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Hillmead Postscript: Weren't We Sly?

In the big battle over whether to house a homeless family in a five-bedroom home that Montgomery County bought to enlarge a park in the Hillmead section of Bethesda, some residents, relaxed in the afterglow of victory, are revealing a different set of motives than they admitted to in the heat of the debate.

In message traffic on the neighborhood listserve (subscription only), residents of the affluent area are talking about whether their successful fight to stop the county from using the old Piotrow residence to house a large homeless family was really about "saving the park," as signs dotted around Hillmead contended, or rather--exactly as proponents of the county's proposal suspected-- just a way "to keep the Piotrow property from becoming low-income housing," as one resident now puts it.

"If the situation with the park had been reversed, such that the county bought land for a
shelter and then wanted to make it a park, would you have objected based on process?" that resident wrote to his neighbors. "My answer is no, which is how I know I was a basically a NIMBY on the park issue. Acknowledging our true motivations is important because if we become too vested in the rhetoric that the park issue was about process, we might be too theoretical and unfocused in the next fight."

He goes on to concede that the residents' "Save Our Park" slogan was "disingenuous" because it was only the windfall addition to the park that was ever in doubt, not Hillmead's existing park. "Appealing to 'save' parkland that didn't yet exist was brilliant," according to this post-conflict analysis.

The analyst also concluded that my Sunday column on the Hillmead dispute backfired, creating a backlash against using the house for a public purpose because I quoted from an outrageous email that a Rockville man sent to county council members complaining that the house might be used to the benefit of a "welfare brood sow and her 13 kids."

In all, this resident writes, "we anti-shelter types were a little disingenuous, quite sly, and very
fortunate. These are good lessons to remember, lest we get cocky or sloppy the next time
the neighborhood needs to mobilize."

This all goes to reiterate one of the cardinal rules about neighborhood disputes: Whenever one side claims its main concern is "the process," you know that side has some darker purpose, some agenda it dare not voice publicly for fear of revealing that baser instinct.

As County Council member George Leventhal wrote in a reply to a resident who took him to task for turning the Hillmead issue into a "moral crusade," "Could the process have been improved? Sure; what process couldn't? But we must not establish a process that gives neighbors veto power over who gets to move into the neighborhood. That would be blatantly discriminatory and would violate the principle of open housing.... The neighborhood's selfish behavior has now been rewarded and the home will be demolished."

By Marc Fisher |  June 13, 2008; 7:48 AM ET
Previous: Liberty Takes A Holiday In Occupied Trinidad | Next: What Makes A Catholic School Catholic?

Comments

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County Council member George Leventhal needs to be defeated next term and kicked out of MoCo. This guy isn't qualified to be dog catcher.

Posted by: Playa | June 13, 2008 9:11 AM

The neighbors have now admitted to violating the federal Fair Housing Act!

This is criminal!

Where is George? Oh, yeah, with his precious Homeland Security.

Once again, the neighbors are in VIOLATION of federal law. Plus, they are anal orifices.

Posted by: Woof! | June 13, 2008 9:13 AM

Marc, are you quoting private emails without permission of the writers? I know for a fact that quoting private listservs is considered unethical at some newspapers because I have friends at those newspapers. Are you saying that you found nothing ethically troubling about your writing on Hillmead? I sent this article to the two people who I had discussions about private listservs and with any luck you'll see your ethical lapse discussed on Romenesko's. You get paid to do a job, you're not some backfence gossiper, take pride in journalism for once!

Posted by: DCer | June 13, 2008 9:26 AM

Quoting private listservs is fundamentally ethical. If you don't want your words repeated, don't voice them in any way.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 13, 2008 9:32 AM

Leventhal is insane, that's all there is to it. He has no logical link between fair housing and spending taxpayer money on a veritable mansion. Quite simple, the neighbors have every right to decide where public housing goes because that's the definition of PUBLIC housing. Housing is zoned through an democratic process involving elected officials. Through that process the neighbors absolutely get a say. What's next, because of fair housing, the count council should not be an elected body because that would give neighbors a voice in where public housing is built? Leventhal is confusing public and private housing and is envisioning himself as a king who doesn't have to answer to his constituents. He's so far right wing he thinks he's left wing.

I would gladly have paid the family who "got" that house $3000 per month to rent it from them and, based on friends who have successfully done that with rent controlled apartments in NYC, I would have succeeded. Then the family would be dealing with housing issues and I would be written up in the Post as tricking the system.

But in fact, that's not tricking the system, that's how every single instance of public housing works at all times. The system has zero effective historic examples. There is, quite literally, not one single example of publicly-set up affordable housing that did not fall victim to scammers, graft, and "friends who are just staying for a little while." Zero examples of successful public housing in American history. It's true.

Posted by: DCer | June 13, 2008 9:33 AM

Quoting private listservs is fundamentally ethical. If you don't want your words repeated, don't voice them in any way.
----

No professional journalist would agree to that, that's what the term "off the record" means.

Posted by: DCer | June 13, 2008 9:34 AM

Please note that the Hillmead neighborhood listserv does not represent the entire neighborhood. It is too easy to use one or two comments from a few neighbors/ list subscribers to paint a broad stroke of ALL the residents who live here. The majority of Hillmead residents may not want the shelter here but the reasons are quite diverse: some do not think the process used is fair/just regardless of the goal, some think it is better to sell the lot and buy a few more houses in the zip code to house more homeless, and some have "not in my backyard" attitude, and some are not online, and a few who don't care, and a few who care about the issue but do not post in blogs/listesrv, and a good number of residents want the shelter here ... etc. Any opinion posts on the listserv only represents the opinion of the posters and not of the neighborhood, like in most listservs. I live in Hillmead, I subscribe to the listserv and I don't always share the same opinion as to what has been posted, like a good number of my neighbors.

Posted by: Linda | June 13, 2008 9:42 AM

"Homelessness" is not a protected class. So, I don't know that the Fair Housing rules apply.
Can someone more knowledgeable correct me if I'm wrong?

Posted by: JS | June 13, 2008 9:53 AM

DCer: There's nothing remotely private about a public listserv. Like most reporters, I quote from listservs all the time; they are a useful tip sheet, a way to get a quick glimpse at a community's conversation. You'll notice that I did not name the writer of the analysis of the Hillmead situation; that's because I was not able to reach that writer to discuss the posting. When reporting a column or news story, I use listservs to find people to talk to or visit with. In the blog, a naturally more second-order form, the listserv debate itself is often fodder for our discussion here.

Posted by: Fisher | June 13, 2008 9:54 AM

Can we put this issue to bed now? Eight of your last 11 posts have centered around topics in DC or MoCo - two jurisdictions whose combined population represents about 25% of the metro area. Why such disproportionate coverage of these two areas?

Posted by: Bored | June 13, 2008 9:55 AM

See even liberal leftist socialists in Montgomery County can be racists. So pollsters dont believe them when they tell your exit poll they voted for Obama.
At least us rednecks here in VA will tell you we dont want the homeless living here or that illegal immigrants must be deported.

So Marc do you want the homeless lving down the street? Any of you croc wearing liberals? Oh my god there goes the neighborhood. Only thing worse would be one of us rednecks from Virginny. Yeah we shop at the Super Walmart, we dont go to the day spa and we have a set. Hey neighbor do you have the latest catalog from Tractor Supply? Southern States?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 13, 2008 9:56 AM

Marc, if you didn't have a chance to contact the author, why would you report on it? Maybe they were being sarcastic. Maybe they have ulterior motives. Maybe they're just an *ss. Pretty lousy reporting IMHO. By the way, with all the injustice around, why is this one so up your arse?

Posted by: SWDC | June 13, 2008 10:07 AM

After reading this, I'm liking more and more the person's suggestion on the chat yesterday that the "undesirables" these people so desperately wanted to keep out of their neighborhood should now unite, "mobilize", and start using the county park that was "saved" and that their own tax dollars help pay for as well, en masse, every day, every weekend.

Seriously, what would be better than giving a bunch of self-absorbed, self-entitled, rich a-holes a gigantic middle finger of a reminder that this park is not a gift to them, by making it an every day hangout for hard-working blue-collar folks that have every bit of right to use a public, county owned park as they do.

This wasn't a bunch of random derelicts; this was a county-employed family that came into rough times by doing the right thing and raising kids that weren't their own.

Bring your hot-dogs, grills, frisbees, and whiffle-ball bats.

Posted by: Be Careful What You Wish For | June 13, 2008 10:15 AM

Marc, look, your position is ethically questionable amongst journalists and as a journalists you know it's been up for discussion many times as to whether or not newspapers should do that.

If you didn't get permission or clarification then what did you base this column on? weird innuendo about what someone you don't know may have meant? Don't you see that by your own words you quoted something so far out of context that OTHER JOURNALISTS REFUSE TO USE LISTSERVS AS SOURCES. Are you or are you not relegating your career to the dumper by these actions based on the negative view that the journalism profession has on these?

poynters, man, get real, you think other writers stoop so low? really? this is city paper quality at best.

Posted by: DCer | June 13, 2008 10:16 AM

Linda...nothing to feel ashamed of the Hillmead residents. A lot of them worked very hard and paided good money to buy their houses there, not to have some opportunistic self serving race mongering politicans from Tacoma park or silver spring tell them what they can or can't do in their neighborhood.
Marc...give it a rest. You don't live in the neighborhood, and if you really feel for the homeless family I'd like you to put them at your home or maybe shell out 100 bucks if you don't want to do that much.

Posted by: Playa | June 13, 2008 10:18 AM

To the person that said it isn't right to quote from listserves - that's ridiculous! Those are not secure, encrypted, proprietary forums, so don't ever say anything on the internet that you don't want shared with anybody, because once you do, it's out there, and it's out there for good.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 13, 2008 10:24 AM

Once again Marc Fisher has chosen to single out one comment and have it reflect the opinions of an entire neighborhood. As a Hillmead resident, I saw this email go by on our neighborhood listserve. I saw no further emails of agreement with this person's stance. So to say the "residents of the affluent area are talking" about their sly motives is inaccurate. One person sent this email not a community. I know most people in the neighborhood had to look hard at themselves and at the issues involved before coming to a decision on which side to take. It was not a situation that I, for one, took lightly. We were in a situation that encompassed many divergent opinions and motives. I wish Mr. Fisher would look at his own motives for continually bashing an entire community and his need to lurk on a neighborhood listserve.

Posted by: DebV | June 13, 2008 10:31 AM

Re: 10:24 a.m. and "Those are not secure, encrypted, proprietary forums, so don't ever say anything on the internet that you don't want shared with anybody, because once you do, it's out there, and it's out there for good."
____________________

This is true. I have seen a situation in which a college student was run over by a car in Virginia, and her case is not being helped by the fact that of the 650 pictures on her Facebook account, 400 of them involve some sort of partying. Her credibility is now nil.

Posted by: Biggie | June 13, 2008 10:31 AM

DCer, let it go. Quoting from listservs is fine. Sending a message to a listserv is like talking at a public meeting - anybody could be listening, and the person posting/talking should know that.

Posted by: h3 | June 13, 2008 10:33 AM

So Marc, take the next step and out these people. We need more shaming in our society these days. Shame then, Shun them, and maybe they'll understand how unethical and selfish they are.

Posted by: Shun & Shame | June 13, 2008 10:52 AM

Mr. Fisher -

You seem to be obsessed with this story, and in painting the neighbors in a bad light.

The whole situation was ugly on many levels, and you are only adding to that ugliness. I'm not sure where I stand on this issue (the positives of not tearing down perfectly good housing, vs. the concept of putting a large homeless family in a situation where they aren't close to facilities, affordable services, and abundant public transportation, which is an important consideration), but it's quite clear where you do.

If you are op-ed, having a visible opinion is fine. But if you're just trying to report facts, you're failing abysmally.

As many noted here, you never mentioned the community shelter that already exists in the neighborhood. And you didn't discuss the concept that MoCo spent $2.5 million on one house for one family (albeit a large family), and the costs the county would incur since the family was only renting.

Because the costs of maintaining a 1930's house and 1.3 acres going forward? That's a chunk-o-change. It's not as if Ms. Piotrow left a legacy to maintain the house - did anyone on the council who advocated for the house consider the long-term costs? And if park monies were used to purchase the house, that's also funds that were misused. You've balanced your coverage of this story with none of these concepts. You've just tried to uncover the nastier side of human behaviour (which we *all* have).

And you really didn't discuss the process that allowed one at-large member of the council to change the property from park land to a home that was going to be maintained through tax-payer dollars. To me, that seemed horribly arbitrary, that one member could change the flow of any sort of planning and development project.

You simply focused on the neighbors understandable reaction to finding out about the change. Not necessarily admirable, mind you, but understandable. And that humans are inherently self-serving and concerned for their own welfare? That ain't news.

And while it may be journalistically ethical to use materials from a community, subscription-required mailing list (and I'm sure now the Hillmead community is going to police who actually joins the mailing list more aggressively), it's just not cool.

Basically, this type of e-mail list is the online equivalent of people hanging out on someone's front lawn and exchanging gossip. If you walked by and overheard some of that conversation, but didn't bother to follow up, would you use that?

And did you send a mail to the mailing list introducing yourself, notifying them that you were going to now receive all their e-mails and be able to peruse their archives? And that you considered all of their conversations - past and present - "on the record" for your column?

Because there is an item in Yahoo's Terms of Service that notes you are not allowed to stalk or harass other members. While you are protected by the First Amendment, it feels a lot like you are stalking and harassing the community in general with this series of stories.

Your behaviour is just tacky and slightly sordid. It's this type of manipulative behaviour from the Fourth Estate that make any reasonable person completely distrust the "facts" portrayed in the media today. Facts on their own will frequently have sizzle - it doesn't need to be manufactured.

This isn't Watergate or the Iran Contra affair. Sneakiness isn't necessary or even really indicated.

What's the quote about academia? "The fighting is so dirty because the stakes are so low." Maybe the same applies to modern journalism.

Posted by: A disappointed reader | June 13, 2008 11:16 AM

There was nothing "sly" at all about the (majority of) the opponents' intentions. Their purpose was crystal clear from the beginning. Only the County Council chose to be deceived. Business as usual.

Posted by: Chris | June 13, 2008 11:24 AM

"After reading this, I'm liking more and more the person's suggestion on the chat yesterday that the "undesirables" these people so desperately wanted to keep out of their neighborhood should now unite, "mobilize", and start using the county park that was "saved" and that their own tax dollars help pay for as well, en masse, every day, every weekend."

I'll bring the brats.

As Chuck Brown would say, "Let's have a block party, ain't got nothin' else to do. Let's have a barbeque..."

Posted by: Lindemann | June 13, 2008 11:49 AM

I think posts to a listserv are absolutely fair game. In a heated debate like this one, it's not at all unreasonable to expect that at least one member of a listserv could forward messages to a reporter.

Sounds like a couple people learned an important lesson today: Don't publish anything on the Internet that you don't want to see in the paper.

Words to live by.

Posted by: Aimily | June 13, 2008 12:00 PM

Funny how you Hillmeade "people" want to focus the issue on the writer's ethics instead of your own elitist, un-American, un-christian behavior.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 13, 2008 12:01 PM

"Because there is an item in Yahoo's Terms of Service that notes you are not allowed to stalk or harass other members. While you are protected by the First Amendment, it feels a lot like you are stalking and harassing the community in general with this series of stories."

It's called "reporting." You got what you wanted; you are now officially sore winners. Get over the fact that some people disagree with you.

Posted by: Lindemann | June 13, 2008 12:04 PM

Marc, you quote an anonymous source, unchecked by your own admission, from a listserv that may or may not be someone who lives in the Hillmead neighborhood. Why should anyone who reads your column believe your reporting?

Posted by: Take the next buyout offer, please! | June 13, 2008 12:07 PM

Funny how you Hillmeade "people" want to focus the issue on the writer's ethics instead of your own elitist, un-American, un-christian behavior.
-------

I am most certainly NOT a Hillmead resident. Get a grip. Everyone in DC is outraged by this series of articles and Marc's racist commentary that the Trinidad residents don't deserve to live without fear from crime like suburban residents do.

Marc is completely off the handle this week and I for one, am letting him know it.

Posted by: DCer | June 13, 2008 12:17 PM

Total amount of money Washington Post billionaire Donald Graham paid to help the homeless family = $0.

Total amount of money council member George Leventhal paid to help the homeless family = $0.

It's all about DC politics and the establishment playing the race card to get votes and sell some papers, and the Hillmead residents are the real victims. Marc Fisher is just a Graham/Leventhal tool.

Posted by: Playa | June 13, 2008 12:33 PM

"Everyone in DC is outraged," you say? Oh really? I'm not. Anybody else? Seriously, DCer, chill out.

Posted by: h3 | June 13, 2008 12:33 PM

"Everyone in DC is outraged by this series of articles and Marc's racist commentary that the Trinidad residents don't deserve to live without fear from crime like suburban residents do."

I guess that depends on who "everyone" is. Sounds like you mean "everyone" who believes that they have a right to keep "those people" out of "our" neighborhoods. And the Trinidad issue is not what's being discussed.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 13, 2008 12:59 PM

DebV,

I have to say, reading Marc Fisher's post the first time I got the impression there was more than one poster on the Hillmead listserv saying these things. I got this impression, since Marc said "residents are talking". But upon reading your post and rereading Fisher's post here, I see your point.

Fact: ONE and it seems ONLY ONE resident on the listserv is quoted by Fisher here. Then his analysis based one ONE resident's post was:

"Whenever one side claims its main concern is "the process," you know that side has some darker purpose, some agenda it dare not voice publicly for fear of revealing that baser instinct."

Those were Marc Fisher's words... his analysis of Hillmead residents' "baser instincts" based one ONE resident's post or posts.

Look, I have no problem with Fisher using stuff on the listserv, as it seems all you need to do is pay the subscription to get access. There is no privacy there. I also love Fisher radio and his chat. But I mean... this particular post of his is low. Lower than low. He condemns their baser instinct because ONE person has that baser instinct. He didn't say "some in that side", he implies ALL of them have that baser instinct. It's sickening to hear such prejudice.

Even God was willing to spare Sodom if the angels could find 10 righteous people. It seems Marc Fisher would take the other approach. Fisher condemns the neighborhood of Hillmead because he's found ONE evil person. Because of One person... One! ONE!!!

Posted by: Terry Moore | June 13, 2008 1:20 PM

They all should be ashamed!

But now that i think about it, these are the kind of people who have no morals.

They didn't know there is a process that a family has go through to get a home like the one they are destroying, they are check for drugs, criminal background etc., and then they are monitored after they move into the home.

Just imagine for a moment, how this could have been turn into a positive, if they would have welcomed a homeless family into their neighborhood, that would have been front page news, unlike this story I only hear through following Marc's interest.

I hope the day never comes for these folks to be in the opposite position.

I get so embarassed of Americans like them.

Posted by: NE DC | June 13, 2008 1:22 PM

I guess that depends on who "everyone" is. Sounds like you mean "everyone" who believes that they have a right to keep "those people" out of "our" neighborhoods. And the Trinidad issue is not what's being discussed.
-----

Trinidad is being discussed by me and Marc Fisher. He cannot run from his articles as much as he'd like to pretend his words don't exist after he writes them.

The Hillmead people have an affordable housing facility in Hillmead already, so the remainder of your comments are ignorant and uneducated.

You are free to try to twist the meaning of my words "everyone" and I cannot comment on a meaning I did not give the term, but to clarify, I was referring to residents of DC, MD and VA who have been flooding the comments section of his MULTIPLE articles featuring MULTIPLE deceptions on this issue. If you want to suggest that I meant, literally, every person in Washington, DC then the "yolks on you" as they say.

Posted by: DCer | June 13, 2008 1:32 PM

also you can note all the times I've posted comments in defense of Marc, specifically on his radio column. this is no vendetta, but his reporting has become, at best, ethically questionable and hack reporting that a free weekly might support.

Posted by: DCer | June 13, 2008 1:34 PM

I have not followed this closely, but IMHO, the liberals are the ones that really dislike the homeless, the poor, the environment, but often have plenty of money to "hide" that fact behind arguments about "process". I live in an area of Alexandria that is surrounded by public housing. It is my liberal neighbors (Clinton/Obama types with the bumper stickers to prove it) that wish they would "go away" so that more expensive townhomes and condos can be built. When I ask where would they go that is so near public transport, walkable shopping and schools, they have no answer and DO NOT CARE. I lived in Mont. County and found the same attitude. I am not naive. People should work hard and there are plenty of opportunities in America to work and move out of public assistence. But for the liberals, the fact is they are fine with taking your tax money to "help" people stay where they are economically and socially as long as they don't have to see them or live next to them.

Posted by: Alex, VA | June 13, 2008 1:37 PM

Hillmead residents have apparently ignored the lesson that there is already homeless housing in their neighborhood - there is a homeless shelter for women and children right across the street and it has served as a very good neighbor for many years. I am completely dumbfounded by some Hillmead resident's distinctly un-neighborly attitude.

Posted by: Neighborly in Hillmead | June 13, 2008 1:44 PM

Alex, VA... Liberals like me once volunteered on a clothing drive for the Greentree shelter in Hillmead: http://www.nccf-cares.org/content.aspx?id=202

But almost no liberals live in Hillmead. I suppose people could talk about Sam Nunn, but he moved out many years ago.

And yes, it took me all afternoon for my mother to return my call on this issue and confirm that this was the Hillmead homeless shelter she was doing the clothing drive for...

and http://www.fundrace.org will tell you how many quote unquote liberal Hillmead residents donated money to Republicans, let me tell you, more than a few. I would, almost under no circumstances, describe that neighborhood as liberal. Centrist? yeah, that would make sense. Conservative? compared to where I live in DC, absolutely.

and yeah, I'd love to hear your apologies here since y'all are wrong and I've proven my stance with links, but I know I won't.

But amongst my crowd, the liberals I know are all about tax breaks for responsible working class people and not about free housing. So it seems like some straw men were created in a political stunt just to be knocked down. What surprises me is how long people keep trying to prop up these straw men.

Posted by: DCer | June 13, 2008 1:52 PM

Wow, this is shameful reporting. I read the post as I live in Hillmead and belong to the List-Serv. I completely disagreed with the comments and do not recall seeing anyone else jumping in to agree with this Lister. Honestly, I believed the pro-Leventhal forces planted that email to embarass the neighborhood.

But, Mr. Fisher, one comment does not a "talk" make. And, your taking things off our private list-serv is ridiculous. What next, listening devices to hear us on the street.

To be clear, I opposed the Leventhal project solely on the procedural problems and the fact that more greenspace was promised and that is what I personally wanted.

I am pleased that I no longer read the Post as I'd hate to be enriching a company that maintains this level (or lack thereof) of journalistic ethics and credibility.

Posted by: Hillmeader | June 13, 2008 2:41 PM

Well, well, well. Marc, you appear to have struck a nerve.

Posted by: Arlington | June 13, 2008 2:54 PM

After reading this story I could not help but write up a whole essay on it since it would not fit here I've posted it on my blog.

http://www.jasongooljar.com/?p=1660

Posted by: Jason Gooljar from Arlington | June 13, 2008 3:31 PM

Say DCer, I know just how you feel.
Some Post reporters reprinted some stuff I said in private and it got blown out of proportion. Just Google "Watergate".

I wonder if the Post ever fired those two guys for breaking journalistic ethics, like you said. Who were they? Woodward? Bernstein?

Nah, they must have got fired.

Richard Milhouse Nixon

Posted by: RMN | June 13, 2008 3:48 PM

From Washington Post reporter Miranda Spivak's blog:

"And Planning Board chairman Royce Hanson yesterday reiterated to the county council that his agency never would have spent $2.5 million in county funds to buy the land if officials there thought it would be used for something other than a park."

Posted by: Washington Post | June 13, 2008 4:26 PM

I'm gonna give you a little advice. Scrape 'em off. You wanna save somebody? Save yourself.

Posted by: Frank Cross | June 13, 2008 5:33 PM

For what it's worth, my opinion, and I have no dog in this fight, really is it seemed a somewhat inefficient way to help the homeless, but maybe if you broke it down, did the math, helping 13 people in one fell but expensive swoop, might be just as expensive as breaking them apart and handling each group of people that way. I do not know. On the other side, it seemed a fairly unobtrusive solution to an admitted smallish problem, and my question is, why did people make such a big deal about it? And I guess Marc is picking up on people's supposed dark motivations. So it seemed, in sum, an overreaction to a solution that sorta seemed lame.

Posted by: DC Rez | June 13, 2008 6:14 PM

Marc, how many subsidized units are in your neighborhood in upper NW? Next to none. Very few services for the homeless, outside a few small church-based operations either. Have you done a column on this yet?

And no, the homeless are not a protected class under the Fair Housing Act. And since no protected class, such as persons with disabilities were identified as future residents, there is no violation or potential violation.

Montgomery Couty and Bethesda are vastly better to their poor than DC. The County is much more economically and racially integrated. But Fisher's hatred for the county, bizarre as it is, will never cease.

And Marc, where are your quotes from the people who supported the housing? Or who called thg minority of NIMBYS on their comments? Or those who cited stats in support of housing integration. There all on the listseve, but don't support your poor writing style.

Posted by: Find something else to do, Marc | June 13, 2008 7:14 PM

First off, to the person who thinks that there is no crime in the suburbs you are insane.

Second, seems like some people are just chapped that they exposed themselves for the jerks they really are.

As for the party in the park, put me down for chips and soda. Oh, and paper plates. Gotta eat off of something.

Posted by: hangin in herndon | June 13, 2008 7:41 PM

Thanks Marc and the Hillmead Mole! As a Hillmead resident, I am taking great delight that the jerks that have polluted our neighborhood listserves (which used to be filled with messages about yard sales, school events and other good neighbor stuff) with their neocon, GOP b.s. Yes, dear readers, you can't blame this filth that you have only sampled in this column on the stereotypical MoCo liberal. The deep dark secret of our little corner of Bethesda is that has started to become infested with a stereotype of other side of the political spectrum. This infestation started about 8 years ago.

All of this whinging about process and ethics, blah, blah.. just the typical right wing response to getting caught with their pants down.

I'm a Liberal and loving it!

Hopefully we'll see the neocon nuts move on with the change of administration in January '09. Until then, thanks again Marc n' the Mole for starting a movement that will hopefully keep them off the listserves until they leave.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 13, 2008 8:53 PM

Marc Fisher seems to be suffering from that old sickness known as "liberal guilt." Here is Marc bleeding for the poor downtrodden while he lives in wealth, peace and security.

Now to the people of Hillmead: Congratulations on a job well done. You did what was needed. The only thing left to do is remove Leventhal from elective office. He is your problem.

As for Marc, well he needs to write stuff so the WP will give him a pay check so he can keep his safe, secure residence. Even he doesn't always believe what he writes.

Posted by: Way To Go Hillmead | June 14, 2008 12:09 AM

To: Liberal and loving it.

Great! Thanks for letting us know.

Posted by: DC Resident | June 14, 2008 7:38 AM

Sorry, I was giggling with delight when I was typing earlier last night and left the end to my sentence, but I'm sure most people got the gist of it:

"I am taking great delight that the jerks that have polluted our neighborhood listserves (which used to be filled with messages about yard sales, school events and other good neighbor stuff) with their neocon, GOP b.s. are being simply being exposed as who and what they really are by their own words.

Posted by: Liberal and Loving it in Hillmead | June 14, 2008 8:34 AM

Were Leventhal and his cronies trying to punish Hillmead because some of its residents had interfered with the sale of the land to a developer?

Google "Leventhal" and "developers," and you will find allegations that Leventhal, Floreen, and Knapp were elected as pro-growth candidates and take the most money from developers (compared to other council members). Elrich, Trachtenberg, and Andrews are slow-growth advocates and do not take money from developers (Berliner takes some). Elrich and Trachtenberg are also the most consistently progressive council members (NOT Leventhal, despite how he tried to portray himself as dedicated to the poor).

Could this entire bizarre episode be explained by corrupt politicians and big-money special interests? Washington Post--some investigative reporting, please.

Posted by: eureka? | June 14, 2008 9:33 AM

OK, I did google "Leventhal developers" and what mostly came up were a bunch of references to other guys named Leventhal who are in the real estate business. The only reference to Montgomery County Councilmember George Leventhal was a quote from a local blog saying "I didn't get elected to make developers rich" and it was about 10 references down. So, I think "eureka?" is trying to shift the blame from the selfish greedy Hillmead neighbors to the guy who called them out.

Posted by: OK, I did | June 14, 2008 4:40 PM

test

Posted by: test | June 14, 2008 8:37 PM

From Washington Post reporter Miranda Spivak's blog:

"And Planning Board chairman Royce Hanson yesterday reiterated to the county council that his agency never would have spent $2.5 million in county funds to buy the land if officials there thought it would be used for something other than a park."

Posted by: The Washington Post | June 15, 2008 6:26 AM

FYI, Marc Fisher has been censoring this blog to ensure that the facts do not contradict his opinion.

Posted by: rotten fisher | June 19, 2008 8:09 PM

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