On January 15 we essentially finished our exhaustive work on the first proposed major changes in the Zoning Code since 1978. We took straw votes on the proposed revisions, but those votes remain tentative decisions until our final, formal vote on February 25.
If you have been following along, you know the Planning, Housing and Economic Development Committee held numerous worksessions over a six-month period in 2013 on revisions that were recommended by the Planning Board. The full Council then held worksessions in January. You can view Council and committee meetings on demand at County Cable Montgomery.
I want to extend a big thank you to the Planning Board, Planning staff, Council staff, my fellow Councilmembers and all the community members who participated in the process. I'm confident that we now have a zoning code that is more accessible and understandable to everyone.
Congratulations to Cherri Branson who was sworn in as the new Councilmember for District 5 on January 28. She's off to a terriffic start--digging deep into complex issues and reaching out to her district. Councilmember Branson succeeds former Councilmember Valerie Ervin, who resigned from the Council on January 3. Councilmember Branson will complete the unexpired term, which ends on December 1, 2014.
A graduate of Vassar College (B.A.), Indiana University School of Law (J.D.), and Emory University School of Law (LL.M.), Councilmember Branson has held key staff positions in the U.S. House of Representatives since 1989. She most recently served as Chief Counsel for Oversight on the Democratic staff of the House Committee on Homeland Security. She has been president of the African American Democratic Club of Montgomery County. The Council appointed her as a member of the County’s Commission on Redistricting in 2011. She has also served as a member of the Charter Review Commission.
There were a lot of reasons I enjoyed this year's Women's Legislative Briefing, including serving on a panel about women in elected office with my friends, Nancy Navarro and Valerie Ervin. The Commission for Women always does a terriffic job with this event, and I particularly enjoyed the screening of Miss Representation, a documentary film that exposes how mainstream media contribute to the under-representation of women in positions of power and influence in America. While watching the film, I was struck by how much our economy depends on selling goods at the expense of women and girls. If you haven't had a chance to see it yet, I encourage you to check it out, or you can see a list of the statistics featured in the film.
Do you know a college or grad school student looking for an internship or job in the environmental sector? If so, check out the the fifth annual Fields of Green Internship Fair on February 8. The event will feature some of the leading environmental employers from the DC metro area and many more green employers looking for talented candidates to fulfill their internship needs.
Is your community organization hosting a public meeting? Please let me know how I can help. I am happy to assist residents in understanding pending bills or in finding ways to get involved in the legislative process. Even more important, I want to hear about what matters to you. Send your meeting notices to email@example.com or call 240-777-7959 if you would like me to address a particular topic with your group.