Slates are back in Rockville city politics. Whether voters still obey them, will be just one intriguing outcome of the November 5 Mayor and Council elections.
The first slate - "Team Rockville" - has already gone public: Councilmember Mark Pierzchala is running for mayor, and Councilmember Tom Moore, Virginia Onley, Julie Palakovich Carr and Beryl L. Feinberg are in the race for the four council seats.
Two questions have been answered: Will there be slates? And will Pierzchala run for mayor?
But others remain, before one can get a true sense of the dynamics of this race.
Will John Hall run for mayor? Will Mayor Phyllis Marcuccio run for reelection? And will the council vote on the Rockville Pike plan before, or after the election?
Former councilmember Anne Robbins is also expected to run, and would be a formidable challenge to the lesser-known candidates on the "Team Rockville" slate. Robbins is skeptical of smart growth, having noted that advocates have been talking about "getting people out of their cars" since the 60s, with little results. She brought an independent streak to the council, referring to herself as "the Lone Ranger" during a contentious council meeting over a decade ago.
Pierzchala won election primarily on his strong work on behalf of the College Gardens neighborhood as a citizen, and diligent attendance and engagement at city meetings. Once on the council, he has pivoted to take an aggressive pro-development stance, and has helped organize two summits on Rockville's future.
Tom Moore is a first-term councilmember who often sides with Pierzchala on issues. He recently made news beyond the city limits when he questioned the use and storage of data collected by license plate readers onboard Rockville police cruisers.
Virginia Onley is the only other member of the slate who has name recognition at this early stage, having run for council previously. If I recall correctly, Onley is one of the relatively few candidates smart enough to use the Citizens Forum during the election season, as a free platform to reach voters. It's surprising more candidates don't utilize that forum. Larry Giammo made hugely-effective use of it during his successful campaign for mayor.
Now, of course, the other question is, who else will throw their hat into the ring?
Drew Powell and Dion Trahan are two former candidates still actively engaged in city politics and government, but there are certainly others who could make a run, as well. Stay tuned.
If there's a Rockville citizen you think would be a great mayor or councilmember, feel free to put his or her name in the comments section below (there is an option to post anonymously, if you wish).