Friday, December 28, 2012

What's In and What's Out for 2013

OUT – Smoking: Secondhand smoke is classified as a “known human carcinogen,” and it is responsible for about 3,400 lung cancer deaths in non-smoking adults in the U.S. each year. That’s why I proposed a ban on smoking on property owned or leased by Montgomery County. We will have a public hearing on my plan on January 15, so you still have time to weigh in.

IN – Business: The Montgomery Business Development Corporation named Holly Sears as its first president. The quasi-public, nonprofit organization seeks to engage executive level business leaders to establish a vision for the County’s long-term economic future; to develop and articulate strategies to achieve that vision; to advocate for strategic changes in practices and policies; and to set performance metrics and report on its achievement. It delivered its first report to the County Council in October.

IN – Bicycles: With bikeshare coming to Montgomery County, I am advocating for more bike lanes.

OUT – Complicated Zoning: Planners at the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission have undertaken an ambitious effort to rewrite the Zoning Code to modernize antiquated, redundant zoning regulations and create new tools to help achieve goals in community plans. The County Council will consider the revised code in the early 2013.

OUT – Rip Offs: Residents made a lot of home improvements this year thanks to the derecho and superstorm Sandy. Many turned to these twelve tips for hiring a home improvement contractor for guidance.

IN – Wheaton: The Wheaton Redevelopment Program will guide revitalization of Wheaton’s downtown area with more than $66.1 million committed to create a civic core in the heart of downtown Wheaton. This plan gets Wheaton moving by providing a new employment presence, green space and a long-term commitment to doing what it takes to make Wheaton shine.

IN – Kensington: The Kensington Sector Plan will guide the long-term redevelopment of the Town of Kensington and surrounding area. Because of collaboration among neighbors, planners and municipal and county elected officials, we created and approved a plan that will achieve the two goals everyone agreed on—revitalizing the area’s commercial core and preserving residential communities.

IN – New County Council Districts: As an at-large Councilmember, I still represent you if you live anywhere in Montgomery County. However, you may have a different district Councilmember.

IN – Girl Power: Thanks to the Talk With a Teen Girl Today forum put on by Crittenton Services, we now have clearer insight into the real lives of girls who live in our community. I was proud to serve on the discussion panel with Crittenton participants and board members.

OUT – Light Rail on the CCT: We changed our recommendation from light rail to bus rapid transit for the Corridor Cities Transitway in response to a study showing a greater economic benefit to the County if the project is built sooner.

OUT – Delays: The good-faith, collaborative, cross-agency effort to streamline our complicated and unwieldy development approval process makes it easier to do business in the county.

IN – Maintenance of Effort: Although MOE was on my out list last year, our analysts project that new State maintenance of effort requirements will mean that spending for the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission and County Government will have to be reduced by 4.9 percent next year.

IN – Size: With a population of 971,777, Montgomery County isn’t just the biggest county in Maryland. It also boasts more residents than many states, including Montana, Delaware, South Dakota, Alaska, North Dakota and Vermont. In fact, our county is nearly twice as populous as Wyoming which is home to just 563,526 people.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Holiday Schedule for Christmas Eve

Montgomery County Government Offices will close Monday, December 24 in addition to December 25. Here's the holiday schedule.

~ County Offices – closed

~ Libraries – closed on December 24 and 25.

~ County liquor stores – open on December 24 until 7 p.m., and closed on December 25

~ Recreation – all facilities closed December 24 and 25

~ Ride On – on December 24, will operate on a regular weekday schedule, ending service early with last trips departing at 10 p.m. On December 25, will operate on a Sunday schedule.

~ Metrobus – on December 24, regular service; on December 25, Sunday schedule

~ Metrorail – on December 24, regular service; on December 25, Sunday schedule

~ Refuse/recycling pickup – on December 24, regular collection; on December 25, no collection*

~ Transfer Station – on December 24, open until 5 p.m.; on December 25, closed

~ Parking at public garages, lots, curbside meters – free on December 24 and 25.

*Collection provided one day later for remainder of week (last collection day is Saturday).

How to Recycle Your Christmas Tree

You can recycle your Christmas tree by placing the entire tree at the curb by 7:00 a.m. on your recycling collection day. Just keep your tree in its natural state and remember to remove the stand and all decorations, including lights, ornaments, tinsel and garlands. There should be nothing attached to the tree. Do not place your tree in a plastic bag. Trees with root balls are considered “live” and therefore cannot be collected as part of this recycling program. In addition, artificial trees cannot be collected as part of the recycling program.

Wreaths, garlands and roping made from evergreen trees are typically bound together with wire and cannot be recycled unless the wire is removed from the greens. If there is no wiring attached, place the greens in paper bags or in reusable containers or bundled as yard trim and place them at the curb for collection on recycling day.

You can also recycle branches and needles at home by placing them under outdoor trees and shrubs as temporary winter mulch, or you can chop them up and add them to a backyard compost pile or compost bin.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Apply Now for Homestead Tax Credit

Remember to submit your one-time application with the Maryland State Department of Assessments and Taxation (SDAT) by Dec. 31 to establish eligibility to the Homestead Property Tax Credit. The credit limits the amount of assessment on which a homeowner actually pays taxes on their principal residence. The credit does NOT apply to rental or vacation properties.

The Homestead Tax Credit was created to assist homeowners with the fiscal impact from large assessment increases. The program limits the annual taxable assessment increase to 10 percent a year in Maryland. For example, if the annual phase-in of assessment growth is 25 percent, the homestead credit will reflect 15 percent while the remaining 10 percent is reflected in taxable assessment growth that year.

If an application is not submitted by Dec. 31, 2012, the Homestead Tax Credit will be disallowed beginning with the July 1 2013 tax year bill. Homeowners who have already applied for the tax credit do not have to apply again.

Homeowners who purchased their dwellings before Jan. 1, 2008 (including those who received the credit in the past) must file to continue receiving the credit.
The application form was included in the assessment notice mailed to one-third of the homeowners at the end of December in each of 2008, 2009 and 2010, as their assessments came up for renewal. Homeowners received their credits through December 31, 2012, via a grace period.

SDAT offers three choices to apply for the tax credit:

A. File electronically: Call 410-767-2165 or toll free 1-866-650-8783 or e-mail to requesting an application be mailed out to you. Be sure to include in your e-mail your street address for the property and the specific County where the property is located. This form will include the Property Account Number and a special “Access Number” that will enable you to file the form electronically and receive back an e-mail confirmation receipt. To access the form, go to:

B. Mail the application: You may also mail in the completed paper application the Department sends you, but will not receive a confirmation receipt. Print and mail the completed application that can be found on the web site at Applications must be postmarked by Dec. 31, 2012.

C. Fax the application: Fax in the completed paper application to SDAT at 410-225-9344. Applications must be faxed by Dec. 31, 2012.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Holiday Schedule for Christmas and New Year

Here’s our holiday schedule for Christmas and New Year:

Montgomery County government will observe the following holiday schedule for the Christmas and New Year’s holidays on Tuesday, December 25 and Tuesday, January 1

~ County Offices – closed

~ Libraries – closed on December 25 and January 1; all branches will close at 6 p.m. on December 24 and 31; Olney Express Service will be closed December 23 through January 1; Gaithersburg Interim Library will be closed December 24, 25, 31 and January 1

~ County liquor stores – closed on December 25 and January 1; will be open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on December 24 and 31

~ Recreation – all facilities closed December 25 and January 1; all community and neighborhood recreation centers will be closed December 24 through January 1; senior centers will be closed December 23 through January 1

~ Ride On – Sunday schedule; Christmas Eve - Will end service early with last trips departing terminals at around 10 PM

~ Metrobus – Sunday schedule

~ Metrorail – Sunday schedule

~ TRiPS Commuter Stores (Silver Spring and Friendship Heights) – closed

~ Refuse/recycling pickup – no collection*

~ Transfer Station – closed

~ Parking at public garages, lots, curbside meters – free

Sodexo Inc. Staying in Gaithersburg

Here’s some great news from our Department of Economic Development:

Sodexo Inc. has re-signed the lease on its Gaithersburg North American headquarters building, ensuring the company and its current 567 full-time jobs will remain at the site for the next decade. In addition, the company--the leader in Quality of Life services and part of the Global Fortune 500 Sodexo Group--plans to add 50 new jobs over the next three years. To learn more, see the full press release.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Nonprofits: Apply Now for a Council Grant

Attention, Montgomery County nonprofits, the deadline to submit your application for a FY14 County Council grant is Thursday, January 17.

We believe that a strong partnership with nonprofit organizations is critical to meeting the needs of County residents. To request funding through the County Council’s grants process, you must submit a grant application for each funding request. The grants are for one year only, although you may reapply in subsequent years.

I encourage you to attend the informational workshop on Monday, January 7, at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Third Floor Hearing Room, 100 Maryland Avenue, Rockville.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Conference and Visitors Bureau Features Holiday Events

Are you looking for holiday activities right here in Montgomery County? From light festivals to ice skating to giving opportunities, check out the Montgomery County Conference and Visitors Bureau. While you are there, click the things to do tab for enjoyment all year long.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Update on Fiscal Plan and Economic Indicators

Tomorrow we will get our six-month update on the County’s fiscal plan and economic indicators. We expect to hear that compared to the June 2012 edition, current fiscal projections for FY13-14 are essentially unchanged. Therefore, a balanced County budget in FY14 would require a 1.0 percent reduction in overall agency spending, but because of State maintenance of effort requirements for MCPS and Montgomery College, spending for M-NCPPC and County Government would decline by 4.9 percent. In the June update this decline was slightly larger, 5.2 percent. To hear the full report, tune in to County Cable Montgomery (CCM—Cable Channel 6 on Comcast and RCN, Channel 30 on Verizon) at 10:00 tomorrow morning. The meeting also will be streamed through the County Web site.

Friday, December 7, 2012

High School Student Joins our Team for a Day

Yesterday we had the privilege of hosting high school student Amanda Cohen in my office as a part of a job shadowing program. She wrote me this terriffic letter about her day. Do you agree she'll make a good public servant some day? She certainly has the diplomacy skills. Here are her experiences in her own words:

Dear Council Member Floreen,

Thank you so much for giving me a sneak peek into the world of local government. When I first arrived at the County Council building the large glass doors and sleek elevators easily intimidated me and as I waited in the sixth floor lobby my anxiety grew. I tried to think of everything I could remember from my AP Government class last year, hoping that the reason I began to love government would come to my rescue. Luckily a friendly face came to wake me out of my nervous trance. She introduced herself as Jocelyn and as she showed me around the sixth floor offices my nerves began to ease and I began to realize, once again, how much I enjoyed public service.

Very few students have the opportunity to experience such an amazing and insightful day of real world government. I was first sent to a meeting in the smaller council room where the newly elected Montgomery County President, Nancy Navarro and Council Member George Leventhal questioned an expert on the effects of Obama Care on Montgomery County. During my second meeting, on the affects of Hurricane Sandy, Jocelyn took me out early and I finally had the chance to meet you. The first thing I noticed when we met was the air of optimism and joy that radiated from around the office. Everyone was smiling and laughing. It seemed my preconceived notions of government workers being dull and dreary were completely wrong. Your staff is absolutely amazing! They welcomed me in excitedly and laughed every time someone walked by and recognized that I wasn't your regular office aide.

Everyone at the council was genuinely interested in my perspective of education and teaching, and asked many questions about my interest in local government. I learned so much about the Council and how it impacts the one million people it serves for that I now recognize the trivial role of local government. The men and women of the Montgomery County Council are the people who make the laws that directly and immediately impact all of its constituents. I am so greatful for this experience and can never thank you enough for letting me come and shadow the council for a day.

Amanda Cohen
Bethesda-chevy Chase High School

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Letter to The Gazette on Smoking Ban

Check out my letter in today’s Gazette in response to their November 20 editorial about my proposed smoking ban. For your convenience, I have reprinted the letter here:

Secondhand smoke is classified as a “known human carcinogen,” and it is responsible for about 3,400 lung cancer deaths in non-smoking adults in the U.S. each year. So when The Gazette asks, “How far are Montgomery County’s overprotective overseers willing to go?” [Nov. 20, “Kicking Montgomery’s smokers to the curb”] I say, as far as the county’s property line. As elected officials, we at the County Council are stewards for public health, and it is our responsibility to make sure our public facilities are healthy and safe.

The Gazette correctly states that smoking is banned in most public spaces already, and my bill would extend the ban to property owned or leased by Montgomery County, not including public rights of way. The ban also would not include parks.

Some may say that’s going too far, but according to the Surgeon General, secondhand smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals. Hundreds of them are toxic and about 70 are known to cause cancer. Secondhand smoke especially affects children and women who are pregnant. According to the American Cancer Society, there is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke.

I want parents to be able to take children to the library; county employees to be able to go to work; and people who are sick to be able to enter our health clinics without passing through a hazardous cloud of smoke. My proposal is not about taking away the rights of smokers. It is about providing safe and healthy access to public facilities for everyone.

Nancy Floreen, Garrett Park

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Council Elects New Leadership

Congratulations to our new Council president, Nancy Navarro and our new Council vice president, Craig Rice. We have two very talented leaders at the helm this year, and I feel optimistic about our future. Best wishes, Nancy and Craig!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Apply Now to Study Compensation of Elected Officials

This post has been updated to reflect the new closing date of January 9.

Apply by January 9 to the citizens’ advisory committee to study compensation of the County’s elected officials. The County Council believes that there is a need to examine present compensation levels for the Sheriff, the State’s Attorney, the County Executive and members of the County Council.

State law authorizes the County Council to establish the salary of the Sheriff and State’s Attorney for Montgomery County. The County Charter authorizes the County Council to set the compensation of the County Council and the County Executive for the succeeding terms of office. Changes in compensation levels apply only to future terms of these elected offices.

Currently, Councilmembers receive annual compensation of $99,069 (the Council President receives 10 percent additional compensation), the Executive receives $180,250, the Sheriff receives $154,000, and the State’s Attorney receives $199,000. These salaries are increased each year by the annual average percentage increase in the Consumer Price Index for all urban consumers for the Washington-Baltimore metropolitan area.

The Committee consists of five to seven members appointed by the Council. The Council will strive to appoint no more than a majority of members from one political party, and therefore encourages Democrats, Republicans and those who decline to affiliate with a party to apply.

Send your letter of interest with a resume by January 9 at 5 p.m. to Council President Roger Berliner, Montgomery County Council, 100 Maryland Avenue, Rockville, Md. 20850. Letters can also be sent by email to

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Comcast Newsmakers

In this episode of Comcast Newsmakers I discuss my proposal to extend County’s ban on smoking; the importance of providing lane markings to support our bikeshare initiative; and the significance of the Zoning Code rewrite. See it here or keep an eye out for it on your Comcast stations.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Holiday Season Safety Tips

Opportunities for robberies, burglaries, and thefts from vehicles increase during the holiday season. Montgomery County Police will be working to deter holiday-related crime with the annual “Shop with a Cop” campaign. Officers will patrol retail areas to provide extra security and safety awareness. But, residents can also do their part to keep safe while shopping, walking, and at home. Here are some safety tips that Montgomery County Police would like you to keep in mind:

When shopping:

~ Do not become distracted by your shopping. Stay alert and be aware of your surroundings at all times.

~ Park in well-lighted parking lots and park as close to the mall or store as possible.

~ Lock your car doors and keep packages hidden in the trunk or under the seats of your vehicle.

~ Do not carry large amounts of cash with you – pay with checks or credit cards when possible.

~ Ensure that you are not encumbered with a large number of packages. Try to make trips back to your vehicle to store packages in the trunk as you continue to shop.

~ Carry your closed purse as close to your body as possible.

~ Carry a wallet in an inside coat or front pants pocket.

When out walking:

~ Stay alert and be aware of your surroundings.

~ Walk with confidence and know where you are going.
Trust your instincts; if something or someone makes you uneasy, avoid the person or leave the area.

~ Stick to well-lighted and well-traveled streets. Avoid shortcuts through wooded areas, parking lots, or alleys.

~ Do not flash large amounts of cash or other tempting targets like expensive jewelry or clothing.

~ Have your car or house key in hand before you reach the door.
If you think that someone is following you, switch directions or cross the street and walk toward an open store, restaurant, or lighted house.

If someone does try to rob you, don’t resist. Give up your property--do not endanger your life. Report the crime to police as soon as possible, and try to describe the attacker accurately.

At home:

~ If your Christmas tree can be seen through a window, do not display presents under the tree where they could be seen.

~ Make sure to lock doors and windows.

~ If you are going away for the holiday, let a neighbor know that your home will not be occupied and have someone keep an eye on your home. Ask someone to pick up your mail and newspapers.

~ Place your lights on timers to give the appearance that someone is at home.
After the holidays, be sure to break down cardboard boxes from gifts for recycling so that a potential burglar does not know your home has a new computer, TV, video game system, etc.

Council to Host Forum on Key Budget Issues

We will host a unique opportunity for the public to comment and ask questions on priorities relating to the Fiscal Year 2014 County operating budget planning process on Thursday, November 29 at 7:30 p.m. The 90-minute session will include a presentation on the challenges that the Council and County Executive will face in formulating a balanced budget for the fiscal year that will begin on July 1.

County departments are already working on early stages of the FY14 budget. The County Executive is required to present his recommended budget to the Council by March 15. The Council and its committees will analyze the recommendations, make adjustments and adopt the budget by late May.

The FY14 budget process will be significantly impacted by recent changes in State law regarding K-12 public education funding. The changes have added a layer of complexity to the County’s budget deliberations and fiscal outlook as the Maryland General Assembly recently amended the Maintenance of Effort law that governs local education funding and shifted a large portion of the cost of teacher pensions to the County.

The County’s Office of Legislative Oversight recently analyzed how continuing economic pressures and the recent changes in local school funding requirements would affect the Council’s budgeting and fiscal planning in FY14 and future years.

The forum will be held in the Third Floor Council Hearing Room of the Council Office Building at 100 Maryland Avenue in Rockville and will be televised live by County Cable Montgomery (CCM—Cable Channel 6 on Comcast and RCN, Channel 30 on Verizon). The broadcasts also will be streamed through the County Web site.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Ice Rinks are Open

If you're looking for an activity to help you and/or your kids burn off energy or calories after a big Thanksgiving meal, how about ice skating or a little ice hockey? Rinks are open around the county, including in Silver Spring, Rockville Town Center, Cabin John and Wheaton.

How Not to Set Your House on Fire this Thanksgiving

More cooking fires occur on Thanksgiving than on any other day of the year. Fire Chief Richard Bowers says, “Whether you’re a seasoned chef or a rookie cooking your first holiday feast, the strategies for serving up a safe meal are the same. Unattending cooking is the leading cause of residential fires and we’re asking residents to follow these simple safety tips and to have a happy and safe Thanksgiving holiday.”

Cooking Safety Tips:

• Be alert! Stay in the kitchen when using the stovetop and use a timer. If you must leave the kitchen, even for a minute, turn off the stove.

• Keep anything that can catch fire at least 3 feet from the stove, toaster oven or other heat source. This includes pot holders, food packaging, dish towels, paper/plastic bags, etc.

• Do not pour water on a grease fire. Pouring water on a grease fire can cause the fire to spread. In the event of a range-top fire, turn off the burner, put on an oven mitt and smother the flames by carefully sliding a lid or cookie sheet onto the pan. Leave the lid in place until the pot or pan has cooled.

• Clean cooking surfaces regularly to prevent grease buildup which can ignite.

• Always wear short, tight-fitting sleeves when cooking to prevent clothing from coming in contact with a burner and catching fire.

• Do not hold children while cooking or carrying hot foods or drinks. Keep children at a safe distance from hot surfaces, liquids and other kitchen hazards.

• Plug microwaves and other kitchen appliances directly into an outlet. Never use an extension cord for a cooking appliance as it can overload the circuit and cause a fire.

• Double-check the kitchen before you go to bed or leave the house. Make sure all other appliances are turned off and that any candles or smoking materials are safely extinguished.

• Smoke alarms save lives. Install a smoke alarm on every level of your home, test batteries monthly and check batteries annually.

Turkey fryers are becoming an increasingly popular choice to cook the Thanksgiving turkey and can be extremely dangerous if proper precautions are not taken. If your plans include using a turkey fryer, fire department officals urge residents to follow all manufacturer directions closely and to review the following safety tips:

Turkey Fryer Safety Tips:

• Never leave a fryer unattended.

• By design, turkey fryers are prone to tipping over. Fryers should always be used on a non-combustible, flat surface to reduce accidental tipping.

• Fryers should always be used outdoors at least 10 feet from buildings and any flammable materials. Never use a fryer on a wooden deck, under a patio cover, in a garage, porch or other enclosed space.

• Do not overfill the fryer. The oil may spill out of the unit when the turkey is placed into the cooking pot. Oil may hit the burner/flames resulting in a potential fire hazard that could engulf the entire unit.

• Oil and water do not mix! Make sure the turkey is completely thawed before it is placed in a fryer. Partially frozen turkeys can cause a spillover effect which may result in a fire.

• Some units do not have thermostat controls and, if not carefully watched, have the potential to overheat the oil to the point of combustion.

• Use well-insulated potholders or oven mitts when touching the pot or lid handle. The sides of the cooking pot, lid and pot handles get dangerously hot and can result in severe burns. If available, use safety goggles to protect your eyes from any oil splatter.

• Keep children and pets away from fryers. The oil can remain dangerously hot even hours after use.

Following these simple fire safety tips can boost survival rates and reduce injuries dramatically. For more information about our fire safety programs or to request a free home safety evaluation or smoke alarm check, please contact the County’s non-emergency call center at 311.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Montgomery Business Development Corporation Names First President

Through the Montgomery Business Development Corporation, we get guidance from the business community’s perspective on how to handle important issues. These informed recommendations are invaluable to us. That’s why I’m so happy with the hiring of Holly Sears as MBDC’s first president, effective November 26. MBDC is taking the next step in its evolution, and I this is great news for the county’s continued economic development.

The County Council established the MBDC with the overall goal to promote practices that will help sustain current businesses and encourage new businesses to relocate to the County. From its origin, the quasi-public, nonprofit MBDC has sought to engage executive level business leaders to establish a vision for the County’s long-term economic future; to develop and articulate strategies to achieve that vision; to advocate for strategic changes in practices and policies; and to set performance metrics and report on their achievement.

Ms. Sears was appointed to help the organization work toward those goals. She previously served as the Vice President of Economic Development for the Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce, near Nashville, Tenn.

During Ms. Sears’s tenure in Rutherford County, she led in excess of 300 projects, recruited and negotiated more than $6 billion in capital investments. In June 2012, the Bureau of Labor Statistics ranked Rutherford County as fourth in the U.S. for new growth in the prior year.

Ms. Sears has a B.A. and M.S. in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Tennessee. Prior to joining the Rutherford County Chamber staff, she worked at the State of Tennessee’s Department of Economic and Community Development and was the executive director of the Joint Economic and Community Development Board of Wilson County, Tenn. She currently serves as chair of the NAIOP National State and Local Committee. Prior to relocating to Maryland, Ms. Sears was the chair-elect of the NAIOP-Nashville Board of Directors. She has served on the board for the Tennessee Economic Partnership and was appointed to serve as the Tennessee State Alliance co-chair representing the Public Sector for the International Council of Shopping Centers.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Thanksgiving Parade This Saturday

The local holiday season officially gets underway on Saturday, November 17 when the 15th Annual Montgomery County Thanksgiving Parade steps off at 10 a.m. from Ellsworth Drive and Fenton Street in Downtown Silver Spring. Traveling the same route as last year, the parade will proceed south on Georgia Avenue, ending at Silver Spring Avenue.

ABC 7 Meteorologist Brian van de Graaff will once again serve as master of ceremonies introducing more than 120 parade units. In addition to a few surprises, the new units this year include the Florida State Champions, Paul J. Hagerty High School Marching Band. Live performances include a sword fight scene from Round House Theater’s upcoming production of “Young Robin Hood,” holiday songs from the children’s choir of the Adventure Theater/Musical Theater Center, and “The Nutcracker” by the Maryland Youth Ballet.

This year’s parade begins with pilgrims, turkeys and Thanksgiving floats and ends with elves, reindeer and Santa’s sleigh. There will be a variety of marching bands including the Washington Redskins Marching Band. The Washington Nationals Baseball Club, dancing groups, beauty queens, clowns, fire engines and rescue animal groups will also participate.

The parade will be held rain or shine and will be broadcast live on NewsChannel 8. The telecast will be repeated on Thanksgiving Day.

The north-bound lanes of Georgia Avenue from East-West Highway to Colesville Road will close at 7 a.m. and re-open after the conclusion of the parade at approximately 1 p.m. Ellsworth Drive, Fenton Street and Roeder Road will close beginning at 6 a.m., with limited access to Cedar Drive and Pershing Street.

Free parking will be available in the public garages, including the Wayne Avenue Garage, the Sligo Avenue Garage and the Bonifant Street Garage next to the Metro station. The Spring Street and Ellsworth Town Center garages are closed that day to accommodate the parade. The Town Center public parking garage at Ellsworth Drive will close at 2 a.m. Saturday. The Gateway Plaza lot at Colesville Road and Georgia Avenue will close at 7 a.m. Parade-goers are encouraged to take the Metro Red Line to the Silver Spring station, just west of Georgia Avenue, across from the Discovery building.

For more information about the parade, call 240-777-6821.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Council Approves Subdivision Staging Policy

After months of study, we approved revisions to the County’s 2012-16 Subdivision Staging Policy (which was formerly called the Growth Policy). The policy sets rules regarding transportation and school adequacy for proposed new developments.

One of the changes addressed in the revisions is that the new test of area-wide transportation adequacy will measure transit and road adequacy separately. New projects in areas where transit or roads are inadequate may only move forward by paying a premium equal to 25 percent of the regular transportation impact tax for the project. The premium would increase to 50 percent if both the transit and road capacities for the area are inadequate.

The approved policy also revises the test of adequacy at intersections, so it will more accurately reflect the actual congestion experienced by commuters in the peak direction of travel, and it generally mirrors standards recommended by the National Academy of Sciences' Transportation Research Board.

Additionally, housing developments in 15 high school clusters will pay a premium. Projects in 15 areas will pay a premium for not meeting the transit adequacy test, and in Fairland/White Oak will pay a premium for not meeting the roadway adequacy test.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Holiday Schedule for Thanksgiving

Here’s our holiday schedule for Thanksgiving Day on Thursday, November 22:

~ County Offices – closed
~ Libraries – closed
~ County liquor stores – closed
~ Recreation – All programs and facilities are closed
~ Ride On – Sunday schedule
~ Metrobus – Sunday schedule
~ Metrorail – Sunday schedule
~ TRiPS Commuter Stores (Silver Spring and Friendship Heights) – closed
~ Refuse/recycling pickup – no collection*
~ Transfer Station – closed
~ Parking at public garages, lots, curbside meters – free
~ MCPS Administrative Offices – closed
~ State offices & courts – closed

*Collection provided one day later for remainder of week (last collection day is Saturday).

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Apply Now to Cable and Communications Advisory Committee

We’re taking applications for four vacancies on the Cable and Communications Advisory Committee. The deadline to submit applications is Wednesday, November 14.

The Committee advises the County Executive and the County Council on franchise agreements between the County government and providers of cable television service. It also advises on the use of funds provided by cable operators to support local television programming and other cable related activities.

The Advisory Committee has 15 voting members, which include one representative selected by the Montgomery County Chapter of the Maryland Municipal League; one representative selected by the City of Rockville; and one representative selected by the City of Takoma Park. Public members should broadly represent technology areas.

Members serve three-year terms without compensation, but are eligible for reimbursement for travel and dependent care for meetings attended. Meetings are held the fourth Wednesday evening of each month in Rockville. Individuals selected for appointment must file a confidential financial disclosure statement within fifteen days of Council confirmation and annually thereafter.

Applicants of diverse backgrounds, professions, gender, geography, disability and ethnicity are encouraged to apply. An application, consisting of a brief cover letter and resume, should be sent by mail to County Executive Isiah Leggett, 101 Monroe Street, 2nd Floor, Rockville, MD 20850, or by email to Home and employment addresses, as well as contact phone numbers and email addresses should be included.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Employment Assistance Symposium November 16

Getting our residents back to work has been a top priority for me since the beginning of the recession. Job hunters face real challenges in today’s economy, but opportunities still exist, and I am excited to partner with People-4-People to help residents tap into new ways of finding success.

Register now for the People-4-People Employment Assistance Program at a Faith-based and Neighborhood Partners Job Clubs Symposium on Friday, Nov. 16, where I’m pleased to be a guest speaker. The event is free to the public, but pre-registration is requested. The event will be held in the Third Floor Hearing Room of the Council Office Building at 100 Maryland Avenue in Rockville. The symposium will run from 1 to 4 p.m.

You can learn how to start an employment program in your community and about resources that are available to job seekers. Panelists will include local job club and ministry leaders, faith and community leaders, workforce development officials, nonprofit leaders and others who are assisting job seekers and workers. Panelists will share job club models. We also look forward to hearing from Ben Seigel, deputy director of the Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships at the U.S. Department of Labor.

Parking is available in the visitors’ garage behind the building, or it is a short walk from the Rockville Metro. Seating is limited. Register online or contact Angela Cooper at 301-989-4673 ext. 1245 or

My Bill to Ban Smoking on County Property

I have unfortunately spent a lot of time over the past year with people who have cancer. I want to do everything I can to help prevent this awful disease in all of its forms, and my proposal to ban smoking on all County properties except public rights of way is a good place to start.

I will introduce the bill, which will cover all property leased or owned by the County, on November 20. We will hold a public hearing on January 15 (call 240-777-7803 to sign up).

In Montgomery County, one in 12 adults smoke cigarettes. Nationally, tobacco use is responsible for one in five deaths, and an annual toll of 443,000 deaths. Smoking accounts for at least 30 percent of all cancer deaths and is associated with increased risk for 15 types of cancer. Tobacco use remains the single, largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the U.S.

I’m very pleased that the American Cancer Society will join me for a press event on November 15, the day of the 37th Great American Smokeout, to announce the bill. The Smokeout is an annual event that urges smokers to give up their smoking habits. Thanks also to Council Vice President Nancy Navarro and Councilmembers Craig Rice, Hans Riemer, George Leventhal and Marc Elrich for co-sponsoring the bill.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

County Cable to Show Marathon Tribute to Veterans

Tune in to Montgomery County’s public cable television stations on Sunday, Nov. 11, and Monday, Nov. 12, for a 13-hour marathon tribute to veterans. The tribute will include the first-ever broadcast of extended interviews with 14 local veterans from World War II.

County Cable Montgomery (Channel 6 on Comcast and RCN, Channel 30 on Verizon) will begin broadcasting the tribute each day at 9:30 a.m. and continue to 10:30 p.m. each day. The marathon is a cooperative production of the County’s PEG (Public-Education-Government) organization of public cable television stations.

The marathon will open with the rebroadcast of the Sept. 19 event in Silver Spring in which Montgomery County saluted area World War II veterans. Montgomery County Honors World War II Veterans, which was hosted by TV news legend Ted Koppel, had more than 175 World War II veterans and more than 500 people overall, in attendance. The veterans attending ranged in age from 86 to 105 and had experiences from some of the most historic events of the past century. It is believed to have been the biggest Washington area tribute to World War II veterans since the National World War II Memorial opened in Washington, D.C., in 2004.

The broadcast will continue at 11:20 a.m. each day with the series of interviews with World War II veterans. The tribute will conclude with a contrast of generations as Montgomery College student Alex Cole interviews veteran Dee Paris, 97, whose World War II experiences included being a tank commander in the Battle of the Bulge.

Here is the programming schedule for the marathon tribute to veterans for both Nov. 11 and 12:

9:30 a.m. Montgomery County Honors WWII Veterans
11:20 a.m. Interview: Sam Einbinder
11:30 a.m. Interview: Seymour Steinberg
12 noon Interview: Charles McGee
12:45 p.m. Interview: Paul Forbes
1 p.m. Interview: Norman Ikari
1:35 p.m. Interview: Boris Osherhoff
2 p.m. Interview: Pierre Causa
2:40 p.m. Interview: Edwin Morgenstern
6 p.m. Interview: Albert Frumkin
6:30 p.m. Interview: William Iwanicki
7 p.m. Interview: Dee Paris
8 p.m. Interview: Don McKee
8:30 p.m. Interview: John Henry Chaney
9 p.m. Interview: Milton Eisen
10 p.m. Montgomery College Student Alex Cole interviews Dee Paris

Monday, November 5, 2012

Holiday Schedule for Veterans Day

Here is our holiday schedule for Veterans Day on Monday, November 12:

~ County Offices – closed
~ Public Libraries – closed
~ County liquor stores – open
~ Recreation – aquatic and community centers are open as scheduled. Aquatic classes and programs will meet as scheduled. All other classes, administrative offices, senior centers and all senior programs will be closed
~ Ride On – Special modified holiday schedule (, click on “Holidays” to see specific schedules)
~ Metrobus – Saturday supplemental schedule
~ Metrorail – Saturday schedule (5 a.m. to midnight)
~ TRiPS Commuter Stores (Silver Spring and Friendship Heights) – closed
~ Refuse/recycling pickup – regular collection
~ Transfer Station – open
~ Parking at public garages, lots, curbside meters – free
~ MCPS Administrative Offices – open
~ State offices & courts – closed

Friday, November 2, 2012

Election Returns Will Be Available on County Website

Get up-to-the-moment election results on the Montgomery County website.

Early Voting returns will be tabulated on Election Day and will be available as soon after 8:00 p.m. as possible. Returns from Election Day polling places will be available beginning at 9:20 p.m. on November 6 and will be updated every 20 minutes.

Go to or where an election-related logo will provide a link directly to the Board of Elections return page, as well as links to the Prince George’s County, state, and national election returns.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Protect Yourself When Making Repairs After the Storm

Remember to be cautious when hiring contractors to repair damage caused by the storm and to do your homework before signing a contract for any home repair or improvement, or tree service work.

The Office of Consumer Protection offers the following advice to homeowners:

~ Do not panic and hire someone because they are the only company that can come out to the house right away. Make sure the home improvement contractor is licensed with the Maryland Home Improvement Commission (MHIC) by calling 410-230-6309 or check online. Also, make sure the contractor is familiar with and has expertise in repairing the type of damage that your house has sustained, such as roofing or foundation repair.

~ For tree service or removal, check to see if the business is a licensed tree expert with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Forestry Division at 410-260-8521 or online at If a licensed company is used, there is a complaint process through the Department of Natural Resources. If an unlicensed company is used, it is often impossible to track down the company, particularly if they have been paid in advance. In addition, consumers should ask to see written verification of the company’s insurance and workers compensation coverage.

~ Get estimates from three contractors. Some fraudulent contractors will capitalize on the situation and overcharge consumers or lead them to believe the damage is worse than it really is. State law requires a written contract for any work completed. A home improvement contract should include the terms and conditions of the warranty. The manufacturer’s warranty should be a separate, written document. The contract must also include: the contractor’s name, address and home improvement license number; the approximate starting and finishing dates; and a description of the work to be done and materials to be used.

~ State law prohibits home improvement contractors from collecting more than one-third of the contract amount as a deposit. If the contract is signed in your home, the contract must allow the consumer three days in which to cancel the contract. Under emergency situations only, the consumer may waive this three-day right to cancel, but must sign a special form to do so.

~ Check the contractors’ complaint records with the Office of Consumer Protection at 240-777-3636 or online and the Better Business Bureau at 202-393-8000 or online, and with the MHIC and DNR.

For more information, call 240-777-3636 or visit OCP’s website.

Disposing of Tree Debris

Trees or branches may be disposed as follows:

On Private Property:

~ Tree debris on private property will be collected on a residents’ regular recycling day if it is no more than four-feet in length and four inches in diameter.

~ Bag or bundle tree branches and limbs or place them in containers, keeping bundles less than 45 pounds and less than 30 inches in diameter.

~ Tree debris (up to 500 pounds) that is too large for curbside collection, or cannot be bagged, bundled, or placed in containers can be recycled at no charge to single family home residents at the Shady Grove Processing Facility and Transfer Station, located at 16101 Frederick Road, Derwood. The station will resume normal operating hours on Wednesday.

~Another option is to contact a private company, such a tree service, landscaping or lawn service, for assistance in removing and disposing of storm debris. The Montgomery County Office of Consumer Protection cautions homeowners against using unlicensed home improvement contractors.

~Residents may want to check with their home insurance company, which may cover storm debris removal and disposal.

In the Public Right-of-Way:

~ Montgomery County Department of Transportation crews are collecting trees and branches that have fallen into the public right-of-way.
~ To report tree debris in the public right-of-way, call 311 (or 240-777-0311 from a cell phone).

If live wires are entangled in a tree, a tree is blocking a roadway, the tree is on a structure or if anyone is trapped under a fallen tree, call 911.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Council Meetings Rescheduled to Next Week

Here is the schedule of meetings/agenda items that were cancelled on Monday and Tuesday and will be made up next week:

Monday - November 5:
9:30 - ED Committee
11:30 - 1:30 Council worksession on Subdivision Staging Policy (3CHR)
2:00 - GO Committee
2:00 - PHED Committee

Tuesday - November 6:
10:30 - State legislative priorities - 3CCR
11:00 - Consent calendar and three appropriation public hearings: MCPS tech mod, Duball, and Ten Mile Creek (move the two ZTAs to November 13)
11:15 - 1:30 - Subdivision Staging Policy

Note - Presentations and Board of Health will wait until later in the month.

To get complete agendas go to the Council's website at

Monday, October 29, 2012

Tuesday Closures

Early Voting – Cancelled (Tuesday only)

Public Schools – Closed

Montgomery College – Closed

Montgomery County Government – Closed

Metro – Will not resume Tuesday morning

Ride On – Will not resume Tuesday

Montgomery County Parking Garages – Open (No charge. Meters are also no charge)

Federal Government - Closed

Montgomery Parks – Facilities will be closed, and classes and programs are cancelled.

Interstates and US Routes – Due to severe weather conditions, SHA has lowered speed limits to 45 mph; Avoid travel unless absolutely necessary

Shelters – Open
• White Oak Community Recreation Center – 1700 April Lane, Silver Spring -Humans and Pets
• The Activity Center at Bohrer Park – 506 S. Frederick Avenue, Gaithersburg - Humans Only
• Mid-County Community Recreation Center – 2004 Queensguard Road, Silver Spring - Humans Only

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Sandy Related Closures

A recap of all the official closures over the next couple of days due to Hurricane Sandy are below:

Montgomery County Government: Montgomery County government will be closed tomorrow, Monday, October 29. Essential personnel must report to work.

Montgomery County Public Schools: Montgomery County Public Schools will be closed on Monday, October 29 and Tuesday, October 30, due to emergency weather conditions. All school and community activities in school buildings are canceled. Administrative offices are closed Monday October 29.

Montgomery College: College closed Monday Oct 29 and Tues Oct 30 due to Hurricane Sandy. All classes/activities canceled.

Montgomery County Recreation Department: All Rec classes cancelled Oct 29 & Oct 30. Pools will hold classes.

Federal Government / Office of Personnel Management: OPM has determined that due to Hurricane Sandy, the Federal Government will be closed on Monday, October 29, 2012.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Preparing for Hurricane Sandy

There is a possibility that Hurricane Sandy may impact the Washington D.C. region in the days ahead. Should predictions show that the hurricane will hit our area, officials remind residents that they should prepare for the possibility of high winds, power outages and flooding. The hurricane season traditionally runs through November.

Anyone who has not already signed up for the Countys Alert Montgomery notification system is encouraged to do so by going to and selecting the types of emergency alerts they are interested in receiving regarding weather, severe traffic, schools, park and government facilities, athletic fields and public events; along with the devices they would like the messages sent to (cell phones, text pagers, wireless PDAs, home and work emails).

During severe weather and all other times, residents are reminded to call 9-1-1 only in emergencies that threaten life or property, which include any type of fire or serious medical condition, when there is fear for personal safety or the safety of others, or during a crime in progress. Calling 9-1-1 for the wrong reason or calling the number inadvertently may keep someone else from getting the help they need. DO NOT call 9-1-1 to ask for directions; check on power, phone, or cable outages; inquire about road or weather conditions; check on the status of school closings; for information about public services; or to report situations that are not emergencies. If you do call by mistake, please stay on the line until the call taker can confirm that you do not require emergency assistance.

Whenever a hurricane threatens a region, a hurricane watch will be issued within 24-36 hours. A hurricane warning will be issued if hurricane conditions are expected within 24 hours or less. Below are some more preparedness tips for hurricanes and other storms:

Before a Storm
Put copies of important documents in a safe place, preferably a waterproof container. Important documents can include passports, birth certificates, insurance policies or anything else that might be needed immediately or cannot be easily replaced.

Have enough cash for a few days ATMs may not work during power outages and stores might not be able to take debit and credit cards.
Make sure vehicle gas tanks are full.
Secure or bring inside exterior items that might become windborne, such as lawn furniture, toys and garden tools.
Fill prescriptions that might be needed and stock up on any necessary medical supplies.

Keep flashlights and battery-powered radios with extra batteries on hand, along with a basic first aid kit, emergency food and water, and a non-electric can opener. Have enough non-perishable food and water for at least 72 hours.
Listen to the radio or television for hurricane progress reports.
Clean out gutters.
Turn the refrigerator and freezer to the coldest setting in anticipation of a power outage. Open the doors only when necessary and close quickly.
Refrain from putting out trash cans the night before the regular pickup.

During a Storm
Avoid using candles for lighting. Use a battery-powered flashlight.
Never use a candle when fueling equipment such as a kerosene heater or lantern, since the candle flame can ignite fumes from the fuel.
Try to stay in an interior room or away from windows.
Stay calm and do not call 911 unless it is an emergency.
If flooding occurs, turn off electricity at the main breaker.
During a power outage, turn off major appliances. This will minimize losing power again through a power surge and protect the equipment when power returns.
Do not go outside. Flying debris from high winds is a danger. As the eye of the storm passes, there will be a short period of calm followed by rapid wind speed increases to hurricane force that will come from the opposite direction.

After a Storm
Do not touch fallen or low-hanging wires of any kind under any circumstances. Stay away from puddles with wires in or near them. Do not touch trees or other objects in contact with power lines.
USE PHONES ONLY FOR EMERGENCIES. Call 911 only for life-threatening situations.
Call police or your utility companies immediately to report hazards such as downed power lines, broken gas or water mains or overturned gas tanks.
Avoid areas subject to flooding, including low spots, canals and streams. Do not attempt to drive on a flooded road you can be stranded or trapped. The depth of the water and the condition of the road is not always obvious.
Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize flood dangers, downed wires and other hazards.

For downed trees on public property, call 3-1-1 between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays (or 240-777-0311 from outside the County or from a cell phone) or go to at any time to report the problem. If live wires are involved, the tree is blocking a roadway, the tree is on a structure, or if persons are trapped under the fallen tree, call 9-1-1.
Trees that have fallen on private property are the responsibility of the property owner. The Countys Office of Consumer Protection advises homeowners to deal with established businesses only, and to call Consumer Protection first to check a businesscomplaint record. Consumer Protection can be reached at 240-777-3636.
For non-emergency police assistance, call the police non-emergency number, 301-279-8000.

If case of a power outage, residents are urged to take steps to ensure that food left in the refrigerator and freezer is safe. According to the United States Department of Agricultures (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service, meat, poultry, fish and eggs should be refrigerated at 40F and frozen food at or below 0F, which may be difficult with a prolonged power outage. Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to maintain the cold temperature. A refrigerator will only keep food safely cold for about four hours if it is unopened. Food such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs, milk, soft cheeses, butter and leftover cooked meats, casseroles and pizza should be thrown out if they have been held above 40F for over two hours. A full freezer will hold the temperature for approximately 48 hours (24 hours if it is half full) if the door remains closed. To be sure a particular food is cold enough; take its temperature with a food thermometer. Never taste food to determine its safety.

Do not operate charcoal grills, propane camping stoves or generators indoors.

Important Utility Numbers:
Pepco: 1-877-737-2662
Baltimore Gas and Electric (BG&E): 1-877-778-2222 or 1-800-685-0123
Potomac Edison (Allegheny Power): 1-800-255-3443
Washington Gas: 800-752-7520
WSSC: 1-800-828-4002
For more information about emergency preparedness, go to the County website,, check the Countys Facebook page, or sign up to receive County tweets from Twitter,!/MontgomeryCoMD.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Apply Now to Board of Appeals

We’re seeking applicants for a partial term on the County Board of Appeals. The term to be filled was held by Walter S. Booth (Democrat), who passed away shortly after being appointed to his second term on the board.

Get your application in by 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 5.

By law, no more than three members of the board can be from the same political party. This position can be filled by a Democrat, a Republican, a voter who declines to affiliate with a party or a voter who is a member of another party officially recognized by the Board of Elections.

Current members of the board include Chair Catherine Titus (Republican), Stan Boyd (Democrat), David K. Perdue (declined to affiliate) and Carolyn Shawaker (Democrat). Members of County boards, committees and commissions may not serve on more than one such group at a time.

Members of the board receive $14,510 annually, with the chair receiving $20,508. Salaries are adjusted annually each December to reflect 50 percent of the change in the Washington Area Consumer Price Index.

Duties of the Board of Appeals include making decisions on most applications for special exceptions as provided in the Zoning Ordinance; hearing and deciding requests for variances from development standards contained in the Zoning Ordinance; and hearing appeals from certain administrative decisions rendered by county government agencies.

The board normally holds weekly hearings all day Wednesday and worksessions every other week. If necessary to accommodate an extended caseload or continued hearings, the board schedules hearings on other weekdays. Members are expected to prepare for the hearings by reading the cases to be heard and to share the workload of drafting and editing opinions or to follow-up on investigations on specific cases. Members work approximately 15-25 hours a week.

The principal jurisdiction of the Board of Appeals (concerning special exceptions and variances under the Zoning Ordinance) does not include the municipalities of Barnesville, Brookeville, Gaithersburg, Laytonsville, Poolesville, Rockville and Washington Grove. The normal Council practice is not to appoint residents of those municipalities to the board.

Send your letter of interest and resume listing professional and civic experience to Council President Roger Berliner, County Council Office, Stella B. Werner Council Office Building, 100 Maryland Avenue, Rockville, Maryland 20850. Applications can be submitted via e-mail to: Applications must be received no later than 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 5. It is the Council’s policy not to consider applications received after the deadline. After the deadline, Councilmembers will review the letters of application and select applicants for interviews.

Letters of application are made public as part of the appointment process. The names of all applicants are published and resumes are made available for public review. Interviews are open to the public. A financial statement of assets, debts, income and family property interests will be required of all applicants. Only the appointed candidates will be required to make the financial statement available to the public.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Life in a War Zone: Montgomery County during the Civil War

I’m a huge history buff, so I want to draw your attention to a fabulous local documentary. Life in a War Zone: Montgomery County during the Civil War chronicles the harrowing four-year period when troops from both sides of the war traveled through Montgomery County and when local sympathies varied widely. You will see lots of familiar places and hear many familiar names throughout the program. How good is Life in a War Zone? So good it won an Emmy. We will recognize Heritage Montgomery for this terrific achievement with a County Council proclamation on November 13. Check the listings to watch the program on County Cable Montgomery, or click here to see it on demand.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Town Hall Meeting in Potomac November 7

Join us for a Town Hall Meeting at the Potomac Community Recreation Center on Wednesday, November 7 at 8:00 p.m. A pre-meeting reception will begin at 7:30 p.m. The Potomac Community Recreation Center is located at 11315 Falls Road in Potomac.

Topics are up to you, but they might include potential growth and development in the area, schools, budget issues, taxes, traffic and the performance of power utilities, including Pepco, following storms. This is your chance to voice your opinions on specific issues and ask questions of us in an organized but informal setting.

The meeting will be taped for later broadcast on County Cable Montgomery (CCM—cable Channel 6 on Comcast and RCN, Channel 30 on Verizon). Susan Kenedy, a producer for the County station, will moderate the meeting.

For more information about the Town Hall Meeting or about the broadcast times, call 240-777-7931.

Bethesda and Rockville Named Bicycle Friendly Communities

Bethesda and Rockville have been named “Bicycle Friendly Communities” by the League of American Bicyclists, along with 27 other new cities, including Los Angeles and Miami. The two Montgomery County locations have been recognized for their commitment to bicycling, earning bronze status on the prestigious list of the country’s most bicycle-friendly places.

Situated between two of the most heavily-used trails in the County—the Capital Crescent Trail and the Bethesda Trolley Trail—Bethesda has seen a significant increase in the number of employees who bike to work regularly, according to Montgomery County’s Annual Commuter Survey.

The Bicycle-Friendly Community program encourages communities to evaluate their sustainability and transportation networks, while allowing them to benchmark their progress toward improving their bicycle-friendliness. The bronze award level recognizes a community’s bicycling promotion, education programs, infrastructure and pro-bicycling policies.

This designation is a terrific affirmation of our commitment not only to providing a variety of transportation options but also to ensuring a safe environment for bicyclists. This recognition is just the beginning, and we will continue to strive for excellence when it comes to bicycle connectivity and safety.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Apply Now to Study Compensation of Elected Officials

Apply by November 28 to the citizens’ advisory committee to study compensation of the County’s elected officials. The County Council believes that there is a need to examine present compensation levels for the Sheriff, the State’s Attorney, the County Executive and members of the County Council.

State law authorizes the County Council to establish the salary of the Sheriff and State’s Attorney for Montgomery County. The County Charter authorizes the County Council to set the compensation of the County Council and the County Executive for the succeeding terms of office. Changes in compensation levels apply only to future terms of these elected offices.

Currently, Councilmembers receive annual compensation of $99,069 (the Council President receives 10 percent additional compensation), the Executive receives $180,250, the Sheriff receives $154,000, and the State’s Attorney receives $199,000. These salaries are increased each year by the annual average percentage increase in the Consumer Price Index for all urban consumers for the Washington-Baltimore metropolitan area.

The Committee consists of five to seven members appointed by the Council. The Council will strive to appoint no more than a majority of members from one political party, and therefore encourages Democrats, Republicans and those who decline to affiliate with a party to apply.

Send your letter of interest with a resume by Wednesday, Nov. 28 at 5 p.m. to Council President Roger Berliner, Montgomery County Council, 100 Maryland Avenue, Rockville, Md. 20850. Letters can also be sent by email to

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Proclamation in Honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Thank you to the representatives from Adventist HealthCare, Holy Cross Hospital, American Cancer Society, Nueva Vida and Suburban Hospital for helping us recognize National Breast Cancer Awareness Month with a County Council proclamation. Today we honored support groups that help women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer. Support groups offer a connection during an experience that can sometimes feel isolating; tips and information from those who have been through the same things; and opportunities to share knowledge with others. Thanks, ladies, for taking the time to come out today and for all you do to help women cope with this disease.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Apply Now to Grants Advisory Group

Apply by November 15 to the Council’s Grants Advisory Group. We will appoint the volunteer community panel to review grant applications and advise it on proposals received from the non-profit community.

The Council believes that a strong partnership with non-profit organizations is critical in meeting the County’s needs, so we have established a grants process in which the Council accepts applications from non-profit organizations seeking funds, forwards proposals to the Grants Advisory Group for advice and comments and then makes funding decisions during our spring budget deliberations.

It is anticipated that the Grants Advisory Group will be appointed in December and will be asked to report to the Council by the end of April 2013. Panel members will need to attend training sessions and review relevant materials during late January and February. The applications review will take place between March 1 and April 15.

The Grants Advisory Group will be asked to provide the Council with written comments on each of the grant proposals. The workload will vary based on the number of applications received and panel members appointed; however, it is expected that each member would review approximately 20 applications. Panel members should anticipate approximately six to eight meetings between the beginning of February and mid-April, with the potential for weekly meetings in March.

Volunteers for the Grants Advisory Group can come from panels reviewing Community Development Block Grants or Community Service Grants, as well as from other advisory boards or community groups. Applicants for the Advisory Group cannot be employees of, or member of a board of, a nonprofit group applying for Council grant funding. The Council will designate the chair of the Advisory Group.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Council to Honor Breast Cancer Awareness Month Tuesday

Tune in on Tuesday as I present a County Council proclamation in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Since BCAM began in 1985, mammography rates have more than doubled for women age 50 and older and breast cancer deaths have declined. That’s something to celebrate, especially since one in eight women in the United States—or 12 percent of women—will develop invasive breast cancer at some point in her life, making breast cancer the most common cancer among women except for skin cancer.

Montgomery County is fortunate to have many partners across various disciplines that not only raise awareness about the importance of early detection of breast cancer but also provide medical and support services to those who have been diagnosed with breast cancer. On Tuesday we will honor these providers.

By way of Tuesday’s proclamation we will show that we stand with the mothers, daughters, sisters, aunts, and friends who have been affected by breast cancer, and that we recognize the ongoing efforts of dedicated advocates, researchers, and health care providers who strive each day to defeat this terrible disease.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Car Sharing Now Available in Montgomery County Urban Centers

The Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) today announced a significant expansion of commercial car sharing services at no cost to the County. Car sharing provides County residents, visitors and businesses with increased access to convenient transportation options that reduce parking demand and traffic congestion in the County’s urban centers.

To increase car sharing, MCDOT has provided public parking spaces for car sharing vehicles. The companies are paying established parking rates for use of the County parking spaces.

Two car sharing companies, Zipcar and Hertz on Demand, were selected following a competitive bid process that allowed vendors to choose locations that best fit their service areas and the types of vehicles they offer. Twenty-six vehicles have been made available at 13 locations in Bethesda, Silver Spring, Wheaton, Montgomery Hills and North Bethesda.

The new car share locations are prominently marked by signs and are listed below:

Metropolitan Garage, 7601 Woodmont Avenue, Bethesda
Bethesda Avenue between Woodmont Avenue and Arlington Road, Bethesda
Cordell Avenue between Woodmont Avenue and Norfolk Avenue, Bethesda
Ellsworh Drive between Fenton Street and Veterans Place, Silver Spring
Fenton Street between Colesville Road and Cameron Street, Silver Spring
Cameron Street between Georgia Avenue and Fenton Street, Silver Spring
Wheaton Market Place Lot, 11219 Grandview Avenue, Wheaton
Parking Lot, Seminary Road and Sutton Place, 1920 Seminary Road, Montgomery Hills
Executive Boulevard between Rockville Pike and Woodglen Drive, North Bethesda

Hertz On Demand
Metropolitan Garage, 7601 Woodmont Avenue Bethesda
Middleton Lane Parking Lot, 4538 Middleton Lane, Bethesda
Bonifant/Dixon Garage, Silver Spring
Fenton Street between Wayne Avenue and Ellsworth Drive, Silver Spring

Car sharing provides commuters or other travelers who primarily rely on transit, car/vanpooling, biking or walking access to a car when needed and can also save them money. The availability of car sharing may help some residents go “car free” or provide a second car for multi-driver households that only need occasional access to a second vehicle.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Apply Now to Merit System Protection Board

We’re taking applications for appointment to a three-year term on the Merit System Protection Board. Generally, the board is expected to oversee the Merit System and to protect employee and applicant rights guaranteed under the County Merit System. Get your application in by November 7.

By law, no more than two of the three members of the Merit System Protection Board may be of the same political party. The appointee to this term may be a Democrat, a Republican or someone who declines to affiliate with a party. In addition, the appointee may be a member of another party officially recognized by the Board of Elections.

The County Merit System Protection Board's mission is to oversee the Merit System for the protection of employee's and applicant's rights guaranteed under the Merit System. There are two methods in which the board processes appeals:
• A written decision issued after a review and discussion of a written record
• A written decision issued after a pre-hearing conference and a formal hearing in cases involving a suspension, demotion or dismissal

The board holds hearings during the day, which can take the full day, with any additional proceedings scheduled for subsequent evening(s). Also, the board normally meets for approximately an hour in the evening once or twice every month. Additional time is also required for preparatory work. Members of the board receive $7,594 per year, which is adjusted annually to reflect 50 percent of the percentage change in the Washington Area Consumer Price Index.

Board members are restricted in political activity while serving. Section 403 of the County Charter states in part "... No member shall hold political office or participate in any campaign for any political or public office during the member's term of office." Members of County boards, committees and commissions may not serve on more than one such group at a time.

Letters of application are made public as part of the appointment process. Letters expressing interest, including a resume listing professional and civic experience, should be addressed to: Council President Roger Berliner, Montgomery County Council, 100 Maryland Avenue, Rockville, MD 20850.

For more information on the Merit System Protection Board appointment, call 240-777-7979.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Need for Infrastructure to Support Bikeshare

Yesterday I sent a letter to the Acting Secretary of the Maryland Department of Transportation, Darrell Mobley, urging him to consider bicycle safety infrastructure, including dedicated bike lanes, in Montgomery County.

The letter explains that Montgomery County is currently developing a bikeshare program and encourages the County and State Departments of Transportation to partner to ensure safety for all bicyclists, especially for bikeshare users. The Maryland Department of Transportation contributed $1,008,000 to the pending bikeshare program in the areas of Friendship Heights, Bethesda, Medical Center, Takoma Park and Silver Spring.

Here’s the complete text of the letter:

October 4, 2012

Darrell Mobley
Acting Secretary of Transportation
Maryland Department of Transportation
P. O. Box 548, 7201 Corporate Center Drive
Hanover, MD 21076

Dear Mr. Mobley,

Thanks in part to a grant from the Maryland Department of Transportation, Montgomery County is now undertaking a plan to implement bikeshare in several locations throughout the county. We are grateful to the department for its assistance in helping us jumpstart the program, and I urge you to continue to partner with us to make sure the program is safe for riders.

Bikesharing has the potential to significantly improve connectivity within Montgomery County and provide an entirely new transportation option for many. As we encourage this mode of transportation, we must also make sure we have the infrastructure to provide a safe environment for all bicyclists and especially for novice riders who will travel at relatively low speeds.

To this end, I encourage MDOT to implement wherever feasible these improvements endorsed by the Washington Area Bicyclist Association:

• Buffered bike lanes--where sufficient space exists, provide buffered space between the bicycle travel space and vehicular travel space (or the “door zone” of the vehicle);
• Non-buffered bike lanes—where space is available, provide a bike lane with a minimum width of five feet, in keeping with national engineering standards;
• Shared use markings (sharrows)—where special constraints make the provision of dedicated space for bicycling impossible, provide sharrows to indicate the likelihood of bicyclists present and to show safe riding location within the lane;
• Conflict zone markings—where conflicts between modes are anticipated (i.e. where motor vehicles must turn across bike facilities) use green lanes to bring greater attention to the likelihood of cyclists, the bike facility and the potential for conflict.

Specifically, I ask you to consider placing bike lanes on Georgia Avenue from Spring Street to 13th Street and on the east side of Colesville Road from East-West Highway north to Georgia Avenue.

Additionally, I hope you will consider bicycle safety and install bike lanes and appropriate markings where feasible in these resurfacing projects scheduled for FY13:

MD 28 (Key West Avenue) - Hurley Avenue to South Adams Street
MD 97 (Georgia Avenue) - Emory Lane to Old Baltimore Road
MD 97 (Georgia Avenue) - Connecticut Avenue to International Drive
MD 97 (Georgia Avenue) - DC Line to Colesville Road
MD 97 (Georgia Avenue) - Glenallan Avenue to Connecticut Avenue
MD 185 (Connecticut Avenue) - Warner Street to Georgia Avenue
MD 185 (Connecticut Avenue) - DC Line to East-West Highway
MD 193 (University Boulevard) - Arcola Avenue to Colesville Road
MD 320 (Piney Branch Road) - DC Line to University Boulevard
MD 355 (Wisconsin Avenue) - DC Line to Bradley Boulevard
MD 355 (Hungerford Drive) - Mannakee Street to King Farm Boulevard
MD 355 (Rockville Pike) - Cedar Croft Drive to Strathmore Avenue
MD 355 (Rockville Pike) - Nicholson Lane to Old Georgetown Road
MD 355 (Wisconsin Avenue) - Montgomery Avenue to Jones Bridge Road
MD 410 (Ethan Allan Avenue) - Park Avenue to New Hampshire Avenue
MD 586 (Veirs Mill Road) - Andrew Street to University Boulevard

Again, thank you for all you do for transportation in Montgomery County generally and for bikeshare specifically. I look forward to continuing to work with you on these priorities.

Nancy Floreen
Montgomery County Councilmember at large

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Green Living Showcase October 20

I want to bring to your attention a special event highlighting local businesses and environmental organizations that contribute to Silver Spring's green economy, the environment, and a healthier, more vibrant community.

On Saturday, October 20th from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Fenton Street Market and Silver Spring Green will be teaming up to offer the first Green Living Showcase at Veterans Plaza in downtown Silver Spring.

A combination of thirty businesses and non-profit organizations will be on hand selling green products and services and providing educational information to help individuals and institutions reduce their ecological footprint. Stop by to learn about:

• Energy efficiency measures that save money
• Clean energy options
• Creating a sustainable landscape on your property
• Green cleaning products and services
• Environmentally responsible home remodeling
• Organic bath and baby care
• Composting
• Electric cars
• Organic pet food
• What local environmental groups are doing and how you can get involved


A.I.R. Lawn Care¬ * All Eco Design Center * ¬American Plant¬ * Amicus Green Building Center * ¬CASA de Maryland¬ * Chesapeake Climate Action Network * Clean Currents * ecobeco * ¬Eco-Coach Inc. * ¬Elysian Energy * ¬Friends of Sligo Creek¬* Karmalades * ¬Kenergy Solar * ¬Live Green * Minnick's * ¬Montgomery County Division of Solid Waste Services * Pepco * ¬Roll Out the Rain Barrel * ¬SCRAP DC * ¬Simple and Green * Solar Mowing¬ * Sport Chevrolet * ¬Sustainable Design Group¬ * The Abundant Backyard¬ * The Big Bad Woof¬ * The Cleaning Corps * The Compost Crew¬ * Washington Gardener Magazine

There will also be eco-demonstrations, artistic performances, and fun activities for kids.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Schedule of October Festivals in Montgomery

Thank you, Montgomery Couty Conference and Visitors Bureau for this list of festivals scheduled for this month. There are a lot of other events listed on the CVB's calendar, so check it out.

Germantown Oktoberfest
October 6 | Clarksburg
The Germantown Oktoberfest marks its 30th anniversary this year by supporting the Wounded Warriors Project. This all-day event features great food, wine tastings, a Biergarten, music, and lots of fun for the whole family.

Taste of Bethesda
October 6 | Bethesda
Taste of Bethesda returns on Saturday, October 6, 2012 from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. and will bring more than 50 restaurants and five stages of entertainment to Bethesda's Woodmont Triangle.

Sugarloaf Crafts Festival
October 12-14 | Gaithersburg
The Sugarloaf Crafts Festival will return to Gaithersburg with 250 artists from around the country offering their one-of-a-kind handmade creations. The festival also returns with 400 artists on Friday, November 16 through Sunday, November 18, 2012.

20th Anniversary Oktoberfest at the Kentlands
October 14 | Gaithersburg
A lively mix of arts, music, food, and fun awaits when you celebrate Oktoberfest at the Kentlands in Gaithersburg on Sunday, October 14 from Noon to 4 p.m. This 20th anniversary event features Bavarian beer, food, music, and dancing, live entertainment.

Antique and Classic Car Show
October 20 | Rockville
The grounds of Glenview Mansion are transformed when more than 500 antique and classic automobiles go on display. Twenty-four car clubs, from Packard to Ferrari, are represented during this grand event, while auto collectors and enthusiasts share the fond memories of the classic cars of yesteryear.

World of Montgomery Festival
October 21 | Wheaton
The World of Montgomery Festival celebrates, explores and shares the diverse cultural heritages which play an active role in the lives of Montgomery County residents and communities. It will feature music and dance performances by County-based artists, food and craft vendors and a hands-on cultural education area, and health fair.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Early and Absentee Voting

Montgomery County will open five Early Voting Centers from October 27 through November 1, from 10 a.m.–8 p.m. (Sunday hours noon–6 p.m.) at these locations:

~ Bauer Drive Community Recreation Center, 14625 Bauer Drive, Rockville

~ Germantown Recreation Center, 18905 Kingsview Road, Germantown

~ Marilyn J. Praisner Community Recreation Center, 14906 Old Columbia Pike, Burtonsville

~ Montgomery County Executive Office Building, 101 Monroe Street, Rockville

~ Silver Spring Civic Building, One Veteran’s Plaza, Silver Spring

If you want to vote in the November 6 General Election you must register by 9 p.m. on Tuesday, October 16. Get your application by calling 240-777-VOTE or by visiting a county library, regional services center, any office of the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services, the Motor Vehicle Administration, or any U.S. Post Office. You can also download the application at or register in person at the Board of Elections.

If you plan to vote by absentee ballot, you'll need to get an application and submit the completed form to the Montgomery County Board of Elections (BOE) no later than October 30.

The good news is that you can get an application in any of several ways: online from the Maryland Board of Elections; in person at the county's Board of Election offices (18753 N. Frederick Ave. Suite #210, Gaithersburg, MD 20879); or by calling 240-777-8550. If you request that an absentee ballot be mailed to you, it will be sent after the county BOE receives your completed application.

If you choose to deliver your voted absentee ballot in person to the BOE, it must be received by 8 p.m. on election day, November 6. If you prefer to mail your voted absentee ballot, it must be postmarked by November 6 and received no later than 10 a.m. November 16.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Planning Smarter Open House this Saturday

Want to know more about how the Montgomery County Planning Department helps create great communities? Check out this Saturday’s open house to get a crash course in how good planning results in great communities. The event is particularly great for those who are not familiar with the Planning Department or the work that they do. Eleven exhibits will be set up throughout the building, focusing on the Zoning Ordinance Rewrite, Historic Preservation, three master plans including Wheaton, Chevy Chase Lake, and the White Oak Science Gateway, the minor master plan amendment process, a major development in each of the three geographic areas, interactive GIS maps and rapid transit. There will even be a city building activity for children. If you can’t attend but still want to learn more, visit the virtual open house.

Planning Smarter Open House
10 a.m.- 1 p.m. Saturday, October 6
Park and Planning Headquarters
8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring

Friday, September 28, 2012

Town Hall Meeting for Students

This year we will hold the always-popular Town Hall Meeting for Students on Wednesday, Oct. 10, at the Council Office Building in Rockville. The meeting will be held in the Council’s Third Floor Hearing Room beginning at 7 p.m. A pre-meeting reception will begin at 6:30 p.m. in the building’s second-floor cafeteria. RSVP by calling 240-777-7931.

The October meeting is open to high school, middle school and elementary school public and private students from around the county. The meeting will allow the participants to let Councilmembers know how they feel about specific issues and also will provide the opportunity to ask questions of us in an organized, but informal, setting.

We will, for the first time, use Twitter to bring more young people into the discussion. Some questions will be taken during the Town Hall Meeting using the hashtag #mocoyouth, and students tweeting about the event are encouraged to use the hashtag, as well.

The event will be broadcast live on County Cable Montgomery (CCM—cable Channel 6 on Comcast and RCN, Channel 30 on Verizon) and rebroadcast at various times in the weeks following the meeting. Susan Kenedy, a producer for the County station, will moderate the meeting.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Register to Vote by October 16

If you want to vote in the 2012 Presidential General Election you must register by 9:00 p.m. on Tuesday, October 16. Get your application by calling 240-777-VOTE or by visiting a county library, regional services center, any office of the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services, the Motor Vehicle Administration, or any U.S. Post Office. You can also download the application at or register in person at the Board of Elections.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Apply Now to Discovery Impact: Creating Change

Non-profits, get your creative juices flowing for the 3rd annual Discovery Impact: Creating Change initiative being held on November 15th. Based on an application process, selected nonprofit organizations will be matched with teams of Discovery employees who--during a 12 hour creative marathon--will donate marketing, communications, creative and business services to you. In addition, all applicants (even if not selected for the project session) will be invited to attend a conference covering a range of similar topics. Get your application in by Tuesday, September 25 (extended from the original date of September 21).

Thursday, September 20, 2012

See Video of World War II Veterans Event

I was so impressed with yesterday’s Montgomery Honors World War II Veterans, emceed by Ted Koppel. More than 150 local veterans attended the event, and many shared fascinating stories about their experience. If you couldn't catch the tribute live yesterday, you can see the video on CCM’s website.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Start Warming up Your Business Pitch Now

Make a four-minute pitch about your business and meet with venture capitalists, angel investors and other leaders of the innovation economy at the Pitch Across Maryland Competition. Videos of the pitches will be uploaded to a social networking wesite and available for public voting on the best pitch in one of many categories. The eight companies with the highest score become the Great 8 and qualify for a month of coaching in preparation of a live pitch event.

The Montgomery County Department of Economic Development is partnering with Startup Maryland, a regional initiative of the Startup America Partnership, which initiated this state-wide startup tour and business pitch competition with a two-week bus tour across the state. The bus tour culminates in an afternoon celebration of entrepreneurship at the Merriweather Post Pavilion.

Catch the bus in Montgomery County:

~ Monday, September 24, 12:30-4:00 at the Bethesda Green Incubator
~ Tuesday, September 25, 9:30-11:30 at the William E. Hanna, Jr., Business Innovation Center at Shady Grove
~ Friday, September 28, 9:00-11:30 at the Mid-Atlantic Bio Conference—Montgomery County Conference Center

Friday, September 14, 2012

More Than 150 WWII Vets to be Honored Wednesday

Boris Osheroff graduated with honors in chemistry from St. John’s Pharmacy School. When he entered the U.S. Army in 1943, he did not understand why a screening left him assigned to a group in New York City that hardly seemed like a military mission. It turned out he was selected to work on the Manhattan Project, and for much of the war, he was part of the team that developed the first atom bomb.

Mr. Osheroff, who is 90 and has lived in Silver Spring since 1956, will be among more than 150 Montgomery County-area World War II veterans who will be honored at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 19, at the Silver Spring Civic Building at Montgomery County Honors World War II Veterans. The event is believed to be the biggest Washington area tribute to World War II veterans since the opening of the National World War II Memorial opened in Washington, D.C., in 2004.

Ted Koppel, who for 25 years hosted the ABC News show Nightline, will be the event’s host and one of the speakers. The event will be simulcast live on many of the County’s public cable television channels that compose the PEG (Public, Education, Government) Network, including County Cable Montgomery, Montgomery Community Media, Montgomery College Television, Montgomery County Public Schools TV and Rockville 11.

Among those who will be attending is Alyce Dixon, who turned 105 on Sept. 11. The still active Ms. Dixon was one of the first employees at the Pentagon from 1940-43, working as a civilian. She entered the Army in 1943 and became one of the first women to join the military as a member of the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC).

Also attending will be George Boggess, 100, who served in Europe with General George Patton’s Third Army. He was in the Battle of the Bulge, where he was wounded. Among his military awards were the Purple Heart and the Silver Star. His post-war life included serving with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., on three Civil Rights campaigns, including the famed march from Selma to Montgomery.

World War II veterans who have committed to attend the event have been involved in some of the best known aspects of the war, including the D-Day invasion of Normandy, the Battle of Bulge, the Battle for the Remagen Bridge over the Rhine River, the Battle for Iwo Jima and the Battle of the Coral Sea. One veteran served on a destroyer that sank more enemy submarines than any other. Veterans who served in segregated units of all black soldiers and all Japanese-American soldiers also will be attending, as will veterans who played key roles in military intelligence and counter intelligence.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Zoning Code Rewrite Now Being Reviewed

The Planning Board is now reviewing the consolidated draft of the Zoning Code rewrite which was released in July. This draft reflects comments received from the Zoning Advisory Panel, county agency representatives and other stakeholders.

The Planning Board will review the draft by topic over the course of the next several months. It will hear public testimony during four separate public sessions, and written testimony is also encouraged.

The zoning code was last comprehensively rewritten in 1997. You can download the draft and view the schedule of upcoming meetings at the Montgomery Planning website.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

White House Wants Our Perspective on Job Growth

We need all hands on deck to move our economic development agenda forward. Federal, state and local governments must work together, and I’m glad to have been invited to be a part of these important conversations at the White House on September 19 as a representative for the National Association of Counties.

The special, invitation-only forum titled “Building Blocks for Economic Development and Job Growth” will focus on the role of the public sector in making strategic investments to support private sector job creation and economic opportunity. The goal of the event is to bring together senior White House and agency officials with regional development organization leaders and county officials to highlight noteworthy practices across the nation.

The event will include updates from senior administration officials and group discussions about specific topics and lessons learned. It will also showcase local communities that are partnering with federal and state officials, plus the philanthropic and private sectors, to make the investments needed for the future.

I will share details about the critical role Montgomery and other counties play in economic development and job creation with senior White House and agency officials.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood will attend the event, along with representatives from the White House Domestic Policy Council, the National Economic Council, the U.S. Department of Transportation, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Department of Commerce.