Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Heard a Good Rumor?

There are MANY rumors floating around in the County Council races right now. Let’s be irresponsible and review a couple of them, shall we?

1. The Rockville consensus is that Craig Rice should and will win the Council District 2 seat. No one believes Sharon Dooley has a shot, and no one in either the council building or the Executive Branch wants to see combative former Planning Board Chair Royce Hanson get in. As a result, lots of people are wooing Rice and hoping to earn his vote later. Ike Leggett, for example, gave Rice $3,000.

2. The at-large incumbents loathe Hans Riemer and are picking up their whisper campaign against him. More than one person who has publicly supported him has told your author that they have been pressured by one or more incumbents to retract that support. There has been an intense effort to discredit Riemer and plant derogatory allegations about him in the media. One such allegation is that he has never worked for AARP. Your author knows that is a lie because Riemer would answer the phone at AARP when called there by yours truly.

3. A civic activist who despises Council President Nancy Floreen has started an illegal, anonymous anti-Floreen website and has begun erecting illegally-placed road signs calling for her defeat. The activist is known to be a supporter of Council Member Marc Elrich. Elrich denies responsibility for fomenting the anti-Floreen effort, but his pleas are not entirely believed. Rumors are spreading that the activist is planning an attack mailer against Floreen. This is beginning to stress the incumbents’ four-way mutual non-aggression pact.

4. Council Member George Leventhal has taken an increasingly hard line against challenger Becky Wagner in the at-large candidate forums. Leventhal is suspected by many of tacitly supporting Wagner a year ago, a charge he denies, and some are now accusing him of throwing Wagner under the bus as part of the incumbents’ deal.

5. Council Member Duchy Trachtenberg is so upset about the growing circulation of stories about her mishandling money while she was Treasurer of Maryland NOW that she is vowing to locate their source. Perhaps she should blame the Gazette, which originally reported on the issue. Our informants are wondering whether distraction over this matter explains why Trachtenberg, who is sitting on over $200,000 in the bank, has apparently not yet sent out mail.

6. More than one council incumbent has recently butted heads with Council Vice-President Valerie Ervin, who will likely become President this December. That is EXTREMELY unwise as Ervin will be determining committee assignments, including chairmanships. Ervin is a tough cookie who will not tolerate mischief and will break heads if she has to.

7. We’ll finish with something positive. Yes, we know such things bore you, but you received plenty of dirt above, so deal with it. The County Council and the county’s statehouse delegation are often criticized for not talking to each other, but that could change for the better. One example is that Council Member Roger Berliner, who has significant expertise on energy policy, and Delegate Brian Feldman (D-15), who sits on the House committee that oversees electric utilities, are collaborating on legislation to establish performance standards for Pepco. We don’t care what they come up with, but the very fact that they are working together may be a sign of good things to come.