|How the storefront looked last week|
before the windows were covered
Monday, November 11, 2019
Friday, November 8, 2019
states an online auction listing. The photographs appear to match Golden Samovar at Rockville Town Square. According to the listing, the auction will take place online on November 13, and items will be removed the next day.
Among the 183 items listed are bar equipment, four microwaves, the cash register, the "Open" sign, chandeliers, the chairs, the tables, the booths, sinks, stoves, refrigerators, and even a butane torch and the swinging door to the kitchen.
Thursday, November 7, 2019
Only the Council itself appeared eager to brag about its vote in a press release yesterday. But braggadocio doesn't substitute for mathematics aptitude nor budgeting skill, as the Council's annual structural budget deficit proves. The Council just put you, the taxpayer, on the hook for a massive spending increase - in education, social services, police and fire, health care, and developer tax giveaways - even as they (presumably?) know there's no way in hell future councils will be able to pay for it.
What does approving the developer-backed Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments' "regional housing targets" actually mean? It obligates Montgomery County to build 23000+ new housing units for low and middle-income residents by 2030, in addition to those already planned. The County Council couldn't even be honest about that in the press release, which falsely claimed the number as 10,000 additional low-income units.
MWCOG itself predicts that 75% of the new residents coming to Montgomery County by 2030 will be low or mid-income residents. That not only means they will contribute little in tax revenue to the county, but that spending will have to skyrocket to provide the services and infrastructure such a population surge would require.
This would be difficult enough of a fiscal equation to square - massive new spending, with only 25% of the new residents able to shoulder the huge costs. But then you look at the bigger picture, and the alarm bells really start going off.
Montgomery County's moribund economy, job creation, business starts, and business growth are all rock-bottom in the regional rankings this decade. Despite record-high tax rates and tax hikes, revenue is actually declining, even as the County Council continues to spend more. Many of the ultra-wealthy have fled Montgomery County to lower-tax jurisdictions in our region, taking huge chunks of revenue that used to balance the County budget with them. Greater spending, fewer revenue-generating residents...it simply doesn't add up, no matter what brand of calculator you use.
Debt is skyrocketing. If the County's current debt was a department, it would be the third-largest department in the County budget. The last thing a sane elected official would do in that situation is agree to a massive spending increase.
Kirwan is proposing astronomical amounts of new education spending, with no appreciable change in the actual curriculum or methods. Spending on education has already been jacked up year after year by the Council, to no avail. Test scores and graduation rates continue to decline, while the achievement gap remains the same or worsens.
Taken together, the housing targets adoption and the Council's rabid desire to adopt the Kirwan recommendations on the backs of the taxpayers, have placed Montgomery County on an accelerated course to fiscal oblivion. We can't go on like this.
Wednesday, November 6, 2019
Rockville Forward slate
takes voting majority
Unofficial Rockville election results for Mayor and five City Council seats were released by the City of Rockville at 1:29 AM this morning. The numbers currently show incumbent Mayor Bridget Donnell Newton being reelected, and the Rockville Forward slate taking a voting majority on the City Council. Unofficial winners for City Council are Monique Ashton, incumbent Beryl Feinberg, David Myles, and incumbent Mark Pierzchala.
Ashton and Feinberg ran on the Rockville Forward slate with Newton. With the Mayor having equal voting power to a Councilmember, that would give Rockville Forward a 3-vote majority, and control of the direction of the city for the next four years. Myles and Pierzchala ran on the Team Rockville slate.
This was the first vote-by-mail election in Rockville, and the City announced heavy turnout at the end of the voting day Tuesday, as well as a largely-expected increase in voter participation. 12, 213 ballots were cast by mail or at City Hall. The City cited the increased number of ballots as the reason for the delay in election results Tuesday evening.
The new voter universe appears to have broken the voters' seeming preference for divided government over the last decade. In recent past elections, voters wanted Newton as Mayor, but gave Team Rockville a 3-vote majority. Newton has sought to manage the city's growth, while Team Rockville favored a more-agressive urban density. This year, voters seem to be comfortable with the direction Newton has charted, and have rewarded her with a Council majority.
Having said that, slates don't always work out the way they are expected to. Team Rockville City Councilmember Virginia Onley, who ran for mayor against Newton Tuesday, broke with her slate to side with Newton and Feinberg on some votes. Seeing how each member votes on particular issues in the coming term will be interesting to watch, especially newcomers Ashton and Myles.
The election results will be certified on Tuesday, November 12.