Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Marc Elrich: Representing DC & PG County on the Montgomery County Council

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know I rarely, if ever, write about politics, but this comment over at Silver Spring Scene by county councilman Marc Elrich really rubs me the wrong way. He may be the first politician in history to openly say they don’t want new jobs coming into their constituency. Apparently he believes that NPR moving from DC to Silver Spring could somehow “destabilize” the District, as if it were Fallujah or someplace. I’m not asking for a “Bridge to Nowhere”, but isn’t it a representative’s duty to attract businesses?

It seems Elrich’s position on “shifting” jobs within a region and not using financial incentives is strange for one who “supported the revitalization plan that was successfully implemented in the Silver Spring core”. Wasn’t luring Discovery from elsewhere in the same county by using tax breaks a big part of that effort? He believes that relocating companies “doesn’t necessary result in a corresponding change in residential location”. I can state with some confidence that in the case of Discovery a lot of people DID move to Silver Spring who used to live elsewhere and who would have not otherwise relocated to Silver Spring. OK, so maybe not everyone moves the same day as the company, but when they start to look for new houses or apartments, they strongly consider locations that are nearby their place of business.

Even if they don’t move, that influx of people every workday supports the addition of companies that services these businesses and their employees. I’m not sure where he expects jobs to magically come from if they don’t come by way of relocation from another place in the region. How often do businesses move to a completely new metropolitan area? Not frequently, because such a move usually isn’t very practical, especially for larger or well-established organizations. Start-up mom and pop businesses aren’t going to get together and decide to construct a 10-story office building. The thrift shops, hair salons and check-cashing stores in downtown Silver Spring aren’t going to make up a steady and significant tax base.

Ehrlich also states that “most people make a conscious decision not to live in NVA”. Really, then why has Northern Virginia been one of the fastest growing areas in the country? From 2000-2005, Loudoun County had the biggest population increase of any county in the US. It must because no one wants to live in Northern Virginia. And when it comes to jobs, counties like Fairfax are blowing MoCo away.

But you know what, it’s all okay because he supports the Birchmere, which will employ maybe a dozen workers who will take out the beer bottles and mop the floors (and bartenders who won’t report their tips). That increase in tax revenue alone will certainly fund all the social programs that Mr. Ehrlich supports. I guess we’re just going to see people continue to commute right through Silver Spring on their way to jobs in DC and NoVa. I used to do a “reverse commute” to Silver Spring on the Metro and quite frequently I was the only person on the train car because there were so few quality jobs in Silver Spring to go to.

This crap is almost enough to get me to start voting Republican.


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Maybe Marc Elrich can get a vote on the DC council and help them pass a commuter tax so that we finally have to pay our fair share when we have to drive to the District for work!

Sligo said...

Or we can pass a commuter tax for DC and Virginia residents who commute to MoCo... oh wait, all the jobs are IN DC & Virginia!

Anonymous said...

If Woodside is his main concern they could set up border checks. I know where they can get some really sharp uniforms that already have an SS on them.

WashingtonGardener said...

I hope Elrich really rethinks this - I have beighbors here in East SS who work for NPR - seems a natural move here to me.

Anonymous said...

If anyone is suprised to read the comments of Marc Elrich, they haven't been paying attention to MoCo politics for the past 10 years. This citizen believes that he can do Silver Spring redevelopment a lot of harm. We are barely halfway done in Silver Spring. Losing Duncan/Silverman and having Elrich/Tibbetts in seats of power is treading on very thin ice.