the benefit of developer Richard Cohen of New York, aka Capital Properties (more on that later).
  • New mixed use developments near White Flint and in downtown Silver Spring, which are uncalled for, including an outlandish new Planning Board headquarters that has turned the Planning Board into a developer itself, at taxpayer expense!!!
  • A nutty hotel/apartment/mixed use development near the Bethesda Row Theater that will destroy green space, close an intersection of Woodmont at Bethesda Avenue for 2 years(!!!), and be one more nearly vacant building without affordable units

  • Charging tolls on every major road in Montgomery County, forcing taxpayers to pay again for the roads they already paid for years ago.

It's outrageous.

But Dr. Yes also said, "No!" to some critical needs in Montgomery County:

Hanson stated bluntly that he is going to abandon road improvements or any other efforts to reduce gridlock in the downcounty area. While you are still processing that, get a load of this: Dr. Yes then went on to say that he has no intention of providing new public transit to the Upcounty area.

That's right: Those of you who live in Poolesville, Damascus, Clarksburg, Germantown, Burtonsville, etc. are going to continue to pay taxes, Hanson says, but get no new public transit service in return for your tax dollars.

It's outrageous.

This is a time when every other area in the country is expanding public transportation, especially rail transit. As I emphasized during the 2006 election, the Corridor Cities Transitway is an absurd design for a transit line that will never be built anyway.

What I proposed was a Corridor Cities Railway that would link the Shady Grove Metro station with all of the major towns in the upcounty area. Not just a fake talking point that leaves out over 50% ot the upcounty residents, but a viable project that not only would be built but must be built.

The bottom line is that residents of the upcounty who pay full taxes should get the full range of county services, including transportation.

Unfortunately, to that, Dr. Yes says, "no!"

It's outrageous.



Councilmembers Take Action in the

Best Interest of Richard Cohen and

Capital Properties of New York

Once again, the Montgomery County Council has delayed the revision of the Westbard Sector Plan. Don't listen to the baloney about this being a budget issue. That's complete hogwash.

What's really going on here, is that Richard Cohen's Capital Properties of New York, which now owns most of Westbard, has retained the services of paid attorneys in Bethesda who are paid to lobby the county council. If you don't believe me, just check the county ethics filings where I obtained this information.

These lobbyists wine and dine the members of the council. Now, understand that it is to the benefit of the developer that this plan revision be postponed. That will allow Mr. Cohen to submit each Westbard property individually for rezoning before Dr. Yes and his rubber stamp Planning Board. That rezoning will be easily approved, and not be restricted by new, overall provisions that might be added to a new Sector Plan.

I say "might," because, after all, do you really think the developer-beholden Planning Board and County Council are going to make things too tough in the new Plan? The main concern the developers have, I think, is that there will be a lot of angry citizens who will speak out in the revision process, if they are allowed to speak at all.

So don't believe the government and Post/Gazette doublespeak: the council's postponement of the Westbard Sector Plan is a victory for Richard Cohen and Capital Properties at the neighborhood's expense.