Friday, July 22, 2011

Governor on Marriage Equality

An outstanding and eloquent statement:


Governor to Sponsor Marriage Equality Legislation

Great news from Annapolis today. The Baltimore Sun reports:

Standing with House and Senate supporters, Gov. Martin O'Malley announced this afternoon that he will lead the charge for gay marriage in Maryland and put his name on a bill that allows same-sex couples to wed.

"Marylanders of all walks of life want their children to live in a loving, stable, committed home protected under the law," O'Malley said. He said it would be one of "a small handful" of legislative priorities.

. . .

O'Malley tasked his top lobbyist, Joseph C. Bryce, with spearheading the effort to move the bill in 2012. Bryce, a well respected Annapolis aide, will coordinate the new Marylanders for Marriage Equality coalition and develop a strategy to garner additional votes.
This is very good news on a number of fronts:

The Governor taking a leadership role and making this one of his priorities should be a major boost to passing the bill. As I think everyone learned from the slots battle, Gov. O'Malley can be extremely effective at getting his priorities through the General Assembly. His leadership and the very fact of it will carry real weight in the House and the Senate.

Joe Bryce is one of the most experienced people in Annapolis. Having him designated by the governor to coordinate the coalition is an enormous boost for the effort to pass marriage equality. I also view it as a real sign of the Governor's genuine commitment.

In short, today was a very big day for supporters of equality in Maryland. Thanks, Governor.


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Fiends of Chevy Chase Lake II

The Chevy Chase Land Company's efforts to create an ersatz "community" group to present support for its plans that find little favor in the actual community--see the articles in the Gazette and Patch--has been a terrific flop.

"Friends of Chevy Chase Lake" described itself as a "community organization formed and run by residents of Chevy Chase Lake." Except the manner of its debut (not to mention a more recent letter from Land Company President David Smith) destroyed this claim. This new group announced its existence on materials handed out by representatives of the Chevy Chase Land Company at the meeting organized by the Land Company--not the Planning Board Staff--to present its own plans as shown in this photo of the handout:

At the Land Company's meeting, one of the very first people that Land Company President David Smith just happened to call on in the 30 minutes of the two hours allotted to questions was the young leader of this "group" who also coincidentally just happens to live nearby to David Smith. Smith overlooked residents from a neighborhood adjoining his proposed project sitting right in front of him until the end of the meeting when they demanded to be heard.

"Friends of Chevy Chase Lake" has received only desultory support in the community. The following is a screenshot of its Facebook page from the day after the Land Company's meeting:

They haven't gained much traction since--just 6 people "Like" Friends of Chevy Chase Lake as of May 13th.

And 9 as of July 19th:

The few supporters of the group do not appear to live at Chevy Chase Lake. Among the three identifiable people who have posted on the Wall of this Facebook group are (1) a builder who lives in Washington, D.C., (2) a resident of Rockville, and (3) an architect who lives in Silver Spring.

Copies of the Land Company's plans appeared very quickly on the site of this "independent" group. The info page of this Facebook group doesn't contain any information at all about the group.

And the advertised web page doesn't exist:

It will be amusing to see if they try to generate new support for this group or the plans in the wake of this post. See Part I for how the CCLC is trying to revive this failed effort.


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Fiends of Chevy Chase Lake I

The Chevy Chase Land Company appears to be attempting to revive its failed attempt (see tomorrow's post) to create a community group in an effort to attack the Planning Staff's proposal for transit-oriented development at Chevy Chase Lake. The group is to be called "Fiends of Chevy Chase Lake" as explained in the letter from Land Company President David Smith reproduced after the jump.

The Land Company's proposal for a series of five community meetings to produce a "consensus plan that seeks a middle ground between the current Chevy Chase Land Company plan and the MNCPPC staff plan" strikes me as odd for several reasons:

(1) Meetings are open only to select parties

The Chevy Chase Land Company made no effort to contact the Connecticut Avenue Corridor Committee, an existing organization with over twenty participating communities. They appear to have reached out only to select people and communities.

(2) Community consultation has already occurred

The Planning Board Staff held several meetings open to all to seek input before crafting the Staff Plan for Chevy Chase Lake. A wide range of people participated, including representatives from the Chevy Chase Land Company.

(3) Contrasting missions of CCLC and MNCPPC

While the Planning Staff at MNCPPC is charged with coming up with the best possible way to fulfill the vision embodied in the Master Plan, the Land Company's main responsibility is fiduciary--to seek the highest and best use of its land. The Planning Board Staff is presenting a vision for the future and has worked hard to figure out the tricky job how to integrate the Purple Line and substantial new development into an already well-established community.

At a public meeting to unveil the Staff's plan, several residents expressed the view that substantially less should be allowed than proposed by the Planning Board Staff, so the meeting in the middle may well have already occurred. Smart growth proponent and Montgomery Planning Director Rollin Stanley presented and defended the outlines of the Staff's basic plan to the community.

(4) High summer meetings

Late July and August are a heck of a time to organize community meetings if one desires community input.


Friday, July 08, 2011

Kumar for Komptroller?

The open governor's race in 2014 is causing the dominoes to start to fall. House Majority Leader Kumar Barve is considering taking the plunge for statewide office and running for comptroller if incumbent Peter Franchot runs for governor.