Plenty of Trash Talk in Rockville's Mayoral Race

By Michael Tunison
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, October 4, 2007

Rockville voters will choose a new mayor and at least one new council member Nov. 6, the same day voters in Gaithersburg will elect three new council members for its four-person body. All the elections are nonpartisan.

Larry Giammo, Rockville mayor since 2001, announced in February that he would not seek a fourth term, opting to return to the private sector. He said he had achieved the goals he set out to accomplish, chief among them the construction of Rockville Town Center.

Vying to fill his position are City Council member Susan Hoffmann, 63; Mark Pierzchala, 55, president of the College Gardens Civic Association and a senior fellow at Mathematica Policy Research Inc.; and Drew Powell, 52, executive director of Neighbors for a Better Montgomery.

Trash is a central issue in the mayoral race.

Hoffmann has the backing of Giammo: The two were allies in trying to reduce the number of trash pickups from two to one a week. Both were among 775 households in a since-adopted pilot program that provided residents with brown containers in which to place recyclable materials for collections. The pilot included once-a-week trash pickup.

"The additional weekly pickup is costing households an extra $100 a month," Giammo said. "Even after the pilot was concluded, it took the council nine months to come to a decision. There's a lot of frustration from many in the community about the lack of leadership being provided by the council, excluding Susan."

"There were some polarizing discussions on the trash issue," council member Robert E. Dorsey said. "Mayor Giammo and Hoffmann were among the ones insisting that it was broke and needed fixing. When members of the council said they needed more time and information to consider the issue, the mayor, Hoffmann and those who supported them made it seem as though those members were anti-pilot [project] when in fact they were only being careful in their judgment."

Giammo and council members say they expect further redevelopment and an upcoming revision of the city's zoning ordinances will be other main issues in the race.

There are 11 candidates for four seats on the Rockville City Council. All candidates run at-large, and the candidates who receive the most votes are elected.

The candidates are:

¿ Phyllis Marcuccio, 74, a first-term council member who worked for 38 years for the National Science Teachers Association.

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