Wednesday, September 30, 2009


5 Sites Chosen Discriminate Against Rural Voters

Yesterday afternoon, the Montgomery County Board of Elections voted 3-2 along party lines to select five early voting sites recommended by the county's Democratic Central Committee.

The sites selected were:

  • Bauer Community Recreation Center, Rockville
  • Germantown Recreation Center (substitute for Blackrock, which declined use)
  • Marilyn Praisner Community Recreation Center, Burtonsville
  • County Executive Office Building, Rockville
  • Silver Spring Civic Building

Three alternate sites were designated at:

  • Long Branch Recreation Center, Silver Spring
  • Mid-County Community Center, Silver Spring
  • Upper County Community Center, Gaithersburg

Robert Dyer, a member of the Montgomery County Republican Central Committee, released the following statement in response to the highly partisan Board decision:

"The sites selected by the Democratic majority on the Board of Elections constitute a blatant attempt to suppress early voter turnout in Damascus and Poolesville. Neither town has convenient access to an early voting site.

Furthermore, the three Democrats on the Board selected a site - the County Executive Office Building - that is not easily accessible to disabled voters over the Damascus Recreation Center, which has convenient access for the disabled.

The Executive Office Building also lacks convenient parking in general, again in contrast to the Damascus site, which has ample parking.

The Democrats also selected a facility that has not even been constructed yet - the Silver Spring Civic Building - over the established Damascus Recreation Center. Board staff warned the Board members that the Silver Spring facility will not likely be ready in time for the September 2010 primary.

Board President Jerrold Garson dismissed the need for early voting in Damascus, stating that "only 13,000 voters" would be excluded.

I could not disagree more with Mr. Garson's statement. To discriminate against, or discourage, 13,000 voters or just one voter is completely unacceptable.

The Board's decision was strictly partisan. All three Democrats on the Board simply approved the five sites recommended by the county Democratic Central Committee and Democratic County Council members. Site recommendations I offered, and the official recommendations of our Republican Central Committee, were entirely ignored.

It is well known that our rural areas are underserved by mass transit. The Board knows this, and proceeded ahead with its partisan plan anyway.

Several Democrats touted the ability to vote on a Saturday, and on Labor Day. Damascus voters who do not drive will not have access to early voting on either day. The county eliminated weekend and holiday service on the Route 90 Ride-On bus in April 2009. Route 90 is the only bus serving the town. This discrimination is outrageous.

I believe voters in Damascus and Poolesville will hold the Democratic Party responsible for their lack of access to early voting in the 2010 elections."

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Breaking News:


2010 Early Voting Site Selection Process
Discriminates Against Upcounty, Rural Areas

I am at this moment at the Montgomery County Board of Elections, about to testify in support of voters in the Poolesville and Damascus areas. Voters in those areas deserve equal access to early voting, and the current site proposals threaten to discourage turnout of Republicans, Democrats, Independents, Libertarians... all voters.

Read my speech as I am delivering it live!:

*** ***

I’m Robert Dyer, an elected member of the Montgomery County Republican Central Committee, and a registered voter.

I’m here today to represent myself, and the voters of Poolesville and Damascus.

It’s unfortunate that 99% of voters don’t even know this issue is being decided right now. And that some races in the 2010 elections may be decided in this room this afternoon.

Examining the State Board’s selection formula and criteria, it is clear they were devised to discriminate against rural areas in Montgomery County, and statewide. Agricultural areas are, by nature, low density, and underserved by transit. Farms are large, and septic systems require lower density residential areas.

5 sites is an arbitrary number. What is magic about the number 5? And if we were to have 5 sites, why would they not be spread evenly throughout the county in Rockville, Poolesville, Bethesda, Silver Spring, and Damascus?

We first have to establish that early voters are a new set of voters. That was the supposed logic behind early voting. By expanding the number of days one could vote, we were told, those who found Election Day or absentee ballots too inconvenient would finally be able to vote.

If early voters are not new voters – but rather, voters who would vote anyway, even if early voting was not available – then early voting is a complete waste of the taxpayers’ money. Money itself is an issue. If the county and state do not have the funds to execute early voting in a fair and just manner, they have no business offering early voting.

Now, the question is, who among this group of new voters will be encouraged to vote, and who will be discouraged? If early voting is all about convenience, and convenience is the draw for this new type of voter, then making early voting inconvenient in rural areas would suppress turnout among that population.

Why should Silver Spring and Gaithersburg determine a close election, and not Damascus and Poolesville?

Why is it acceptable for a Poolesville resident to have to drive to Gaithersburg to vote, but not for a Gaithersburg voter to drive to Poolesville?

I reject this notion that those of us who do not reside in Rockville, Gaithersburg, or Silver Spring are somehow children of a lesser God.

Robert Dyer thinks the voters of Poolesville, Barnesville, and Beallsville are important. This Board will show its opinion of those voters by its actions regarding a Poolesville early voting site. I realize the state guidelines make that difficult.

What will not be difficult for you, however, is to designate the Damascus Recreation Center as a site. With all due respect, you must have a site in Damascus. I’ve been in the center. It is an outstanding facility, with plenty of parking.

The Damascus site will allow the voters of Damascus, Clagettsville, Clarksburg, Etchison, Laytonsville, Cedar Grove, and Hyattstown to exercise their early voting rights.

Another compelling reason for the site, is that a majority of Montgomery County’s police officers and firefighters live in the Damascus area. They work long shifts at all hours, and deserve to have convenient access to early voting.

The voters of Montgomery County will recognize that any action of this Board will, by default, be decided by the Democratic members’ votes. As a result, voters will hold the Democratic Party accountable for any disparity in early voting accessibility.

So I respectfully ask you to join me in calling for a fair and equitable early voting site plan.

Join me in standing up for the voting rights of residents in our rural areas.

Join me in supporting the men and women of our police and fire departments who live in the Damascus area.

Join me in unequivocally supporting the Damascus Recreation Center voting site.

Thank you for your consideration.

Another Exclusive!!!

The first Halloween decorations of the year were spotted on Searl Terrace on Sunday. Wasn't Searl Terrace also the location of the first lightning bug this summer? It seems that Searl Terrace is the street for the avant-garde in Bethesda.

Monday, September 28, 2009


A horrific domestic violence incident in Mount Airy has left all four members of a family in that town dead. The father was a Montgomery County Public Schools employee, the mother worked at a veterinary hospital in Damascus, and the family once lived in Olney. Police investigators have ruled the deaths as a murder-suicide.

This incident does not call for more of the predictable calls for gun control. Rather, it demands we examine the kind of proactive solutions I and others have advocated to stop domestic violence before it happens. Mental health issues, the ability of domestic violence victims (and adult women, in general) to carry a firearm, and long-overdue legal reforms will do more than red herring gun control laws to reduce violence against women and children.

Sunday, September 27, 2009




Another Exclusive!!!

The Grand Opening of the new Safeway on Main Street is still underway. Where the old Safeway was like many others of the chain's stores, the new one is unlike any other I have been in.

Besides the impressive building exterior, the store has a Signature Cafe, Starbucks, and Bergmann's Dry Cleaners.

Unlike some newer grocery stores downcounty, this one doesn't force you to park in a creepy garage - there's plenty of surface parking for the great American automobile.

Inside, it's difficult to move anywhere without an employee offering you a sample of one food or another. When I entered the store, I was presented with a "seedless grape" on a toothpick. Another gentleman asked if I'd like to try the Asiago cheese.

They've got Hungry Man sandwiches. In fact, both the Safeway and the Weis Markets have a full selection of Hungry Man dinners. The Westbard Giant, in contrast, has reduced the number of Hungry Man meals. To make room for more arugula, I guess! Well, you can still find a real dinner for real men in Damascus.

Giant does have the best Halloween candy selection of the three chains, though.

Now, what I actually came in for was to meet a pressing need for caffeine. Fortunately, it was met at the first Starbucks in Damascus - inside the Safeway. I ordered the Pumpkin Spice Frappucino, which is a Halloween special. Overpriced at almost $5, but I have to admit it was delicious. Even though I'm usually a McDonald's Iced Coffee guy.

But, when in Rome...

At the new, upscale Damascus Safeway, you have to think like a billionaire.
What about the old Safeway? It has been stripped of all signage, and the contents were auctioned off 5 days ago. I suspect it will be torn down to make way for...???
You have it preserved on photos and video, though, thanks to me. This morning, you can watch a new video showing the old store, and the new store, on the Robert Dyer Channel at Another moment in Damascus history, exclusive on the Robert Dyer Channel.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Watch more exclusive, behind-the-scenes footage from the lawn tractor pull at the Damascus Community Fair on the Robert Dyer Channel, at

You can watch how a lawn tractor with a roller attachment smooths the track for the next tractor pull.

Friday, September 25, 2009


With no money and a massive budget shortfall again pending, the Montgomery County Council has voted to purchase the Webb Tract in Montgomery Village. Are they using the barter system, or did the seller accept an IOU?

Remember, these are the same people who cut your public school budget by $80 million this year, and took back COLAs and step increases from teachers, police officers, and firefighters.

The Washington Post and other local media failed to even give the straight story on the Webb Tract, and instead chose to parrot the county's press release - as usual. (By the way, has anyone else noticed Ann Marimow has vanished from the Post, and that the Post has essentially ceased to provide full coverage of the executive and council?).

So let me give you the truth. Here's how it works. First the developers pay the councilmembers, and get them elected. Then the scheme goes into motion: The council will sell extremely valuable land near the Shady Grove Metro station to one or more of those developers at a sweetheart price. That's on top of the fact that this is the worst possible time for the county to sell land - it's at an all-time low in value. A fiscal conservative who knows how to manage the affairs of the county would never sell that land at this time.

In order to free up the land so they can give it to the developers, the county must first move what's there elsewhere (and some other "assets" such as the liquor warehouse near the Kentlands).

Hence, the plan to move a lot of junk, plus public safety training facilities, to a residential neighborhood in Montgomery Village called the "Webb Tract."

I don't recall there being a public hearing, or even a charade... I mean, a charette. Sorry.

This was ham-fisted, faux-green, Big-and-Beholden-to Developers-Government at its best.

Two notes on the public safety part:

This Webb Tract scheme is actually going to reduce public safety, as it will not be possible to conduct flashover training at the new site. Councilmember Mike Knapp has admitted this, and has correctly opposed the Webb Tract training site, in favor of renovating the current training center.

My other point is that they just replayed the program on the Rockville Channel where they interviewed two of the great architects in Montgomery County history. You know, this was back when there was actually some creativity in the design of buildings, and you see these around Rockville.

One of the structures they designed was the Fire Training Academy. So how can they tear down that historic tower, for instance.

The whole thing is ridiculous.

Speaking of ridiculous, what has happened to Marc "No Developer Influence" Elrich? First, he was helping developers in Bethesda by trying to print new money for the wealthiest schools in the county, to end the moratorium.

Now Councilmember Elrich is proposing to give developers a tax cut! While he voted to give you an 8% property tax increase this year!

It's outrageous.

Although I believe we should reduce the Impact Tax on single family home builders, and townhome builders to a lesser extent, it would be a tremendous mistake to cut the tax on any more of these disastrous mixed-use debacles. Single-use zoning worked fine, and we need to get back to that.

The other thing we should be encouraging is more affordable apartments in downtown Bethesda. Dr. Yes and the Planning Board are helping keep rents high by approving only those buildings that cater to the rich or the homeless. Talk about a man of extremes! What about the rest of us?

Elrich says he wants to increase the number of development projects in the county. Huh? "No Developer Influence?"

This is very much a case of a leopard trying to change his spots.

Thursday, September 24, 2009


Another Exclusive!!!

Just since I was over at the new Safeway on Main Street last week, the long-planned extension of Woodfield Road to Ridge Road has begun. I've actually stood on the "cliff" in the parking lot behind the Lutheran Church on Ridge Road, and looked down upon the future road at that end.

A wide swath of forest has been clearcut, and in dirt form, the future state highway is taking shape. All of the talk has been about the disastrous ICC. But here is another significant project that may have more effect on traffic congestion than the Road to Konterra.

Woodfield Road-extended actually has some positive aspects. Residents north of the downtown, and those coming south from Carroll and Howard counties, will be able to bypass the jam at Ridge Road and High Corner St. Likewise, northbound drivers can avoid the same jam by taking Woodfield. It will be faster to get to the Post Office and Safeway, among other businesses in the Damascus Centre. Not to mention the Damascus Library and Senior Center.

The Damascus Centre is also taking shape as a model of shopping center redevelopment. It could be argued that, since downtown Damascus actually is a town center (unlike Westbard), residential development might make sense within the Damascus Centre property. That aside, the temptation to go to mixed-use has been avoided.

What is emerging instead is a two-story commercial development that serves the needs of the community, much like the successful renovation of Little Falls Mall on Sangamore Road. Not a colossal tower of empty condos with failing first floor boutiques (Rockville Town Center, anyone?).

And it is pretty exciting to watch a new road taking shape out of the raw wilderness.

The downside is the loss of trees and green space. Woodfield Road has the potential to become far more dangerous than the relaxed boulevard it is now, north of Main Street. Currently a dead end, it will have fast-moving through traffic in both directions. Not to mention that the new "shortcut" is bound to boost the number of vehicles using Woodfield during both rush hours.

My biggest concern is the effect on the spring that runs parallel to the road across from the Damascus Centre. It is currently unspoiled green space and a waterway that, county officials admit, has already suffered environmental damage as a result of runoff from previous construction at the shopping center.

Obviously, a new paved highway alongside the stream will not increase its health. And it's terrible anytime you lose forest and green space.

So I have reservations about this, but overall, this is preferable to widening Route 27 and ruining its 2-lane, rural character, I guess. In any case, it is going to be fascinating to watch the road take shape in the months ahead.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Another Exclusive!!!

On Sunday, I went to the annual Damascus Heritage Day at the Izaak Walton League in Damascus. The Izaak Walton League is not only about nature, but the site also has multiple shooting ranges. That gave a surreal atmosphere, as you will hear on the videos I shot. While lectures were being given on the history of Damascus, you could hear guns blazing in the background.

There were vintage tractors, and the Damascus Volunteer Fire Department brought over their historic fire engine: believe it or not, a 1945 Ford Oren Pumper. It looks great, and I have photos from all angles.

The most fascinating part of the day was learning all about the history of Damascus. I found out answers to questions I had - like what happened to the Druid Theater (apparently, it was failing financially, and sold to Rite Aid). Some other interesting facts about the Druid: they refused to show R-rated movies; at one time you couldn't enter the theater if you were wearing jeans(!); and Rite Aid destroyed a historic mural that was on a wall inside the building.

Two speakers - Renee Jackson and Dan King - talked about their ancestors in Damascus. Renee Jackson brought other family members to the event, and mentioned that her family's farm was on Oak Drive. The farm is now the site of the John T. Baker MS and the Damascus Recreation Center.

In addition to that interesting fact, the past of landmarks such as Tom and Ray's Restaurant, the Weis Markets, and Damascus ES and Damascus High School were revealed. For example, did you know that the sites of Tom and Ray's, and the fitness center between SunTrust and Burger King, used to belong to historic houses?

Speaking of houses, tune in to the Robert Dyer Channel this morning at to watch an exclusive video of Dan King describing an 1800s-era Damascus home. What it looked like, what it was made of, the building materials, and more.

Besides the VFD's fire engine, there were vintage John Deere and Farmall tractors - some actually working, pulling hayrides around the IWLA grounds.

On the way back to downtown Damascus, the view coming around the bend on Mullinix Road is one of the great ones that might make you gasp - like the one of Sugarloaf Mountain in the distance further down Ridge Road. Another reminder that we need to do all we can to preserve the natural beauty of this area without Big Government interference.

Stay tuned for more video and photos from this great event!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Another Exclusive!!!

Everything in the "old" Safeway is being auctioned off today to the highest bidder.
Need a forklift?

Another Exclusive!!!

Stay tuned for the full story about Damascus Heritage Day, but enjoy an exclusive video and photo from the event at right now!

Monday, September 21, 2009

All I have time to tell you is that I went to the Damascus Heritage Day yesterday at the Izaak Walton League. I learned a lot of relevant things about the history and landmarks of the town. There will be photos and video for you, as well as more from the events in Damascus and Germantown last weekend.

Today there is a new photo of Montgomery County Police vehicles at the 5th District Police Station open house. Exclusive on

Friday, September 18, 2009

Watch a new video of the Germantown Volunteer Fire Department right now on the Robert Dyer Channel at!

Thursday, September 17, 2009


Another Exclusive!!!

Before I go on to Sunday, the new Safeway in Damascus had its grand opening last weekend. Unfortunately, Safeway failed to advertise the big Opening Day last Thursday. As a result, I missed it. But on Saturday, the Grand Opening weekend was underway. The old Safeway store, across from the new one in the Damascus Centre, has been stripped of all signage. It's a shame to see a classic grocery store design facing demolition. I took some photos of the old and new stores. And a video showing how close the old store is to the new store.

The new Safeway has a Starbucks, naturally; Bergmann's Cleaners; and a Signature Cafe with outdoor dining. There isn't a grocery store with all of that in Bethesda, that's for sure.

They were giving away samples of Rancher's Reserve steak in the parking lot out front. And the building was decorated for the Grand Opening.

~ * ~

As you can tell from the photo in yesterday's entry, the weather on Sunday was fantastic. It was quite a change from Saturday. There was Blackjack again, stirring up a cloud of gravel dust as I parked at the American Legion. While I couldn't get that shot of Blackjack tearing around below the water tower, I was able to finally get two photos of the water tower from the perspective of the Damascus VFD fairgrounds.

A Case tractor was pulling free hayrides. Speaking of tractors, I finally was able to get pictures of the Gladhill Bros. display.

Gladhill Bros. has been selling tractors for over 70 years in Damascus. 70 years! They are a John Deere dealership with a second location in Frederick. They will also service your tractor, as well.

At the Fair, Gladhill Bros. had several lawn tractors, plus a front-loading full size John Deere. I want a Gator T/S. I'll have to settle for the photos I took of it for now. The other smaller John Deere I want is the ATV they sell. In Gladhill Bros.' massive toy display, they had a tiny scale toy of the ATV you could buy.

The Gladhill family is one of the most important in town, and Gladhill Bros. is a major sponsor of the fair. They helped put on a pedal tractor pull outside the VFD Activities Building, for example.

There was a dog show, and I have some video of that. And a special program for grandparents, as Sunday was... Grandparents' Day.

What I had to check out was the lawn tractor pull across the street, though.

Go watch the video of a small lawn tractor hauling a John Deere on the Robert Dyer Channel at, and you will have a front row seat yourself.

A country music band was playing on a stage adjacent to the Activities Building. There was a fashion show inside the building. You could also buy food inside, or from a walk-up window outside. There were hamburgers, pizza, french fries, and fried chicken, and everything smelled great.

I also made a new friend, Jack. Jack is a donkey or burro or something like that. He has a sign on his fence that says, "I BITE. MY NAME IS JACK, AND SERIOUSLY, I DO BITE." Jack was chewing whatever he had there to eat. He appears quite calm, perhaps in a Harry Callahan kind of way.

I can really only try to give you the highlights here, as it would be impossible to describe the thousands of exhibits and entries in the fair. I'm looking forward to going again next year.
OCTOBER 1, 2009

The Montgomery County Division of Solid Waste Services has announced it is permanently closing the Damascus Beauty Spot (a strangely-named trash site that accepts lumber, wood, demolition debris, fencing, mattresses, and "bulky" trash in quantities up to 499 pounds) on October 1, 2009.


"For environmental compliance reasons," says the county government. What does that mean? Is there a health hazard to local residents from this site? Or is this simply another case of the county executive and council treating the Upcounty as second-class citizens again, bearing the heaviest burden of our elected officials' budget "cuts?"

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


This past weekend, I attended the Damascus Community Fair on Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday, I started by visiting the Montgomery County Police 5th District police station Open House in Germantown.

When I first arrived at the station, the roads were blocked off, and there were no indications of where to park. The parking lot by the Transit Center doesn't look like a good place to leave a car you want to find in one piece when you return. So I parked at Hoyt's - sorry, the Regal Theater.

The first thing that happened was that the Park Police helicopter took off right in front of me. After the smoke cleared, I went across the street where there were several motorcycle officers and their motorcycles. Next to those was one of the new Dodge Charger police cruisers, and a mounted police officer on his horse. I've got pictures of those, which you will see at as they are uploaded.

The motorcycles are Harley Davidsons. One great video I took was of an officer demonstrating fighting techniques with the nightstick/baton. Available soon on the Robert Dyer Channel at

Then I went up the driveway between the police station and the Germantown Volunteer Fire Department, and the rest of the Open House was dominated by the VFD. I took pictures of the various fire equipment, and of a Montgomery County Police S.W.A.T. armored vehicle. There was a DJ from some radio station broadcasting in the center, and the smell of hot dogs grilling in the air. Free hot dogs.

Speaking of dogs, among the honored guests were several specially-trained FEMA dogs.

Finally, the Germantown VFD put on an impressive display of their firefighting equipment. Arranging 2 fire trucks on the street, they attached hoses from a hydrant by Hoyt's... sorry, Regal.. to a pumper truck, and then to a ladder truck with a water cannon on top.

One firefighter turned on the hydrant, and you could see the water move through the previously-flat hose. The now-round hose fed the high-pressure water into the pumper truck. Another firefighter activated the outgoing hose, and it expanded quickly as the water approached the ladder truck. The water went up into the water cannon and spewed out in a torrential blast, soaking some unlucky bystanders in the VFD driveway.

The best part is, you will be able to watch this demonstration on the Robert Dyer Channel, as if you were right there with me! Stay tuned for that; I'll let you know as soon as that clip is uploaded.

Then it was time to hit the road to Damascus for the main event: the 2009 Damascus Community Fair. Apparently, the water cannon demonstration must have penetrated the clouds, as rain began to fall in Damascus as I entered the downtown area. There was no rain in the forecast! Fortunately, I had umbrellas behind the seat.

The first thing you notice as you round the bend on Lewis Drive is the impressive monument/memorial in front of the American Legion, Post 171. Next door is the Damascus Volunteer Fire Department Activities Building, and the community fairgrounds.

The second thing you notice is a big, purple monster truck named Blackjack. It announces itself with a roar and a cloud of gravel dust as it returns riders to the airplane-style boarding staircase.

The third thing that gets your attention is the massive John Deere Turbo Combine parked prominently across from the VFD Activities Building. Next to that was a booth for the Damascus Emergency Preparedness Team, one of the few county organizations that is actively developing plans for disasters, disease outbreaks, or terrorist attacks.

Across from their booth were two state agriculture booths. One was actually a trailer with interactive agricultural displays. Both had brochures, and got milk? pencils.

Behind the combine was the local merchants/organizations tent. This had displays for the Damascus Library, Damascus Heritage Society, Damascus Community Bank, and others. Also businesses such as Robys Photoshop (I think that's in the same shopping center as the Weis Markets). There was a caricature artist drawing any victim who sat in the chair. I saw a familiar John Deere logo on a piece of cloth, which turned out to be a John Deere pillowcase (more on John Deere later). This and other sewn items and jewelry were being sold by Sharon and Esther Rea, who are putting the proceeds towards a December-January mission trip to Bolivia. They are trying to raise $4000. The Pleasant Plains of Damascus DAR organization had a table, as well.

If you come out of that tent, you can go forward towards a ring set up for livestock competitions. On Saturday, there were swine being shown; on Sunday, goats, including one who was very talkative.

Next to that was another tent where a band was playing Saturday, and where the always-active Damascus Lions Club was giving away all the free popcorn you could eat.

Meanwhile, Blackjack was tearing up a meadow across the street. On Saturday, the area between the gravel parking lot and the grassy field was clear. This set up a great scene of Blackjack rampaging around the field backed by forest, with my favorite Damascus landmark - the water tower - visible above the trees in the distance. But I was unable to get that "money shot" of the monster truck below the water tower. Even though I could see it, the tower appeared invisible against the fog and clouds through the viewfinder. When I tried to take the shot on Sunday, the monster truck was hidden behind trailers and trucks parked over there for the lawn tractor pull contest. Oh well.

It was also hard to get many photos in general, due to the rain. I took some of the exhibits inside the Activities building. Have you ever seen an Xbox 360 controller cake? You will now, when I upload my picture of it.

I saw that the Weis Markets store gave a special award to a yeast bread entry. I took a picture of a giant pumpkin and a giant sunflower. Both won awards. The 4-H club not only showed its imagination through the many exhibits - ranging from food to artwork to hand-sewn clothing - but also how much work went into the projects.

There was a very impressive exhibit on the history of Damascus, with lots of photos and other preserved items.

The rain kept falling outside. But as you can see from the photo, Sunday was a beautiful day.

Stay tuned for Part 2

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

New video, and a new photo from the Damascus Community Fair are available now at!

Monday, September 14, 2009


Another Exclusive!!

This past weekend, I attended the Damascus Community Fair on Saturday and Sunday. I also visited the Open House at the Montgomery County Police station (5th District) in Germantown.

As usual, I have brought back many photos and videos which are only available on, and which you will be seeing as I upload them.

I'll have all the details from both events, but right now I only have time to upload the first video. It is of the Blackjack monster truck at the fair. Watch it now on the Robert Dyer Channel at

Friday, September 11, 2009

Robert Dyer Channel
Angus Burger Video

1,000 views and still more every hour. Have you watched it yet?

Hurry to the Robert Dyer Channel at now, or click here:

Thursday, September 10, 2009


Last week, a driver crashed into a utility pole in Mount Airy. He was rushed to... Washington County Hospital in Hagerstown!

This is further evidence of the current void in emergency medical services in the Upcounty. I suspect that the driver was taken to the Trauma Center in Washington County, as has been the case in other serious accidents. Frederick Memorial Hospital does not have equivalent facilities. Of course, Mt. Airy is in Carroll County, but it is right next to Damascus. So if Washington County was the closest trauma center in that case, where would a similar patient in Damascus or Clarksburg be transported?

The good news is, we finally have two organizations proposing to build hospitals in upper Montgomery County: Adventist (Germantown) and Holy Cross (Clarksburg).

The bad news is, Big Government and political payoffs are getting in the way. Maryland officials are seeking to have only one facility built. Big Government, in all of its convoluted regulatory madness, has invented some kind of "certificate of need" process. This is designed to award potential hospitals to the organizations and developers who donate the most money to Gov. O'Malley and elected officials further down the chain of power.

We can't let politics get in the way of public safety in the Upcounty.

Both hospitals need to be built, and I would insist on two assurances: that we are getting a net gain in beds within Montgomery County (we currently have a critical lack of hospital beds, and are totally unprepared for a major disease outbreak or terror attack), and that one of these hospitals will (eventually) have a Trauma Center.

Having both hospitals and a trauma center is literally a matter of life and death for future patients in the Upcounty, as well as in southern Frederick and Carroll counties.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009


All of you who were fortunate enough to travel over the weekend may have missed the latest videos on the Robert Dyer Channel at, including one of the Mt. Airy Volunteer Fire Department in the Celebrate Damascus parade.

Monday, September 07, 2009


This is a historic moment in the history of union negotiations in Montgomery County. After a year of balancing the budget with smoke and mirrors, and breaking labor contracts, the county executive and council face another massive budget shortfall.

Yes, smoke and mirrors. Not only did the council fail to address the county's structural deficit, but it used only a few techniques to achieve a "balanced budget," as required by law:

  1. It used minor budget cuts overwhelmingly devastating to seniors and the disabled.
  2. It violated labor agreements (albeit with the agreement of the unions) by slashing COLAs and other salary increases for teachers, firefighters, and police officers. It also sought savings by attempting to deny retirement benefits to disabled police officers.
  3. When all else failed, it charged the Montgomery County Public School system $80 million - in other words, it cut $80 million more from education, beyond the previous budget and salary cuts.
  4. The county, like all Democrat-run local and state governments, received Federal "funny money," from the $1.3 trillion printed by the Obama administration. This enabled them to limp ahead one more year, in hopes that the President's economic plan ends the recession before the 2010 election.

That's all. That's how they did it. We all knew it would be impossible for them to literally balance declining revenues (resulting from high taxes, falling home prices, and the 2008 "recession" that was designed to defeat John McCain once he moved ahead in the polls) with the outrageous level of spending this council has sustained.

So in the end, they didn't have to. They couldn't! Only by sleight of hand - cheating, if you will - did they "balance" the budget. Notice that the state Board of Education has so far given the council a free pass on its failure to maintain the necessary level of education funding for MCPS. Political? Oh, of course not!

But with that background, consider the labor contract issues ahead. When the stimulus "funny money" runs out, and O'Malley cuts funds to the counties, the council and executive again will be on the hot seat in union negotiations.

The council and executive won't have it so easy this time. Not only do all union contracts expire in June 2010, but the recent Federal court ruling has reinforced the binding nature of union contracts. After all, a contract is a contract.

When I went to testify in support of our county police officers in the disability case this year, the council smugly asserted its ability to break the contracts. Now, of course, the council will turn to furloughs.

Not so fast, said U.S. District Judge Alexander Williams, Jr., when Prince Georges County tried the same thing. Judge Williams noted that P.G., much like Montgomery, had plenty of funds that could be cut in order to pay employees. In essence, Judge Williams asked P.G. county what I asked the Montgomery county council that evening: when is a deal not a deal?

Et voila! The stage is set for a historic showdown. Will the councilmembers be able to wave their magic wands again?

Saturday, September 05, 2009

More video from the Celebrate Damascus parade - including a Ford Model T - is on the Robert Dyer Channel this morning at!

Friday, September 04, 2009

This morning on the Robert Dyer Channel: more Celebrate Damascus fireworks, and a new video of vintage tractors in the parade. Watch at

Thursday, September 03, 2009


The need for competition in utilities continues to fuel our crusade for lower utility and cable bills. Stay tuned for further news...

Wednesday, September 02, 2009


Bids are being accepted for a replacement bridge at this crossing over Bennett Creek in Damascus by the county government. It involves an unspecified "land acquisition."


I apologize for the lack of updates over the last few days. Once again, my internet service was either partially working, or completely lost for several days. This is the worst service provider in the world.

Expect new videos to be uploaded very soon.