Thursday, October 8, 2009
Does the Montgomery County Council want to listen to its constituents?
At last night's town hall meeting concerning the Gaithersburg West Master Plan and "Science City," seven of county council members listened to constituent concerns. The audience included the mayor and several council members from the City of Gaithersburg, Saqib Ali, and staffers from Senator Cardin's and Congressman Van Hollen's staffs. Ben Kramer, also of the Annapolis delegation, was in attendance, but he wasn't acknowledged in the introductions or greetings. Was that just an oversight or intentional snub resulting from his unsuccessful run for the open seat from Burtonsville?
Who wasn't there? Valerie Ervin (Silver Spring and chair of the Council's Ed Committee) and Nancy Navarro (Burtonsville). Nancy called in sick. I've heard that at several other meetings lately, and hope her health issues resolve before she needs to file for reelection. Valerie - she was expected to show up, but just decided, I'll let her speak for herself. Valerie missed an opportunity to meet the taxpayers that fund her salary and see firsthand what happens on the "other" side of the county. I wonder whether these two are interested in collaborative efforts and consensus building or only interested in those who cast the votes in local elections when they are running.
But from my observation of the Gaithersburg Master Plan issue, I note the conspicuous absence of any mention of setting aside additional land for schools. Doesn't that happen when a new master plan is adopted? Doesn't it also make sense when deciding the fate of one of the largest undeveloped parcels of land that schools would at least be acknowledged? No one from Montgomery County Public Schools was in attendance, either.
Too bad, I was tempted to ask that question last night, but given the no show from the education committee, I decided that the question should wait - after all, its obviously not on the agenda - yet.