August 14, 2010

Reagan's Chief Speechwriter Endorses Bill Thomas in District 8, Maryland versus Chris van Hollen

"As President Ronald Reagan's chief speechwriter for eight years, my job was to be something of a mind reader. While I would never presume to speak for President Reagan, I can say, knowing Bill Thomas as I do, our favorite President would have thought the world of him. Bill Thomas is going to mean trouble for liberals in Congress – and that’s exactly what America needs."

Anthony R. Dolan, chief speechwriter for President Ronald Reagan, 1981-1989; Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist; special adviser to the secretary of state and the secretary of defense under President George W. Bush.

To see other endorsements visit

Martin O'Malley on power outages

August 13, 2010

26 MoCo schools without power

Montgomery County school officials say there are 26 schools and buildings within the system this Friday that are without power. Any activities scheduled for the following locations have been canceled:

Bells Mill ES Bethesda Maintenance Depot Montgomery Blair HS Burning Tree ES Burnt Mills ES Eastern MS Albert Einstein HS Forest Knolls ES Gaithersburg HS Gaithersburg MS Glen Haven ES Highland ES Highland View ES Jackson Road ES Kemp Mill ES Newport Mill MS Roscoe Nix ES North Bethesda MS Pine Crest ES Rolling Terrace ES Rosemary Hills ES Rosemont ES Carl Sandburg Center Sligo MS Washington Grove ES Whittier Woods Center SOURCE: Washington Post

Tree Crashes Through Apartment Building During Storms

August 12, 2010

Latest storm damage

WTOP: 10 MCPS Schools Flooded

WTOP is reporting that 10 MCPS elementary schools flooded in this mornings' storm. The MCPS website has not revealed the names of the 10 schools as of yet. SOURCE: Parents' Coalition

Pepco Outage in Montgomery County Maryland

Over 99,000 Pepco customers are without power (red is bad, green is good). SOURCE: MPW

Montgomery County electricity is out again!

This is just awful!

August 11, 2010

Montgomery County's 'watchdog' to leave in late 2010

Saying county government officials have not "fully embraced" his watchdog role, Montgomery County Inspector General Thomas Dagley says he will leave his post at year's end, The Gazette reports. Dagley, the county's inspector general for the past five years, has had a tense relationship with County Executive Isiah Leggett's (D) office that has played out at times in public and in the media. Dagley said his decision to leave will allow the next council, which will be sworn in in December, to select a new inspector general. Dagley told a council committee earlier this year about "interferences" by Leggett's office into his investigations, a claim that Leggett's office has denied. SOURCE: Washington Post

Robin Ficker seeks District 2 seat

Robin Ficker has returned from Burtonsville to his longtime home in Boyds to run for the District 2 County Council seat. He moved to Burtonsville in 2009 to run unsuccessfully in a special election to fill the District 4 council seat left open by the death of Don Praisner. Ficker, a Republican who has run for a number of state and county offices since he last served in the House of Delegates in 1982, has been more successful in recent years at championing ballot initiatives.

In 2008 he promoted an initiative that prevents the Montgomery County Council from raising property taxes above the rate of inflation without the approval of all nine council members. Ficker's amendment passed with 51 percent of the vote, despite opposition from County Executive Isiah Leggett (D), the County Council and a coalition of school, union and civic representatives.

"I'm going to be the ninth vote that stops the property tax increase planned after the election," Ficker said.

The County Council is not fiscally responsible, he said.

Website: (under construction)

SOURCE: Gazette


Potomac man killed in Alaska plane crash

William “Bill” Phillips of Potomac, Md. was one of the five killed in the crash. His son Willy survived the crash.

Montgomery County news blurbs

With Volunteer Support, Prince William County, VA Passes Emergency Medical Transport Revenue Recovery Initiative; Program Mirrors Montgomery County‚s EMS Reimbursement Which Strengthens Fire & Rescue at No Cost to County Residents - Prince William County, VA this week approved, with the support of its volunteers, an Emergency Medical Services (EMS) billing program like the one that was approved by the County Council and signed into law this year in Montgomery County. To read more go to: Consumer Protection Office Reaches Agreement with Local Electricity Provider Regarding Misleading Advertisement Claims -

August 10, 2010

Senator Obama v. President Obama on the war

Whom do you support? Senator Obama or President Obama? Any American who is honest with himself should watch this video and understand why most Americans are disgusted with incumbent politicians. How can this man live with himself on his war flip-flops? I never thought I would live to the point where Democrats (including Montgomery Democrats) support war more than Republicans. Whether it's the Iraq War or the War in Afghanistan, this video puts political reality to the test.

O'Malley supports Purple Line, dodges on gas tax

Baltimore Sun transportation writer Michael Dresser reports from Silver Spring:

It was no accident that Gov. Martin O’Malley wire a purple tie to his campaign event in Silver Spring this morning. The governor met with about two dozen small business owners and other voters at the Tastee Diner in this Montgomery County community to discuss his approach to transit issues -- and to underscore his support for a light rail project known as the Purple Line and the opposition of former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. to it.

While O’Malley launched no new verbal missiles at his prospective Republican opponent, he used the Purple Line issue to underscore a stark policy difference between the two. Ehrlich has said he would scrap the O’Malley administration’s plan to build a light rail line between Bethesda and New Carrollton, saying the state can’t afford it. O’Maley cast that position an an example of a retrun to the past -- a central theme of his re-election campaign.

“For whatever reason, Bob Ehrlich has decided to turn back the clock and take Maryland back,” OMalley said. “I think it shows a contrast between the way the two of us look at the future.”

The governor’s meeting with the business group -- largely made up of pro-O’Malley Purple Line supporters -- was relatvely light on campaign rhetoric and heavy on the detail-oriented policy discussions O’Malley clearly revels in. The topics reflected the concerns of a group that depends heavily on transit to bring employees to the workplace and customers to their laces of business. In addition to the Purple Line, topics included the performance of Washington’s Metro system and the perception that Montgomery County receives less than its fair share of transportation funding. O’Malley avoided taking the bait on that point.

“When we’re in Baltimore, the allegation is the Washington suburbs get more money for transportation,” he said. The governor said he hopes to see Metro adopt “transparent” performance measures and to make them public through a system similar to his administration’s web-based StateStat program.

On Metro, O’Maley promised to push for more effective leadership of an organization that has been criticized for poor service and a lax approach to safety.

“What Metro doesn’t have is stable leadership at the top right now,” he said.

The governor boasted that his administration has made a real difference in transportation funding -- increasing the share of the pie for transit by 9 percentage points over the Ehrlich years for what O’Malley called “a more balanced transportation system.”

But O’Malley punted on the politically volatile issue of the gasoline tax, which some transportation infrastructure advocates believe will have to be raised to finance any major new projects. Declining to commit one way or another, he expresed the hope that a recovering economy will lead to a surge in transportation revenue. Silver Spring is considerd to be friendly territory for O’Malley in many ways. It is a transit hub, a role that would only increase if the Purple Line is built. And its downtown has undergone a remarkable renaisance in the last decade -- becoming something of a showpiece for the “smart growth” policies O’Malley has embraced.

Montgomery County is expected to be one of the keys to this year’s expected OMalley-Ehrlich rematch. The Democrat trounced Ehrlich in Maryland’s most populous county in 2006, and the Republican is hoping to at least hold down OMalley’s winning percentage there this year. O’Maley’s pitch resonated with some of the small business owners -- a group Ehrlich has targeted with pledges to cut regulation and hold down taxes. But for Dan Meijer, owner of Danco Electronic Service Specialists in Silver Spring and a Purple Line supporter, the transit issue trumped those appeals.

“It’s just wonderful that we have a Governor O’Malley in office,” Meijer said. “His vision is long-term rather than short-term political gain.” SOURCE: Baltimore Sun

Political cartoon from Ed Dedrick

This was just emailed to me this morning! To see a bigger view of it, just click the image.

August 9, 2010

SURPRISE: Leggett worried about $13 million gap

Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett says voters, in effect, would create a $13 million gap in the suburb's budget if they reject a new ambulance fee he championed. County officials adopted Leggett's proposal in May but can't implement the charge -- between $300 and $800 per ambulance ride -- until a likely voter referendum is decided this fall. Opponents of the measure say they have secured enough signatures to ensure the fee is placed on the ballot.

"Because of the limited options available, these additional cuts will impact all of the county government and will certainly hit public safety, including our fire and rescue services," Leggett wrote in a letter to the County Council, alluding to the potential hole in the budget. The fee was narrowly passed by the council, with most members saying it was necessary to fill a billion-dollar budget shortfall, after years of pressure from Leggett's office to approve the charge. Supporters say the cost would be absorbed entirely by insurance companies and that uninsured residents wouldn't pay the bill. However, critics argue that premiums and deductibles would rise, as insurance companies find ways to pass the costs to their customers. And now Leggett is being accused of fear-mongering.

"It's an attempt to scare the council and scare the public," said Eric Bernard, executive director of the Montgomery County Volunteer Fire and Rescue Association, whose organization is generating the petition against the fee. "It's just a sad attempt from the county executive to scare the people into accepting an additional tax."

SOURCE: Washington Examiner

Mike Philips for Congress debates Chris Van Hollen at NAACP 2010 forum

Mike Phillips is running for U.S. Congress in District 8, which is mostly in Montgomery County. His website is

Heavy metal music in Potomac

Mention the name Jeff Krulik anywhere around here (Washington DC and environs) and four words generally come to mind: “Heavy Metal Parking Lot.” Made with Jeff Heyn, that quintessential back yard short, which the homegrown filmmakers shot of Judas Priest fans in the parking lot (doh!) of the now deceased Capital Centre in Largo, MD, will mark its 25-birthday next year (and celebrations will occur). But in early May 1985 (a year before the filmmakers shot whacked-out heavy metal fans in that well known Prince Georges County asphalt patch just outside the Washington Beltway), there was a whole lot of carousing going on in a (then) somewhat remote area of Potomac (Montgomery County), MD, a posh northwestern suburb of the nation’s capital. At the time I was living in neighboring Bethesda, maybe 10 minutes from the locale of what was basically a party of high school kids (many from Winston Churchill H.S., where my kids would attend a decade+ later), out getting drunk and high, and hoping for a pleasant, parent-free weekend of music from some area R&B, “Southern Boogey,” rock ‘n’ roll and heavy metal bands. Billed as Full Moon Jamboree, a thousand or so kids gathered in a field, their cars passing close-by mansions, their music often annoying those homes’ disapproving inhabitants. Long before cell phones, iPods (heck Apple’s Macintosh computer was barely a year old), and other present day means of social connectivity, it was invitation by flyer, land-line phone, and other antique word-of-mouth techniques. SOURCE: Film Threat

House Minority Leader O’Donnell Endorses Pettit for Delegate, Dist. 39

August 9, 2010 – Gaithersburg- District 39 delegate candidate Jim Pettit announced today that House Minority Leader Anthony J. O’Donnell has endorsed his campaign for the state legislature. Delegate O’Donnell will address an August 12 fundraising event at the home of a local supporter and individual contributor donations will enable the Pettit campaign to raise additional funds for direct mail and get out the vote efforts.

“Delegate O’Donnell wants to get Maryland’s spending under control, and I want to help him,” said Pettit.  “Maryland state government faces a permanent era of downsizing as revenue projections are not holding up due to high unemployment and businesses fleeing Maryland’s poor business climate.”

Maryland’s business climate is 45th in the nation according to the non-partisan Tax Foundation. Delegate O’Donnell proposes basic reform of the major long-term cost drivers of the state budget including the Medicaid program, education spending and the pension system.

“I need Jim Pettit with me in Annapolis to ensure that Montgomery County public schools remain strong and that we improve our business climate in order to avoid drastic cuts for years to come.  The only way I can do that is to change the status quo in Annapolis by electing new people to the legislature,” said O’Donnell.

Delegate O’Donnell, who represents district 29 C in Calvert and St. Mary’s Counties, has been minority leader since 2007 and a member of the House of Delegates since 1995. The endorsement follows those of former Governor Robert L. Ehrlich and Ambassador Ellen Sauerbrey, who was the GOP nominee for Governor in 1994 and 1998.

Jim Pettit
Delegate candidate. District 39. 301.704.1363
Authority:  pettit4delegate / Arlene Hale Treasurer

Big tree falls in Colesville

A large tree toppled Saturday morning with little or no warning onto a house in Montgomery County in what might have been one of the last effects of Thursday's thunderstorms. It was not clear late Saturday why the great oak fell about 7 a.m. in the Colesville area. But it heavily damaged the two-story, single-family house, in the 13500 block of Collingwood Terrace, and trapped a couple inside for a time, said Capt. Oscar Garcia of the county Fire and Rescue Service.

The tree fell less than 48 hours after a punishing storm that snapped tree trunks like flower stalks, but whether it was a delayed consequence was "hard to tell," Garcia said. Garcia said the tree's trunk was several feet in diameter. At least two residents of the street said they had heard that the tree might have been rotten inside.

A Collingwood Terrace resident said she had "no idea" why the huge tree came down. The storm, she said, "may have loosened" its root structure. The tree was "very, very old," said the woman, Judy Siebenberg. Calling the oak "the biggest tree you've ever seen," she said it came down with "a big thump," and the sight of it lying across the neighboring house "was horrific." SOURCE: Washington Post