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Fillmore’s Opening Act

Which politicians will be in the audience when the music venue opens its doors Thursday?

After years of controversy, political grandstanding and legal challenges, that gaping hole in Silver Spring's vibrant street scene is finally being filled. This week, the officially opens its doors on Sept. 15 with opening act Mary J. Blige.

The rest of the month is filled with an impressive lineup of artists as diverse as John Legend, Blondie, Primus, Cheap Trick and — my favorite — the Psychedelic Furs.

I’m always somewhat amused, at "civic milestone moments" like this, to see which local politicians show up. Specifically, it's amusing to see how many show up for a "photo-op" in front of a project they spent years opposing. Funnier still when you see that photo in their next campaign flier.

Councilmember Marc Elrich is one I’ll look out for this week. He used any legal means possible — and even some that may not have been (if you remember his signing an affidavit on behalf of the Fillmore’s chief rival, the developer of the 9:30 Club, an apparent violation of county ethics laws). So, will Mr. Elrich be on hand for opening night? Was he invited? Should he have been?

In fairness to Marc, he has been pretty philosophical about this. He has said, basically, "Look, I put up a good fight and lost, so let's move on and let bygones be bygones." Fair enough, but I wonder if the ownership group of the Fillmore, who had to pay for all the extra delay costs — which sometimes run into hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars on projects like this — are taking it as well.   

It happens all the time. Current Rockville Mayor Phyllis Marcuccio was recently criticized, and rightly so, by her challenger, Rockville Councilmember Piotr Gajewski, for showing up at the ribbon cutting for the new Choice Hotel headquarters. In this economy, any city would have killed for this "A-list" employer, but Ms. Marcuccio voted against it, for reasons hard to fathom. Should she be held accountable, or forgiven?

It’s a good question. If you own a business that locates or expands here, exactly what moral obligation do you have to invite every local politician to the ground-breaking? In my view, none at all, though others may disagree. 

It seems more fair to recognize those who stood up to be counted when the time came, and not dilute praise and recognition for the deserving by spreading it out to those who did nothing to earn it. What do you think?

As for the Fillmore, let’s take a moment to thank County Executive Isiah Leggett, his economic team, and the council members and legislators who worked hard to bring us to this day. Yes, they earned it, but not nearly as much as the Lee Development Group, which deserves a medal for patience on this one. Well done. See you at the Fillmore!

Carol Smalls September 12, 2011 at 10:49 PM
FYI: The PR director for the "Safeway East" division is Greg Ten Eyck.
Online addict September 22, 2011 at 06:20 PM
City Politicians have every right to oppose or support any measure that comes to them for a vote and debate. If you want rubber stamps move to a dictatorship. Then, once a decision is made and a city project moves forward, all politicians have the right to bask in the limelight. To not show up would be childish and immature. The venue is in their city and they should support it. Bring on all the politicians, pro and con, along with their pro and con supporters and maybe you can have a really good time and support your vibrant new facility and as unified community. Why do you want certain folks to stay home or hide in the shadows. Families feud and argue but they need to re-unite once a decision is made! But to beg the question of who belongs at the opening is a step in the wrong direction, kind of silly and simple-minded, and quite-frankly, petty.
Theresa Defino September 22, 2011 at 08:59 PM
Is there something missing from the sentence? "He used any legal means possible — and even some that may not have been (if you remember his signing an affidavit on behalf of the Fillmore’s chief rival, the developer of the 9:30 Club, an apparent violation of county ethics laws)." Re: the current mayor of Rockville at the ribbon cutting at Choice Hotels: don't forget her leading the ribbon cutting at the new police station, both projects she voted against. Should she be forgiven or held accountable? Either, both, neither...anyone's choice. But on election day this year I will be voting against her for these and many other reasons.
Malcolm Wilson September 23, 2011 at 08:49 PM
I am skeptical of anything that has Ike Legget's fingerprints on it. However, I do have to say that the quality and diversity of acts booked into the Fillmore have my attention. Can't hurt the economy. That being said, I hope he fails in the efforts with the Costco Gas...
Brigitta Mullican October 31, 2011 at 03:28 AM
It is appropriate for the Rockville Mayor to attend Ribbon Cutting events even if the vote was not unanimous. Mayor Marcuccio explained her concerns and has repeated her pleasure for Choice Hotel coming to Rockville. It is important to state all the facts in one's vote. If Council member Marc Elrich accepts an invitation to an opening Fillmore event, it is appropriate. It is expected that our public officials represent the citizens at these events.

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