Here is one lighter moment from Montgomery County's public hearing last week on banning some commercial vehicles from parking overnight in residential neighborhoods:

Council President Michael L. Subin jokingly made the suggestion to the owner of a plumbing, heating and air-conditioning business that instead of using trucks he could have a service fleet of reinforced Oldsmobiles and Buicks.

"Just in Montgomery County," shot back William F. Collins, getting laughs from the blue-collar crowd at the expense of the county's sometimes snooty image.

The Silver Spring-Takoma Traffic Coalition, the citizens group that waged the spirited but losing battle to persuade the Montgomery County Council to keep tight development controls in Silver Spring, doesn't think the war is over.

The group is looking into a court challenge and has gotten some impressive help: pro bono representation from Arnold & Porter, a major D.C. law firm.

Judy Shapiro, a lawyer with the firm, said it is the firm's policy not to discuss its arrangements with clients, but she could confirm that it was representing the coalition. Why the interest? Well, Shapiro said, the coalition caught the firm's eye with an impressive packet of information on the case.

Shapiro, by the way, lives in Takoma Park. .