Congratulations to Rockville’s New Mayor and Council

If you stayed up until 11:00 pm last night to watch the election returns for Rockville, you know that Bridget Newton was elected Mayor and Julie Palakovich Carr, Virginia Onley, Tom Moore, and Beryl L. Feinberg were elected to City Council.  Congratulations to each of them and I wish them all much success and wisdom as they lead Rockville during the next two years.

Although Mark Pierzchala was not elected Mayor, he created Team Rockville, “to ensure that voters would have diverse choices for their next Mayor and Council” and that Rockville would have “elected officials with experience and knowledge about the issues facing the City.”  Most importantly, it would “lead the City in a transparent, respectful, and inclusive manner.”  With four Team Rockville candidates elected, these values will be carried into the Council chambers and hopefully create a less divisive and argumentative atmosphere than we’ve had under Phyllis Marcuccio.

So where does that leave Bridget Newton, our new Mayor? Continue reading →

Election Day Begins in Rockville

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Voting started at 7 am this cold fall morning in Rockville and I had a chance to visit several polling places to see how things are going.  So far this morning, King Farm, Swim Center, and Senior Center have voters coming in at 1-2 persons per minute, which is busy for a polling place.  Campaign volunteers were ready and eager to advise incoming voters, and volunteers for Team Rockville are outnumbering those for the “West End Slate.”  The Swim Center traditionally has the highest turnout and candidates Tom Moore, Virginia Only, Julie Palakovich Carr, and Don Hadley were out front greeting voters (and swimmers) along with Delegate Luis Simmons, who will announce his run for State Senate in a couple weeks.  At Twinbrook, Newton’s supporters were campaigning within the polling place and the “West End Slate” supporters at Elwood Smith are encouraging “bullet voting” while at King Farm they are recommending two write-in candidates.  Otherwise, nothing unexpected is happening but the next big wave of voters arrives after 5 pm.

By now, readers of my blog are well aware that I’m endorsing Continue reading →

College Gardens vs West End in Mayor’s Race

Distribution of contributions to Rockville's mayoral race in 2013

Distribution of contributions to Rockville’s mayoral race in 2013

I continue to delve into the financial support for the mayoral race to determine how it reveals the sentiment of the community (and perhaps the outcome of the election tomorrow).  Voters who contribute to campaigns are typically “true believers,” especially as the amount increases, and often actively campaign for their candidates and are rarely dissuaded by any contrary information or facts.  Newton has many of them as can be seen in the chart above, but will it be enough?

By plotting the residence of contributors on a map (thanks Google Fusion Tables!), it appears the choice for mayor is Continue reading →

Funding Details for Mayoral Race

Dollars donated by Zip Code during September and October 2013 for Rockville's mayoral campaign.

Dollars donated by Zip Code during September and October 2013 for Rockville’s mayoral campaign.

This weekend I’ve had a chance to analyze the campaign fund reports for September and October for the mayoral race, which is probably the race that’s of greatest interest because it has attracted the largest amount of money and the largest number of donors.  As I mentioned in a previous post, Bridget Newton is the leader with $17,300 raised by October 27 and Mark Pierzchala at about 60% of that amount at $10,040 (this does not include personal contributions or loans; I’m examining funding support from the community).  The difference, however, is that Pierzchala raised 91 percent of his funds within Rockville compared to 72 percent for Newton.   If elections run on money, here’s a look inside the engine:   Continue reading →

Zip Code 20850 Major Source of Campaign Funding–Again

Donations 2013 OctoberThe second campaign finance reports for the Rockville Mayor and Council elections for the period October 1-27, 2013 were recently submitted and they reveal that Zip Code 20850 (includes Fallsgrove, West End, New Mark Commons, East Rockville, Lincoln Park, College Gardens, King Farm) still dominates the contributions and even increased their giving by 5 percent compared to September.  The other Rockville Zip Codes fell far in the distance at 10 percent for 20854 (Horizon Hill, Fallsmead, Potomac Woods); 6 percent for 20851 (Twinbrook); and 5 percent for 20852 (Hungerford, Montrose, North Farm).   For the entire election season, 20850 is tops at 63 percent, contributions outside the city come in at 21 percent, and the other three Zips stand at about 5 percent.  Again, that roughly mimics the voting records for those regions and perhaps how much they Continue reading →

Enjoy Fall While It’s Here

Lake Frank, just east of Rockville, Maryland in October.

Lake Frank, just east of Rockville, Maryland in October.

It’s fall in Rockville and if you haven’t enjoyed it enough, head out to Lake Frank east of town. Created by Montgomery County to control flooding along Rock Creek in the 1970s, it’s an off-the-beaten path destination for those who love nature, walking, birdwatching, and dog walking. Today was especially nice because the trees are at their peak and their colors are reflected in the water–and we only ran into a half dozen people in the hour we were there.

Enter from Avery Road (near Southlawn) and you’ll find a small parking lot leading to a paved path that goes around about a third of the lake. If you’re walking or on a bike, you can also enter from the Rock Creek Trail just north of Norbeck Road.

Election Shenanigans Encourage Unethical and Illegal Behavior

Illegal flyer distributed in King Farm in October 2013.

Illegal flyer distributed in King Farm in October 2013.

In an effort to discourage the shenanigans that are occurring in the current Mayor and Council election, I’ve filed an official complaint with the City’s Board of Supervisors of Elections (BOSE) this week.  Last weekend, a couple people were distributing a flyer door-to-door in the King Farm neighborhood that called for the election of Bridget Newton, Don Hadley, and Claire Marcuccio Whitaker to the Rockville Mayor and Council for various reasons.  That’s not a problem except it was anonymous, a tactic I find cowardly because the source is secret and isn’t accountable for their statements, but in Rockville, it’s also illegal.  The City Code states that, “Every person who publishes or distributes or causes to be published or distributed any pamphlet, circular, card … relating to or concerning any candidate … shall include the name and address of the person, treasurer, or campaign committee responsible for the literature.”   That’s why you always see Continue reading →

Zip Code 20850 Dominates Rockville Campaign

Donors by Zip Code 9-2013The first campaign finance reports for the Rockville Mayor and Council elections for the period ending September30, 2013 were recently submitted and they reveal that Zip Code 20850 (includes Fallsgrove, West End, New Mark Commons, East Rockville, Lincoln Park, College Gardens, King Farm) provides more than 60 percent of the funds, with other Rockville Zip Codes 20851 (Twinbrook), 20852 (Hungerford, Montrose, North Farm), and 20854 (Horizon Hill, Fallsmead, Potomac Woods) falling far in the distance with an average of 5 percent.   That roughly mimics the voting records for those regions and perhaps how much they feel engaged with the larger Rockville community.  For individual campaigns, the breakdown varies considerably and can signal how much a candidate has engaged with or is subject to influence by a particular neighborhood.

Donors by Zip Code by Candidate 9-2013

New candidates often have to rely on support from themselves, family, or friends and that’s the pattern seen with Hadley, Palakovich Carr, and Whittaker.  Feinberg, on the other hand, has been able to obtain more than 95 percent of her supporters within Rockville, an impressive achievement for an experienced candidate and extraordinary for a newcomer.  The mayoral candidates of Newton and Pierzchala, both current councilmembers, are relying heavily on residents within 20850 and from outsiders–donors outside of Rockville exceed 25 percent for both candidates.  Feinberg and Palakovich Carr have gathered the broadest representation of supporters across Rockville’s four zip codes.

Number of Donors 9-2013

The number of donors seems to fall in three groups.  Newtown and Pierzchala lead with about 80 supporters each, Feinberg and Palakovich Carr in the second batch with about Continue reading →

President Obama Visits Rockville (sort of)

President Barack Obama visited Rockville today, the latest in a series of US Presidents who have visited our fair city.  Obama gave a speech regarding the federal government shutdown at M. Luis Construction at 14811 Southlawn Lane (next to Rockville Fuel and Feed, so technically it’s just outside).  This site was selected because it’s a woman and minority owned business affected by the shutdown.  Attendance was by invitation only, which included plenty of local elected officials, such as State Senator Jennie Forehand, County Executive Ike Leggett, County Councilmember Hans Riemer, and City Councilmembers Mark Pierzchala, Bridget Newton, and Tom Moore (who provided the photos–thanks!).

Video coverage available at NBC News and Obama’s speech (and Rockville) were picked up by the Wall Street Journal, the Atlantic Wire, USA Today, and the Washington Post.

First Rockville Mayor and Council Forum Tonight at 7:30 pm

ForumTonight at 7:30 pm in the Social Hall of the F. Scott Fitzgerald Theater (that’s behind the theater in Civic Center Park), the Rockville Community Coalition will hold its Forum to help voters choose the next Mayor and City Council.   This is the first of seven Forums planned this election season, each held in different locations and hosted by different organizations.  If you arrive a few minutes early, you’ll have an opportunity to suggest questions to the moderator.  You can also watch it at home on Rockville Channel 11 or streamed live at RockvilleMD.gov. It’ll also be available on Rockville’s YouTube Channel for later viewing.

The election season has just started and so have the shenanigans.  This Forum may not have occurred had Continue reading →

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