Tuesday, November 28, 2006

We Talked, Ike Listened

County Executive-Elect Ike Leggett held a town meeting earlier this evening in the Leland Community Center in Chevy Chase. The room was packed to the rafters with a large number of people (including the Mayor!) standing in the back for much of the meeting. People came not just from Chevy Chase but from all over Montgomery County and even northern Virginia.

Ike, as most people called him, is an amazingly good listener. He opened the meeting with a short set of comments and a list of his top priorities was distributed outside but he spent most of his time listening to comments from county residents. Often, after hearing a comment from the audience, he simply thanked the person without feeling the compulsion to speak to every single issue.

He did not make many promises, which seemed smart as the election is over, demands are many, and the budget will be tight. Ike also complimented outgoing County Executive Doug Duncan and made clear that he saw his job as a matter of "minor adjustments" rather than major change, though he acknowledged that one person's minor adjustment could be another's major change. Ike did promise to improve the accountability of county government and to make it more responsive and accessible to residents. According to my ear, the top (but by no means, only) concerns raised by the audience were:

1. Barry's Magic Shop in Wheaton is threatened with eviction. As part of its effort to redevelop Wheaton, the County plans to condemn the building in which is it located so it can improve the sidewalk. This may sound like small (magic?) beans in a county of one million people but don't be fooled. This issue has serious legs.

Several people from the local wizarding community came to express their support for Barry's, including the gentleman from northern Virginia whose son apparently adores the shop which serves as a meeting place for magicians as well as a store. Muggles in the room were also sympathetic as many lament the closure of unique local businesses due to development.

Other issues discussed on Maryland Politics Watch.


Blogger Terry in Silver Spring said...

The item about folks standing up for Barry's Magic Shop reminds me why I love Maryland.

11/29/2006 11:47:00 AM  

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