Guest speaker Sumeet is a politically active resident of Montgomery County, MD and local attorney. He is also a delegate to the MCCPTA for his children’s elementary school. Topics discussed on today’s podcast include:
“Policy vs. personality” when it comes to President Trump and other politicians;
Government’s role in community development and economic revitalization; and
A brief overview of the MoCo Board of Education’s overreach of authority over the last two years.
A David vs. Goliath battle is being waged in Montgomery County over the structure of the County Council. On one side is a non-partisan citizens’ ballot committee that collected over 16,000 signatures during the COVID-19 lock down to get Question D on the ballot. It would change the structure to nine individual districts. On the other side, is the powerful County Council, which at the last minute on the last day of summer session, suspended its public comment rules to put a competing Question C on the ballot to confuse voters.
If both measures win, both fail; it doesn’t matter how many votes each gets. Then it’s back to the status quo, which is the real goal of the County Council.
Currently, seven of the nine County Council members live around the down-county crescent near Silver Spring and Takoma Park, home to the most liberal, progressive, densely populated, and wealthiest part of the County. This is not a fluke, it has been going on for the past three decades. How does that happen?
Montgomery is a “one-party rule” county.
Four of the nine Council positions are elected At-Large. “At-Large” is false advertising. Instead of representing all county residents, the At-Large representatives have demonstrated repeatedly their priorities are those of their neighbors living in Silver Spring and Takoma Park.
The structure is broken. It allows the Council to have a majority of members from the same southeastern corner of the county. Studies have shown that At-Large seats discriminate against women and minority candidates.
Not one elected official in Montgomery County, county or state, is registered Republican or any other party other than Democrat. Sadly, it has also turned into a pay-for-play county. The County gives grants to a long list of non-profit organizations, that in turn exhort its members to vote for the people who will continue to give them taxpayer money.
The unions are in on the game and they have a big influence on the county’s unionized employees (i.e. teachers, police, fire, transportation, and other workers). The teachers’ union even publishes an “Apple Ballot,” exclusively advocating for Democrats, handed out at the polls. Last year, the County Executive negotiated some of the largest raises in the area for union employees, only to find this year there is not enough money to pay them, thanks to the COVID-19 induced shut-downs.
What to do? Raise property taxes, of course!
When families are struggling to make ends meet.
When schools are closed or partially opened and parents and students are both working from home.
When businesses are falling like dominoes.
The beauty of property taxes, from the cynical left’s point of view, is that if they aren’t paid, homes will be seized by the government.
Pay up or we’ll take your home away and sell it to someone else.
Property owners bear the burden of paying taxes for services used by everyone, so it’s not fair to raise taxes just on them. But, for the progressive leftists on the County Council, it’s the path of least resistance.
Interestingly, one Republican saw this coming. Robin Ficker, who Democrat detractors (and even some high-minded Republicans) label a political gadfly, got enough signatures to place another measure on the ballot—Question B—to limit the amount of any property tax increase to the rate of inflation. What to do? Put a competing measure on the ballot—Question A—authored by the County Council. Even if both of these measures win, canceling each other out, the status quo is better than either of them.
The County Charter currently allows property taxes to be raised above the rate of inflation only by unanimous vote of the county Council. Easy enough, since 95 percent of all Council votes this term have been unanimous.
Democrats have pulled out all stops to fight Questions B and D, including enlisting former County officials Ike Leggitt, David Blair, and Connie Morella.
Marilyn Balcombe, a Democrat who lost her bid for At-Large Council member in the last election, is running competing ballot committees to defeat B & D. She’s already on record saying she plans to run for At-Large again, so she has a vested interest in making sure voters don’t approve nine individual districts. Adam Pagnucco, former Council staffer and blogger for Seventh State, has repeatedly and erroneously tried to scare his readers by painting both citizen ballot initiatives as Republican efforts.
Increased taxes won’t really hurt the lifestyle of the wealthy.
“I don’t mind paying higher taxes, I’m sure they’ll be put to good use.”
A well-dressed woman leaving a high-end restaurant recently exclaimed this to me.
Compare that to the worried look in a naturalized citizen’s eyes, standing at the door of his modest townhouse, who says he is telling his friends to look at issues, not just party, when voting this year. “It’s not fair to make property owners bear the burden of services used by everyone,” he said.
The people hurt the most by the well-intentioned liberal elite are the people they claim to want to help the most.
Please vote FOR Questions B and D and AGAINST Questions A and C.
Montgomery County is a one-party county. The County Executive, County Council, and Senators and Delegates to the General Assembly are all registered Democrats. Not one single Republican or any other party member among them!
Consequently, there is no diversity of thought, the economy and educational system are in trouble, and many people feel disenfranchised.
Part of the reason for this lopsided picture is the fact that Council and Delegate districts are so gerrymandered in Maryland in general, particularly in Montgomery County.
There are a couple of ways this can be remedied:
First, by changing the structure of the County Council to nine individual districts (Vote YES to Question D and NO to Question C).
Second, by ensuring that district lines are drawn fairly, no matter what the Council structure ends up being. District lines are updated once every 10 years, based on the latest census figures, and will begin in 2021.
October 26th is the deadline for applying to be on the Redistricting Commission, which will start work in February. Below is the county press release which describes the role of the Redistricting Commission and the application procedures.
Don’t just complain about how things are run in the county. Do something about it. Apply and help ensure that everyone is represented fairly!
From A Former Law Enforcement Officer in Montgomery County, Maryland.
I hope you really did not tweet that there should be “justice” for the family of Berhe? If you did, shame on you.
The call went out as a burglary in progress and the subject was armed with a knife. How the heck is a social worker supposed to handle that? Even if the call was merely a mentally ill person brandishing a knife, no mobile crisis team, psychologist, or psychiatrist would dare go near the scene until it was rendered safe and secure.
Even on those mental health calls where there is a potential for violence and the Mobile Crisis Team is responding, they will have the officers there as back ups. They cannot confront violent and armed people in a non-controlled environment.
Officers must live with their split second decisions. They have to decide in mere fractions of a second how to react to a deadly threat. That difference means the ability to go home in one piece to your family or suffer life changing injuries or death. Likewise, failure of the officer to take action with an armed, emotionally disturbed individual creates a danger to the community members as well.
I personally know this officer, as well as others who have had to use deadly force to protect themselves and the community. Several never recovered from the trauma of taking a human life and had to leave the department. Universally, those officers are forever changed. I have never met a police officer yet that thought, “Tonight I am going to kill someone.” In fact, the opposite is true.
I have seen my share, me included, of those who did some dangerous and stupid things to avoid shooting someone despite the deadly threat. But, when that trigger is pulled and it is a justifiable shooting, the community should be there to support the officer, not to second guess them. That includes the elected officials that have an obligation to know the facts and circumstances and educate themselves on the realities of police use of force.
Having the council members not recognize that the actions of the officer are also predicated on the actions of the assailant and shift blame to the system, the officer, training, or lack of a 24/7, fully staffed crisis team does a disservice to every officer out there. It is unrealistic and just plain foolish to believe that mental health professionals will be the panacea to fix the problem.
The problem with dealing with the mentally ill goes far beyond community crisis team response. Our mental health system has been insurance driven for 40 years. We went from almost 4,000 beds at Springfield State Hospital to less than 300. Hospitalization is a joke. They stabilize them and kick them out because that is all insurance carriers will pay for. I could speak for hours regarding the mental health systems in place or lacking. I will leave that to a later discussion.
The fact is out of the nearly 1 million law enforcement officers serving today and the millions of contacts and arrests made, the numbers of people shot by officers every year has remained constant for decades or decreased despite huge increases in population. The Montgomery County Police Department provides some of the best training in Crisis Intervention. I was one of the first to go through the training. Now, all MCPD officers must complete the 40 hour course in crisis intervention.
In this case, honestly tell me that if a knife wielding individual attacked you and you were a police officer that you would not protect yourself. Tell me you would take one for the team and hope your family could do without you. If you say you would not have fired, I challenge you to do some shoot don’t shoot scenarios. Many people change their opinion after experiencing that training. And, that is still make believe where they know they are not going to get hurt.
Chris Anderson is a U.S. Coast Guard veteran, chaplain, and lifelong Baltimorean. He is running to represent District 7 on Baltimore’s City Council.
My grandfather, Christopher Bland, had an eatery on Riggs Avenue & Carey Street in Baltimore’s 7th District. Bland’s Carryout was a family business that helped the community, as well as fed it. I used to play in front of Carryout as a child. Now that store is gone. A child can’t play in front of that building anymore. There are memorials in front of that store now where people have been shot and have died from street violence.
Now, in 2020, I’m one of nine Republican, African American candidates running for office in Baltimore; I’m running in the 7th district.
I do not want to see another street memorial in front of my grandfather’s store. I want children to be able to play there again. I want that community to heal. Some say I’m too serious about this race and am angry. Others associate my party and me with the “Grand Old Party” (GOP) of 1967 and say we don’t have a chance.
I am very angry and I am very serious about the conditions of District 7, but I’m not the return of the GOP to the city. I’m part of the “Grand New Party” that’s frustrated, mad and angry (yes!) about how far this city has fallen.
I feel the pain of Michelle Andrews running in District 6.
I’m just as frustrated as Jovani Patterson, nominee for City Council President.
I’m just as mad as the first African-born nominee, Eugene Boikai, running in District 12.
These are just some of the Republicans that are running for office frustrated by the conditions and deterioration of Baltimore City. This city is predominantly Democrat, but I know most of the city residents are just as fed up with how this city is governed.
In a survey from Morgan State University:
“A vast majority of participants (more than 90%) describe Baltimore’s crime rate as high when given a choice between high, moderate, low and ‘no description.’ Participants provided no single explanation for what the majority believed to be a high crime rate. Instead, they provided varying explanations, ranging from drugs and lack of economic opportunity…”
Most are not going to take drastic steps like joining the Republican Party for change; those same people should not see us who join the Party with the intent to hurt the City.
I’m just as concerned with boarded-up houses, abandon schools, and government corruption in City Hall as most of the citizens of Baltimore.
We need a change. I am part of that change needed for Baltimore’s District 7.
I didn’t put my name on the ballot for status quo or to inflate my ego. I’m running for office to bring communities back. Communities should not have to witness another black life gunned down in front of any store in Baltimore. I am not part of the “Grand Old Party” and old ways of doing things; I, with my colleagues, are part of a new party that wants fiscal responsibility in City Hall, anti-corruption put in place, and to see this city grow again.
I want to see stores, like my grandfather’s Carryout, build generational wealth in District 7 again. I’m part of new solutions and new ideas. I’m with the “Grand New Party.”
Phase One: Submit Over 10,000 Certified Voters’ Signatures (COMPLETE)
The bi-partisan fight for nine council districts in Montgomery County (MoCo) successfully concluded Phase One of the effort by getting over 10,000 certified voters’ signatures to qualify getting the proposal on the ballot this coming November. This led the effort’s organizers to initiate Phase Two – getting the voters educated on the Nine Council Districts initiative and how to mark the ballot when they vote. Ballot marking became more critical when the County Council, in an effort to kill the Nine Districts proposal and in a most un-Democratic fashion, entered their own proposal; there was no public debate on the Council’s proposal, just nine council members happy with the status quo looking to thwart the interests of the county’s residents. So, Phase Two now requires us to educate voters on how to cast their vote.
Phase Two: Educate The Voters (Vote YES on D and NO on C)
The ballot will offer two Questions. Question “C” is the Council’s proposal to retain the 4 “At-Large” members and add two (2) more district seats, thereby increasing the Council’s participation to a total of 11 with all of the associated costs, which is estimated to be well over $2,000,000.00 in additional budget requirements. Question “D,” the Nine Council Districts proposal, will also be on the ballot. Voters need to know that if they do not want “C” and they do want “D” they must mark their ballot – against “C” AND for “D.” Should both questions receive the same number of votes, they will “cancel” each other out and the status quo remains.
Phase Three: Equitable Redistricting For Equal Representation
During Phase Two the education of the MoCo voter will continue as early voting approaches. Phase Two must inevitably lead to Phase Three of the effort: the redistricting of the County in a fair and equitable manner that will finally make available on the Council the voices of county residents who have been systematically ignored by the County Council( except when its time for re-election, of course). Councilmember Evan Glass tipped his hand on a Zoom Call with county residents in attendance when he made it clear that if Question “D” passes there is still the process of redrawing the district lines- a process that will be done by a Committee of county residents using Census data to help guide this Committee through their efforts.
Having lived in MoCo for some 30 years, my expectation is that this Committee will be stacked in a manner that insures the gerrymandering of the County is consistent in a way that guarantees not a single dissenting voice will ever make it to a council seat – ever.
If the Phase One and Phase Two efforts are to have any chance of successful implementation, it will be critical to understand:
Who gets appointed to this Committee;
Political affiliation must count and be represented fairly;
There cannot be any overt interference from either the Council or the County Executive as the Committee goes about its work; and
The Committee’s work cannot be nullified by the Council or the County Executive.
A true effort must be made by this Committee to apportion the representation on the Council in a fair and equitable manner, drawing boundary lines consistent with county residents’ needs, so that the voices of all the county residents can be heard, even when those voices do not agree with the longstanding single party rule that has dominated MoCo for so long.
From A Very Concerned Citizen In Montgomery County, Maryland.
When does the emphasis on community activism end and real governing begin?
Apparently not any time soon in Montgomery County, Maryland. As long as the seats on our county council are primarily filled with community organizers and political activists, we will continue to see Montgomery County become more like Takoma Park and Berkeley, California. Unfortunately, five of the nine council members are from either liberal Takoma Park or Silver Spring.
Sadly, Jawando, along with most of the other Council persons in Montgomery County, have no business or work experience. Consequently, their total focus while on the council is on community activism.
When Will Jawando joined the council as one of the At-Large Council members in 2018 he immediately began inserting his agenda into legislation. He had now found a new platform for his lifelong passion. Jawando immediately introduced legislation for hair discrimination in the workplace; his ultimate passion was to reform the police department of Montgomery County. In an article published by dcist on August 26, Jawando tells a story of how he was arrested in the mid 2000’s while riding in a car with several law school friends. They were admittedly shouting obscenities at an undercover female police officer. Apparently, his parents did not teach him manners or respect for fellow human beings. Instead of recognizing his fault for his misconduct, he chose to process the incident as police harassment and developed a victim mentality. Sadly, this happens all too often. It’s sad when people do not accept responsibility for their actions. His concern was how this arrest would affect his future career. Today, he counts himself as a victim because of his race. He sees himself as a statistic rather than a foul-mouthed young man who got caught for his poor behavior.
Today, because of his victim mentality, Jawando is on a mission to reshape policing in Montgomery County. Along with Hans Reimer, a Marxist from California, they are proposing that police no longer make traffic stops and issue traffic citations. They would like to use the Berkeley model, utilizing the department of transportation as traffic enforcers. They are also suggesting more traffic cameras.
By Will’s own admission and his distrust of police he is suggesting we throw out the baby with the bath water. Again, it’s legislating to the lowest common denominator.
In a lengthy conversation with a Montgomery County police officer over the Labor Day weekend, he and I discussed policing in Montgomery County. He shared with me that morale on the force is at its lowest point. I asked him if he had been given stand down orders.
He acknowledged most officers are reluctant to make arrests because of fear of reprisal and lack of support from the County Executive, Marc Elrich.
He also shared that many activists purposely provoke police hoping for a negative response while they stand by with their cell phones filming the event. I asked him to tell me how the police would respond if I was a victim of black lives matter (BLM) harassment or if my business was threatened or looted or burned. He sadly responded they would most likely stand down. He shared that the risk of losing his job or being sued or jailed for doing his job caused him to think differently on how he performed his work.
So, I ask you, Mr. Jawando:
1. How do you propose protecting the law-abiding citizens of Montgomery County who are at risk of the anarchists, rioters, and criminals?
2. Do you propose protecting the rioters over the law abiding taxpayers of Montgomery County?
3. Why do you allow your poor, disrespectful behavior as a student shape your policy-making for this county?
A Takoma Park Councilman’s idea of farming: solar farming? Hans Riemer, Takoma Park marxist and former Oakland, California resident is proposing a change to the Montgomery County Agriculture Reserve.
Mr. Riemer, who has absolutely no farming experience, believes solar panels are a form of agriculture and farming.
In his e-mail he compares solar panels to growing grapes and grazing sheep. I’m not sure where he is getting his information from but it is apparent that he is clueless regarding the growing of crops for consumption and the raising of animals. Perhaps he believes as AOC does, that groceries originate from the grocery store.
If he had farming knowledge, he would realize that once land is developed, including solar panels, it never reverts back to workable farm land that produces a crop.
If he had farming knowledge, he would also realize that grapes cannot be grown organically. They require regular, preventative pesticide spray; in fact, Mr. Riemer advocated and supported passing legislation that prohibited the use of pesticides in Montgomery County.
Mr. Riemer’s partnership with the liberal Sierra Club, Chesapeake Climate Action Network, and Poolesville Green are indicative of the agenda that he holds. He can be placed in the same radical category as AOC and her “Green New Deal.” Their belief that the world will end in 10 years if the carbon footprint is not reduced is driving them to radical ideas which are not in the interest of agriculture. He, along with his Takoma Park cronies Tom Hucker and Evan Glass, are pushing their liberal agenda much like the Takoma Park ban on fossil fuels. It’s inevitable what happens in Takoma Park will bleed over into Montgomery County.
Hans Riemer’s e-mail is rushing this proposal to meet a September deadline. His goal, like the bill passed in Takoma Park, is to shut down power plants forcing wind and solar power as the only source of power. You can bet the next step will be to follow the lead of Takoma Park banning combustion engines, and natural gas to meet the county’s goal of zero emissions by 2035. We saw these failed attempts during the Obama presidency and how failed energy businesses profited from taxpayer dollars.
Hans Riemer is a graduate of University of California, Santa Cruz. He has never had a job in the business world for profit but rather was (and still is) a political activist, having held positions as director of the national youth vote for Obama, political director of Rock the Vote, public policy associate, and on the 2008 Obama presidential campaign. In 2010 he was elected to an At-Large position on the Montgomery County Council. Nowhere in his biography does it suggest he has agriculture of farming experience. He currently resides in the liberal urban city of Takoma Park. I bet he has never attended the Montgomery County Agricultural Fair. One has to laugh out loud to think he can offer comments and expertise on agriculture.
The liberal left’s hysteria over climate change is not based on solid science. Science and history show us the earth has been evolving for billions of years. Hans Riemer’s motivation is purely political, solely crafted to reducing valuable farm land.
I grew up on a farm and understand agriculture. So, I ask Mr. Riemer:
How do solar panels increase our food supply?
How do they benefit agriculture? It’s a far stretch to equate solar panels with farming and agriculture unless you are a Takoma Park liberal with no understanding of farming or agriculture.
What financial or political gain is in this for you and your cohorts?
By Patricia Fenati Of Montgomery County, Maryland.
If you’ve ever read anything about the Russian revolution and the early days of the Soviet Union (or saw the movie Dr. Zhivago), you know that one of the consequences of the communist takeover was to require the sharing of homes by seizing individual properties and moving numerous people into those homes.
Nazi socialism did the same by taking property of those they considered enemies and giving it to others.
No one is moving into my home (yet) but Montgomery County, Maryland, which is facing a housing shortage because we are a sanctuary county, has come up with a neoteric (I think off-the-wall) solution. The County Council recently passed a proposal to provide additional housing in the county termed “Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs),” which allows additional dwelling places in virtually all residential zones.
This dictate essentially negates home zoning laws and allows homeowners to add an apartment in their home, basement, or garage or to build a small house (up to 1,200 sq. ft.) on their property, no matter what the size of the lot. It is intended to increase affordable housing in Montgomery County by encouraging smaller, more cost-accessible units as additions to individual properties.
Why does zoning matter?
According to Wikipedia, the primary purpose of zoning is to segregate land uses into divisions that are meant to be compatible. In practice, zoning is also used to prevent new development from interfering with existing uses and/or to preserve the “character” of a community. By allowing individual homes to be separated from commercial and dense housing such as apartment buildings, residents can be assured that their neighborhood homes have coherence, thus protecting the existing neighborhoods. Zoning restrictions and standards help prevent overcrowding and protect home values. ADUs will promote overcrowding and houses built too close to each other.
Montgomery County citizens have major investments in their homes, sometimes acquired at great sacrifice. They carefully chose the neighborhoods where they live and expected that their elected representatives would assure the quality of life in those neighborhoods would remain the same. Additional dwelling units everywhere will have a significant negative impact on the quality of neighborhoods.
As residents start to add dwelling units built in back yards and convert basements and garages to additional units, the value of neighboring homes will decrease.
I predict “investors” will then purchase those lower cost homes, making separate apartments in the house and putting small rental units in back yards. This will have a serious impact on all housing developments in the county. To avoid this, the new county law requires that the owner live on the property. This sounds good, but once hundreds of these ADUs are built around the county, who is going to police this situation? A person can move away from a site and never notify the county.
“We moved to Montgomery County over 40 years ago. We relied on county zoning to regulate the size of lots and homogenize the structures in our neighborhood. We thought we were assured that new building on a neighboring property would be in harmony with the home in which we live. Now that that assurance is gone, I do not think additional homes in my neighbors’ yards are compatible with the neighborhood into which I moved.”
What effects will these additional units have on parking? The law also loosened parking restrictions for ADUs, so that owners are only required to ensure two off-street spots. Thus, there will be additional parking on the streets.
What about water supply and sewage capacity? What if there is a septic tank? A home in a neighborhood near mine was converted into five apartments (against regulations at that time) and rented to several families. That house had a septic tank which soon was over capacity and caused raw sewage to creep to the surface. Since that was an illegal situation, it was eventually remedied. But since the county did not even police that situation, how will there be adequate oversight when small homes are going up all over the county?
Voters need to understand that what’s happening in Montgomery County is the forerunner of a radical Obama plan, AFFH (Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing) and Joe Biden promises to implement AFFH nationally. But Biden is planning to go further than the Obama plan and follow Cory Booker’s plan to end single family zoning in the suburbs and create little cities everywhere.
Suburban living was initiated to afford a choice for living, away from crowded cities. People were willing to spend the time commuting to jobs in the city in order to have that option for living.
When we moved into Montgomery County those 40 years ago, it was the richest county in the country, with the best education rating in the nation (neither is true today).
When we moved here, we could not afford to live in the wealthy suburbs near Washington, D.C., but we found a home in a new development in a small town in rural farm country. We were able to get a larger home with more property than any we could have purchased with a shorter commute near the city. We have worked for many years to maintain our home, make improvements and pay on our mortgage. We were not rich, Mr. O’Rourke; we knew a move to a home in the country meant a lifetime commitment to a long commute to jobs in the city. But now we are going to be forced to allow lower income people to move into our neighborhood. Buying our home required many sacrifices, but we felt the wholesome atmosphere with fields and woods for our children to play in was worth being far from work. And our children did have many carefree hours exploring the countryside near our home (that was when children were free to roam, not always tethered to a nearby adult). Now the opportunity of open spaces will be denied to other hard working families.
Granted, there are no requirements to force others into our homes (yet) and I am not required (yet) to have additional housing on my property, but make no mistake, forcing ADUs into existing neighborhoods is a move toward socialism.
Kimblyn Persaud is Chair of Nine Districts for MoCo.
Congratulations! We have been officially notified by the Board of Elections that Nine Districts for MoCo has been certified with more than the necessary 10,000 signatures, and will be Question D on the General Election ballot.
None of this would have happened without your support, but it’s not over!
On August 4th, just one day after we delivered our petitions, the Montgomery County Council suspended their rules of procedure and took counter action against us. Rejecting the Charter Review Commission’s recommendation for no action and without holding a public hearing on their proposal, the Council decided to place an alternative question on the ballot. Their referendum expands the Council to 11 members, maintaining the 4 at-large Council seats. The Council, once again, is demonstrating their disconnect from the people.
Montgomery County is experiencing the worst economic crisis in history; businesses have closed their doors, evictions are looming, and people have lost their jobs.
Yet, despite all that, the Council still proposed the addition of two more District Council seats, which will include eight staff members and a need to renovate office space.
Enough is enough! Montgomery County needs a more responsive County Council that we can hold accountable, not more government that we will have to pay for. Nine Districts for MoCo is our opportunity to change this!
We need your help! With a donation today, your contribution will help us reach voters throughout the county with advertising and yard signs.
From An Anonymous Resident Of Montgomery County, Maryland.
I thought it would be fun comparing two styles of leadership and relate it to conservatism and progressiveness (liberalism). These two styles are pragmatism and its antonym, impracticality.
The dictionary definition of pragmatism is: practical, matter of fact, realistic, sensible, down to earth, businesslike, and rational. A further definition of a pragmatic person is one who deals with things sensibly and realistically in a way that is based upon practical experience, rather than theoretical hypothesizing.
Someone with a pragmatic approach to politics is a person with common sense who knows how to get things done. This person’s mentality and outlook on life emphasizes practical consequences in the determination of meaning, truth, or value.
The antonym of pragmatic is impractical. Its dictionary definition is: unsuitable, not sensible, inappropriate, unserviceable, unworkable, unfeasible, impractical, and nonviable. Sometimes academia fits into this category. So, let’s ask ourselves a question: On a national level, how much has our House of Representatives and Senate accomplished in the last 12 years? How much have they accomplished in the last four years? Each side masterfully plays the blame game, but if you really examine the pork that many of these bills contain, it makes them impractical.
It’s a sad commentary on society that many politicians have no business experience. Successful business owners are generally pragmatic. They are able to solve complex problems in a cost-effective manner; prioritize schedules to identify, isolate and solve problems; and enlist teams, staff, and employees who complement and bring value to the job.
The choices for the business owner are to solve the problem in a cost-effective manner or face bankruptcy. Politicians and community activists do not face the same consequences.
They are using money they did not earn, and they consequently spend it as if they had a limitless supply. The results of their choices in solving problems do not have the same consequences as that of a business owner. Thus, many of the decisions they make tend to be impractical, unreasonable, unworkable, and unfeasible.
Let’s look at several local Montgomery County, Maryland examples.
Montgomery County has horrific traffic congestion. Rush-hour in Montgomery County is a nightmare. A pragmatic approach to the problem would be to widen the roads to accommodate traffic. Instead, our County Council, led by the Takoma Park delegation, invest money into bike lanes and sidewalks. They further push mass transit, car pooling, and toll lanes.
The problem with our naïve Takoma Park representatives’ liberal, impractical approach is that they dance around the problem and avoid pragmatic and real solutions.
The question is: are these politicians prioritizing changing our behavior, or are they focused on solving a real-world problem? Part of the problem with impractical decision making is these liberal politicians tend to legislate and design laws focused to the lowest common denominator. They also play to the crisis of the moment. If one person is killed in a police shooting then our county writes a law directed at racial disparities and equity. It’s difficult for me (and countless others) to understand how this issue can be equated with a public health crisis.
Montgomery County has a budget crisis and a shortfall of revenue. When my budget faces turbulence I adjust my spending and cut extravagance. I don’t spend money I don’t have. Solving budget problems by raising taxes only kicks the problem down the road and does not systemically solve the budget crisis. Our Takoma Park delegation of Councilpersons approach our budget crisis using illogical and non-sensible solutions, that if used by a business, would drive them into bankruptcy.
We are witnessing the same lowest common denominator approach used in manufacturing rules and laws governing COVID-19. There are many inconsistencies and inequalities used in applying rules and regulations to manage the virus. The closure of schools and regulations on churches, combined with closure of targeted businesses, are not based on a pragmatic problem-solving approach, but rather on partisan politics based upon illogical and impractical decisions. One can see the bias when riots are allowed to take place but worshipers are not allowed to meet. One has only to compare the numbers of COVID-19 deaths to persons dying from the flu to see the disproportionate logic applied to this problem.
Don’t misunderstand me; I admit we have a problem, but the politicians addressing the crisis are not acting or governing in a pragmatic manner to address the issue.
One can look to Takoma Park, from which most of our County Council live, to see the impractical approach to problem solving taken with politics. Does their nuclear free zone prevent foreign countries from launching a nuclear attack? Does banning lawn mowers and leaf blowers solve the alleged climate change problem? Does the bag tax improve the Chesapeake Bay? Does a $15 per hour minimum wage eliminate poverty? Does providing free health care and rent subsidies to illegals solve our immigration problems? Does limiting the sale of firearms to one per month reduce the murder rate? Does taking firearms from law abiding citizens and taxing ammunition reduce gun violence? Does a ban on petting zoos and circuses make animals safer?
So, how do you prefer your elected officials to base their decision? In pragmatism or in impractical decisions?
From a Concerned Citizen in Montgomery County, Maryland.
Throughout history, the world has experienced the practical application of many philosophical theories. From the beginning, mankind has sought to worship various forms of these theories, turning these theories into religions and gods.
In 1848, a German man by the name of Karl Marx gave birth to a document known as the Communist Manifesto. The ideas and theories of Marx became known as Marxism, which were later interpreted into practice and became Communism.
It was Karl Marx’s objective to dethrone God and destroy Capitalism.
Marx upended the definitions of good and evil to mean that the church and family presented obstacles to utopia. The concept of sin changed, from rebellion against God into striving for individual ends opposed to the collective. The institution of property rights represented original sin. The end goal of Communism replaced the Garden of Eden. The new utopia was heaven.
This view, especially under the funding of billionaire Marxist, George Soros, has been absorbed by academia, media, the entertainment industry, and many in government. They promote cultural Marxism in the form of political correctness. Everyone is equal. The reality is, the Bible speaks of God’s justice as measured by adherence to God’s standards, not by shifting goals of secular academics.
No where in scripture does it task government with equalization of wealth. The bible requires work, frugal living, and honest dealings. It mandates impartial justice, sound money management, and property rights. It also endorses liberty and limited government, all essential elements of capitalism.
In a recent television interview, U.S. Attorney General William Barr was asked about Antifa, the black lives matter (BLM) movement, civil unrest, and the media. He began by saying politics has fundamentally changed; where once we were able to have discussion and debate and then vote, it has been replaced by one side’s desire to tear down the system with no compromise.
Mr. Barr said this revolutionary movement has become a new secular religion.
It has become a political pilgrimage to create a progressive utopia.
Barr went on to compare this revolutionary movement to Marxism. During the interview, a June 12, 2020 report published by the Soeren Kern Gatestone Institute was quoted:
“Empirical and anecdotal evidence shows that Antifa is, in fact, highly networked, well-funded, and has a global presence. It has a flat organizational structure with dozens and possibly hundreds of local groups. Antifa’s stated long-term objective, both in America and abroad, is to establish a communist world order. In the United States, Antifa’s immediate aim is to bring about the demise of the Trump administration.”
From day one of President Trump’s administration, radical leftists have made it their goal to shred the norms of the system. BLM is also focused on bringing down this administration. Why?
They desire POWER and want to run the lives of everyone. This lust for power has become their new religion. The urban guerrilla warfare currently taking place in America is Antifa and BLM shielding themselves under the protections afforded to them in the 1st amendment. They hijack these so-called “peaceful” demonstrations and are highly organized in creating riots and civil anarchy. The media does not fully cover these riots because they are funded by billionaire Marxist and globalist, George Soros.
So, who is George Soros? Forbes has listed him as the 46th richest individual in the country with a net worth of 22 billion dollars. Soros has funded pro-abortion, pro-illegal immigration, pro-national health care, pro-drug legalization, pro-big government, anti-Israel, and anti-America movements. He has direct ties to over 30 main stream media outlets, including the New York Times, Washington Post, Associated Press, CNN, NPR, and ABC. Each of these operations have high-level employees on the Boards of Soros-funded media operations. Soros’ contributions have secured ownership of politicians and have funded Antifa. Many leftist politicians refuse to condemn the anarchy and riots taking place in our country because their very own campaigns are being funded in part by George Soros.
Consequently, Soros is accomplishing his Marxist goal of dismantling America through the use of riots and his manipulation of racism and open anarchy.
BIG MEDIA was born with Soros money.
George Soros discovered he had enough money and know-how to buy options in floundering publishers and individual reporters. He controls the narrativeused by the media, which in turn controls the Democrat party and prevents Americans from hearing the truth. Democrats don’t talk about big media because they are the ones who benefit from it. Each of the most influential big media outlets, with the exception of Fox, are campaigning for far-left causes and radical, liberal candidates.
The deep state is not a conspiracy theory. The corruption within the FBI, CIA, IRS, Congress, and NSA is real and openly evident.
Justice is a word of the past. The Left’s lust for power places them into the category of Marxist. Sadly, most Americans are too naïve and have accepted the narrativeof the media without fully understanding who is creating and funding the narrative. I can only pray Americans will learn to think for themselves and understand how they are being deceived by the narrative.
The November election will shape the direction of America and the world. If Biden is elected it may well be the last president America will see.
The shadow government and deep state will have achieved victory. Our form of government may become history, replaced by the Marxist agenda of Communism. Please, America, wake up. We are one election away from losing the freedoms we have taken for granted. Everything is on the line.
Sadly, on our local Montgomery County, Maryland level we have a Marxist in power as County Executive (Marc Elrich) and a surrounding cast of cronies who live in and support the Marxist agenda of Takoma Park. Your vote to create nine districts is a vote to end this Takoma Park control.
From A Small Business Ownerin Montgomery County, Maryland.
I want to discuss the real-world effects of the $15.00 per hour wage.
As a small business owner in Montgomery County, Maryland my business feels the negative effects of the new law initiated by County Executive Marc Elrich and his Takoma Park delegation. Fifteen dollars sounds good to the employee working at fast food and entry-level jobs, but the minimum salary requirement has consequential effects to the small business owner who is dependent on labor to operate his business. Fast food restaurants and box stores have circumvented the effects of the raise in minimum wage by installing kiosk machines, thereby eliminating labor costs.
Have you also noticed the dollar menu has gone away and prices have increased on most items?
Contrary to activist politicians who have never owned businesses, businesses are not created to provide jobs and benefits to the population, but rather to turn a profit. This involves managing overhead, which includes labor and employee costs. The majority of the general public do not realize that labor costs are minimally 20% higher than the actual wage paid. When you factor in unemployment, workers’ compensation, and social security matching, the increase is about 20%. If you add in mandatory sick leave required by Montgomery County (thanks to Marc Elrich and his Takoma Park associates) and health insurance, then the employer’s cost for an employee raises significantly.
So, what are the business owner’s options?
They can raise their prices to compensate for the labor increases.
They can absorb the loss.
They can leave Montgomery County.
They can go out of business.
When you have career politicians who have no experience at running a business, you create an anti-business climate.
I highly value my employees. I am careful to hire and retain hard working, loyal, ethical, and moral individuals. As my business is labor intensive, I pay my employees a fair wage between $25.00 and $30.00 per hour. Because of my size, however, I am unable to absorb the cost for health insurance or a 401k.
Let’s now discuss the graduated expectations of minimum wage.
What politicians need to realize is that minimum wage jobs are entry-level positions. People who need additional wages need to find a trade or seek advanced education. The message that is not told when raising the minimum wage is the graduated expectations that employees have. The employee making $25.00 and $30.00 per hour now expects $30.00 to $35.00 to keep up with the graduated expectation of minimum wage. Bear in mind a wage of $35.00 per hour is actually $45.00 per hour. Think about that the next time you pay $7.00 for a fast food hamburger and $4.00 for a tomato because the laborer in the field was paid $15.00 per hour.
During the County’s public hearing to debate raising minimum wage and mandatory sick leave, the sessions were (unsurprisingly) heavily stacked with political activists who have never owned businesses or worked for profit. The voices of business owners were silenced by outcries of naïve politicians opposed to capitalism and clueless of how to run a successful business.
Montgomery County is controlled by the activists of Takoma Park and they are not friendly to small business. Most recently we have seen this negative attitude towards business communicated in the forced, unjustified closures of many small businesses because of the alleged dangers of COVID-19.
Interesting how one can be safe from infection while shopping in Walmart and Home Depot but not in Joe’s Boutique. Again, it’s political activists with no business experience making the rules.
I read with interest your message on Fiscal Responsibility and ask that you please reconsider your stance against the [Montgomery County, MD] Charter Amendments.
These are good, solid Charter Amendments that will be good for the citizens and good for the county!
I am a proud, 30-year resident of Montgomery County [MoCo], and I believe, along with a great many of my neighbors, that a cap on Property Tax is an excellent form of fiscal responsibility. It will help our county search for and eliminate duplicative and wasteful and unneeded programs – of which there are many. It will help the county reevaluate employee compensation and pay raises – these are far higher than the U.S. government pays for comparable jobs. It may force the county to reevaluate the 6% dividends the county guarantees for MoCo employees’ retirement plans: Maintaining such a high dividend must certainly be dragging down the budget since no one in the world, except for Montgomery County, MD employees, can obtain a guaranteed 6% dividend in any one retirement plan.
Approving the cap on property taxes may force the county to stop the county’s hidden payments to a private trash hauler to haul out and dump half of our recyclables because they are unsalable – why are we paying recycling fees in our property tax to have them hauled? We could remove this expensive and illegitimate recycling program and go back to openly hauling trash, which you doing anyway, and save us all some money.
These are only some of the things a property tax cap could accomplish!
As for the 9 districts – what a fabulous idea for each area to have one of their own to represent them. A great many of us are delighted by this prospect!
Think about this Mr. Friedson. If you support these amendments and do not disparage them, we will all support you.
Be strong! Stand up to those bullies on the council and be a true representative of your citizens!
If you like, I can gather a list of citizens for you so you can see how many of us really like these ideas. But wait – you already have a list of 10,000 signatures for each Amendment. You do not need anything more from me, do you?
Let me paraphrase her words. Do as I say. Ever wonder why President of Russia Vladimir Putin holds elections? It’s because he knows he has to give a nod to democracy in order to claim legitimacy. Similarly, men or women who use the phrase “follow the science” pretend to have science on their side.
Recently, California Governor Gavin Newsom said, “[T]he West Coast is — and will continue to be — guided by science.” Also, in the past several weeks we have heard that phrase used by our Montgomery County Council Executive Marc Elrich and our un-elected health advisor Travis Gayle. The phrase has been used to justify the closure of businesses, schools, and churches.
So what does the phrase actually mean? Science is good, please don’t misunderstand me. It’s when science replaces God that I have a problem. Sadly, many scientists forget it was God who created science. Man can not create anything on his own. He can only rearrange the molecules that God gave us. Science is not in competition with God; science comes from God. We need to remember this first and foremost.
The problem as I see it is that man’s science is not always accurate or exact.
Global warming scientists claim the earth will be destroyed in less than 10 years and we must reduce our carbon footprint immediately to reverse the coming destruction. Last summer my wife and I took a trip to Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico. During our trip we visited many national parks and took in many geological wonders. We listened to several park rangers lecture. One topic they discussed throughout our time there was the ever-changing world. The layers of rock and sand we witnessed as we viewed the landscape suggested rivers, lakes, tropical forests, and deserts had occupied the same space over billions of years. An official national park sign posted in Mesa Verde National Park read, “[C]limate change is not new. According to archaeologists, it was one of the reasons Ancestral Pueblo people left Mesa Verde over 700 years ago.”
Sadly, people use the word “science” to scare, manipulate and control the population. Please understand I respect and admire science. Two things we must ask ourselves is 1) how accurate is the science, and 2) who is funding the research?
We must admit science can be influenced and directed by politics.
Sadly, we have different scientific opinions and conclusions on the use of hydroxychloroquine. The tragic story is if we believe those who downplay its usage in its fight against COVID-19 then we endorse the death of thousands who might have been cured if it had been administered at the right time. This is a good example of how we decide which approach or scientific opinion we follow.
Are the two scientific outcomes science-based or politically-based?
I witnessed the double standard of the phrase, “listen to the science,” several years ago when the Montgomery County, Maryland Council was involved in a debate over the use of pesticides in our county. Those defending the safe use of pesticides called upon scientists from the Department of Agriculture to explain how pesticides could be administered safely. They further spoke about regulations and laws already in place to monitor and guide those using these products. The irony of the public debates is that those in opposition to the use of pesticides (spearheaded by our own County Executive Marc Elrich and a large contingency from Takoma Park), spoke out and gave testimony that was purely emotional. They ignored the science and played to the heart. They spoke of loved ones who had died from cancer and spoke of children who would die from cancer if they played on athletic fields that had been sprayed with weed killers. Their testimonies were based entirely on raw emotion. They did refer to studies but failed to mention who did the study or who funded it.
So, in conclusion, when a Travis Gayle and Marc Elrich tells us to listen to the science, we must ask ourselves: how has this science been poisoned by politics? We must be careful not to worship at the feet of science but rather the God who created science.
I want to give your readers insight into what’s happening in this county.
To fully understand what’s taking place in Montgomery County (MoCo), Maryland, one needs to understand the man who is behind the helm. That man is Marc Elrich.
Marc was born in 1949. He attended University of Maryland where he was a participant of the counter culture. File photos show Marc, with his long hair, participating in anti-war demonstrations at the University of Maryland. It was these same demonstrations that shut down Skinner Hall in 1970.
Marc taught 4th and 5th grade for 17 years before he launched his career as a public activist and politician. He was a city commissioner in Takoma Park, Maryland for 19 years; he currently resides there.
To understand Marc we also need to understand the culture of Takoma Park. Takoma Park is affectionately referred to as the “Berkeley of the East.” It is a city of 17,000 and is rated as the 8th most liberal city in the country.
Takoma Park. Conservatives refer to it as Granola Park (fruit, flakes, and nuts), the capital city of hippy land.
Takoma Park has a legal voting age of 16. It declared itself a nuclear free zone. It was a leader in banning all pesticides. It has a peace delegate and most recently voted to become a fossil-free community banning gas stoves, leaf blowers, lawn mowers, and gas water heaters. Its hopes are to close gas pipelines, force gas stations to relocate, and ban vehicles that run on fossil fuel by 2045. Marc Elrich was a council member in Takoma Park from 1987-2006.
In 2006 Marc set his sights on taking his liberal views to the entire county. After running for office of commissioner several times, he was finally elected to an At-Large position on his fourth attempt.
The Washington Post labeled Marc as anti-business.
As a commissioner, Marc voted for the bag tax, voted in a ban on petting zoos and circuses, led the campaign to raise the minimum wage to $15.00 and signed a bill prohibiting police from inquiring into a person’s immigration status. He further spearheaded a campaign to cripple the landscaping industry by pushing the lawn weed killer ban; interesting that golf courses were exempt.
His agenda continually pushed for lower cost housing and rights for illegal immigrants. To support his liberal agenda, Marc continues to seek ways to increase our taxes.
In 2019 Marc ran for the position of County Executive and narrowly defeated David Blair in the primary by 77 votes. David Blair was a successful businessman, having built a Fortune 500 company. Elrich’s tactics in defeating David Blair included enlisting his Takoma Park cronies and portraying David Blair as a rich kid from Potomac who was opposed to helping the poor and illegals of MoCo.
Today, Marc Elrich embraces his radical past. He opposes capitalism and free enterprise. He is not sympathetic to reopening MoCo. His leadership style has changed to that of a Marxist. His priority as a Marxist is to keep the population dependent on big government. His goal is remake MoCo into an image of Takoma Park, literally in his own image. His failed attempt at closing private schools is also a way to control the competition.
So, the question we must ask ourselves is, do we want Montgomery County to be the mirror image of Takoma Park? Do we want to be labeled as a “Granola” county? It’s time for conservatives and those with common sense in the county to wake up and realize the real threat of socialism/ communism in our county. If these Marxist trends continue, we will see ourselves as the Berkeley of the East.