Daily Journal (March 5th & 6th)

On Monday, I attended a committee meeting to show my support for accelerating the Wheaton Library and Recreation Center. I recently toured the facility that would be replaced and saw first hand the heavy use by the community and the real need for modernization. I commented at the meeting on how a new library and rec center would be an effective tool for revitalizing the area, helping to attract new residents and making a positive statement that the county cares about that area of the county, which like many areas suffers from under-investment. We need to make Wheaton a better place to live.

Tuesday, we had a straw vote to approve the new Kensington Sector Plan. After some debate we voted 8-1 to approve the plan. You can see more about it at www.montgomeryplanning.org. The purpose of the plan is to revise the zoning to make it more likely that property owners will invest in redevelopment, making that area a better place to live. It’s a careful plan that balances the incentives needed for business to invest with community concerns to maintain a walkable, retail oriented town. I hope that we will start to see some progress there soon.

What time in the day remained I spent working on ideas for Wheaton revitalization as well as preparing for the transportation committee’s review of the CIP on Thursday.

Meanwhile I am keeping my eyes on Annapolis and the bad proposals that we have seen there that would have dramatic negative affects on Montgomery County. I am working closely with the www.stoptheshiftmd.com coalition and I urge you to sign up and speak out there now.

Hearing on the Capital Budget

Today was jam packed with council session and a committee meeting on small business issues. Wheaton is very much on our mind as we sort through redevelopment ideas and county investments.

Tonight featured a hearing on the county capital budget. It was interesting and residents spoke compellingly about a diverse array of topics.

I expect that we are going to make significant changes to the capital budget. I am looking to protect the Purple Line and biking facilities, and I am waiting to hear about MCPS needs.

Meanwhile I am working hard on an effort to stop the Annapolis cost shift to county governments for pensions.

I’m continuing my focus on the Purple Line, working with my colleague George Leventhal to keep that priority on track.

I’m excited to tackle these big picture challenges while delving far into the weeds of capital projects. It’s a nice mix.

Daily journal, 09-26-11

Today was jam-packed with tough policy issues. First, a conversation
with the Fire Chief as a follow up to our committee meeting last week
on vehicle policy issues. Then a Gov Ops committee meeting where we
debated the level of borrowing we can afford to finance construction
of capital projects like schools, libraries, etc. I recommended, as
did Council president Valerie Ervin, that we should not reduce our
spending in this area because it will shrink our local economy. The
Count Executive is recommending $50 million in cuts to these projects
over the next 2 years.

Then a meeting with community advocates in the BCC cluster who are
opposed to the site that has been chosen for the middle school. I have
to give a shout out here to Cathy Fink, a local musician whose album
Pillow Full of Wishes is absolutely one of our family favorites. It’s
tough getting lobbied by the lady who sings your kids to sleep!

Then to T/E committee to discuss the issue of artificial turf fields.
There have been a lot of concerns raised about them. My conclusion is
that the science certainly raises enough concern to implement testing
but not enough to warrant a moratorium. I am pleased that the parks
department is implementing a rigorous test on runoff and environmental
impacts. That will tell us a lot. I requested lead tests for all our
existing fields and that we explore alternatives to tire crumb for
filler for these fields.

Now I’m prepping for a vigorous discussion tomorrow on the CR family
of zones. We are working to bring new plans to life for communities in
Wheaton, Kensington and Takoma/Langley but we need to get the zones
right or the investment will not come.

I love this job!