Bethesda Bonfire2021-05-28T13:28:28+00:00

Purple Line rebrands as Lavender Line; MD approves new contract

The Maryland Transportation Authority (MTA) today announced a new marketing effort for the much-maligned Purple Line, rebranding the mass transit project as the Lavender Line. Officials discussed that rebranding the project’s name and signature color to a lighter, more subtle tone would both help distract from the increase in cost and delays, and provide a much needed positive reset for the project’s image.

In an internal email obtained by Bethesda Bonfire, recently departed Transportation Secretary Greg Slater noted in his send-off letter to staff, “Lavender brings to mind beauty, sweetness, health benefits,  floral scented candles, essential oils, and bath bombs.” He added “Who wouldn’t want to be surrounded by a nearby field of amazing, aromatic lavender?”

The rebranding was coordinated with today’s vote by the Maryland Board of Public Works (BPW) to approve the new design-build contract and total cost increase, (for) now totaling $9.3 billion. Maryland comptroller and Governor hopeful Peter Franchot called the new amount “mind-boggling,” comparing it to the Takoma Park Silver Spring Co-op (TPPS) debacle.

“It’s important to understand and recognize the Purple Line’s torrid history, but more so to look ahead to the future. Who’s responsible and how we got to this point will be forgotten in the annals of time.” Governor Hogan explained, “Sure that future may have cost us a lot more money than anyone could have anticipated, and taken a lot longer than anyone could have anticipated, and transport less riders than anyone could have anticipated, but who could have anticipated any of these problems in advance?”

MTA spokesperson Barry Wheeler noted, “We also considered lilac. Both lilac and lavender have a very nice ring to them. Either way, it’s a perfect compliment for the new Periwinkle Path which will replace the beloved Capital Crescent Trail and most definitely not be a glorified sidewalk.”

Project managers estimated the cost to change the project’s name and branding at this point would be negligible in the grand scheme of things, and only cost slightly more than the recent approved WMATA station name change from White Flint to North Bethesda. Wheeler explained, “Really, what’s another $100 million if it means decades of a lovely lavender light rail? After all, it’s just money.”

By |January 27th, 2022|

County Council extends indoor pants mandate

The Montgomery County Council voted unanimously today to extend the indoor pants mandate indefinitely.  This decision comes on the hotly contested heels of their recent vote to extend the indoor mask mandate to February 21,

County Councilmember Tom Hucker explained, “Effective today until forever, pants will be required indoors.”

County Councilmember Hans Riemer noted, “Look, we don’t care what you do in the privacy of your own home. Wear your pants. Don’t wear your pants. Just put them on before you go to the store, just like the rest of us, one leg at a time.”

County Councilmember Craig Rice sighed, “I hope it’s something we can all agree on and not have to hold yet another public hearing for.”

A new slogan was unveiled as part of the effort: “Pants. Good for Everyone.”

By |January 26th, 2022|

County Council leaks alien invasion contingency plans

In the age of COVID, emergency preparedness has been at the forefront of Montgomery County government agency conversations and debates.  From infinitesimally small and unimportant initiatives such as making testing and masks available to all, to big picture issues such as the ongoing renovations of the County Council headquarters, the County has had a lot on its hands.

One of the priority agenda items emerging from the County Council retreat today was the necessity to prepare for the high possibility of aliens invading Montgomery County.  The County’s Emergency Readiness Division Chief Stanley Kepler explained, “With all the craziness in our world today, we felt an extra-terrestrial incursion against the smartest and most well informed residents in the nation was imminent. We can’t let the pandemic get in the way of being prepared.”

“We have to think of the kids. Our Don’t Probe Our Kids! task force has been busy putting together steps for kids to shelter in place, tether themselves to a large object, and record the evidence – ‘Hide, Hang Tight, and TikTok.’  It’s the new ‘Stop, Drop, and Roll.’

Chevy Chase resident Dr. Carla Sagan, Ph. D., held strong in her beliefs.  “Aliens can go to NoVa but we aren’t going to allow them here in Montgomery County – not in my backyard!”

County Councilmember Andrew Friedson described it as “the perfect plan.”

The plan’s existence was inadvertently leaked by Marlene Michaelson, Executive Director of the Montgomery County Council, during today’s County Council retreat.  Phone, e-mail, and text messages left for the highly-regarded Michaelson were not returned at the time of publication.  In unrelated news, neighbors reported mysterious flashing lights and a circular burn mark in her backyard.

 

By |January 10th, 2022|

Marriott brings bright Christmas cheer – lights up downtown Bethesda

In the festive spirit of the holidays, Marriott International announced their new downtown Bethesda headquarters would be “lit up like a Christmas tree” 24×7 and shine bright throughout the new year. Spokesperson Mickey Warner explained, “We were all so sad to hear the Mormon Temple wouldn’t be holding their traditional Festival of Lights Christmas celebration, so we thought we’d bring a bit of cheer to the people. Our Signature Tree isn’t quite up to snuff but we’ll shine our lights bright for all to bathe in the festive holiday spirits!”

“I’m so excited!” exclaimed a man who lived nearby but wouldn’t provide his name. “I didn’t have time to get a Christmas tree this year and the kids have been so pissed. But now I just tell them to look out the window for a tree bigger than the dinky traditional little feller at Rockefeller Center!”

Neighboring residents concerned about a repeat of the blue Chase Bank lights that bathed the entire surrounding area in bright blue lights were comforted by Warner. “Oh don’t worry, we would never be so gauche as to blast blue lights into our neighbor’s windows. Our red, white, blue, and green are a much more subtly refined Christmas cheerful color palette. And what kind of bahumbug doesn’t just adore Christmas?!”

When asked about the expense in a time of need and crisis, Warner explained, “We’re still banking on that county and state money, so that’ll keep the electric bills paid for quite some time. Especially since we probably won’t hit our promised employee numbers post-Covid. It’s a win/win cost savings situation for us and what little joy for nearby Bethesda residents.” She quickly corrected herself to say, “what a joy for nearby Bethesda residents, I mean, of course.”

 

By |December 23rd, 2021|

Has Santa Been Naughty? Cancel Culture reaches the North Pole

While Montgomery County celebrates being named the highest vaccinated county in the nation, the high cost of safety may have taken a toll on the Christmas holiday spirit.

Led by the Bethesda Elementary School glee club / social justice debate club, Welcoming Our Kinder Equals (WOKE), children of Montgomery County are instituting strict holiday COVID regulations, demanding proof of vaccination status and mandating masks for Santa and his reindeer before allowing entry through their household chimneys.

Little Tina standing atop her blue Disney princess Elsa and Anna step stool spoke on behalf of her peers, “Ol’ St. Nick better show us his official vaccination card, and he better watch out, we’re doublechecking that it’s legit. And he better be on top of his booster shot, he’s had weeks to get it by now.”

When reached for comment, Kris Kringle replied with a written statement, “Any reports that I’m anything but fully vaccinated and boosted are fake news. I carry my CDC card in my hat every day if anyone wants to see it they’re welcome to come see me.”

Montgomery County Animal Services also issued a statement.  “We take pet licensing very seriously in Montgomery County. Due to several complaints of unlicensed reindeer each year around Christmas time, we’re going to require proof of rabies vaccination and a proper license. Mr. Kringle can register for a license just like every other pet owner here in Montgomery County. Plus if he’s boarding his reindeer in a stable, we highly recommend the Bordetella vaccine as well.”

The WOKE children are also insisting that St. Nicholas immediately cease using overseas child labor, to improve factory conditions, and provide higher than minimum wage to all of his little workers.

If these conditions aren’t met by Christmas Eve, the Elven Liberty Foundation (ELF) have an upcoming vote to decide whether or not to unionize. Such a labor action would potentially cripple an already fraught supply chain struggling with Covid-19 related shortages.

Head elf Buddy explained, “We may be little but our hearts and mortgages are big and the bills they pile up. Christmas doesn’t stop for COVID, but if Santa wants to keep up his reputation of delivering every good boy and girl’s toys on time this year, a token cost of living increase isn’t going to cut it – the jolly fat man’s gotta pony up.”

 

*Santa’s elves seen taking to the street, mobilizing in advance of the upcoming holiday union vote.

By |December 20th, 2021|

County to accept Bitcoin payments for parking in downtown Bethesda

With parking rates slated to increase in the new year for Montgomery County operated garages and lots in Bethesda, Silver Spring, and Wheaton, the Division of Parking Management (MCDOT) announced a new parallel pilot program to begin accepting Bitcoin payment. The tech-savvy initiative was presented as a way to help financially burdened residents pay for higher parking rates as well as to “rescue” the beleaguered financial situation of the Parking Lot District (PLD) for each downtown area, starting with a pilot program in downtown Bethesda.

Bitcoin has been generally skyrocketing over the past year both in value and in the news. “We really wanted to capitalize on Bitcoin’s popularity,” County spokesperson Coris Ponder exchanged. “It’s a perfect solution. Bitcoin’s rising value gives the Parking Lot District (PLD) additional revenue without technically raising prices. We don’t even need to reprogram the meters each month to adjust the pricing whenever the parking rates do go up for real.”

Bitcoin and Downtown Bethesda Pricing Comparison

Bitcoin Pricing HistoryBitcoin Pricing History

* Bitcoin pricing history chart courtesy of Wikipedia

While the flexible payment options were generally lauded, not everyone was in support of the parking price increase. County resident Jordan Bentley asked, “If our County’s young adults can’t afford downtown rent, what makes you think they can afford downtown parking?”

County Councilmember Andrew Friedson, who did not support the timing of a proposed parking price increase in the middle of a pandemic, did applaud the move to Bitcoin payments. He explained that “[Bitcoin] allows us to shift the needed additional revenue generation to those making a killing in cryptocurrency. It’s a perfect pairing!”

The County noted that the goal of providing a hip new payment method was not to drive more vehicular traffic, but rather to “face the reality that millennials just don’t seem very interested in coming to downtown Bethesda.” Ponder added, “We’ve done everything we can to attract millennials – from luxury high-rises to pocket parks to the highest per capita of bank branches on the East Coast. We weren’t sure what to do next, so figured we’d try and see if the lure of cool cryptocurrency might just be the ticket.”

Financial troubles have plagued the Bethesda PLD for quite some time, almost going broke in 2015.  Ponder explained that the Transportation & Environment Committee was comfortable moving forward with the current plan. “We’ll totally be fine as long as we keep finding assets to sell to developers and finally attract those millennials we’ve been courting.”

When informed of the recent volatility of Bitcoin, Ponder shrugged off the news. “Any government program will have its ups and downs, but the revenue opportunity is just as clear as what exactly cryptocurrency is.”

MCDOT PLD Parking Rates and Hours

PLD Parking Rate Increase:

The County Council adopted new hours requiring payments in Bethesda, Silver Spring and Wheaton. New effective dates are listed below:

Bethesda:

The County Council adopted a parking rate increase in Bethesda. New rates and effective dates are listed below:

  1. Garages 40, 47, 57 – New rates: $1.75 per hour – Effective Jan 3, 2022
  2. Garages 31, 35, 36, 42, 49 – New rates: $1.50 per hour – Effective Jan 3, 2022
  3. Lots 8, 10, 24, 25, 28, 41, 44 – New rates: $2.00 per hour – Effective Jan 3, 2022
  4. Garage 11 – New rates: $1.50 per hour – Effective Feb 1, 2022

Silver Spring

  1. Garages 3, 7, 9, 16, 58, 60, 61 – Hours requiring payment: 7:00am to 10:00pm, Mon to Fri – Effective Jan 3, 2022
  2. Garages 2, 4, 5/55 – Hours requiring payment: 7:00am to 10:00pm, Mon to Fri – Effective Jan 18, 2022
  3. All Lots in Silver Spring – Hours requiring payment: 7:00am to 10:00pm, Mon to Fri – Effective Jan 3, 2022

Wheaton

  1. Garages 13, 45 – New rates: $1.00 per hour – Hours requiring payment: 7:00am to 10:00pm, Mon to Sat – Effective Jan 3, 2022
  2. All Lots in Wheaton – New rates: $1.00 per hour – Hours requiring payment: 7:00am to 10:00pm, Mon to Sat – Effective Jan 10, 2022
MCDOT PLD Parking Rates and Hours
By |December 16th, 2021|
Bethesda Bonfire

We here at the Bethesda Bonfire quite clearly understand that if democracy dies in darkness, why not light it all on fire with the biggest bonfire this side of the DMV!

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