Monday, June 15, 2009

I have a job

Those four words are a miracle in and of themselves, especially in this economy. As of this writing I am the only person in my group of friends who has more than a part-time job.

A week ago, I accepted an offer from Councilmember George Leventhal, who's been reading this blog since nearly the beginning, to join his staff. I'll be doing the standard entry-level stuff, like answering the phone. But Leventhal has also asked me to advise him on land-use issues, taking something that I'm personally very passionate about - and have spent the past three years writing about here on Just Up The Pike. I couldn't be more excited, especially because I'll be working on stuff all over Montgomery County, not just the areas I'm familiar with.

It was a very difficult decision to make, largely because the hand I've been biting for the past three years will now be the hand that feeds me. Not only that, but this job will put me in a fairly public position in the County where jokes about Ronald Reagan and getting mooned probably won't be taken too well. They say you should never blog about work; I don't even start working for a month and it's already too late. The last thing I want to happen is to get fired for something I will write down the road because, I mean, I know my boss is reading it. On the other hand, I don't want You, The Readers - who made this blog worth doing to begin with - to think I'm some kind of puppet for the County. (Keep an eye out for copious amounts of disclaimers stating, in four languages, that I am NOT George Leventhal.)

Just Up The Pike is a project I've put three years of my life into. It's been a huge learning experience and a hell of a lot of fun getting to know my community and the awesome (sometimes awesomely frustrating) people in it. My challenge now is to see, given my new place in life, how far I can keep going with both this job and this blog in hand.


dave said...

Congrats Dan!
I've been reading this blog for years. I understand this new job might make it tricky to keep this blog in the same spirit as you have as a student - and that does seem like it could be a loss for me as a reader. But, on the other hand, I'll be happy to have you bending the ear of someone in power in the county. Just don't forget your roots on the East side. Best of luck!

Thomas Hardman said...

Congratulations, Dan!

I have to echo what Dave said; in some ways we'll have to doubt you could remain a dispassionate and/or unaligned commentator.

Though you have always had your heart out on your sleeve, as it were, as an ardent supporter of both the "New Urbanism" and variations thereon, as well as leaving unexpressed yet evident your desire for massive development, I never thought of you as ever speaking for anyone other than yourself.

We won't be able to even momentarily entertain any such notion anymore, no more than we could any longer entertain notions of a certain other blogger as being dispassionate, non-partisan, or possessed of the slightest shred of journalistic integrity.

Still, I can imagine that if Mr Leventhal gets any silly notions into his head, you may be able to convince him that there are better ways to do things, ways that will be more and better supported by the Urban Planning academic community, if less so by the Massive Development construction and finance community.

Best of luck, and may the inevitable corruption and compromise be long and slow in coming, and touch you not too deeply.

Hopefully someone else of comparable quality will arise to fill the gap, and act as essential gadfly to restrain excesses.


Cary Lamari said...

I think you will enjoy working for George; he’s a good man. I don't agree with his growth positions but his positions are similar to yours so I am sure you and he will work out fine. I support a lot of the other issues George supports, Montgomery Cares, Taking the buy-outs of the MPDU legislation and of course funding and making sure Mental Health doesn’t get shortchanged. I am sure you will be an asset to George so congratulations to the both of you are in order.
Good Luck Dan.

Thomas Hardman said...


With respect, I would love to hear from you about exactly what you think needs to be done to bring effective and non-invasive mental health-care to the many people who desperately need it.

Send me some mail, okay?

Again, Dan, congratulations. And Mr Leventhal probably deserves congratulations as well. I think he's gained an exceptional asset.

Brad Rourke said...

Dan, I am thrilled to hear about your new position. You deserve it and Councilmember Leventhal is getting a fine mind that i hope he taps into.

I am very, very hopeful you will have the energy to keep Just Up The Pike going. As you know, it is an inspiration for Rockville Central.

Way to go!

Susan said...

Congratulations, Dan! Great news for you and for MoCo too.

chippy said...

Congratulations Dan! You have now become "The Man"!

Chip Py

Kevin Gillogly said...


Some bloggers use their spare time to become parents and other bloggers use their spare time to even more involved in county affairs.

I am with you on that one. Parenthood can wait.

beyonddc said...


The most difficult thing for me as a simultanerous planning blogger and planning employee has been waiting for others to break stories that I know about, but on which I have to keep quiet.