April 29, 2011

Firefighters protest outset Lettet's house

April 28, 2011 - Professional firefighters in Montgomery County seeking concessions in county's 2012 budget proposal demonstrated in front of the home of County Executive Ike Leggett Wednesday. Firefighters marched Wednesday outside the suburban Maryland home of County Executive Ike Leggett. Courtesy of: Elliott Francis The small group of county firefighters is part of local union 1664, the Montgomery County Career Fire Fighters Association. The group was in negotiations to keep flat funding for firefighters in the 2012 budget earlier this year, but those talks broke down. An arbitrator was called in and recommended the flat funding plan, but Leggett disagreed. Instead he proposed raising the firefighters' out-of-pocket contributions for health and pension benefits. Jeffery Buttle, vice president of the union, says the Leggett's rejection of the arbitrators recommendations violates collective bargaining law.

"We think that the law is clear, and that he is indeed obligated to submit to the council what was decided in arbitration," Buttle says. "Then the council determines the final course of action." County spokesperson Patrick Lacefield says the executive is obliged to submit a responsible and balanced budget in spite of the recommendations of the arbitrator. "When it comes to the arbitrator's decision versus keeping government going, we choose keeping government going," says Lacefield.

It's not clear if executive Leggett was home during the protest. SOURCE: WAMU

April 28, 2011

Mile-wide tornado in Alabama

Montgomery Council Committee to Discuss Employee Compensation and Benefits

ROCKVILLE, Md., April 22, 2011—The Montgomery County Council’s Government Operations and Fiscal Policy (GO) Committee at 9:30 a.m. on Monday, April 25, will hold a worksession on compensation and benefits for all government agencies of Montgomery County in regard to the Fiscal Year 2012 operating budget. The Office of Legislative Oversight will offer its analysis of proposals made by County Executive Isiah Leggett in the recommended budget he presented to the Council in March.

The GO Committee, which is chaired by Councilmember Nancy Navarro and includes Councilmembers Valerie Ervin and Hans Riemer, will meet in the Third Floor Hearing Room of the Council Office Building at 100 Maryland Ave. in Rockville. The meeting will be televised live by County Cable Montgomery (CCM—Cable Channel 6 on Comcast and RCN, Channel 30 on Verizon) and also will be available via streaming through the County Web site at www.montgomerycountymd.gov.

At 10:15 Monday in the Seventh Floor Council Hearing Room, the Planning, Housing and Economic Development (PHED) Committee, which is chaired by Nancy Floreen and includes Councilmembers Marc Elrich and George Leventhal, will review the operating budget request for Fiscal Year 2012 for the Economic Development Fund.

At 2 p.m. in the Seventh Floor Hearing Room, the Education Committee, which is chaired by Valerie Ervin and includes Councilmembers Phil Andrews and Craig Rice, will hold a worksession on the operating budget request of Montgomery College. The worksession will be televised live on County Cable Montgomery.

April 27, 2011

There are elected officials who have no problem with pandering to selected minorities or shamelessly whipping out the race card to win an election. Think Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley. There are also elected officials who cave in to political correctness.

When William Donald Schaefer, former Baltimore mayor and former governor and comptroller of Maryland, died earlier this week, we lost a public servant who was the polar opposite of all three types listed above.

As mayor of Baltimore, Schaefer was the "do it now" chief executive who revitalized the area known as the Inner Harbor. As governor of Maryland, he helped bring Oriole Park at Camden Yards to Baltimore. And as Maryland's comptroller, Schaefer brought us two exquisite moments when he tossed political correctness out the window.

The first time was in 2004. Schaefer stopped at an Anne Arundel County McDonald's and had problem getting his breakfast order filled. The woman taking the order had limited, if indeed any, comprehension of the English language.

Schaefer said what many elected officials want to say but don't, and what many should say but won't: Recent immigrants to America need to learn to speak English.

The reaction from Maryland's "America Last" crowd was swift. How dare Schaefer suggest such a thing?

Why, because it's true, of course. At the time I was a columnist for another paper. I wrote a piece agreeing with Schaefer and gave my experience as a customer at a Panama KFC.

I was only in Panama a week, but in that short time I made it a point to learn enough Spanish to walk into that KFC and place my order -- a two-piece chicken dinner -- in Spanish. I did that for a very specific reason.

It's called "respect." Today many in America, native-born and recent immigrants both legal and illegal, don't think our country warrants it. I'm afraid I'll have to insist on it. If I respect another country's customs, immigration laws and language, then those coming here had darned well better learn to respect ours.

One year later, Schaefer was in a state Board of Public Works meeting with then-Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. discussing a Maryland "affirmative action" program called Minority Business Enterprise, more commonly known by the acronym MBE. The program's goal was to award state contracts to minority-owned businesses.

Again drop-kicking political correctness straight to the curb, where it belongs, Schaefer brought up the question on many Marylanders' minds about MBE.

"When does MBE e-n-d?" Schaefer asked Ehrlich. "The law says it's not supposed to be a permanent program."

Schaefer was basically asking when would whites and white men who had no part in the blatant, rampant discrimination blacks, other minorities and women faced in the past have to stop paying for it in the present.

"Do you want the legal answer, or the political one?" Ehrlich answered. He concluded with this observation: "Race politics is ugly."

It certainly is here in Maryland, but Schaefer was one Democrat who refused to play the ugly game. After years as serving Baltimore as its city council president, Schaefer decided to run for mayor in 1971.

In the Democratic primary, his two leading challengers were prominent black public officials. Clarence Mitchell III was a state senator and hailed from a prominent Baltimore civil rights family. George Russell was the city solicitor.

Schaefer defeated both in the primary and went on to become a four-term mayor. He pulled the race card not once during the 1971 primary. O'Malley could have used a few lessons from one William Donald Schaefer.

Examiner Columnist Gregory Kane is a Pulitzer-nominated news and opinion journalist who has covered people and politics from Baltimore to the Sudan. SOURCE: Washington Examiner

Wednesday Funeral Service in Baltimore For Former Md. Gov. William Donald Schaefer: MyFoxDC.com

New Montgomery Code Enforcement Laws Aimed at Protecting Neighborhood Quality of Life to Take Effect April 24

ROCKVILLE, Md., April 22, 2011—New Montgomery County code enforcement laws designed to help protect and maintain the residential character of neighborhoods will go into effect on Sunday, April 24. These new laws deal with home-based businesses, off-street parking and paving of front yards. Two other laws to protect residential areas went into effect in July 2009 and April 2010.

The new laws were proposed by County Executive Isiah Leggett two years ago based on recommendations from a Code Enforcement Work Group that he appointed. The work group reviewed a number of police, housing and zoning code issues that were causing adverse impacts and public safety issues in residential neighborhoods. The County Council approved Zoning Text Amendment 09-03 by a 6-3 vote on Oct. 26, 2010.

“Preserving the quality of life in our neighborhoods requires cooperation from all of us,” said County Executive Leggett. “These new laws will result in a better quality of life for our residents and safer streets and neighborhoods.”

Zoning Text Amendment 09-03 makes changes to the County Zoning Ordinance that limits the impact of home occupations on residential neighborhoods, the paving of front yards and off-street parking for light commercial vehicles.

One of the measures—Bill 23-09—limits the storage of inoperable, unused and unregistered vehicles on residential properties to 30 days. This measure was enacted by the Council in October 2009 and went into effect on April 15, 2010.

Bill 27-08 limiting heavy commercial and recreational vehicles in residential areas was approved by the County Council in January 2009 and went into effect on July 1, 2009. This bill improves safety and addresses the proliferation over the past decade of these types of vehicles on neighborhood streets. Parking large, commercial or recreational vehicles in residential neighborhoods limits the line of sight on roads, making it difficult to turn on narrow streets. Additionally, large vehicles endanger pedestrians because oncoming traffic cannot see them.

Most of the provisions of Zoning Text Amendment 09-03 go into effect on April 24. Surfaced areas paved before Oct. 26, 2010 do not have to be removed if the paved area is not increased. The occupants must comply with the law’s parking limitations effective Oct. 24, 2011.

A Web site with information about the new zoning laws is available at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/goodneighbors.

Burtonsville residents can give County Executive Isiah Leggett their 2 cents

Burtonsville residents concerned with drug activity and county budget cuts will soon get a chance to grill one of their neighbors: County Executive Isiah Leggett.

Leggett, a Burtonsville resident, will be joined Thursday by police Commander Donald Johnson for a meeting with residents that will focus on everything from public safety funding to job creation in East County.

Plans for the meeting came to fruition after a member of the Oakhills Community Association board of directors noticed suspicious activity in her neighborhood, according to Tom Van Pelt, property manager for Oakhills and Saddle Creek communities. The member noticed a lookout car at the entrance to the community, people filing in and out of cars within a matter of minutes and people using the back entrance of townhomes. She called police to report possible drug activity, Van Pelt said.

But Oakhills is a small community, Van Pelt said, so he brought the Oakhills board members together with leaders of the Saddle Creek Homeowners Association and the Greencastle Lakes Community Association to request the meeting.

"They all thought of Ike [Leggett] as a neighbor," Van Pelt said. "His home is in Burtonsville, and so they're reaching out as a neighbor-to-neighbor, feel-our-pain type thing. They're reaching out to him because it just so happens he's a neighbor that can get things done."

Leggett said he's excited to meet with Burtonsville's residents about their concerns.

"It's going to be an open discussion," he said. "I will go there with an open mind of following through on questions and comments they may have and providing as much information as possible. I'm always willing to go back in the future if there are things we can't resolve that night." SOURCE: Gazette

The Woman's Club of Bethesda reaches 100, future becomes murky

Once a thriving social and philanthropic club, The Woman's Club of Bethesda has quieted to monthly lunches and charity work primarily accomplished by writing checks, said Mary Lou Doneski, 76, of Bethesda, a member since 1969. The "Earnest Club for Earnest Women" is approaching its 100th anniversary with uncertainty as its membership ages and there is little call to adjust its outreach to younger women to maintain the club. Now with 68 members, the club once had more than 200 members actively fundraising for charities, Doneski said. The club has retained its philanthropic roots but has problems appealing to the next generation of women, she said.

"Today if somebody moves in our neighborhood, I just know the club is not something that is going to fit their lifestyle," Doneski said.

The club holds monthly meetings during the day which precludes working women, or women with young children, Doneski said. Changing the time of the meeting is not an option because many of the club's current members don't drive at night. While there are members in their 40s and 50s, most members are in their 70s and 80s, Doneski said.

The Woman's Club of Bethesda is a member of the General Federation of Women's Clubs, which has also seen its membership age and decline, said Michele J. Mount, senior director of programs, public policy and communications for the federation.

April 26, 2011

Montgomery County Neighborhood News

Rockville Rewards - Give A Little, Get A Lot We make shopping more rewarding with Rockville Rewards Visit: www.rockvillerewards.com/

Pepco Work Group Presents Final Report To County Executive Leggett; More than 50 Recommendations Address Range of Issues www.montgomerycountymd.gov/apps/News/press/PR_details.asp?PrID=7533 www.montgomerycountymd.gov/Apps/Council/PressRelease/PR_details.asp?PrID=7536

Congressman Chris Van Hollen’s Service Academy Forum on Wednesday, April 27 from 7:00 - 8:00 pm Montgomery County Council Office Building Cafeteria 100 Maryland Avenue Rockville, Maryland 20850 http://vanhollen.house.gov/HotTopics/serviceacademyforum.htm

The Original Pancake house will give 15% of their sales to A Wider Circle during breakfast and lunch Thursday, April 28th Bethesda location: 7700 Wisconsin Ave Rockville location: 12224 Rockville Pike For further information please contact: www.awidercircle.org 9159-C Brookville Road, Silver Spring, MD 20910 or call 301.608.3504

Creative Parties presents the 1st Bethesda Upscale Yard Sale April 30th! Join us April 30th at the 1st Bethesda Upscale Yard Sale For further information contact Creative Parties Ltd. 301-654-9292 8011 Woodmont Avenue, Bethesda, MD 20814 or visit http://creativeparties.com/

Glen Echo Park Family Day is April 30 This fun-filled, annual event celebrates the opening of the Dentzel carousel and offers a full day of activities for families. www.glenechopark.org/family-day-2011

Bethesda FRESHFARM Market opens for the season on Saturday, May 7 www.bethesda.org/bethesda/farmers-market

Bethesda-Chevy Chase (B-CC) Regional Services Center (RSC) sponsors American Red Cross Blood Drive Tuesday, May 24, 2011 4805 Edgemoor Lane 2nd floor on Tuesday, May 24, 2011 from 09:00 a.m.-03:00 p.m. Please choose to donate! You can schedule your appointment online by clicking www.membersforlife.org/rccm/mobilesch/login.php?sponsorcode=16985 or please call: 1-800-RED CROSS sponsor code 16985. Contact Richard on 240-777-8207 for further information.


Montgomery County Volunteer Center www.montgomerycountymd.gov/volunteer

Montgomery County Board Vacancies

The deadline for application is April 29, 2011 • Commission on Child Care • Western Montgomery County Citizens Advisory Board (Businesses Representatives from the Bethesda-Chevy Chase and Potomac area are needed)

The deadline for application is May 3, 2011 for: • Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Committee The deadline for application is May 6, 2011 for: • Commission on Health • Commission for Women • Adult Public Guardianship Review Board • Alcoholic Beverages Advisory Board • Energy and Air Quality Advisory Committee • Advisory Board for Montgomery Cares

The deadline for application is May 13, 2011 • Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Advisory Council • Commission on Landlord-Tenant Affairs • Silver Spring Transportation Management District Advisory Committee • Silver Spring Urban District Advisory Committee • Wheaton Urban District Advisory Committee

The deadline for application is May 20, 2011 • Wheaton Redevelopment Advisory Committee

Councilmember Valerie Ervin Joins Department of Parks, 7-Eleven for King Street Community Garden Groundbreaking

ROCKVILLE, Md., April 19, 2011—Montgomery County Council President Valerie Ervin, who represents District 5 that includes Silver Spring, Wheaton, Kensington and Takoma Park, at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, April 20, will join the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), the Montgomery County Department of Parks, representatives from 7-Eleven and other community leaders for the groundbreaking of the new King Street Community Garden located at 7875 Eastern Avenue in Silver Spring.

The opening of the community garden location is more than two years in the making. Council President Ervin’s leadership was instrumental to making the location available to the public. Ervin worked with all parties to secure a three-way lease agreement finalized in March between the Department of Parks, 7-Eleven and the Maisel Development Company, which had plans to develop the site for other uses.

The garden will open mid-April, weather permitting.

The King Street Community Garden will join nine other community garden locations managed by the Montgomery County Department of Parks, including two other recent additions on Montgomery County Public Schools land.

The parks department is now accepting applications for its lottery for gardening at the King Street location. The site will offer at least 20 plots, each 200 square feet in size, for an annual fee of $30 per plot. A lottery application for gardening at the King Street location for the 2011 season is available online at www.ParksCommunityGardens.org.

Among the other groups expected to be represented at the groundbreaking are Montgomery College, Silver Spring Green, the South Silver Spring Neighborhood Association, IMPACT Silver Spring, the Greater Silver Spring Chamber of Commerce, the Silver Spring Urban District Advisory Committee, the Silver Spring Citizens Advisory Board and the Silver Spring Regional Center
ROCKVILLE, Md. - Montgomery County schools officials have named the head of a small school district in Connecticut as their new superintendent. The school board on Monday chose Joshua Starr as their replacement for Superintendent Jerry Weast, who is leaving in June after a dozen years as head of Maryland's largest school system. Forty-one-year-old Starr has presided over the Stamford, Conn., school system since 2005. Stamford has 15,000 students in 20 schools -- roughly one-tenth the enrollment of Montgomery County. Before working in Stamford, Starr helped guide reforms in early childhood education and gifted and talented education in the New York City school district. Starr's appointment in Montgomery County is contingent on the completion of contract negotiations and approval of Maryland's state superintendent.

Montgomery Co. Names New Schools Superintendent, Joshua Starr: MyFoxDC.com

Takoma Park battles for tax rebate money from county

t's that time of year again: Takom Park is vying with the county council to be reimbursed for the city's police service.

This year, city officials say the county owes Takoma Park an additional $352,947 in police tax credit for Fiscal Year 2012, because the city's residents pay taxes that go to the county police department even though the city pays for its own police.

Takoma Park is the only city in the county that staffs its own police force and does not have any added county police presence. Every year, the city asks the county to pay back the money the county would have had to spend on a police presence in Takoma Park.

Mayor Bruce Williams testified before the Montgomery County Council during a public hearing April 5. He and City Manager Barbara Burns Matthews also met with the county Government Operations and Fiscal Policy committee April 11.

For Fiscal Year 2007, the county agreed to freeze Takoma Park's police tax rebate at $2.32 million, Matthews said. However, the rebate was cut to $1.97 million in Fiscal Year 2011, a total loss to the city of about $348,000. SOURCE: Gazette