Reopening schools is my priority

Dear resident,

I want you to know that, while I strongly support the decision not to open MCPS this Fall, getting our children back into their classrooms is an urgent priority for me.

Research is showing very troubling signs about learning loss during COVID. We may spend years recovering. Opportunity gaps are intensifying and the most vulnerable children are paying the biggest price.

That’s why I voted against the Executive Branch’s recent decision to allow restaurants to serve alcohol to patrons indoors after 10pm, hours that are generally more for socializing than eating.

While the proposal did have some safeguards, I remain concerned that allowing indoor late night socializing can only result in more COVID cases and make it harder to reopen schools.

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Police accountability legislation

Following is more information about the Police Accountability Act, Bill 34-20, which was introduced to the County Council on July 21st, authored by Councilmember Craig Rice and myself. I am providing this memorandum as additional background for those who may wish to testify on the legislation that Councilmember Rice and I have proposed.

Additional resources include:

  1. The legislation itself and an accompanying memorandum from Councilmember Rice and myself
  2. Coverage in the Bethesda Beat
  3. An editorial supporting the bill in the Washington Post
  4. An editorial supporting this exact change in the New York Times, including references to academic studies demonstrating the historical problems with disciplinary decisions made by labor arbitrators

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Now is the time to make your voting plan

Dear resident:

Election Day is just around the corner. Now is the time to make a voting plan. While COVID will have many impacts on the process, you can take steps now to make voting easy and stress free.

My strong recommendation is to request a ballot in the mail — and then mail it in early.

early = easy

You should have already received a mail-in ballot application. Don’t wait to send it in.

If you didn’t receive one it’s time to take action. Look up your voter registration in just seconds here. If you aren’t registered to vote, register here. The deadline to register to vote or change registration is October 13 (unless you register in person during early vote or on election day). Keep Reading >>

Here’s how Montgomery County can lead on climate change

Dear resident:

Years ago the County Council made a consequential decision to set aside nearly one-third of all land in our County for agriculture, through restrictive zoning.

Today I am calling on our Council to take a new and bold step forward in the fight against climate change — a crisis that Joe Biden highlighted in his convention speech — by revising the zoning code to allow the blending of solar arrays with farmland on a small portion of the Agricultural Reserve.

Farm Solar (ZTA 20-01)

Farming and solar can go together. Elsewhere, visionary farmers are pioneering “dual use” of land beneath solar arrays by Keep Reading >>

Enhanced COVID testing

Dear resident,

Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 crisis I have devoted my energy to providing oversight on the critical public health measures that we must have in place in order to get the virus under control.

Bethesda Magazine Story on Council Health Order

You already know that the County Council has enacted requirements for shutdowns and reopenings, generally affirming plans developed collaboratively with the executive branch.

Occasionally we have had to use our regulatory power to accelerate action on crucial issues where the executive’s public health response has not moved fast enough.

Facial coverings for example — our County requirement for facial coverings (and funding to distribute them) was established because the Council backed my proposal in early April. We became one of the first jurisdictions in the country to embrace a requirement. Keep Reading >>