Monday, October 30, 2006

ike leggett has a big house

Will Montgomery County get an Executive Mansion, such as this Burtonsville home that Just Up The Pike presumes may belong to one Isiah "Ike" Leggett?

As part of the Post's continuing series on Ike Leggett (titled Ike Leggett Is Ridiculously Nice; He Is Also Black), readers yesterday were treated by a look at Leggett's personal life, including his mini-manse "just off Columbia Pike and a tennis ball's throw from Howard County":
. . . the house has a seldom-seen feel. Boxes in the kitchen wait to be taken to the trash; a couple of tropical plants in the living room yellow with neglect.
Despite all that, it certainly beats the hell out of Doug Duncan's hovel (well, relative hovel) in Rockville.

I only wish we had all these creepy aerial-photo websites four years ago. It would've saved me a lot of frustration . . .

humming the "rocky" theme . . .

pictured: Dan atop the famous Rocky Steps at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

I just got back from a trip to Philadelphia with my program and it was a blast. While D.C. reminds me of your older brother who finished law school and now rubs all the money he's making in your face, Philadelphia is that other sibling who started out well but flunked out of school and decided to go after what they really loved instead. In Philly's case, it's art. The city is filled with public art - especially murals - and shows a devotion to making art accessible to everyone.

That and the cost of living is appallingly low. Penthouse condos in South Street, their equivalent of Georgetown/Adams Morgan, are selling from the $200's. What!?

Hopefully I will put up some pictures - and maybe even video! - later this week.

Friday, October 27, 2006

at least chevy chase is closer than . . .

Grosvenor-Strathmore, where Steele held a Purple Line press conference earlier the other day:
"This is where they told me to come . . . I'm not trying to draw any distinction between inner and outer. I'm focused on the Purple Line." - Michael Steele on a failed Purple Line media event
Doesn't anyone know where the Purple Line goes? Anyone running for elected office, at least?

UPDATE: Video! (thanks to MoCoPolitics for the heads-up.) You can see the B.S. falling from Steele's mouth as he's grilled by the press . . .

Thursday, October 26, 2006

like chevy chase would let that happen

[Ben Cardin] appeared surprised during the exchange on NewsChannel 8 when Steele quizzed him about the start and end points of Metro's proposed Purple Line . . . Cardin started to answer, sputtering, incorrectly, "Chevy Chase" before stopping abruptly and snapping, "I'm not going to answer your question."
Up until now, Cardin's been running a good campaign . . . is he really letting the people who nearly killed the Purple Line trample him like this?

You've got some serious explaining to do, Benny boy. You can't just barnstorm through College Park and then refuse to admit you haven't figured out where the Purple Line is going to go.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

say it isn't so, WaPo!

Democrat Martin O'Malley, is a smart, adroit politician who has compiled a creditable record as mayor of Baltimore for the past seven years . . . Our choice is Mr. Ehrlich.
You're kidding me, right? I just assumed all your Republican endorsements were flukes . . . what happened to the Liberal Media!?

east county castle redux

I drove up from Just Up The Pike School-Year Headquarters to take a few pictures of the East County Castle last week. (See more pictures here and here.) It doesn't look so intimidating now behind another, even more half-timbered house.

I wonder if you really can fit that moat in there without pissing off the neighbors - that is, unless the turrets have already caused an uproar like one house in Alexandria has recently.

(NOTE:My camera literally died after three shots, so my apologies for the lack of boudoir photographs . . .)

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

showing off "the turf"

"The Turf . . . has become the venue for some of the best people-watching in the region, attracting a crowd with a better spread of ages and backgrounds than Dupont Circle, the Georgetown waterfront, Old Town Alexandria and Reston Town Center." - Marc Fisher
Marc Fisher writes a column on the eventual decline of "the Turf," our beloved Astroturf-lawn-turned-town-square. It's a shame that he's shrugging it off rather than issuing a call to arms to save the space.

William H. Whyte would be very disappointed. A champion of the city, he worked for decades to create and save great urban spaces such as the one we've created by accident here in Silver Spring. You would think that, after a decade's work trying to bring people Downtown, Montgomery County would actually give a moment's thought to keeping them there.

Instead, we get this piece of Modernist crap. The diversity of Silver Spring is only relevant - is only tangible - when there are places like "the Turf" for these different kinds of people to come together. This is what I've wanted from a community since I was old enough to remember.

Do you see anyone sitting on that broad plaza set on high over Ellsworth Drive? No. William H. Whyte would be disappointed.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

does this make leggett a republican?

pictured: Maple Lawn, a new development in Howard County.

Last night, I had a dream about Ike Leggett, and he blew me off again. But should I be surprised? I mean, he must know what I think of him.

The Post has definitely sided with the slow-growth crowd this election year. They're endorsing the Republican candidates for County Executive in both Howard and Anne Arundel counties which, notably, do have more conservative politics than Montgomery. However, their defense for Christopher Merdon of Howard and John Leopold from Anne Arundel should sound pretty familiar:
The two candidates for [Anne Arundel] county executive promise to avoid the mistakes that resulted in a sprawl of development that has overtaxed roads and schools and made many residents resentful . . .
[Mr. Merdon] recognizes that past battles over growth, including a rezoning that he opposed, has made residents distrustful of government . . .
And here's what the Post said about old Ike:
[Ike Leggett] is the right choice for a county facing a demographic makeover, the prospect of tightening budgets and the strain of impassioned debates over growth, development and traffic . . .
I don't know too much about the political situation in Howard County, but it sounds a lot like Montgomery County's, except they don't have a Clarksburg. Which is a shame, because it didn't give them a reason to go on a NIMBY rampage like we have.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

it's the thought that counts

A NOTE FROM DAN:I like to make sure the long pieces I write are as good as possible, so I took down the Fairland View piece from Tuesday because I didn't feel comfortable with it. Look out for a more coherent form of it later on.
" . . . there's a discrepancy between where these people believe growth should occur and where the trends and projections are expected." - Jason K. Sartori, Consultant

No matter how many groundbreakings Bobby Haircut has for the ICC, the tide may be turning on suburban, auto-oriented development in Maryland. The Post reports on Reality Check Plus, a series of "envisioning sessions" over the summer where a cross-section of "business, civic and elected leaders" throughout the state were given the task of deciding where new growth should take place.

And despite the attitudes of a few cranky stay-at-home parents and a possible NIMBY County Executive, it turns out that Marylanders, or at least the ones who participated in both the statewide and the Washington-area version of Reality Check, support sustainable, denser development near transit and existing job centers.

It is a contrast, though, to the slow-growth 'mandate' MoCo voters supposedly sent last month. So do people want smart growth or not? I mean, people like Bethesda Row (pictured). But, of course, talk about building another Bethesda Row somewhere else and you'll hear "overdevelopment!" and "traffic!"

Either way, it's the thought that counts. Thanks, Maryland, for having the right idea.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

how many groundbreakings does it take . . .

for Ehrlich to make a point?
"We’ll look forward to three or four more [groundbreakings] before Nov. 7." - Rick Abbruzzese, spokesman for Martin O'Malley
pictured: the ICC at Route 29.

Monday, October 16, 2006

east county castle: update

With a little poking around on Windows Live Local, I found the forty-five room castle that Silver Spring, Singular discovered on eBay this morning.

Check out this bird's-eye view of the "East County Castle." It's actually located on Martello Drive in Fairland, which is a couple of blocks north of Edfinn Road. Talk about an excellent location - this is a $3.4-million-dollar house within spitting distance of Briggs Chaney Plaza and the Auto Park. It's also a block away from the future InterCounty Connector.

Worst of all, however, you would have to furnish the proposed moat yourself. Talk about a bad deal . . .

it's an alliteration monday

WITHIN THE WEEK: I'll talk about what I consider to be The Worst New Development In East County.

A BRIDGE FOR BRIGGS CHANEY: Another milestone for the Briggs Chaney Road/US 29 interchange, set to be completed this winter: the bridge is almost finished! You can already see the swanky "pseudo-stone" facing also used on the Cherry Hill Road bridge. Only a few more months and construction on The Pike will be done . . . for now.

EAST COUNTY CASTLE: Silver Spring, Singular alerted us to this castle for sale on eBay. According to the ad, it's located somewhere in "North Silver Spring," but there's no address. I have a hunch that this house is located on Edfinn Road in Fairland. I'll see if I can corroborate that with some evidence . . .

MOON BOUNCE BOUNCERS: The Burtonsville Volunteer Fire Department held an open house Sunday at their firehouse in what is actually Silver Spring. I brought my brother, who is young enough to still be considered "cute," to climb atop the fire trucks, meet the wildly enthusiastic firefighters, and jump around in the moon bounce, which was guarded by a pair of pint-size "bouncers" (ha, ha, ha). They wouldn't have allowed my brother in had one of the mothers not intervened.

Speaking of my brother - he's currently a student at Galway Elementary, which has been holding a series of meetings to discuss the forty-year-old school's renovation, scheduled to take place in 2009. I have the plans; hopefully later this week I'll have renderings, and I'll put up a post about that.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

mcmansion centrifuge

Midterms are over! I'm blogging again, but if anyone has their two cents to put in, the guest blog opening is still, well, open.

"A three-car family puts a lot of money into depreciating assets, instead of into mortgages and college educations." - Stewart Schwartz, Coalition for Smarter Growth
More from the Post's "duh file": buying that house in West Virginia may not be as cost-effective as you thought. Not to say those of us inside the Beltway or, in my case, "inside the ICC" (as I think the slang will go one day) are living it up, of course. But I think my family lives a lot better than we would had we moved further out.

This isn't a difference between "shallow suburbs" and "cultured city" because, as culture appears in the suburbs while the city dabbles in misguided conservatism, those stereotypes don't matter anymore. Proximity does, however. New roads and transit can help to bridge the gaps across our region, but if people still end up living in one area and working in another, the costs remain.

Monday, October 9, 2006


Just Up The Pike will be on hiatus this week as Dan takes midterms, so I'm looking for another guest blog.

If you've got something to say about Montgomery County and can say it in less than five hundred words: please e-mail me and speak your piece. Any topic is suitable, but keep in mind what this blog is usually about.

Take care, and see you later!

Wednesday, October 4, 2006

whither our town square?

QUOTE OF THE DAY: "[Silver Spring] has an eerie resemblance to Clarksburg in the sense that the density of residential development has exceeded the infrastructure’s capacity for parking and recreation facilities unexpectedly. Not intentionally, but unexpectedly." - Dan Meijer
Both the Post and the Gazette must be waking up from a long sleep, because all they are capable of lately is stating the obvious. Today, the Post reminds us that Ike Leggett, who is black, is still not County Executive yet.

Meanwhile, the Gazette reports that the revitalization of Downtown Silver Spring is not over. (Obviously, they have not been reading Silver Spring Scene.) This is all much to the chagrin of ESSCA President Bob Colvin, who claims that most Silver Spring residents "want a moratorium on development."

But I'm not so sure Silver Springers want the nifty new restaurants and shops to stop coming so much as they'd like some decent public space. The Gazette hits the nail on the head with this one.

We already have The 'Turf', which might be one of the most-used public spaces in the Maryland suburbs. Why would we take this out for a windswept plaza and that ugly proposed Civic Building? Is this a suitable replacement to our Armory, which is long gone but not forgotten?

Silver Spring needs an influx of new development to keep us economically viable and regionally relevant. It's not a moratorium we need; it's a push for more and higher-quality public facilities. When will ESSCA start lobbying for their residents' other wishes?

bengals make good

Most high schools are known for their lousy garage bands, and even my alma mater Blake High School, with its focus on the arts and humanities, couldn't muster up anything better.

Until now: The Gazette profiles Layhill, a band of five Blake graduates who are also building a flying machine for this year's Red Bull Flugtag competition in Baltimore. Despite the barbershop-quartet imagery of their new album The Barbershop Quartet, their sound is something like 311 by way of, um, Layhill Road.

I suppose that makes Two Good Bands Out Of East County, the other being The Spotlight, which is quoted up there (scroll back up). And then, of course, there's O.A.R.. They're from Wootton High in Rockville, of course, but I'm willing to make them honorary residents of East County (in case anyone cares).

Sunday, October 1, 2006

ike leggett is black (did you know?)

Now that the primary elections have been neatly wrapped up and are now behind us, the Post wanted to remind Montgomery County Democrats that we just nominated a black guy, also known as Ike Leggett, for County Executive. In addition, they wanted to congratulate us for not paying attention to race when we went to the polls because, obviously, we're still the all-white bedroom community we were in the 1950's and it really is a wonder we could muster up support for a black candidate.

I'm not saying racism doesn't exist in Montgomery County. Racist graffiti has appeared on buildings from Poolesville to Burtonsville to the tony Kentlands. As a person of half-Black and half-Indian descent, I've encountered racism in a much subtler form in Montgomery County. It's difficult to escape prejudice, but I would like to think that in a community as diverse as ours - "44.5 percent minority," as the Post says - there is no need to congratulate ourselves for putting people of color in leadership positions.

Race was never an issue in this election. (NeighborsPAC was too busy distracting voters with the "evils of developers.") Why, then, does the Post have to make it one? They've already been doing it with the Senate elections, as MoCo Politics has pointed out. Although I have serious problems with Ike Leggett's policy, I still consider him to be an experienced politician and, according to the people of Montgomery County, he is the best man for the job.

Pity votes don't belong in the County government. We understand that. Why doesn't anyone else?