Thursday, September 30, 2010


Another Exclusive!!!

We've already heard about the Montgomery County Council's new "fiscal and reserves" policy this past summer. It was the fantasy plan that did not cut a dime from the FY12 budget, did not renegotiate a dime of employee compensation (which accounts for 80% of expenditures), said we could have 10% reserves when we couldn't afford 6% (no giggling, please!), said there was no deficit next year, and - best of all - was not mandatory. So it wasn't only a fantasy, but the council was under no legal obligation to follow the policy!

In other words, it was a hoax.

Are you ready for the latest of several hoaxes that the local media has reprinted without questioning them?

The council knows it is fully responsible for the development disasters in Clarksburg.

Watch video:

Scrambling in an election year, the councilman who had the greatest oversight responsibility for Clarksburg, Mike Knapp, has introduced a bill to give his colleagues and his council record something to hide behind. (Other headlines, by coincidence of course, not related to the election in any way! No, sir!: "New Clarksburg Development to be Wonderful," "New Clarksburg Fire Station: Coming Soon!!!! I'll buy that for a dollar. How about, "Gold Mine Discovered! County Council to Share Loot with Clarksburg Residents if Reelected!" That would be too over-the-top, I guess).

It has been presented to the public as not only a bill to end the development taxing district in Clarksburg, but as the end of the concept in general.

As you know, these taxing districts are a fourth level of taxation for residents of developments such as those in Clarksburg. They were invented in a joint effort between developers and the councilmembers they control. The idea was novel: transfer costs that developers should be responsible for, such as roads and sewers, to the residents.

Watch video:

In other words, the council gave a tax cut to the developers, and a tax increase to the residents of Clarksburg. Developers say that if they can't have these districts, gosh darn it, they'll just have to charge a higher purchase price for the homes. As original pioneers in the New Clarksburg can tell you, they paid premium prices for their homes in the early years, and received no discount. So what was that lower price argument again?

Local media are touting the new bill this week. Unfortunately, it's a fake. Examine the fine print. (And forget that Knapp let himself and his colleagues off the hook about the missing Clarksburg grocery store, and that the reporters didn't hit him with tough followup questions!)

A blue ribbon commission will be formed. And - sometime, oh after the election maybe - somebody somewhere will decide just how we get this sum of money from the county, developers, and - guess who? - the homeowners! (Let's just hope they don't charge the citizens $10,000 for serving on the board, as they did with the arbitration scam).

That's right: the county is not going to demand the cost from the developer buddies. Oh no, it's going to come in great part from the homeowners and you, the taxpayer - even if you don't live in Clarksburg.

And that's the other drag on the council's hopes for good election year vibes - the same day as they announce a supposed end to the taxing district in Clarksburg, the county just happens to unveil a taxing district for White Flint!


Don't forget, that original White Flint district plan was to tax residents beyond the "New" White Flint. This was a trial balloon floated by the county, and was met with howls in response. The county has tried to play that idea down recently, but it's too late: they've already given themselves away, and there's no way to put that genie back in the bottle again.

Now, you might be saying, "What do I care? I don't live in Clarksburg or White Flint." Here's where this week's hoax, and the ultimate imposition of the taxation districts in those areas affects you:

I submit to you that the taxing district scheme is a clever new tactic to work around the property tax charter limit restriction. And that there is a plan to impose such districts countywide.

How? Well, we know that the developers have joined with politicians and the media that serves both of them, to condition the public to accept the fantasy of "smart growth."

Part of the fantasy of "smart growth," is that building buildings helps the environment (no giggling, please). So they propose turning all residential neighborhood shopping centers into urban "town centers." "Walkable communities," they say. Translation: dense, urban development. More residents, more cars, more gridlock, more strain on utilities. A surprise announcement will be made: "Good people of [Westbard, Woodley Gardens, Aspen Hill {your neighborhood name here}: in order to further the Common Good and Welfare of thine town center, we hearby impose a Taxing District."

You, the existing residents, will then pay a fourth level of taxation to fund infrastructure. Since this council has a clear record of failure in building infrastructure (Watch video: , the tax would end up as a slush fund. This would fund tax cuts for developers, and give the council more money to transfer to the developers, unions and non-profits that get them elected. Good deal.

Bad deal for the taxpayer.

Don't believe the hype. The only real Clarksburg bill is one that clearly states that residents are permanently and clearly exempt from funding infrastructure the developers are responsible for.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


Quote of the week:

"There's not all that much difference between the Democrats. But there's a ton of difference between us and the Republicans."

- Marc Elrich (D)

Monday, September 27, 2010


As regular readers know, it doesn't take much convincing to get me to head out to our rural areas in Montgomery County. This past Saturday was Poolesville Day, and I was in the parade at 10 a.m.

If you haven't been there before, don't wait for the next Poolesville Day to make a visit. Taking Route 28 to get there, you will gradually pass into a simpler time. After riding past the site of the irresponsible "Science City" megadevelopment approved by my opponents - which is currently a pastoral farm - you will soon find yourself in Darnestown (which happens to be the hometown of fellow Republican At-Large candidate Brandon Rippeon). One of the odd juxtapositions on 28 is in Darnestown, where a new Harris Teeter store sits in the center of a historically agricultural town.

Anyway, around the bends and up and down the hills. Including one dangerous curve where a burned-out, once sizable farmhouse stands at a distance from the road. Is it a haunted house?

Once on White's Ferry Road, the Poolesville water tower eventually appears over the trees in the distance. It's a more traditional tower than my favorite, bulbous Damascus water tower. So, for those keeping track at home, Poolesville and Germantown have traditional towers; Damascus has the most interesting one; and Mount Airy is somewhere in between (the new one by the Greene Turtle and California Tortilla). Then there's that one near Germantown on Rt. 27...

Finally, Poolesville ES was around the bend. I pulled up to the check-in table, and found out I was number 50. Then I had to go around the circular driveway to get back out. There were dozens of cheerleaders and band members warming up in the lots in front of the school. I followed the directions to get into the right spot in the parade lineup. I have no way to know for sure which candidates were there, but the only other County Council candidates I saw were Robin Ficker and Craig Rice. Aruna Miller, a Democrat running for Delegate in District 15, was directly behind me in the parade. Scott Graham, a Republican running for the same seat was there somewhere, too. More on that later.

Once the parade started, it turned the corner onto Fisher Ave. You will find a wide variety of buildings along this main street, everything from shopping malls and McDonald's to the historic John Poole house and Bassett's restaurant.

There was a great turnout, and lots of supportive people. Like Damascus and other rural areas of the county, Poolesville is Robert Dyer country. I saw a lot of familiar faces, too, in the crowd and at the booths that lined the parade route. You could smell the fresh pies being sold by the Our Lady of the Presentation Catholic Church. Among other appetizing scents was the grill of Republican District 15 Delegate candidate Scott Graham. If you want to know about cooking, ask a firefighter, they are usually great chefs. I think he was in the parade at that moment and other people were working the grill. Another District 15 Republican candidate for Delegate, Sylvia Darrow, was in the parade as well. I also saw council candidate Robin Ficker along the way (and his ROBIN FICKER - TERM LIMITS signs along the way on Rt. 28).

Just past the town hall was a collection of tractors. I heard loud mooing coming from an animal exhibit. Republican cows in Poolesville are supporting Robert Dyer, but unfortunately, farm animals cannot register to vote.

There were guides in historic clothing outside of the John Poole house. The parade ended by Bassett's restaurant. When you continue down the street, you pass the water tower, which actually has homes right beneath it. I also spotted a classic Monte Carlo SS.

I'm looking forward to my next visit to Poolesville, and remember the candidate who will protect these rural towns - that are the real America and the real Montgomery County - from urbanization and massive development: Robert Dyer.

Friday, September 24, 2010


Suspend your disbelief for a moment. Now, tell me if the following description sounds like you:

You enjoy paying Draconian taxes. You enjoy spending hours in traffic gridlock every morning and afternoon.

You are willing to work harder and pay more, and even cancel your vacation, so that Montgomery County Government employees can have bigger salaries, more perks, guaranteed pensions and even an additional $7,000,000 worth of paid vacations.

You don't care if you have electricity or water. You're delighted to find out that your child's class size has increased this fall as the result of budget cuts in education.

And now, you are ecstatic to find out that Marc Elrich, Nancy Floreen, George Leventhal and Hans Riemer are attempting to buy council seats with hundreds of thousands of developer, union and special interest dollars. You look forward to paying more taxes in the future.

You don't even mind people who don't live in Montgomery County deciding the outcome of our county elections, by giving Elrich and Leventhal $8,000 cash apiece.

All of the above makes you want to vote for them even more, according to the Gazette and Washington Post!

Just read these quotes:

"Likely winners"
"All nine [Democrats] will advance to the Nov. 2 general election, where they are expected to win..."
-The Gazette

"If the four [Elrich, Floreen, Leventhal, Riemer] are victorious come November - as many assume they will be..."
-The Washington Post

What is the basis for these statements? A majority of Democrats, as well as all Republicans and independents, have yet to cast a vote on the general election field of 8 candidates in the At-Large race. The incumbents have a record of historic failure, and Mr. Riemer has all the same union endorsements and positions on the issues as the incumbents. Residents are furious, and the county has fallen behind Fairfax County by every measure.

So, on what basis does anyone claim the Democrats are guaranteed to win?

Is it because of all the developer, union and out-of-county money they have?

If that was true, Steve Forbes would be president, and Josh Rales would be a U.S. Senator.

So please tell us, what is the justification for the above claims by the media?

Thursday, September 23, 2010


Another Exclusive!!!

Well, to hear the Gazette tell it, Hans Riemer is "expected to win" on November 2nd (!!). I'm looking forward to hearing the basis upon which such a statement can be made. As soon as I stop laughing, that is. Especially since a majority of Montgomery County Democrats, and all Republicans and independents, have yet to weigh in on Mr. Riemer's candidacy!!!

But opponents of Montgomery County's Ambulance Fee should certainly hope the Gazette is wrong. And they will be sorely disappointed if Mr. Riemer continues to coast his way into office, with the almost-surreal, easy support of the local papers and political machine. (Apparently, in Montgomery County, the media proclaims people as "frontrunners," but does not subject them to the extra scrutiny a frontrunner usually receives...)

This is because Riemer is waffling all over the place on the Ambulance Fee, while I have been solidly opposed to it from the beginning.

Just read the Riemer quotes from the Gazette piece:


"A resident who needs to call an ambulance clearly is in a difficult situation, and the county should not pass fees directly on to these individuals," [Riemer] wrote in the association questionnaire.
"Passing these fees directly on to nonresidents is wrong for the same reason, and because many of these callers work in Montgomery County and support our economy. Revenue recovery passed directly to patients is an idea I cannot support."


On Monday, Riemer said his position on the fees is clear: "I support ambulance fees when they are paid by insurance companies and oppose them when paid by patients."
On Andrews' anticipated bill to repeal the fees, Riemer said he would not comment on a bill that he hasn't seen.

Would you like a side of sausage with those waffles?

The latter quote describes the Leggett-Floreen-Leventhal-Elrich Ambulance Fee! That's their talking point: "insurance companies pay, not you!" So, Riemer is a solid vote for the Ambulance Fee.

Riemer was caught making promises he didn't intend to keep previously, when his union questionnaire statements conflicted with later comments in candidate forums. The media apparently doesn't have a problem with a candidate who changes his position on issues every five minutes, especially if they are a pro-developer, tax-and-spend Democrat.

But I suspect that you, the voter, do have a problem with that. Particularly with so many critical issues coming before the next council that affect your income, property value, safety and quality of life.

Are those areas of your life in which you want to gamble?

THE BOTTOM LINE: Robert Dyer is the only sure vote to kill the Ambulance Fee. No waffling. You know where I stand today, and you know where I'll stand if I'm elected and have the opportunity to vote to repeal this dangerous fee.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


The saga of the use of public money for personal and political gain continues on three coasts this morning. In Bell, California, a scandal of high council and employee wages has now led to the arrest of current and former councilmembers and other officials.

Several quotes in the Los Angeles Times tell the story:

'Eight current and former Bell city leaders were arrested Tuesday on charges of misappropriating more than $5.5 million from the small, working-class community as prosecutors accused them of treating the city's coffers as their personal piggy bank.

The charges follow months of nationwide outrage and renewed debate over public employee compensation since The Times reported in July that the city's leaders were among the nation's highest paid municipal officials.

"This, needless to say, is corruption on steroids," said Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley in announcing the charges. "This was calculated greed and theft accomplished by deceit and secrecy," Cooley said.'

But wait, there's more!

Let's return across the Atlantic, as a familiar controversy unfolds there as well! Writing in the UK's Telegraph newspaper, Philip Johnston criticizes the out-of-control-government-employee-salary-in-exchange-for-political-election-support tactic so familiar to residents of Montgomery County!!!

"Something has clearly gone seriously awry when pay for the top five per cent of earners in the public sector has risen by 51 per cent in the past 10 years. How has this happened?

Moreover, whereas work in the public sector used to be less well paid than in the private sector –a shortfall made good by greater job security and an enhanced pension –senior public servants now earn salaries that would not look out of place in the corporate world: today, they get both the salaries and the perks.

These high salaries have helped create an unhealthy "them and us" situation, with many in the private sector feeling that they are paying for generous remuneration and pension packages which they no longer enjoy themselves.

Even more galling is that we were told that public sector bosses deserved high salaries to stop them leaving for (or to attract them from) the private sector, and to ensure the best people are running our services. [<---Wait a minute, there's that George Leventhal argument again!!!]

Yet, while the costs have gone up, we have not seen a commensurate improvement in services or in efficiency."

As they attempt to "buy" council seats with six-figure developer/special interest campaign accounts - and tens of thousands of dollars in union and out-of-county donations - Marc Elrich, Nancy Floreen, George Leventhal and Hans Riemer represent the vanguard of a new movement: one that requires you, the private citizen, to subsidize superior compensation for public employees, even as you struggle under the burden of Montgomery County's recession and Draconian taxes.

It's outrageous.

Send a powerful message to them, by VOTING for a fiscally responsible and ethical county council on November 2nd.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


Adding to yesterday's report on the attempt by my Democratic opponents to "buy" the At-Large seats on the Montgomery County Council, using tens of thousands of dollars in union and out-of-county contributions - and hundreds of thousands more from developers and special interests:

As you know, these politicians are now indebted to those unions, developers and special interests. This means they will not be restructuring employee compensation, which accounts for 80% of county expenditures.

A similar case in California caused a near riot in the town of Bell. This town, like Montgomery County, was overpaying government employees with six-figure salaries, and councilmembers were enriching themselves personally (salaries) and politically (campaign contributions). And like Montgomery County, this information had not been shared with the public.

When it was finally exposed, the public - understandably - was not pleased, to say the least. Now, former governor - and current Attorney General - Jerry Brown is suing the city council, and demanding that employees return the loot to the city.

Brown had harsh words that could serve as a wake-up call for our Big Spenders, Marc Elrich, Nancy Floreen, George Leventhal, and new partner Hans Riemer, who are all "in the money" with massive union donations, received in exchange for promises they've made that are simply unsustainable:

"You can't just take the public's money and give it to yourself or give it to your friendly employees or members of the...council just because you want to. There's a standard and that standard is that the pay must be commensurate with the duty and the work."

These actions were "possible violations of various state laws and [a] waste and misuse of public funds."

- Jerry Brown

The use of public funds to win over county employees and employee unions is a common practice not only in Montgomery County, but across the ocean, as well.

Check out this bulletin from the Bournemouth Echo newspaper yesterday:

'A BBC Panorama investigation, screened last night, revealed that there are more than 9,000 public workers in the UK earning more than David Cameron’s £142,500-a-year.Dorset County Council leads the way for local authorities, with its five top officers on salaries of £119,000 upwards. Chief executive David Jenkins’s pay from April 1 was £164,306.

A county council spokesman said: “The council is the largest public sector employer in Dorset and has a budget running into hundreds of millions of pounds, so the chief executive role has huge responsibility. “We pay at the necessary level to attract and retain suitable candidates in a very competitive market.” [<-- Wait a minute! That is exactly what George Leventhal always says when he faces a question about the massive compensation packages he and his colleagues voted for!!]

At Bournemouth council, chief executive Pam Donnellan is paid £125,373, with John McBride at Poole council paid up to £124,951. Martin Baker, chief constable of Dorset Police, saw his pay rise to £133,068 this month. In the education sector, at least one headteacher in Dorset earns £120,000.'

Where's the outrage? Where is the press coverage and criticism? Why are these Big Spenders who have violated the public trust, and mismanaged the county's finances for their own political gain, receiving newspaper and Chamber of Commerce endorsements? What's going on here?

It is vital that you get out and vote on November 2nd, to ensure that council seats are won, not bought with massive special interest contributions and donations from outsiders who don't even live in the county. We must restore ethics to our electoral process and our county council. You - not the special interests - have the power to do that with your vote. Exercise it, and tell everyone you know to exercise their right, as well.

Monday, September 20, 2010


Say it ain't so! Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett, speaking on behalf of himself and the County Council, and the budget they collaborated on and passed, recently made a startling statement.

When asked about the county's lack of lawnmowing of highway medians and rights-of-way, Mr. Leggett said, "If I mow the lawns, then I have to fire people." Wow. Let me give you a chance to think about that one. The question is, is this a government that serves the people? Or is it a charity? Obviously, it is supposed to be the former, but Mr. Leggett and my Democratic opponents believe it is the latter - as well as a personal political machine that can generate tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions at the 11th hour of the election.

This is yet another fundamental difference between myself and my opponents. They believe you must pay more - even as you are hurting financially with the recession and the high cost of living in Montgomery County - to provide even more money, perks, and job security for elite county management and employees. Meanwhile, county residents face the threat of layoffs and devastating furloughs from their own employment every day. Talk about a council that is out of touch with the real world!!

How "out there" are Marc Elrich, Nancy Floreen, and George Leventhal, as they collect record energy taxes and - along with running mate Hans Riemer - personally reap the financial rewards through massive union cash contributions?

The Castro regime in Cuba has just announced it is laying off 500,000 government workers. This means that your county council is now less concerned about government finances than Fidel Castro. Fidel Castro! You can't make this stuff up. Have your election day decisions been affected by this news bulletin?

Thursday, September 16, 2010


Thanks to all who voted for me on Tuesday. I cannot win on November 2nd without your continued support.

My Democratic opponents, and their friends in the local media, are already trying to prop up the absurd idea that the election is over. Good luck!

There's a contested election on November 2nd, and a full half of the county electorate has yet to weigh in on the Democratic nominees. With their record of failure, these incumbents cannot expect a cakewalk.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


...for Montgomery County Council At-Large,
until you've watched these entertaining and informative videos!








Friday, September 10, 2010


Another Exclusive!!!

Here are more pictures from Tuesday night's event:

Thursday, September 09, 2010


Exclusive Video!!!

Those who promote a particular twisted version of "smart growth," that allows massive overdevelopment without any infrastructure to support it (in fact, this version of smart growth says you don't even bother about the impact on road capacity or school overcrowding[!!]), have taxpayer-funded TV channels, newspapers, and blogs to advocate for their cause.

They announce that - one day - everyone will live right where they work, and janitors will telecommute, cleaning buildings over the internet.

Thousands of video hours, newspaper words, and blog entries try to condition the public to accept Carmageddon projects like Science City and White Flint as normal - and the resulting gridlock as something you'll "just have to deal with," if you refuse to spend two hours on an un-air-conditioned Metro car to get to work.

And I debunk it in just 90 seconds.

Check it out:

If you want a councilman who will protect our suburban neighborhoods from being annexed into urban town centers, I'm your candidate! If you want to reduce the amount of time you spend commuting during rush hour, elect Robert Dyer! I will not only support Ride On and rail transit, but - more importantly - will build the roads that were called for in the Master Plans of the county. Roads like M-83 upcounty, upon which our explosive growth was predicated, and yet were inexplicably and irresponsibly never built.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010


Another Exclusive!!!

It's not every day that my name is on a VIP guest list with Lady Gaga, Katherine Kennedy and Kate Michael. Or that I am making a red carpet arrival at 7 p.m. at Bethesda Row.

The Grand Opening party at Vapiano was a decidedly different affair from other openings in the area. In a nice gesture, VIP invites to the exclusive party were sent out to local celebrities and notables, bloggers and social media gurus. This was also a smart marketing decision. Recognize influential people in the community, provide a positive first experience, and - as a result - generate favorable publicity. And it will be sincere, as opposed to artificial hype. Some other places just-sort-of-open as an afterthought, and the result of that is, they miss out on a lot of potential buzz online and off.

When I arrived, they asked for my name. The List was on an iPad rather than paper. Then it was a short walk on the red carpet, to the revolving door. A photographer was taking pictures as guests arrived. Once inside, guests were welcomed at the host desk, and given a brief explanation about how the restaurant works: There are several "stations" at the long counter in front of the kitchen. Each one is labeled for a different type of food, ranging from pizza to pasta to salads and panini. As the restaurant's spokesman pointed out during a brief speech given from atop the bar, it is not a self-serve cafeteria. Rather, the setup allows the diner to control what ingredients are included in each order, and every order is made fresh. All ingredients are made from scratch at the restaurant, including bread and pizza dough.

Speaking of pizza dough, you can stand right at the counter where the pizzas are made, and the giant pizza oven is right there, too.

About 2/3 of the restaurant space is devoted to the food counters and seating, which ranges from small tables to larger, communal ones. A comfortable lounge and bar area occupies the remaining third. Last night, there was a DJ playing techno music. Which was appropriate, given the European origins and atmosphere of the restaurant. Vapiano began in Germany, although the cuisine is Italian. And, by the way, they have Peroni.

The staff was exceedingly polite and welcoming, and offered tray after tray of the aforementioned free food and generously-filled glasses of wine. This included tomatoes and cheese, a sort of rolled up sandwich, bruschetta, pizza slices and small squares of a chocolate dessert. Of course, one could also get pasta and other items from the counters.

Decorwise, there is a lot of wood, Italian-themed art that wraps around the interior walls, and creative use of lighting. The underside of the bar counter is lit, for example. Wood floors and tables - and even two trees in the section by the Woodmont Avenue windows - add to the natural-wood theme. Outdoors, wood tables offer curbside dining.

The addition of Vapiano and the Equinox building really transforms this square block of Bethesda. There is now virtually a continuous zone of activity all the way around the block, and it better links the Shoppes at Bethesda to Bethesda Row. A minor logistical roadblock would be to figure out a way to relocate the large dumpsters between the two properties on Hampden Lane. But a Ferrari parked outside the Hampden Lane windows of Vapiano indicated the transformation of a formerly dark corner.

Inside the restaurant, "K Street" Kate was there. So was Angie Goff from WUSA 9. Lady Gaga was in town, but didn't appear as far as I could tell. That didn't stop the restaurant from hoping she might, though. Well, the red carpet was ready.

A different kind of grand opening, and a different kind of restaurant. The unique concept is a great addition to Bethesda Row, much like Taylor Gourmet, the Mussel Bar and Georgetown Cupcake. The bar and lounge seem like a great place for after-work happy hours, and the upscale-yet-casual theme would make Vapiano perfect for dates and small groups.

It was a great event, and I look forward to my next visit.

Here are some photos from last night's event:

Friday, September 03, 2010


Exclusive Video!!!

The Labor Day weekend is here! Start it off by enjoying this entertaining video from last night's Montgomery County Council At-Large debate, at the 4-H headquarters on Connecticut Avenue in Chevy Chase. The moderator was Charles Duffy of Channel 16's Political Pulse.

This debate will be televised 5 times on Channel 16 before the September 14 primary, but you can get an exclusive preview right now by clicking on this link:

The incumbents made the mistake again of claiming that there will be no budget shortfall next May. It was up to me to set the record straight, so click on the link right now to take a front row seat at the debate!

Thursday, September 02, 2010


Come out to the 4-H headquarters on Connecticut Avenue in Chevy Chase tonight for a Montgomery County Council At-Large candidate forum, sponsored by the Town of Chevy Chase and 1000 other civic associations and municipalities.

The debate begins at 7 p.m., and will be moderated by Charles Duffy of Channel 16's Political Pulse.

This debate includes Republicans, unlike the private debate the Democrats had last night.