Primary 2002: Vincent Renzi

Primary 2002: Vincent Renzi

County Council at Large

August 27, 2002

Vincent Renzi

<lst>Age: 44

Family: Married with two children

Campaign phone: 301 365-0158



Office held: No previous political offices held

Occupation: Attorney

Current employment: Attorney

Education: B.S. Engineering, University of Massachusetts/Amherst, M.S. Management, Purdue University, J.D. Georgetown University School of Law

Community ties: West Montgomery County Citizens Association, Montgomery County Civic Federation, Carderock Springs Elementary School PTA, Solutions not Sprawl, Smart Alternatives for Responsible Transportation, Inc., Montgomery County Sierra Club

Endorsements: Neighbors for a Better Montgomery (A nonpartisan political action committee representing the interests of over 10,000 Montgomery County residents); The Glenmont Group (A community group committed to protecting the residential nature of the Glenmont area)

* Why are you running for this position?

* Runaway growth is ruining our quality of life and has already generated unbearable levels of traffic congestion and badly overcrowded schools. I believe we need to slow the pace of growth and development and thereby give ourselves time to build badly needed roads and transit, and to allow our overcrowded schools to catch up.

In short, I am running because I believe our county needs leadership that will work for real solutions to our traffic congestion and overcrowded schools as opposed to the current council which created these problems and are allowing them to worsen.

* What are the top five problems facing your constituents and what approaches will you use to solve them?

* Traffic – will do everything reasonably possible to alleviate traffic congestion including: building roads and transit; better managing growth and development; and bringing more jobs to our area to help shorten commutes.

Schools – will work to reduce school overcrowding by slowing the pace of residential development and will work for smaller class sizes, all-day kindergarten, and programs to help children whose first language is not English.

Growth and Development – will work to revise the Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance so it works. Residential development should not proceed unless schools, roads and other infrastructure exist to support it.

Protecting the Environment and Neighborhoods – will work to protect our water supply and preserve the beauty of our neighborhoods and open spaces.

Services for Seniors – will work for high quality senior services including senior centers, senior transportation, services for the frail, health and fitness initiatives, and protections for residents of long term care facilities.

* What qualities, qualifications and characteristics will you bring to this office?

* As an attorney, businessman and immediate past president of a large civic organization, I bring a legal, business and civic understanding of the issues affecting our county.

* How will voters best distinguish between you and your opponents?

* Technically, the race for an At-Large position on the Council is an eight-way race for four seats. Thus, technically, I have seven opponents.

However, four of the candidates favor solving our transportation problems by building roads and transit but without restraining growth and development. These four candidates offer no real solution to addressing overcrowding in our schools.

I am one of the other four candidates who favor solving our transportation problems by building roads and transit and by controlling growth. In addition to helping relieve traffic congestion, controlling growth also helps reduce school overcrowding.

* What is one thing you promise not to do if elected?

* Forget who I am really working for.

* What do you predict for the short-term (two-year) outlook of the Montgomery County budget and what adjustments will you propose to prepare for your prediction? Where can the county afford to trim the budget?

* The short-term budget will be dependant on which candidates are elected.

* Do you support the recently reviewed Potomac Master Plan? Specific elements that might need revision?

* Yes. I would like to have seen more protections from the effects of certain special exceptions.

* How would you characterize transportation issues in Montgomery County and what specific actions would you support as a result? Please address your position on: Smart Growth; Metro Purple Line; ICC; Regional Transportation Authority; recently passed County Council plan calling for more than $4 billion in state funding over the next 10 years; raising the gas tax and other possible means of paying for transportation infrastructure.

* Please see answer to questions 1 and 3. I don’t think raising the state gas tax to fund Montgomery County roads is a realistic option. Both of the candidates for Governor have already indicated lack of support for such an option. I would favor a real impact tax.

* What is your position on a Techway and new bridge across the Potomac River in Montgomery County? Do you favor a new study?

* The Techway and new bridge are not about solving our traffic problems. They are being pushed for by businesses and other interests in Virginia. Although we do have serious traffic congestion problems, traffic in Virginia is much worse and building a bridge from Virginia into Montgomery County would only increase our traffic while helping alleviate Virginia’s. As such, I stand firmly opposed to the Techway and any new bridge to Montgomery County. I do not favor a new study.

* How would you characterize and prioritize the preservation of open space in Montgomery County? What actions would you take?

* Although a low priority for the current county council, the preservation of open space should be a high priority for our county. It is the main reason that many of us choose to live here. To preserve open space, I support full funding of the legacy open space program, decreased density for new development, and an Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance that works.

* Is the current rate and mix of county fees and taxes appropriate and equitable? What would you do differently?

* No. I would require developers of large subdivisions pay their fair share via a real impact tax.

* Schools in Potomac and the rest of the county are overcrowded with renovation, additions and new schools behind schedule. What is the state’s role in solving this and what do you propose? How would you balance the need for funding for school construction and transportation infrastructure?

* The state can help with funding but, in the end, it’s up to our county officials to ensure that we have a high quality school system.

First, by slowing the pace of residential development, we can keep both overcrowding of schools and traffic congestion from worsening. So I believe the first step we should take is to slow the pace of development.

In terms of balance, we need to address both of these issues as best we can.

* Does the special exception process in the county work as it should? Changes you would propose?

* No. Unfortunately, special exceptions are neither special nor the exception. We need to rework and revise our special exception regulations so they serve their purpose – protecting residential areas from harmful impacts associated with non-residential uses.