Tag Archives: Tom Moore

Candidates Face Last Day of Debates

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Today is a double-header for the Rockville City Council candidates, putting a punctuation point to a long series of debates this season.  I attended this afternoon’s session hosted at the Senior Center and tonight is the last with the Chamber of Commerce.  By now, the candidates have honed their thoughts and can quickly state their positions, which is much more helpful to the voters.  You can also see where alliances have formed, how their personalities affect their thinking, and where there is uncertainty.  From today’s forum, it seemed the alliances are Marcuccio, Newton, Hall, and maybe Gottfried vs. Gajewski and Pierzchala (if we arranged this by nationality, we’d have. . .hmm).

This forum was primarily focused on the needs and interests of seniors, so there were questions about the candidates’ ideas to support “aging in place,” homeowner’s tax credit, affordable housing, and the impact of decreased county and state support on Rockville’s senior programming, but some ranged further, for example a surprising question on the King Farm transitway.  The $100 homeowners tax credit was discussed throughout the afternoon, with Gajewski and Hall clearly supporting its reappearance; Marcuccio and Newton only if the eligibility criteria could be tightened (e.g., only for seniors); and Francis clearly against, calling it a smokescreen for the more important issue of unfair property taxes and adoption of a piggyback income tax.  Time was wasted on the question, “Where senior services ranked as a priority” because no politician will Continue reading →

Council Election Status

I’ve just confirmed with the City Clerk’s office that the following persons will be on the ballot in November 2011:

Mayor

  • Peter Gajewski
  • Phyllis Marcuccio

Council

  • John Hall
  • Tom Moore
  • Bridget Newton
  • Virginia Onley

The deadline for getting on the ballot is Friday, September 9, so I suspect more names will be added this next week.

If you’re not familiar with the process, it’s not required of any other elected officials serving Rockville–not the County Council, our State Delegates, or State Senator.  Each candidate has to submit a petition signed by one hundred registered Rockville voters along with their request to be placed on the ballot.  Superficially, it sounds like a nice way to separate the wheat from the chaff, but it’s very hard to do.  Most of us don’t know 100 registered Rockville voters, so you have to find them at shopping centers, the Metro stations, or walking your neighborhood.  Because most strangers don’t want to be bothered, it provides a major advantage to incumbents who have name recognition and a existing pool of supporters.  Complicating matters is that you have to sign the petition exactly as you registered to vote with the Board of Elections or it won’t count.  And after Congresswoman Giffords’ shooting in Tucson, shopping centers are shooing away political activities to avoid a repeat of that tragedy.   So now it’s more than just an exercise in identifying serious candidates, it’s become one of Donald Trump’s projects out of “The Apprentice”.  It may be legal (but I’m guessing it’s as legal as poll taxes), but this process of collecting 100 signatures isn’t required at county or state  levels of government (our neighboring City of Gaithersburg requires 100 signatures, but are they our model?).  Has it ensured a better quality candidate?  Or has it dissuaded good residents from running?  Why one hundred?

Temperature of Rockville Council Election Just Went Up

With Scott Ullery’s recent announcement that he’ll retire as City Manager in December, the temperature of the upcoming City Council elections just went up several degrees.  Hiring a City Manager is one of the most important decisions they can make and has both long-term and short-term implications.  We’ve been fortunate to have such a skilled administrator as Scott Ullery, who has been a calm and consistent force at the City despite the continual challenges that come into his office from all corners.  I’ve always found him to be ethical and fair, and while I know some people sought his removal, it’s usually because they’re trying to do something that doesn’t align with our city’s strategic plan, violates city codes, or requires Council approval.  It’s a thankless job because you are always subject to public criticism and you get a new set of bosses every two years (and the best city managers, like the best editors, are often invisible and let others get the credit).

Selecting the next City Manager will be a crucial responsibility for the next Council–and it’s not an easy job.  In my former hometown of Upland, California, we had a terrible series Continue reading →