Daily journal, 11-8-11

I was with family for a funeral on Monday (yesterday), I am sorry to say.

Today began with “state legislation”, a meeting between the full council and the executive team’s Maryland state legislative representatives. Melanie Wenger heads our efforts and does a superb job.

I find these meetings somewhat exasperating because we are asked to take positions on a variety of bills in the state house that are “county only” bills, meaning they would affect only county residents. We work as a group and there could be 5, 10, or even 15 bills to discuss. For example, a proposal to allow Damascus to bring their liquor prohibition to a ballot initiative, or a bill to allow permitting of roadside solicitation.

As opposed to our deliberative committee process on county bills, this process is hasty.

We also discussed the county’s overarching priorities for the state, which are largely about getting certain grants approved, for example for Montgomery College, securing school funds and fending off changes that would prevent us from meeting our state funding obligations for MCPS, passing a transportation fund improvement and securing same funds particularly for transit expansion, and so on.

In the full council session we heard a very helpful presentation from regional economist Stephen Fuller about Montgomery County’s economic outlook. The outlook is fundamentally very strong because the DC region is increasingly THE place for companies to be. But MoCo needs to provide the high quality work force these companies will need in order to land in the county, which means education and training as well as housing.

At the end of the day I volunteered for my friends Ryan Spiegel, Jud Ashman and Cathy Dryzygla, who are running for re-election to the Gaithersburg city council. They have been a joy to get to know in my work in the county and they did so much for me when I ran for Council. Even better I was joined at the polling place by council member Mike Sesma and we got a good long talk in about everything from the curfew to the big box bill. Gaithersburg is lucky to have this council working with their fine mayor, Sidney Katz.