Candidates for Montgomery County Executive and candidates for the County Council were asked the following questions by The Washington Post:
Funds: What should the county do to respond to anticipated losses in federal funds?
Housing: What proposals should the county consider to get more moderate-income housing?
Population: How can the county respond to the needs of its increasingly diverse population, including large numbers of Hispanos and blacks?
Views: Many citizens complain that, despite the county's rigorous public hearing process, citizens' views are not reflected in final decisions on such issues as the Laytonsville landfill and cable television. Your comment?
Wade Dunn (D), 41, of 12008 Old Bridge Rd., Rockville, national manager for HBJ/Media Systems Corp., works on projects to improve productivity. He has been president of the Old Farm Civic Association and two PTAs, and is active in the United Givers Fund, the Chamber of Commerce, county elections and coaching athletics.
Funds: Reagan's New Federalism will require better management, sensitivity and personal political skills at the local level in the 1980s. Programs and funding changes remain unclear, but we will need to evaluate probable impacts program by program; evaluate the necessity for an effectiveness of current expenditures; streamline administrative services and redirect saved funds for program goals; prioritize basic services, such as police, education, transportation, environment (trash, water, sewer), health care, etc.; Let municipalities (Takome Park, Rockville, Gaithersburg, etc.) set priorities and eliminate double taxation, and expand private sector jobs and taxable base to offset declining federal employment opportunities and funding. Under my administration, Montgomery County will become a national leader in developing cooperative efforts among counties across the nation to share the costs and answers to common problems. By sharing costs with other counties, Montgomery County will reduce its total expenditures for finding economically and environmentally satisfying ways to deal with, for example, recycling waste.
Housing: Too many recent Montgomery County government housing actions contradict policy and election year promises. We must make housing policy and actions consistent. After World War II, there was a major housing shortage. Federal FHA/VA programs and private builders worked effectively to make the great communities in which many countians still live. It can be done again. We need to: implement approved master plans and the Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance to ensure an appropriate housing supply; streamline tedious permit processes to reduce costs and time; plan better (eliminate TDRs); increase financing supply through judicious use of public pension monies; emphasize private housing solutions over public housing; ensure moderate priced dwelling unit program flexibility to achieve appropriate amount and placement; make sure that HOC projects are planned, developed and placed appropriately to ensure adequate public services are available -- transportation, schools, parks, etc., and emphasize rehabilitation programs to maintain our existing affordable housing supply.
Population: Whether one is a longtime county resident or a newly arrived Asian, everyone deserves to be treated equally. Montgomery County has historically provided outstanding citizen services: education, safe neighborhoods, ethnic respect and job and housing opportunities. I want to make Montgomery County the best county in which to live, work and enjoy a quality life. For everyone. Unfortunately, under the current leadership, rhetoric outweighs performance. Public acts of hate and violence have been publicized -- satisfying perpetrators' sick egos -- but acts increase as they are not dealt with effectively. Astoundingly, the highly regarded crime intelligence unit of the police dealing with terrorism, organized crime and political corruption was dismantled. Public condemnation is meaningless without vigorous enforcement commitments. I will reinstitute the crime intelligence unit.
Views: This feeling reflects frustration with the political style of the incumbent executive as well as the election process of county council members. I support reform of the councilmanic election process where citizens elect council members by district residents only as well as at-large. The incumbent executive's response to the envoronmental concerns of Laytonsville's citizens was "power politics," pitting Rockville against Laytonsville. The announcement in February of the solidwaste facility at Shady Grove was another example of "we've decided, now come to public hearings." It is understandable that citizens feel they are circumvented. We need leadership -- an executive that will involve people before decisions are made. As county executive, I have pledged to set aside every Thursday night to visit with every citizen group in Montgomery County in their neighborhood. I will be an accessible executive who ensures and encourages early citizen participation in all major decisions.
Charles W. Gilchrist (D), (Incumbent) 45, of 405 W. Montgomery Ave., Rockville, was a member of the state Senate from 1975-79 before becoming county executive; he served on the Finance Committee. A graduate of Harvard Law School, he has been a tax lawyer and treasurer of the Democratic State Central Committee.
Funds: We accelerate our program for greater efficiency. We continue to make careful priority budget decisions so as to maintain vitality and quality of essential services and to protect those people most vulnerable, such as the elderly, youngsters, the poor and minority groups. We use county funds as leverage to encourage and supplement private funds. We will continue to build on successful public-private partnerships, such as working poor, help for small businesses, opposition to hate-violence, legal aid for the poor, drug abuse and drunken driving programs.
Housing: Federal cutbacks make it even more essential that we continue to implement our housing policy, which stresses coordination with the private sector. This collection of programs includes rental supplements, use of county tax-exempt bonds to help with new construction, implementation of moderate price dwelling unit zoning incentives for builders and aid for maintenance and rehabilitation of existing stock. We must continue to protect elderly and handicapped tenants against dispossession when apartments go condo. We are exploring the feasibility of using pension funds to expand construction loan programs. We also will continue to streamline the permit process.
Population: Hispanic and black liaison officers report directly to me as county executive. I accept personal responsibility for affirmative action programs in hiring and purchasing. We must maintain funds for education programs which accommodate people whose first language is not English. I meet regularly with representatives of various minority groups. We replaced lost federal funds to as to make sure those who are not fluent in English, such as Asians, have county staff who can translate for them. We continue to remain vigilant and to oppose people who spread hate and who urge, or commit, acts against minority citizens.
Views: We share information with all interested citizens. While we always respect suggestions, we cannot always agree. The new landfill was found to be safe by state health and county departments. In contrast, the state health department ordered the existing one to be closed because it was no longer safe. Cable TV has been a competition. It has been conducted in a scrupulously fair manner. Predictably some people will prefer one applicant over another. This does not detract from the manner in which the competition was conducted. We consider relevant facts and arguments on public issues. Our goal is to give honest, informed decisions and explain the reasons for them. I do not know what more we can do, but if improvements in the decisional process are available, I will adopt them.