September 9, 2011
I started today with a tour of the command centers for emergencies,
911, transportation and storm operations. In the wake of 9/11 the
county elevated it’s command operations and there is an impressive
center in Gaithersburg now. Some of the highlights included seeing
the real time traffic control systems, where hundreds of cameras
monitor traffic and operators can change timing at any of the new
traffic signals from the center’s desktop computers; the bus tracker,
which provides real time information about the timing and location of
buses via GPS, even including ridership numbers; and meeting the storm
operations team, who are I am sure working over time right now due to
the extreme rainfall we are experiencing today. This experience
affirmed my belief that we need to invest more extensively in
technology to manage our existing road and transit capacity. We can
greatly expand our transportation capacity within our existing built
footprint by using information more effectively.
Then I had lunch with the county executive, whom I saw last night at
the Equality Maryland benefit. We talked about many issues including
the curfew. After that a meeting with police chief Manger to talk
more about the curfew. He notes that he doesn’t see slam-dunk
statistics about curfews and crime, but believes a curfew would be a
very effective tool in some situations.
Next a meeting with Leah Muskin-Pierret, a student organizer against
the curfew. She argued that a curfew would foster distrust of the
police and violate the rights of young people. I’m glad we are doing a
youth town hall in October, the timing is helpful to young people who
want to weigh in.
Finally, a reception at VisArts in Rockville for an exhibit by the
artist who painted the murals in Maine that the GOP governor removed
for being pro-union.
All in all a great day.