Do We Like Like Ike? MoCo County Exec Race, Pt. I

County Executive Isaiah Leggett is running for a third term. I guess the question at this point is not if we like Ike–clearly we do–but do we like like him. Or at least do we prefer him to his opponents?

Ike has governed in tough times. He took office just as the great recession sent the economy and tax revenues straight down the crapper–to use the technical term. Not an easy job. It’s more fun to govern when revenues are on the increase and there’s money. I know from experience because Chevy Chase suffered a fifty percent decline (you read right) in revenues while I had the pleasure of being mayor.

So Ike had to make tough calls.

Ike is known as a highly calm individual who likes to wait to make decisions. And by wait, I mean take forever.

But in very tough times, he made the right calls–choosing to protect the schools system–Montgomery’s crown jewel–and police above all else. He ruthlessly cut other budget items to protect these two core services. Libraries, among other services, experienced unprecedented cuts as a results.

At the same time, perhaps Ike didn’t do enough. Ike certainly battened down the hatches. But if crisis is another word for opportunity, did he take it? Were oxes actually gored (i.e. programs actually shut down that needed to go) or were programs merely cut to live another day?

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It’s Official: MCEA Drops Barclay

Interestingly, this decision leaves MCEA without an endorsed candidate in Council District 5. Unlike SEIU, they did not make the jump from Barclay to Hucker.

From MCEA’s Website:

Delegates attending today’s monthly meeting of the MCEA Representative Assembly have voted to rescind their recommendation of Christopher Barclay in the race for the District 5 seat on the Montgomery County Council. MCEA President Doug Prouty issued the following statement:

“As teachers and childhood educators, we hold ourselves to the highest of standards. It is what our community expects of all those in public service. We also believe that Chris Barclay has been – and we hope will continue to be – an important voice for our county’s neediest students, schools and neighborhoods.  Nevertheless, we regretfully withdraw MCEA’s recommendation of Mr. Barclay in the June 24th primary election for the vacant County Council District 5 office. We look forward to continuing to work with Chris as a member of the Board of Education. We believe that he – and we – can continue to be strong partners in focusing resources and attention on the challenge of closing student achievement gaps and narrowing the growing income gaps in our community. We believe Chris can have a good future in public service in the county. But in light of the recent news and financial disclosures, we cannot recommend him in this race at this time”.

The Representative Assembly consists of elected MCEA representatives from schools and worksites across the county. Approximately 130 MCEA Representatives participated in today’s discussion and decision. This action, like all candidate recommendations, required approval of a super-majority (58%) of those voting.

Approval of this motion by the MCEA Representative Assembly leaves the Association with no position in the Council 5 race.

 

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SEIU Local 500 Switches Endorsement to Tom Hucker

SEIU Local 500 is dropping it’s endorsement of embattled School Board Member Chris Barclay and instead endorsing State Delegate Tom Hucker in the open seat contest in Council District 5.  Press release is below.

SEIU Local 500 Endorses Tom Hucker for Montgomery County Council District 5
Hucker’s experience and progressive record cited as reasons for the endorsement

 (Gaithersburg, MD) SEIU Local 500 changed their endorsement to Tom Hucker in Montgomery County Council District 5 primary.

“For as long as our members have known and worked with Tom Hucker, he has been a steadfast supporter of our schools, our children and our community,” said Merle Cuttitta, President of SEIU Local 500. “Whether it was marriage equality, the Dream Act or funding education, Tom stood with us – and more importantly, he stood with the people of Montgomery County.  He is an experienced leader on progressive issues and he has a track record of getting things done. We have no reservations about endorsing him for the Montgomery County Council.”

Concerns that recent disclosures have become a distraction prompted Local 500 to withdraw their endorsement from Christopher Barclay and put their full support behind Tom Hucker, who has been an outspoken progressive leader in the Maryland House of Delegates.

“Christopher Barclay has been a strong advocate on behalf of our members and for education in our community,” said David Rodich, Executive Director of SEIU Local 500. “Unfortunately, recent developments have become a distraction and raised serious concerns about his electability. Our members’ number one issue in District 5 is having a progressive County Councilperson who will stand up for social and economic justice. Our members are not prepared to leave that outcome to chance. Tom Hucker has the experience and he is ready to be the progressive Councilperson District 5 needs.”

SEIU Local 500 represents over 20,000 people across Maryland and the District of Columbia, including supporting services employees in Montgomery County Public Schools and part-time faculty at Montgomery College.

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MoCo County Exec Forum

MONTGOMERY COUNTY EXECUTIVE CANDIDATES FORUM  

Moderated by Louis M. Peck, Contributing Editor, Bethesda Magazine

Nonprofit Roundtable Montgomery with Montgomery Moving Forward Invites you to
A Forum with Candidates for Montgomery County Executive 

Tuesday, June 3rd from 6:30 – 8:00pm 
 Manna Food Center •  9311 Gaither Road, Gaithersburg, MD
Just three weeks before the June 24th primary, we expect the forum to be one of the best attended this election season. Candidates for County Executive — Phil Andrews (D), Douglas M. Duncan (D), Ike Leggett (D) and Jim Shalleck (R) — will share their vision for Montgomery County and address questions related to jobs and workforce development, affordable housing, opportunity disparities, health and mental health care, safety net services and other topics of particular concern to the nonprofit sector and the 500,000 residents who receive services from nonprofit organizations.
There will be an opportunity to ask questions of the candidates.

RSVP Here

Registration is strongly encouraged as seating is limited.
Priority will be given to representatives of the nonprofit sector who have preregistered.

While there is no cost for the Candidates Forum, we encourage you to bring a nonperishable food item 
to add to Manna’s shelves.
NPRT_MontLogo 2
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At-Large MoCo Council Race Pt. IV: Challengers

In past posts, I’ve reviewed the vulnerability of the four incumbents seeking reelection to the at-large county council seats (see here, here, and here). I’ve also live-tweeted one of their debates. Two challengers are running for the four at-large Montgomery County Council seats: Beth Daly and Vivian Malloy.

Vivian Malloy

My first time meeting both candidates was at the at-large forum. Vivian Malloy struck me as the kind of person to whom people respond well. Her focus on raising general concerns and problems might have left some wanting more specifics but also prevented getting bogged down in bureaucratic terms unintelligible to voters (think: maintenance of effort).

I learned from her web bio that she graduated from the University of Maryland School of Nursing and served 21 years in the Army Nurse Corps before retiring at the rank of Major. Malloy may be retired but has not stopped working. She is currently finishing her second term on the MCDCC.

Funding is a major challenge. At this point, Malloy has $11K cash on hand out of $33K raised. Without more funds, it is hard for Malloy to get her message out. Additionally, I believe that the lack of sufficient funds to run countywide in a this county over 1 million has made some groups more hesitant to support Malloy, though she has won support from CASA and AFL among others.

Beth Daly

Beth Daly is the one that has the incumbents running scared. She has raised $147,000 in funds and reported $99K cash on hand in her last report. Daly has lived in many different parts of Montgomery but currently resides in Upcounty, where she was active in the fight to preserve Ten Mile Creek.

Daly has a long involvement in politics, going back to her days as a media professional who won notice for her work on the 1992 Clinton-Gore advertising campaign. She was active in the PTA while raising her kids and more recently sat on the Upcounty Citizens Advisory Board.

Daly’s politics are aligned with those popular second-term incumbent Marc Elrich. She speaks eloquently for residents who feel that the county government often ignores the maintenance of infrastructure and desires of residents who already live here in its haste to build the future.

A welter of endorsements adds credibility to Daly’s campaign. She has won support from Progressive Maryland, AFL-CIO, MoCo NOW, CASA, SEIU, FOP, MCGEO, and the Green Democrats among others. This support will provide not just support in terms of volunteers and money but help validate her as the progressive pro-labor, pro-neighbor alternative.

Her field campaign appears strong with meetings and efforts to build grassroots support occurring around the County. Signs don’t vote but I see more of them in people’s yards than for the other candidates in my neck of the woods.

An added advantage is that Daly seems unusually fluent on the issues facing the county for a challenger. Despite being critical, she also manages to come across as sunny optimist who wants to listen to people and still build the future but with the County’s residents–a message that has worked in the past.

Final Analysis

If anyone is going to take out an incumbent this cycle, it will be Beth Daly. Nevertheless, despite the above positive reviews, her election is far from assured. Daly’s labor support will engender opposition as well as support. The two most vulnerable incumbents, Hans Riemer and George Leventhal, remain strong candidates. Moreover, both inhabit the section of the County with the most Democratic voters. It is unclear if Democrats want to throw them out.

Still, this is one to watch on primary night.

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