Using ICC To Avoid Beltway Widening; Restaurant Outdoor Smoking Bans; Economic Development Efforts Under Fire

Using ICC To Avoid Beltway Widening; Restaurant Outdoor Smoking Bans; Economic Development Efforts Under Fire

A sampling of reader feedback on Bethesda Beat stories

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A weekly taste of reader comments culled from trending Bethesda Beat stories.


Elrich, Once Opposed to ICC, Now Embraces It as Option to Beltway Widening

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich, who as a County Council member opposed construction of the Intercounty Connector, has now come to embrace the highway as an alternative to building toll lanes on the Capital Beltway. Elrich says =Beltway toll lanes would not be needed if westbound drivers from Prince George’s County were to detour by using Interstate 95 north to access the westbound ICC and then connect with Interstate 270 south toward Virginia.


  • Does anyone think that I-270 will be able to handle the extra traffic? It will reduce the traffic on I-495 between I-95 and the 270 merge but increase the traffic on the lower part of I-270 and I-495 to the bridge.
  • Elrich is out of touch with reality and has the ear of the farthest to the left group possible. He is against this because of global warming. He was against the ICC. I don’t understand how Montgomery County actually elected this guy. I saw the writing on the wall and moved my family out of Montgomery County and into Howard County. It was the best decision I ever made.
  • Is this a joke? So Elrich’s solution to congestion is “Use a different, existing road”? The ICC was opened 8 years ago, and it takes Elrich that long to come up with this ingenious solution? Guess what, people are doing that already. I do this all the time when coming from Baltimore to Bethesda and 495 is backed up. It’s a longer trip, but less congestion. But that doesn’t work for everyone, and it doesn’t improve capacity on other parts of the route. Elrich seemed to have a decently competent set of advisors when he started his administration. Is this the best they can come up with? He’s more incompetent than I thought.
  • Marc is a kind-hearted man with good intentions, as County Executive however, he is way, way in over his head.


MCPS Cites ‘Clear Missteps’ After Calling Police on Black Child with Play Money

A Chevy Chase mother is adding to community concerns about racial profiling in the Montgomery school system and police department after police and the Secret Service were called after her 10-year-old son was showing toy money on a school bus. The 10-year-old, who has an undisclosed disability and an individualized education plan, attempted to share the fake money – with bright pink symbols and dotted lines to distinguish it as play money – by passing it out to his classmates on the school bus last month. Later in the day, one of the bills was found at a school bus depot and after reviewing images captured by cameras on board the bus, “someone made the decision to call the police,” according to an online petition denouncing the decision.


  • It’s frightening that this overreaction happened. It’s encouraging to note that MCPS admitted it. But, really, I’d like to see policy that says if police are called, the parents are notified.
  • I’m just a little puzzled as to how “money” with bright pink symbols and dotted lines to easily distinguish it as toy money could possibly be considered counterfeit…he wasn’t trying to purchase anything with it…and the police and secret service were contacted??? Is this for real???
  • The same school system that called the police right away for this waited more than 12 hours to report a sexual assault.
  • The mom said it correctly, “the county’s work around racial equity seems to be “just lip service.” Welcome to Montgomery county. All they want to do is diagnose our kids. I’ll save my curse words


Outdoor Restaurant Smoking Ban Begins Thursday

Starting Thursday, restaurants and bars in Montgomery County could face a $50 fine if they allow  smoking in some outdoor dining areas. The Council Council passed the outdoor smoking ban in March, winning praise from health advocates, but drawing opposition from some businesses. The new law expands a 2003 law that prohibits smoking inside businesses in the county.


  • So one busybody hates the thought of someone having fun somewhere of which he disapproves, so he gets not-so-bright politicians to ban something that is only occurring in 5 out of 100 bars in the county?! And now some government bureaucrat will waste time visiting bars on the taxpayer dime to catch the 5 evildoers letting a customer have a smoke? I’m anti-smoking, but I’m anti-busybody nebishes even more. No wonder Montgomery County is slipping in income ranking and K-12 performance nationally. These politicians hate everyone other than homebuilders.
  • I can’t wait to hear these same people whine and complain about smokers who are on the sidewalk because they forced them to be there.
  • If you want to smoke — go ahead, but DO NOT IMPOSE YOUR CARCINOGENS ON ME! You want to stink like an ashtray — go ahead, but don’t expect me to put up with your stink. These outdoor patios do NOT contain their smoke to their property and I not only avoid them, I avoid their neighbors.
  • I’m in favor of any ban on smoking in public spaces, but at least people can walk away from someone if they are sitting at a table. What irks me is when I’m walking down a street and the person in front of me is smoking. The smoker blows the smoke away from themselves and the person behind the smoker walks right into a cloud of smoke. That is repulsive!


Executives Knock County’s Economic Development Approach

A group of about 20 business owners delivered a message to Montgomery County’s chief economic development agency during a meeting Wednesday morning: the county must rebrand itself as a destination for tech companies rather than government employees and contractors. The meeting was the first of several planned discussions between the Planning, Housing and Economic Development Committee of the County Council and the Montgomery County Economic Development Corp., which was formed in 2015 as a public-private partnership in place of the county’s Department of Economic Development.


  • I think Prince George County is doing better than MoCo. PG Co has plenty of destinations. National Harbor, MGM Resort Casino, National Harbor Outlets, Six Flags, FedEx Field. I recently went to Clarksburg Outlets & Montgomery Mall. I noticed plenty of vacant stores. Not many people as well. MoCo barely has any good destinations. The National Harbor is booming with new construction/residential/commercial buildings.
  • Electing Marx Elrich was the final nail in the coffin of Montgomery County as an economic development hub. His supporters don’t want that, and they are the most energized in the Democratic primary.
  • I agree that the County has been doing a lot of listening and the County Exec is moving to improve the conditions which the County controls. But what I am concerned about is that MoCo’s businesses are not taking the initiatives within their realm of responsibilities. They are expecting the County to do it all for their businesses. The business community wanted to control economic development in the County so MCEDC was formed. Are they happy working within that group?
  • Stop subsidizing some businesses and ignoring others (such as city of Rockville keeping Dawson’s grocer afloat with a COUNTY backed loan!). Create a level, predictable tax and regulatory environment. Stop incurring massive debt and using accounting gimmicks to say your budgets are “balanced”. Stop short changing the county retiree pension funds. Fully fund these pensions to the actuarial amount so as to prevent crushing future debt on future taxpayers. Stop spending like crack addicts, doubling the general budget while population growth slows. Stop acting like a middle man in adult beverage markets. Privatize the MoCo department of liquor. Full stop. Allow bars and distilleries and breweries the ability to grow, start up, and thrive. To do these things: stop electing democrat machine politicians totally owned and operated by special interests.


Full text and additional comments accompany the individual online stories and updates.

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