Tuesday, March 11, 2008

calling all district 4 candidates . . .

WHAT'S UP THE PIKE: Einstein High ditches Block Scheduling; Blake High's annual Jazz Swing Night coming this Friday; Discovery protester incites money-grabbing melee on Ellsworth.

The race to fill Marilyn Praisner's old seat is on, and Just Up The Pike wants to be on top of the action. Over the next few weeks (excluding Spring Break, during which we will be on vacation in warm, sunny Canada) I'll be interviewing each of the five candidates for District 4 Councilmember on what I call the "District 4 Head-to-Head Tour," a sequel to last year's highly successful "County Government Head-to-Head Tour." So check us out over the next few weeks - you won't want to hit the polls without reading what your District 4 candidates have to say:

Nancy Navarro (D), Colesville, 42, current school board member
the interview the website
"To be told that people in this district only care about land use issues and development issues and the ICC . . . I've been lectured that if I don't know the intricacies of these issues, then I won't be able to win . . . I would like to demonstrate that the residents care about other issues."

Mark Fennel (R), Aspen Hill, 42, director of membership, Citizens Against Government Waste
the interview
"I'm a District 4-first person. Let the At-Large candidates worry about the issues that affect the County as a whole . . . If I'm not gonna stand up and fight for the interests of District 4, who will?"

Steve Kanstoroom (D), Ashton, 50, retired
the interview the website
"The issue is not 'is the developer the enemy,' the issue is the developer's using the broken planning system. They're the identifiable target for it, but it's more complex than that."

Thomas Hardman (R), Aspen Hill, 50, information technology and analyst
the interview the website
"Stop inviting more growth . . . if you look at living things, the size of an organism is designed for its environment. You're not gonna have an elephant where there isn't enough food for it to eat . . . things are scaled by design."

Pat Ryan (D), Fairland, 56, consultant
the interview the website
"Is it more important to give everybody their first choice or to give everyone a racially and economically diverse student body? . . . In a county that's increasingly diverse, you have to make sure you're not tolerating a silent racism."

Robert Patton (R), Spencerville, 33, athletic fields specialist
the interview the website
"I understand that new problems have new needs . . . but what tends to happen is you neglect your core responsibilities. On basic terms, it's your schools, your police force, your roads. Everything that makes the basic quality of living."

John McKinnis (R), Calverton, 32, real estate broker
the interview the website
"Let me be that fall guy on the council. This isn't about party lines, it's about leadership . . . and this fiscal crisis requires direct leadership."

Don Praisner (D), Calverton, 75, retired

the interview the website
"I don't think anybody could hit the books as hard as Marilyn did . . . I'll try to work as hard as possible, but I don't think anyone could carry the workload she did."

ALSO: By the way, did anyone watch the B&O Train Station documentary Next Stop: Silver Spring last night? I'd like to know what you thought of it, and if it's worth my time to catch a re-run of it, as I was too swamped to see it last night.


Jerry A. McCoy said...

Yes, Dan. It is "worth your time" to sit down in front of a television tuned to PBS WETA-26 this Sunday, March 16th, at 4:30 p.m. to view the rebroadcast of "Next Stop: Silver Spring."

Better yet, if you have not seen the restored 1945 Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Station, subject of the documentary, why don't you stop by at our open house to be held the day before, Saturday, March 15th, noon to 4:00 p.m.?

Everyone is invited to this FREE event. The station is located at 8100 Georgia Avenue

Jerry A. McCoy
Silver Spring Historical Society

Billy Patton said...

Robert P. Patton has announced that he plans to file with the Montgomery County Board of Election to run for the Republican nomination to serve District 4 on the Montgomery County Council.
Patton graduated from the University of Delaware where earned a BA degree in Latin American Studies with a Concentration in Economics while also starting as a defenseman for the varsity ice hockey team. Patton is presently completing a Master of Arts degree in International Management at the University of Maryland at College Park.

Between June of 1999 and May of 2001, Robert Patton served in the United States Peace Corps and volunteered as a Water and Sanitation Technician in Honduras. After great success at creating 14 potable water systems serving 19 communities in Honduras, Patton was offered an opportunity to work for The Salvation Army World Service Office as a Project Manager assisting earthquake and hurricane victims in El Salvador. In El Salvador, Patton co-authored a successful $3.5 million USAID proposal for continued reconstruction and development programs in rural El Salvador.
Now Patton plans to bring his experiences and expertise to serve his community here in Montgomery County. Having served as a volunteer and having worked in private industry, Patton promises to bring a different perspective to county government. Patton is fluent in Spanish and he promises to address the needs of Montgomery County’s growing Latino community. Patton knows what the council needs to do in order to create jobs which will generate revenue without having to raise taxes and how to better use that revenue to serve the community.

Patton says that Montgomery County residents may be tired of hearing recycled rhetoric from politicians about “slow growth” and hollow promises of ever elusive spending cuts which never materialize. Instead, Patton plans to preserve open-space and Montgomery County’s rural heritage by changing zoning laws in order to allow small, agriculturally based businesses to operate in residentially zoned land more easily. Furthermore, Patton says, bringing consistency and fairness to Montgomery County’s Special Exception process will encourage entrepreneurship in the county. Everyone knows stories of bureaucratic nightmares encountered when businesses, churches, and homeowners try to build or renovate a structure in Montgomery County and Patton plans to ease such restrictions. Patton understands that additional tax revenues will be generated by bringing fairness to the Special Exception process.

If elected to the Montgomery County Council, Patton will propose a $1,200 property tax credit to families of school aged children who choose to enroll their sons or daughters in private schools. This tax credit initiative will ease overcrowding in Montgomery County’s public schools and eventually encourage churches and other nongovernmental organizations to found more private and charter schools in our communities. Additional private schools will reduce the need for new capital construction projects for our public schools. The capital savings will allow the county to continue to increase teacher salaries and further the implementation of classroom technologies.

On the health front, Patton will organize functional smoking cessation program in conjunction with Montgomery County’s legislative delegation in Annapolis. The program would return cigarette tax revenue to those who are most in need of the money: Montgomery County residents who are tying to quit smoking. Thanks to the big pharmaceutical companies, useful stop-smoking aids such as nicotine gum and the patch literally costs twice the money cigarettes cost. Patton will propose a voucher system where qualified residents who are tying to quit could receive a voucher, paid for by the cigarette tax revenues, to pay for various stop-smoking aids.

Robert Patton also thinks that it is time to consider abolishing the Department of Liquor Control which Patton says is a relic of the Prohibition Era. Montgomery County maintains the argument that government control of beverage alcohol is warranted “because of the unique social risks and public costs of its abuse,” (Montgomery County Website). However, this “moral imperative” argument could also be made against the county’s role as a direct distributor of alcoholic beverages entirely. Furthermore, profits from the Department of Liquor Control sales of alcoholic beverages constitute a remarkably small 0.054 percent of Montgomery County’s annual revenues, thus, receipts from licensing liquor distribution to private industry would likely exceed the reported $18 million profit generated presently by the Department of Liquor Control.

Generally, Patton thinks that Montgomery County should balance its budget by creating new policies need which contribute to economic growth and increase county revenues rather than trying to decrease the rate of the salaries of county employees. Patton says that his moderately libertarian approach to government will bring economic growth while simultaneously preserving open space. Patton feels that that Montgomery County Council needs policies which will change the perception—and realities—that Montgomery County is an overly regulatory jurisdiction in order to be competitive in the a recessionary economic environment.

Bob Oshel said...

I agree with Jerry about Next Stop: Silver Spring. It is worth watching. Or maybe you'd want to record it and then speed through the fund raising breaks on play back. However, even the breaks Sunday evening were interesting because some of the time was used to interview the film maker, Walter Gottlieb.

Bob Oshel

Bob Oshel said...

Wow. No way would I vote for Robert Patton. He wants to take money away from the public schools and subsidize people sending their children to private schools. That sure starts a slippery slope. Next would be a tax credit for people without children, and pretty soon there is no money for schools. The public schools are a benefit for society in general that we all ought to pay for whether we use them directly or not -- and I say that as a taxpayer without a child in the public schools.

And then there is the zoning proposal. I don't think I want small "agriculturally based businesses" to be allowed in residential zones. Small hog farms, anyone? I think zoning enforcement ought to be strengthened, not liberalized so all sorts of things can encroach into residential neighborhoods.

Thomas Hardman said...

I should mention that I have filed a "Statement of Organization" with the Maryland Board of Elections; I have also organized a campaign committee -- a very small one -- called Citizens for Thomas Hardman.

And to what end? Why, I intend to throw my hat into the ring as a candidate for the Special Elections, County Council, District 4 of Montgomery County.

Why would I want this job? What are my qualifications? How can I possibly hope to win?

Can I win?

I honestly don't think I have much chance to win; I am almost unheard-of, I am certainly not well-funded, and as a Republican I have even less of a chance. Well, I'm not much of a party player as many local Republicans might tell you, and even they don't know me well, although almost 11,000 Republicans voted for me in the last race for Delegate in District 19. A lot of District 19 in the State races is in District 4 of the County race. So it's possible I do have some name recognition to get me through the primary.

What are my qualifications?

Well, I can assure you that I am not wealthy, I am not a great success by any means, and I certainly don't have the best degree from the best school, nor a long resume of fantastic accomplishments. I do have about 30 year of experience in various aspects of the Information Technology field, and I have a career going back to about 2002 or so in neighborhood activism. For several years I was on the Board of Directors of the Aspen Hill Civic Association, Inc., though we parted ways about a year ago because I didn't think they were being sufficiently aggressive on the issues of Code Enforcement, home overcrowding, and other quality-of-life issues. I have also been very involved in a variety of efforts which seek to coordinate law-enforcement, parks, recreation, and the schools into a unified effort using flexible approaches to improving life in the sadly declining neighborhoods of Aspen Hill.

I should pause to mention that I have lived in Aspen Hill (with brief stays elsewhere in the country, especially in the District of Columbia) since I was six, and graduated from Robert E Peary HS on Arctic Avenue in Aspen Hill, in 1976. I have been here for the better part of over 40 years.

Probably my main qualifications are my ability to stay interested for years in processes which move at a glacial pace, my deep understanding of Aspen Hill and the nearby parts of Montgomery County which are part of District 4.

Also, I have a wide range of contacts in the neighborhood activism community, and these people know that I am someone they can work with, someone with their own ideas for which they advocate tirelessly, yet I do follow the will of the majority once the votes have been cast and matters have been thus decided.

I am deeply literate, a voracious reader, and I don't mind typing at mind-numbing length! Not bad for a man about to turn 50.

I think that I am probably the best suited person for a Council seat if we are headed into a period of protracted economic decline, whether recession, stagflation, or worse. The rest of the candidates are mostly people who have known little but success through the fat years. But as most of us learned as children, "the seven fat years will be followed by seven lean years". I know how to tighten the belt, refrain from spending, and I especially know how to not get caught up in the easy-credit crush, where people just let unbridled optimism commit them to repaying major debts with money that may not be forthcoming. I know what a relief it is to live in a house that is paid for, and I want to promote that, rather than trying to perpetuate the ponzi-scheme of variable-APR mortgages and comparable silliness.

I am for only the most very slow growth possible, and I believe that growth for the sake of growth is not supportable or sustainable, eventually there will be limits. I promote re-development, recycling, and improvement of what already exists, far more than I would promote conversion of our few remaining woods and fields into even more developments. I have a deep interest in ecology and the environment, and every vote I would cast will reflect that deep committment. I don't want to just save the Bay, I want to see more trout in the steams of eastern Montgomery County!

Why would I want this job? Well, it's a dirty job, and someone's got to to it, and I happen to think that I may be one of the few who has what it takes, when it comes to saying "no" to the developers and special interests that act contrary to the best interests of the citizens.

Would I be the best-qualified candidate all around, to fit right in with the powers that be and keep things moving exactly as they've been moving? No, I am not that.

Would I be the most honest and "regular fellow" person on the Council, if elected? I'd sure try, and I think I have a head start on developing a sense of stewardship for the future of Montgomery, its people and resources, and I think I can easily maintain a sense of humility and gratefulness to the people who elect me.

Thanks so much, and as time goes on, I hope to bring even more insight to the blogosphere, as well as running a clean and low-key low-cost campaign.

Regards to all,