Wednesday, April 26, 2017
At 8605 Cameron Street, Guardian Building Associates, LLC is proposing to transform the Guardian office building into 177 apartments, and 7496 SF of retail and restaurant space. The applicant claims the building is mostly vacant, not surprising given the County's moribund private sector economy, and the anti-business climate our elected officials have fostered. It doesn't help that every economic development trip the County Council has taken has been to a Communist country.
The Guardian project sketch plan will go before the County's Development Review Committee on May 2. There's certainly a cosmetic improvement in this from what is there today, but Montgomery County needs more boardrooms right now, not more bedrooms.
Tuesday, April 25, 2017
Monday, April 24, 2017
Columbus was recently named the most high-tech city in America by Forbes magazine (the city actually has a long history of high-tech innovation, for those familiar with it). This likely befuddled our Montgomery County Council. When not struggling to find the doorknob to get out of the room, our Council has bumbled through one tech gaffe after another this decade. Gaffes ranged from the revelation that the County government was still using Windows 2000...in 2014, to a humiliating state audit of cybersecurity failures at MCPS, and even Councilmember Hans Riemer breaking his own failed open-data law.
Friday, April 21, 2017
video of the demolition of the venerable Wheaton Library. Two hours, thirty-nine minutes, and forty-seven seconds of destruction, for your viewing pleasure. Sad to see this one go, but the demolished Wheaton Youth Center next door was architecture and history truly worth saving. Led Zeppelin did play there!
Thursday, April 20, 2017
|Parking Lot 34 has been modified|
in preparation for the start of
the Wheaton redevelopment project
Montgomery County is citing the addition of two floors to the office building, and of a geothermal feature designed to help the structure achieve a Platinum LEED certification, as the two reasons for the delay in groundbreaking. In addition, some adjacent property owners were uncooperative regarding the use of tie-backs in excavation retaining walls. Those negotiations also added to the delays, according to Mid-County Regional Services Center Director Luisa Montero.
In preparation for the partial closure of Lot 13 in the Wheaton Triangle, Montgomery County has converted the Ennalls Public Parking Lot (Lot 34 at Ennalls and Grandview) into 2 hour spaces. They have also added more handicapped parking spaces in that lot. Taste of Wheaton will still be held in Lot 13 on the first Sunday in June.
Wednesday, April 19, 2017
Tuesday, April 18, 2017
County Executive Ike Leggett is recommending a whopping 9.7% increase in the Rain Tax, er, "Water Quality Protection Charge," for FY-2018. The County has already determined the amount of impervious surface on your property to determine your charge, by looking at an aerial photo. Very scientific.
You'll also pay higher property taxes this year, as rising assessments create an automatic tax increase even when the tax rate doesn't change. And the County Council gets another salary increase, just like Bell, California. The difference is, Bell's Council is in prison, and ours is still free and on-the-take.
Throw the bums out. Or #LockThemUp.
Voter fraud can often involve people impersonating voters known to be deceased, or to have moved away, at polling places. In Montgomery County, only the most basic personal information (name, address, date of birth) about a deceased or absent voter would need to be known to vote using their name at the polls. Maryland U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D) warned last year that "We've seen fraud committed in our state in prior elections." Cardin and Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh (D) implored voters to "let us know" if they "encounter fraud or misconduct" at polling places.
Maintaining up-to-date voter rolls is required of states under federal law. Judicial Watch is demanding Maryland force Montgomery County to remove all ineligible voters from its rolls in 90 days, or they will sue the state - and ten others - for violating Section 8 of the National Voter Registration Act.
“Dirty election rolls can mean dirty elections,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a statement. “These 11 states face possible Judicial Watch lawsuits, unless they follow the law and take reasonable steps to clean up their voting rolls of dead, moved, and non-citizen voters.”
In reality, around 5:40 PM Sunday, the alleged robbers didn't simply threaten violence or twist the victim's arm. Instead, the four suspects approached a man, and one sat down next to him and demanded the victim's phone. When the victim declined to cooperate, he was savagely beaten with fists.
"Give me that damn phone!!" one said as they beat the man, and also picked his pockets. The four assailants ran off the train at the Wheaton station, and remain at large. Their victim was hospitalized. These attacks happen frequently in the District, but not very often in Montgomery County, making this something that needs to be nipped in the bud.
Don't expect our low-energy County Council to do anything about it; they have yet to comment on any of the gang-related shootings in Wheaton over the last three years.
If you can identify any of these four suspects, Metro Transit Police would like to talk to you. Call them at 301-955-5000, or text MyMTPD, and reference case number #2017-07929.
Monday, April 17, 2017
Dallas-based Pollo Campero was founded in Guatemala in 1971, and boasts that it offers "authentic Latin chicken." The chain currently has a Wheaton location, as well. If they stay open late enough, they could make a killing on folks leaving concerts next door.
Saturday, April 15, 2017
Anyone with information about this hate-based vandalism is asked to contact the 4th District Investigative Section at 240-773-5530. For those who wish to remain anonymous, Crime Solvers of Montgomery County is offering a reward of up to $10,000 for any information that leads to the arrest of the suspect(s). Tipsters can call Crime Solvers of Montgomery County toll-free at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).
|Sandra Yaritza Diaz|
Diaz is described as a Latina, 5’7” tall, and weighing 150 pounds. She has black hair and brown eyes.
Police and family members are concerned for Ms. Diaz’s physical and emotional well-being.
Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of Sandra Yaritza Diaz is asked to call the Montgomery County Police non-emergency number at 301-279-8000 (available 24 hours). Callers may remain anonymous.
Friday, April 14, 2017
Despite fake news headlines, you won't be buying liquor at grocery, drug or convenience stores in MoCo
Here are the facts:
The Maryland General Assembly just passed a bill which will only allow privately-owned beer and wine stores to sell liquor. Clever language in the bill specifically excludes grocery stores, drug stores, and convenience stores. Even popular convenience stores that currently sell beer and wine, like Talbert's in Bethesda, will be ineligible to sell liquor.
The new law allows the DLC to decide the criteria for the granting of contracts with private beer and wine stores by itself, with no public input or transparency. DLC, in other words, can decide the terms of competition itself. Profits for whichever few retailers DLC decides to "compete" with will likely be limited by the monopoly control over price, and that means no savings for you, the customer.
It's also unlikely that private beer and wine stores could be competitive with County-owned liquor stores on inventory, because the County stores are physically larger than stores which have been only allowed to sell beer and wine. And they'll still have to deal with the same DLC inventory and delivery problems that have hampered their existing beer and wine sales.
Once again, County politicians have tried to "look busy," even as they bolster and preserve the government liquor monopoly. Real change would be full privatization of beer, wine and spirit sales in Montgomery County, and being able to buy Bud Light or a bottle of wine at Safeway or Rite Aid. That did not happen with this new law.
Fact check score for fake news "liquor to be sold at privately-owned stores" headlines, designed to fool people who don't read the articles for the details?
Four Pinocchios/Pants on Fire
Thursday, April 13, 2017
Wednesday, April 12, 2017
Meet in front of the Cameron Street Garage (Public Parking Garage 7) at 8530 Cameron Street at 11:00 AM. Dr. David Rotenstein will lead you on a two-hour, two-mile history walk around downtown Silver Spring.
Along the route, you will stop and learn about a variety of sites associated with black history and the civil rights struggle.
Police say a 17-year-old girl boarded a Ride On bus at the Twinbrook Metro station that evening, and sat down at the back of the bus. She told detectives that the man above, who was already aboard the bus, moved back to sit next to her. After a brief "conversation," he then exposed himself to her, and touched her "inappropriately."
As the bus stopped near the intersection of Randolph Road and Dalewood Drive around 7:30 PM, the girl went forward and told the bus driver what had happened. The bus driver called the police, at which point the suspect was allowed to exit the bus. He apparently was nonchalant enough to take time to collect his bicycle from the mounted rack on the bus, which he then pedaled south on Dalewood Drive, in a successful getaway attempt.
Detectives ask that anyone who recognizes the suspect or who has information about this incident please contact the 4th District Investigative Section at 240-773-5530. For those who wish to remain anonymous, Crime Solvers of Montgomery County is offering a reward of up to $10,000 for any information that leads to the arrest of the suspect. Tipsters can call Crime Solvers of Montgomery County toll-free at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).
Tuesday, April 11, 2017
This project is unrelated to the Pepco work that was going on Sunday evening on Georgia Avenue and Fenton Street, shown in the pictures here. That involved equipment located below street level.
Driving the Beltway through Montgomery County, you'll see...trees. And more trees. Holy Cross Hospital. The Mormon Temple. A Marriott hotel. Extremely appropriately, the last thing you'll see before you cross the congested American Legion Bridge are two retirement communities on either side of the highway. Sad, but reflective of the message moribund Montgomery County would send to any international businessperson whose corporate limo happened to be traveling along the Beltway. An unlikely scenario, given that said businessperson will have already taken the Silver Line or direct highway access from Dulles International Airport into Tysons, signed the deal, and flown out of town again while you're still stuck in traffic going around the Beltway, thanks to our unfinished master plan highway system.
Realizing this, you probably wouldn't be surprised to learn that Fairfax County is still handing our impotent Montgomery County Council their briefcases when it comes to economic development. You wouldn't be surprised that the latest U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows that the average weekly wage paid in Montgomery County is $200 less than what you'd earn if you worked in Fairfax County. And you might not be surprised to learn that there are 588,000 jobs in Fairfax, and only 471,000 here in Montgomery.
But knowing all of that, what probably would surprise you, is that the Montgomery County Council and Planning Board believe we need more bedrooms, not more jobs. Planning Board Chair Casey Anderson recently went to bat on behalf of the developers he represents, adding even more last-minute luxury apartment height and density to the Westfield Montgomery Mall property, which sits alongside the I-270 spur in Bethesda. Not more office space, but more bedrooms. In one of the most overcrowded school clusters in the county, to boot.
This, despite the inescapable fact that adding thousands of new residential units countywide over the last two decades has proven the tax revenue generated by those bedrooms absolutely does not cover the costs in services, education and infrastructure they create.
This, despite County Executive Ike Leggett warning that we are becoming a bedroom community for the booming job centers elsewhere in the region.
And this, despite the fact that the only highway corridor in the county that has historically shown any sort of business development to interstate travelers - I-270 - is slowly being converted from corporate and business uses to residential and...self-storage. Yikes.
Office parks along I-270 and in Rock Spring near the mall are exactly the kind of places the most significant companies of our time are seeking for their headquarters - Apple and Google, for example, both have sprawling. low-rise, suburban campuses. High-wage aerospace and defense firms are seeking simiilar secure sites. Yet, companies like these aren't coming to Montgomery County. It's not because office parks went out of style, as Tim Cook and Sundar Pichai can tell you. It's because MoCo's taxes are too high, its regulation is extreme, the business climate is horrendously unfriendly, and the transportation system simply doesn't function - and doesn't go directly to Dulles Airport.
The last thing we need are more bedrooms around Montgomery Mall. Thanks to poor planning, and elected officials who are clueless about the world of international business circa 2017 (their few business trips have been taken exclusively to Communist countries, which probably explains a lot), we remain stuck significantly behind competing jurisdictions in economic development. Montgomery County is the only jurisdiction in the region to experience a net loss in jobs since 2000; all others around us gained jobs - even Culpeper County, for Pete's sake.
Government incompetence is costing you - in your paycheck if you work in MoCo, on your tax returns, and at the fuel pump and on your internet shipping charges, as traffic idles on the unfinished highway network of Montgomery County. Only by adding more boardrooms - not bedrooms - can we turn this around. Throw the bums out.
Monday, April 10, 2017
Most recently, this was home to the temporary Quarry House as well, and there are still remnants of the previous tenants on the back patio.
Friday, April 7, 2017
Thursday, April 6, 2017
MCPS does background check on security team leader...AFTER he is arrested for alleged sex with Richard Montgomery student
|Michael Christopher Yantsos|
was hired by MCPS without a
Smith then compounded that news by announcing later this morning that "it has come to our attention that in 1994, Mr. Yantsos was accused of using his revolver to menace a female while working for the New York Police Department." According to a 1994 New York Times report on that incident, Yantsos was attempting to "pick up" the 30-year-old woman after drinking "10 to 15 shots of tequila" at the Happy Go Lucky "topless bar."
What we've just learned, is that MCPS didn't do a background check on a security team leader before hiring him. You can't make this stuff up, folks.
Smith - or more accurately, whoever found the 1994 report and forwarded it to him - then proudly declares he's just done a background check on an employee...after the employee has allegedly had sex with an MCPS student. The same Smith, who with his friends on the County Council, spent more time raging at their constituents and playing national partisan politics than addressing the rape victim or student safety since the gang rape was reported.
This is the sort of amateur hour condoned by both the Board of Education, and the County Council. Unreal. If there was any question Jack Smith needed to step down, that question was answered today.
* * *
Detectives are requesting that parents of students who attend Richard Montgomery High School talk to their children about their interactions with Mark Christopher Yantsos, and contact SVID detectives at 240-773-5400 if they believe their child was victimized.