Monday, August 13, 2012

Throw me a party and I'll Sign Your Letter

A few weeks ago, this blog posted about a letter drafted by Dr. Starr concerning Mitchell Rales's request for a public sewer line to his estate in Potomac.

This looked sort of silly - after all, why would a Superintendent of Schools care about the state of the septic system at Glenstone?

More than we even knew. Apparently, all it takes is a few cookies to get Dr. Starr's attention.

When Dr. Starr was new in town, Mitch Rales thought he could do some partying with a purpose. His goal - "introduce him to arts-academic-business people who might not get to meet him otherwise." See August 12, 2012 email from his PR guru, Charlie (all references are to documents at the end of this post).

Funny - but looks as if Dr. Starr probably knew most of the folks who showed up.

-Three Board of Education members - Laura Berthiaume, Shirley Brandman, and Pat O'Neill
-Four County Council members (Andrews, Berliner, Ervin, and Riemer)
-At least two MCCPTA officers
(I thought you folks interviewed him for the job?)

-Six MCPS staff members
(Mr. Edwards - don't you and the rest of these folks see Dr. Starr at work?)

And the rest of the crowd?

Montgomery County Economic Development (two persons), MoCo Planning Board (three members), higher education reps in Montgomery Co (five), state representatives and delegates (two), and a few family members, staff, and friends (at least four by my count).

Can you locate the "business people who might not get to meet [Dr. Starr]?" I had trouble identifying them, perhaps someone else can help out.

I am sure everyone at the party had a great time.

Here is my question.  Is this a new way to conduct business by the Board of Ed, the County Council, and the Planning Board?   Looks to me like a way to make some deals, out of the public view.

Or is sharing a few cookies and drinks and then signing a letter to support the Rales's application for a sewer line no big deal, among friends?

After all, think of the great parties we can have after the Rales get their sewer line. But - if you go, remember, no blogging, because Mr. Rales prohibits bloggers from visiting his premises.


  1. One clarification.

    Valerie Ervin asked that we note she did NOT attend the party. Information in the post is still correct - she was on the list of folks who RSVP'd, and she was the one who got the party rolling by relaying to Brian Edwards a message about the party.

    Yes, that's why we rely so heavily on documentation. Its best to have the documents speak for themselves, without additional commentary.

  2. Barbara Sears was also on the list. She is a well-known real estate attorney in Montgomery County. What a coincidence!


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