22 JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2017 | BETHESDAMAGAZINE.COM
Editor-in-Chief & Publisher
BETHESDA JOURNALIST LOU PECK and I first met
25 years ago, when I hired him to be the founding
editor of National Journal’s CongressDaily, a newsletter
that employed the then-revolutionary technology of
fax broadcasting to get the latest Capitol Hill news
to subscribers. While the technology changed, Lou
remained the editor for nearly 20 years.
Lou’s encyclopedic knowledge of politics and policy
made him a superb editor. ;ese days, Lou covers the local
political scene for Bethesda Magazine and Bethesda Beat—
and his passion for the subject matter hasn’t changed.
Lou has a unique ability to make complicated subjects
understandable. For example, in our May/June 2016 issue,
he revealed the behind-the-scenes politics that resulted in
the firing of then-Superintendent of Schools Joshua Starr
and the eventual hiring of Jack Smith as his replacement.
In the September/October 2016 issue, Lou wrote a cover
story about the many challenges facing Montgomery
County Public Schools.
Lou faced a special challenge with his story in this issue
on the Bethesda sector plan. ;e mere mention of the words
“sector plan” have the same sleep-inducing e;ect on most
people as watching C-SPAN. ;at’s unfortunate, because
sector plans in general—and the Bethesda sector plan, in
particular—are critical to the future of our community.
Every 20 years or so, the planning board sets new
guidelines for the development of the county’s urbanized
areas. In recent years, the board has reworked the plans
for the White Flint and Westbard areas. (You may recall
the Westbard plan because of the hostility it sparked from
many local residents.)
In the next few months, the county council will
consider and likely approve a plan that will remake
downtown Bethesda. While details of the plan are still
being debated, one thing is clear: Big changes are coming.
As Lou explains in his story, “Over the Top?,” on page
144, the sector plan envisions a Bethesda with much
greater “density,” which, in land-use speak, means taller
buildings, more people and—likely—more tra;c. (;e
plan also calls for more parks.)
Lou’s story, based on about 30 interviews, lays out what
the plan means for the future of downtown Bethesda and
describes the political maneuverings that have shaped—
and will continue to shape—it.
Whether or not you’ve been following the Bethesda
sector plan, Lou’s story will give you the knowledge you
need to understand what’s in it and to follow the county
council’s deliberations over the next few months.
Stay tuned to Bethesda Beat at BethesdaMagazine.com
for regular updates on the sector plan.
ELEVEN YEARS AGO, WE published our first Best of
Bethesda issue. ;e 50 winners were chosen by about 1,500
readers who mailed in paper ballots. In this year’s issue,
we’re pleased to present 150-plus readers’ and editors’ picks.
;is time around, a record 13,000-plus people voted in
our Best of Bethesda Readers’ Poll at BethesdaMagazine.
com, picking their favorites in more than 100 categories.
Our editors chose winners in another 50 categories.
;ank you to everyone who took the time to vote in
our Readers’ Poll! I hope all our readers enjoy our biggest
Best of Bethesda issue yet.
to our readers