Forty-five speakers talked to the Montgomery County Council last night about the White Flint Sector Plan. The session lasted almost three hours. Another forty-five speakers are signed up to testify on Thursday night. It was pretty full last night, since many more people who had asked to speak but weren’t put on the schedule, also showed up. Ken Hurdle, for example, Secretary of Friends of White Flint and past President of Luxmanor Civic Association, wasn’t allowed to speak.
Overall, the Tuesday night hearing’s tone was much more positive than the Council hearings in September on the Annual Growth Policy. Last month, opponents of the White Flint Plan complained that the Plan didn’t use tests of how fast cars move through White Flint (called “PAMR” and pronounced “pammer”), and that the Plan should be stopped until intersections could be shown not to be congested in thirty years. Last night the vast majority of speakers talked about how they agreed with the “vision” of the Plan and how it just needed a little tweaking. Even the opponents were no longer so apocalyptic in their descriptions.
But what you didn’t see on the news or read in the papers was the “color war,” which went on with T-shirts and buttons. Last month, a group of parents from the Walter Johnson High School cluster appeared in yellow T-shirts arguing that they should remain in the current cluster and that Viers Mill Elementary School should be treated “separately.”
Cute shirts, by the way. John King gave me one. I’ve worn it jogging (err, walking) around the neighborhood. It looks like this:
Last night, some of the yellow shirts were back with a new slogan: “No Schools? Not smart.” And “Got Schools? Smarter growth for smarter kids.” Still nice shirts, though the design and message was kind of mixed up between two different lines of advertising: “Got milk?” and the “That’s Not Smart” series.
A far larger number of people wore green shirts, mostly Randolph Hills volunteers, who were out in force. They said, succinctly: “RCA Volunteer” and there were a couple of dozen of them.
So, the White Flint Community Coalition, which opposes the current White Flint Plan draft, began handing out green stickers saying “Balance.” There were also unsigned flyers saying “Reduce the Density”, also in green.
But by far, most people in the audience wore big yellow buttons saying “Supporter” in big black letters, with “A New White Flint Community” around the edge.
And there was a lot of applause. I think people were applauding both sides; at least the Randolph Hills people I was sitting with were courteously applauding most speakers.