District 16 House of Delegates candidate Jordan Cooper will hold a panel discussion fundraiser at his family’s North Bethesda home on Thursday on the topic of good governance in Montgomery County.
Cooper, 27, is likely to be the youngest candidate in a crowded field vying for what could be two vacant District 16 seats in next year’s Primary. The anticipated large group of candidates has led to a few declaring their candidacy more than a year before the June 2014 election. Many observers have said candidates will have to raise more than $100,000 to be competitive.
Cooper, who served as a page in the General Assembly and then worked as a legislative aide after college, is charging $50 per and $30 for Young Democrats for the fundraiser.
It will include Steve VanGrack, former Rockville mayor, Dr. Alan Cheung, former Board of Education member, and Rabbi Stuart Weinblatt, from Congregation Bnai Tzedek in Potomac.
The subject of the discussion will be “Leadership & Good Governance in Montgomery County.”
“For me, good governance can be summed up in one word: Integrity,” Cooper said. “Being whole in oneself, having one’s thoughts and behaviors in accord, fulfilling one’s responsibilities, and honoring one’s commitments are all hallmarks of leadership properly executed.”
Hrant Jamgochian is the only other District 16 candidate to formally announce his or her candidacy, though a number of others are expected to join the fray.
The panel discussion starts at 8 p.m.
Panera Bread Moving Into Mongolian Grill Space — Panera Bread will take over the vacant former space of the bd’s Mongolian Grill (7201 Wisconsin Ave.). The opening date is not yet known. The grill left the space last year. [Bethesda Magazine]
Bethesda Fine Arts Festival This Weekend — The event will feature 130 artists and their sculptures, paintings, photography, mixed media, ceramics, clothing, jewelry and other goods. It starts on Saturday at 10 a.m. and runs to 6 p.m and picks up again on Sunday at 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Parts of Norfolk, Auburn and Del Ray Avenues in Woodmont Triangle will be blocked off to traffic for the Festival. [Bethesda Urban Partnership]
Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown Gets Ready To Announce Candidacy For Governor — Many view the former Prince George’s County Delegate as a front-runner in the race to replace Gov. Martin O’Malley (D), who is term-limited. Brown will face a challenge from Attorney General and Bethesda native Doug Gansler, who has almost three times the amount of campaign money as Brown. Brown will also attempt to become the first lieutenant governor ever to make the jump to governor. [Washington Post]
Summer Recreation, Camp Guide Out — The 2013 Montgomery County Recreation Summer Guide is available online and summer session registration starts Monday morning. [Montgomery County Recreation]
Flickr photo by Dreamin Up Concepts
B-CC Takes First, Walter Johnson and Whitman Second and Third At Gymnastics Final — Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School senior Julia Konner won all four individual events, bars, beam, floor and vault, at the Montgomery County Gymanstics Championship on Tuesday. B-CC won its second straight county title and fifth in six years. Walter Johnson and Whitman finished second and third, respectively. [The Gazette]
Comptroller To Advocate For Internet Sales Tax At Union Hardware — Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot thinks Congress should pass the Marketplace Fairness Act and he’ll join small business owners at Union Hardware (7800 Wisconsin Ave.) this morning to talk about it. The bill, which the Senate passed, would require online and catalog retailers that make more than $1 million a year to collect sales tax, even if the purchase is made in another state. Small business owners, who must collect sales tax, have argued the lack of an online tax puts them at a disadvantage.
Political Training Program Targeting Women Has Bethesda Ties — Emerge Maryland, a class of 21 women recruited as potential candidates for political office, will graduate in June. Bethesda resident Susan Turnbull, a former chair of the Maryland Democratic Party, helped create the program. The women will have had 70 hours of training over seven months when it’s all done. Wendy Cohen, a Bethesda resident and rumored candidate for District 16 state delegate, took part in the class. [Bethesda Magazine]
Politicians Jump On Union’s Boycott Bandwagon — A who’s who of politicians with aspirations for high-up positions in state government say they will join a union boycott of the upcoming Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee Spring Ball. Union officials are boycotting the fundraiser because the Committee, County Council and Montgomery voters agreed last fall to support Question B, which took away Police effects bargaining rights. [Maryland Juice]
The 2014 Democratic Primary is still more than a year away, yet each week brings more news and speculation about who will jump into a District 16 House of Delegates race that could see 15 or 20 candidates and take more than $100,000 in fundraising to win.
On Saturday, Hrant Jamgochian officially kicked off his campaign with an open house at his Bradley Boulevard home. Jamgochian, an attorney who is executive director of a dialysis patient advocacy organization, finished a close third behind Del. Ariana Kelly in the 2010 primary and garnered the Washington Post’s endorsement despite his late entry into the race.
About 100 supporters showed up for the event, including Gilbert Genn, a District 16 delegate from 1987-1999. Del. Susan Lee, who told Bethesda Magazine she would run for Sen. Brian Frosh’s vacant seat if he runs for attorney general as expected, was also in attendance.
Jamgochian is making his move a lot earlier this time around. He talked about education, the economy and healthcare on Saturday, with an emphasis on closing healthcare insurance loopholes and providing for expensive long-term senior care. He hired Rachel Gumpert, who worked in the field in Nevada during the 2012 election, as his campaign manager.
Jamgochian is planning a June 11 fundraiser at a yet-to-be-determined location.
The only other candidate who has formally announced his candidacy is Jordan Cooper, a 27-year-old healthcare policy wonk who has worked as an aide to Annapolis lawmakers. Cooper is hosting a dessert and panel discussion fundraiser on May 16 for $50 a person and $30 for Young Democrats.
With Lee’s attempt at the State Senate and Del. Bill Frick expected to challenge Frosh for attorney general, there will likely be two seats open.
Kyle Lierman, who lost to Kelly by 374 votes in the 2010 Primary, is rumored to be looking at challenging Lee for Frosh’s vacant seat.
Others who will likely run but haven’t made official announcements are Marc Korman and Karen Kuker-Kihl. Bonnie Casper, wife of 2010 candidate Mark Winston, is rumored to be in the mix.
MoCo Offers Green Landscaper Certification Program — For $100 or $250, landscaping companies can get an official “green” designation from Montgomery County under an expanded green certification program. [The Gazette]
Speed Camera Tickets Down, But Many Remain Unpaid — Montgomery County issued almost 40,000 fewer speed camera tickets from July of last year to March of this year than last fiscal year. Only about 64 percent of speed camera or red light camera tickets have been paid. Also, the county is considering about 75 requests for new speed and red light cameras. [Washington Examiner]
Town of Chevy Chase Candidate Forum Televised — If you missed the debate last week, it will be broadcast on Montgomery Municipal Cable channel 16 today at 7:30 p.m., tomorrow at 7:30 p.m., Thursday at 6 p.m. and Monday, May 6 at 7:30 p.m. The election is May 7.
Gansler Opposes Gas Tax Hike, Straw Poll Has Frosh and Frick No. 1, No. 2 In AG Race — Attorney General and Bethesda resident Doug Gansler came out in the Washington Post against the state’s recently passed gas tax increase for transportation funding. Gansler is widely expected to run for governor in next year’s Democratic Primary. Two men vying to replace Gansler in the attorney general’s office are District 16 State Sen. Brian Frosh and Del. Bill Frick, both of whom fared well in a recent straw poll of Democratic candidates. [Maryland Juice]
Bethesda’s Vanishing Gas Stations — The number of gas stations in Bethesda and other inner ring suburbs is dwindling because of high land prices and the changing nature of areas with transit. Some say that’s a good thing. [Washington Post]
Frick vs. Frosh For Attorney General Could Be Prickly — Del. Bill Frick and State Sen. Brian Frosh both represent Bethesda’s District 16 and both are set on becoming attorney general in next year’s Democratic Primary. [Bethesda Magazine]
Bethesda Row’s Fashion Show Will Include Guest Jessica Alba — The actress will be at Front Row at Bethesda Row, from May 16 to May 18. [Washingtonian Magazine]
Maryland’s top tax man told a Bethesda audience he is cringing this tax day, despite what most Democrats have labeled as a successful General Assembly.
Comptroller Peter Franchot, a Democrat, came out against a gas tax to pay for transportation projects last year, arguing it would hurt middle and working class people in a still fragile economy. Democrats passed a transportation bill that includes a gas tax increase in the recently concluded 2013 legislative session.
“For us in this pocket of affluence, it’s not a big deal, but 200,000 in Maryland are looking for work or underemployed,” Franchot told a meeting of the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Democratic Club on Monday morning. “I’m cringing because of the rhetoric of our party and the actual results. …We’re very proud of our leadership but we have to change direction.”
In March, the House and Senate approved the gas tax hike, backed by Gov. Martin O’Malley (D), that will raise gas prices by 4 cents in July and 13 to 20 cents by July 2016.
Franchot, thought to be a candidate for governor in the 2014 primary, surprised many late last year when he announced he would instead seek re-election as comptroller.
In his talk this morning, Franchot also spoke about the difficulty of attracting a business to the state and said he’d like to see more Democrats who understand what’s going on in the economy.
“If you want to move a business to Montgomery County, take a ticket and get in line,” Franchot said.
As for tax collection, Franchot said he anticipated a smooth tax season with state refunds getting back to taxpayers within three days if they paid online.
Montgomery County state senators and delegates today touted the transportation bill, death penalty repeal and new gun control law that came out of the just completed 90-day 2013 state legislative session during a press conference in Rockville.
Del. Anne Kaiser (D-Dist. 14) said finding transportation funding was priority No. 1, 2 and 3 for the Montgomery County delegation. County Executive Isiah Leggett (D), who led the press conference, has long advocated for a gas tax increase to provide funding for transportation projects in the county, including the state’s Purple Line light rail.
In March, the House and Senate approved a gas tax hike from Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) that will raise gas taxes by 4 cents in July and 13 to 20 cents by July 2016.
Councilmember George Leventhal (D-At large) said a gas tax hike in Virginia helped get the transportation bill the votes necessary.
“For legislators who don’t represent transit-dependent areas, it was a tough sell,” Leventhal said. “So when it was clear when we were losing in competition to Virginia, that won a lot of votes from suburban and rural Democrats. …From the governor’s perspective, it was absolutely decisive. It created the political space that he needed to make it happen.”
The Montgomery delegation also brought back more than $28 million in state grants for MCPS construction, including $137,000 for improvements at Walt Whitman High School, $898,000 for Thomas W. Pyle Middle School and $332,000 for Strathmore Elementary School. Education aid to the county grew by almost $14 million.
Sen. Brian Frosh (D-Dist. 16) of Chevy Chase was key in the state’s gun control bill, leading the effort soon after the Newtown, Conn., mass shooting.
The State Senate last week approved an O’Malley-backed bill 28-19 one day after the House of Delegates ushered it through. It’s one of the most restrictive gun control bills in the county, with a ban on assault weapons, an ammunition limit of 10 rounds, a license and fingerprint requirement for all new handgun sales and a ban on gun ownership by the mentally ill.
District 16 Del. Susan Lee and District 18 Del. Al Carr and Sen. Richard Madaleno joined the gathering, which included Leggett, Leventhal, Councilmembers Nancy Navarro, Nancy Floreen, Craig Rice, Marc Elrich and Hans Riemer. Roger Berliner was at another meeting.
“This is a very special moment for us, because the elected officials in Montgomery County are a famously opinionated and contentious lot,” said Sen. Jamie Raskin (D-Dist. 20) of Takoma Park. “We fight about a lot of things and have a lot of conflict, but the point of this is when we get together and we have our eyes on the prize, we are absolutely unstoppable.”
Another Hot April Day, With Shot At Record Highs — Temperatures could reach 90 degrees today, which would best the area record highs of 89 set at National and BWI Airports in 1922. [Capital Weather Gang]
Two Energy Tax Cut Proposals At County Council — Two councilmembers are proposing energy tax cuts for the upcoming budget that would save the average resident between $10 and $20 a year. [Washington Examiner]
Montgomery County State Delegation Celebrates Successful Session — With a transportation bill that could provide the state’s portion of the 16-mile Purple Line light rail and a 4 percent increase of direct state aid to the county, delegates and state senators from Montgomery say they had a productive General Assembly. [The Gazette]
Know A Good Landscaper? — Forum user sandyspring would like to know in our Forums. Take advantage of our new feature by connecting with the more than 20,000 people who visit our site each month. [Forums]
Street Sweeping Set For Downtown — The county’s annual street sweeping program will hit downtown Bethesda roads starting later this week through next Tuesday, according to signs posted on Woodmont Avenue on Monday. For the full schedule, check the county’s street sweeping route map and schedule. [Montgomery County Department of Transportation]
House of Delegates Approves Lockheed Hotel Tax Exemption Bill — Mirroring the vast State Senate support of the proposal, the House of Delegates yesterday approved a hotel/motel tax exemption for Lockheed Martin’s training center and hotel in Bethesda with a landslide vote. Del. Bill Frick (D-Dist. 16) voted against the exemption despite his earlier support for the measure, which was blocked at the county government level by the Montgomery County Council. [Maryland Juice]
Rebuilding Together Honors Brewer — The nonprofit that helps repair old homes so low-income homeowners can remain in them honored land-use attorney and philanthropist Robby Brewer at an event last week. [Bethesda Magazine]
Council Budget Hearings Start Today — Today’s County Council session will include the first of five scheduled public hearings over the next three days on County Executive Isiah Leggett’s proposed FY 14 budget. The first hearing is today at 7 p.m. All hearings are in the Council Office Building’s Third Floor Hearing Room in Rockville. [Montgomery County Council]
Chevy Chase Man Gets 15 Years For Denny’s Robbery — Colin Thomas Bowie was sentenced to 30 years with 15 years suspended for robbing the safe of a Fairfax Denny’s by gunpoint on New Year’s Day 2012. [WUSA9]
Gun Control Bill Heads To House of Delegates Vote, Issues Remain — The Maryland House of Delegate will vote on Gov. Martin O’Malley’s gun control bill today, but some changes to the original legislation have gun control supporters in an interesting position. [Washington Post]
D.C. Realtor Opening Chevy Chase Office — D.C. residential real estate agent Donna Evers is opening up a Bethesda-Chevy Chase office tomorrow on Wisconsin Avenue near Bradley Lane. [Evers & Co.]
Chevy Chase Village To Hold Ethics Briefing Tonight — The Village is looking for up to six candidates to fill its seven-member Village Board in its upcoming election. Two Board members quit last year in protest of new state ethics rules that require more extensive financial disclosures. The Village will brief anybody interested in running on the disclosure requirements. [Chevy Chase Village]
Flickr photo by lisapark8
General Assembly Approves Gas Tax — Revenue would go toward the state’s depleted transportation fund and could be instrumental in funding the state’s portion of the Purple Line light rail project, which the state’s Department of Transportation said would stop if no funding source was found this year in Annapolis. Gas prices are projected to increase by 4 cents when the tax hike starts in July. [WAMU]
Beltway Is Reaching The End Of The Line — The roadway of the Beltway is crumbling, but closing down sections of it for repair and pavement work seems infeasible. [Washington Post]
Groups Starting Two New Senior Villages — The increase in baby boomers reaching retirement age has meant more people who want to age in place, but who might need help with the daily tasks required of remaining in their homes as they get older. That’s opened the door for the senior village concept, and two more are set for the area. [Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center]
Flickr photo by ehpien
The first day for candidate filing is more than a week away and the state and local Primary Election isn’t until June 2014, but already the District 16 House of Delegates race is shaping up to involve a wealth of candidates who could be vying for two open seats.
District 16 covers Bethesda, Chevy Chase, Potomac and North Bethesda and is represented by Democrats Bill Frick, Susan Lee and Ariana Kelly.
With Frick contemplating a run for Attorney General against District 16 State Senator Brian Frosh and Lee rumored to be making a run for Frosh’s vacant Senate seat, there is potential for big change in Bethesda’s representation in Annapolis.
And a lot of people want in.
County Councilmember Phil Andrews (D-Gaithersburg) predicted 15 to 20 candidates would jump in for next year’s Primary at a campaign training event earlier this month in Bethesda. Other observers have estimated more, perhaps up to 25 or 30 candidates.
At that event were a handful of people who said they will run, including Jordan Cooper, a 27-year-old healthcare policy wonk who has worked as an aide to Annapolis lawmakers. Cooper on Wednesday debuted a Facebook page and will hold a press conference on April 13 to announce his campaign.
Marc Korman, a communications attorney at D.C. law firm Sidley Austin and chair of the Western Montgomery County Citizens Advisory Board expressed interest in running. Korman has experience in the Montgomery County Democractic Central Committee and used to post on the now defunct Maryland Politics Watch blog.
Kyle Lierman, who lost out on the third District 16 seat to Kelly by just 374 votes in the 2010 Primary, will run. So will former District 1 County Council candidate Karen Kuker-Kihl.
State Senate Could Wrap Up Transportation Bill Today or Tomorrow — A State Senate Committee on Thursday sent a bill that would raise gas taxes to fund transportation projects such as the Purple Line to the full Senate. A vote could come today or tomorrow. The Committee also added a second lockbox bill that would make it harder for General Assembly leaders to use the money raised for other purposes. [Washington Post]
Pay by Cell! Program Makes Up 15 Percent Of County Parking Revenue — The Pay By Cell! phone application the county employs at downtown parking meters and in garages has seen 97,000 transactions at 12,000 meters in Bethesda Silver Spring, Wheaton, Montgomery Hills and North Bethesda. [Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center]
Bethesda Cares To Celebrate 25 Years — The nonprofit, based in the first floor of Parking Garage 11 on Woodmont Avenue, provides clothing, food and tries to place some of the most vulnerable homeless people in Bethesda into housing programs. [Bethesda Cares]
Check Our Event Calendar — There are plenty of food specials, art galleries, educational events and others being submitted every day. [Event Calendar]
Icy Conditions Mar Morning Commute — Icy roads, especially on bridges, might have caused an accident on the Rockville Pike overpass of Montrose Parkway, temporarily closing down three lanes of southbound Rockville Pike. Police also reported dangerous conditions on the Fernwood Road overpass of the Beltway and the Democracy Boulevard overpass of I-270.
Snow Set Records Yesterday — The rare spring snowstorm that hit the area set a few records for daily maximum snowfall and the roughly three inches of snow was the largest March 25 snowfall since 1990. [TerpWeather]
Maryland House Approves Medical Marijuana — The House of Delegates voted to support medical marijuana under limited circumstances. The bill will be sent to the State Senate, which voted to decriminalize possession small amounts of marijuana. [Washington Post]
Flickr photo by ehpien