Showing posts with label Richard Gottfried. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Richard Gottfried. Show all posts

Thursday, December 21, 2017

MoCo Council candidate calls on Rockville leaders to take emergency action on taxes

Richard Gottfried, a Rockville resident and candidate for Montgomery County Council At-Large (D), is calling on municipal governments like Rockville and Takoma Park to call an emergency meeting in response to the federal tax plan expected to be signed into law by President Trump before Christmas. Gottfried, a CPA, is recommending municipalities in Maryland pass legislation that will allow residents of those jurisdictions to prepay their property taxes. The move would allow residents affected by a new cap on property tax deductions in the federal plan to avoid higher taxes this year.

"By prepaying your city property taxes before December 31, 2017, you would be able to take advantage of your property tax deduction in 2017 before the new federal law takes effect in 2018 and the tax deduction is eliminated for homes valued at over $750,000," Gottfried said Wednesday. "The residents of incorporated cities such as the City of Rockville, Takoma Park and Gaithersburg will lose this city property tax deduction opportunity in 2018, and our current elected officials need to come back from their holiday break to City Hall to pass this most important legislation to benefit the residents that they represent!"

Monday, November 23, 2015

Gottfried still pursuing recount of Rockville election

Rebuffed on his offer to pay for a manual recount of this month's Mayor and Council election, Rockville City Council candidate Richard Gottfried is now pursuing other avenues of appeal.

Gottfried said he plans to file a complaint with the Montgomery County Board of Elections, and a separate complaint with Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh. He will also ask if the Board of Appeals can hear the case.

Problems with the new voting equipment used during elections in Maryland this month are being referenced by Gottfried in his pursuit of further review of the election results. In light of those reports, he will also ask for a reconsideration of the BOE decision that denied a recount.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Rockville City Council candidate challenges election results

Rockville City Council candidate Richard Gottfried has contacted acting City Clerk Sara Taylor-Ferrell, and has challenged the results of last Tuesday's election. Gottfried is asking for a manual recount of all paper ballots, under Section 8-41 of the Rockville City Code.

Gottfried finished 282 votes behind incumbent Councilmember Virginia Onley, according to the City's posted election results. In his letter to Taylor-Ferrell, he cites an "excessively high number of under-votes, 1762 to be exact, which constitutes 28% of total ballots casted." He also notes that the new voting machines did not allow voters to compare their paper ballot with the scanned ballot for accuracy.

One other Election Day issue I've heard about from a source was that each polling place did not have a Chief Election Judge on-site at all times. I cannot personally verify this, as I was not at every polling place at every hour of the day. Reportedly, several judges were floating from site to site as needed. Article 10-203-B of Maryland election law states:

  1. One or two election judges in each precinct shall:
    1. (1)  be designated chief judge; and
    2. (2)  supervise the staff at the polling place. 
 Photo via Vote Richard Gottfried website

Monday, August 24, 2015

Osdoby rumored to enter Rockville mayoral contest; new Team Rockville expected to announce tonight

Rumors have been flying since late last week that a new "Team Rockville" slate is being formed for the Mayor and Council elections November 3. Sima Osdoby has been said by several sources to be the new slate's mayoral candidate. There is no public confirmation of this yet, but The Seventh State  reported Saturday that she will indeed challenge incumbent Mayor Bridget Donnell Newton.

Speculation of a new slate picked up steam when incumbent Councilmember Virginia Onley announced that she would be making an appearance at the council campaign kickoff of former Rockville City Councilman Mark Pierzchala tonight.

Who else is rumored to be on the as-yet-unnamed slate with Osdoby, Onley and Pierzchala? Sources suggest they will be incumbent Councilmember Julie Palakovich Carr, and Rockville Environment Commission Chair Clark Reed.

Any potential slate would square off against council challengers Brigitta Mullican, Richard Gottfried, and incumbent Councilmember Beryl Feinberg.

Stay tuned.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Twinbrook reelects citizen association officers, sets agenda for coming year

Twinbrook Citizens Association members reelected the incumbent slate of officers at last night's election meeting at the Twinbrook Recreation Center. President Richard Gottfried defeated challenger Rob Crow 29-9. The 38 voting residents also reelected the other officers, who were unopposed:

Vice-president: Dr. Steven Wilcox
Secretary: Mary Ann Barnes
Treasurer: Christina Ginsberg
Member-at-large East: Rachel Sultanik
Member-at-large West: Virginia Quesada

The presidential contest turned primarily on questions of how dense development should be around the Twinbrook Metro station, with Crow favoring taller buildings. How to get more residents involved in the association was another issue, as was the association's handling of nearby development like the B.F. Saul project and Rockville Pike Plan. Gottfried cited the increase in turnout for important meetings since he took office a year ago, and outlined plans for further outreach, such as partnering with the Recreation Center's movie nights this summer.

After the vote, Gottfried and Treasurer Christina Ginsberg discussed some of the priority issues that will most affect Twinbrook in the coming year. Ginsberg cited the likely return of Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett's proposal for an appointed taxing authority this fall, and the debate over potential historic preservation efforts that could impact property values, as the two biggest issues. 

Ginsberg said historic designation would hurt home values, sending potential buyers to adjacent Aspen Hill where they wouldn't have to get every exterior change approved by the Historic District Commission. 

Gottfried said the county's bus rapid transit proposals, expansion or replacement of the Twinbrook Recreation Center, the need for a sprinkler system at Twinbrook Elementary School and a streetlight at Halpine Road and Ardennes, the APFS school standards debate, and requiring more developer investment in the neighborhood, are among at least 30 issues he will be working on in the months ahead. He said the association will begin lobbying the Mayor and Council on needed projects this fall for next year's budget decisions.

Among issues brought up by residents was men gathering to drink in Rockcrest Park, who are leaving glass bottles behind on park property that borders several homes.

Thursday, January 29, 2015


The Blair Ewing/Mark Twain site,
now being coveted by Montgomery County
as an MCPS bus depot, is
close to Twinbrook and adjacent to
Rock Creek Park
Much of the heated debate over the plan to give Montgomery County Public Schools' Shady Grove bus depot to developers has been in the Aspen Hill area, where an MCPS program with a reputation for frequent police intervention is being moved from the existing Blair Ewing Center (a.k.a. Mark Twain School) on Avery Road.

But that Avery Road site along Norbeck Road is also close to the Twinbrook neighborhood in Rockville, RedGate golf course, and Rock Creek Park. That has many Twinbrook residents alarmed, and left with little time to react with this "smart growth" land swap moving full steam ahead.

$16.6 million dollars had previously been allocated to renovate the Blair Ewing Center school, which could hold 600 students in a time of vast overcrowding in MCPS facilities. Yet the Montgomery County Council Education Committee is scheduled to vote today to take back those funds, paving the way for demolition of Blair Ewing, and moving the "smart growth" scheme forward. $32 million will be spent to redevelop the site into a bus depot, money that is being spent for the sole purpose of private developer profit at the current Shady Grove depot site. Money which, of course, could instead go to new school construction in Rockville or Aspen Hill.

Christina Ginsberg, past president and current treasurer for the Twinbrook Citizens Association, has written a letter to County elected officials on behalf of current president Richard Gottfried to express their concern. In it, Ginsberg implores the County to "stop fast-tracking the bus depot. The whole project needs to be reconsidered before it becomes an embarrassment to Montgomery County."

Among the issues of concern:

The Avery Road site's Mark Twain School Athletic Park was funded by the City of Rockville and Project Open Space funds, and is used for various team sports. City taxpayers covered 25% of the construction costs, and Maryland put $591,750 in P.O.S. funds to cover the rest. All of that money would now be for naught.

The 500 buses using the depot would be driving in and out of already-jammed Norbeck Road, which would cause traffic issues for neighborhoods in Rockville and Aspen Hill.

Demolition of the school is contrary to the Rockville Pike Plan's allowance for a major influx of new residents and students to the city.

And the already-shaky RedGate Golf Course could be impacted negatively, as well.

Perhaps most jarring, is the decision to place the massive depot literally on the edge of Rock Creek Park, with its already-strained water quality and downstream flow into the District. Ginsberg warns of the environmental impact of runoff from the vehicles and site into Rock Creek, writing that the depot would be "essentially an industrial facility next to a nationally significant piece of parkland and a waterway that traverses historic areas of the District of Columbia.  I would hope that you are as interested in preserving parkland DOWNCOUNTY as you are in preserving parkland upcounty, as with Ten Mile Creek."

The County Council has shown very little concern with waterways in the downcounty area, having sold off part of Little Falls Stream Valley Park to a private developer. It is now threatening to approve a massive redevelopment of the Westbard area that would drop over 3000 new residents on the banks of the Little Falls watershed.

Ginsberg notes that the school system is "crying poor" in Annapolis for construction money, even as it plans to demolish an existing school and spend tens of millions of dollars to do so. And with little warning to residents.

"When we, the taxpayers, see this kind of hidden and backdoor deal being pushed through, and we are told, yet again, at the 11th hour, that it is a 'done deal', we know there is something badly wrong," Ginsberg wrote.

This is at least the second County project in the last month that is being rammed through as a "done deal", before citizens have even seen the details. The other one - a new Transit Authority - popped up last Friday afternoon.

Image: Google Maps