Tag Archives: Jud Ashman

Gaithersburg Electeds Endorse Balcombe

By Adam Pagnucco.

Council At-Large candidate Marilyn Balcombe has announced endorsements from three elected officials in Gaithersburg: Mayor Jud Ashman and City Council Members Mike Sesma and Neil Harris.  Balcombe is the long-time President and CEO of the Gaithersburg-Germantown Chamber of Commerce and lives in Germantown.  Gaithersburg, including both the incorporated and unincorporated areas, has more than 40,000 registered Democrats of whom roughly 3,500 have voted in each of the last three mid-term Democratic primaries.

Left to right: Sesma, Harris and Balcombe, Ashman.  Credit: Balcombe for Council Facebook page.


Unofficial Gaithersburg Election Results

Only 3282, or 9.2%, of Gaithersburg voters, voted. Mayor Jud Ashman was reelected without opposition and 2895 votes.

Council Results (2 seats)
Laurie-Anne Sayles, 1953 (59.5%)
Michael Sesma (i), 1730 (52.7%)
Jim McNulty, 1259 (38.3%)
Yvette Monroe (i), 1253 (38.2%)

For the two seats on the city council, newcomer Laurie-Anne Sayles ran away with the race with close to 60% of the vote. Incumbent Michael Sesma also won easily, though with just over majority support. Incumbent Yvette Monroe came in fourth place and lost her seat.

Ashman endorsed Sesma and Monroe. Sayles complained that he violated ethics laws in the way he did it. My guess is council meetings just got a bit more interesting. Congratulations to all the winners and thanks to all for running.



Snowzilla Communication Breakdown

Thanks to Adam Pagnucco for this guest post:

Snowzilla has turned out to be a historic storm. Every local jurisdiction from the City of Baltimore to Northern Virginia has struggled to recover from it, and Montgomery County is no exception. While MoCo residents complain about the pace of snow removal, with and without justification, there is no evidence that the county has performed worse than comparable jurisdictions. But one area in which it has fallen short is communicating with its residents.

Most residents have one question on their minds: when can I escape from my neighborhood? Let’s be fair: during a mega-event like Snowzilla, that’s a really hard question to answer. The county is coordinating a large fleet of employees and contractors, as well as working with other agencies like the state, Metro, Park and Planning and MCPS. A great deal of the equipment being used is not GPS-enabled. The most honest answer is also the least satisfactory: we don’t know.

The county chose to rely on its snow removal map to deal with resident questions. The county’s Department of Transportation repeatedly directed residents to the map on Twitter.

MCDOT map tweet 1-23 MCDOT map tweet 1-25The problem is that the map wasn’t showing any useful information. Below is an image of the map as of Tuesday, January 26. The map shows that every county street in Glenmont, Wheaton and unincorporated Kensington was “in progress.” It showed similar information all over the county. That’s physically impossible. The county doesn’t have enough equipment to be everywhere at once and residents know that.

Snowmap 1-26-2016Faced with a non-functioning map, residents overwhelmed MC 311. Some called only to hear a recording. Even if they got through, no answers were available. Again, the county simply didn’t know when individual neighborhoods would be cleared, even though they claimed the map would say so.

Meanwhile, municipalities appeared to be doing a better job. Consider the Facebook posts of Gaithersburg Mayor Jud Ashman. On Saturday, January 23, the Mayor reported that all city streets had received a first pass. He then reported that all streets would receive a second pass the following morning. This is a period during which county plows had not reached neighborhood streets at all. Residents of unincorporated areas, for which the county has responsibility, have friends in municipalities and were aware of their performance. This only increased their frustrations.

Jud first pass Jud second passCouncil Member Hans Riemer (my former employer) nailed it in a post on Facebook. Noting his work on securing funding for an upgraded snow map and planning for pedestrian mobility during snow storms, he wrote: “Better communications technology would save our residents a lot of anxiety during snow events, and enable them to more adequately plan for their work and family lives. If technology answered more questions, it would also take pressure off of our 311 call center, which has been completely overwhelmed by the volume of calls they’ve received during this storm.” And he’s absolutely right.

Hans snowSnowzilla was a gigantic storm and public employees across the region deserve tremendous credit for their recovery efforts. But MoCo had a communication breakdown that made a stressful event worse. Here’s hoping that Council Member Riemer and his colleagues can help the county prepare to do better next time.


Election Night Preliminary Results

The results are starting to come in and here are the preliminary results:

Rockville is not reporting vote totals but it looks like a good night for incumbents all around. Mayor Bridget Newton has won reelection, as have Councilmembers Beryl Feinberg, Virginia Onley, and Julie Palakovich Carr. Former Councilmember Mark Pierzchala will also return to the Council, leaving the balance on the Council much the same as before the election.

(Update: The Sentinel is reporting Rockville vote totals on twitter:
Mayor: Newton: 4069, Osdoby: 2182. Council (top 4 elected): Beryl Feinberg: 3,387, Julie Palakovich Carr: 2,947, Mark Pierzchala: 2,755, Virginia Onley: 2,698, Gottfried: 2,416, Schoof: 2,375, Mullican: 2,367, Hill: 2,317, Reed: 2,243.)

Patrick Wojahn has been elected as the new mayor of College Park. Here are the preliminary results (top two elected in each council district):

Mayor: Wojahn 1236, Mitchell 846
District 1: Kabir 698, Nagle 569, Sanders 170.
District 2: Brennan 160, Dennis 135, Conway 68, Blasberg 80
District 3: Stullich 402, Day 386, Belcher 366, Rigg 365, McCeney 38
District 4: Cook 184, Kujawa 163, Hew 130, Gregory 47

In Gaithersburg, Jud Ashman is the new mayor. Here are the preliminary results:

Mayor: Ashman 2380, Maraffa 1003, Bell-Zuccarelli 251
City Council (top three elected): Spiegel 2567, Wu 2498, Harris 2374, Sayles 2094.

Congratulations to Mayors Newton, Wojahn, and Ashman as well as all of the other winners and candidates.


The Next Mayor of Gaithersburg

In October, the Gaithersburg City Council will meet to appoint a new Mayor, as longtime chief executive Sid Katz awaits his uncontested elevation to the County Council.  After reaching out to my vast network of spies the following council members appear to be interested in pursuing the top job.

Jud Ashman – The early favorite would appear to be Councilman and Small Business Owner Jud Ashman (Republican turned Independent turned Democrat). He likely starts out with Cathy Dryzugla’s vote, meaning he needs only one other council member to reach a majority. However, this is made a bit more complex by the fact that everyone else on the Council appears to display at least some interest in running for Mayor.

Henry Maraffa – The last Republican on the Council is Real Estate Developer Henry Maraffa. He’s probably a bit to conservative to be elected Mayor today.

Mike Sesma – The only minority elected official in a rapidly diversifying municipality certainly cuts an appealing profile. He would need to convince Henry (who I suspect would  be more inclined to back ex-Republican Jud if he opts out of the race) and Ryan (who I believe would lean towards Mike naturally) over Ashman.

Ryan Spiegal- Coming off of a hard fought county council primary in District 3, Ryan Spiegal might be more interested in some well-deserved downtime. If not, the Democratic stalwart (despite an impeccable resume) faces a challenging path to the magic number of three votes.

Whomever the appointed Mayor is, I would be truly surprised if they didn’t face a spirited challenge for the seat in November 2015, either from a councilmember who lost on the appointment or from someone else in the community. The strongest contender, in my observant opinion, would be Montgomery County Young Gun Dan Campos. Campos is a dynamic Latino Businessman and ex-Capitol Hill Staffer who would give any councilman appointed Mayor a serious challenge.