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by Aaron Kraut — August 7, 2014 at 1:50 pm 294 0

Gov. Martin O’Malley, U.S. Secretary of Labor Tom Perez and County Executive Isiah Leggett rolled burritos and mashed guacamole on Thursday in Bethesda before talking about raising the country’s minimum wage.

Perez, O’Malley and Leggett chose Boloco (4930 Elm St.) because the Boston-based chain of fast casual burrito restaurants pays its workers a median wage of $11.50 an hour, compared to the $8.83 an hour average median wage of fast food employees nationally.

Last November, the Montgomery County Council approved a bill to raise the minimum wage for employees in the county to $11.50 per hour by 2017, way more than the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. Neighboring Prince George’s County and Washington D.C. approved the same minimum wage increase as part of a regional effort.

Earlier this year, O’Malley signed a bill to raise the minimum wage elsewhere in the state of Maryland to $10.10 by 2018.

“We were talking to your employees here and I was amazed at how long they’ve been here. The reason they’ve been here a long time is really simple, because you treat them well,” said Perez, the Takoma Park resident, former member of Montgomery County Council and one-time O’Malley appointee. “When you treat people well, they become loyal. That’s not rocket science. That’s common sense business 101.”

Perez was addressing Boloco CEO Patrick Renna in front of a large group of cameras in Boloco Bethesda’s dining area.

The trio took a few minutes to make some food. Employees taught Leggett how to roll a burrito. Leggett and Perez then made some gaucamole as O’Malley ate some lunch.

The three said Boloco, Montgomery County and the state of Maryland — as well as counties and states across the country — show that raising the minimum wage won’t lead to the doomsday scenarios some opponents claim. Montgomery County’s minimum wage will increase to $8.40 an hour in October, $9.55 in 2015, $10.75 in 2016 and $11.50 in 2017.

O’Malley said his preference was to raise the state’s minimum wage higher than $10.10 and do it earlier than 2018, but the bill that passed was a result of “legislative compromise.”

Perez urged residents to “vote with their feet” and patronize businesses that pay employees decent wages.

by Aaron Kraut — July 8, 2014 at 12:05 pm 508 4 Comments

Councilmembers Nancy Floreen, George Leventhal and Hans Riemer with Republican challenger Robert Dyer (far right) at a candidates forum in May in Chevy Chase (file photo)(Updated at 4:15 p.m.) A Republican political candidate and Bethesda resident says the County Council has surrendered in the War on Drugs by passing a marijuana decriminalization resolution on Tuesday.

Robert Dyer, one of four Republican at-large Council candidates who will be on the ballot in November, released a statement in which he said the resolution would lead to more drug dealers and hurt the county’s economic development prospects.

“It is a terrible message to children in our community, and an action that will increase crime and reduce public safety in our neighborhoods,” Dyer said. “Family-friendly neighborhoods are drug-free neighborhoods. If elected, I won’t surrender in the war on drugs like my opponents have. The ‘sense of the Council’ is nonsense. It’s time to reject those who would score political points at the expense of the health and safety of our citizens.”

The Council unanimously approved the resolution Tuesday morning. It comes on the heels of statewide marijuana decriminalization in this year’s General Assembly.

The county action directs county police to make the arrest of those who possess marijuana one of the department’s lowest priorities. It also states that effective May 12, Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy directed his office not to prosecute first-time offenders for the possession of small amounts of marijuana, even if accompanied by paraphernalia.

The state decriminalization law signed April 14 omitted the paraphernalia component, something state lawmakers have said was an oversight they expect to resolve next session.

The law makes the possession of less than 10 grams of marijuana punishable by civil fines for the first two offenses for those 21 and over.

Supporters of the decriminalization effort at the state and county levels pointed to statistics that show African Americans go to jail at a higher rate for marijuana possession, despite usage levels that are the same as whites.

The resolution also stated that “otherwise law-abiding residents could be saddled with a criminal record that makes it more difficult to subsequently obtain a job, housing, government benefits, student loans, college admission, and causes difficulties in many other areas of life.”


by Aaron Kraut — July 1, 2014 at 1:05 pm 189 1 Comment

County Executive Isiah Leggett (file photo)County Executive Isiah Leggett looks to be on his way to a third term after last week’s Democratic primary.

As to one reason for why turnout was so low in Montgomery County, the veteran of county politics put forward an interesting theory.

“In the past, we have been divided by two things in Montgomery County, by A. Education and B. Growth and development in the county,” Leggett told WAMU radio host Kojo Nnamdi during his show on Friday. “Growth and development really divided the county almost in half.

“So you had a great deal of interests coming as a result of that. With the recession, and many people feeling we need jobs and we need to grow, that issue has basically been taken off the table,” said Leggett, who was expanding on comments he made to the Washington Post about the low turnout.

All Council incumbents and Leggett comfortably won their Democratic primaries. Not all are seen as pro-growth. At-large Councilmember Marc Elrich, who has been the lone vote against major redevelopment in certain master plans, got the most at-large votes.

Elrich was the lone vote against the Chevy Chase Lake Sector Plan, passed in July 2013. The Takoma Park resident criticized the way the county evaluated traffic numbers and said the proposed development disregarded the views of existing homeowners.

Development and the Purple Line dominated the conversation during an at-large Council debate in Chevy Chase. Could it have been a reason why precincts in Chevy Chase saw slightly higher turnout numbers than the rest of the county?

Regardless, the 2014 primary didn’t feature anything like former Councilmember Blair Ewing’s slow-growth coalition of 2002, which matched up against then-County Executive Doug Duncan’s “End Gridlock” slate. In 2006, Leggett positioned himself as slow growth in his run for county executive, at least compared to opponent Steve Silverman.

This election cycle, the question of development wasn’t as prominent — at least in the county executive race.

“If you go back years before, every candidate had to address the issue of growth and development,” Leggett said Friday. “The recession basically eliminated that interest.”

by Aaron Kraut — June 27, 2014 at 12:25 pm 517 0

Candidate supporters and volunteers outnumber voters at Whitman High School on TuesdayVoter turnout stats for this week’s gubernatorial primary weren’t encouraging anywhere in Maryland, especially not in Montgomery County.

The solidly blue county of 630,255 registered voters had a turnout rate of just 16.34 percent after Tuesday’s elections, the lowest of any county in the state.

Almost 24 percent of the county’s Democrats turned out, an unimpressive mark that nonetheless looks to have been lifted by higher than average Democratic turnout in Bethesda and Chevy Chase precincts.

In legislative District 16, which covers Bethesda, part of North Bethesda and Potomac, 28.55 percent of registered Democrats voted either Tuesday or in early voting. That’s a total of 14,461 voters and good for the best Democratic turnout rate of any legislative district in the county.

In County Council District 1 — the race incumbent Councilmember Roger Berliner won against Duchy Trachtenberg — 23,475 Democrats voted for a turnout rate of 28.75 percent, again the best turnout among council districts in Montgomery.

Boiling those numbers down even further will show many Bethesda and Chevy Chase polling places had Democratic turnouts surpassing 30 percent — a modest but significant fact for a state that as a whole had a primary turnout of roughly 22 percent.

The polling place at Rollingwood School Center in Chevy Chase (3200 Woodbine St.) had the best Democratic turnout among local precincts with 38.18 of registered Democrats voting either on Tuesday or in early voting.

Chevy Chase Village Hall, Clara Barton Community Center, Chevy Chase Elementary School, Westbrook Elementary School and Bethesda Library were among the local precincts that got votes from at least 30 percent of its registered Democrats.

Electronic polling book problems early on Tuesday at Bethesda Library, Chevy Chase Elementary and Westland Middle School didn’t seem to hurt turnout. Some voters who showed up at the start of voting at 7 a.m. had to fill out paper provisional ballots or return later because electronic voting cards weren’t working.

At Somerset Elementary School, near the home of attorney general nominee Brian Frosh, 772 Democrats voted on Tuesday or during early voting. Anecdotal evidence on Tuesday suggested voting there and at nearby precincts was higher than elsewhere because of Frosh’s popularity and what was expected to be a tough race against Baltimore County Del. Jon Cardin.

Two of the worst local turnouts came at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School, which actually was the voting place for two precincts. One B-CC precinct reported 24.88 percent Democratic turnout, the other reported just 19.28 percent Democratic turnout.

Friendship Heights Village Center, thought by some to be a key precinct because of its surrounding senior population, pulled in 652 total Democratic voters for a turnout of just 26.45 percent.

by Aaron Kraut — June 25, 2014 at 8:30 am 428 1 Comment

Isiah Leggett, on the campaign trail in April in Randolph Hills

All incumbent Montgomery County leaders won their primaries, while Gaithersburg Mayor Sidney Katz and Silver Spring Del. Tom Hucker grabbed the two vacant County Council spots.

All three county executive candidates got at least 22 percent of the vote and Hucker beat closest competitor Evan Glass by a mere 217 votes in District 5:


Ike Leggett — 37,047 (45.46 percent)
Doug Duncan — 26,348 (32.33 percent)
Phil Andrews — 18,091 (22.20 percent)


Marc Elrich — 53,394 (21.15 percent)
Nancy Floreen — 49,094 (19.45 percent)
Hans Riemer — 46,473 (18.41 percent)
George Leventhal — 42,835 (16.97 percent)

Beth Daly — 36,787 (14.57 percent)
Vivian Malloy — 23,829 (9.44 percent)


Roger Berliner — 16,395 (78.51 percent)
Duchy Trachtenberg — 4,487 (21.49 percent)


Craig Rice — 6,478 (76.35 percent)
Neda Bolourian — 2,007 (23.65 percent)


Sidney Katz — 5,578 (40.90 percent)
Tom Moore — 4,527 (33.20 percent)
Ryan Spiegel — 3,074 (22.54 percent)
Guled Kassim — 458 (3.36 percent)


Nancy Navarro — 11,530 (100 percent)


Tom Hucker — 7,184 (38.60 percent)
Evan Glass — 6,967 (37.44 percent)
Christopher Barclay — 1,789 (9.61 percent)
Terrill North — 1,687 (9.07 percent)
Jeffrey Thames — 982 (5.28 percent)


Jill Ortman-Fouse — 26,678 (33.94 percent)
Shebra Evans — 24,746 (31.48 percent)
Edward Amatetti — 16,237 (20.66 percent)
Merry Heidorn — 10,938 (13.92 percent)

Full election results are here.

by Aaron Kraut — June 25, 2014 at 8:10 am 184 0

Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown with Howard County Executive Ken Ulman at a Chevy Chase campaign event in December

With all Montgomery County and virtually all state precincts reporting, here are the results of Tuesday’s state primary races — plus the results of our local Congressional primary:


102,263 cards cast from 630,254 registered voters (16.23 percent)


Anthony Brown/Ken Ulman — 236,037 (51.29 percent)
Doug Gansler/Jolene Ivey — 111,497 (24.23 percent)
Heather Mizeur/Delman Coates — 99,913 (21.71 percent)
Cindy Walsh/Mary Elizabeth-Pennacchia — 6,441 (1.4 percent)
Charles Smith/Clarence Tucker — 3,296 (0.72 percent)
Ralph Jaffe/Freda Jaffe — 2,997 (0.65 percent)


Anthony Brown/Ken Ulman — 38,861 (46.89 percent)
Doug Gansler/Jolene Ivey — 23,968 (28.92 percent)
Heather Mizeur/Delman Coates — 18,544 (22.37 percent)
Cindy Walsh/Mary Elizabeth-Pennacchia — 806 (0.97 percent)
Ralph Jaffe/Freda Jaffe — 380 — 0.46 percent
Charles Smith/Clarence Tucker — 0.39 percent


Larry Hogan/Boyd Rutherford — 89,177 (43 percent)
David Craig/Jeannie Haddaway — 60,390 (29 percent)
Charles Lollar/Ken Timmerman — 32,165 (15.51 percent)
Ron George/Shelley Aloi — 25,624 (12.36 percent)


Brian Frosh — 217,134 (49.68 percent)
Jon Cardin — 132,331 (30.28 percent)
Aisha Braveboy — 87,592 (20.04 percent)


Brian Frosh — 55,916 (70.48 percent)
Jon Cardin — 15,877 (20.01 percent)
Aisha Braveboy — 7,546 (9.51 percent)


Chris Van Hollen — 48,405 (93.58 percent)
George English — 2,203 (4.26 percent)
Lih Young — 1,120 (2.17 percent)


Susan Lee — 10,985 (84.77 percent)
Hugh Hill — 1,769 (13.65 percent)
J’aime Drayton — 205 (1.58 percent)


Rich Madaleno — 6,808 (58.20 percent)
Dana Beyer — 4,890 (41.80 percent)


Ariana Kelly — 9,113 (25.61 percent)
Bill Frick — 8,199 (23.04 percent)
Marc Korman — 7,760 (21.80 percent)

Hrant Jamgochian — 5,477 (15.39 percent)
Jordan Cooper — 2,627 (7.38 percent)
Peter Dennis — 1,056 (2.97 percent)
Karen Kuker-Kihl — 723 (2.03 percent)
Gareth Murray — 634 (1.78 percent)


Jeff Waldstreicher — 6,798 (21.59 percent)
Ana Sol Gutierrez — 6,701 (21.28 percent)
Al Carr — 5,991 (19.02 percent)

Emily Shetty — 3,587 (11.39 percent)
Rick Kessler — 3,566 (11.32 percent)
Natali Fani-Gonzalez — 2,614 (8.30 percent)
Elizabeth Matory — 2,237 (7.10 percent)

by Aaron Kraut — June 24, 2014 at 11:00 am 1 Comment

A nearly empty polling place at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School on TuesdayThere were as many candidates and supporters standing outside as there were voters inside a few Bethesda-Chevy Chase area polling places on Tuesday morning.

With turnout expected to be low, we want to know what did get those who voted (or those who plan to vote) out to the ballot box.

Most at Bethesda Elementary School, Bethesda Library and Chevy Chase Elementary School this morning said they voted because they are regular voters.

“I just vote regularly. This wasn’t a particularly exciting election,” said Jim Eisner.

Some said voting for Brian Frosh, the District 16 state senator in a tough race for attorney general, was the primary reason they came out.

For Cindy, who wouldn’t give us her last name, she said Heather Mizeur’s attack ad-free campaign for governor encouraged her to vote.

“She was very positive and I responded to that,” Cindy said. “I’ve gotten over 100 pieces of literature in my mailbox and the ones that were negative went into that pile and I didn’t even consider them. I was going for positivity.”

We ask you: What did, or what will bring you out to vote today? Feel free to provide any additional reasons in the comments section below.

by Aaron Kraut — June 24, 2014 at 6:15 am 1,748 3 Comments

Check back frequently for updates. 

1:15 a.m. 215 Montgomery County precincts reporting and the turnout percentage is inching toward 12.95 percent. Beating the 2010 primary mark of 18 percent turnout seems like a big question mark.

12:43 a.m. In the District 16 state senate primary, Del. Susan Lee didn’t have much of a problem against Hugh Hill and J’aime Drayton. Lee is well on her way to taking over for attorney general nominee Brian Frosh after getting 85 percent of the vote. Hill got 13 percent.

12:35 a.m. There were 72,742 ballots cast in those 192 county precincts, which right now means a registered voter turnout of 11.54 percent with fewer than 75 precincts remaining.

12:33 a.m. Latest results, which include votes from 192 Montgomery County precincts, further solidify what we already knew.

12:08 a.m. Looks like new County Council members will be longtime Gaithersburg Mayor Sidney Katz with 43 percent of the vote in District 3 (Gaithersburg and Rockville) and Del. Tom Hucker with 41 percent of the vote in District 5 — which covers Silver Spring and much of east county.

12:03 a.m. Latest results from county include 171 precincts, show Isiah Leggett with 46 percent, Doug Duncan with 31 percent and Phil Andrews with 22 percent in county executive race.

Incumbent George Leventhal is in fourth place in at-large Council race with 16.8 percent, Beth Daly misses the cut in fifth place with 14.79 percent. Incumbents Marc Elrich, Nancy Floreen and Hans Riemer all safe in top three vote-getting spots.

12:01 a.m. Duncan’s concession is now Twitter-official.

12:00 a.m. Meanwhile, WTOP’s Kate Ryan reports Doug Duncan has conceded the county executive race to Isiah Leggett.

11:58 p.m. This is not a good look for the county BOE results page:

County BOE results page down

11:48 p.m. District 18 Senate candidate Dana Beyer thanks her campaign staff and supporters, wishes winner Rich Madaleno the best. District 16 delegate candidate Jordan Cooper concedes.

11:23 p.m. Let’s take a cue from George Leventhal and look at the turnout numbers. There were 59,771 votes in the 158 Montgomery County precincts reporting. That’s a turnout of 9.48 percent with fewer than 100 county precincts left to report.

11:18 p.m. George Leventhal seems to be safe in the at-large Council race, though he appears to have larger issues on his mind:

11:00 p.m. In District 18, all three incumbent delegates look safe. Sen. Rich Madaleno is ahead 63 percent to 36 percent with 19 precincts reporting.

10:43 p.m. In District 16 delegates race, it’s not a surprise that Marc Korman looks to be on his way to winning a Democratic nomination. His margin over closest competitor Hrant Jamgochian is.

With 18 precincts in District 16 reporting, Korman has 2,325 votes, good for 21 percent. Jamgochian is the fourth-leading vote-getter with 1,798 votes, good for 16 percent. Incumbents Bill Frick (22 percent) and Ariana Kelly (25 percent) look to be solidly on the November general ballot.


by Aaron Kraut — June 23, 2014 at 1:25 pm 1 Comment

Candidates and supporters gather on June 12 at the Jane Lawton Community Center on the first day of early votingEarly voting in the 2014 gubernatorial primary was up compared to the 2010 primary, though it’s unclear what that improvement means when it comes to fears of historically low overall turnout on Tuesday.

Eight days of early voting for this year’s gubernatorial primary ended last Thursday. Here are the early voting numbers, broken down by category:

There were 141,590 total early voters in Maryland.

18,871 of those were in Montgomery County, which is just less than 3 percent of the county’s 630,255 active eligible voters. That is third behind Prince George’s County (21,959) and Baltimore County (22,285) in terms of total early voters but behind every jurisdiction except for Allegany, Saint Mary’s and Washington Counties when it comes to percentage of registered voters who voted early.

4.64 percent, or 16,443 of 354,078 registered Montgomery County Democrats voted early while less than 2,000 (1.47 percent) of registered Montgomery County Republicans voted early. That could be due to a number of uncontested Republican races.

2,017 out of 91,685 registered voters in legislative District 16 voted early, with the most voters (413) coming on June 19, the last day of early voting. That’s good for 2.2 percent of registered voters in the district that covers Bethesda, parts of Potomac and parts of North Bethesda.

In District 18, 2,545 of 74,284 registered voters voted early, a 3.43 percent early voting turnout. Just like in District 16, most of those early voters came out on June 19, when nearly 600 people voted.

If you shift the analysis to County Council District 1 (covering Chevy Chase, Bethesda, North Bethesda, Potomac and Poolesville) 2.43 percent of the district’s 150,653 registered voters came out early. That’s a total of 3,661 voters.

Montgomery County got permission from the State Board of Elections to add a ninth early voting center and for the first time, that meant early voting at the Jane Lawton Community Center in Chevy Chase.

That location hosted 2,187 early voters. Out of the county’s 630,255 registered voters (county residents could vote early anywhere in the county) that was good for a turnout rate of 0.35 percent.

That was about even with other early voting locations throughout the county, except for the Silver Spring Civic Building, which had 3,951 early voters.

What does it all mean? To some, it doesn’t signal much of anything. In fact, the improved primary early voting rate likely won’t mean improved overall turnout on Tuesday.

by Aaron Kraut — June 23, 2014 at 10:30 am 251 1 Comment

Isiah Leggett, back on the campaign trail Sunday in Randolph Hills Campaign signs at Silver Spring Civic Center Councilmembers Nancy Floreen, George Leventhal and Hans Riemer with Republican challenger Robert Dyer at a candidates forum on Wednesday in Chevy Chase
Duchy Trachtenberg's District 1 Council campaign kickoff event Thursday A supporter takes a selfie with Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown as he campaigns in Bethesda Doug Duncan (file photo)

The 2014 gubernatorial primary is Tuesday, which means a batch of important local races and heavily contested bids for both the Democratic and Republican governor nominations.

In case you haven’t been paying much attention (or if you have and would like to review) here’s a primary guide featuring candidate statements, voting information and ways to find results:

What Am I Voting On?

All voters in Bethesda-Chevy Chase will vote in the same statewide races (governor, comptroller and attorney general), and the Montgomery County executive race within their respective political parties. The county Board of Education race is non-partisan.

Candidate listings and official website information are here.

Locally, your choices can vary depending on which side of Wisconsin Avenue you call home.

The state’s Polling Place Locator will tell you which legislative district you’re in and where your polling place is.

Most Bethesda-Chevy Chase residents fall within state District 16 or District 18. There are three delegates and one senator from each district.

There are also races for the House of Representatives and County Council. The vast majority of the areas defined as Bethesda, Chevy Chase or North Bethesda are in Council District 1.

Who Are The Local Candidates?

For county executive, Democrats will have a choice between incumbent Isiah Leggett, former county executive Doug Duncan and Councilmember Phil Andrews. Republican Jim Shalleck is running unopposed and will be on the general ballot in November.

In an aggressive bid to recapture his old job, Duncan has tried to make the case that he’s a stronger leader than Leggett. Leggett has pointed to the job he did in carefully guiding the county through the Great Recession. Andrews’ main focus is his refusal to take political support from special interest groups.

Those are, of course, the broad strokes. For more detail, be sure to check out official websites (Leggett | Duncan | Andrews) and some of our assorted campaign coverage:

- Leggett: ‘I’m Not Prepared To Leave This Ship’
- Doug Duncan: ‘We Need Someone Who Can Solve Our Problems’
- Duncan, Leggett and Andrews Trade Barbs In Bethesda Debate

In County Council District 1, Democrats will have a choice between incumbent Roger Berliner and former at-large Councilmember Duchy Trachtenberg. Berliner, surprised by Trachtenberg’s last minute entry into the race, has relied upon a broad array of supporters. Meanwhile, Trachtenberg aggressively sought to repair relations with the same labor groups that took credit for ousting her in 2010.

The two aren’t too fond of each other, at least not at the moment. For more, check out what each candidate would change about Bethesda, and what each candidate said when it came to “Why you should vote for me.”

- Trachtenberg: Why You Should Vote For Me | 3 Wishes To Improve Bethesda
- Berliner: Why You Should Vote For Me | 3 Wishes To Improve Bethesda

The County Council At-Large race also includes some interesting possibilities, with all four Democratic incumbents (George Leventhal, Marc Elrich, Hans Riemer and Nancy Floreen) running for reelection and challengers Beth Daly and Vivian Malloy. Voters can pick four candidates:

- Why You Should Vote For Me: George Leventhal |  Beth Daly | Hans Riemer | Nancy Floreen

On the Republican side, there are four candidates, which means all four will make it to the general ballot in November.

In state legislative District 16 or District 18, you get three selections for House of Delegates and one for State Senate. See all our coverage of District 16 here and all our coverage of District 18 here. And again, check out our Why You Should Vote For Me series for more on each candidate straight from each candidate.

When Can I Vote?

7 a.m. until 8 p.m.

When Will I Know Who Won?

Votes cast during Early Voting will be counted on Election Day and released shortly after 8 p.m. Results from Election Day will be available beginning at 9:20 p.m. and will be updated every 30 minutes. Official reports will also be displayed as the votes are counted at the Board of Elections at 18753 N. Frederick Avenue, Suite 210 in Gaithersburg.

Here’s where you can see up-to-date results. Here’s where you can watch as the results come in, plus analysis on local races.

by Aaron Kraut — June 20, 2014 at 3:05 pm 244 1 Comment

Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown hit Bethesda Row on Friday to shake hands with outdoor diners, encourage people to vote and meet up with employees of Bethesda Avenue-based Honest Tea.

Brown is holding a huge lead in the polls in the race for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination and seems well on his way to succeeding boss Martin O’Malley as governor of Maryland. Early voting ended Thursday and the primary election is Tuesday.

“I’m feeling real good that voters are going to come out, that our message resonates and that we’re going to have a good day on Tuesday,” said Brown, who was accompanied by his lieutenant governor candidate, Howard County Executive Ken Ulman.

“We’re looking forward to working with the county executive, your delegation in Annapolis, the County Council to make sure that every neighborhood is safe and that we continue to grow and not take for granted the strong economy here in Maryland,” Brown said when asked what Montgomery County residents should expect from him.

Councilmember Hans Riemer and Somerset Mayor Jeffrey Slavin accompanied Brown and Ulman, handing out campaign literature along Bethesda Lane and Bethesda Avenue.

Earlier in the day, Bethesda resident and Attorney General Doug Gansler greeted potential voters at the Grosvenor-Strathmore Metro station. Gansler is trailing Brown by 20 to 23 points in various polls.

Del. Heather Mizeur, the third Democratic gubernatorial nominee, swung by Grosvenor-Strathmore a little after Gansler and then hit the Starbucks in Wildwood Shopping Center with running mate Delman Coates.

She railed off a number of goals — making the minimum wage into a living wage, closing corporate tax loopholes, bringing back the millionaire’s tax and funding pre-K by legalizing and taxing marijuana — that she said were resonating with voters.

Mizeur said her campaign’s decision to stay positive and use the state’s public financing system are two of the things she’s heard Bethesda voters say they like.

“This is the campaign that is on fire, that has people truly excited to turn out and be for something,” Mizeur said. “We’ve been very clear about what we believe in and what we want to get done when we win this election.”

by BethesdaNow.com — June 17, 2014 at 1:15 pm 291 7 Comments

Councilmember George Leventhal (file photo)We asked local candidates in contested primary elections to write a sub-750 word essay describing why residents should vote for them on June 24.

Next up is George Leventhal, running for one of four Democratic nominations in the County Council at-large race. Below is Leventhal’s unedited response:

I first moved to Montgomery County with my parents in 1964. I have lived here for 42 years and my wife Soraia and I have lived in Takoma Park for more than 25 years. We have raised two boys, both of whom attended our excellent public schools.

Since I was first elected in 2002, I have brought passion, honesty and integrity to the County Council. I work hard, and I respond quickly to our constituents’ needs. I am an effective leader, and I get things done.

As Chairman of the Health and Human Services Committee, I advocate for those who need the most help from government: the sick, the poor, the elderly, the disabled, the homeless, the mentally ill, and abused and abandoned children. County Executive Leggett recently called me “a warrior against poverty” for my efforts to assist county residents who most need help from government.

One of my signature accomplishments, Montgomery Cares, is a network of physicians and clinics that serve uninsured or underinsured residents. In this year alone, Montgomery Cares will ensure that 31,000 people who would not otherwise have access to care, will see a primary care doctor. With the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, the expansion of Medicaid, and Montgomery Cares, the residents of Montgomery County will finally achieve universal health care coverage in my next term on the council.

The Housing First program provides permanent, stable housing and support services to homeless individuals and it is another accomplishment of which I am proud. For the first time since the county began counting, our homeless population dropped below 900 in January, 2014. We have made great strides in helping this very needy population come in from outside and repair their damaged lives.

To protect the environment and grow green jobs, I co-founded Bethesda Green, a public-private partnership that provides a living model of sustainability and a community-wide environmental ethic. Bethesda Green is the first green business incubator in the State of Maryland and provides support for small start-ups that could otherwise not afford their own space. Most of the funding has come from the private sector, leveraging very small investments of taxpayer dollars.

I’m proud of these programs and accomplishments, but we still have more to do. To continue to provide important social services, we must attract new jobs and investment to expand our revenue base. As a member of the Planning, Housing and Economic Development Committee, I want to continue the Council’s work promoting smart growth development, updating master plans for our modern society and attracting jobs. I understand the importance of attractive and creative planning to ensure cosmopolitan communities that provide desirable amenities, including schools, parks, trails, libraries, community and recreation centers and shopping.


by BethesdaNow.com — June 16, 2014 at 1:10 pm 179 3 Comments

County Councilman Roger Berliner (file photo)We asked local candidates in contested primary elections to write a sub-750 word essay describing why residents should vote for them on June 24.

Next up is Roger Berliner, who is running for the Democratic nomination in the District 1 County Council race. Below is Berliner’s unedited response:

It has been my privilege to serve the residents of District 1 on the County Council for the past 7 and a half years. I was drawn to this work because I have an abiding faith that government can make a positive difference in our lives.

I had the honor of serving some of the most progressive members of Congress in history — Senator Howard Metzenbaum and Congressman Henry Waxman. I have also worked for the California state legislature as a Senior Policy Advisor. Those past experiences in government shaped me into the public servant I aspire to be each and every day — faithful, active, and effective.

And now after serving two terms as your Councilmember, I can say this unequivocally — local government matters most. It touches our lives most directly every day.

We are blessed in Montgomery County with a good government. Not a perfect government. But a good, honest, decent government.

My work on your behalf has been focused on one fundamental goal — preserving and enhancing our quality of life. How? By getting real results that make a real difference. By focusing on the fundamentals:

  • Like when our quality of life was seriously threatened by Pepco’s unacceptably poor service, I used the full force of my office to get Pepco’s attention, and then drafted what became our state law that holds them accountable. And lo and behold, the lights are staying on longer and things are finally getting better;
  • By leading the fight against development where it doesn’t belong, like in the headwaters of Ten Mile Creek, and for it where it does belong, like in White Flint;
  • By leading our County to adopt a Transit First philosophy, pushing to get BikeShare in our county, and adding money to our budget to develop a traffic signal system that could move us 15 percent faster;
  • By voting to fully fund our school system in a way that protects our taxpayers and leading the fight to reduce our tax burden;
  • By working hard to preserve the quality of our wonderful residential neighborhoods and leading our county to a more sustainable future
  • And by taking care of the most vulnerable among us. We are a compassionate community. It is part of our DNA.


by BethesdaNow.com — June 16, 2014 at 12:10 pm 186 8 Comments

Duchy TrachtenbergWe asked local candidates in contested primary elections to write a sub-750 word essay describing why residents should vote for them on June 24.

Next up is Duchy Trachtenberg, who is running for the Democratic nomination in the District 1 County Council race. Below is Trachtenberg’s unedited response:

I’m running for Montgomery County Council from District 1 because it’s time that politicians quit playing politics and put people first. I bring a solid record of accomplishment as both an activist and a legislator, and I have a passion for public service.

I have lived in District 1 for 25 years and care deeply about this community. I’ve worked here, raised my family here, made wonderful friends, joined with volunteers and activists to defend women’s rights and advocate for the most vulnerable — this is my home, and I want it to thrive.

To me, the test of leadership is whether an elected official has the skill and intuition to make the machinery of government work, not just to deliver core functions but to sustain and strengthen a community’s most deeply held values and beliefs.

My vision for this county is simple: to create a local economy that sustains all families and leaves no one behind. That’s achievable but only if we work together recognizing our strengths while accepting our limitations. Everyone has to be in the room and that’s what this campaign is about. For too long people have lost faith in the process and don’t believe we can change and improve our county. Our campaign is about proving that we can.

Our first priority must be to create jobs — good paying jobs, that offer a path of advancement, that compete with other opportunities in the region. It’s time for a long-term county economic development plan. I will help develop such a plan by working with the Executive branch, the business community, taxpayers and labor.

I’m clear on what we need to address in District 1 — school overcrowding, unacceptable road conditions, better public transportation including the Purple Line, and access to quality health services, especially for our seniors who are aging in place.


by Aaron Kraut — June 13, 2014 at 11:15 am 237 1 Comment

Beth DalyWe asked local candidates in contested primary elections to write a sub-750 word essay describing why residents should vote for them on June 24.

Next up in the County Council at-large race is Beth Daly, who is running for one of four nominations in the Democratic primary. Below is Daly’s unedited response:

Although this is my first run for public office, I have more than 20 years of experience working in Democratic politics, first for U.S. Sen. Howard Metzenbaum (D-Ohio), then as a media professional for Democratic candidates and progressive causes, and most recently for Telemundo, promoting political messaging to its Spanish-language viewers. I was named “Media All Star” by Media Week magazine in 1993 for my team’s work on the Clinton-Gore 1992 campaign. I am legislative director of the Sugarloaf Citizens Association; was appointed by County Executive Ike Leggett to the Upcounty Citizens Advisory Board where I am land use chair; served as a community leader on the regional Transportation Planning Board; and am a member of the inaugural class of Emerge Maryland – an organization dedicated to getting more women to seek elected office. I am active on the Save Ten Mile Creek Coalition, and successfully worked to protect the county’s last pristine creek. I am also active on the Dickerson Facilities advisory board, PTA, within my parish and as a hospice volunteer.

Currently, three of the four at-large members reside in Takoma Park. I am uniquely positioned to run for an at-large seat on the council because I have lived both upcounty (14 years) and downcounty (10 years). As an apartment dweller in downtown Bethesda, a new mother of two boys in a single-family home in Kensington, and now an empty nester in the heart of the Agricultural Reserve, I have experienced Montgomery County’s variety, and I appreciate that we are all — regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, or any other difference — in this together.

The most important reason for people to vote for me, however, is that I want to change the way the Montgomery County Council does business — especially when it comes to land use issues and transparency. Montgomery County is a great place to live and work but — let’s face it — our roads and schools have become increasingly overcrowded over the last decade. I was prompted to run by school overcrowding and the excessive number of portables. I will insist on balanced development by making sure the school and traffic tests in the Subdivision Staging Policy reflect what actually is happening on the ground, and I will work to ensure that there is adequate funding for school construction and transportation solutions soon, not years later — so the new density does not negatively affect the daily lives of residents who live and work here now.



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