Wednesday, January 22, 2020
Montgomery County fumbles Eli Lilly factory to North Carolina
"We continue to grow North Carolina into a worldwide hub for the biotechnology industry," a jubilant North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) said in a statement Tuesday.
Biotech and hospitality are the only two economic sectors in Montgomery County that even have a pulse these days, thanks to decisions made by wiser County leaders prior to the Montgomery County political cartel's seizure of the County Council in 2002 (today, the cartel controls all nine Council seats). But just days after the Washington Post reported once again that Montgomery County has fallen behind Prince George's County in job creation (while failing to report MoCo was also behind every other county in the region over the last decade in that department), Montgomery County's elected officials weren't able to score the biggest biotech get of the year so far - the Eli Lilly factory.
Not only did the County Council and economic development officials make no public campaign to attract Lilly, but their fumble also emphasizes how our inept leaders are squandering the biotech advantages their smarter, less corrupt predecessors left them at the turn of the century. North Carolina is catching up, as is Virginia. As MoCo officials continue to drop balls left and right, those and other states will soon surpass us.
North Carolina Commerce Secretary Tony Copeland correctly noted Tuesday that, "North Carolina is one of the nation’s leading centers for innovation in the life sciences." They also have two other things we don't: A friendly business climate, and superior infrastructure.
The Tar Heel state has the Research Triangle Park. Montgomery County was supposed to have a "Science City" in the I-270 corridor. Remember that?
Montgomery County elected officials couldn't even get that done. Of course, they never intended to. "Science City" was a total ruse perpetrated by the Council, and their developer sugar daddies, a decade ago. Sold to you as something like North Carolina's biotech park, that fakeout was merely a Trojan horse for more residential development.
Remember how Clarksburg, Germantown and Shady Grove were going to be booming job centers, with a Corridor Cities Transitway and expanded MARC service? None of that ever happened.
But - the housing all got built.
Jobs continued to divert to Northern Virginia, and I-270 just got more congested with all of the new housing approved by the Council without any new transportation infrastructure to support it. Heckuva job, Brownie!
Now, standing amidst the ashes of a "Science City" ghost town surrounded by stack-and-pack Soviet-style apartment blocs, the Council is saying the whole problem is...there wasn't enough housing built. LOL. [Insert cuckoo clock sound here].
You can't make this stuff up, folks.
What did we lose this week as a result?
462 new pharmaceutical manufacturing jobs, with an average salary above $72,000. 462 jobs are just a drop in the bucket given how stagnant and shrinking Montgomery County's economy is, but we're not in a position to pass any up in such a crisis. We should be, but are not, actively pursuing aerospace, biotech, and defense corporate headquarters, and their related research and manufacturing facilities.
North Carolina's Research Triangle Park's motto is, "Inspiring Bold Ideas."
The Montgomery County Council's is, "Lining our pockets with developer cash."
Our County's should be, "The Bedroom Community for the Booming Job Centers Elsewhere in Our Region."