Potomac News Briefs

Potomac News Briefs

County Council Considers Policing Advisory Commission

Councilmember Hans Riemer introduced Bill 14-19, Police – Policing Advisory Commission – Established, which would create a Policing Advisory Commission and specify its membership and duties. The goal of this legislation is to improve Council oversight of the Montgomery County Police Department and strengthen community trust in, and engagement with, the police. The Commission will advise the Council on policing matters, provide information regarding best practices, and recommend policies, programs, legislation or regulations.

Councilmembers Will Jawando, Tom Hucker and Evan Glass are cosponsors of Bill 14-19.

“I know that we have an excellent police department, full of conscientious and highly professional public servants,” Riemer said in a county release. “But we are not immune from the challenges that communities are facing all over the country.”

The Policing Advisory Commission would allow for civilian (resident) participation in police department policy formulation, using data and focusing on best practices, and strengthening the Council’s oversight role to prevent problems from occurring. The Commission would consist of 13 public members, individual residents or representatives of community organizations. Nine members would be appointed by the Council and four members would be appointed by the County Executive. A representative from the police department, either the police chief or the police chief’s designee and a representative of the Fraternal Order of Police will serve as ex-officio members.

“The creation of a Policing Advisory Commission will provide an opportunity for community participation in the review of police department policies and practices,” said Jawando. “This input is a critical component of community-based policing and will help create more transparency and trust between the police and the residents they serve.

“The ability to analyze data, consider best practices from other jurisdictions, make recommendations and monitor progress creates the kind of accountability that will ensure good government for the residents of Montgomery County.”

The Commission would be tasked with producing an annual report by July 1 of each year coverings its functions, activities, accomplishments, plans and objectives.

Learn more about Bill 14-19 at: https://tinyurl.com/Bill1419Intro

Low-Cost Pet Clinic

Low-Cost Pet Clinic, Sunday, July 21 (and Aug. 25), 8-10:30 a.m. at the Montgomery County Animal Services and Adoption Center, 7315 Muncaster Mill Road, Derwood. Rabies vaccinations are free for dogs and cats with the purchase of a Montgomery County pet license for residents of Montgomery County, City of Rockville, and City of Gaithersburg. $10 microchipping services are also offered. All pets must be brought to the clinic by a responsible adult. Dogs must be secured on a leash. Cats and ferrets must be secured in a carrier. $10 fee for vaccination of ferrets. $10 fee for vaccination of pets owned by non-county residents. Call 240-773-5900 for more.

Potomac Rotary

Potomac Rotary Gatherings, Wednesday, Aug. 7, (and Aug. 21) 7:15-8:30 a.m. at Founding Farmers MoCo, 12505 Park Potomac Ave., Potomac. Rotary Club of Potomac meets for breakfast first and third Wednesday of each month and a Happy Hour at Sugo Pizzeria, 5-7 p.m., on the last Wednesday. Learn how to serve humanity globally. Individuals pay for their own breakfast. No admission fee. Visit www.PotomacRotary.org for more.

Vision Zero Website on Efforts to Eliminate Traffic Deaths

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich has made the reduction of traffic-related deaths a priority of his administration and the efforts of many County departments and agencies toward that effort are now easily findable in a single place — the updated Vision Zero website.

The County has put resources in place to reduce severe and fatal collisions. The long-term goal is to have zero severe and fatal collisions by 2030.

The site will be regularly updated with details of Vision Zero-related projects and events directed toward making the County safer for pedestrians, bicyclists and drivers. The site will follow implementation of safety strategies, such as installation of high intensity activated crosswalk (HAWK) signal lights at key intersections, and will update the Safe Routes to School program. It also will provide information on how residents can get involved in Vision Zero projects.

A two-year County action plan details specific activities with deadlines. All 41 action items are built around five key areas: Engineering; Enforcement; Education and Training; Traffic Incident Management; and Law, Policy and Advocacy. The Vision Zero Initiative has included the involvement of County Police, the Fire and Rescue Service, the Department of Transportation, the CountyStat Office, dataMontgomery, the Office of Public Information, the Department of Alcohol Beverage Services, Montgomery Planning, Montgomery County Public Schools and the Pedestrian, Bicycle and Traffic Safety Advisory Committee.

The Vision Zero Action Plan; statistics detailing pedestrian, vehicle and bicycle incidents; and the programs of each Vision Zero partner are now accessible at https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/visionzero/.

Wellness and Personal Development Classes Via Learn It Live

Montgomery County Public Libraries, in partnership with Recorded Books, now offers unlimited access to wellness and personal development classes on Learn It Live.

Learn It Live offers interactive, live video courses and thousands of recorded courses on health and wellness, spirituality, and personal development. This service allows library customers to interact with top authors and expert instructors from around the world. Topics include cooking, nutrition, childcare, financial wellness, fitness, yoga, mindfulness, meditation, stress reduction, and more.

MCPL’s new streaming service, Learn It Live, is a great addition to our wide variety of print and audio materials on personal well-being,” said MCPL Acting Director Anita Vassallo. “With classes such as Delicious Foods for Heart Health, Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction and Courageous Creativity, there is something for everyone to dip in to.”

Learn It Live is available on mobile devices and desktop computers through the RBdigital app. For more information go to the library website or stop by any library branch.

Joint Statement from County Executive Marc Elrich and Council President Nancy Navarro on Immigrant Support

”Montgomery County values its diverse community that is made up of people from a variety of backgrounds, cultures and nations. We want to assure our residents that the County will continue to be a welcoming community for all.

“The president’s recent assertion that he will instruct U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and other federal authorities to raid or round up immigrants has, once again, caused concern, fear and disruption in our community. This type of punitive action has become routine for the Trump administration, and we will continue to protect the civil rights of our community members. www.montgomerycountymd.gov/gilchrist/immigration-legal.html

“Assertions like this make it more difficult for local law enforcement departments to build trust with the people they are charged to serve and protect. We want the residents of Montgomery County to know that our law enforcement and other support agencies will continue to follow local laws, rules and regulations. As a matter of policy, we do not inquire about anyone's immigration status, nor do we conduct immigration raids or investigations. We also encourage residents to seek help from organizations that provide legal assistance and advice, so individuals will know their rights if they are stopped or detained by ICE.

“Each day County leaders are working together to make Montgomery County a more equitable and inclusive community. The president’s statements are counter to our vision and seek to erode all the work we have done, and are doing, to build trust in immigrant communities and to make our diverse County the most inclusive jurisdiction in the country. We cannot and we will not let this trust be destroyed.”

Montgomery Council Seeks Applicants for County Board of Appeals; Deadline to Submit an Application: Wednesday, July 31 at 5 p.m.

The Montgomery County Council is seeking applicants for two four-year terms on the County Board of Appeals. The second term of Stan Boyd (Democrat) will expire in September 2019, and he is not eligible to reapply. The first term of Bruce Goldensohn (Republican) also expires in September 2019, and he has indicated that he plans to reapply. Applications for the positions must be received no later than 5 p.m. on Wednesday, July 31.

By law, no more than three members of the Board shall be from the same political party. Only one of the vacancies can be filled by a Democrat. The other position can be filled by a Republican, a voter who is unaffiliated with a party, or a voter who is a member of another party officially recognized by the Board of Elections.

In addition to Mr. Boyd (Democrat) and Mr. Goldensohn (Republican), current members of the Board include Chair John Pentecost (Democrat), Katherine Freeman (Democrat) and Jon Cook (other).

Members of the Board receive $15,525 annually, with the Chair receiving $21,942. Salaries are adjusted each December to reflect 50 percent of the change in the Washington Area Consumer Price Index.

Duties of the Board of Appeals include hearing and deciding requests for variances from development standards contained in the Zoning Ordinance; hearing appeals from certain administrative decisions rendered by County government agencies; and hearing oral argument on and deciding appeals from decisions of the Hearing Examiner on conditional uses. The Board also considers and decides requests for modifications of special exceptions.

The Board normally holds weekly hearings all day Wednesday and worksessions every other week on Wednesdays. If necessary to accommodate an extended caseload or continued hearings, the Board may schedule hearings on other weekdays. Members work approximately 15-25 hours a week.

Letters expressing interest, including a resume listing professional and civic experience, political party affiliation, home and office telephone numbers and an email address, should be addressed to: Council President Nancy Navarro, County Council Office, 100 Maryland Avenue, Rockville, Maryland 20850 or can be emailed to county.council@montgomerycountymd.gov. Letters of application must be received no later than 5 p.m. on July 31.

Letters of application and resumes are made public as part of the appointment process. Any interviews held are open to the public and will be televised. A financial statement of assets, debts, income and family property interests will be required of all applicants. Only the appointed candidates will be required to make the financial statement available for public review.