Monday, June 26, 2017

Persiano Furniture Outlet opens on Rockville Pike (Photos)

Persiano Furniture Outlet has just opened at 1598-A Rockville Pike. It is in the former Watercrafters Pools & Spas building, near the new Salvation Army Store and AT&T. I like how they've converted the showroom to look very much like a living room. Persiano is a Montgomery County-based retailer, and has been in business since 2000.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Honeygrow, Pieology to open in Rockville

Pieology, which just opened at Bethesda Row, is already planning another nearby location at Montrose Crossing on Rockville Pike. The pizzeria will be neighbors with the already-announced Five Guys and Allure in a new retail building at the shopping center, now under construction where Timpano Italian Chophouse once stood in the parking lot.

Just since my report on Five Guys yesterday morning, Pieology and two other tenants were made official by property owner Federal Realty: Cava Grill, and Honeygrow.

Cava Grill is the increasingly-ubiquitous, locally-owned Mediterranean alternative to Chipotle. Honeygrow is a Philadelphia-based fast casual chain serving stir-fry, salads, "honeybars," and cold-pressed juice.

In total, the new retail structure sounds like it will join parking lot neighbor Chick-fil-A as a lunch hub for nearby residents and office workers.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Has Rockville reached peak Five Guys? Burger giant to be first tenant at new Montrose Crossing addition

Federal Realty has its first tenant for the new, 18000 SF retail structure it is building in the front parking lot of the Montrose Crossing shopping center at 12055 Rockville Pike. And it's a familiar one.

Five Guys has leased one of the units; the burgeoning burgers-and-fries chain already has a location across the street from Montrose Crossing, suggesting that could change in the future. Federal Realty has Five Guys in their Rockville Town Square and Bethesda Row developments, as well.
Rendering of the new retail building
under construction on the former site
of Timpano Italian Chophouse

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Rockville Mayor & Council back Paris climate accord

Rockville's Mayor and Council unanimously approved a resolution Monday night supporting the Paris climate accord. President Trump recently announced his intention to withdraw the United States from the accord, citing its economic impact on American businesses and jobs.

The Montgomery County Council recently adopted a similar resolution, as did Washington, D.C.

It's unclear what impact such votes have beyond the political. They do not put us back into the Paris deal, and Gov. Larry Hogan's environmental policies are already far more stringent on Maryland than the Paris accord would have been.

At least Rockville has not made the absurd claim the Montgomery County Council recently did - that they could negate the environmental impact of the Paris withdrawal in the air over Montgomery County. You can't make this stuff up, folks.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Rockville becomes a sanctuary city

Rockville did last night what the Montgomery County Council and Maryland legislature didn't have the guts to do earlier this year - declare itself a sanctuary city for illegal immigrants. Thumbing their noses at the U.S. Justice Department, and potentially losing millions of dollars in future federal funds, three City Council members voted to pass the Orwellian-sounding "Fostering Community Trust" ordinance. Dissenting were Mayor Bridget Donnell Newton and Councilmember Beryl Feinberg.

The ordinance will codify the informal sanctuary policy the City Police department currently operates under. It passes after the toxic Rockville High School rape case, the theft of a Rockville police officer's assault rifle by an illegal immigrant, and the alleged murderer of a Muslim teenager in Sterling was just revealed to be an illegal immigrant from El Salvador.

During discussion of the ordinance after two hours of public testimony, Feinberg made an alternative motion to direct the City Manager and Police Chief to devise a written policy on how they would deal with immigration status, within 30 days. Councilmember Virginia Onley opposed the motion, but seconded it for the sake of discussion. Councilmember Mark Pierzchala declared Feinberg's proposal as being too late.

Feinberg countered that "we never had a robust discussion," requiring her to make a last-minute proposal to "force the discussion." She said a written policy would be more "nimble" than a formal ordinance, which could not be suspended during an emergency by the City Manager. Feinberg also termed the ordinance, which would forbid any City employee from inquiring about a person's citizenship status, "unenforceable."

Speakers backing sanctuary status for Rockville hurled invective at opponents throughout the Community Forum segment of the meeting: "racist, xenophobia, hate, anti-immigrant (as opposed to anti-illegal immigrant), genocide, hate-filled time." But Feinberg and Newton questioned that holier-than-thou attitude. "Both sides have been fearmongering," Feinberg said. Newton decried the "venom spread by both sides" in the months-long debate.

Newton said she was "disappointed" that the same councilmembers who only recently released the text of the ordinance would now block another member from proposing a last-minute alternative. She called the ordinance "a solution in search of a problem," noting that Rockville has had no issues with its current police policy. Newton suggested such policy is better written by police, than by politicians with political motives.

"That was just a staggering speech," Pierzchala said. "Thank you," replied Newton sarcastically. "And not in the good sense," Pierzchala clarified.

"This is how this body has been functioning for more than a year now," Feinberg said. "Things will be just shoved in front of us." She bemoaned the "collegiality" among her colleagues. Onley expressed agreement with Feinberg's assessment, even though she did not support Feinberg's proposal. Onley said, "we need work sessions, not surprise attacks and last-minute motions."

When the Mayor called the vote, the Team Rockville slate of Pierzchala, Onley and the sponsor of the ordinance, Julie Palakovich Carr, voted in favor, and Newton and Feinberg voted against it.

There were some intriguing aspects to the discussion prior to the vote.

Proponents of sanctuary status, caught off-guard by the strong opposition by legal Asian immigrants at a March public hearing on the proposal, had claimed many of those speakers were not Rockville residents. But last night, they bused in sanctuary advocates from Bethesda, Silver Spring, Takoma Park, Gaithersburg and Washington, D.C. to testify in favor of the ordinance, doing exactly what they had accused opponents of three months ago.

Second, during the Mayor and Council discussion, Palakovich Carr stated that cities that don't enforce federal immigration law have lower crime rates. That is simply not true. In Frederick, which does enforce federal immigration law, you have a 1 in 196 chance of being the victim of a violent crime such as murder, rape, armed robbery, or assault. In Baltimore, a sanctuary city, your chance of being a victim shoots up to 1 in 65. In Chicago, where Mayor Rahm Emanuel has presided over a sanctuary city and record numbers of homicides, it is 1 in 110. In sanctuary San Francisco, it is 1 in 127.

Frederick is clearly safer. In Manassas, after Prince William County Chairman Corey Stewart's policy to enforce federal immigration law passed ten years ago, today your chance of being a victim of a violent crime is a staggeringly low 1 in 454. Aggravated assaults in Prince William County have dropped by 27% since then, and not a single racial profiling complaint has been filed with the County police. Police there can only inquire about citizenship status after arresting a suspect and taking him or her to the County jail.

As speaker Liz Matory noted in her testimony during the Community Forum, the research done for the Mayor and Council by staff regarding the proposed ordinance did not take into consideration the policy of Frederick County.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Honeyfish Poke opens in Rockville (Photos)

Honeyfish Poke has opened at Congressional Plaza at 1615 Rockville Pike. The fast casual restaurant serves fresh, raw fish and tofu in a build-your-own-bowl format. This is their first location that isn't in California.

Doña Cecy's Pupuseria opening in Rockville (Photo)

There's a new entry in the pupusa wars in Montgomery County. Doña Cecy's is coming to the Twinbrook Shopping Center at 2002 Veirs Mill Road in Rockville. This, to my knowledge, is the first location for this brand, but they've already got a nifty logo on the sign featuring Doña Cecy herself.