The Pumphrey’s Appeal

It may surprise some folks to learn that I fully support the City’s efforts to appeal the ruling against it in the Pumphrey’s matter.

Why?  The issue before the court was not whether the Mayor and Council made a bad decision to reverse the permission given to Pumphrey’s to build a parking lot.  The issue before the court was whether the Mayor and Council had the power to reverse the permission given to Pumphrey’s to build a parking lot.  That’s an entirely different matter.

Make no mistake:  I still believe – strongly – that it was a deeply unwise decision to yank the approval away from Pumphrey’s when no legal or procedural error occurred last term in the granting of the approval.  It was grossly unfair to a valued Rockville business, and it was a blow against pedestrian safety.  But I’m even more certain that the Mayor and Council had the power to make this deeply unwise decision.

Just as the last Mayor and Council had the power to grant Pumphrey’s permission to build their parking lot, this Mayor and Council had the power to revoke that permission.  The text amendment giving the approval and the one yanking it away are simply two legislative actions by a legislative body.  It is generally recognized that legislative bodies are free to make unwise legislative decisions.  Rockville’s Mayor and Council is no exception, and this particular unwise legislative decision should be no exception.

I really wish I had won this vote last year. The way it turned out, it sent a terrible message to Rockville’s residents and businesses that they cannot count on the word of their City.  But I lost this vote, fair and square, and that should be where the story ends.  Courts should not overturn any validly made legislative decision – even a chowderheaded one.

I did not support Pumphrey’s suit against the City in this matter, even though I deeply sympathized with what had happened to them, and I do not support Pumphrey’s in its defense of the City’s appeal.  I strongly support the City’s appeal of this decision, and I will do everything I can to make sure the City wins it.