Sunday, January 31, 2016

Berliner Staff: "...large meetings tend to turn into opportunities for people to shout and express their anger more than serving as a vehicle for productive dialogue."

The Council is holding a meeting with the Westbard community – two of them in fact.  Next week, all nine councilmembers, including Councilmember Berliner,  will hear from over eighty witnesses who will testify about the plan. between the two nights, they will probably spend over 7 hours listening to residents' views.  Written testimony from dozens of others will be submitted.
 In addition, Councilmember Berliner has personally received correspondence about the Westbard Plan from over 1,400 people.  We have had meeting and multiple phone conversations with almost every neighborhood head in the Westbard area.  I would say at this point that we are very familiar with the views of the community. Therefore I do not think it would be very helpful to have an additional meeting, especially of a very large size.  In my experience, those large meetings tend to turn into opportunities for people to shout and express their anger more than serving as a vehicle for productive dialogue.  However, if there is an individual neighborhood that would like to set up a meeting with Councilmember Berliner, we will entertain it.  We do have meetings scheduled with Springfield (we did not pick the location) and with Sumner.  The Citizens Coordinating Committee for Friendship Heights will also be meeting with the councilmember in the office sometime in the next couple of weeks.  Beyond that, we  do not have any specific requests pending that I know of.
May I ask what neighborhood or HOA you reside in?  Have you received Councilmember Berliner's recent letter he sent to many in the area outlining his general approach to the plan as the Council begins its review? If not, let me know and I will forward it to you.
Best regards,
Cindy Gibson 
Cindy Gibson | Chief of Staff | 240-777-7827 
Office of Councilmember Berliner | County Council 
100 Maryland Avenue | Rockville, MD 20850


  1. This blatant disregard for his constituents is a far cry from Roger’s cable access talk show “Search for Common Ground” (circa 1990s), in which Roger “seemed” to want to have a mutual discourse with anyone holding differing views. Now that Roger is on the County Council and drinking the Kool-Aid, it seems that he has gone from “Stuart Smalley” to “Biff Tannen.”

  2. Oh, Roger has no problems holding large meetings as long as he can shape the discussion and do it on his own terms. He solicits questions beforehand and only answers those he chooses to. Do you remember his infrastructure and transportation forum last April? What a waste of taxpayers’ money that was. He thought that if he keeps repeating the same concepts over and over they would just miraculously become the new status quo. And he continued this through his fake survey! His constituents are smarter than he thought and they did not buy it. Even the PTAs tried to disassociate themselves from his attempts at this social engineering. At my kids’ school we were warned not to fill out the survey because our views were likely to be misinterpreted, and instead we were encouraged to write a straightforward e-mail. Roger was so irrelevant!

    What a strange relationship between an elected official and his constituents.

  3. When Berliner cut the video to a Council hearing:

    An aide to Montgomery County Council President Valerie Ervin is blaming the last minute decision to cut TV coverage of Monday's artificial turf hearing on Councilmember Roger Berliner.

    The abrupt change to the Cable Channel Montgomery schedule was first reported by the Parents' Coalition Monday afternoon, after a replacement committee agenda appeared on the Montgomery County Council web site just minutes before the meeting started. The original agenda stated that the 2:00 PM T&E/ED meeting would be televised live on County Cable Montgomery.

    "Councilmember Berliner made the decision to stop the TV coverage," said Ervin aide Beth Sylvester, in a phone interview yesterday. "It was changed at the last minute." In a followup interview today, Sylvester added that the TV programming change was "due to a misunderstanding," but did not elaborate on the details of the misunderstanding.

    Neil Greenberger, Legislative Information Officer for the Montgomery County Council and liaison to Cable Channel Montgomery, confirmed that the committee meeting was not televised solely because of a request by a council member. Greenberger would not say which council member made the request.

    When asked why Berliner ordered the programming change, Berliner aide Susan Buffone said only that "changes sometimes happen." Berliner did not respond to a request for a telephone interview.


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