Sunday, March 22, 2009

County Council Forum

By Sharon Dooley.

Sunday evening will see the first of several get togethers for the District 4 County Council Special Primary hopefuls.

This first foray will showcase the Democrats and the Green Party Candidate in an open forum at the lovely mansion headquarters of the Audubon Society, "Woodend", at their sanctuary at 8940 Jones Mill Road just South of the Beltway in Chevy Chase. All candidates have been confirmed as attending and there is expected to be a lively discussion on several compelling topics such as the ICC, the environment, the county and state budget as well as education and unions. Several progressive groups and the Audubon Society are sponsoring this first outing. There will also be a corresponding Republican forum at a later date.

For the uninformed, there is a vast field already in place for this special primary scheduled for Tuesday April 21st - with a general election set for May 18th between the winners of the primary.
The candidates are: in alpha order by party -

Michael Bigler, funeral director
Robert Goldman, attorney
Thomas Hardman (Republican candidate in 08) IT developer
Ben Kramer - State Delegate D19
Cary Lamari - Former Civic Fed President
Nancy Navarro - Board of Education member

Green Party - unopposed
George Gluck - consultant

Lou August Non profit executive, entrepreneur
Robin Ficker - real estate broker - attorney
Andrew Padula - Artist/activist

Each candidate is expected to stake ground on what each considers his or her strong suit - Navarro will probably stress her background in education, Kramer is expected to address his business strengths, Lamari will review land use and planning board concerns, and Hardman may mention his views on immigration, just to mention a few areas of possible discussion.

But hopefully this forum will elicit some new information that the voting public can carry with them to the polls. When there were multiple forums in a short period of time as happened last year, the discussions quickly became unexciting, repetitive and predictable as no one wished to say the wrong thing that could become tomorrows headlined misstep.

Since this is the first forum of this new primary season - let's hope new ground is plowed, new questions are proposed and straightforward answers fall from the lips of the assembled candidates. Wouldn't that be a refreshing change? Since I may be among the questioners tomorrow - I wonder what MPW readers think should be the most important question we ask tomorrow evening? I don't mean a curve ball for some and a fast ball for others; I genuinely want to hear - what is the most pressing issue in the county today that an incoming council person should be prepared to address on this Sunday evening? No on the job training - hit the ground running, people - be ready to deal with this on your first council day - (given that the current council will have the tough budget decisions wrapped up by then).

So comment away folks, - let me know what you think - ASAP - soon we will get in to the options about what next steps might be should either Navarro (empty seat on the BOE) or Kramer -(empty seat in D19 Delegation) win this one. Who do you hear is lining up for any vacancy - should it occur? And with choices for the Planning board to be decided almost as soon as the signing ink on the election certificate is dry, the newly elected council person will need to be ready. Are there still surrogate battles to be fought as current council members step up on either one side or the other of the fences here? Who is staying out or who is truly on the fence - what is it they say, never a dull moment in an off election year?