Montgomery Sierra Club drops Riemer, picks Daly in primary endorsements

The Sierra Club Maryland Chapter has released its Democratic primary endorsements for Montgomery County Council, dropping one at-large member from its 2010 list.

The Maryland chapter’s Montgomery County group boasts about 5,000 members and is considered a valuable seal of approval in the enviro-minded liberal county. The club said selections were based on a review of votes on 16 environmental bills and issues over the last four years, including the bag tax, Ten Mile Creek, and the zoning code rewrite.

Council member Hans Riemer (D-At-Large) received the club’s endorsement in 2010, but fell out of favor with some members when he supported what they regarded as a weaker version of a bill to protect urban tree canopy. Riemer was with them on other issues, however, including his opposition to a bill — since tabled — to narrow the number of businesses where customers are subject to the five-cent tax on plastic shopping bags.

Of the six at-large candidates, Sierra endorsed just one incumbent — Marc Elrich — and one challenger, Beth Daly. The other candidates are incumbents Nancy Floreen and George Leventhal, and challenger Vivian Malloy.

In the District 1, the club went with Council member Roger Berliner, a key player in crafting the council’s measure limiting development in Ten Mile Creek. His opponent, former at-large Council member Duchy Trachtenberg, was a club pick in 2010 (as was Berliner). But earlier this month she received support from a group of prominent developers committed to unseating Berliner in part because of his work on Ten Mile Creek.

The group made no endorsement in District 2, where incumbent Craig Rice (D-Upcounty) is facing challenger Neda Bolourian. In the District 3 race for the open seat vacated by county executive candidate Phil Andrews, Rockville City Council member Tom Moore was the choice over Gaithersburg Mayor Sid Katz, Gaithersburg City Council member Ryan Spiegel and activist Guled Kassim. In District 5, State Rep. Tom Hucker (D-Montgomery) was selected over four challengers: Board of Education member Christopher Barclay, former CNN producer Evan Glass, Silver Spring nonprofit leader Jeffrey Thames and community organizer Terrill North.

District 4 Council member Nancy Navarro (D-Midcounty), who is unopposed in the primary, was also endorsed.

The club said it has not yet decided on a choice in the county executive’s race, featuring Andrews, former county executive Doug Duncan and incumbent Isiah Leggett.

Bill Turque, who covers Montgomery County government and politics, has spent more than thirty years as a reporter and editor for The Washington Post, Newsweek, the Dallas Times Herald and The Kansas City Star.
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