Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Tributes Continue to Flow for MoCo Activist - Washington Post

Miranda Spivack | Maryland Moment | April 29, 2009

The tributes keep pouring in for Wayne Goldstein, the Montgomery County civic activist who collapsed on Monday on his way to a hearing about proposed expansion of Suburban Hospital. He died a short time later at Shady Grove Adventist Hospital.

Goldstein's family and friends -mother Trenice, two brothers, and his companion Judith Pont - will receive friends at the Danzansky-Goldberg Memorial Chapel, 1170 Rockville Pike, 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday. A public memorial service is scheduled for 1 p.m. Friday at the same location, with a private interment to follow.

Earlier that day, a group known as Stormwater Partners plans to remember Goldstein, 56, at its regular meeting. Diane Cameron, a scientist and founder of the group, praised Goldstein in an email to the group, calling him "a good friend to many of us [who} was appreciated for his biting sarcasm, absurd sense of humor, and encyclopedic knowledge of planning and history in Montgomery County. He was also a thorn in the side of developers and those public officials whom he saw as fronting for developers."

Another Stormwater Partner, Joseph Horgan, wrote: "If, as Woody Allen once observed, 90 percent of life is showing up, then Wayne lived 250 percent. He showed up when we did, and when we didn't. And he didn't "just" show up; he participated. His death is a major loss to the Stormwater Partners & to Montgomery County. "

Goldstein's death has brought an outpouring of warm sentiment for the 56-year-old Kensington resident, whose trademark ponytail and affinity for hats made him stand out in almost any crowd.

County Council President Phil Andrews (D-Rockville, Gaithersburg) acknowledged Goldstein's sartorial leanings in comments at the council Tuesday, noting Goldstein's "great collection of hats." Andrews praised Goldstein for his "impish sense of humor" as well as his tenacity, research abilities and advocacy for historic preservation. He said Goldstein was relentless and an outstanding leader, whose death "is a terrible blow to the community."

Goldstein was a former president of the county's Civic Federation, president of Montgomery Preservation Inc. and a columnist for the Sentinel weekly newspaper. He operated a landscaping business, and was an avid gardener.

County Executive Isiah Leggett (D) said he was "deeply saddened" by Goldstein's death. "Wayne was an earnest and perceptive watchdog on county government and county politics but he never let that earnestness get in the way of a delightful sense of humor and love of life," Leggett said in a statement.

"I have lost a friend," Leggett added. "Montgomery County has lost an institution."

Goldstein played a key role in many community efforts around the county, including an attempt to preserve a Cesar Pelli-designed office building near Germantown. He gave of his time and expertise without charge to almost anyone who wanted his help, and was known for his extensive research, crisp writing style and pleasant demeanor.

Sometimes those efforts could be bruising. Goldstein was the target of a $2 million defamation lawsuit by developer Aris Mardirossian.

Mardirossian's suit was based on a letter Goldstein wrote to him asking about a rumor that the developer planned to cut trees to create a view of the Potomac River from his property. Mardirossian alleged that the letter was "widely circulated" in the county and harmed his reputation, while Goldstein's attorney called the suit frivolous.

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