Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Wheaton Lot 13 project update

Excavation for the future town square at Montgomery County's Lot 13 project in the Wheaton Triangle is now complete, County officials say. In a somewhat-jarring development, however, the County is suddenly describing what has previously been called the Town Square as the "Town Plaza." With rough grading and haul-away of dirt now complete, a storm drain system for the square is now being installed; it will extend from Veirs Mill Road to Reedie Drive on either end.

The County office building at the center of the project is now 11 stories above Lot 13. Sprinkler systems are being installed on some garage levels now, and plumbing is going in on Floors 1-4. Above is an aerial view from a camera across the street released by Montgomery County.

Monday, April 29, 2019

Carter's to open store at Wheaton Plaza

A familiar brand name in children's apparel is coming soon to Wheaton Plaza. Carter's Babies & Kids will be located on the upper level near Macy's. The store will sell clothing and accessories for babies, toddlers and kids, according to mall owner Westfield.

Friday, April 26, 2019

More mysterious shots fired at vehicles in Fairland

Another bizarre shooting has taken place in the Fairland area in the same month, and Montgomery County police are investigating. First a man shot out a car window at a Fairland-area 7-Eleven store on March 29. Now detectives are looking into a second barrage of gunfire that took place around 11:50 PM on Friday, April 19 in the 12300 block of Featherwood Drive.

Police responded after 911 calls reporting shots fired on the quiet residential street. Officers arrived on-scene to find several spent shell casings along the street. They also noticed that several vehicles had been struck by gunfire. No injuries in either shooting incident have been reported so far.

Detectives are urging anyone with information about this incident to call the 3rd District Investigative Section at 240-773-6870.  Those who wish to remain anonymous may call Crime Solvers of Montgomery County toll-free at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).  Crime Solvers will pay a cash reward of up to $10,000 for information provided to them that leads to an arrest in this crime.  Tipsters may remain anonymous.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

White Oak woman missing

Montgomery County police are searching for a missing White Oak woman. Lisa Michelle Davis, 54, was last seen around 11:30 AM Wednesday morning, when she left her Cresthaven Drive home on foot. Her family has been unable to find or contact her since.

Davis is described by police as a white female, 5’ 6” tall and 130 pounds.  She has brown eyes and brown hair. Davis was wearing a white and blue striped hooded sweatshirt and blue jeans when she disappeared yesterday.

Anyone who has information regarding the whereabouts of Lisa Michelle Davis is asked to call the Montgomery County Police non-emergency number at 301-279-8000 (available 24 hours). Callers may remain anonymous.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Montgomery County Council unanimously approves Veirs Mill sector plan

Pro-developer plan will increase
commuting time, destroy affordable 
housing, demolish homes & businesses

The "new" members of the "new" 2018 Montgomery County Council faced their first test of loyalties Tuesday, as they voted on the controversial and unpopular Veirs Mill sector plan. Well, as I warned everyone during last year's election, the "new" Council proved to be just like the old Council, but worse. Without Marc Elrich on the body, all nine councilmembers voted for the pro-developer plan.

Gabe Albornoz, Evan Glass, Will Jawando and Hans Riemer all received thousands of dollars in developer contribution in 2018. And their "Yes!" votes yesterday were a thank-you to their developer sugar daddies for the hefty election help.

The plan will allow demolition of single-family homes and businesses along the Veirs Mill corridor between Wheaton and Rockville. Changes to the layout of Veirs Mill Road, reduced speed limits, reduction of left-turn lanes, and longer stoplights are estimated to extend travel times for commuters up to 35 additional minutes on the already-congested road. Single-family home and public recreation properties are rezoned for mixed-use, "town-center" urban-style development in the plan.
The developer-driven plan will allow
clearcutting of this wonderful green space...

...and demolition of several homes behind it on
Robindale Drive, Adrian Street and Weiss Street,
replacing them with a steel-and-concrete urban
town center development
A fake "no net loss" program devised by Riemer's staff will allow demolition of naturally-occurring affordable housing such as Halpine View. While it purports to create just as many new MPDUs, most people who will lose their homes in Halpine View and other properties make too much in salary to qualify for MPDUs, creating a net-loss in affordable housing in the plan area. And even the MPDUs soon expire and revert to market-rate housing permanently.

This is the same thing the Council is allowing to happen on Battery Lane and Bradley Boulevard in Bethesda, where many people who can't afford market-rate single-family homes and newer apartments - but who make too much to qualify for MPDUs - currently live. They've already done it in Glenmont, where many residents of apartments like the wonderful Privacy World were forced out never to return to Glenmont.
The Council-approved plan allows this
tree-lined green Montgomery County-owned
property at 4010 Randolph Road to be redeveloped
as a steel-and-concrete urban town center - and
you can bet the Council will sell it to one of their
developer sugar daddies at a sweetheart price!
Halpine View, Rock Creek Woods, Halpine Hamlet, Parkway Woods and other apartment complexes are now rezoned to encourage demolition, and replacement with urban-style, luxury apartment "town centers."

Even while failing to defend the interests of current homeowners, business owners and commuters who are paying record high taxes, the Council bizarrely found time to add a racially-charged political diatribe to the plan. To score political points, and create division among residents, the Council added a section that falsely claims racial covenants ensured the communities around Veirs Mill Road were white-only. In fact, enforcement of such covenants was banned by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1948.

The Veirs Mill sector plan as passed will displace thousands of residents, greatly increase traffic congestion, and radically transform the existing green, suburban character of Veirs Mill Road to a stifling corridor of vehicle exhaust and boxy steel-and-concrete Soviet apartment blocs. It was hard to believe that even some civic groups were fooled that the "new" Council would bring back residents' role in planning decisions, and not vote for this kind of pro-developer sector plan. Now it's just plan laughable.

You got steamrolled again.

You can't say I didn't warn you. And while media outlets like the Washington Post colluded with the Montgomery County cartel to prevent candidates like me from getting our message out, I certainly did notice the sheepish smiles of some "woke" voters who knew it was morally wrong to vote for Albornoz, Glass, Jawando and Riemer, who clearly did not represent the change they were claiming to seek in the planning process. Voting simply to ensure a sweep of all nine Council seats by one monopoly party was a really bad idea, now with tragic results for yet another Montgomery County community with this sector plan.

Next up: Aspen Hill. Fasten your seatbelts, folks.

Reports of rape continue to surge in Montgomery County

Montgomery County police have released a sketch of the Montgomery Village rape suspect, the latest incident made public as reports of rape continue to surge in the County. Detectives report that the white male suspect followed a woman after she got off a Ride On bus in the 19300 block of Watkins Mill Road Saturday night, April 20, around 10:15 PM. Realizing the man was following her, the victim began to run. The suspect then knocked the woman down, dragged her into a grassy area by the nearby woods, raped her, and fled.

The victim went home, and then to a local hospital, where the police were called. She identified the suspect to detectives as a white male in his late 20s, with brown hair. She said he is approximately 6-feet-tall, and weighs about 180 pounds. The suspect also has a tattoo behind his left ear, and was wearing a sweatshirt and jeans. Based on the sketch, the sweatshirt has a hood.

Detectives are asking anyone who recognizes the suspect or who may have information about this rape to call the Special Victims Investigations Division at 240-773-5050.  Those who wish to remain anonymous may call Crime Solvers of Montgomery County toll-free at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477). Crime Solvers will pay a cash reward of up to $10,000 for information provided to their line that leads to an arrest and/or indictment for this crime.

Reports of rape skyrocketed by 53% in mid-2018, according to an official police department memo submitted to the County Council. Police recently reported that rapes had spiked 28% by the end of 2018. The County Council has been silent on the surge in rapes in Montgomery County, and their allies in the local press colluded to silence the topic during the 2018 Council election. I was outspoken on the importance of the issue during the campaign, and my words have been vindicated by the continued increase in reports of rape.

Wake up, folks! Public indifference, and the propagandizing Pravda-style media coverage of County government, are perhaps the biggest challenges we face. The people of Montgomery County need to avail themselves of the information being provided by this Suburban News Network website, start asking why the Council has failed to take action, and begin intelligently voting for councilmembers who will actually take the problem of violence against women seriously.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Firearm discharged in parking lot of Fairland 7-Eleven store

Montgomery County police are investigating the latest incident of gunfire in the County, as violent crime continues to surge. Detectives have released a surveillance photo of the man they allege fired multiple rounds into the passenger window of a black sedan parked at the 7-Eleven located at 12257 Tech Road just past White Oak on March 29.

When officers arrived on-scene, they found no sedan, but just the broken glass left behind by the alleged shooting. It appears the suspect was attempting to enter the locked vehicle, and used the gun to break the glass. Detectives report that the suspect had sought a coat hanger from a nearby hotel, telling hotel staff that he had locked himself out of his car.

Anyone with information about this discharge of a firearm or the suspect is asked to call the 3rd District Patrol Investigations Unit at 240-773-6800. Those who wish to remain anonymous may call Crime Solvers of Montgomery County toll-free at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477). Crime Solvers will pay a cash reward of up to $10,000 for information provided to them that leads to an arrest in this crime. Tipsters may remain anonymous.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Good Hope Road sidewalk public hearing May 1

A public hearing will be held May 1, 2019 from 7:00-9:00 PM at Cloverly Elementary School at 800 Briggs Chaney Road regarding a proposed one-mile "sidepath" along Good Hope Road between Windmill Lane and Rainbow Drive. Also included in the project is a pedestrian bridge proposed near the intersection of Good Hope and Hopefield Road.

The sidepath will be eight feet wide, and include a buffer between it and the road. Montgomery County officials say the new path will better connect the Cloverly community with schools, places of worship, and the Good Hope Community Center.

Friday, April 19, 2019

24-hour generator coming to Fenton-Silver Spring intersection next month

The WSSC will be replacing a sewer main at the intersection of Fenton Street and Silver Spring Avenue in downtown Silver Spring next month. As part of the project, their contractor will be operating a generator at the intersection 24 hours a day for the duration of the work.

The part of the project requiring the generator is scheduled to begin in mid-May, and will take several weeks to complete. A noise waiver for the generator has been requested from Montgomery County. The intersection is about half-a-block from the nearest occupied residences on Fenton Street.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Silver Spring construction update: Solaire 8250 Georgia Avenue (Photos)

Some of the distinguishing architectural features shown in the renderings of the Solaire 8250 Georgia Avenue apartment tower are now visible at the construction site, such as an angled glass accent near one of the corners of the building. This is Washington Property Company's second project in downtown Silver Spring's Ripley District, and their fourth Solaire-branded property in Montgomery County.

With a height of 20 stories, the Solaire 8250 will hold 338 apartments and 15000 SF of retail space, including outdoor seating for dining. Parking will be located in a three-level underground garage. Amenities will include a resort-style rooftop swimming pool and deck, cyber cafe, private courtyard, fitness center, and a club room complete with kitchen, library, flatscreen TV, fireplace and game room. Apartments will be a mix of studios and 1-and-2 bedroom units.

Lendlease is the contractor for the project, Design Collective of Baltimore is the architecture firm, and leasing of the street-level retail and restaurant space will be handled by Streetsense. Delivery is was expected for Spring 2019 - do you think they're going to meet the deadline? It looks pretty close, and they've technically got two more months.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

12 Stories opening at The Wharf: D.C. is doing what moribund MoCo won't for nightlife

Montgomery County is still reeling from the collapse of its nighttime economy following the County Council's disastrous Nighttime Economy Task Force initiative. Where there were crowds on sidewalks and corners outside of downtown Bethesda's nightclubs and bars prior to the initiative, 16 nightspots have shuttered since the task force debacle. Many other businesses slashed or eliminated their late-night hours. Downtown Bethesda sidewalks now grow empty and quiet after 9 or 10 PM. Thousands of young professionals have taken their wallets and purses to the District for nightlife since, including to The Wharf, where an exciting new rooftop will open tonight.

I recommended years ago that Montgomery County put incentives and requirements for nightlife, including rooftop nightclubs at the new hotels being approved for urban areas like downtown Bethesda. Those suggestions fell on deaf ears at the Council and Planning Board, as of course, it is much cheaper to put up a hotel with a non-active roof use. Naturally, our developer-controlled Council and Planning Board never put the public before the developers, which is how we ended up with no replacement cineplex and no replacement Capital Crescent Trail tunnel under Wisconsin Avenue in the Apex Building redevelopment - even though the Council and Board held full authority to require both. Heckuva job, Brownie!

By contrast, the District is getting its latest rooftop nightspot tonight, April 17, 2019 with the debut of 12 Stories, high atop The InterContinental Hotel at The Wharf. The 3500 SF rooftop features spectacular views of the Potomac River, waterfront and Washington, D.C. We could have had something like this on top of the new hotels coming to Wisconsin Avenue here, but...the Council was too busy collecting developer checks, and debating a ban on circus animals instead.
Current and prospective MoCo bar and restaurant
owners said, "Yes, Yes, Yes!" to privatization of liquor
sales, but our cartel-controlled County Council said, "No, No, No!"
At 12 Stories at The Wharf tonight, 13-foot floor-to-ceiling windows will give you views of the Jefferson, Lincoln and Air Force Memorials, as well as the pinnacle of the Washington Monument and Hains Point. From the future Marriott hotel in downtown Bethesda, nighttime will give you lovely views of car dealerships and a concrete parking garage. So much winning!
The J Street Spritz at
12 Stories at The Wharf
Tonight at 12 Stories at The Wharf, you could be sipping a zero-degree “Superchilled Martini 24” and taking in the sweeping vistas of the Nation's Capital. Perhaps you would prefer a “J Street Spritz,” made with Tito’s Vodka, Amaro Nonino, lime juice, raspberries, Domaine Chandon and sparkling soda. It's enough to make Jack Evans bust out the old Constituent Fund.

All that's busting in Montgomery County is the County budget, in the red again this year, with residents facing yet another increase in property taxes. With what the Maryland Restaurant Association complained was a "flat" restaurant and bar market in Montgomery County, record numbers of closures, and profits declining in a business with thin margins already, we're losing nightlife spending and alcohol sales to the District and Virginia, thanks to our archaic County government-controlled liquor monopoly.
The Wharf Burger
Just some of that lost revenue will end up being spent in D.C. at 12 Stories, where brunch will be added in May to a windows-on-the-capital-of-the-free-world menu that tonight already features locally sourced oysters, a buttermilk fried chicken sandwich, and a ceviche-style crudo.

While Montgomery County's "leaders" turn to taxpayers again this year for yet another payday 4.8% property tax increase, the developers of The Wharf in D.C. turned to the Gerber Group, the geniuses behind NYC’s Mr. Purple, The Roof and The Campbell, and Atlanta's Whiskey Blue, "known for its signature elevated nightlife experience and top-notch food and beverage," it says.

Montgomery County's vision for an "elevated nightlife experience?" "More taxi stands [ever heard of Uber and Lyft, guys?], more buses," and continued total monopoly government control of liquor sales to restaurants, bars and the public. No wonder Montgomery County is at rock bottom in the region by every relevant economic development measure.

They blew it, folks.

Photos by Anna Meyer

Major addition proposed for Mazda dealership at Briggs Chaney Auto Sales Park

A major addition has been proposed for the Koons Mazda dealership in the Briggs Chaney Auto Sales Park at 3111 Automobile Boulevard in Fairland. 4540 SF of new vehicle sales and service uses will be added to the existing showroom and facilities.

The Montgomery County Planning Board must make a determination if there are adequate public facilities to support the addition, and is scheduled to take up the matter at its April 25, 2019 meeting. Planning staff have recommended approval of the project, with conditions.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Discovery building slouching toward dim future in Silver Spring

No major corporation has shown any interest in the former downtown Silver Spring headquarters of Discovery Communications. That's not surprising, given that Montgomery County's hostile business climate, lack of direct access to Dulles Airport thanks to an unbuilt new Potomac River crossing, and unfinished, congested road network have scared major corporations from relocating here for two decades. After all, Discovery itself decamped almost all of the Silver Spring jobs to Knoxville, Tennessee, where taxes and employees' cost-of-living are lower, schools are just as good as our declining Montgomery County Public Schools, and the Discovery/Scripps site has direct highway access to the nearest airport.

But the new owners of the former Discovery HQ in Silver Spring are making upgrades to the property in the hopes of attracting future tenants to these vacant floors. The County Council shockingly failed to market the property as part of an overall package for Amazon's HQ 2. Of course, this is the same County Council who thought Shark Week was filmed in giant tanks in this office building, blaming "TV trends" for the loss instead of their own incompetence and socialism-on-steroids governance. Reality check: the Silver Spring headquarters jobs were mostly administrative in nature, and therefore went to Knoxville, not New York City. A few top level executives relocated to an existing New York Discovery office - that's it.

Additions proposed by buyer Foulger-Pratt include redesigned public spaces, and new retail space. Project plan amendments going before the Montgomery County Planning Board April 25 include about 11,000 SF of new office, retail and restaurant uses. But in a loss for the downtown community already reeling from the loss of Discovery, public space on the site will shrink by over 50000 SF, if approved by the Board. Planning staff are recommending approval of the amendments.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Hogan, Montgomery County Council sell out East MoCo commuters for developer sugar daddies

The Maryland State Highway Administration continues its developer appeasement program with the reduction of speed limits along Georgia Avenue in Olney, Glenmont and Aspen Hill. Reducing speeds on congested commuter routes began with the Dukes of Hazzard-style replacement of 45 MPH speed limit signs on River Road with 35 MPH under the cover of darkness one night in Bethesda. Like Georgia beyond Randolph Road, River was engineered for speeds between 50 and 55 MPH, so 45 MPH was already artificially low.

SHA was famously known for decades as an agency that put engineering best practices and the greater public good ahead of the desires of a few to reduce speed limits, and place other similar obstacles to inflict pain on commuters. So why is SHA suddenly becoming a politics-first, best practices-last agency under Gov. Larry Hogan?

Hogan, a real estate developer, seems to know where his best interests lie. In this case, it is in teaming up with the Montgomery County Council and their developer sugar daddies. After all, it's the Council who demanded speeds as low as 25 MPH on major commuter routes. The move is part of the MoCo cartel's secret plan to redevelop the single-family home properties along 45 MPH state highways into mixed-use urban areas.

In addition, the drastic speed changes are part of a parallel plan to raise more funds for the cartel through speeding tickets and speed cameras. SHA violated its own procedures by not posting the required signs to notify drivers of the speed limit change on River Road. Police began ticketing drivers immediately in the hours after the illegal speed change.

After the Suburban News Network, which publishes East MoCo, reported the SHA violation, signs were quickly rushed out to River Road - but only briefly. Along with the fact that the artificially low 35 and 25 MPH speed limits will make it challenging to comply with the new speed restrictions, massive paydays are guaranteed for the County government via tickets.

In Bethesda, developers are rubbing their hands together with plans to redevelop several golf courses, churches, an SHA depot and a garden center into mixed-use, high-density development. Along with another secret plan to extend the Purple Line to Westbard, the speed limit changes are getting drivers ready for slower urban speeds.
Hans Riemer has a plan to bulldoze
affordable neighborhoods in Aspen Hill,
Glenmont and Wheaton
The same is true for Aspen Hill, Bel Pre and Glenmont. Councilmember Hans Riemer's proposal to allow mixed-use development anywhere, including currently SFH suburban neighborhoods like Glenmont and Aspen Hill, will result in massive teardown waves. In their place along Georgia north of downtown Silver Spring, and along River Road, will rise urban-style high-density development. Along with the apartment buildings, duplexes, triplexes, quadplexes and Section 8 boarding houses Riemer's new zoning would allow in SFH neighborhoods, crime, school overcrowding and traffic will only increase.

But that traffic will be moving slower than ever.

It's ironic that Olney residents may feel the most pain from the Georgia speed limit changes. After all, the BRT plan will demolish hundreds of homes and businesses between Olney and Silver Spring when the County brings it back. But the same Hogan and Council who are making Olney residents' exhausting commutes even longer are the same Hogan and Council who continue to block construction of the Georgia-Norbeck interchange.

No wonder Hogan waited until after his reelection to direct these changes. Will his development company be among those to propose projects along these roads after he leaves office? We know the Council's sugar daddies already have plans for both.

Nothing will change for long-suffering auto commuters, the vast majority of MoCo residents, until those drivers take their anger to the ballot box. Until then, expect to remain casualties of the MoCo cartel's War on Cars.

Friday, April 12, 2019

Takoma Park planning to hike property taxes

Compared to the big spenders on the Montgomery County Council, the County's municipalities have been much more fiscally-conservative, including Takoma Park. But the city manager has proposed a property tax hike for the upcoming fiscal year. It will be even higher than the new property tax hike the County Council has proposed for FY-2020.

According to the official city announcement, the Mayor and Council will be voting on a proposed 5.7% increase in the real property tax rate ($0.5560 per $100 of assessment). The County Council has proposed a 4.8% hike, despite promising they would not raise property taxes.

Want to comment on the proposed Takoma Park tax hike? A public hearing on the tax increase will be held April 24, 2019 at 7:30 PM at the City of Takoma Park Community Center, located at 7500 Maple Avenue.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

MoCo to launch microtransit pilot program in Wheaton, Glenmont

The Montgomery County Department of Transportation is launching a pilot program to test microtransit in Wheaton, Glenmont and Rockville. Riders would be able to request a small shuttle bus from designated pickup and drop-off points using an app on their phones. They would receive an estimated time of arrival for the bus.

A public hearing on the pilot will be held on Thursday, April 25, 2019, at 6:30 PM at A. Mario Loiederman Middle School, which is located at 12701 Goodhill Road off Weller Road in Silver Spring. Attendees will have the opportunity to speak, and to learn more about the pilot program. MCDOT has released these two (very blurry) maps showing the zones for the pilot.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

New parking garage in downtown Silver Spring

There's a new parking option in downtown Silver Spring. Montgomery County Public Parking Garage 3 is now open to the public. Also known as the Thayer-Silver Spring Garage, it is located at the rear of the new Thayer & Spring apartment complex. The new garage is only accessible from Silver Spring Avenue.

The garage features 155 parking spaces (40 short-term, and 115 long-term), six handicapped spaces, 28 bicycle spaces, and four pay stations where you pay in advance by your space number. Parking fees are charged only on weekdays between 7:00 AM and 7:00 PM, according to the County's Division of Parking Management website.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Montgomery County on sidelines again as Indian software firm Zoho chooses Texas

Indian software firm Zoho has completed a nationwide search for the location of its new U.S. headquarters, and the winner is Austin, Texas, not Montgomery County. As is the case more often than not, there's no public indication that Montgomery even made any effort to recruit the company, much less mount a competitive bid. Zoho currently has a small customer service office in Austin with 60 employees, but when they relocate their current California U.S. HQ to Texas, they will ultimately host 500 jobs in a new, 100,000 SF office building, the Austin American-Statesman reported early this morning.
New interchange TXDOT
is building by the future site
of the Zoho HQ, one of
four to eliminate signaled
intersections and reduce congestion
Best of all, Austin didn't even have to put together an expensive package of giveaways to win the HQ. Zoho cited its employees' growing frustration with traffic congestion and expensive housing costs in California in its choice of Austin as an improvement. In researching the site of their new Austin HQ, I noticed they chose land on SH 71, which the Texas Department of Transportation says "serves as a major corridor for motorists traveling to and from the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport." While Montgomery County's elected officials are actively fighting any attempt to increase highway capacity here, TXDOT has a whopping four projects to reduce congestion on SH 71 alone.
Google Maps shows how close the
Zoho HQ site will be to
Austin-Bergstrom International Airport,
a quick 7-minute drive
How important are highway access and infrastructure to economic development? They are critical. According to Google Maps, the site chosen by Zoho at SH 71 and Kellam Road is only 7 minutes from Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. The need for easy airport access for an international firm like Zoho could not be provided in Montgomery County, thanks to the County Council blocking construction of the planned new Potomac River crossing to Dulles Airport. Heckuva job, Brownie!

A quick search finds flights from Austin-Bergstrom to a whopping 40 cities in India, including New Delhi, Mumbai and Hyderabad. Imagine how significant that 7-minute access is for this India-based company, and its executives and sales team.

The Texas newspaper also reported that analysts see the Zoho decision as having benefits beyond the 500 jobs - and collateral economic activity and revenue - the HQ will generate. Because Zoho is an Indian firm and has offices around the world, Austin economist Angelos Angelou told the paper, “it could lead to the attraction of additional companies because now in the eyes of other Indian companies, Austin will be on their radar screen.” Who are some of Zoho's customers? Amazon, Uber, Facebook and Netflix.

While Austin celebrates another economic development victory, Montgomery County has only received more bad news on that front this week. Not only did County officials tell our super-low-energy County Council that MoCo's failing taxpayer-subsidized business incubators are hemorrhaging $1 million a year, but the short-lived CEO of the County's economic development company announced Monday he is quitting...to move to Texas. Smart man, obviously. "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em." You can't make this stuff up, folks.

With the "new" County Council having taken no action on highway congestion or the economic development crisis in Montgomery County after over four months in office, and their plan to hike both County employees' salaries and your property taxes bigly, could Democrat David Blair be looking at a 2022 encore run for County Executive? He lost the 2018 Democratic primary by only 77 votes, and the only other local pol not-so quietly planning to run is failed Councilman Hans Riemer, Riemer is not only literally the least-popular Council member in Montgomery County based on voting results, but is infamous for tanking the County's nighttime economy with his disastrous Nighttime Economy initiative.

Will Montgomery County business leaders (and voters) finally take the advice of Bob Ehrlich they so far have rejected: "Get dangerous," and elect a few Republicans to the Council? Or will they just keep slouching towards Gomorrah?

Monday, April 8, 2019

Montgomery County Council proposes property tax hike

4.8% tax increase

The Montgomery County Council, contrary to fake news headlines, is planning to raise your property taxes this year. A required legal announcement published by the Council confirms the planned tax hike in black and white, despite County officials' false claims of no increase.

"Notice of a proposed real property tax increase," the legal notice proclaims. "The County Council of Montgomery County proposes to increase real property taxes," it states. Despite annual false claims of "holding the line on property taxes," MoCo property taxes automatically increase due to rising assessments. The only way the Council could fulfill a promise of "holding the line," or "no tax increase," would be to lower the tax rate by the amount required to offset that automatic increase.

According to the Council's required legal statement, the Council "is considering not reducing its real property tax rate enough to fully offset increasing assessments." Instead, the Council is proposing to hike property taxes by 4.8%.

But while the Council is required by law to disclose their planned tax hike in the legal announcement, County officials and their friends in the media have been falsely claiming no tax increase is proposed. "No tax increases in Montgomery County proposed budget," blared a fake headline on WTOP.com. "It’s what residents don’t see in Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich’s proposed 2020 budget that might impress them the most: no tax increases," the article falsely announced.

The Washington Post's Jennifer Barrios, who never wrote a single article covering the general election County Council At-Large race in 2018 (and unprofessionally didn't even respond to emails during the campaign), tells an even bigger whopper of a lie this morning on the Post website by claiming a tax cut. All three local media statements are entirely false, as these photographs of the actual legal tax hike announcement clearly show.

Fact Check: Because County elected officials and the County cartel-controlled media have told this lie annually for many years, Post fact-checking standards require me to award them the new "Bottomless Pinocchio" rating for those who "repeat a false claim so many times that they are, in effect, engaging in campaigns of disinformation.”