Patch sat down with Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett for a one-on-one interview on the Brickyard property controversy. The following is the second in a three-part series with his answers to Patch’s questions.
The , a legal battle between those who want to preserve an organic farm and those who want to convert it into soccer fields.
The case pits Nick Maravell, the farmer who’s worked the land for more than 30 years against the Montgomery County Board of Education which, Maravell says, violated an open meetings act when it transferred the Brickyard Road lease from him to Montgomery County.
As the legal questions remain, in Part Two of this series Leggett addressed his motivation for changing the use of the land. Paraphrasing of the interview shows in italics.
Patch: Regarding accusations of false practices and political motives:
“I’ve been in public service for 30 some years. And I don’t think that the average person out there would question my motive. Whether you like what I’m doing or dislike it, this is my decision and I’m looking at it on the merits. And so, all this stuff about the soccer people being so influential or some major person having such influence, or the process is this -- all that’s smoke screen.
People just don’t want to deal with the issues. They don’t want neighborhoods to change. I can understand that, and people need to be honest about that,” Leggett said.
“There’s no political motive for me on anything. I’m not running for anything. I’m not running for office again. I’ve indicated that I’m through running for public office.”
Patch: Regarding anger in the community about the leasing of the land to the county for soccer fields:
“There may be some anger, but I think some of it is probably misplaced. I think at the bottom line of all of this people don’t want to see change,” Leggett said.
“I have nothing to gain from doing this, but it’s something I’ve decided we’re going to do, and we’re going to do it because it’s the right thing to do. It’s not a politically popular thing to do, but it’s the right thing to do. We need recreation, we need soccer; we have to balance those things.”
, as outlined in the county’s master plan. The Potomac Subregion Master Plan calls for 12 ball fields.
Patch: Regarding the Open Meetings ruling:
“I can’t comment on that, I don’t know; but if there’s something that’s wrong, they can go back and correct it,” Leggett said. “But I don’t think the resolution of that solves anything.
The court will decide if the BOE violated the Open Meetings Act when it transferred the Brickyard Road lease from Maravell to Montgomery County.
“I have no knowledge of what [the Board of Education] did,” Leggett said. “If there’s something that they did wrong and they need to correct it, they would correct it, but that wouldn’t end the matter, I don’t think. But all that is correctable, I would assume.”