The new Silver Spring Library opened last Saturday, June 20! You can catch the video of my short speech or my written remarks below.
“I’m Hans Riemer, and I love libraries, I have great memories of my libraries when I was a kid, because libraries are about people.
We’re here to celebrate a building, we’re here to celebrate knowledge, but libraries are about people!
They’re about the kids learning to read, and the parents who are finding programming during the day, things to do during the weekend, they’re about people trying to find a job, they’re about people trying to learn about our county, because they just moved here.
They’re about seniors getting things to do, to keep their lives vibrant and exiting.
Libraries are about all of us!
Today is a great day, and let’s keep it going. Celebrate today and enjoy it!”
On Monday, I met Larry Couch, chair of the Justice and Advocacy Council (JAC) of MontgomeryCounty. The JAC is a Catholic organization that advocates for our low-income.We talked about a variety of issues, including the Working Families Income Supplement, a tax benefit that helps our low-income families by supplementing their wages. The JAC fought to create the original State Earned Income Tax Credit, which the county matches with its own local tax credit.We talked about working together to get the county to a 1-1 match of dollars provided by the state (today we add about 75% of the amount).
Next, Councilmember Navarro and I convened a discussion about Wheatonpublic safety issues with Chief Manger, and Mid-County Regional Services Center Director, Ana Lopez van Balen, and their teams. We reviewed progress from the Wheaton Public Safety Audit of 2004 and parameters for a new public safety initiative there. Our goal is to integrate these elements of the Wheaton Public Safety Task Forceinto the larger effort of Wheaton Revitalization. More soon.
In the afternoon, I attended a GO Committee on IT issues. As the Council lead for Digital Government, I have been working to accelerate the county’s digital strategy. I was very happy to review the substantial agenda that has been put forward by our agencies on open data, digital citizenship, data visualization, social media, mobile platforms, and other areas– and not only for county government but also MCPS, HOC, MNCPPC, and Montgomery College. These groups will be working together on a range of initiatives in these areas and residents will begin to see the results soon.
In the evening, I met with the Silver Spring Citizens Advisory Board. We talked about Pepco and who has accountability for ensuring that we have decent electric power here in the County. The point I stressed to the group is that I believe its time for the Governor to give us a fresh start at the PSC. The PSCis the only entity in the state that has direct authority over Pepco. They are an independent state agency and their members are appointed by the Governor. The Governor needs to appoint new members because these members are not getting the job done.
I find it harder to do the journal when I’m out at an event until 10pm, as was the case on Wednesday night for the year-out Obama rally at Blair High School. 1,000 people I am told—awesome showing and due to the superior organizing of Jason Waskey, Jon Randall, the Obama fellows, MCDCC members and good Democrats all over the county.
I didn’t catch any of the speeches as I was talking to activist residents in the back of the hall about issues such as the curfew, school redistricting, and how to get involved in county affairs. I was amazed to meet a Silver Spring resident named Robin who had worked as the regional coordinator for Rock the Vote in 1992!
Today was frenetic with all of the balls that are in the air with the close out of the year and the legislative term. The proposed CBA (community benefits agreement) bill is the subject of much discussion.
We are also preparing for a town hall in December and scoping out our game plan for the Silver Spring Thanksgiving Parade. Hope to see you there!
Monday is going to be a big day with not only an update from the Transit Task Force but also the work session on Open Government issues that I have designed. I’m looking forward to it.