Friday, February 15, 2008

fillmore debate takes it back to the 1960's

The former J.C. Penney building on Colesville Road is slated to become a music hall . . . aw, you know the story already.

Where do you draw the line between activism and mere stubbornness? That's what I'm asking as the "Who Gets To Open A Music Hall In The Former J.C. Penney Building On Colesville Road" debacle drags on into its eighth month. My patience is wearing thin.

This week, the controversy's coming from Silver Spring resident Carol Bengle Gilbert. She's pretty surprised to see Patrick Lacefield strike back with a five-page rebuttal to her piece on "user-generated" news site Associated Content lambasting Montgomery County's deal with Live Nation and Lee Development, the building's current owners. In her latest piece, entitled "Montgomery County MD Pommels Live Nation Report: Fair Game or PR Run Amok?", Gilbert compares Lacefield - spokesman for County Executive Ike Leggett - to "Big Brother" for keeping tabs on her writing.

Activism runs deep in East County, from the "freeway fighters" who stopped I-95 from being built through Takoma Park to former White Oak resident Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, which kick-started the environmental movement. While today's struggles - the Purple Line, gentrification, etc. - are similar, the players are completely different. I wonder if Gilbert (and her numerous commenters, all of whom totally agree with what she wrote) and the locally-based Institute for Independent Music (who just started a website protesting the County's deal with Live Nation) see themselves as following in the footsteps of Carson and the I-95 protesters.

so much more AFTER THE JUMP . . .

But this is a music hall - not a threat to people's homes, or a freeway, or pesticides in our drinking water. As much as I don't want to hear the hipster assholes on DCist saying that Live Nation's just another example of how "corporate" Downtown Silver Spring has become, I am not interested in watching this issue become the next Purple Line, bogged down in debate and acrimony. It is simply not worth it.

I've talked to everyone. I've heard Ike Leggett tell me he fears backing out now will make the County look dishonest. I've heard the disgruntled residents talk about teenagers and crime and filth and the Birchmere. I've heard Audrey Schaefer, making herself heard over Motion City Soundtrack at the 9:30 Club, telling me that I.M.P. Productions was shut out of a process they had full right to participate in. And this is what I say to everyone: cut the bullshit and bring me the music.

I.M.P. may deserve a chance, but they might only get one with a court order and a very bitter Ike Leggett. There will be other places to build in MoCo, and even if not, I'll keep going down to the 9:30 Club for shows. (And I will not get robbed on V Street, regardless of what the Singular says.) Councilmembers Elrich and Praisner says "we got a bad deal?" For Marilyn's sake, Leggett better make damn sure we're not getting screwed over: he got us into this mess, and only he can get us out.

And what about Carol Bengle Gilbert, the budding online journalist? Stop invoking The Man. If I didn't want County officials reading (and disagreeing) with what I have to say, I wouldn't have started a blog.


Anonymous said...

She can hardly complain about the county learning of her article when she posted a link to it on every Silver Spring neighborhood listserv that she could.

You're right, though. Stop the bickering and bring on the music.

Sligo said...

My brother's car got broken into when he was at a 9:30 show once and they stole all the PENNIES out of his ashtray. WTF. Of course, that area is somewhat different now.

Anonymous said...

A-frakking-MEN. This is what I've been saying all along. Not that I'm against 9:30. Or The Birchmere. Or any other entity for that matter. Just bring me some live music and quichyerbitchin!

And more cowbell would be nice.

Carol Bengle Gilbert said...

I love for anyone- including Mr. Lacefield- to read my work and honestly agree or disagree with it as they may. Mr. Lacefield signed the county up as a writer for AC and hid behind its identity to post criticism of my work. He created a fictitious quote and attributed it to me, then attacked it. I do have problems with this behavior.

Anonymous said...

I dissagree with Carol Bengle Gilbert on one issue. I believe that we should build up, as the alternative is to build out, and that would compromise the true green spaces that we already possess. We don't need more "pocket parks" in the downtown area, and there are several "real" parks within a few blocks of the site on Colesville Rd. It takes 10 min. to bicycle to Rock Creek Park from this location (and this is "real" green space). If we do not fully develope the space we have in the city center, we will end up nipping away at the true parks, while recieving a handfull of concrete pocket parks in their place. Reach for the sky, protect the horizon.

Chuckles said...

I don't really have a pony in this race, other than the burning hatred for "Nightclub" 9:30, but I am a fan of government transparency. This whole debate/event/debacle/deal/whatever has been interesting from my perspective and want to say thanks for posting about it.