Berning Shame

Dear Readers,

Takoma Park progressive Democrat activist/citizen Keith Berner is whipping up a letter-writing campaign, urging people to contact first term county councilmember Valerie Ervin – whom Your Gilbert tagged “Astroturf Val” in last fall’s elections – and ask her to vote against the controversial ICC, the Inter County Connector highway.

Your Gilbert will be sending Keith a “I FAILED TO HEED GILBERT!” t-shirt of shame. Mr. Berner endorsed Ms Erwin in his 2006 voters guide, choosing her over an obviously more progressive candidate, Hans Reimer.

In an e-mail to the community Mr. Berner now admits: ”I was an ardent and active Ervin supporter last year. I believed that she was a slow-growth progressive who would protect communities and the environment. Now, I’m not so sure. I want her to be on our side. At the very least, I want to know which side she’s on.”

Ahem. Your Gilbert had no trouble knowing what side she was on over a year ago. In our granolapark post discussing various election guides, including Mr. Berner’s, we said:

“Berner insists Astroturf Val is progressive, based on her endorsements from The Sierra Club, . . . . Berner does admit (ha!) that Ervin’s campaign is “void of substance,” as your Gilbert observed in his brilliant but tragically unheeded “Politics on Parade” post back in July.

“Gilbert is perplexed about the progressives failure to notice (or take seriously) that Astroturf Val’s rhetoric does NOT match up with that of her endorsers. Gilbert predicts there are going to be some shocked progressives when Ervin starts casting votes.”

And, as we predicted, a disillusioned Mr. Berner says in his recent e-mail to the community,

“In a TV interview just before she took office, Valerie Ervin called the ICC vital. But before and since, she has refused over and over again to take a public position. Community representatives have repeatedly met with Ervin (I have personally written or called her about this matter several times). She has often reacted to these inquiries with great irritation and always refused to tell us what she really thinks.

“We did not elect Valerie Ervin to have her duck controversial issues. Her public silence constitutes tacit support for the ICC. It is also a sneaky way for her to avoid taking responsibility for a stand that the great majority of her constituents oppose. In that sense, it is irresponsible and politically dishonest.

“The time has come to demand accountability from Valerie Ervin. Either she must join the fight to stop the ICC or she must own up to her support from the project and tell her constituents why.”
Keith urges concerned citizens to “either call or write Valerie Ervin now: 240-777-7960 /

Demand that she stop ducking the issue and that she join the “good guys” on the Council to oppose the ICC.”

He also refers people to go for more information.
— Gilbert

About the Author

Gilbert is the pseudonym of a hard-bitten, hard-drinking, long-time Takoma Park resident who maintains the granolapark blog. Gilbert and William L. Brown — Granola Park's mild-mannered chief of staff, researcher, and drink pourer — have never been seen in the same place at the same time.