Following controversy surrounding the county council’s scrapping of a non-binding resolution petitioning Congress to direct war spending to social programs, Busboys and Poets owner Anas “Andy” Shallal says he won’t consider opening new locations in Montgomery County, the Washington City Paper reports.
The peace activist, who opened a this summer, told the City Paper he had been eyeing the closed Borders Books & Music space in Silver Spring and has also been approached by developers to open in Bethesda. Now, he says, those considerations are off the table.
Critics of the resolution said supporting cuts in military spending could have a negative affect on the local economy in Montgomery County. In Bethesda, Lockheed Martin – the nation’s largest defense contractor – employs more than 5,000.
Maryland lawmakers and Lockheed Martin officials contacted county officials with concerns about the resolution, the Washington Post reported.
According to the Post, Virginia officials have tried to lure Lockheed’s headquarters to the Old Dominion, and critics have said the resolution could mar Montgomery’s appeal to the business community.
“I think the council’s motives were pure, but it could have potentially sent the wrong message to an important business sector,” Del. William Frick (D-Dist. 16) told the Post. “It just seemed contrary to our objective to demonstrate that we are a good place to do business."
Council president Valerie Ervin (D-Dist. 5) withdrew the measure citing a lack of support, the Post reported, but the move to drop the resolution has spurred backlash from peace activists including Shallal.
"County residents pay about $2.5 billion in defense spending," Shallal told the City Paper. "Money that is desperately needed for other services."
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