Monday, November 02, 2009

Berthiaume Makes Endorsements in Rockville City Races

Laura Berthiaume, who finished fifth of seven candidates in the 2006 District 17 Delegate primary and was elected to the Board of Education last year, sent out this mass email naming her endorsees in tomorrow's Rockville city races. Berthiaume may one day run for higher office, so her chances are obviously helped if her chosen candidates win. She told us that her endorsements are issued as an individual and not in her capacity as a school board member.

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Rockville city council and mayoral elections are tomorrow, with polls opening at 7 a.m. and closing at 8 p.m. I urge you all to take the time to vote. Some of you have asked for my recommendations, and I do have a few strong opinions. Let me preface my endorsements by saying that I want a city government that works well and serves the taxpayers in a fiscally sound way. More than that, I want a mayor and council that I can be proud of as a citizen of this city. I love Rockville. There are so many great things about this very unique place - it deserves political leadership of the highest quality. It deserves a mayor and council members who can get along with each other, respect citizen input, be honest about city finances, and make sensible budget decisions.

Taking the council race first, I will be voting for BRIDGET NEWTON and MARK PIERZCHALA. Over the past couple of years, I have gotten to know both of them very well. As you may know, and in the interests of full disclosure, Bridget was my campaign manager in this most recent election. The reasons that I asked Bridget to be my campaign manager are the same reasons I support her for city council. Bridget first came to my attention when a city development issue arose in my neighborhood and I asked around for names of people who could help. Someone said something like, "You should go talk to Bridget Newton. She has been really involved in the West End Civic Association, and she is so impressive. I remember when they put an addition on their house and there she was - just completely in control and directing the project with a baby on her hip. She is organized and she's knowledgeable, and she would be a great person to have on your side." She is indeed. Bridget has already contributed a huge amount to Rockville. She has walked the walk, whether as Chair of the Compensation Commission, a leader in TCAT, or President of the West End Civic Association. Bridget is sincere, honest, and impassioned about continuing to work for a Rockville that protects its neighborhoods, encourages business, and maintains it character. I hope you join me in voting for her, because she really would be a great person to have on our side for the next two years.

I first met Mark when he made his run for Mayor in the last election. Throughout that race his calm demeanor, his sensible answers, and his logical approach to issues convinced me that he would be a top-notch public servant. Mark is an extremely hard worker - I can vouch for the fact that when he commits to do something, he does it, no-holds barred. I know he will take the same approach to serving on the council. I appreciate his dedication to environmental issues, and he has a strong record of service in College Gardens. I believe he will work well with other council members even in the most trying of times because he knows how to disagree without being disagreeable.

For the third council seat, I continue my support for JOHN BRITTON. I think John has earned another term. Amid all the news reports of this last mayor and council that sometimes had me cringing, John has largely stayed out of the sniping and grandstanding. I appreciate his service, and I know he serves in office for all the right reasons.

For the fourth council seat, we have a good crop of high quality candidates in Virginia Onley, Carl Henn, Trapper Martin, and Max van Balgooy. I do not think you could go wrong voting for any of them, particularly if Bridget, Mark, and John are serving and have the right mayoral leadership.

In the mayor's race, after much thought, I urge your support for PHYLLIS MARCUCCIO. Many people whom I respect in Rockville who are politically active have endorsed Phyllis, and those endorsements carry a lot of weight with me. I know Phyllis well enough to know that she will always be honest - sometimes to the point of being blunt, but always completely honest. I think her stands on city finances are correct for this economy. In tough budget times, we do not need to be wasting taxpayer money pursuing awards or designing logos. When so many residents are having a hard time paying their mortgages, and when so many are losing jobs, we need to think hard about balancing taxes against residents' own needs to keep more of their money in their pockets. Beyond that, I just took a look at the campaign finance reports for both mayoral candidates. Phyllis's support is very much grass-roots, and very centered in Rockville. There are no LLCs on her campaign donor list. By contrast, this string of contributions appears on Susan Hoffmann's donor report:

10/16/2009 Nathan Landow, 4710 Bethesda Ave., Suite 200, Bethesda 20814: $1,000.00
10/16/2009 PMAS, LLC 2701 Tower Oaks Blvd., Suite 200, Rockville 20852: $250.00
10/16/2009 PMAS, LLC 2701 Tower Oaks Blvd., Suite 200, Rockville 20852: $250.00
10/16/2009 Realty ManaQementServices, Inc. 7910 Woodmont Ave., Suite 350, Bethesda 20814: $250.00
10/16/2009 Scott Roth 7910 Woodmont Ave., Suite 350, Bethesda 20814: $250.00
10/16/2009 Germantown Walter Johnson Prop., LLC P.O. Box 61220, Potomac 20859: $1,000.00

You can get a quick link to both reports on Rockville Central - go have a look for yourself. The above list is of course an excerpt and does not capture everything. Looking over the names on both donor lists, I drew my own conclusions about who would have Rockville and its neighborhoods' best interests front and center. While this is not the only factor in my decision to support Phyllis, it certainly had an impact.

Again, I urge everyone to go vote, whoever you may be supporting.


Laura Berthiaume