Wednesday, November 12, 2008

what's up the pike: whatever it takes

- Chevy Chase residents say the town "should not be overly concerned with costs" in a last-ditch attempt to kill the Purple Line by hiring a lawyer to review the MTA's report on the proposed transitway along the Capital Crescent Trail, which skirts the town's north side. "Do you really think we're going to bring our kids on the trail ever again?" says one resident, echoing previous concerns that the Purple Line - which will run from Bethesda to New Carrollton - would render the CCT useless to Chevy Chase families and lemonade-stand owners alike.

- The search is on for two suspects accused of killing a Blair High freshman on a Ride-On bus two weekends ago; meanwhile, the County says there weren't any security cameras on board when the incident happened. The Silver Spring depot has fewer buses with security cameras - about sixty percent total - than other ones elsewhere in MoCo.

- Blair's just having a hard time right now: both the Gazette and SilverChips (the school's top-notch newspaper) report that a girl supposedly stabbed a classmate after a disagreement.

- Our new president-elect Barack Obama showed us that anything's possible - and it really is: after thirty-two years of Robin Ficker's campaigning for lower property taxes, the message finally took. Both Maryland Politics Watch and the Post's "Maryland Moment" blog say the political gadfly's charter amendment - which would require a unanimous vote from the County Council in order to raise property taxes - has just barely enough votes to pass.

MoCo residents like a high level of service from their government, but the recent economic downturn seems to have been enough to ignore Ficker's bombastic demeanor and the recent suspension of his law license due to "slipshod" practices.

1 comment:

Thomas Hardman said...

I should point out a few things here.

Whether or not Robin Ficker is a big doody-head, or not, is irrelevant to the worth, or lack thereof, of the Charter Amendment. To think that it is would be an example of the classical rhetorical fallacy, the ad-hominem fallacy.

Mr Ficker may in fact be abrasive and disbarred (though he might be reinstated by now) but there are some excellent bits of fallout that come from the passage of the Charter Amendment, which must be judged in its merits, not those of the author..

1. Tax hikes exceeding the charter limit now have to be approved unanimously. No longer will it be convenient -- or possible -- to engage in finger pointing, as a matter of shifting the blame during campaigns or press-conferences. Nope, everyone will have to own up to it, and anyone wanting to point fingers can just wave at the whole County Council. The only possible finger pointing would be at anyone who votes against higher taxes. And I can just see it now: "that jerk over there refused to raise your taxes! Vote for me!"

2. The County Council can still raise taxes without a unanimous vote... they just can't raise them above the limit set in the Charter without a unanimous vote.

3. A very significant portion of the County's voters are retired, on fixed incomes, and have to make do with a combination of their real-estate assets, their Social Security income (not much use in MoCo), and whatever investments they have. With their investments swirling around the toilet as Wall Street continues to implode, and with the values of their real-estate likely decreasing, having any additional tax burden imposed on them is something they neither want nor need. This might tend to explain the Charter Amendment being passed.