Tag Archives: Danielle Meitiv

Sierra Club Endorses Berliner, Council Candidates

By Adam Pagnucco.

The Montgomery County Sierra Club has endorsed Roger Berliner for County Executive as well as several council candidates.  With a brand commonly recognized by progressives around the country, the Sierra Club’s support is valued in MoCo.  Many expected this endorsement to go to Marc Elrich, so this is a blow to him and a boost for Berliner.  It’s also a big pickup for District 3 challenger Ben Shnider, who is starting to get traction against incumbent Sidney Katz.  We reprint their press release below.

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Sierra Club endorses Berliner for County Executive; and several outstanding candidates for County Council

ROCKVILLE, MD – The Sierra Club, representing 6000 members across Montgomery County, announced today that it is endorsing Roger Berliner for County Executive and several outstanding candidates for the County Council.

Those endorsed for the four At-large Council seats are Evan Glass, Will Jawando, Danielle Meitiv, and Hans Riemer.  In addition, Sierra Club is endorsing Ben Shnider for District 3; Nancy Navarro for District 4; and Tom Hucker for District 5.

With all the open seats in this election, 2018 provides an historic opportunity to elect a county government committed to forging significant and measurable solutions to addressing climate change through a variety of new and enhanced programs and policies.

Dave Sears, chair of the Montgomery County group of Sierra Club said, “We are excited about the prospects of our endorsed candidates focusing their skills, experience, and knowledge on making our county a national model for how local governments address the climate  emergency facing our planet.”

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Democratic Socialists Endorse Elrich, Brooks, Meitiv and Wilhelm

By Adam Pagnucco.

The Metro DC chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) has endorsed Marc Elrich for County Executive and Brandy Brooks, Danielle Meitiv and Chris Wilhelm for Council At-Large.  DSA is the successor to socialist organizations once led by Eugene V. Debs and Norman Thomas.  It has grown to become the largest socialist group in America in the age of Trump.

DSA’s endorsement announcement on Twitter.

The Metro DC chapter has posted its questionnaire responses from Elrich, Brooks, Meitiv and Wilhelm on its website.  Pertinent information includes the following facts.

All four are members of DSA.  Brooks said she was not a member on her questionnaire but her campaign manager, Michelle Whittaker, informs us that she is.  Elrich joined decades ago.  Wilhelm joined in November 2017.  Meitiv said, “I am a DSA member. It would be personally disappointing for me if I did not get the organization’s endorsement.”

Elrich and Wilhelm oppose “privatization” of the liquor monopoly.  Wilhelm wrote, “I do not support privatizing the Department of Liquor Control because it provides good jobs for hundreds of county workers and it also generates tens of millions of dollars in revenue for the county. We cannot afford to eliminate this source of funding.”  Meitiv opposes most privatization, but supports it for the liquor monopoly, writing, “With regard to the County Liquor Department, I am of a different mind. I think that the liquor business is not an essential government service and is an artifact of temperance movements and pay for play corruption. I would favor allowing for locally owned and operated private liquor stores.”  Brooks’s position is unclear.

Elrich, Meitiv and Wilhelm favor decriminalization of sex work.  Brooks does not commit to decriminalization, citing the problems caused by human trafficking.

All four support having Montgomery County act as a sanctuary county for immigrants.  Currently, county officials do not consider the county to be a sanctuary jurisdiction.

All four believe undocumented immigrants should have the right to vote in elections.

All four support rent stabilization laws.

All four support tuition-free community college, though Elrich says, “However, we do not currently have resources at the county level (and probably not at the state level, either) to fund it. We should work towards lowering the cost of college, but our ability to do that is constrained by what resources we have.”

The Metro DC chapter of DSA’s logo.

DSA asked, “Do you identify as a democratic socialist?”

Elrich responded, “Democratic socialism doesn’t have a hard and fast definition; I see it as a philosophy that envisions a more democratic society. I believe in democracy in both the political and economic spheres. What does socialism mean now? We are living in the 21st century, and simply reducing political analysis to a debate between 18th century capitalism and 19th century Marxism doesn’t help us find solutions. There are ideas that have worked and have moved society forward that have evolved from both perspectives, as well as things that haven’t turned out so well from both. So a lot of the ideals of democratic socialism contribute to my thinking, but they don’t entirely define my thinking.”

Brooks responded, “I believe strongly in the ability of everyday people being able to ‘freely and democratically’ set the vision for their government and community. That is the essence of the participatory governing strategy I will bring to elected office. On core issues of economic, social, and racial justice, we must also recognize how capitalism and corporate influence on our policies and politics negatively impacts our people, our planet, and our communities. We must remove the influence of corporate money in our politics and policy to create systemic reform.”

Meitiv responded, “I joined DSA because I found a community of activists who share my values and policy goals. As for identifying as a democratic socialist, I am still exploring what that label means, to DSA members and to the public generally, as well as my own understanding. For example, I’m reading about distinctions being drawn by theorists regarding Social Democracy and Democratic Socialism. There should be no question about whether I share the ideals and concerns of the group, or whether I am concerned about publicly acknowledging DSA membership. I am a little hesitant to put myself in a box with a neat label, but I am absolutely comfortable with identifying as a member of DSA for those reasons.”

Wilhelm responded, “Yes.”

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First Impressions, Part Three

By Adam Pagnucco.

Danielle Meitiv, Silver Spring

Danielle Meitiv is from Queens.  You can hear it in her voice.  But she is also quintessentially MoCo.  Our county is full of people who moved here from somewhere else and are principally concerned with national or international issues.  Some keep up with local issues and vote regularly, but many others have little idea who their state or county elected officials are.  Meitiv was once in the former group.  But then she had a Great Awakening.

We are of course referring to Meitiv’s international fame as the Free Range Mom, during which she battled – and defeated – MoCo’s Child Protective Services (CPS).  Nearly everyone in the county has heard the story of how CPS detained Meitiv’s children for walking alone in public and how her family fought back.  For Meitiv, the incident drove home the importance of local government and the unequal resources possessed by residents who have to deal with its bad side.  It left a permanent mark on a person who was once little different from so many other MoCo voters.

In many ways, Meitiv is a conventional county liberal.  The issues she brings up – BRT, walkable neighborhoods, the Purple Line, civil rights, climate change – are mostly the same as the other at-large candidates.  But Meitiv adds something else: her calls for greater transparency and responsiveness by county government based on her own searing experience with CPS.  Few voters have gone through what she did, but virtually everyone has a story to tell of unresponsive bureaucracy and/or unresponsive elected officials.  That plus Meitiv’s appealing combination of passion and intelligence make her relatable and brings potential to her run for office.

Chris Wilhelm, Chevy Chase

MoCo has a reputation as the most progressive county in Maryland.  But Chris Wilhelm doesn’t think we are progressive enough.  He writes on his website, “Yes, the biggest threat to our progressive priorities is coming from the current occupant of the White House and Republicans in Congress.  But too many leaders in our County and Party act in ways that go against the progressive agenda that residents are demanding.”

Wilhelm sees many local issues as reflections of national issues.  Senator Bernie Sanders, whom Wilhelm admires, made free college a key element of his platform.  Wilhelm thinks the state and the county should do everything they can to make Montgomery College free for county residents.  After all, if deep-red Garrett County is doing it, why can’t we?  He supports Roger Berliner’s fossil fuel divestment bill because he sees it as a way for MoCo to contribute to a nationwide movement towards clean energy.  He deplores corporate welfare for big companies and favors local support for small businesses both across the country and here at home.  And his demand that all county candidates enroll in public financing is rooted in a belief that corporate campaign money is a problem both nationally and locally.

Wilhelm has two advantages over his competitors.  First, he is an ESOL teacher in MCPS.  He can speak in very detailed, compelling terms about the school system – always a huge issue in local races – and the things it can do to improve.  Second, he has more campaign experience than most of his rivals, having worked in the field for Barack Obama (2008) and David Moon (2014).  The principles of how to run an effective campaign are not new to him.

Chris Wilhelm is clearly positioning himself in the most liberal part of the field.  If you want a serious, thoughtful progressive who will help move the council to the left, you should give him a close look.

We will conclude in Part Four.

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