Monday, December 1, 2008

what's up the pike: you've got that purple pallor

Residents say the County's preferred scheme for the Silver Spring Library at Fenton and Wayne ignores the neighborhood context.

Are you getting tired of the Purple Line debate? Then you'll love what we have to show you later today, but in the meantime, here's a look at what happened while you were gone for Thanksgiving:

- As we reported over the weekend, a woman wielding a baseball bat broke all of the windows of the Ruby Tuesday in City Place Mall Friday night. She was apprehended by MoCo police and the windows were boarded up, but questions remain as to the motive behind her actions.

- Residents say the County Executive and County Council weren't listening to their concerns when they picked a preferred scheme for the new Silver Spring Library that went against their wishes. At a meeting held last week, the elected officials endorsed placing the library at Wayne and Fenton and putting a ten-story apartment building behind it, along Bonifant Street. It was one of several options (warning! PDF file) proposed by local architecture firm RTKL - which designed the Downtown Silver Spring complex - for the mixed-use development.

Those who live near the site say the County's proposal is out of scale with the low-rise homes and shops along Bonifant Street and would prefer another option in which the apartment building was moved to Wayne Avenue, closer to other tall buildings. Residents will have an additional chance to view and discuss the proposals at a meeting this Tuesday at 7pm in the existing library at 8901 Colesville Road.

- The Washington Post writes up Purple Line hearings in College Park and Chevy Chase, leading most of our readers to conclude that the hearing in New Carrollton was probably just a myth. Not surprisingly, everyone in College Park is on board with the proposed transitway - save for the University of Maryland itself, which is still clinging to the argument that the trains will disturb their scientific experiments - while in Chevy Chase, it's still fire and brimstone if the line comes through the Capital Crescent Trail in their town.

- They must have had a lot of pent-up Purple Line emotions to get out, because another story appears today about the project and the perceived "east-west divide" of race and class between Montgomery and Prince George's counties. Councilmember Valerie Ervin refers to it as the "browning" of MoCo (perhaps she was thinking about her Thanksgiving turkey), while former Prince George's County Councilmember Peter Shapiro calls the racial issue "the smelly fish under the table - everyone knows it's there, but not everyone is talking about it openly." It's a frank assessment, albeit one that many of the politicos interviewed seem to reject, if only to keep up appearances.

The article suggest that people east of Silver Spring aren't opposed to the Purple Line because it won't run through residential neighborhoods there, which I didn't think was particularly fair. There are a number of homes and apartment buildings along Piney Branch Road in Takoma Park, along University Boulevard in Langley Park, and along East-West Highway in both Riverdale Park and New Carrollton that will have to put up with the line in addition to the noise, traffic and pollution they currently deal with along those roads. Whether people there are okay with the Purple Line or, perhaps, still haven't heard about it, there remains to be no organized opposition from those communities, which is worth noting.


Thomas Hardman said...

Montgomery County as a Turkey?

You betcha! and it's not done enough yet.

This, at least, according to the folks that seem to have the idea that it's not politicized enough unless it's all about race. It's not enough that it's about elitism and classism?

From the Post:

[...] Although it would carry passengers of all incomes, supporters say the Purple Line's greatest value would come from getting such low-income workers as nannies, dishwashers and janitors from their homes east of Silver Spring to jobs in more affluent communities to the west. [...]

So, the greatest value is that the rich folks in Chevy Chase and west of MD-355 get access to domestic servants?

Why not build a lot of "affordable housing" in places like Potomac and Bethesda, instead? You know, move the people permanently, instead of twice-a-day. But that would require the shiny white neighborhoods of the filthy rich to experience "browning", as Ms Ervin suggests, and of a type that doesn't go someplace else when Bethesda rolls up the sidewalks after the lawyers' and doctors' happy hour. But then if they lived in West MoCo, they couldn't vote for Ms Ervin, now could they. What's a politician to do, when tugged on the one hand by the needs of racial politics of divide-and-conquer, and the need to keep up the concentration of minorities in the home district so that appeals to ethnicity can ensure re-election?

But it's not necessary to build either the Purple Line, nor affordable housing in Bethesda, to assure the "browning" of Montgomery as if it were a well-basted turkey getting a few minutes extra time on the "broil" cycle.

Just bide your time, folks. I can see it plain as day here in Aspen Hill; people over 50 or so are almost certainly white, and people under 40 or so are almost certainly "brown". It's about the same over in Twinbrook and Gaithersburg and Rockville and it's just a matter of time before even Potomac is browned. And then who will need to ride the Purple Line, other than people from Bethesda who want a speedy trip to UM and don't want to hassle with the J-line bus?

retgroclk said...

Maybe the rich families could drive to Prince Georges County and East Silver Spring and drop their children in a new neighborhood, This would exposed them to a new culture.

And of course, the rich would be driving against traffic thus making the roads in the other direction less crowded.

Restaurants and businesses could build small apartment above their establishments and house their low-paying employees for the week.
On weekends they could reruit help from the local 7-11.

In this time of financial crisis, the Purple Line is a waste of money.

Thomas Hardman said...

Wow! This is certainly timely, and Synchronisity.

I am working my way through Steinbeck's the Grapes of Wrath.

Currently banned from all Montgomery County libraries -- very conveniently! -- because of a few ill-placed uses of the "N-word" in the first chapter, the CONVENIENTLY BANNED BOOK sheds incredible light on the wage and class struggles of modern Maryland, though the story is removed some 70 years and a continent away.

However, every last problem of the modern day sees its antecedents in this book. As they say, "who ignores their history is condemned to repeat it"; and history we are repeating is writ large in that book and in the modern day.

The simple fact is this: in the book nearly a million people are lured West during the hard times of the Depression from the lands afflicted by the Dust Bowl. There may be ten thousand jobs out there, all migratory and seasonal, but a million people who don't have any other choice are lured by handbills to relocate to the "land of milk and honey" which of course is mostly owned by a few rich elitist bastards and their lackaday lackeys and debt-riddled shopkeepers.

The system works itself to make the rich richer and the poor poorer, by flooding the market with starving homeless who are allowed to camp anywhere so long as it's where the work needs doing, but conveniently far from the abodes of the rich who decided that the best way to pay the least to their workers was to stack them up in piles, competing desperately for ever lower wages.

Retgroclkr, you betcha. Lower the wages enough, build some outhouses for the former sharecroppers to inhabit, and you've re-invented Serfdom. Back to the Feudal System, folks. Build some "granny flat" slave quarters in the back of the lot and put the nannies and the yard-workers there, call it "zoning code revision" and ban Steinbeck from the libraries so people won't notice it's all been done before.

Hats off to the MoCo Democrats. I haven't seen such corruption since the you couldn't elect a politician in the South without the endorsement of the KKK, and nobody in the USA has ever seen such censorship used to make fertile fields for exploitation.

Ban Steinbeck. Invite 500 times as many "Okies" as you need to do the work so that they'll compete to drive down wages, then offer "affordable housing" conveniently removed from the lairs of the filthy rich, and then go for the cheapest possible solution to get the "okies" from their slave labor camps to the shiny rich bastards' workplaces. And smile as you do it.

And to think I was about to register "Democrat".


And in unrelated news, um, Mr Leggett, how many foreigners have been murdered in MoCo by citizens this year, compared to how many citizens have been murdered by foreigners. Please reply in percentages. All others may do the research for themselves at

Mortis Olaf said...

I'm amazed you still live in Moco Hardman. Sounds like you really hate it.

Thomas Hardman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mortis Olaf said...

Living out in Salisbury, I find the problems back home were often positive. Public transportation was a big plus, and a downtown that actually has stuff to do is also nice. The DC area has a lot of traffic and "evil developers," but overall I like it a lot more than Salisbury. I still read the blogs as you can see. However, I enjoy Salisbury University, probably more than I would have enjoyed College Park. I'm sure they're both better than MC. I should have went straight to a real University.

I find it amusing that you have a problem with the County being segregated by income and race, but then you turn around and make fun of us Eastern shore folk (I guess 3 months here makes me one of them) for being a bunch of rednecks and white trash. Sounds like the county is doing a good job if that's how you feel about people not from/currently living in Moco.

Thomas Hardman said...


Dan Reed said...

Simmer down, kids. Don't make me turn this car around.

Thomas Hardman said...

Okay, I went totally over the top there. There are times when I thank $DEITY that I am not paparazzi-bait because now and then I think I'd give 'em a show.

Let's just say that back in 1990 or so I decided I had totally had it with the clear and obvious direction in which Washington DC was headed. I started raising hell about it, and by 1997 or so, enough people had joined my side so as to take control of the city and toss out Marion Barry and his pack of hand-picked cronies and scalawags. They had run the place into the ground. But you have to say about Marion Barry, for a few terms in office he actually did a lot of good, but outside forces meant that it was impossible for him to keep the city solvent. Go research the inevitability of that, gifted to the city by Congress's unfunded mandate of as pension plan for the city's police and firefighters. DC simply had to put all of their money there, and the numbers could not possibly be made to add up. Congress had imposed a structural deficit, an insurmountable one which could only be cured by Congress increasing funding levels. Eventually they did that, but by that time, Barry had become something that couldn't be left in office.

Now I am seeing MoCo headed down the same path, except all of the structural deficits are things that were imposed by the County Council. Basically, special interest groups appear to have dangled a lot of shiny toys in front of a lot of impressionable kids in order to get them to make their mark and sign over the deeds to the future, or something. Or, as Bush II said about our current economic problems, "Well, what happened is, Wall Street got drunk."

As the next two years unfold, the County is looking at about a 500-million deficit, and it's a structural deficit. Taxes are as high as they can be for the vast majority of people living here, and they can't possibly make up the shortfall on the backs of the rich.

I don't hate MoCo. I hate politicians that get themselves into genuinely ridiculous situations and then have the audacity to talk crazy talk that just doesn't make sense. They need a freakin' 12-step program that first and foremost makes them admit their problems and their inability to control their spending.

They've been spending like an alcoholic who has the rent money in their pocket and decides they're going to have just one drink. After they've had a couple, they start to thinking that "hey, I can have another one, I've still got money in my pocket". They may even make it home still with money in their pocket... but it's not enough to pay the rent and they might finish out the month headed into homelessness and starving on top of that.

That sort of stupidity is what, if anything, that I hate. What irks me the most is people who can pull off that sort of stupidity and still get elected, because they may not be sane as managers, but they're skilled at convincing the voters that they are sane and good managers.

We'll see in 2010 how the economy and MoCo's budget are shaping up, but I honestly doubt many of the Council will be returned to office; I expect other people will be erupting from the ranks of the Democrats in the county who are not the darlings of the local party machine, and I expect that people will vote out the incumbents because of what they see around them.

And I am staying right here so I can make that happen.