Sunday, December 31, 2006

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Van Hollen to raise dough for Dems

US Rep. Chris Van Hollen (MD-8) can add a new title to his resume: chairperson of the Democratic Congressional campaign committee. The 47-year-old was hand picked by Speaker-elect Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to recruit Democratic candidates and . . . .

Read the rest of this article at The Silver Spring Penguin.

O'Malley: No new taxes (yet)

Governor-elect Martin O’Malley says he won’t raise taxes during his first year in office, but he is open to suggestions. That’s a good thing, because pols around the state are sweating the budgetary details. O’Malley inherits a $400 million shortfall on day one of his term. That shortfall is . . . .

Read the full story at The Silver Spring Penguin.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Ervin, Elrich break balls in council chambers

County councilmembers Valerie Ervin (District 5) and Marc Elrich (At large) are kicking ass and taking names in Rockville, the Washington Post says. No one is safe from the ball breaking. No one.

While Ervin and Elrich are newbies to the job, neither is a virgin. Ervin was a school board member and council aide before getting this gig. Elrich spent 20 years as an activist and is a veteran of Silver Spring's redevelopment battles, the Post writes.

Their backgrounds--along with the political enema that was the 2006 midterm election--have buffed their brass balls and erased any deference to senior councilmembers.

At a council meeting on Tuesday, what would have been a straight up-or-down vote on the grant application process dragged into verbal tongue lashings between newbies and vets, the Post says.

Senior councilmember George Leventhal (At large) and council president Marilyn Praisner (District 4) proposed to give grant applications to an independent review panel. Under Leventhal and Praisner's plan, the ultimate decision of who gets how much would be reserved for the council.

Ervin, on the other hand, would like to see the independent panel have the final say. Two more freshmen--councilmembers Roger Berliner (District 1) and Duchy Trachtenburg (At large)--say the same, writes the Post.

During the meeting, Leventhal reminded his "new colleagues and friends" that any five of the nine councilmembers can dole out money as they see fit, the Post reports.

"Thank you for the lecture on counting," Ervin snapped back. "I think all four of us that were elected count really well, and we understand that it takes five votes to do anything on this council."

"I also know that five votes taken in private did not exactly make the grants process transparent," Ervin added.

"Council freshmen quick to speak up" (Washington Post)

New URL. Same bad taste.

The Daily Penguin is migrating! Check out The Daily Penguin, version 2.0, at its new URL:

There are still some kinks to be worked out, so feel free to drop me an email at if something needs improvement. Think of it as Penguin Beta.

I will post stories on both the Blogger site and until January 1, 2007. After that, I will post exclusively on

Thanks for visiting The Daily Penguin blog. Hope to see you at my new digs!

Jennifer Deseo
(writing as A. forsteri)

Friday, December 15, 2006

Now Serving

It's official: Moby Dick House of Kabob is open for business.

The Middle Eastern eatery occupies the Ellsworth Drive storefront left vacant by Phillips Famous Seafood. A fresh coat of olive paint and auburn wood tables give the joint a warm feeling.

Its L-shaped, stainless steel countertop and hovering menu are cold leftovers from the location's Phillips Seafood days. However, the low room divider that once separated the serving line from the rest of the dining room is gone, thankfully.

No word yet on whether the food's any good. Daily Penguin reporters are en route to the scene.

Today's lunch special is Ghormeh Sabzi, described as chunks of braised beef served with basmati rice. For more info, check out their online menu.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Charter House Still Not a Home

Residents of the Charter House are still locked out of their homes because of a Nov. 30 basement flood. "It will be after Christmas before people get back into their apartments," Gary Stith, director of the Silver Spring Regional Center, tells The Gazette.

About 230 people--most of them elderly--got the boot when a leaky pipe filled the building's basement with up to five feet of water, NBC 4 News reports. The flood destroyed electrical equipment, making the senior residence at 1316 Fenwick Lane uninhabitable, The Gazette writes.

Displaced residents spent a weekend at the Gwendolyn Coffield Community Center in Lyttonsville. Those who couldn't find accommodations with family were later placed in local hotels, says NBC 4 News.

Last Wednesday, management of the Charter House said it would stop paying for residents' hotel tabs, NBC 4 News reports. Instead, the company would waive December's rent and offer a $1,200 one-shot deal.

The county has since placed some residents in nursing homes, The Gazette writes.

Photo courtesy of Harkins Builders.

"Charter House residents still displaced" (The Gazette)
"Charter House stops paying for displaced residents' hotels" (NBC 4 News)

Council Backs Purple Line Construction

The county council voted unanimously to support the 14-mile Purple Line linking Bethesda with New Carrollton. Now it's up to Congress and the state to cough up billions to fund the light-rail project.

The council resolution, sponsored in part by councilmembers Valerie Ervin (District 5) and George Leventhal (At large), backed a Purple Line running mostly at street level in dedicated lanes (above). The street-level design makes the project more affordable, though the route may be tunnelled through east Silver Spring, the council said.

The county and area transit authority now wait for the US Congress to cough up $1.5 billion over the next ten years. That piece of legislation, co-sponsored by US Rep. Chris Van Hollen (MD-8), is currently in subcommittee limbo.

The bill also calls for Maryland, Virginia and the District to come up with $1.5 million each over the next ten years. Earlier this week, county exec Ike Leggett proposed an increase to the state's gas tax to raise money for transportation projects.

Thanks to the state's MTA for the image.