‘Boomer’ or ‘Sticker’ – or Little of Both?

‘Boomer’ or ‘Sticker’ – or Little of Both?

In his recent lecture at the National Endowment for the Humanities, Wendell Berry observed that, throughout our history, Americans have been divided into “boomers” and “stickers.” The noted author and conservationist was invoking in turn the distinctions originally made by his mentor and fellow author and conservationist Wallace Stegner.

Next WMCCA Meeting

The next meeting of the West Montgomery County Citizens Association will be held Wednesday, May 9, 7:15 p.m., at the Potomac Community Center. If schools are closed because of inclement weather, the meeting will be cancelled.

Each year the WMCCA asks District 15 representatives to give a wrap-up of Maryland's legislative session in Annapolis. The Maryland General Assembly adjourned on April 6 but discussions continue regarding the possibility of two additional special sessions: one for taxes and the other for the expansion of gambling. Join us for what promises to be a lively and informative update on what was and was not accomplished during the regular legislative session. Speakers will b District 15 State Senator Rob Garagiola and Delegates Kathleen Dumais and Aruna Miller.

As always, the public is welcome to attend.

“Boomers” are those who “pillage and run and who want to make a killing.” They are “motivated by greed, the desire for money, property, and therefore power.” “Stickers,” on the other hand, are “those who settle, and love the life they have made and the place they have made it in.” They are “motivated by affection, by such love for a place and its life that they want to preserve it and remain in it.” The Potomac Subregion may appear to be worlds away from Berry's rural Kentucky farm or Stegner's Western wilderness, but their messages ring true here as well.

It is difficult to cobble together a sense and love of place in this highly mobile, ever expanding metropolitan area. Patterns of land development seem to ensure our greater alienation from each other and our natural surroundings. Few if any of us are living on farms such as Wendell Berry's that have been and will be owned by the same family for generations. Many of us moved here from somewhere else, and even our children who were born and raised here move on to other locales. Although many are hoping to “age in place,” many will eventually move away by choice or necessity. Even if we are not guilty of the worst of “boomer” behavior, it is difficult to be “stickers.” But that does not absolve us from the responsibility for doing what we can do here and now to preserve and protect the land under our stewardship — no matter how small or large — and the land over which we can collectively have influence.

West Montgomery County Citizens Association (WMCCA) can and must play a critical role in those efforts. Established in 1947, it provides continuity and an institutional framework through which community members can pool their resources to address a wide variety of issues of concern. But it is only as effective as its members, and the more “stickers” the better. One such extraordinary member is Lois Williams — Potomac resident for 45 years, WMCCA member for 40, and board member and newsletter editor for 16. Lois came to the WMCCA board after years as a Girl Scout Leader and PTA newsletter editor in Potomac, seeing WMCCA as a forum for community issues and, in this county of nearly a million people, Potomac’s voice in the halls of government. She’s worked on the new membership brochure, part of her long commitment to boosting WMCCA membership. Through WMCCA, Lois lobbied for roadside stream identification signs to promote watershed awareness, and for many years she led a WMCCA project honoring students who “go outdoors for science” to do an environmental science project using data from a woods or stream site.

WMCCA applauds The Potomac Almanac for its first place award from the Maryland Delaware DC Press Association for continuing coverage of the Brickyard Road issue.


The second meeting of the Citizens Advisory Committee for the study is scheduled for Monday, May 7. The meeting will be held in the Department of Environmental Protection large conference room starting at 7:30 p.m. DEP’s offices are located at Suite 120, 255 Rockville Pike, Rockville. CAC meetings are open to the public, not just to the CAC members. WMCCA President Susanne Lee serves on the CAC and recently requested that DEP make available all public data collected to date regarding septic and water systems in the study area.


By Ginny Barnes

In a letter to Councilmember George Leventhal, David Dise wrote: "Following receipt of development proposals and the selection of the MSI proposal a sublease was negotiated incorporating the RFQ and its requirements imposed on the design and operation of the site, and the MSI proposal which includes acknowledgment of these conditions and compliance therewith. The sublease was then advertised for a public comment period that closed 4/13/12. The sublease was amended to add a statement requiring that the project go through the Mandatory Referral process, which, although included in the project plan, was not specifically mentioned in the sublease.

The sublease was executed 4/16/2012." Please note that in three days including a weekend the County did not have time to read all the public comments, and the County didn't even make a show of considering the submitted public comments. Further, a hand-delivered petition containing 750 names of citizens opposed to the sublease was discarded by the County Executive office, which declared it improperly executed.

In a letter to WMCCA, Cynthia Brenneman, Director of the County Office of Real Estate, also states the project will be subject to Mandatory Referral at MNCPPC, and that concerns about traffic, parking, stormwater management, and noise and light pollution will be examined during the mandatory referral and permitting process.

Despite the appearance that this project is a fait accompli, the Brickyard Coalition is still pushing for an inclusive process that does not shove soccer fields down our community's throat without our having a say in the decision. We have several legal actions currently in play with more under consideration by the steering committee.

Most Incredible Statement of the Month from a Government Official: County Executive Isiah Leggett on the MSI lease for soccer fields on Brickyard Road: “It's not left up to the ultimate community that lives there to decide whether or not they want something in their community.”


The Nominating Committee proposes the following slate of WMCCA Officers and Directors to the membership for a vote at our May 9 meeting. Nominations may also be made from the floor.

President: Shawn Justement;

President Elect: Ginny Barnes;

Vice President: Curt Uhre;

Immediate Past President: Susanne Lee

Treasurer: George Barnes;

Secretary: Mike Denker; Newsletter: Lois Williams

Directors serving second year of a two-year term:

Barbara Hoover, John Yassin

Nominees for a two-year term:

Barbara Brown, Betsi Dahan, Elie Pisarra Cain, Alison Mrohs

Nominees to fill the second year of a two-year term:

Cathy Pettit, Carol Van Dam.