October 29, 2010

OBVIOUS: Washington Post endorses Ike Leggett for Montgomery County executive

LIKE MOST local government leaders over the past few years, I siah Leggett, the Montgomery County executive, has faced a menu of unappetizing choices forced on him by plummeting tax revenue. Like most, he has had to make unpopular calls, including slashing budgets for libraries, parks and other services, freezing salaries for county workers, raising taxes for energy and eliminating more than 1,000 jobs - more than 10 percent of the county's non-school workforce.

Mr. Leggett, a Democrat, does not have an unblemished track record; he negotiated over-generous and unsustainable contracts with county employee unions before the recession hit. Still, on balance his leadership has been conscientious and effective, marked by a low-key, conciliatory approach well suited to the turbulent times. He deserves reelection.

Mr. Leggett's Republican opponent, Douglas E. Rosenfeld, a lawyer in private practice, is untested in public office. A longtime Democrat, he switched parties this spring in time to seek the GOP nomination for county executive. He has assailed Mr. Leggett for failing to "reshape" county government to match reduced resources, for underfunding public schools, for failing to attract new business to the county and for what he sees as a wasteful program to relocate and upgrade some county facilities.

Mr. Rosenfeld's critique doesn't hold up under scrutiny; worse, he makes no real attempt to offer any viable alternative to Mr. Leggett's policies. For instance, Mr. Rosenfeld suggests he would drastically reduce county spending, pointing to "managers" and "bureaucrats" who might be laid off. Fine, but in what departments or areas of government would he make those cuts? Mr. Rosenfeld isn't saying.

Not only that, but when it comes to specifics Mr. Rosenfeld is far more eager to describe where he would spend more taxpayer money, not less. For example, he suggests he would restore tens of millions of dollars that Mr. Leggett has withheld from the school system. He says he would unfreeze salaries for county workers that were frozen by Mr. Leggett. He says he would beef up the county's economic development department. All that sounds like a recipe for larger deficits, not the leaner government Mr. Rosenfeld promises.

Mr. Rosenfeld has criticized one major program, known as the "Smart Growth Initiative," as wasteful. In fact, that program, pushed by Mr. Leggett and backed by the County Council, opens county-owned land for high-tech firms; trims Montgomery's bill for rented office space by shifting facilities to county-owned land; and creates thousands of new housing units near Metro stations, where they belong. Although the program requires up-front investment, mostly financed by borrowing, it is projected to save the county money over time and attract private industry.

Mr. Leggett, overseeing a jurisdiction of nearly 1 million residents, has juggled dwindling funds and high expectations better than most local executives. By contrast, Mr. Rosenfeld offers criticism but no better options. SOURCE: Washington Post

MoCo Citizens for Sensible Gov't 5B

Bill and Susie talk about the "Friendly" e-mail they received from Ike Leggett regarding the Ambulance Fees in Montgomery County.

Video shows undercover footage at NJEA conference on teachers

October 28, 2010

Sentinel (and Gazette) reports Robin Uncapher is a man (candidate MOCO Council At-Large)

According to the Sentinel, Robin Uncapher, a candidate for Montgomery County Council (At Large) is a man. Notice how the newspaper also references that she/he does not have a website the newspaper reporter could find.

ROBIN UNCAPHER (R) — Robin Uncapher has run a quiet race, eschewing public debates and press appearances. In the primaries he obtained 24 percent of the vote and has reported no campaign funds raised nor any expenditures. Uncapher does not appear to have a website or an official campaign. In one of his few interviews, Uncapher said his focus in running for council is to put a halt on county employee salary increases and reevaluate how salaries are determined.

Here is what the senior citizens think about Robin Uncapher, according to the Gazette:

Electoral conundrum: male or female?

Robin Nixon Uncapher, Republican candidate for the Montgomery County Council, is not a bald, middle-aged man with glasses and a mustache — despite a recent election packet that identified her as such. The Leisure World Legislation and Taxation Committee distributed a packet at an election forum it hosted Monday with a picture of a man — who may not even live in the county — identified as Robin Uncapher. A committee member said he searched candidates' websites for their photos, but upon finding no website for Uncapher, relied on an Internet photo search. The committee's website since has been updated with Uncapher's actual photo.

At least the good news is that both the Gazette and The Washington Post endorsed her/him.

Does Mary Kane have 'great people skills' or is she a 'snob'?

Below is an interesting quote from Rep. Connie Morella about Mary Kane, claiming Kane has "great people skills." I've met Kane a few times and that is certainly not my experience. In fact, I can't imagine anyone being more of a nouveau riche snob than Mary Kane (especially one with working-class roots). I have also heard this perspective from distinguished Republican leaders in Montgomery County. One high-level woman in a Montgomery County woman's club told me that picking Kane was a "questionable decision" for Bob Ehrlich, though that comment was said to me in early September and maybe things have changed. I should also add that Kane has cancelled several already-scheduled events and even cancelled one for a debate with Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown hiding behind a church Mass (as if Mass had not previously been scheduled in that time slot).

"Telling YouTube viewers that he'd found "somebody to help me turn Annapolis around," former Maryland governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. welcomed Mary D. Kane to his Republican gubernatorial ticket four months ago with a peck on the cheek," writes The Post's Mike DeBonis. "Since then, Kane has carried high hopes for boosting Ehrlich's bid for a return to the governor's mansion. Best known in statewide circles for her two years as Ehrlich's secretary of state and for her husband's high profile in business and Republican politics, Kane has twice waged tough election campaigns of her own - and can also boast an inspiring personal biography, rising from working-class roots and more than a decade as a full-time mother to a successful career in law, politics and business."

Constance A. Morella, a Republican who represented the county in Congress for nine terms, said Kane can attract Montgomery's overwhelmingly Democratic voters. "She's moderate," Morella said. "That's what people want. And she's a lawyer, she's a mother; she's got great people skills."
SOURCE: Washington Post

Georgetown Drug Lab Suspects Heading Back to Massachusetts

View more news videos at: http://www.nbcwashington.com/video.

Van Eperen & Company Honored as Community Ministries of Rockville’s 2010 Business Partner of the Year

Bethesda, Md. – Van Eperen & Company (VE & Co., www.veandco.com), a woman-owned small business specializing in customized communications that achieve renowned results, has been selected by Community Ministries of Rockville (CMR, www.cmrocks.org) as the nonprofit organization’s Business Partner of the Year. The firm was presented with a Burning Bush Award at CMR’s annual meeting on Oct. 26 in Rockville.

The Business Partner of the Year honor is awarded annually by CMR to recognize a local business that has supported the organization’s mission to improve the quality of life for the most vulnerable of Montgomery County residents. From late 2009 into early 2010, VE & Co. partnered with CMR to help launch the Mansfield Kaseman Health Clinic by assisting with sponsorship outreach, event planning and media/public awareness outreach and promotions services, which culminated with an open house and dedication ceremony on March 29. Speakers and attendees included state and county health and elected officials, including Maryland’s Secretary of Health John Colmers, the Montgomery County DHHS Chief of Public Health Services Dr. Ulder Tillman, County Executive Ike Leggett, Rockville Mayor Phyllis Marcuccio, and other elected officials. CMR also welcomed its community partners, patients, donors, and the media.

“VE & Co.’s efforts to support the Mansfield Kaseman Health Clinic grand opening and dedication not only raised awareness within the community about the quality health services available at low cost to Montgomery County residents, but also contributed to the clinic’s ability to operate at a higher level,” said Agnes Saenz, Community Ministries of Rockville Executive Director.

Teen A Potential Suspect In AU Professor Sue Marcum’s Death

BETHESDA, Md. - The man caught driving the stolen car of an American University professor just days after her murder appeared in court Wednesday. 18-year-old Deandrew Hamlin wore green scrubs and had a small cut on his face. He's charged with unauthorized use of a vehicle. Hamlin is not charged with murder, but police say he was caught behind the wheel of a murder victim's car.

Sources tell FOX 5 that 52-year-old Sue Marcum was beaten in a struggle at her Bethesda home. There were signs of forced entry and her gold Jeep was taken. According to court documents, a D.C. police officer spotted the Jeep on Benning Road NE late Monday. The officer wrote: "I activated my lights and siren in an attempt to traffic stop the Jeep. However, it accelerated and began to flee. I conducted a vehicle pursuit which lasted about ten minutes...the driver lost control, struck a pole, and rolled over the SUV. I saw the driver...flee on foot. I followed him about one block in a foot chase never losing sight as he ran until his apprehension at 4th and New York Ave NW."

Eric Wargotz and Barbara Mikulski debate for Maryland U.S. Senate

Watch the full episode. See more Direct Connection.

Robert Dyer on Helping Small Businesses in Montgomery County

October 27, 2010

Washington Post corrects Montgomery County executive blunder

SOURCE: Washington Post: An Oct. 26 editorial on local races in Montgomery County mistakenly said County Executive Isiah Leggett, a Democrat, is running unopposed for reelection. In fact, Mr. Leggett has a Republican opponent, Doug Rosenfeld. An editorial on that contest will appear in the coming days. The same editorial misspelled the name of Hans Riemer, a Democrat running for an at-large seat on the County Council.

Post endorsement omits mention of MoCo Republican

WASHINGTON - An omission of a county executive candidate in a major newspaper has caused a controversy in Montgomery County. An editorial in the Washington Post failed to acknowledge Doug Rosenfeld, a Republican candidate for Montgomery County executive, in the paper's local endorsements -- one week before Election Day. In Tuesday's "Montgomery County Endorsements" editorial, the Post says incumbent County Executive Isiah Leggett "is running unopposed" for the seat. Rosenfeld is on the list of candidates available on the Maryland State Board of Elections website. He tells WTOP he "was shocked but not surprised" by the failed mention, and called the omission "an intentional action."

"The Post has been very good about not covering my campaign throughout this election cycle," Rosenfeld says.

Rosenfeld says he switched from being a Democrat to a Republican after 18 years because of issues related to education funding. He says the damage is done, even if the Post runs a correction. A Post spokeswoman tells WTOP the omission was an error and the paper will run a correction Wednesday. SOURCE: WTOP

Washington, DC Weather Video Forecast

Human Remains Found Near CSX Tracks

BETHESDA, Md. -- Two MARC Brunswick line trains were canceled after human remains were found on or near CSX tracks in the Bethesda area. The Maryland Transit Administration said train 878 leaving from Martinsburg, and train 892 leaving from Frederick will not run Wednesday. The agency said Metro will honor MARC tickets. Montgomery County Police said a jogger reported finding the remains at the tracks at about 5:30 p.m. Tuesday. The tracks carry freight, commuter and Amtrak trains. SOURCE: WBAL

VIDEO: How To Compost

Montgomery County offers free compost bins for all residents. Composting transforms the dead leaves littering suburban yards into a nutrient-rich soil to use in the garden. Alan Pultyniewicz, Recycling Coordinator at the Montgomery County Division of Solid Waste Services, gave Patch a lesson in how to properly mix garden materials and leaves to create compost soil. The key to healthy compost is combining green materials like leaves, straw, and wood chips with brown materials, like flowers and grass clippings, said Pultyniewicz. He said it's important to keep the pile moist by adding water if there is no natural rain, and stirring the compost every two to three weeks. SOURCE: North Potomac

October 26, 2010

Choice Hotels International Headquarters to Leave Silver Spring

Choice Hotels International, one of the world's largest hotel chains, has announced plans to relocate from its current Silver Spring headquarters on Columbia Pike (Rt. 29), to a new location in Rockville, MD. The move would take place when its current lease in expires in 2013. The company signed a letter of intent for the move Monday with Governor Martin O'Malley, Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett and Rockville Mayor Phyllis Marcuccio. To keep the company's home in Maryland, state, city, and county offered more than $4 million in incentives, contingent on the hiring of employees at its new location.

With nearly 400 employees and growing, Choice Hotels has been searching for a new headquarters in the DC area since mid-2008. Negotiations are underway to lease office space in Rockville Town Center. Once moved, it plans to add 75 new employees. Also under consideration is a new Cambria Suites hotel near the proposed new headquarters, to house and estimated 10,000 stays per year, generated by employee training programs as well as community, vendor and other events.

"Choice Hotels' decision to continue to invest and create new jobs in Maryland is a great win for the State and for Montgomery County," said Governor O'Malley. "We know that in today's global economy, companies have many location choices and we are pleased that we can offer Choice Hotels the kind of highly-skilled, highly-educated workforce, strategic location and outstanding quality of life that will enable the company to continue to grow here for years to come." SOURCE: Silver Spring Patch

Karzai says his office gets cash from US and Iran

KABUL, Afghanistan – Afghan President Hamid Karzai acknowledged on Monday that he receives millions of dollars in cash from Iran, adding that Washington gives him "bags of money" too because his office lacks funds. U.S. officials said the money flowing from Tehran was further proof that Iran is playing a double game in Afghanistan — wooing the government while helping Taliban insurgents who are fighting U.S. and NATO forces.

The United States has itself used cash as a weapon in the wars in both Afghanistan and Iraq — from local development projects to win public support, to salaries for Iraqi insurgents who switched sides, to cash payoffs to influential community leaders willing to back the U.S. and its allies. Karzai said that once or twice a year, Iran gives his office $700,000 to $975,000 for official presidential expenses.

"This is transparent. This is something that I've even discussed while I was at Camp David with President Bush," Karzai told a news conference, referring to meetings with then-President George W. Bush at the U.S. presidential retreat outside Washington.

"It is not hidden," he said. "We are grateful for the Iranians' help in this regard. The United States is doing the same thing. They are providing cash to some of our offices."

Asked whether the U.S. actually gives bags full of cash to the presidential office, Karzai responded: "Yes, it does give bags of money."

David Sherzer, a spokesman for Bush, declined to comment on Karzai's comments. But U.S. officials in Washington said both countries have given Afghanistan assistance in cash payments — a widespread practice in a country where few people have bank accounts or credit cards. SOURCE: Yahoo

UPDATE: AU Professor Sue Marcum Found Dead In Bethesda Home

EVEN MORE in Washington Post

UPDATE 4:06 a.m.: ABC 7's Courtney Robinson reports that Sue Marcum's missing Jeep Cherokee has been recovered after being involved in a single vehicle accident near New Jersey Avenue and M Street in Northwest. Montgomery County police have confirmed that an 18-year-old inside of the vehicle was injured and taken to the hospital. It's unclear if that person has been arrested and charged in Marcum's murder. NBC4 is reporting that around 11:15 p.m, police spotted a vehice matching the description of Marcum's Jeep Cherokee and pursued it until it struck a utility pole. SOURCEP: TBD

Community events for Lutheran Church of St. Andrew

Nativity Display - Saturday, December 4 from 12 noon - 8 pm; Sunday December 5 from 9am-3pm. View over 200 beautiful and unique nativity scenes from around the world! Holiday music, light refreshments, craft & gift shoppe, show & sale of olive wood carvings from Israel! Stay for music events presented by Central Maryland Chorale - Mendelssohn's Magnificat, Sat 12/4 at 7:30pm; Messiah Sing-A-Long, Sunday 12/5 at 3pm. The Lutheran Church of St Andrew, 15300 New Hampshire Avenue, Silver Spring, MD. www.mystandrew.org or 301-384-4394.

Advent Jazz Evenings - Wednesdays, December 1, 8 & 15 - Dinner at 6:15 pm; Informal prayer & worship at 7:00pm. Take a break from December "madness" for holiday jazz and evening prayer - an age-old tradition with a new twist! The Lutheran Church of St Andrew, 15300 New Hampshire Avenue, Silver Spring, MD. www.mystandrew.org or 301-384-4394.

Barbara Wahlbrink
The Lutheran Church of St Andrew
Silver Spring, MD. bwahlbrink@msn.com. 301-384-4394 Office. 301-807-1300 Cell

O'Reilly Producer Ambushes NPR CEO About Juan Williams (VIDEO)

October 25, 2010

MontCo looks to keep cars off the grass Read more at the Washington Examiner: http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/local/MontCo-looks-to-keep-cars-off-t

Montgomery County officials want to rid the suburb of lawns that look like parking lots and driveways overrun with massive vehicles used for businesses. The County Council on Tuesday will vote on a bill from County Executive Ike Leggett that would keep homeowners from parking cars in their front yard and remove large commercial vehicles from their driveways. The suburb already bans parking such vehicles permanently on the street. The crackdown sought by Leggett stems from a series of complaints in Aspen Hill -- a pocket that stretches between Rockville, Silver Spring and Wheaton -- where mobile eateries and tow trucks line the neighborhoods. Some officials who asked not to be named said the measure was aimed at a heavily Hispanic population in the area. The prohibition on so-called "heavy commercial vehicles" applies to those that are 21 feet long or more than 8 feet high. And aside from temporary parking for visitors or loading purposes, vehicles of all sizes would also be barred from the front lawn. But some worry about carrying out the strict law.

"How are you going to enforce this?" said Councilman Mike Knapp, D-Germantown. "If you can't park your vehicle on the street or in the driveway, where do you go? I certainly don't know the answer." SOURCE: Washington Examiner

Julian Assange on Latest Documents on war abuse

Julian Assange is interviewed on the latest leaks as the UN has asked the US administration to probe the involvement of American forces in human rights abuses, summary executions and war crimes and killing of over 66,000 Iraqi civilians. Julian Assange on Latest Documents

American University professor found dead in her Bethesda home

BETHESDA, Md. - The body of an American University professor was found dead in a house at the 6200 block of Massachusetts Ave in Bethesda. The victim has been identified as Sue Marcum, 52, an accounting and taxation professor and Executive in Residence at the Kogod School of Business at American University. Marcum’s body was found by her boyfriend at her home at around 10:52 a.m. Monday and he contacted police. Montgomery County Police are investigating this death as a homicide. They say a preliminary investigation showed signs of forced entry and signs of a struggle. Police are searching for Marcum’s 1999 Jeep Cherokee. It is described as being tan/beige/gold with Virginia tag YXE 1456. Police spokeswoman Lucille Baur says authorities are asking anyone who sees the car or has any information to call police. SOURCE: FOX

The Walking Dead

Tomorrow night (Saturday, the 22nd) the third annual Silver Spring Zombie Walk will invade downtown SS. I will be there, dressed as a zombie bridesmaid grunge person from the nineties (it's going to be too cold for my bridesmaid dress!), along with several of my zombie friends. Even if you don't want to dress up, this zombie walk is truly a sight to behold. Also, the AFI will be playing two excellent movies that night - Dawn of the Dead at 9:45 (which all of us zombies will be lurching to) and Susperia at midnight. I will going to both, but I'm probably most excited about seeing Susperia on the big screen. One day, all of us Wheaton zombies will have organize our own walk, but for now, come on down to Silver Spring to participate.

Silver Spring Zombie Walk
Gazette Article
DCist review of the movies
AFI recap of Dawn of the Dead (get tickets early!)
AFI recap of Susperia

See you there! SOURCE: Wheaton Calling

Robert Dyer on Outsider Money in Montgomery County Council Elections

Redskins Beat Bears 17-14 in Chicago

Montgomery Council Committees to Discuss Impacts of Healthcare Reform on Mon., Oct 25

ROCKVILLE, Md., October 22, 2010—The Montgomery County Council’s Health and Human Services Committee and its Management and Fiscal Policy (MFP) Committee will meet jointly at 2 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 25, for a worksession on the impacts of health care reform on employee health care benefits. The discussion also will focus on estimates of costs associated with required changes.

The Health and Human Services Committee, which is chaired by George Leventhal and includes Councilmembers Nancy Navarro and Duchy Trachtenberg, and the MFP Committee, which is chaired by Councilmember Trachtenberg and includes Councilmembers Navarro and Valerie Ervin, will meet in the Seventh Floor Hearing Room of the Council Office Building at 100 Maryland Ave. in Rockville. The meeting will be televised live by County Cable Montgomery (CCM—Cable Channel 6 on Comcast and RCN, Channel 30 on Verizon) and also will be available via streaming through the County Web site at www.montgomerycountymd.gov.

Representatives of the County Government’s Office of Human Resources, Montgomery County Public Schools, Montgomery College, the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC) and the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission will be among those present for the worksession. Health care reform currently has scheduled changes for Fiscal Years 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2018. The discussions on Monday will focus on the proposed changes, with assessments of how they are expected to impact employees and the agencies overall.

October 24, 2010