Fox Shuns His Party to Back Republican for Prosecutor

By Miranda S. Spivack and Ernesto Londoño
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, October 12, 2006

Strange bedfellows are joining forces in the race for Montgomery County state's attorney. Daniel M. Fox , who lost the Democratic primary to Deputy State's Attorney John McCarthy , has endorsed the Republican nominee, James F. Shalleck .

"I am absolutely thrilled that a Democrat would endorse a Republican," said Shalleck, who has unsuccessfully campaigned for the job twice before. "He and I agree on the issues." Fox, who received nearly 32 percent of the votes in the September primary, sued McCarthy for defamation during the race. He also contributed $100,000 to his own campaign. Before the primary, Fox approached McCarthy and offered to run a passive campaign if McCarthy put him in the No. 2 job in the office.

McCarthy, widely thought to hold a commanding lead in the race to be the county prosecutor, has garnered a passel of endorsements. He is campaigning to succeed his former boss, Douglas F. Gansler (D), who is running for Maryland attorney general.

Public Safety Officers' Memorial

Montgomery County public safety officers broke ground last week for the orb-shaped memorial that will honor those who have died in the line of duty.

Elected officials, heads of the county's public safety agencies and relatives of fallen officers met Oct. 5 at the site of the $300,000 memorial, which has received financial backing from the county and local businesses. It is located in Rockville at the Public Safety Training Academy on Great Seneca Highway.

Twenty-eight public safety officials have died in the line of duty in the county since 1928. The county has lost 15 police officers, 12 firefighters and one corrections employee. The memorial will include the names of all fallen officers.

Among the fallen was Montgomery County police Capt. James E. Daly Jr., whose widow attended the groundbreaking. "We never want him forgotten," Frances Daly said of her husband, who was slain in 1976 after responding to a robbery while he was off duty. "The police family never forgets. But this is a reminder for the community."

Hanson's Achilles' Heel?

Environmentalists and other critics of the county's planning process have been lying low since planning board Chairman Royce Hanson took over the beleaguered agency this summer from Derick P. Berlage . Berlage's tenure was marred by the discovery of building irregularities at Clarksburg Town Center, which then led to a growing sense that the county's system of regulating development was in disarray.

Guess what? The honeymoon may already be over for Hanson.

Last week, the Montgomery County Civic Federation, a coalition of neighborhood groups, sent a highly critical letter to the agency questioning its commitment to trees.

While the park and planning agency has acknowledged a need to examine its enforcement of environmental regulations, "there has been little internal progress even as there has been much agency opposition, obfuscation, or indifference . . . to external recommendations and . . . legal demands," the letter said.

"More and more affected individuals and communities believe that the culture within [the agency] requires it to side in such disputes with those who develop and build. . . . Therefore, we reiterate our request that [the agency]" freeze the program until the tree protection process is beefed up. Under state law, many builders must show how they will protect trees before they are allowed to begin construction.

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