Friday, November 25, 2005

Silverman blamed for crooked planning scandal

County Councilman Steve Silverman, one of the main advocates of turning Seven Locks Elementary School into a subsidized high-density housing project, is being blamed for the Clarksburg development scandal.

Silverman greased the skids for disgraced Planning Commission Chairman Derick Berlage, whom a DC Examiner editorial says "is most directly responsible for the total lack of oversight of the Clarksburg Town Center project. If you want to know how Montgomery County could possibly have approved a residential project with streets too narrow for fire and rescue vehicles, ask him."

The Examiner points the finger at Silverman: "As chairman of the council's Planning, Housing and Economic Development Committee, [Silverman's] job was to supervise Berlage - his predecessor on the committee - whom Silverman helped get the $129,000 Planning Commission job. Silverman wants to be the next county executive, but Berlage may well be his 'Brownie.'

"A former chairman of the County Council's land-use committee, Berlage managed (if you could call it that) a largely unsupervised 900-employee agency that deliberately altered site plans, keep sloppy records or none at all, and even allowed developers' attorneys to write its legal opinions - all while being rude and dismissive to the public. Inspector General Thomas Dagley says it has also delayed his efforts to obtain key documents and interview staff."