Tag Archives: Will Jawando

Jawando Fundraises Off Republican Attack

By Adam Pagnucco.

Council Member Will Jawando is raising money off an attack by the Montgomery County Republican Party on his work on police reform. He even borrowed our graphic of their Facebook ad without credit to Seventh State. (Pretty cheeky, Will!) Congratulations, Republicans – you just helped your least favorite council member raise some money. Jawando’s fundraising email appears below.


From: Will Jawando info@willjawando.com
Date: Mon, Sep 21, 2020
Subject: Maryland GOP Attacks, I need your help!

I need your help to fight back against GOP Attacks!

Dear ,

I’m writing to ask for your help.

The Maryland GOP is working overtime to incite President Trump’s right-wing base on Election Day — and they are using both my race and my efforts to reimagine public safety in our state’s largest jurisdiction as provocation.

Some of you know of the violent threats made on social media against me and my family. One Facebook post from a right-wing activist read: “God forbid you would be shot in the head while sitting in your car. One can only dream” and then, “We back blue.” This on the heels of an false advertisement published by the Republican Party to go after my efforts to reform policing.

This is just one example of how the GOP is targeting me — literally. They are doing that because I’ve succeeded in passing important police reform legislation in Montgomery County, and because targeting me right now helps them activate their base for the presidential election.

To be clear, I support the officers who put their lives on the line everyday. That is why I voted for their contract with the County, and why I believe they should not be on the front line for mental health crisis’ or student behavior in schools. We can honor the men and women who put on a uniform everyday while reimagining public safety and making changes when confronted with data showing disparities in policing.

Can you please make a donation today? We need allies like you if we are to stem this rising tide of racist hate. Your support will help us activate our own progressive base, and just as important, persuade undecided voters to stand up to the hate we see pouring out of the right wing.

I’m asking you for help because you have stood with me in the past. We are at a critical junction. To defeat our opponents, we must start in our local communities and our states — we must start at home. Please join me in this fight. Give today and take a stand against hate. Thank you.

Help me fight back against GOP Attacks!

Sincerely,

Will Jawando

Paid for by Will Jawando

Will Jawando
P.O. Box 10598
Silver Spring, MD 20914
United States

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MoCo Republicans Attack Jawando Over Police Reform

By Adam Pagnucco.

The Montgomery County Republican Party is now running this video attacking Council Member Will Jawando over his efforts to reform the police department.

The GOP is even running a Facebook ad to promote the video.

Not everyone is supportive of the county’s efforts to reform, reimagine and/or defund the police. Our post on the subject, “Free-For-All,” is on track to be the most-viewed post on Seventh State for this month. But getting attacked by Republicans is great for Jawando in building his prestige inside the county’s progressive Democratic base. Jawando should consider offering a subsidy to help the GOP run the ad in Takoma Park and the rest of the Democratic Crescent!

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Jawando Pushes Back on Misleading Nine Districts Video

By Adam Pagnucco.

Council Member Will Jawando, who is shown in a video by Nine Districts for MoCo in alleged support of their position, has denounced the video as intended to “mislead the public.”

The video, for which Nine Districts has taken out a Facebook ad, shows footage of Jawando speaking at a session of the county’s charter review commission in February. The video prefaces his remarks with the statement, “Why Montgomery County needs 9 Districts…” The video then shows him saying the following in an edited clip:

People should elect who represent their values, and to some points earlier, you know, there’s growing upcounty population… I do think the issue of representation is important. You know, I don’t… everyone in the county is not equally heard. Right, big surprise.

Here is what the Nine Districts group is not telling people: not only does Jawando not support their position, he actually argued against it in front of the charter review commission at that very same event. The commission posted a video showing Jawando’s full comments (along with everyone else) and he mentioned Prince George’s County, which had a nine district council for decades and added two at-large seats in 2018:

I’d also add that the Prince George’s County model that was mentioned is not insignificant because they were in that district model for a long time and, again, added two members, went to eleven, added two at-large members because they were having these parochial fights that they couldn’t get anything done and were not as collegial as they wanted to be. And I’ve spoken to a lot of them and they think it’s working pretty well with the at-large members.

And I think you don’t want to give people less representation, you want to have more. Right now, it’s true, you can decide whether you think this is good or not, but every person in the county votes for five members of the council, a majority of the council, and I just think that’s such a significant and powerful point. Now whether they come to your community or not, or they’re representing… I certainly try, you know, when anyone wants me to come, I’ll come, and I don’t know what’s been true in the past, but I think that is a powerful, powerful tool and to lose that, I think it’s not good for the voter.

The commission’s video, starting at the point when Jawando’s full remarks begin, is below.

I asked Jawando for a statement on the Nine Districts video. He said:

It is disappointing but perhaps not surprising that the Nine District campaign is using a partial clip of a longer statement of mine in order to mislead the public. Let me be very clear that I support Question C, which adds two additional district seats while maintaining At-Large Councilmember seats. Voters deserve more representation not less and must be able to have their voices heard by five councilmembers – four at-large and one representative for their district. The Nine District proposal to eliminate at-large seats actually disenfranchises voters by limiting their voice on the council to one elected member.

It’s clear that Jawando opposes nine districts. He argued against the proposal at the same event from which the Nine Districts group uses an edited video clip to allege that he supports them. Jawando also voted in favor of a rival proposal to keep the at-large seats and add two district seats. Nine Districts knows all of this very well. Their video is indeed misleading and should be taken down.

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Top Seventh State Stories, June 2020

By Adam Pagnucco.

These were the top stories on Seventh State in June ranked by page views.

1. Repeal the Linda Lamone for Life Law
2. Baltimore City’s Election Has a Problem
3. Will Talbot County Choose Tourism or Slavery?
4. Judge Candidate on Floyd Cops: “Lock Em Up”
5. Elrich Asks MCPS for Cuts
6. Jawando Ignored Public Information Act, Had Scant Evidence Before Filing Rent Control Bill
7. First School Board Results Favor Harris
8. MCPS Survey Responses on Distance Learning
9. Elrich’s Police Union Contract
10. It’s the CIP, Stupid! (Guest blog by Gus Bauman)

Congratulations to former Planning Board Chair Gus Bauman for making our top ten!

The break-out story of the month was the one about the Talbot Boys statue, which was shared dozens of times across the Eastern Shore. Now that Mississippi has removed the confederate battle flag from its state flag, there is no longer any excuse for Talbot County leaders to continue honoring the Confederacy.

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Jawando Ignored Public Information Act, Had Scant Evidence Before Filing Rent Control Bill

One may be the loneliest number, but apparently one documented claim of a rent increase was enough for Councilmember Will Jawando (D-At Large) to introduce rent control legislation that governs the entire county.

When he introduced his emergency rent control bill in response to the pandemic, I made repeated requests to Councilmember Jawando’s office for any evidence he had of rising rents that inspired him to file the bill.

I eventually received a public comment but not a scintilla of hard evidence, so I submitted a formal Maryland Public Information Act (MPIA) request on April 19 via his official email account: “Please consider this a request for any and all documents covered by the Public Information Act you have received related to rent increases during the pandemic. Thank you.”

Cecily Thorne, Jawando’s Chief of Staff, contacted me on April 21 after I wrote my initial post about the lack of evidence or logic “even from an amoral greed perspective” behind the rent control bill. She stated that “Councilmember Jawando asked me to forward some of the information we have been receiving from tenants related to rent increases” and included four redacted pieces of information.

Only one of these documents made a claim of a rent increase that was made both prior to the bill’s introduction and during the pandemic. (Another was notification given prior to the pandemic, while one involved late fees, not rent, and the last one was a somewhat complex situation sent after the bill’s introduction in any case.)

I spoke with Ms. Thorne shortly after receiving the information and told her directly of my MPIA request in the course of our discussion. Nonetheless, my request went completely ignored in violation of the law.

When I followed up on May 30 – after the mandatory 30-day disclosure deadline in state law had passed – Ms. Thorne remembered being made aware of a request (“You mentioned you made a request”), but also texted that “I have not seen one until now in writing” and “I did not receive a request formal from you” despite my having sent it to Councilmember Jawando’s official email and having mentioned it during our call.

The lack of response suggests that either (1) Councilmember Will Jawando’s office is highly disorganized, or (2) unaware of its legal responsibilities under the Public Information Act, or (3) willfully ignored the request in violation of the law. It could also be a combo platter.

Thanks to the efforts of Legislative Attorney Amanda Mihill, I received most, though not all, of the documents late last week. However, Jawando’s office excluded the unredacted copy of a previous document until I made mention that it was missing. Their response still excludes many documents attached to emails in violation of the law.

What’s Not in the Documents?

Despite Councilmember Jawando’s media claims, he had virtually no documentation that this was occurring before he decided to file the bill. Although Cecily Thorne stated that the emails she sent were only “some of the information,” the documents sent show otherwise. There was literally only the one claim mentioned above.

There are no copies of phone records listing people who called with complaints. Nor is there any evidence that the Councilmember’s staff contacted the landlord.

The only other evidence within the documents involves a few back and forth strategy emails with the Renters Alliance in which Councilmember Jawando says “as many examples as you can send will be helpful ahead of bill introduction.” The reply references only increases being seen in the same building as the sole complaint from a renter.

One case.

No wonder Councilmember Jawando was unresponsive to queries on this topic from not just myself but others despite the claims he made in the media.

Glass Bill Provides Meaningful Help

Fortunately, the Council took other action to address the larger problem, which is that many people who have lost their jobs, if only temporarily, cannot pay regardless of the level of rent.

The Council passed legislation introduced by Councilmember Evan Glass (D-At Large) that, among other provisions, appropriated an additional $2 million in rental assistance. This money helps people facing eviction directly. The county has also loosened the requirements to receive rental assistance in light of the ongoing crisis.

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Time to Bag Jawando’s Rent Control Bill?

Montgomery County Councilmember Will Jawando (D-At Large) introduced legislation to temporarily suspend the county bag tax and enact rent control to respond to the COVID-19 crisis. The first has already bit the dust and it looks increasingly like the second should too.

Bag Bill Bagged

Councilmember Jawando introduced a bill to suspend the county bag tax during the health crisis. Though cosponsored by all of his colleagues, except Councilmembers Evan Glass (D-At Large) and Tom Hucker (D-District 5), the bill received a lot of pushback.

Much like Councilmember Hans Riemer’s (D-At-Large) bill to allow businesses to suspend payments for alcohol to the county monopoly, it faced the problem that bonds are tied to the revenues. Additionally, the environmentally-focused Sierra Club was not happy.

In a rare story for a bill sponsored by seven of nine members, it was on the fast track to defeat instead of passage. Most would have let the bill die quietly at this point. Mystifyingly, Jawando chose instead to announce a full retreat by declaring victory:

Councilmember Will Jawando plans to withdraw Expedited Bill 17-20, Carryout Bag Tax Suspension after working collaboratively with members of the community. . .

County Health Officer Dr. Travis Gayles recommends “a number of strategies for using reusable bags including washing them between use, customers packing their own reusable bags at check out and frequently cleaning surfaces in baggage areas.”

In addition, the Department of Environmental Protection has agreed to work on a campaign and resources to remind consumers to wash their reusable bags that can be posted at grocery stores and retail establishments.

Jawando can trumpet his success in finding an “alternative solution” but it sure sounds suspiciously like the status quo.

Rent Control: A Solution in Search of a Problem?

Now, Councilmember Jawando is pressing ahead with a rent control bill that is scheduled to have a hearing on April 21 (tomorrow) and a full council vote on April 23 (Thursday).

Jawando has explained to the media that his office has received “multiple reports” of rent going up 20, 30, 40 percent. He also expressed concern that at the end of the crisis that “You’re going to see people try to raise rents to get out people who can’t pay. And then you’re going to see a spike in evictions and then you’re going to try to bring people in at higher rents to recoup the loss.”

As Adam Pagnucco previously reported, the chambers of commerce have pushed back very hard on these claims:

We were deeply disappointed by the reckless statements you made. . . claim[ing] that landlords were instituting 20 – 40 percent rent increases during COVID-19.

The most offensive premise of the interview was the impression that rent gouging was a rampant and widespread issue. We were taken aback by these allegations and reached out to our landlord members to determine if any of them had implemented of that magnitude. To the contrary, we learned that none of our members reported any rent increase, let alone a 20 – 40 percent increase.

The claim that widespread rent hikes are now happening makes no sense.

No landlord wants to lose a regularly paying tenant now even if they have to make some adjustments and take some losses. There is no guarantee you can fill the vacancy and you certainly won’t be able to do so until this crisis ends.

If anything, rents may fall as demand declines due to mass unemployment. So much for recouping losses by jacking up rents, which is just not how rental markets work. Landlords can only charge what the market will pay.

If a landlord tries to raise rents now, tenants can just not pay due to the moratorium. Such a mean and stupid landlord may well be out even more rent as well as all of the time and expense of evicting someone once that is again legal. The landlord then also loses yet more rent due to the time it takes to fix the place up again, if needed, and to find a new tenant.

Jawando’s specific claim that landlords will raise rents in order to evict non-paying tenants makes even less sense as that will not allow a landlord to evict their tenant any more quickly. If anything, the tenant will appear even more sympathetic to landlord-tenant court judges who will be very disinclined to evict anyone during the immediate aftermath of this crisis anyway. Remember that evictions are a lengthy legal process.

In short, if it doesn’t make any sense even from an amoral greed perspective, is this really happening on a widespread basis? It might be better to explore specific situations and address any bad actors on an individual basis. I wouldn’t think landlords would want to be publicly exposed as raising rents right now.

In an email response to my request for specific information, Jawando stated that his bill “supports” landlords and tenants alike:

Some landlords have thankfully already decided not to impose the burden of a rent increase on their tenants during this time . . . The intention of Bill 18-20 supports the action of these landlords while protecting other tenants whose landlords have not made a similar decision.

The idea that his bill “supports” the vast majority of landlords who have not increased rent is bizarre in light of the response of the chambers of commerce pushing back on this bill as a broad smear of how landlords have responded to the crisis.

Despite repeated requests, Jawando has not produced an iota of concrete evidence that this has occurred let alone a widespread problem that requires fast-track legislation:

Some of the tenants who have contacted our office are nervous about coming forward to the media as you might imagine, however when I introduced the bill, I did share several cases with increases ranging from 9% – 60%.  

Except big claims and major legislation require hard evidence that should be made public. At the very least, Jawando could have by now produced redacted letters if such notices of rent increases are being distributed widely in some buildings. Regardless, any documents he has are public as he received them in his capacity as a councilmember.

Jawando’s bill has already been through several iterations, first excluding then including then excluding again commercial properties from the bill. These changes further suggest that the facts regarding the problem it is intended to solve are not known. At the very least, they aren’t being made public. Right now, all we have are unsupported anecdotes from the bill sponsor.

If this is a widespread problem, Jawando’s bill may be an appropriate response. If not, the Council should move along to address may of the other pressing problems that the county will face during and after this crisis.

The Council’s unanimous effort to fund the production of cloth masks to make sure all county residents have access to them is a much better example of good use of their time. My applause to all councilmembers for supporting this effort. More please.

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Commercial Property Removed from Rent Control Bill

By Adam Pagnucco.

In another twist to MoCo’s rent control saga, commercial property has been removed from Council Member Will Jawando’s rent control bill.

The original draft of the bill posted on the council’s website did not distinguish between property types, but because it added language to a section of law covering housing, it did not cover commercial property.

Yesterday, a new draft of the bill showed up online explicitly including commercial property. I took a screenshot of that version proving commercial property’s inclusion.

Today, a third version of the bill now excludes commercial property. It also narrows the definition of public emergency to just a “catastrophic health emergency,” a change sought by Council Member Nancy Navarro and made in the second version of the bill. The third version language below has removed all mentions of commercial property. In his verbal comments on introduction, Jawando confirmed that it now applies only to residential property.

So what happened? After the second version showed explicit coverage of commercial property, the business community erupted in outrage. The chambers of commerce representing the county, Silver Spring and Bethesda sent the letter below regarding statements made by Jawando about the bill.

Bruce Lee, President and CEO of commercial property owner Lee Development Group, made the statement on Facebook below. Lee is a member of the boards of the county and Silver Spring chambers.

What has the chambers, Lee and others in the business community upset are Jawando’s claims made in this video that he has received multiple reports of rent increases of 20%, 30% and 40%. In his remarks at the bill’s introduction, Jawando alleged that tenants in the following properties had been notified of the following increases.

The Gallery in Bethesda: 35% rent increase
Quebec Terrace in Long Branch: 9% rent increase plus late fees
The Grand in North Bethesda: 14-60% rent increases

Jawando will no doubt be called on to prove the existence of these increases.

Jawando said the Department of Housing and Community Affairs is hearing about this “every day.” He also offered praise for other landlords such as Southern Management and Wilco for working with tenants rather than imposing large rent increases.

It’s typical for bills to go through multiple drafts before introduction. That’s the result of feedback and the gathering of co-sponsors and is a normal part of the legislative process. But that usually goes on before a bill is published on the council’s website. In this case, because the bill addresses an issue that the lead sponsor believes is urgent, the bill has been changed in real-time online. I have been writing about county politics off and on for 14 years and I don’t remember the last time I saw the same hyperlink leading to three different versions of the same bill over three days prior to formal introduction. That means that, depending on when one viewed the council’s website, a person could have seen one of three versions of the bill and drawn very different conclusions about it. That confusion has stirred even more controversy than this bill might normally generate.

With four council members listed as sponsors (Jawando, Navarro, Craig Rice and Sidney Katz), only one more vote will be required for passage. Expect amendments to be considered.

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New Version of Jawando Rent Control Bill Covers Commercial Properties

By Adam Pagnucco.

A few days ago, I reported on a bill to be introduced by Council Member Will Jawando that would prohibit rent increases during public emergencies. There has been some discussion about whether Jawando’s bill covers commercial properties. The short answer is: it may not have originally, but it does now.

In my original post on April 9, I described the bill’s provisions. It prohibits rent increases during public emergencies and also prohibits notices of rent increases extending to 30 days after the end of emergencies. I also said, “The bill does not distinguish between residential and commercial properties.”

On April 11, it was brought to my attention that while the bill does not mention property types, it adds language to a section of county law that regulates housing. I updated the original post with this statement:

Update: The bill adds language to Section 29 of the county code, which regulates landlords and tenants in the context of housing. Sec. 29-3(b)(1) states that the purpose of Section 29 is “to simplify and clarify the law governing the rental of dwelling units.”

Just an hour ago, I heard that a new version of the bill was online explicitly extending its provisions to commercial properties. That is apparent from the language in its transmission memo, which now states, “Expedited Bill 18-20 would prohibit the increase of residential and commercial rents during and after the current catastrophic health emergency declared by the Governor, prohibit certain notices of rent increases, and require certain notices to tenants.”

The change is also apparent from the language in the new draft of the bill which is now online. The bill now expands its definition of covered landlords and tenants to include “an individual or legal entity that leases a building, or portion of a building, for use or occupancy as a for-profit or non-profit business, including a sole proprietorship.” The relevant language is reprinted below.

Another change is that Council Member Nancy Navarro has been added as a co-sponsor, joining lead sponsor Jawando and original co-sponsors Sidney Katz and Craig Rice.

The bill refers to itself as a “rent stabilization” bill but by conventional definitions that is inaccurate. Rent stabilization ordinances typically allow rent increases but limit them to set percentages. This bill prohibits rent increases, at least during public emergencies. That is typical of rent control, which provides for hard limits on rent. Accordingly, from this point forward, I will be describing this as a rent control bill.

Expect a fight over this legislation.

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Jawando to Introduce Emergency Rent Stabilization Bill (Updated)

By Adam Pagnucco.

Council Member Will Jawando plans to introduce a bill on Tuesday providing for rent stabilization during states of emergency. The bill would take effect during a state of emergency or a catastrophic health emergency declared by the governor or a state of emergency declared by the county executive. Once the relevant emergency is active, landlords would be prohibited from enacting rent increases. Further, landlords are prohibited from notifying tenants of rent increases during the emergency and within 30 days of the expiration of the emergency. The bill does not distinguish between residential and commercial properties.

Council President Sidney Katz and Council Member Craig Rice are listed as co-sponsors.

It’s worth noting that evictions are temporarily suspended in both Montgomery County and the State of Maryland. But those suspensions say nothing about rent.

The text of Jawando’s bill can be found here.

Update: The bill adds language to Section 29 of the county code, which regulates landlords and tenants in the context of housing. Sec. 29-3(b)(1) states that the purpose of Section 29 is “to simplify and clarify the law governing the rental of dwelling units.”

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Picture This

By Adam Pagnucco.

Picture this, dear readers: two events, both scheduled for today.

Picture 1: Robin Ficker, author of numerous charter amendments on taxes and term limits, has announced his intention to deliver 16,000 signatures in support of his latest anti-tax amendment to the county executive’s office.  Ficker needs at least 10,000 signatures to place his amendment on the ballot.  Let’s remember that no one in the history of Montgomery County has more experience in gathering signatures than Robin Ficker.

Picture 2: Just a short walk away in the county council building and almost simultaneously, County Council Member Will Jawando and Delegate Julie Palakovich Carr have announced a press conference in support of two state bills that would enable the county to levy tax hikes.  One bill would allow counties to set different property tax rates for commercial properties, industrial properties and residential properties with more than 5,000 square feet.  The other bill would allow counties to increase their maximum income tax rates from 3.2% to 3.5% and establish income tax brackets.

Picture 1 is to be expected; we have seen Ficker’s grandiose signature deliveries before.  Picture 2 is problematic for two reasons.

First, Jawando and Palakovich Carr justify their bills partly “in order to pay for the increased local share of education funding required under the Kirwan Commission.”  Counties around the state are concerned about how they might pay for any additional local obligations to schools stemming from the Kirwan Commission’s recommendations.  Those obligations are laid out in Appendix F of the Kirwan Commission bill’s fiscal note, which is reprinted below.

A careful look at the phase-in schedule shows that Montgomery County is not currently required to contribute any more to its public schools than it already has been doing until Fiscal Year 2027, which is MORE THAN SIX YEARS AWAY.  Why are these elected officials pushing tax hikes now?  One struggles to see how this is linked in any way to Kirwan.

Furthermore, even in years in which no tax hikes are levied, the Montgomery County government gets an average of more than $100 million in new revenue a year, and that excludes intergovernmental aid.  If the phase-in schedule above were altered to allow a more gradual phase-in for the county’s local obligations – say, $25-30 million a year instead of cramming it all into four years – the county might not have to raise taxes at all.  The county might have to restrain spending in other areas to allocate greater shares of new revenue to MCPS, but that would make up for the fact that local money for MCPS has been one of the slowest growing parts of the county budget for a decade.

Second, this plays directly into Ficker’s hands.  There was a time not so long ago when Ficker’s name was so radioactive due to his NBA heckling and his rampant placement of illegal campaign signs that his very association with a ballot question was enough to kill it.  Those days are gone.  In 2008, the county raised property taxes by 13%.  Voters responded months later by passing Ficker’s charter amendment requiring that nine county council members must vote in favor of any property tax increase breaking the county’s charter limit.  In 2016, the county raised property taxes by 8.7%.  Voters responded by passing Ficker’s charter amendment on term limits by a landslide.  Now, counting the bills supported by Jawando and Palakovich Carr as well as a separate bill by Council Member Evan Glass calling for new taxes on teardowns, there are three different bills pending that allow county tax increases just as Ficker is pushing for a new anti-tax charter amendment.

Ficker must be the happiest man in MoCo.

Ficker does not win passage of his charter amendments because voters love him.  He has run in almost every four-year election cycle since the 1970s, with just one victory (a 1978 Delegate race) that was reversed after a single term.  He has not come close to being elected since.  Ficker wins because he has deduced something that county politicians hate to admit, at least in public: voters are skeptical that our elected officials are capable of behaving responsibly with their tax dollars.  Indeed, the county has levied nine major tax hikes since Fiscal Year 2003, with only one (an energy tax increase in Fiscal Year 2011) occurring during a recession.  The most recent tax hike, the 8.7% property tax increase in 2016, was marketed in part as a way to close MCPS’s achievement gap.  Three years later, the council’s Office of Legislative Oversight found that the county has made little or no progress on the achievement gap despite the massive tax hike.

This kind of thing is why Ficker wins.

Let’s think of what is at stake.  In 1978, Prince George’s County passed an anti-tax charter amendment only a little more draconian than Ficker’s.  Five years later, in the wake of the devastating recession of the early 1980s and lacking an ability to raise taxes, the county had to gut services and lay off more than 500 teachers, laying the groundwork for decades of problems.  Heaven help MoCo if we proceed in that direction.

If MoCo’s elected officials want to avoid that sort of outcome, they need to behave responsibly.  Save the tax hikes for times of desperate need, like recessions.  The rest of the time, figure out how to live within your means just like your constituents do.  Above all, stop giving ammo to Ficker.

The alternative?  Picture this.  Ficker celebrates in November, bellowing in victory at the passage of yet another charter amendment.  And the county government, struggling in fiscal chains strung up by distrustful voters, becomes more vulnerable to the next recession.

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