The Glass Gazette: October 2020


October 2020

Our County’s Future: Ballot Questions A, B, C and D

As you receive your mail-in ballots or make your plan for voting in person, I would like to draw your attention to four ballot measures that will have an enormous impact on the future of Montgomery County (located on the second page of your ballot). From tax policy to the Council’s structure, these questions deserve your attention and your vote.

  • Vote FOR Question A: Question A is a step toward fixing our broken tax system. It’s simple, as tax policy should be: a cap on the rate we pay, not on the total revenue the County can receive. Your property tax rate next year will remain the same as your tax rate this year, unless all nine County Councilmembers vote to increase it. Tax revenues would increase exactly how they should, when the tax base grows. The better our local economy does, the more the County will be able to invest in schools, transportation, and everyday services. By simply keeping our tax rates steady, it would generate millions in revenue without even needing to raise taxes to do so. 
  • Vote AGAINST Question B: Question B is bad and it could bankrupt the County. It would directly threaten our AAA Bond rating, which is needed to fund schools, libraries, transportation projects and rec centers. It doesn’t promote a thriving economy, but actually discourages the very economic growth we need to invest in critical infrastructure and address school overcrowding in a fiscally responsible way. Question B would threaten our ability to adequately address this COVID-19 health emergency and the resulting economic crisis.
  • Vote FOR Question C: Question C would expand Council representation and increase diversity. The County Council is currently made up of nine members: five elected in a district and four elected at-large (by the entire County). Question C would create two new seats on the Council by adding two new district Councilmembers, while maintaining the four at-large seats. Most importantly, Question C would maintain your ability to vote for five members of the Council, who you can contact for constituent service needs and advocate for/against public policy.
  • Vote AGAINST Question D: Question D will dilute your voice. Currently, every voter in Montgomery County can vote for five Councilmembers: one in their district and four at-large. This means that every resident has five Councilmembers to represent their interests and provide constituent services. If Question D passes, you’ll be limited to voting for only one Councilmember instead of five.

Expanding LGBTQ+ Health Care Rights

The Council unanimously passed my LGBTQ Bill of Rights, a law that will strengthen Montgomery County’s legal protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer residents by expanding Montgomery County’s anti-discrimination code to include gender expression and HIV status. The LGBTQ Bill of Rights explicitly bans LGBTQ+ discrimination in healthcare facilities, nursing homes and personal care facilities.   

Hate and bigotry should not exist in our healthcare system. This legislation will ensure that LGBTQ+ seniors can receive the health and medical attention they need so they can age with dignity and respect.

The LGBTQ Bill of Rights is the first such law in Maryland and in the region.

Montgomery County’s senior population is projected to constitute 21% of county residents by 2040, and with half of all people living with HIV being over the age of 50, the need for protecting access to healthcare is particularly acute for LGBTQ+ seniors.

LGBTQ Bill Of Rights

Purple Line Updates

I recently organized socially distanced outdoor tours with the Maryland Transit Administration for colleagues and residents in Silver Spring and Bethesda to discuss the problems they are experiencing with the construction of the Purple Line, and how those problems will be addressed by MTA while Governor Hogan determines how to proceed with the project.

There are a lot of questions that need to be answered about how and when the project will proceed, but there are also tens of thousands of people currently walking, biking and driving (aka living) along the route, in addition to businesses that have been adversely affected, that need to know what remedies are being put into place in the short term to keep them safe from incidents and accidents.

We didn’t reach a resolution on everything, but it was an extremely productive dialogue and I appreciate MTA stepping up and speaking directly with residents in their own community.

It was the first of many more tours I expect to organize with our state partners so that we can ensure everyone’s safety and well-being until the Purple Line is up and running.

Purple Line Walking Tour

“MoCo Strong” T-shirts will Support Youth

I am excited to announce an effort that will benefit three local organizations that are working to create a more fair and equitable society. Proceeds from the "MoCo Strong" t-shirts that I designed will help support Identity, Inc., The Collaboration Council, and Impact Silver Spring, three organizations that are working to advance racial equity and build opportunities for at-risk youth. The t-shirts are locally produced by Rockville-based printer Sports Extra and all proceeds will go to the three charitable organizations. 

You can learn more about the initiative here.

MoCo Shirts

Celebrating Halloween Safely During COVID-19

As Halloween approaches, Montgomery County officials are offering advice on how to minimize risks associated with this annual celebration given the pandemic. Due to the challenge of maintaining proper physical distancing on porches and at front doors on Halloween, traditional, door-to-door trick-or-treating is not recommended. 

The County's current Executive Order does not allow for events or activities of more than 50 people so large Halloween gatherings, even if held outdoors, are not permitted. Carnivals, festivals, live entertainment and haunted house attractions are not allowed unless granted a letter of approval.

Click here for more information on fun alternatives and providing a safer environment for children and families for this year. 


Did You Know?

Even though typical flu season begins in October and peaks between December and February, the changes brought on by COVID-19 means it is time to start thinking about when, how and where you can get immunized. The prevalence of the coronavirus in the U.S. this year means you really do not want the flu. A combination of both viruses, or one after the other, may mean bad news for your health, respiratory health and overall ability to recover. Although many people rely on getting their flu shots at their workplace, you can also get a flu shot at your doctor’s office, or pharmacy.

Here’s where you can search for a location near you.

Flue Shot