February 8, 2012
Today was jam packed with council session and a committee meeting on small business issues. Wheaton is very much on our mind as we sort through redevelopment ideas and county investments.
Tonight featured a hearing on the county capital budget. It was interesting and residents spoke compellingly about a diverse array of topics.
I expect that we are going to make significant changes to the capital budget. I am looking to protect the Purple Line and biking facilities, and I am waiting to hear about MCPS needs.
Meanwhile I am working hard on an effort to stop the Annapolis cost shift to county governments for pensions.
I’m continuing my focus on the Purple Line, working with my colleague George Leventhal to keep that priority on track.
I’m excited to tackle these big picture challenges while delving far into the weeds of capital projects. It’s a nice mix.
November 22, 2011
Today started in the Takoma-Langley Crossroads area for a meeting with Erwin Mack. He runs a small business improvement effort in that area and they are working on the Purple Line, the sector plan, and many issues. Erwin is also head of the county’s pedestrian and bike safety committee. We discussed the recent T&E committee meeting about safety for kids walking to school and some follow up that I am considering.
Then, a Gov Ops committee meeting at 1030 focused on technology issues.
The rest of the day went to a collection of items I’m working on. Economic development, particularly. I was surprised to see another multi-million dollar economic incentive request on my desk from the county executive.
I’m also getting ready for my first town hall type event, on December 12 at Richard Montgomery High School, at 730pm. Please mark your calendar!
The photo is from a quick meeting today with a group of Webelos. My favorite moment: in response to Nancy Floreen’s challenge to correctly say how many people live in Montgomery County, we had a very thoughtful and persuasive young man pronounce, FIVE thousand!! “NO,” the next one said, “NINE thousand!“
Now I am on the couch… Emailing and watching MCPS TV, trying to get a better sense of what we offer through our county cable channels.
November 4, 2011
This morning I met with volunteer PTA leaders from the BCC cluster to talk about the new middle school. Last night Dr. Starr announced he would reinitiate the site selection process for that middle school, acknowledging a flawed MCPS process. I applaud his decision and I think it was both wise and courageous for him to clear the decks on an issue like that. Nevertheless the schools are overcrowded…
This afternoon we held a joint meeting of the Prince George’s County Council and our Council’s transportation committees. We discussed the Purple Line, bus rapid transit and the state commission’s recommendations to raise some $800 million in transportation funds. I made the point that the Purple Line will be a game changer for economic development as it connects our 355/270 corridor and the Red Line there with Silver Spring, UMD and New Carrollton – on up to NYC. Plus a few more Metro lines in PG and some MARC lines to boot.
Regionally the Purple Line is our most critical transportation priority and our two counties, which suffer from heavy traffic and will pay a huge share of the needed gas tax increase, should insist on a funding commitment this year in the legislature. If we support the gas tax together then let’s get the Purple Line together!
The photo shows us at the WSSC board chamber where we sometimes meet when it is a joint function.
October 9, 2011
Today’s highlight was a presentation from Tom Street and Mark Winston
about the rapid transit task force. They are preparing recommendations
for a county wide rapid transit system using advanced vehicle
technology on the street surface. Preliminary studies show that there
is a strong benefit to residents by improving mobility and reducing
congestion. Drivers are much better off with this transit system
since there are fewer new cars on the road.
The challenges include how much it costs, how to pay for it, how it
affects long standing priorities such as the Purple Line, and where to
start with it first.
October 7, 2011
I started off today meeting with Ana Lopez van Balen, the new mid
county services director, to learn more about her work and see some of
the social services that are provided out of the county building in
Wheaton. Then I stopped in to chat with Mr. Leo, my good friend who
runs Marchones Deli right there in Wheaton. We talked about the coming
redevelopment and how it may affect local small businesses.
Then into a great meeting with advocates from the senior community.
Patrick Lacefield in the county executive’s office is working with me
and a team from Senior Leadership Montgomery as well as nonprofit
service groups to help identify how we can more effectively inform
seniors about transportation options available through 311. We are
making great progress.
Then I met with community leaders from the Lyttonsville area,
including Ms. Charlotte Coffield. They have a challenge with how the
Purple Line will impact their community and I am glad to be able to
help them out. Coincidentally I heard from my dear friend Barbara
Sanders that the Purple Line received a new approval from the US DOT,
which will mean continued progress in design and construction.
Finally, a helpful presentation from Federal Realty about upcoming
development in White Flint.
The council was briefed today on results from the beefed up police
patrols in Silver Spring and Burtonsville. The additional enforcement
has cut crime significantly, which is great news.
Swirling in the background: my impact tax bill, the peace resolution,
the curfew, the fire commission, a big box community benefits
agreement bill with UFCW, politics with MCGEO, and a whole lotta