Le jour de gloire est arrive!1 It's time for Minions election-year extravaganza of primary minutiae.
Let's start with some basic MoCo political principles. There are three things that are important in this here county: jobs, education, and traffic. Everything else is noise, including the alarming percentage of fucktard treehuggers who insist that we can pack a million people into this county without building things that create jobs and without building stores to buy stuff and without building roads to carry these million people from one place to another, since the vast fucking majority of them aren't going to get on our formerly sleek subway train to ride to another jurisdiction to spend whatever money they have.
And they have varying amounts of it. It's true that we're a pretty fucking affluent county. It's also true that there's a huge wealth disparity here, although not nearly as huge as many less fortunate places. So to the extent that what I just characterized as "noise" includes social services for a lot of those who haven't got much, I'll have to elaborate a bit. We face a staggering budget deficit in this county. Unfortunately, something like 80 percent of the budget goes to education, and our school system (MCPS) faces some interesting restrictions. For one thing, there is a powerful teachers union here (MCEA), and they've negotiated a binding contract with the county. For another, there's a state requirement called maintenance of effort that requires the county to keep spending at least level (in honesty, I don't know if it's a flat number or a per capita number), or face financial consequences in the form of withdrawn state funding.
Now, punishing a failure to spend money with fines seems a little backwards and fucktarded. But it's the law, and it was enacted in the wake of national education changes that modified the way the state gets money from the Feds. It is what it is, and backwards and fucktarded pretty much describes what the Bush administration did to education. But Congress went along, and...well, it is what it is.
We were discussing the budget deficit. With 80 percent of the budget spent on education, and another fair-sized chunk sucked up by public safety (which also involves union contracts, as does just about any form of county employment), there's not much left to spread cuts. So earlier this year, the County Council took the wood to the MCPS budget and begged the state's forgiveness. It worked. Sadly, that involved violating its negotiated contracts with MCEA, among other unions.
MCEA tells us who to vote for, and I obey about 90 percent of the time. I did so even before my wife became a teacher in MCPS. It's been my habit for 32 years. MCPS is why people live here. Period. The MCEA ballot is called the Apple Ballot, and has been for at least 32 years.
I'm focusing this post on the County Council at-large races. There are contested state legislative primaries about which I know little (and I posted about mine yesterday, leaving no doubt about where I stand). There's one other state senate race about which I care, in District 17, and that's only because the incumbent is an old family friend. Her opponent is okay, and it's unfortunate that they're having a contested primary. The other important primaries are for the Board of Education; there's no reason for me (or, by extension, any right-thinking MoCovian) not to obey the Apple on the BoE races. There are primary contests in some of the other Council districts, but not in mine--sadly, my fucktard treehugger Councilman is running unopposed, a situation I would've cheerfully rectified if not for my history of drug use, failed marriages, colorful expressions, poor anger management, gratuitous misogyny, board and video gaming, illicit sex, gluttonous eating, college abandonment, sinful pride, and occasional body odor. Other than Ilse, 32-Ounce, and possibly Whispers, the only people who'd vote for me live outside of the district (even 32-Ounce's wife Sil, my only other living relative in this district, would rather vote for a syphilitic homeless person, or a fucktard treehugger, than for me, for anything other than a lengthy prison term).
So, the at-large races, then. The incumbents are Marc Elrich, Duchy Trachtenberg (it is unknown to me whether she prefers "Douchey," "Dutchy," or "Ducky," though my preference will be clear to you long before the end of this ride), George Leventhal, and Nancy Floreen, who is so evil that she peels the paint off of Sasha's walls (but not mine). The realistic challengers are Becky Wagner and Hans Riemer; a semi-realistic challenger is Jane de Winter; and there are two wackaloon challengers who haven't got a prayer. de Winter is easily disposed of; her entire campaign seems to consist of a smug assertion that she's an economist. Wow. Enjoy the couple hundred votes you get riding that pony, Jane (and those only because we have an unusually dense concentration of economists hereabouts).
In this year's 4 at-large races, MCEA quite understandably tends to favor candidates who didn't vote to rape a union contract, or failing that, expressed deep remorse and misgivings about doing so. The Apple Ballot endorses Elrich, Leventhal, Wagner, and Riemer. Leventhal is so secure on this issue that Your Fucking Washington Post (his intellectual property) unendorsed him, because this bastion of liberal media despises unions with every fiber of its being. And Leventhal has actually expressed a willingness to violate the union contracts if there's no other choice.
MCEA despises Duchy Trachtenberg, and rightfully so. She's fucking despicable. She hates the unions and led the charge to violate negotiated union contracts. This makes her an opponent of the rule of law, (cf. Sadaam Hussein), and a disrespecter of property rights, (i.e. a Communist, cf. Karl Marx), and since they're public union contracts, her intent to violate them also makes her a Republican, (cf. Ronald Reagan, and seriously? this is the most realistic accusation I've made so far). She's a fucktard treehugger to boot, a gypsy artist shitbird from the wallow of Potomac, where horses go to mate with rich people, the only village in the world that produces fucktard treehugger Republicans masquerading as Democrats. She's such an ignorant sack of fucking shit that we're done with her. Good thing we settled the pronunciation issue.
No, we're not done with her. It is actually my understanding that Sasha does not hate Duchy Trachtenburg. I'm a big Sasha fan, and have been for a long time. Sasha's wrong, wrong, wrong about Duchy. I don't understand this. Sasha is not a fucktard treehugger. Sasha understands how brutally stupid and amoral Duchy is. Sasha is not a fan of rich people who mate with horses, or the village from which they come. Sasha is not opposed to our public employee unions. I can thus only conclude that Sasha likes Duchy because...Duchy is a gypsy artist shitbird. If Sasha liked this because she wanted to buy sheep parts from Duchy, this would be unobjectionable. However, Sasha has proclaimed an intent to vote for Duchy. This is reprehensible, and I call upon Sasha to choose her weapons. Even if she's only kidding, and I'm pretty sure she's not. Fuck you, Sasha. I'm a kick your ass on this one.
Now we're done with Duchy.
Since I've done this number, I'm leaving Nancy Floreen to Sasha, who hates Floreen with a passion that makes my distaste for Duchy Trachtenberg look like a romantic evening with rose petals scattered on black silk sheets. I think Floreen's not horrible. Sasha has her reasons, and did even before she started getting nightly Floreen robocalls from out of state. I have decided that, in the interest of peace, I'm pulling Floreen from my ballot and only voting for three candidates out of four.
Because I won't vote for Marc Elrich, of Takoma Park, the bastion of the Peoples Republic of MoCo, a place where they build fucking U-boat pens for fucktard treehuggery, a place where the nanny state puts on a leather corset and carries a whip. I've previously told you that Tacky Park is one of two nuclear-free zones in MoCo, and honestly? I can't wait to succeed to the presidency so I can be the one to recite the launch codes. Elrich is a crapass nanny-stater who championed fucking transfat legislation in the county (a tremendous waste of legislative effort that could've instead been devoted to, oh, I don't know, not breaking fucking employee contracts?) , a fucking idiot who thinks that "transit" means "buses." It doesn't. Want less traffic? Build more roads, and build a decent rail system, because we're rich here. We don't ride buses. Our maids ride buses. I am not trying to be unkind here; I'm simply pointing out an inescapable psychoeconomic truth.2 Elrich fell into the "deep remorse" category of contract violators and thus escaped MCEA's wrath. Not mine.
That leaves us with Riemer and Wagner, who are, happily, on the Apple Ballot. And it brings us to traffic.
Actually, I lie, it brings us to jobs, because it's easy. We're Montgomery Fucking County. We are adjacent to the richest job bank in the motherfucking universe, that being Washington, DC. Unless the place is run by complete motherfucking idiots (and it has, at times, been so), jobs make themselves. They grow on fucking trees. That is to say, they grow on trees for people with some level of...education. Duh. Even those without much education benefit, because the fucking gajillions of us who earn our dinner from the Federal government need stuff, and services. And given our quite nice education system, which includes a pretty reasonable community college accessible from everywhere in the fucking county, people need not be stranded in the lower rungs of a service economy, as long as the local fascists don't put too much effort into suppressing them. Capitalism: It Works. Assuming, of course, that you've got some strategic advantage like being located next to the seat of government.
Traffic, then. Traffic and transit issues tend to be dominated by several groups hereabouts. Foremost are fucktard treehuggers. Roads, they say, lead to development. Guess what? Development's here, you fucking mongoloids. Now let's build some roads to fucking serve it. If you are an elected official hereabouts and you ever try to tell me that duck you're fucking is more important than my dinner, I will do my best not to rest until I am safely assured that you are going down, down, down, you slimy Green sack of shit. Yes, say hello to my Councilman.
Close behind treehuggers are assholes who bought property near Master Plan highway alignments that have been in place for over 50 years. Bite me, dumbshits. Property's expensive, and you ought to fucking pay attention before you sink for it.
Closely related to them are rich people. Rich people hate for their maids to be able to get to work, and are opposed to the Purple Line, which is a long-needed transit line originally planned as a Metro line. Since we all think the Metro is completed, that's evolved into a light rail line connecting the spokes of the Metro, Beltway-fashion. That rail line crosses some valuable property owned and used by rich people, and some property used by some rich people who don't think they're rich, to ride their little bicycles and walk their poopy dogs. They're afraid that the Purple Line will destroy a tree their dog once pissed on, or a tree that creates the very oxygen they wanted to breathe on their next bike ride from one rich neighborhood through the Enchanted Forest of Rich Fucks to another rich neighborhood and back, so that they can be less fat and pretend they're not driving their fucking German-engineered cars and angering ducks.
The other dominant discussive force in the transit debate is people who are opposed to "development," which is, as far as I can tell, building anything, anywhere, that might add one more person to our county and break the camel's back of the upper-middle-class paradise we all enjoyed, unsullied as it is by maids and poolboys and landscapers and...oh...migrant workers? Really? Here? Holy shit.
These fucking freaks actually want to take away roads. Cycling and walking are necessary elements of a liveable community, they say. Bullshit, you fucking Commies. Go back to fucking Europe.
Now, this bit leaves us in an unfortunate place on my new best friend, Hans Riemer. Because Hans seems to be a liveable communities guy. Making lower Rockville liveable, for instance, appears to involve converting a traffic lane on a big stretch of Rockville Pike (not far from the home of by actual BFF) into bike lanes, rendering White Flint, a mile-square ploppage of giant condos and retail development, a walkable and therefore liveable community. Huh?
Not to worry. Hans told me it'll only add 30 seconds to my average trip through the hood. That's right, he told me. You see, the other day, I was minding my own business, and the phone rang. The caller ID said "Hans Riemer." I plodded over and picked up the phone. A guy says, "Hi, my name's Hans Riemer. May I please speak to [Landru or Ilse]?"
It took me a moment to admit that I was Landru, and then to say, "Uhm, wait a minute. You're actually Hans Riemer, not the disembodied voice of Hans Riemer?" Hans himself reassured me that he was actually himself. We had a lovely chat in which I told him that he had wormed his way onto my ballot, so he could be on his way to convert the other 39,000 souls or so he needs to finish no lower than fourth place. But Hans is a smart guy, and he wanted to know why he was no more to me than a person who isn't Duchy Fucking Trachtenberg (and don't think I've forgotten you, Sasha).
Yes, Hans is a smart guy. And because Hans, despite some apparent political naivete and the unfortunate fact that he appears to be a carpetbagger, nailed down my vote like a coffin lid, just by making politics local. After our chat, I sent Hans an email explaining a couple of the finer points of my progressive apostasy. He replied. And replied to my reply. Rinse and repeat, 4-5 times. Hans and I are having lunch sometime after the primary, because I'm completely batshit crazy, but I'm articulate about it, and because Hans made politics local. Is Hans a little goofy, a little too infused with positive Young American energy, a little too eager for my vote? You fucking betcha. Do I care? No, because Hans took the trouble to make himself human.
I've told the story of Louis Goldstein, longtime Comptroller of Maryland, and I do mean longtime, like 40-50 years. Really. Louie was the most fucking awesome politician in history. His politics were lurid and corrupt; his family owned land on both sides of the Chesapeake, at the proposed endpoints for a second Bay Bridge. He spend decades as a machine politician in one of the most corrupt states in the union. I met Louie when I was about 14, at the fair, or at a school newspaper convention, or some fucking place where Louie was probably looking for votes as well as for teenage girls or boys (or their mothers) to molest, or for kickbacks, or for loose change. I saw Louie again at least 10 years later, maybe more. He remembered my name. He asked how my parents were, naming them by name and correctly remembering their occupations.
That's making politics local, bitches. And that's why Ilse stopped by Hans' headquarters today and picked up the first yard sign I've ever placed in my yard. Least we could do, for a guy who has, by my conservative estimate, spent about an hour of his time in a hotly contested primary in which he's running very close, to not just get my vote but to (at least seem to) try understand why.
It's late, and I don't have a lot to say about Becky Wagner, except that she seems to pass the tests I've outlined above. Especially that whole Apple Ballot thing.
So my ballot will include Hans Riemer, Becky Wagner, and George Leventhal. I've decided to forgo a fourth, rather than cast a vote that might interfere with the success of one of my preferred choices (Leventhal seems to be doing well, Riemer appears to be in the thick of it, and Wagner is thought to be lining up to get crushed).
1Minions is proud to acknowledge its new policy of using bad and/or cliched French in as many posts as possible. There is absolutely non reason for this policy.
2And our landscapers, and our food servers, and our grocery workers, and some bless-their-pointed-little-heads intrepid souls who believe (and who don't mind being vomited upon once in a while), and also our children, who used to ride the buses for free until The Grinch Stole The Economy. In fact, pretty much anybody of the working or workerbee classes is likely, at some point, to need to ride the fucking bus. For this reason, it is actually incredibly important to preserve our pretty darned fine bus system as an affordable transit option. This does not mean that all transit should be buses, but you knew that because you're smart. Marc Elrich isn't.