Wednesday, June 26, 2019
Former Rockville mayor calls out Montgomery County cartel
A day after the County's elected officials held another clueless meeting on the stagnant County economy, repeating the same mantras and problems without endorsing actual solutions we know will solve them, it's worth examining what Doug Duncan recently said regarding the cartel. One of the key reasons we are struggling to attract jobs and economic growth is that cartel-controlled officials are anti-highway and anti-car. That is because the most dominant players in the cartel are developers who specialize in developments that require traffic congestion to remain high, in order to justify their density. So it's not surprising that the County Council's predictable opposition to Gov. Larry Hogan's Express Lanes plan for the Beltway and I-270 frustrated a common-sense leader like Duncan.
"You don't often see a governor saying, 'I want to put billions of dollars into your infrastructure,'" Duncan told the Post. "For Montgomery County to say no right off the bat without saying let's look at this is the result of who's controlling the Democratic Party now."
Those elected officials have not only blocked and canceled critical highway projects, but have also pursued the anti-business course that their developer sugar daddies in the cartel have demanded behind closed doors. Developers want the valuable land in Rock Spring and along I-270 where existing office parks could be used to lure defense, aerospace and tech firms that need large, secure campuses. They want those office zones to remain vacant and struggling, so that they can acquire the land and redevelop it as residential. This is why you see the Council continuing to refuse to take the steps needed to turn the economy around, and to block economic growth.
Duncan addressed that, too, in his remarks to the Post. He told the newspaper "the County's Democratic leadership of 'no-growthers' is out of step with residents."
This is a breakthrough in the public debate. Duncan is as liberal a Democrat as they come, but he's also remembered for being pro-business while in office until he ran for governor in 2006. Duncan lost his bid to return as County Executive in 2014, when the cartel threw its weight behind incumbent Ike Leggett. He may now wish he had run in 2018, when pro-business candidate David Blair lost to Marc Elrich by a literal whisker in the Democratic primary. If the County remains on this road to bankruptcy, we likely haven't heard the last of Duncan and Blair in the political arena.
To be first to acknowledge the local Democratic Party and our elected offices have indeed been hijacked by a cartel, cabal or whatever you want to call it, is indeed a shot across the bow by Duncan. These words need to be heard and taken seriously, if we are to resolve this fiscal crisis, and become the major economic development player we once were in the region.