Saturday, November 05, 2005

Civic activists to make issue of undue developer influence

Regardless of the magnitude of the Montgomery County illegal campaign finance scandal, the issue highlights the role of developers in influencing those with the power to re-zone property and destroy neighborhoods.

Seven Locks neighbors say they will make that issue - and the suspected corruption around it - a new focus of their campaign to save their neighborhood school. The PTA voted several times to oppose the Montgomery County school board's decision, at the request of County Executive Doug Duncan, to close down their school to make way for a county-sponsored subsidized housing project.

They are not alone.

"I think the issue of developers' influence is going to explode in the elections in Montgomery County next year, and our campaign finance laws have clearly failed to restrain that influence," former Common Cause executive director James Browning tells the Washington Post.