Urban

Hans Riemer, Danielle Meitiv, and Will Jawando; plus, two different nice choices – Better Better Washington


Our endorsees, Hans Riemer, Danielle Meitiv, and Will Jawando. All photos from the candidates’ web sites except in any other case famous.

In the long run, we will solely vote for 4. However with so many promising candidates operating within the race for Montgomery County Council At-Giant, making the selection of which 4 to endorse within the June 26 major has been excruciating. We appeared carefully at what everybody was saying, each to us and to different teams and in public boards. We thought of monitor data, however we additionally needed see the fervour to guide on our points.

We’re glad to endorse the next three candidates for nomination within the Democratic major: Hans Riemer, Danielle Meitiv, and Will Jawando.

Our committee was divided on a fourth endorsement and could not attain a supermajority consensus we required for an endorsement. We discovered Evan Glass and Jill Ortman-Fouse to be the strongest extra contenders. Which one we, and also you, may select in your fourth vote is determined by the way you prioritize differnet points akin to housing or training. We encourage you to learn the sturdy circumstances we make for each, under, and make up your personal thoughts.


Glass and Ortman-Fouse. Picture from the canddiates’ Twitter profiles.

Because of everybody who made the time to fill out our questionnaire (see all responses right here) and meet with us. There have been way over 5 wonderful candidates and we might simply have endorsed a number of others in opposition to a distinct subject.

As we solely obtained a single set of questionnaire responses from Republican and Inexperienced Celebration candidates they usually weren’t as sturdy as our Democratic finalists, we received’t be endorsing in these primaries.


Hans Riemer

Council President Hans Riemer is the only incumbent operating for at-large this yr. He was elected initially in 2010 and re-elected in 2014. If re-elected in 2018, Riemer wouldn’t be eligible to run once more in 2022 because of the poll initiative that handed final election limiting council members to a few consecutive phrases.

Earlier than coming into politics, Riemer was an organizer for youth get out the vote efforts, each in 2004 and 2008, and an advocate for senior residents, together with for safeguarding Social Safety beneath the George W Bush administration.

We wholeheartedly help Hans Riemer’s bid for re-election. Riemer at the moment serves on the Committee for Planning, Housing, and Financial Growth (PHED). As a part of PHED, Riemer has been key within the creation of daring new grasp plans in Bethesda, Grosvenor, Lyttonsville, and White Flint that might significantly enhance the quantity of housing close to transit nodes. He additionally pushed for MPDU necessities at 15% within the new plans in Westbard, Bethesda, Grosvenor, Rock Spring, and White Flint 2.

He’s been a champion for protected bicycle lane networks in downtown Bethesda, downtown Silver Spring, and in White Flint, a few of that are at the moment beneath building. He’s at the moment engaged on a brand new street code that might promote narrower, slower street configurations in our urbanizing areas.

In a wide-ranging in-person dialog about increasing housing alternatives, Riemer signaled an openness to permitting duplexes to be constructed on heaps zoned for single household properties and for individuals to subdivide their properties (although he appreciates that might be controversial in lots of neighborhoods). When requested concerning the impression of accelerating housing on college capability, he declared that the county has a capital price range to construct extra faculties, and may accomplish that.

Riemer is intrigued by nationwide efforts to upzone areas close to transit, just like the lately failed California invoice SB-827. He believes that Montgomery County is already largely main the nation on this difficulty, in that the walkshed of most Metro Pink Line stations, most lately Grovesnor, has been upzoned and may begin seeing extra redevelopment. He would wait till BRT was up and operating efficiently earlier than incentivizing elevated multifamily building close to these stops.

Riemer acknowledged that the Purple Line would inevitably deliver adjustments, and would due to this fact wish to handle redevelopment close to these stops in levels with a view to reduce displacement of present residents. He would additionally retain the present gentle industrial zones close to Purple Line stations.

Riemer does see a necessity to resolve what he phrases “human distress” on the American Legion Bridge, and advised us that some widening could also be essential, particularly if Amazon HQ2 involves our space. Nevertheless, he favors transit parts to any adjustments to I-495 and I-270. In his subsequent time period, he want to transfer ahead in implementing the Hall Cities Transitway by a mix of state and native funding streams. He writes on his marketing campaign web site, “…we have to scale back the expansion in auto site visitors by creating alternate options to driving.”

Hans Riemer’s re-election would supply continuity to the county council, which can flip over at the least four of its 9 seats this yr. Riemer has been a dependable good friend and ally to the Better Better Washington neighborhood, and he completely deserves your vote.


Danielle Meitiv

Danielle Meitiv is an outsider to politics, however has been within the public eye for a number of years. In 2015, she grew to become infamous because the “Free Vary Mother” who fought the county when baby protecting companies threatened to take her kids, who have been noticed strolling house from a park with out supervision. She’s used this title as a tag line for her marketing campaign, which is a method that comes with dangers, one in all which is that some voters indicated to us that they view her candidacy as merely a publicity stunt.

That is unlucky, as a result of there’s a lot extra to Meitiv. She holds a Grasp’s diploma in Oceanography and has labored as a science author and local weather coverage analyst. She’s a fierce environmentalist whose in-person interview and questionnaire revealed a powerful drive to shake up our normal means of constructing and dwelling.

Meitiv’s solutions to our questionnaire have been well-researched, extremely detailed, and considerate, revealing an enthusiasm and aptitude for studying about housing coverage and options. Having grown up in New York Metropolis, Meitiv doesn’t worry constructing extra housing and doesn’t idealize single household zoning. Actually, in our interview, she described her frustrations with creating an adjunct dwelling for her aged mother or father, and would like to subdivide her own residence.

As we wrote beforehand, Meitiv helps re-zoning areas served by mass transit and writes of making reasonably priced housing: “It’s a matter of financial and social justice. It is usually essential to the functioning of an environment friendly marketplace for housing … [and] a essential ingredient for financial progress, as we will need to have enough housing to fulfill the wants of present and future employees and entrepreneurs.”

Danielle Meitiv is a passionate supporter of mass transit for each environmental and financial causes. She wrote on our questionnaire, “As a local weather scientist, I’ll all the time prioritize transportation tasks that permit us to maneuver the best variety of individuals effectively and with low or no greenhouse fuel emissions. One in all my prime priorities is constructing a complete transit community, together with MARC growth, fully-funded Metro, and BRT, to attach all components of the County to one another and to neighboring cities and counties… Each dynamic metropolis and financial system on the planet is determined by transit.”

Each in individual and in her writings Meitiv frames her urbanism in moral phrases. She writes on our questionnaire that “we’ve got an ethical obligation to construct a future that works for all of our residents and displays the altering wants of our inhabitants. “ In her interview she advised us, “Local weather denial isn’t just saying that local weather change isn’t actual … should you actually are truthfully dedicated to a sustainable future, not simply inexperienced bumper stickers and placing recycled paper in our printers, it requires — I don’t wish to say sacrifice as a result of we all know walkable dense communities are a lot more healthy.”

We acknowledge that Danielle Meitiv doesn’t have in depth expertise with native land use politics, and due to this fact would come to the council largely untested. Nevertheless, we belief that her ardour for locating options to international local weather change will land her on the fitting facet of all our points, whether or not it’s rising density in our constructed areas to stop sprawl or reducing down on single occupancy automobiles and new street constructing. We look ahead to seeing what she is going to provoke in workplace, and encourage our readers to present her your vote.


Will Jawando

Will Jawando was born in east Montgomery County to a Nigerian immigrant father and a white American mom from Kansas. His mother and father separated when he was younger, and he was raised by his mom in Lengthy Department. He grew to become a civil rights lawyer and has served on the employees of a number of US senators, together with then-senator Barack Obama. He was Affiliate Director of the White Home Workplace of Public Engagement in the course of the Obama presidential administration.

Right here in Montgomery County, Jawando began a number of organizations to promote voter engagement in underserved, minority, and African immigrant communities. Jawando himself was lately profiled within the New York Instances as an information level in a research concerning the success of African-American males raised in several socioeconomic environments (Silver Spring boasts one in all the few zip codes within the nation with equal outcomes for white and black boys).

Throughout our interview, it was abundantly clear that Jawando’s help of urbanist options comes from his dedication to pursuing fairness and justice for all communities in our county. That is corroborated by his questionnaire responses: “Land-use points are quick turning into social justice points in Montgomery County, in gentle of the rising financial inequality within the county, and the dearth of reasonably priced housing.”

As we wrote beforehand, Jawando helps altering zoning to advertise socioeconomic integration. “Being poor should not mandate your house be adjoining to the “chain hyperlink fence” industries that deliver noise, crime, site visitors, and air pollution. However our zoning, land-use and transportation selections on this county are making that occur – and it’s fallacious.”

He wrote to Progressive Neighbors:“We should focus zoning and land use selections on methods to leverage market forces to attract building — whether or not new, infill, or re-development of growing old neighborhoods — towards mixed-use, walkable neighborhoods centered on mass transit.”

When requested in an in-person interview concerning the controversy over the Westbard sector plan (off River Highway), he advised us, “We’ve to cease saying reasonably priced housing can solely be in sure components of the county. We have to open it up in every single place if we wish to not be as segregated as we’re and supply extra financial alternatives — we have to have a look at transit hubs and that’s all transit hubs.”

Jawando writes persistently in help of prioritizing transit over freeway lanes, each to us and in questionnaires to different teams: “We’ve a historic imbalance in Montgomery County between funding in roads, and funding in mass transit. I imagine we have to rebalance our funding, with a far larger give attention to mass transit.” He opposes constructing M-83 and want to see implementation of BRT and a reorganization and growth of Trip-On companies. Jawando at the moment lives off of New Hampshire Boulevard in Colesville, and advised us he would like to see BRT on New Hampshire and in devoted lanes within the median strip on Randolph Highway, connecting East County to jobs and authorities companies in Rockville.

Jawando has beforehand run for workplace within the Democratic primaries for state delegate in District 20 in 2014 and for the Maryland eighth congressional district in 2016. Each of those districts lie completely or largely in Montgomery County, and embody the neighborhoods the place Jawando has lived all his life.

Will Jawando isn’t a pure urbanist, however comes to those positions by his progressive politics. We’re excited to see what he would accomplish, and endorse him in your vote.

We are able to’t resolve on a fourth

Our elections committee couldn’t come to a consensus on a fourth candidate. We’d be thrilled to see both Jill Ortman-Fouse or Evan Glass elected within the upcoming major.


Evan Glass

Evan Glass lives his values, strolling the stroll, and even using the bus at any time when doable. He claims to be the one candidate who is aware of the buslines all through the county. Actually, his family solely purchased a second automotive when he determined to run for workplace final yr.

Glass bought his begin in neighborhood organizing by founding a civic affiliation in South Silver Spring with a view to advocate for sidewalks and crosswalks on East-West Freeway. He introduced collectively residents of varied backgrounds to take part within the Silver Spring advisory board, together with renters, MPDU beneficiaries, and folks of coloration. These have been populations that have been typically disregarded of dialogues that have been traditionally dominated by single household owners. In 2014, he ran for the district 5 seat on the county council, which he misplaced narrowly to Tom Hucker (who we additionally endorse for re-election).

When his neighbors fought to dam a reasonably priced condo advanced in Silver Spring, Glass labored with them to get them on board with rising housing for these making beneath 50% AMI. He argued efficiently that this inhabitants included new faculty graduates, single mother and father, academics, retirees, and dared present residents to oppose the inclusion of those people. This expertise led Glass to become involved with Montgomery Housing Partnership, one of many predominant suppliers of reasonably priced housing within the county, and he’s now its vice-chair.

Glass is a former journalist for CNN and at the moment the manager director of Gandhi Brigade Youth Media, a company that gives media and filmmaking expertise to center and highschool college students. College students beneath his mentorship have lately created quick documentaries on immigration, juvenile justice, and police accountability. He advised Progressive Neighbors that neighborhood security and relations with the police are vital points for him.

When requested in our in-person interview about offering extra housing close to current or deliberate public transit nodes, Glass stated, “As we proceed rising as a county, we’ve got to determine the best way to accomodate it, and I’ve a protracted monitor document of supporting transit-oriented growth, and no matter meaning, that’s what we’ve got to do… we simply have to determine the best way to make this stuff doable… we’ve got to be inventive.”

Evan Glass places a premium with working successfully with everybody, going into communities to garner help for brand spanking new initiatives. Referring to his expertise advocating for marriage equality, he advised us that he firmly believes that constructing coalitions to impact constructive change implies that “you may’t demonize individuals, you may’t inform them it’s essential to hate poor individuals since you don’t need reasonably priced housing; that’s not the way you do coalitions.”

Glass can also be a powerful proponent of elevated financial growth. He wrote to the Chamber of Commerce, “The measure of my success as a Montgomery County Councilmember will probably be outlined by the scale of the financial progress I’ve helped spur and the brand new alternatives which are created in consequence.” He advised us in interview, “Our greatest downside is complacency” and indicated that we would have liked to diversify our workforce away from the federal authorities and would herald individuals from assume tanks in DC, such because the City Land Institute.

Although Glass has a document of advocacy round our points, he’s performed it secure this election cycle and has averted making the sturdy declarative pro-urbanist statements of others we’ve endorsed. Our committee discovered a few of his questionnaire responses to be imprecise, and we have been additionally disillusioned that a few of his solutions in our in-person interview, significantly round rising reasonably priced housing, have been equally non-specific. This has been disappointing and irritating, and has prevented us from being as assured or obsessed with his marketing campaign as we’d have been. His previous document, nevertheless, suggests he’ll seemingly be a sensible choice in your vote.


Jill Ortman-Fouse

Jill Ortman-Fouse simply declared late in February, hours earlier than the submitting deadline — and solely a pair days earlier than the deadline for our questionnaire. We acknowledged the title; she’d been serving on the Montgomery County Board of Training since 2014, the place she sought to incorporate all voices and households and to supply constructive outcomes for all kids, particularly these from underprivileged backgrounds.

Whereas on the Board of Training, Ortman-Fouse efficiently managed a multibillion-dollar price range, whereas pushing for increasing profession pathways, dual-language immersion packages, psychological well being help, and socio-emotional studying. By means of all of it, Ortman-Fouse has advocated for fairness, together with in the best way to price range when setting up new services. She advised us that she desires to“see each single coverage by an fairness lens.”

Ortman-Fouse unexpectedly selected to not run for re-election to the varsity board as a result of she heard that one other candidate, John Robertson, had put himself ahead for her seat. In a prolonged Fb publish, Ortman-Fouse defined that she was stepping apart to provide an opportunity for a extremely certified black man. Black males are underrepresented as educators, and as the research referenced above discovered, black male function fashions are paramount in whether or not black boys reach life. Ortman-Fouse determined she might do extra to battle for socioeconomic integration by the county council, the place she might broaden from an training focus to handle transportation and housing as nicely.

This anecdote is emblematic of two issues we’ve realized about Jill Ortman-Fouse within the quick time since we’ve gotten to know her: she is absolutely dedicated to fairness and justice, and she or he is absolutely clear about her views. Actually, once we wrote about our qualms relating to what she wrote on questionnaires about needing to seek the advice of with neighborhood civic associations, she took to Fb to handle these considerations immediately.

Within the means of conversations with urbanist activists on social media, Jill confirmed an admirable means to take heed to opposing views and modify her stances upon studying new data. She clarified that statements that initially seemed to be empowering neighbors have been really involved with ensuring all selections have been taken inclusive of all affected communities.

In our in-person interview, Jill Ortman-Fouse was equally forthcoming and open. She spoke passionately and at size about reasonably priced housing and efficient transportation as essential to offering stability for the households she’s seen in her work in training. She advised us {that a} quarter of youngsters in some excessive poverty areas change faculties yearly, typically due to housing instability of their households. She stated, “What I knew from analysis was that when you may have secure, reasonably priced secure housing your entire outcomes are higher … and we all know we don’t have sufficient reasonably priced housing right here in Montgomery County.”

Ortman-Fouse advised the Chamber of Commerce that she would measure success in her job by the charges by which poverty has gone down and the effectiveness and utilization of public transit has gone up. She has been outraged on the inadequacies of public transit entry from a few of our neighborhoods, and indicated that she sees rising reasonably priced housing close to dependable transit infrastructure as crucial. She wrote in our questionnaire, “I help zoning adjustments… and rising envelope measurement for buildings close to transit.” She additionally desires to see expanded transit, significantly expanded buses and bus stops, particularly at larger poverty areas.

Jill Ortman-Fouse’s enthusiasm and keenness are plain. We respect the institutional information she would deliver to this function. Nevertheless, we have been involved that she doesn’t have a powerful background in land use, and a few of her solutions to Progressive Neighbors made us fear that she could find yourself catering to established civic organizations and longtime neighbors. If elected, we’ll be pushing her to proceed to talk fact to privilege. We imagine her marketing campaign deserves your consideration.

Your vote is pivotal

Lastly, allow us to be blunt. There are 33 individuals operating within the Democratic major, and beneath a primary previous the publish system, this race might go, if to not simply anybody, than to a pool of ten or extra candidates. Many will vote for mates of mates or individuals who stay close to them. In 2014, solely about 20% of eligible voters turned out for the first election, and it’s not clear that this yr will probably be that significantly better.

Traditionally, the vast majority of these lively and engaged voters stay in a crescent of prosperous close-in areas stretching throughout Takoma Park, Silver Spring, Kensington, Bethesda and Chevy Chase. Many of those voters are proof against new residential or industrial growth or different adjustments.

We preferred quite a lot of candidates personally, nicely past these 5, and agreed with many issues they needed to inform us. We additionally had reservations about a number of the similar individuals. The sector is overflowing with individuals who agree with the concepts of strengthening mass transit and including housing and jobs. On the similar time, some candidates would proceed to pour cash into street tasks, additional ravenous our public transportation price range. Others didn’t display a transparent grasp of the kinds of knowledgeable, but inventive and daring options that will probably be required to resolve our housing issues.

The margin of victory on this race will probably be shut. Which means that the neighborhood we signify at Better Better Washington also can flip this election. Our neighborhood believes in sustainable land use and transportation insurance policies, and is welcoming to all — together with those that may not appear like who our neighbors was once and people who can’t afford to stay right here but.

This is a crucial time for our nation, our area, and our county. We’re in the midst of a housing scarcity that ends in an affordability disaster, making a digital wall to maintain newcomers out of fascinating areas, and threatening the power of people that grew up right here to remain. We on are on the precipice of an environmental tipping level pushed partly by residential sprawl and single occupancy automobiles.

The candidates we’ve beneficial right here deliver completely different strengths, experiences, and views. However we imagine all of them have the values and drive to assist form how we come by these challenges for a greater future for everybody in Montgomery County. We urge our readers to contemplate them on the poll field within the June 26th Democratic major.

That is the official endorsement of Better Better Washington. All endorsements are determined by our volunteer Elections Committee with enter from our board and different volunteer committees. Need to sustain on different endorsement posts? Take a look at our 2018 major abstract web page and join our weekly elections e-newsletter.

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