Urban

Our endorsements for Montgomery County Council At-Massive


In the long run, we are able to solely vote for 4. However with so many promising candidates working within the race for Montgomery County Council At-Massive, making the selection of which 4 to endorse within the June 26 main has been excruciating. We appeared carefully at what everybody was saying, each to us and to different teams and in public boards. We thought of observe data, however we additionally wished see the fervour to guide on our points.

We’re glad to endorse the next three candidates for nomination within the Democratic main: Hans Riemer, Danielle Meitiv, and Will Jawando.

Our committee was divided on a fourth endorsement and couldn't attain a supermajority consensus we required for an endorsement. We discovered Evan Glass and Jill Ortman-Fouse to be the strongest extra contenders. Which one we, and also you, may select to your fourth vote is determined by the way you prioritize differnet points reminiscent of housing or training. We encourage you to learn the robust instances we make for each, beneath, and make up your personal thoughts.

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Glass and Ortman-Fouse. Picture from the canddiates' Twitter profiles.

Because of everybody who made the time to fill out our questionnaire (see all responses right here) and meet with us. There have been way over 5 wonderful candidates and we may simply have endorsed a number of others in opposition to a unique area.

As we solely obtained a single set of questionnaire responses from Republican and Inexperienced Occasion candidates they usually weren't as robust as our Democratic finalists, we gained’t be endorsing in these primaries.

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Hans Riemer

Council President Hans Riemer is the only real incumbent working for at-large this yr. He was elected initially in 2010 and re-elected in 2014. If re-elected in 2018, Riemer wouldn’t be eligible to run once more in 2022 because of the poll initiative that handed final election limiting council members to 3 consecutive phrases.

Earlier than getting into politics, Riemer was an organizer for youth get out the vote efforts, each in 2004 and 2008, and an advocate for senior residents, together with for shielding Social Safety underneath the George W Bush administration.

We wholeheartedly help Hans Riemer’s bid for re-election. Riemer presently serves on the Committee for Planning, Housing, and Financial Improvement (PHED). As a part of PHED, Riemer has been key within the creation of daring new grasp plans in Bethesda, Grosvenor, Lyttonsville, and White Flint that will tremendously improve the quantity of housing close to transit nodes. He additionally pushed for MPDU necessities at 15% within the new plans in Westbard, Bethesda, Grosvenor, Rock Spring, and White Flint 2.

He’s been a champion for protected bicycle lane networks in downtown Bethesda, downtown Silver Spring, and in White Flint, a few of that are presently underneath development. He’s presently engaged on a brand new highway code that will promote narrower, slower highway configurations in our urbanizing areas.

In a wide-ranging in-person dialog about increasing housing alternatives, Riemer signaled an openness to permitting duplexes to be constructed on tons zoned for single household houses and for individuals to subdivide their houses (although he appreciates that will be controversial in lots of neighborhoods). When requested in regards to the affect of accelerating housing on college capability, he declared that the county has a capital price range to construct extra colleges, and may accomplish that.

Riemer is intrigued by nationwide efforts to upzone areas close to transit, just like the lately failed California invoice SB-827. He believes that Montgomery County is already largely main the nation on this subject, in that the walkshed of most Metro Purple Line stations, most lately Grovesnor, has been upzoned and may begin seeing extra redevelopment. He would wait till BRT was up and working efficiently earlier than incentivizing elevated multifamily development close to these stops.

Riemer acknowledged that the Purple Line would inevitably carry adjustments, and would subsequently need to handle redevelopment close to these stops in phases with a view to reduce displacement of present residents. He would additionally retain the prevailing mild industrial zones close to Purple Line stations.

Riemer does see a necessity to unravel what he phrases “human distress” on the American Legion Bridge, and advised us that some widening could also be vital, particularly if Amazon HQ2 involves our space. Nevertheless, he favors transit elements to any adjustments to I-495 and I-270. In his subsequent time period, he want to transfer ahead in implementing the Hall Cities Transitway by a mixture of state and native funding streams. He writes on his marketing campaign web site, “…we have to scale back the expansion in auto visitors by creating alternate options to driving.”

Hans Riemer’s re-election would offer continuity to the county council, which is able to flip over at the least four of its 9 seats this yr. Riemer has been a dependable good friend and ally to the Higher Higher Washington group, and he completely deserves your vote.

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Danielle Meitiv

Danielle Meitiv is an outsider to politics, however has been within the public eye for a number of years. In 2015, she grew to become infamous because the “Free Vary Mother” who fought the county when youngster protecting providers threatened to take her kids, who have been noticed strolling residence from a park with out supervision. She’s used this title as a tag line for her marketing campaign, which is a method that comes with dangers, one in all which is that some voters indicated to us that they view her candidacy as merely a publicity stunt.

That is unlucky, as a result of there’s a lot extra to Meitiv. She holds a Grasp’s diploma in Oceanography and has labored as a science author and local weather coverage analyst. She’s a fierce environmentalist whose in-person interview and questionnaire revealed a powerful drive to shake up our ordinary method of constructing and residing.

Meitiv’s solutions to our questionnaire have been well-researched, extremely detailed, and considerate, revealing an enthusiasm and aptitude for studying about housing coverage and options. Having grown up in New York Metropolis, Meitiv doesn’t concern constructing extra housing and doesn’t idealize single household zoning. In actual fact, in our interview, she described her frustrations with creating an adjunct dwelling for her aged father or mother, and would like to subdivide her own residence.

As we wrote beforehand, Meitiv helps re-zoning areas served by mass transit and writes of making inexpensive housing: “It’s a matter of financial and social justice. Additionally it is essential to the functioning of an environment friendly marketplace for housing … [and] a crucial ingredient for financial progress, as we should have sufficient housing to satisfy the wants of present and future staff and entrepreneurs.”

Danielle Meitiv is a passionate supporter of mass transit for each environmental and financial causes. She wrote on our questionnaire, “As a local weather scientist, I’ll at all times prioritize transportation initiatives that enable us to maneuver the best variety of individuals effectively and with low or no greenhouse gasoline emissions. One among my prime priorities is constructing a complete transit community, together with MARC enlargement, fully-funded Metro, and BRT, to attach all components of the County to one another and to neighboring cities and counties… Each dynamic metropolis and financial system on the planet is determined by transit.”

Each in particular person and in her writings Meitiv frames her urbanism in moral phrases. She writes on our questionnaire that “we have now an ethical obligation to construct a future that works for all of our residents and displays the altering wants of our inhabitants. “ In her interview she advised us, “Local weather denial is not only saying that local weather change isn’t actual … when you actually are truthfully dedicated to a sustainable future, not simply inexperienced bumper stickers and placing recycled paper in our printers, it requires — I don’t need to say sacrifice as a result of we all know walkable dense communities are a lot more healthy.”

We acknowledge that Danielle Meitiv doesn’t have intensive expertise with native land use politics, and subsequently would come to the council largely untested. Nevertheless, we belief that her ardour for locating options to world local weather change will land her on the fitting facet of all our points, whether or not it’s rising density in our constructed areas to forestall sprawl or reducing down on single occupancy automobiles and new highway constructing. We sit up for seeing what she is going to provoke in workplace, and encourage our readers to provide her your vote.

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Will Jawando

Will Jawando was born in east Montgomery County to a Nigerian immigrant father and a white American mom from Kansas. His dad and mom separated when he was younger, and he was raised by his mom in Lengthy Department. He grew to become a civil rights legal professional and has served on the employees of a number of US senators, together with then-senator Barack Obama. He was Affiliate Director of the White Home Workplace of Public Engagement through the Obama presidential administration.

Right here in Montgomery County, Jawando began a number of organizations to promote voter engagement in underserved, minority, and African immigrant communities. Jawando himself was lately profiled within the New York Occasions as an information level in a examine in regards to the success of African-American males raised in several socioeconomic environments (Silver Spring boasts one in all the few zip codes within the nation with equal outcomes for white and black boys).

Throughout our interview, it was abundantly clear that Jawando’s help of urbanist options comes from his dedication to pursuing fairness and justice for all communities in our county. That is corroborated by his questionnaire responses: “Land-use points are quick changing into social justice points in Montgomery County, in mild of the rising financial inequality within the county, and the shortage of inexpensive housing.”

As we wrote beforehand, Jawando helps altering zoning to advertise socioeconomic integration. “Being poor shouldn't mandate your private home be adjoining to the “chain hyperlink fence” industries that carry noise, crime, visitors, and air pollution. However our zoning, land-use and transportation selections on this county are making that occur – and it’s fallacious.”

He wrote to Progressive Neighbors:“We should focus zoning and land use selections on methods to leverage market forces to attract development — whether or not new, infill, or re-development of growing old neighborhoods — towards mixed-use, walkable neighborhoods centered on mass transit.”

When requested in an in-person interview in regards to the controversy over the Westbard sector plan (off River Street), he advised us, “We now have to cease saying inexpensive housing can solely be in sure components of the county. We have to open it up in every single place if we need to not be as segregated as we’re and supply extra financial alternatives — we have to take a look at transit hubs and that’s all transit hubs.”

Jawando writes persistently in help of prioritizing transit over freeway lanes, each to us and in questionnaires to different teams: “We now have a historic imbalance in Montgomery County between funding in roads, and funding in mass transit. I imagine we have to rebalance our funding, with a far higher give attention to mass transit.” He opposes constructing M-83 and want to see implementation of BRT and a reorganization and enlargement of Experience-On providers. Jawando presently lives off of New Hampshire Boulevard in Colesville, and advised us he would like to see BRT on New Hampshire and in devoted lanes within the median strip on Randolph Street, connecting East County to jobs and authorities providers in Rockville.

Jawando has beforehand run for workplace within the Democratic primaries for state delegate in District 20 in 2014 and for the Maryland eighth congressional district in 2016. Each of those districts lie totally or largely in Montgomery County, and embody the neighborhoods the place Jawando has lived all his life.

Will Jawando isn’t a pure urbanist, however comes to those positions by his progressive politics. We’re excited to see what he would accomplish, and endorse him to your vote.

We are able to’t resolve on a fourth

Our elections committee couldn’t come to a consensus on a fourth candidate. We’d be thrilled to see both Jill Ortman-Fouse or Evan Glass elected within the upcoming main.

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Evan Glass

Evan Glass lives his values, strolling the stroll, and even using the bus at any time when potential. He claims to be the one candidate who is aware of the buslines all through the county. In actual fact, his family solely purchased a second automobile when he determined to run for workplace final yr.

Glass obtained his begin in group organizing by founding a civic affiliation in South Silver Spring with a view to advocate for sidewalks and crosswalks on East-West Freeway. He introduced collectively residents of varied backgrounds to take part within the Silver Spring advisory board, together with renters, MPDU beneficiaries, and other people of shade. These have been populations that have been typically omitted of dialogues that have been traditionally dominated by single household householders. In 2014, he ran for the district 5 seat on the county council, which he misplaced narrowly to Tom Hucker (who we additionally endorse for re-election).

When his neighbors fought to dam a reasonably priced residence complicated in Silver Spring, Glass labored with them to get them on board with rising housing for these making underneath 50% AMI. He argued efficiently that this inhabitants included new faculty graduates, single dad and mom, academics, retirees, and dared present residents to oppose the inclusion of those people. This expertise led Glass to get entangled with Montgomery Housing Partnership, one of many primary suppliers of inexpensive housing within the county, and he’s now its vice-chair.

Glass is a former journalist for CNN and presently the manager director of Gandhi Brigade Youth Media, a corporation that gives media and filmmaking expertise to center and highschool college students. College students underneath his mentorship have lately created quick documentaries on immigration, juvenile justice, and police accountability. He advised Progressive Neighbors that group security and relations with the police are essential points for him.

When requested in our in-person interview about offering extra housing close to present or deliberate public transit nodes, Glass stated, “As we proceed rising as a county, we have now to determine learn how to accomodate it, and I’ve a protracted observe report of supporting transit-oriented growth, and no matter which means, that’s what we have now to do… we simply have to determine learn how to make these items potential… we have now to be inventive.”

Evan Glass places a premium with working successfully with everybody, going into communities to garner help for brand new initiatives. Referring to his expertise advocating for marriage equality, he advised us that he firmly believes that constructing coalitions to impact optimistic change implies that “you possibly can’t demonize individuals, you possibly can’t inform them you should hate poor individuals since you don’t need inexpensive housing; that’s not the way you do coalitions.”

Glass can also be a powerful proponent of elevated financial growth. He wrote to the Chamber of Commerce, “The measure of my success as a Montgomery County Councilmember might be outlined by the dimensions of the financial progress I’ve helped spur and the brand new alternatives which can be created consequently.” He advised us in interview, “Our greatest drawback is complacency” and indicated that we wanted to diversify our workforce away from the federal authorities and would herald individuals from suppose tanks in DC, such because the City Land Institute.

Although Glass has a report of advocacy round our points, he’s performed it secure this election cycle and has prevented making the robust declarative pro-urbanist statements of others we’ve endorsed. Our committee discovered a few of his questionnaire responses to be imprecise, and we have been additionally disenchanted that a few of his solutions in our in-person interview, significantly round rising inexpensive housing, have been equally non-specific. This has been disappointing and irritating, and has prevented us from being as assured or passionate about his marketing campaign as we would have been. His previous report, nonetheless, suggests he’ll doubtless be a good selection to your vote.

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Jill Ortman-Fouse

Jill Ortman-Fouse simply declared late in February, hours earlier than the submitting deadline — and solely a pair days earlier than the deadline for our questionnaire. We acknowledged the title; she’d been serving on the Montgomery County Board of Schooling since 2014, the place she sought to incorporate all voices and households and to supply optimistic outcomes for all kids, particularly these from underprivileged backgrounds.

Whereas on the Board of Schooling, Ortman-Fouse efficiently managed a multibillion-dollar price range, whereas pushing for increasing profession pathways, dual-language immersion packages, psychological well being help, and socio-emotional studying. Via all of it, Ortman-Fouse has advocated for fairness, together with in learn how to price range when establishing new services. She advised us that she needs to“see each single coverage by an fairness lens.”

Ortman-Fouse unexpectedly selected to not run for re-election to the varsity board as a result of she heard that one other candidate, John Robertson, had put himself ahead for her seat. In a prolonged Fb submit, Ortman-Fouse defined that she was stepping apart to provide an opportunity for a extremely certified black man. Black males are underrepresented as educators, and as the examine referenced above discovered, black male position fashions are paramount in whether or not black boys achieve life. Ortman-Fouse determined she may do extra to battle for socioeconomic integration by the county council, the place she may broaden from an training focus to deal with transportation and housing as effectively.

This anecdote is emblematic of two issues we’ve discovered about Jill Ortman-Fouse within the quick time since we’ve gotten to know her: she is totally dedicated to fairness and justice, and he or she is totally clear about her views. In actual fact, after we wrote about our qualms concerning what she wrote on questionnaires about needing to seek the advice of with neighborhood civic associations, she took to Fb to deal with these considerations immediately.

Within the technique of conversations with urbanist activists on social media, Jill confirmed an admirable capability to take heed to opposing views and modify her stances upon studying new data. She clarified that statements that initially gave the impression to be empowering neighbors have been truly involved with ensuring all selections have been taken inclusive of all affected communities.

In our in-person interview, Jill Ortman-Fouse was equally forthcoming and open. She spoke passionately and at size about inexpensive housing and efficient transportation as crucial to offering stability for the households she’s seen in her work in training. She advised us {that a} quarter of youngsters in some excessive poverty areas change colleges yearly, typically due to housing instability of their households. She stated, “What I knew from analysis was that when you have got steady, inexpensive secure housing your entire outcomes are higher … and we all know we don’t have sufficient inexpensive housing right here in Montgomery County.”

Ortman-Fouse advised the Chamber of Commerce that she would measure success in her job by the charges by which poverty has gone down and the effectiveness and utilization of public transit has gone up. She has been outraged on the inadequacies of public transit entry from a few of our neighborhoods, and indicated that she sees rising inexpensive housing close to dependable transit infrastructure as crucial. She wrote in our questionnaire, “I help zoning adjustments… and rising envelope measurement for buildings close to transit.” She additionally needs to see expanded transit, significantly expanded buses and bus stops, particularly at greater poverty areas.

Jill Ortman-Fouse’s enthusiasm and keenness are simple. We respect the institutional data she would carry to this position. Nevertheless, we have been involved that she doesn’t have a powerful background in land use, and a few of her solutions to Progressive Neighbors made us fear that she could find yourself catering to established civic organizations and longtime neighbors. If elected, we’ll be pushing her to proceed to talk reality to privilege. We imagine her marketing campaign deserves your consideration.

Your vote is pivotal

Lastly, allow us to be blunt. There are 33 individuals working within the Democratic main, and underneath a primary previous the submit system, this race may go, if to not simply anybody, than to a pool of ten or extra candidates. Many will vote for associates of associates or individuals who reside close to them. In 2014, solely about 20% of eligible voters turned out for the first election, and it’s not clear that this yr might be that significantly better.

Traditionally, the vast majority of these energetic and engaged voters reside in a crescent of prosperous close-in areas stretching throughout Takoma Park, Silver Spring, Kensington, Bethesda and Chevy Chase. Many of those voters are proof against new residential or industrial growth or different adjustments.

We preferred quite a lot of candidates personally, effectively past these 5, and agreed with many issues they needed to inform us. We additionally had reservations about a few of the identical individuals. The sector is overflowing with individuals who agree with the concepts of strengthening mass transit and including housing and jobs. On the identical time, some candidates would proceed to pour cash into highway initiatives, additional ravenous our public transportation price range. Others didn’t display a transparent grasp of the forms of knowledgeable, but inventive and daring options that might be required to unravel our housing issues.

The margin of victory on this race might be shut. Which means the group we signify at Higher Higher Washington also can flip this election. Our group believes in sustainable land use and transportation insurance policies, and is welcoming to all — together with those that may not appear to be who our neighbors was once and those that can’t afford to reside right here but.

This is a vital time for our nation, our area, and our county. We’re in the midst of a housing scarcity that ends in an affordability disaster, making a digital wall to maintain newcomers out of fascinating areas, and threatening the flexibility of people that grew up right here to remain. We on are on the precipice of an environmental tipping level pushed partially by residential sprawl and single occupancy automobiles.

The candidates we’ve really helpful right here carry completely different strengths, experiences, and views. However we imagine all of them have the values and drive to assist form how we come by these challenges for a greater future for everybody in Montgomery County. We urge our readers to contemplate them on the poll field within the June 26th Democratic main.

That is the official endorsement of Higher Higher Washington. All endorsements are determined by our volunteer Elections Committee with enter from our board and different volunteer committees. Need to sustain on different endorsement posts? Take a look at our 2018 main abstract web page and join our weekly elections e-newsletter.

High picture: Our endorsees, Hans Riemer, Danielle Meitiv, and Will Jawando. All pictures from the candidates' web sites until in any other case famous.

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