Thursday, March 12, 2009

Goldman Releases Chamber of Commerce Questionnaire

District 4 County Council candidate Rob Goldman has released his Chamber of Commerce Questionnaire to MPW.

1) What is your vision for the role that Montgomery County will play in our future global economy?

With the growth of green businesses, montgomery county certainly has a role in the global community, promoting companies that solve environmental and social problems, starting on the local level. Montgomery County can make a greater contribution to the preservation of the environment and practices that improve the quality of life for employees and customers.

a. What would you do as a member of the County Council to reach this Vision?

I will ensure economic impact studies are performed to analyze the growth of various industries, I will work to ensure business retention and expansion, I will work with local colleges and universities to produce skilled workers in Montgomery County’s various industries.

2) Do you believe that providing incentives for companies to locate in Montgomery County is an important part of economic development strategy?

Certainly, in order to be competitive and ensure that companies and businesses will relocate and thrive here we need to provide some incentives. At a time when so many businesses are closing, these incentives will enable our citizens to go back to work and our local economy to rebound.

3) Economic downturn has resulted in decreased revenues for Montgomery County. What do you believe are the best methods for boosting County revenues? What should be trimmed from the County’s budget in these difficult times?

As explained on my website,, my position has been to take a long look at the budget and re-evaluate where our tax money is going. With foreclosures out of control and the number of citizens who are unemployed, we cannot raise taxes right now to increase revenues. That is financially irresponsible. We need to refocus our spending. The county’s risk management budget for this fiscal year is in excess of $9 million. The county council should look at private insurance for some or all of the risk management, with the hopes of decreasing this budgeted item. Second, almost ¾ of the county’s grant money goes to programs that have been in place since before 2000. Our needs have changed since then and we should not be tied to outdated programs. We can re-direct our grant money elsewhere. We should abolish stipends for volunteers to county committees and boards. This work should be voluntary. These are but a few examples that would give us some flexible economic flexibility.

4) Given that Maryland’s investment in transportation continues to decline and traffic congestion remains a huge concern for voters in Montgomery County, how do you believe that the County Council should address our traffic relief?

As somebody who has an 18 mile commute from home to work but is in the car for 1 ½ to 2 hours everyday, I know about traffic congestion. We need to promote public transportation—get moving on the purple line, reinstate bus routes that have been changed or terminated and remove aging-diesel fueled buses from service and replace them with environmentally friendly, cng or hybrid buses. The Intercounty Connector should help in the future, but in the interim, alternative means to cars and private transportation should be addressed with promoting public transportation. Also, riders of public transportation should be entitled to better financial incentives/rates for riding public transportation.

5) What is your position on some of our key traffic relief projects including the Purple Line, Corridor Cities Transitway and the widening of I-270?

I am and will continue to be in favor of anything that makes our lives and commutes easier. For too long, the infrastructure has not matched our growth. Failure to do anything now will ultimately make the traffic problems worse later and lead to a decline in our population and quality of life. Nobody wants to spend their lives in their cars, angry and frustrated. Responding to growth and preparing ourselves for future growth is necessary through these projects.

6) Please discuss your thoughts on the Master Plans that will come before the County Council in 2008 including: Gaithersburg West, Germantown and White Flint, as these areas are all opportunities for important economic development.

I think that it is terrific to focus on Germantown, as a possible hub for culture and employment. People tend to focus on only certain areas closer to the district as areas of employment and activity in montgomery county. Germantown is a good locale in the county for this development. Gaithersburg west is a prime location for life science growth to serve as the county’s hub for science. White flint will create more greenspace. Each of these ideas for the master plan will give the various areas of montgomery county a uniqueness, a reason to visit and explore the various diverse areas of the county and will centralize the various industries/activities/opportunities in that particular region of the county.

7) Why would you like to be a member of the Montgomery County Council and what do you hope to accomplish?

As a parent, resident of montgomery county, member of the legal community and volunteer, I see my neighbors in district 4 and my friends in the county suffering through economic difficulties, paying their mortgages, keeping their homes and jobs, and their children’s educations. I also see their concerns for safety and their retirements. These are not atypical concerns or concerns that are new. However, my career has been about helping people, making their lives better and protecting their interests. I want to continue to do that for all of the citizens of my county, to make my children’s lives better and easier and to help others make their lives better and easier.