Thursday, January 27, 2005

The Deal

The following is from an e-mail describing one informed person's view of the reasons why Sharon Cox of the MCPS Board of Education (BOE) and County Executive Doug Duncan are so intent on surplusing school property and opening it to developers for subsidized housing:

Yes, they are a bunch of crooks. This is the deal, Cox wants Duncan's job, and Duncan wants Ehrlich's job, so they are "handing out" all the "dole" money they can to get it back when it comes time to run for office. Did you see the email today about the school property swap up county in Rockville? We need to get those families to join us. BOE is trying to do almost the exact same thing to them.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Steve Silverman says we're all a bunch of bigots

County Council President Steve Silverman has run out of honest arguments for tearing down a thriving elementary school in the heart of the Seven Locks neighborhood and building a big subsidized housing project in its place.

Commenting on local opposition to the planned but unannounced demolition of Seven Locks Elementary School, Silverman tells Washington Post columnist Marc Fisher, "The buzzword you hear is that they're for affordable housing, but it's not 'compatible.'"

Then Silverman said what he really thinks of the parents and neighbors who oppose his plan to rip out the core of their neighborhood: "Racism and economic class issues are always lurking beneath."

Washington Post columnist exhorts county to 'stand up' against residents

Washington Post columnist Marc Fisher wrote a column January 11 criticizing the Montgomery County Council for not being up-front about its plans to demolish Seven Locks Elementary School and replace it with what he calls "subsidized housing."

Fisher argues that county leaders should fight hand-to-hand combat with the people who work hard to live in nice and safe neighborhoods.

He concludes that the subsidized housing forces will win "Only if elected officials stand up to their own constituents, one project at a time."

Friday, January 07, 2005

Fraternal Order of Police blast Superintendent Weast

Schools Superintendent Jerry Weast is no friend of law enforcement, according to a local police boosters group.

The Rap Sheet, the newsletter of Montgomery County Lodge 35 of the Fraternal Order of Police, ripped into Weast in its 2002 newsletter:

"It would seem that there is enough work to do over at MCPS that Mr. Weast wouldn’t have time to run the police department. Maybe he feels an obligation to put in the extra time to justify his inflated salary. Perhaps it is a power and control thing, or maybe just sheer panic. Whatever the reason, the Weast infection that has spread throughout MCPS has now reached the EOB and the Puzzle Palace on Research Boulevard."

Thursday, January 06, 2005

County public works director answers Kendale Road questions

The following is a reply from Arthur Holmes, Jr., Director of the Department of Public Works and Transportation if Montgomery County, Maryland, to a Seven Locks parent's questions about Kendale Road, where the "replacement" school is to be built. Text follows:

Thank you for your letter of January 3, 2005, requesting information concerning the Seven Locks Elementary School replacement location at Kendale Road.

Below, I have provided the answers to the questions which fall under the purview of the Department of Public Works and Transportation. The Board of Education (301-279-3000) and the Department of Fire/Rescue Services (240-777-2400) will be able to provide you with answers to the remaining questions.

Question #1 - What is the current maximum weight limit for Kendale Road?

Answer: There is no maximum weight limit for Kendale Road or Kentsdale Drive. Nor is there a maximum weight limit for the bridge on Kendale Road.

Question #2 - Why is there a "No Thru Trucks over 3/4 Ton" sign at the Bradley Blvd and Kendale Road location?

Answer: The "No Thru Trucks Over 3/4 Ton" regulation has been in place since 1966. Based on the normal process, residents asked for installation of such a regulation, their request was investigated, and a "No Thru Trucks Over 3/4 Ton" regulation was approved.

Question #11 - What is the County or State procedure for testing a bridge for maximum weight?

Answer: After each cycle of the County's bienniel bridge inspections, the County evaluates the live load capacity for each bridge based on the actual inspected condition of the bridge structural components and their foundations. A structural analysis is then performed, if necessary, to determine the current maximum live load capacity of the bridge considering the four legal trucks allowed in the State of Maryland. A diagram showing the configuration of the Maryland Legal Load Types is attached.

Question #13 - What is the width of a typical Montgomery County Fire Truck?

Answer: 8 feet wide

Question #15 - What is the bridge weight limit needed to accommodate two buses or a bus and a fire truck?

Answer: The weight of a bus or a fire truck does not exceed the weight of the corresponding type of legal truck allowed in Maryland. Regarding the number of trucks that can occupy the bridge at one time; the live load capacity analyses for a bridge considers the maximum number of legal trucks which the bridge can carry within its roadway width.

Question #16 - What is the bridge strength requirement to accommodate two buses or a bus and a fire truck?

Answer: If "strength" is defined as the total load carrying capacity of a bridge, then the "strength" of a bridge that will accommodate a bus and a fire truck is unique for every bridge and is equal to the strength that will carry the corresponding type of legal truck allowed in Maryland, the "strength" required to carry the self weight of the bridge, and the "strength" required to carry all other loads that may be placed upon it. Appropriate safety factors are also applied to the "strength."

Question #17 - Does the bridge that is located on the Kendale Road currently meet all safety requirements to be able to have two buses pass on it at the same time?

Answer: The bridge located on Kendale Road has the strength necessary to safely carry two buses at the same time. (Note - from Fran - it may NOT be wide enough to accomodate two buses at a time.)

I hope this information is helpful to you.
Arthur Holmes, Jr.
Department of Public Works and Transportation