Friday, April 27, 2012

OMG: 3rd Term for MoCo Executive Ike Leggett? // Plus, County Analyst Calls Lockheed Martin Welfare Plan "Inappropriate"

UPDATE: The rumors about Mr. Leggett weighing a third term must be true. Maryland Juice just received an email indicating a new blog has emerged called "Leggett Watch." The only substantive post so far complains about Mr. Leggett trying to pass an ambulance fee after it was rejected at the ballot. But the introductory post provides some clues:
Welcome to This blog will serve as a collection and reference point for all of the shady things that Montgomery County exec, Isiah Leggett, does. Good old Ike is constantly doing shady things and yet always seems to get a pass from the media and the citizens of Montgomery County. Hopefully having a record of his shenanigans will help voters make a better decision come election time. Don’t forget folks, the county executive in Montgomery County has no term limits!

Amazingly, rumors are swirling that Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett is currently floating trial balloons to see if he is viable to run for re-election as County Executive. Yesterday, Maryland Juice celebrated 300,000 pageviews on our blog, but we also took the opportunity to preview a few 2014 primary match-ups -- including the Montgomery County Executive's race. Two readers quickly mentioned that in spite of past statements indicating he would not seek a third term, Mr. Leggett is now considering just that. Wow.

Below Maryland Juice discusses the horrifying possibility of a third term from Mr. Leggett (or Doug Duncan for that matter), and we also update readers on Mr. Leggett's current obsession with corporate welfare for Lockheed Martin.

THE 90'S CALLED, THEY WANT THEIR COUNTY EXEC CANDIDATES BACK: Notably, the 2014 candidate field may also include former Exec Doug Duncan and 2006 Exec candidate Steve Silverman (who currently serves as Leggett's economic development director). Okay, how much LSD is in the water these three men have been drinking? A part of me believes that even though they each represent distinct perspectives, they will be competing for the same age-based demographic in Montgomery County. There has been a ton of turnover in the electorate since these men ran in competitive primaries, and I suspect whatever name ID each of them has left is demographically uneven. So in that regard, it might be fine for those of us who want to see new faces, if they all three get in the race.

But Maybe Leggett, Duncan and Silverman could start a bridge club or fantasy football league instead? I think that would be far preferable to inflicting a flashback to the last era of politics on Montgomery County voters.

TIME FOR FRESH FACES EVERYWHERE: Like Senate President Mike Miller, Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, and many others before him -- Mr. Leggett may soon seek to overstay his welcome. If MoCo residents didn't need further evidence that it was time for a new perspective, consider the policy obsessions of Mr. Leggett lately (ie: six months trying to push a youth curfew during a crime decline, and now he is again trying to pass an ambulance fee after voters rejected it at the ballot in 2010). It is only fitting that Montgomery County's two-term Executive should now try to revive a corporate welfare proposal that the Council already rejected. What is the story with Leggett repeatedly re-introducing failed bills?

Yesterday a Montgomery County Council committee discussed a proposal from County Executive Ike Leggett to give nearly $1 million in taxpayer funds to Lockheed Martin. Amazingly, Leggett wants to give this money away while the County is currently considering increasing bus fares. Ironically, Bloomberg News yesterday reported that profits at Lockheed, a multinational defense contractor, rose 20% in the first three months of this year:

MOCO STIMULUS DOLLARS FOR LOCKHEED WELFARE? - Maryland Juice previously reported that last year Lockheed Martin's profits earned every three months last year ranged from $548 million to $698 million. Notably, the County Council previously refused to consider this plan, but Leggett is now trying to use Montgomery County's limited "economic stimulus" fund to give Lockheed a free million from the taxpayer's wallet. Notably, Lockheed is not planning on using the funds to generate new jobs or activity in Montgomery County.

MOCO STAFF ANALYSTS REJECT LEGGETT'S LOGIC - The Examiner yesterday reported that staff analysts to the Montgomery County Council recommended that Councilmembers reject Mr. Leggett's proposal (excerpt below):
EXAMINER: Montgomery County should not give Bethesda defense giant Lockheed Martin a proposed $900,000 tax rebate, the County Council's staff says.

The rebate, proposed as an Economic Development Fund grant, is a way to circumvent the County Council's rejection of a 2010 bill that would have reached the same goal, Council Senior Legislative Analyst Jacob Sesker wrote in a memo prepared for a Thursday council committee meeting....

The grants are supposed to be an incentive for businesses considering moving to or expanding in Montgomery County. And in this case, the grant has no such strings attached....

Leggett is supposed to give the council an economic benefit analysis or an analysis of the company's projected financial position, which he did not, Sesker said. He also appears to not have given the council required notice, Sesker said.

"The Economic Development Fund was not intended to be used this way," said Councilwoman Nancy Floreen, D-at large and chairwoman of the Planning, Housing and Economic Development Committee, which will discuss the grant Thursday. "I don't think there is any support for this on the council...."
The company had $46.5 billion in net sales and about $4 billion in operating profits last year.

Maryland Juice has obtained a full copy of the Council staff memo rejecting corporate welfare for Lockheed Martin. The document below notes a few key facts:
STAFF MEMO: Whether or not Lockheed Martin's Center for Leadership Excellence should be exempt from the room rental and transient tax is not a question that is before the Council at this time. The question, rather, is whether or not to provide an economic development grant of  unspecified terms to Lockheed Martin as  a rebate for FY12 room rental and transient taxes paid and FY13 room rental and transient taxes estimated....

In this particular case, the Executive has proposed assistance in the amount of $900,000 without providing the Council with any documentation that this amount is correct, and without addressing the issue of whether Lockheed Martin has already been reimbursed for much of this expense by the federal government....

Furthermore, the Economic Development Fund is generally used prospectively to incentivize a company to locate in the County, physically expand in the County, or grow its local workforce. The rebate as proposed, however, is retroactive rather than prospective. The proposed assistance in this case is not tied to any plan to substantially expand or retain operations in the County....

Staff strongly advises against establishing a precedent of granting a rebate to a local employer on the basis of legislation introduced and not passed.

MoCo Council Staff Memo on Welfare for Lockheed Martin

Email All 9 Councilmembers & Steve Silverman using the address below:

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