The Prince George's County Council recently confirmed Leslie Moore, zoning lawyer with close ties to development interests, as the people's zoning counsel. That's a truly shocking display of power politics as practiced by the inner circle of the Democratic Party in P.G. County.

The people's zoning counsel, as the name implies, acts as an independent lawyer in support of the collective interest of county residents. The position thus functions as a counterweight to help offset the advantages enjoyed by the well-heeled, well-represented and well-connected zoning applicants who figure so prominently in the development industry as it operates in our county. To be effective, however, the people's zoning counsel must be a persistent and forceful critic of shoddy zoning practices.

Now here is a potential fly in the ointment. Leslie Moore is a lawyer in a county firm that handles a lot of rezoning cases and that has long catered to big development interests. Consequently, while her technical qualifications are not at issue, I have to wonder where her heart is.

In her new job, Leslie Moore can pretty well call her own shots. She has wide discretion, either to assert a strong stance or to toe a soft line in regard to curbing the excesses of the development industry.

How does Leslie Moore see the "public interest" she is to represent as the people's zoning counsel?