Category Archives: In the Community

Notice at Battery Park

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There is an event at BCC Regional Services Center (4805 Edgemoore Lane 2nd Floor Bethesda on January 31st from 7-9pm to review the Playground Renovation Plan. In light of the concerns re: a road through the park, the meeting will be an important one to attend. Please confirm the details closer to the time with the MNCPPC — see number on the sign above.

If you are at the Whitehall Condos, Sussex House Condos, Madison Condos, Battery Lane Apts, Aldon Apts or other residences in the immediate area, please share this info.

Cheers!

Open Question: How will the Purple Line Change Bethesda

Recently I was discussing this issue with some friends and family and found that there was no real consensus on what the changes will be and whether they will be uniformly positive/ negative or somewhere in between. I thought it would be really interesting to get the thoughts of the community on this question.

Drop me an email at raj@rajabout.com with your feelings re: the Purple line and how it will change Bethesda – we will post a few of them here in the days ahead.

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Happy New Year Bethesda

Dear readers,

I just wanted to take a moment to wish you and your loved ones a Happy New Year!

I have noticed that many pundits, writers etc. have marked the change from 2016-2017 by noting how terrible the last year was and how relieved they are to move into 2017.

My take is slightly different. It is true that there were elections both in the US and around the world that seemed to be filled with negativity but, hidden in plain sight, so many positive things happened last year. Many of these are global and big picture in nature – US carbon emissions dropped, a ninth planet was discovered and Colombia moved closer to peace.

But, in some ways, of equal significance were the millions of positive things that happened much closer to home.

Let me give you three with a local twist:

1. At a local and global level – Bethesda’s NIH started Zika vaccine trials and showed an ability to assist infected people.

2. Bethesda’s Katie Ledecky dominated the Rio Olympic games.

3. Bethesda Green and Bethesda Magazine awarded prizes to groups of individuals and businesses for their contribution to greening our community.

Please email me your thoughts on the best things that happened in 2016 – from the personal to the local to the global.

We will feature the best ones – my email, as ever, raj@rajabout.com

 

 

Bethesda Chocolates is Amazing

Friends,

Make yourself very popular this season and dash over to Bethesda Chocolates as quickly as you can.

I was fortunate enough to attend the pre-launch event this weekend and sampled a host of delightful, decadent morsels of wonderful sweet goodness!

Thinking quickly (which is not easy when you are drinking the best hot chocolate this side of the Sofitel) I snaffled a lot of terrific Christmas presents for friends and family + a selection of truffles and other goodies for Christmas day.

Hurrah and well done Bethesda Chocolate – looking forward to getting my chocolate fix via your store for years to come!

PS They are in soft launch mode at the moment (staffing up etc) and I believe that will be fully open at the turn of the year but they are open at the moment so enjoy and let me know what is your favorite nibble – email me at raj@rajabout.com

 

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Nazi symbols in the Bathroom and the End of the Work/Personal Life Divide

Dear readers – the following piece is more sobering and serious than many of our usual posts but in light of recent stories from Bethesda area schools I thought it necessary. Please feel free to email me with thoughts at raj@rajabout.com. I should note, for the record, that these comments are in my individual capacity (as ever) and should not be attributed in any way to any organization I am affiliated with (be that in real estate, academia or otherwise). Thank you!

Nazi symbols in the Bathroom and the End of the Work/Personal Life Divide

In the days since the conclusion of the 2016 Presidential election, the country has been roiled by emotion. From unconfined joy to utter despair, supporters of each candidate have reacted in ways that reflect the polarized, winner take all nature of our current body politic. Much of that is to be expected and understood, the stakes were high in this last election and the competing visions seemed worlds apart.

What has caught many off guard, although warning signs were there during the campaign, has been the sharp spike in racist, anti-Semitic and xenophobic incidents in the days since the polls closed. Stories of despicable behavior are being shared with every increasing frequency. From school children targeting Latino classmates with chants about deportation and slurs being aimed at Indian Americans pumping gas, to Nazi symbols daubed on places of worship and cruel targeting of LGBT youth, there is a sense that decency has lost at the ballot box.

Unfortunately, at time of writing, the President elect has added fuel to the fire by picking a leader of the US Alt-Right movement as his senior White House advisor, a fact that is as disappointing as it is unsurprising. Elections have consequences is an old adage but the more important one is that great leadership brings with it great responsibility, and we must all hope, though perhaps not rely on, that lesson being eventually grasped by the next President.

Without leadership we have a vacuum. And that is really what I wanted to discuss in this post. What this election and its aftermath has started to bring into sharp relief is that it will be hard to put the genie of decency back in the bottle. When Nazi symbols are being daubed on the walls of Westland Middle and Burning Tree Elementary in Bethesda, it is past time for the community to react. We all must speak out publicly and unreservedly to condemn these actions and those who perpetrated them. More than that, we need to demand that all stakeholders recognize the new realities we are facing and develop tangible plans to unite our community against the hatred and intolerance that has been unleashed.

While I hope and believe that these steps can be taken, let me be clear, it is not enough. You see, I have high hopes that our community will make it through this period and emerge stronger and, yes, more united. However, for other communities around the country, the future is a lot less certain. What levers do the Muslim and Latino communities of this country have to pull when faced with chants about deportation and walls? A lot fewer than those of us who are fortunate to live here in progressive Bethesda or other similar places.

In light of that, it is up to us, those more privileged (due to education, wealth and role in society) to do much, much more. I have been blessed to be part of the Bethesda community for the best part of a decade and have come to understand that we have, among us, talent and influence on a scale that few communities can match. Now, after this election, we have to use those strengths to directly challenge the rise of hate we are seeing across the country.

What am I asking of you? In short, to rethink the way your personal beliefs about society and professional life interact. Yes, you should sign petitions and donate to organizations that are on the right side of these issues, but recognize that is no way close to being sufficient. When a country sees its very fabric begin to unravel, its citizens have an obligation to act not only during their private time but during their professional time. For example, if you run a contracting firm with high level political contacts,  referencing your profound concerns with those you are connected to is infinitely more significant than signing an e-petition to the White House.

I strongly believe that a community such as ours, can lead the way in resisting the tide of intolerance. And we can do so by making clear that everyone, from the President on down, has a responsibility to stand firmly and publicly against the hatred that this campaign has unleashed.

 

 

Reflecting on Life

A number of readers have talked about the shock of the election and the way it has hit them harder than they would have anticipated. I have been thinking about that and reflecting on what we can do at Bethesda Actually to be of service to those struggling a bit at this time. One idea is to share a few thoughts regarding places to walk and breathe fresh air. My feeling is that disconnecting from computers etc. and getting outside a bit can clear some mental clouds and cobwebs.

So if you have any ideas for places to walk and clear away some stress please email me at raj@rajabout.com

Here are a couple of thoughts for your consideration:

Walking around the butterfly sanctuary near NIH:

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Playing some tennis @ Battery Park:

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Please share your ideas!

 

Where is North Bethesda?

I jest of course but as a real estate professional I do get this question from time to time.

Our friends at Bethesda Magazine explored the question in a recent article which make for a fun read and discussion!

Bethesda Library Part of Second Annual Food for Fines Program

Just a reminder for all of you library users who may have an outstanding fine or two 🙂

See you at the library!!!

However your fines happened, we are pleased to be offering our second annual Food for Fine campaign!
Every canned good or non-perishable food item you bring to your library October 16–30 will reduce your existing fines or hold fees by one dollar. (Donations cannot be used towards other fees.) The Food for Fines program is part of our support forMontgomery County’s Community Service Week. All food will be donated to the Manna Food Center. Shelf-stable foods such as canned fruits, vegetables and meats, dried beans, brown rice, quinoa, low sugar cereals, baby food, formula, and vegetarian items will be accepted as donations. Unfortunately, we cannot accept home-canned items, opened foods, or foods past their expiration dates.
No fines but still want to get involved? No problem! All customers are welcome to drop off donations at our branches during this program.

 

 

Important Report on Binge Drinking

A hat tip to our friends at Patch for reporting on this important health and safety issue – a recent townhall meeting on binge drinking in Bethesda.

Our kid is still really young but as reports and discussions like this surface, it becomes clear that it is never too early  to start paying attention to issues like this.

Thoughts on the Future of Bethesda

I was walking around Bethesda with my family this week and we happened to stroll by a new construction project in old Bethesda. We got talking and came to a couple of conclusions:

1. On balance, the smart growth aspect of Bethesda’s plan does make sense – increasing density is a good thing in the age of climate change etc.

2. Bethesda needs to do much, much more to improve its environmental footprint. From green roof projects to adding in more pocket parks, there are things that can and should be done.

Now, some of that responsibility will be on the authorities – in particular at the county level. They need to demand more from developers – just look at DC as an example.

However, it is not only the role of government. Our civil society groups need to do more. Bethesda Green (who we have donated to over the years) needs to push the whole community to embrace a more powerful plan for smart and green growth.

And we the citizens need to do more, from signing up with the compost crew (a terrific bethesda organization) to adding permeable surfaces to our homes and driveways.

We can and must make Bethesda a better, greener place!

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