Thursday, June 17, 2010

Gaithersburg West Opponents Praise and Pan Council Candidates

Gaithersburg West Master Plan opponents who run the Scale-it-Back website have issued an Election 2010 Scorecard that evaluates County Council candidates. Some will love it and some will hate it. Let’s find out who the lovers and haters will be!

Scale it Back devised an eight-point rating scale for every candidate. Five points are derived from votes and comments made during the planning process. Three points are derived from remarks made at the May 12 County Council at-large forum. This is unscientific to be sure, but most civic activists feel they can learn who to trust and who is giving them the run-around during a process of this nature. Such is the gist of this evaluation.

Here are the raw scores for every candidate.

Marc Elrich: 8
Phil Andrews: 5
Hans Riemer: 4
Sharon Dooley: 4
Fred Evans: 3
Roger Berliner: 2
Duchy Trachtenberg: 2
Jane de Winter: 2
Mike Knapp: 1
George Leventhal: 1
Ilaya Hopkins: 1
Becky Wagner: 1
Ike Leggett: 0
Valerie Ervin: 0
Nancy Navarro: 0
Nancy Floreen: 0

And there is more. For a few of them, Scale it Back included some choice comments. You sure can’t fault them for being shy! Here is what they had to say about the county-wide candidates, as well as their own Council Member, Phil Andrews.

Marc Elrich (8)

Marc Elrich worked very closely with the community during the Gaithersburg West Master Plan process and represented us on the Planning, Housing and Economic Development (PHED) Committee.
Phil Andrews (5)
Phil Andrews worked very closely with the community during the Gaithersburg West Master Plan process. He is very involved in the community and has made several trips on foot through each of the neighborhoods in order to get to know the residents and hear their concerns first-hand.
Fred Evans (3)
Fred Evans, former Principal of Gaithersburg High School, has a thorough understanding of our educational system and is a strong believer in resident-participation in government and managed growth.
Duchy Trachtenberg (2)
Duchy Trachtenberg proposed a Health Impact Assessment for the area around the Gaithersburg West Master Plan study area and community involvement in the master plan implementation. We will be watching closely to see if these plans are carried out.

She was adamant that the Gaithersburg West Master Plan be approved for its monetary value to the county, even though it is questionable whether the Fiscal Analysis supports the notion that the development approved in the Master Plan will be to profitable for the county. Any plan that relies on $2 billion of infrastructure improvements should have been analyzed very carefully and this was not done.
George Leventhal (1)
George Leventhal, during the Gaithersburg West Master Plan process, expressed his lack of concern for the residents. Obviously he had made up his mind to pass the plan and having to deal with the residents was clearly distasteful judging from his mocking comments and his manic performance at the Quince Orchard Town Hall Meeting.

He showed no concern for the many problems that will result from the addition of 40,000 workers and 20,000 residents to the “Science City” area which is about 1.5 square miles in a suburban residential area, five miles from the Metro.

He did not ask for additional information or clarification on any of the issues, inconsistencies or inaccuracies brought up by Phil Andrews, Marc Elrich or the residents. His mind was made up.

From comments on the Apple Ballot, Maryland Politics Watch, June 4, 2010:

"George Leventhal: The two-term incumbent is now firmly in the driver’s seat. Leventhal will have all the money he needs, almost all the big endorsements (except possibly the Post’s) and will wage a solid campaign. We expect him to finish first in the at-large race for the second election in a row. If that happens, Leventhal will be a top contender to be the next County Executive."

What a scary prediction! A person with such obvious disdain for the concerns of the residents is ill-suited for county government at any level.
Ike Leggett (0)
Ike Leggett showed little or no interest in the unprecedented amount of opposition to the Gaithersburg West Master Plan. The Fiscal Analysis, which came from his office, was questionable on a number of issues. Challenges made by Phil Andrews and Bragi Valgeirsson were dismissed by Diane Schwartz Jones from Leggett’s office by saying the Fiscal Analysis is “an art not a science.”
Nancy Floreen (0)
Nancy Floreen was completely absent from the discussions of the Gaithersburg Master Plan even though she sat on the Planning, Housing and Economic Development (PHED) Committee. This committee is expected to evaluate the plan very carefully in order to make a recommendation to the full Council. She didn’t ask questions or expect clarification even though Marc Elrich and Phil Andrews brought up a multitude of issues and irregularities in the plan.

She was obviously there to approve the plan and didn’t care to be bothered with the facts.
Plain and direct language is the mother’s milk of blogging, and this is a lot of spilled milk! Given the fact that the Gaithersburg West Master Plan was passed by a compromise, there is some question as to how potent the issue will be at election time. Marc Elrich will clearly enjoy support from the opponents, as well as the City Councils of both Gaithersburg and Rockville. Whether the issue has a further impact will depend on how organized the opponents remain and how much resonance the issue will have in the local area over the next three months.