Wednesday, December 28, 2011
Saturday, December 10, 2011
Enjoying our first trip to the Maryland Youth Ballet's performance of the Nutcracker. It's a shortened version for kids. Still, lots of wiggles in the rows and kids getting caught in those folding theater seats! :)
The venue is Montgomery College's performing arts stage and it couldn't be more spectacular.
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
The big issue of the day was the budget proposal from the new superintendent of MCPS, Dr. Joshua Starr. I talk to Josh when I can at events in the community, and I've been impressed by his approach but also appreciative of his educational and child development philosophy. He has offered a specific critique of the prevailing dogma around education reform and No Child Left Behind that I and many parents also share.
A "budget address" by the
Theatrics aside, the new
I don't know if we can afford any improvements yet because we don't know how much money we will have to work with. Nevertheless, the proposal is certainly reasonable and provides a good basis for discussion going forward.
One issue that we will have to work on is the $26 million state aid penalty resulting from the council's reduction in per-pupil local spending. The reduction was necessary to bring spending down from levels that were sustained only by revenues from a real estate and financial markets bubble. If the state does not waive the penalty, the council will have to examine ways to offset it. At the same time, competing priorities such as police, fire service, parks, libraries and more - which also have taken heavy hits during the recession - will need adequate funding. So we will have a lot on our plate in coming months! Please keep in touch as we put together our budget.
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Today the County Council voted 6-3 for my motion to “table” the County Executive’s proposed youth curfew.
Since the curfew was first proposed in July, Montgomery County has significantly increased its police presence in certain hot spot areas where troubling incidents have occurred.
The result of this increase in police staffing has been remarkable: According to MCPD data, while in previous years we averaged 6 robberies per month, now we are averaging 1.5. In other words, crime has fallen to less than a third of what it was in downtown Silver Spring.
These facts on the ground have changed my view of the need for a proposed curfew at this time. At the same time, I cannot rule out the possible need for a curfew down the road. That is why I proposed to keep it “on the shelf” by tabling it. I think that is the right position for the county now.
I will continue to monitor the facts on the ground closely and do everything I can to make our community safe for our kids and all residents; and I will continue to view a youth curfew as a measure of last resort.
Thank you for weighing in on this important community issue. I will keep looking for practical ways to have a positive impact and I will look to you to help me achieve it. In addition, public safety will be one of the many issues discussed at my Town Hall Solutions Forum on Monday, December 12 at 7pm in Richard Montgomery High School's cafeteria.
Thursday, December 1, 2011
Yesterday, I attended a policy forum on workforce training hosted by the Hamilton Project of the Brookings Institution. It was a very informative event and has given me a lot to think about for policy making in
Today I was invited to join a meeting of childcare center directors. Needless to say, with a toddler and an infant in my family, I am interested in this topic. I sat with several directors of childcare centers and Uma Ahluwalia, the county's director of Health and Human Services. I believe wholeheartedly we must do more to support early childhood programs. Particularly in
Today also featured much wrangling on the topic of the curfew. There is a Post story out now describing how I have worked with council president Berliner to put the curfew on a "shelf" so to speak. I have mixed feelings about it as do many people. Regardless, the enhanced police enforcement in