Gaithersburg, Rockville, Takoma Park to polls Tuesday

By Gazette staff
Thursday, October 29, 2009

Voters in three Montgomery County municipalities -- Gaithersburg, Rockville and Takoma Park -- will head to the polls Tuesday in nonpartisan elections.

In Gaithersburg, voters will elect a mayor and two City Council representatives to four-year terms.

In the mayor's race, incumbent Sidney A. Katz, 59, who has been mayor since 1998, is being challenged by Richard Koch, 55, a real estate developer making his first bid for elected office.

Residents say economic development, revitalization and public safety have been on their minds during the campaign.

Katz touts his experience as mayor, and Koch has said he would be a more demanding, on-the-go mayor, who would lobby for the city's best interests.

Three candidates are seeking two seats on the council, whose members are elected at large.

The candidates are council members Henry F. Marraffa Jr. and Michael A. Sesma and challenger Tom Rowse, chairman of the city's Olde Towne Advisory Committee.

In Rockville, City Council member Phyllis R. Marcuccio is challenging incumbent Mayor Susan R. Hoffmann, and 10 candidates, including two incumbents, are seeking four City Council seats.

Marcuccio is a two-term council member. Hoffmann has served one term as mayor and, before that, three terms as a council member.

The two often have found themselves on opposites sides of issues that come before the council, such as a vote on whether to take Rockville from twice-weekly to once-weekly trash pickup, which passed 3-2.

Hoffmann, 63, the county marketing director for Silver Spring, voted for the trash schedule, and Marcuccio, 74, a retired science editor, opposed it.

This year marks the first time since 1995 that two seats are open on the four-member council, as council member Anne M. Robbins is not seeking reelection to a sixth term. All council members are elected at large.

Seeking reelection are council members John Britton and Piotr Gajewski. Other candidates are Carl Henn, Trapper Martin, Tom Moore, Bridget Newton, Virginia Onley, Waleed Ovase, Mark Pierzchala and Max van Balgooy. The terms are two years.

Takoma Park's election will feature three contested races.

Mayor Bruce Williams will face fellow Ward 3 resident Roger Schlegel. Council member Terry Seamens is running against Eric Mendoza for the Ward 4 council seat.

Two newcomers, activist Navid Nasr and longtime neighborhood organization leader Frederick Schultz, are vying for the Ward 6 seat. Interim council member Donna Victoria will step down after the election.

Preserving the city's finances in light of recent state and county budget deficits has been the major issue in the mayoral contest this year.

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