Category Archives: Council District 1

SEIU Local 500 Endorses Ana Sol Gutierrez

By Adam Pagnucco.

SEIU Local 500, which represents MCPS support staff, adjunct college professors, child care employees and other members, has endorsed Delegate Ana Sol Gutierrez for the open Council District 1 seat.  Gutierrez has also been endorsed by Progressive Maryland, Casa in Action and MCEA.  Last week, she requested $10,290 in matching funds from the state under public financing, which – if she gets them – will give her over $30,000 in the bank.

We reprint Local 500’s press release below.


For Immediate Release

March 15, 2018

Contact: Christopher Honey

SEIU Local 500 endorses Ana Sol Gutierrez for Montgomery County Council District 1

(Gaithersburg, MD) SEIU Local 500, the largest union local in Montgomery County, announced it was putting its full support behind Ana Sol Gutierrez for the Montgomery County Council District 1. The District 1 seat is open because incumbent Count Councilmember Roger Berliner is running for County Executive.

“Ana has a strong background in education and understands the unique challenges and opportunities families face in Montgomery County. She has always been an advocate for those left behind in Montgomery County. She has been a leader on issues like affordable housing and working to close the achievement in our schools,” said Merle Cuttitta, President of SEIU Local 500.

President Cuttitta added, “She’s also a member of SEIU Local 500 – she was a union adjunct at George Washington University!”

SEIU Local 500 represents over 20,000 workers across the region, including supporting services professionals in Montgomery County Public Schools, adjunct faculty at Montgomery College and Maryland family childcare providers.


Campaign Finance Reports: District County Council, January 2018

By Adam Pagnucco.

In addition to the wild and woolly Executive and Council At-Large races, MoCo has two competitive District County Council elections.  Let’s have a look.

Council District 1

In District 1, which stretches from Kensington in the east to Poolesville in the west, nine candidates are vying to succeed incumbent Roger Berliner, who is term limited and is running for Executive.  But of these nine, only four look competitive at the moment and one stands out: former aide to the Comptroller Andrew Friedson.

Friedson’s lead in total raised and cash balance is as obvious as it is staggering.  But consider these three facts.  First, if Friedson were running in the Council At-Large race, his total raised for the cycle ($218,903) would be second only to Hans Riemer ($219,103), who is the only at-large incumbent running.  Friedson’s cash on hand ($200,622) would be second only to Delegate Charles Barkley ($232,428).  Second, Friedson’s lead is not in money alone.  We added up the number of individual contributors each of the top four fundraising candidates had in Bethesda, Chevy Chase, Potomac, Kensington, Cabin John, Glen Echo, Poolesville and zip codes 20852 (Rockville) and 20878 (Gaithersburg/North Potomac)  to approximate in-district contributors.  Friedson had 289 contributors in these locations, followed by Reggie Oldak (217), former Town of Kensington Mayor Pete Fosselman (195) and Meredith Wellington (92).  Third, Friedson has accomplished this in just five months.  Fosselman has been running for ten months, followed by Oldak (nine months) and Wellington (eight months).  We wonder how much Friedson would have raised if he had been campaigning longer.

The good news for Reggie Oldak is that she has done well in public financing and should have no problem hitting the $125,000 cap for public matching funds.  The bad news is that it’s probably impossible for her to catch Friedson because once she hits the cap, she will be limited to $150 individual checks.  Wellington has relied on self-financing more than the other candidates and has a high burn rate (41%).  Fosselman should have been the fundraising leader in this race.  He was Mayor of the Town of Kensington for a decade and is plugged into Ike Leggett’s network, the county developer network (he once worked for Rodgers Consulting) and what is left of the network of former Governor Martin O’Malley, who endorsed him and had his PAC max out to him.  But Fosselman is fourth in cash on hand and faces the risk that the business community will turn to Friedson as a better prospect to win.

Council District 3

In District 3, which is mostly comprised of Rockville, Gaithersburg, Aspen Hill, Leisure World, part of Norbeck and Washington Grove, former J Street Political Director Ben Shnider is taking on incumbent Council Member and former Gaithersburg Mayor Sidney Katz.  Shnider, who is in the traditional financing system, outraised the incumbent, who is taking public financing.

Shnider’s fundraising edge, along with his endorsement by SEIU Local 32BJ, gives his campaign credibility against Katz, who has been in county and municipal politics for decades.  A further look at the fundraising numbers reveals two things.  First, 76% of Shnider’s fundraising has come from out of state.  (Katz’s percentage is just 2%).  But second, and more worrisome for Katz, Shnider is starting to catch on in the district.  When we added up the number of individual contributors from Rockville, Gaithersburg, Washington Grove and zip code 20906 (Leisure World/Norbeck) to approximate in-district contributors, Katz had 99 and Shnider had 75.  Shnider is the underdog in this race, but Katz needs to start working harder to hold him off.

The other districts lack competition.  District 2 incumbent Craig Rice has not been raising money and is apparently unworried about his Republican rivals in the age of Trump.  District 4 Council Member Nancy Navarro and District 5 Council Member Tom Hucker have no opponents and are headed to reelection.

We will get to state legislative races soon, folks!


Doug Duncan Endorses Andrew Friedson in District 1

Former Montgomery County Executive Doug Duncan has endorsed Council District 1 candidate Andrew Friedson.  Following is Friedson’s press release.


Friedson Endorsed by County Executive Doug Duncan

Three-Term Exec. Calls Friedson “Forward-Focused Leader with a Proven Track Record”

Bethesda, Md. – Former Three-Term County Executive Douglas M. Duncan announced his endorsement of Andrew Friedson in the highly competitive Montgomery County Council, District One race.

“Andrew Friedson is a change-maker and a problem solver, a homegrown leader who knows how to bring together the public and private sectors to actually get things done,” Duncan said. “When our community’s growing needs continue to exceed our revenues, and as Montgomery County families are being squeezed with rising living and childcare costs and stagnant wages, we need someone with Andrew’s experience effectively holding government agencies accountable, scrutinizing public spending, and helping grow small business jobs. In rapidly changing times, we need new leaders, with new perspectives, and new ideas on the County Council. Andrew Friedson is that forward-focused leader with a proven track record, and I am thrilled to endorse him for Montgomery County Council in District One.”

Following the endorsement, Mr. Duncan and his wife Barbara are hosting a birthday fundraiser on January 9th in Bethesda to support Friedson’s campaign, along with Comptroller Peter Franchot, Senators Brian Feldman and Craig Zucker, former Congressman C. Thomas McMillen, and former Maryland Democratic Party Chair, Susan Turnbull, in addition to a large host committee of well-known community leaders. Along with the endorsement of the former County Executive, Friedson’s campaign has been noted for its fast start and impressive following on social media since he formally filed for the seat on October 5.

A lifelong Montgomery County resident and University of Maryland graduate, Friedson attended Wayside, Hoover and Churchill public schools. He spent the past six years as Senior Policy Advisor, Deputy Chief of Staff and Division Director for the Comptroller of Maryland where he focused on making government more effective, efficient and responsive, and previously oversaw a complete restructuring of Maryland’s $6 billion 529 college savings program. Friedson currently serves as Chair of the Montgomery County Collaboration Council for Children, Youth and Families, recently served on Maryland’s Small Business Development Financing Authority, and was a driving force behind a new state program which launched this fall to provide financial security and independence for Marylanders with disabilities.

Duncan currently serves as President and CEO of Leadership Greater Washington. In addition to his decorated 12-year tenure as Montgomery County’s top elected official, he also co-founded a continuous advisory services firm for state and local governments, was Vice President for Administrative Affairs at the University of Maryland College Park, was a National Account Manager for AT&T, and served as Mayor of Rockville.

For details on Andrew Friedson’s January 9th Birthday Bash, please visit For more information on the Friedson campaign, please visit or



Johanna Berkson


Friedson Rules Social Media in District 1

By Adam Pagnucco.

Political handicapping is a very subjective exercise.  That said, there are a handful of objective measures that give clues to the state of a race: fundraising, endorsements, surrogates, communications (like number of mailers sent and TV time purchased), and more.  The jury is still out on the importance of social media followers.  But if Facebook followings matter at all, Andrew Friedson is waaaaaay ahead on that measure in the Council District 1 election.

As of Monday, September 11, here are the Facebook followers on each of the District 1 candidates’ campaign pages.

Andrew Friedson: 4,822

Pete Fosselman: 461

Bill Cook: 224

Reggie Oldak: 154

Other candidates: no pages

That’s right, Friedson has almost six times as many followers as his competitors COMBINED.  And they have all been running for months before he got in.

One reason why Facebook followers are discounted by many is that they don’t reflect actual voters in the relevant jurisdiction.  They can come from all over Planet Earth.  So your author asked Friedson to provide a geographic distribution of his Facebook followers.  According to data from his page, roughly two-thirds of Friedson’s followers reported cities of residence.  Of those, 1,490 lived in Maryland, 971 lived in MoCo and 462 lived in the District 1 areas of Bethesda, North Bethesda, Potomac and Kensington.  An additional 700 reported living in D.C., but some of those people could actually live in the Maryland suburbs.

This is an impressive campaign page following for someone who just declared for the race a month ago.  It reflects Friedson’s ability to tap into a number of networks, including his friends and family as a MoCo native; his college network from the University of Maryland (where he was a class President); his professional network from his time as an aide to Comptroller Peter Franchot and Congressional candidate David Trone; and his non-profit networks stemming from his service as a Board Member on the Jewish Council for Public Affairs and the MoCo Collaboration Council for Children, Youth and Families.  These are real assets for any candidate for office.  And Friedson can leverage them through social media to raise money, spread his message and build name recognition in a way the other candidates can’t (yet) match.

Reggie Oldak has shown early success in the public campaign finance system but Andrew Friedson is off to a fast start.  Let the rest of the field beware!


MoCo County Candidate List, July 2017

By Adam Pagnucco.

Significant speculation surrounds the number of candidates who could be running for county office in MoCo next year.  Some believe that fifty or more people are interested in running but the ultimate number will probably be much less.  Below are the candidates who are actually running for County Executive or County Council at this moment.  All of them have either established a campaign committee, have filed to run, have publicly announced their intent to run or are incumbents who are eligible for reelection.  If there are mistakes or omissions on this list, please let us know.  We will be posting regular updates.


More on Duchy, Roger, DFA and Ten Mile Creek

First off, I am informed by Alan Hyman that Duchy Trachtenberg was endorsed by DFA on May 8th. No idea if Alan is associated with Duchy’s campaign but it really doesn’t matter because he’s correct. DFA has also changed its website today and Duchy is now listed as an endorsed candidate in Maryland. Of course, this still leaves unanswered where DFA got its inaccurate information on Ten Mile Creek or why they are investing in the race.

I received an email from local activist Molly Hauck who was strongly offended by DFA’s email blast. Below is her email to other people in Kensington as well as her letter to DFA.

This email is offensive and you can see my response below. If anyone else is a member of DFA or knows members of DFA, please contact them with your response. . . .

Roger said that Duchy worked for Howard Dean and her campaign manager, Joe Trippi, worked for Howard Dean, so they are paying her back. What a way to do it! They should have someone do some fact checking before sending out something like this.

Dear Franco Caliz,

I live in Kensington, part of Montgomery County, and I follow what is going on in the Montgomery County Council. This is an unfair and dangerous attack on Roger Berliner. Whoever wrote this hasn’t followed what is going on in the Montg. Co. Council and doesn’t understand the facts. Roger Berliner was one of the three people on the Montgomery County Council who worked hard to protect Ten Mile Creek. He is an environmental lawyer who loves to do trout fishing. He successfully fought the development project that was proposed near Ten Mile Creek. Water has to be clean for trout to live in it. So he worked with two other Council members, Marc Elrich and Phil Andrews, to protect Ten Mile Creek. Environmentalists were happy with the results and just celebrated last week at the Audubon Society. He has also introduced and passed a lot of environmental legislation in the Montg. Co. Council. Your email describes him as a developer. This is totally inaccurate.Duchy had nothing to do with fighting the developers who wanted to ruin Ten Mile Creek. She isn’t on the Montg. Co. Council, so how could she “push back?”

After reading this, I am afraid of Duchy’s judgment and that of the people running her campaign. I don’t understand why Democracy for America  would perpetrate such lies. This will definitely impel me to work to reelect Roger Berliner. It also makes me wonder if I want to contribute to Democracy for America in the future.

Democracy for America should apologize to Roger Berliner and send an email retracting this to all the people who just received it.

Molly Hauck

I am told by someone in the know that Hans Riemer was also active in the effort to preserve Ten Mile Creek.



Duchy Trachtenberg, Joe Trippi and DFA

Democracy for America (DFA), a PAC founded by Howard Dean to advance progressive causes, has sent out an email attacking Roger Berliner and trying to raise funds for Duchy Trachtenberg. The email is reproduced at the end of this post.

So why did DFA send out the email?

Though DFA endorses at virtually all levels of office, it has not endorsed Duchy Trachtenberg as of May 20th based on my search of their online list of endorsed candidates. Indeed, they have endorsed no one in the State of Maryland.

The answer could be Joe Trippi. Duchy hired Trippi as her consultant according to her January campaign finance report:


Duchy January 2014 Campaign Finance Filing

Trippi received national attention for his success as Campaign Manager at catapulting Howard Dean to the front of the Democratic pack for awhile in 2004. That campaign was the first to grasp the importance of social media. DFA started out as Dean for America and pioneered attracting small donors via social media.

The email was funded by DFA as an independent expenditure rather than by Duchy’s campaign. So it would be illegal for Trippi to contact DFA to ask them to spend money on Duchy’s behalf. Since he works for Duchy, coordination between Trippi and DFA would turn this legally from an independent expenditure into a contribution that should appear under Duchy’s own authority line. But if Trippi didn’t contact DFA and get them to do this for Duchy, who did?

Inaccurate, Bizarre Attack

The attack on Roger in the email for promoting development at Ten Mile Creek is particularly strange as Roger helped protect it. Moreover, Duchy has received strong support from the developer who is angry with Roger over his efforts.

Ironically, the email starts to wrap up with “When politicians focus on their own political gains and corporate interests, everyone else suffers.”



Democracy for American Email:

We don’t need to tell you: Roger Berliner is bad news. He’s consistently undermined the needs of working families in Montgomery County, despite the fact that he calls himself a Democrat. How’s that for a betrayal?

Berliner has voted to strip bargaining rights from county employees, to remove indexing from any minimum wage bills, and to approve a construction project right by Ten Mile Creek. After hearing Ten Mile Creek — one of the last clean creeks in the area — would be polluted by storm runoff from his construction project, a progressive voice pushed back.

Duchy Trachtenberg won’t stand for this failed leadership and that’s why she’s running for Mongtomery County Council in District 1.

Montgomery County needs a bold progressive leader. Click here to help elect Duchy Trachtenberg to office!

As a former at-large councilmember and a longtime resident of Montgomery County, Duchy understands the needs and priorities of its residents. As a councilmember, she oversaw the creation of the Family Justice Center, which brings coordinated and effective services to domestic violence victims. She passed a landmark civil rights measure extending protection in employment and housing for transgender persons, and worked to protect pay equity for women.

Her background in grassroots organizing for women’s equity, mental health concerns and public health issues shows her ability to put people-powered policies first. Going forward, Duchy will fight for public employees’ job security and collective bargaining rights, affordable housing for families, and fully funded youth service programs.

Sign up to help Duchy Trachtenberg ensure that progressive voices are heard in Rockville!

When politicians focus on their own political gains and corporate interests, everyone else suffers. Let’s make sure that instead, we have forward-looking, compassionate leadership.

Thank you for all that you do,

– Franco

Franco Caliz, Electoral Campaigns Manager
Democracy for America

Paid for by Democracy for America, and not authorized by any candidate. Contributions to Democracy for America are not deductible for federal income tax purposes.


Duchy v. Roger: The Verdict

duchyandrogerSuch a bad photo, they can agree that they hate it

Last night, District 1 Candidates Duchy Trachtenberg and Roger Berliner debate in the Town Hall of the Town of Chevy Chase. I live tweeted the debate, so can follow the blow-by-blow there. Overall, it was “disappointingly cordial” in the eye of one observer looking for more heat and light and less combative than the debates in District 5 according to reports.

So who won?

Sorry to disappoint but it was more or less a draw. Here are some quick takeaways:

Best Moment: When asked about the event that changed their life the most, Duchy spoke about her son’s mental illness and how it led to her involvement in NAMI. It was honest, authentic, and the one moment when there was a moment of real connection.

Honest Moment: Duchy called the race a “battle royale” between the government employee and school system unions. It’s one of those truths that is increasingly obvious but that few want to say out loud. No doubt others will label it a gaffe for exactly this reason but the straightforward honesty was refreshing.

Missed Opportunity: Roger attacked Duchy’s support for the restoration of effects bargaining despite the decision by the voters repeatedly and effectively. Duchy could have countered effectively with Roger’s willingness to overturn the referendum on ambulance fees. Instead, she went with unconvincing speculation that the resulting decline in police morale has caused crime to rise.

Roger’s Strengths: He managed to disagree with Duchy while appearing calm and civil yet still setting himself apart crisply from her on certain key issues, such as effects bargaining. Roger was also good at simultaneously calling for working for common ground but also standing up for the public interest, as in Ten Mile Creek. His final words about fighting special interests trying to oust him were among his best in the debate.

Duchy’s Strengths: Conversely, Duchy managed to attack calmly  without appearing too disagreeable–a very difficult line to walk, especially for a challenger who simply has to differentiate herself from the incumbent in order to convince voters to fire him. She came across well.

Roger’s Weaknesses: Was it smart to repeatedly attack Maintenance of Effort? Voters have no idea what you’re talking about but it sure tees off MCEA. That endorsement is still out there and one would think it’s Roger’s to lose, especially after Duchy characterized the budget as a tradeoff between schools and the rest of the budget in a way that should make MCEA worry.

Duchy’s Weaknesses: She just refused to take a real position and called for bringing people together on way too many issues (and more often than Roger). You can do that on some issues but not every issue. The tactic of handing out a list of her and Roger’s contributions from developers offended some and was unconvincing as the last reporting period was in January.

In Attendance: Nice to finally meet Brian Kildee and Liz Matory after the debate. Also in attendance: George Leventhal, Almina Khorikiwala, Pat Burda, Linna Barnes, Pat Baptiste, Cindy Gibson, Jon Gerson, Andy Harney, Jonathan Sachs and many others. And last, but not least, thanks to Charles Duffy for moderating. Great to see so many come out despite the torrential rains.

Note: I’m supporting Roger but have tried to call it as I see it.