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Seeking Re-election to the Town Council
I’ve now completed the goal I set for myself at the outset of this campaign: I’ve knocked on every door in our Town, and personally said hello and talked with over 400 fellow residents who were at home when I called. I’ve walked a lot and learned a lot – and, I hope, made the point that I want to hear from everyone.
I’ve talked to many of you about the work we – the Town Council, helped by so many residents -have done these past two years on many crucial issues: the Bethesda Downtown Plan, easing building ordinances, maintaining high quality Town services, and achieving some advancement on Purple Line mitigation.
I’ve also emphasized that the means of achieving these results is every bit as important as the results themselves. We have undertaken our work with open minds, cordial listening and mutual respect – and this approach has yielded what may be most important result of all: success in bringing this Town together. I am pleased to run on this record.
Looking ahead, it is vital that all Councilmembers work collaboratively to resolve the issues we face. I earnestly hope that all who win on Tuesday will be committed to that approach – and thereby ensure the continuation of the progress that we’ve made these past two years.
I’d also like to emphasize another important quality of being a Councilmember: working hard. Serving on this Council is a very full part time position. One must spend time to learn an issue, undertake due diligence, understand other’s views, consider a strategy, revise it, and then execute it with all the meetings, lobbying, letter and e-mail writing and phone calls that are required. Only with such work can we move from initial statements of principles and intent, to substantive results.
This understanding of the effort required gives rise to a related reality of Council work: the need for discipline and setting priorities. Time to learn, think, act and represent are all limited, as are our resources and political capital with parties outside the Town whose support we need. To be effective, we must be focused, and our positions must be specific and actionable. Do we have broad issues with traffic? Most assuredly – but I believe that improving safety for our kids along East West highway is of utmost importance. Are there many things we might wish improved regarding the Purple Line? Yes, but I’m hearing that noise control is the top concern among affected residents. Discipline does not mean rigidity or a refusal to take up new issues when they arise; nor does it mean that we can only pursue one goal per issue. But it does mean that we chart a steady course, and not lose track of what we’ve agreed are our highest priorities.
Finally, I want to say, “thank you.” First to my colleagues on the Council with whom I’ve had the pleasure to serve and particularly to Scott Fosler, who was mayor during my first year on the Council, and to Mary Flynn, who is now concluding her year as mayor. We will miss Scott’s and Mary’s leadership, thoughtfulness, fairness and their abiding good humor.
I also want to thank all the residents who have spent countless hours on the various committees that serve our Town so well. On just the issues on which I’ve been personally engaged, our neighbors have researched the draft Bethesda Downtown Plan in detail and helped shape our views on this crucial document; collected thousands of signatures on our Parks petition on cold February days; reviewed our building ordinances with balance and care; and provided expertise on noise, civil drawings, storm water management and permitting, all to develop effective positions for Purple Line mitigation. We would have no progress on these vital issues, without their vital contributions.
It has been an honor serving as your councilmember, and I’ve greatly enjoyed meeting and working with so many fellow residents. I hope you will allow me to continue working on your behalf.
Please vote this Tuesday, Mary 1st, at the Town Hall. Polls are open from 8 am to 8 pm.