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Town of Chevy Chase
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Send Date:
4/29/2018 10:41:06 AM
Email Subject:
Message from Town Council Candidate Kirk Renaud

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Dear Neighbors,

This post is a bit long because it offers more detail than other campaign statements.  My hope is that more information will help you base your voting decisions on substance rather than who has the fanciest flyer!  Key points supporting my candidacy are:

  • The Council will be stronger if some members have management experience.
  • Council Members with a collaborative leadership style will be most effective.
  • The Council works best as a team of people with different, complimentary strengths.
  • Past community service is the best barometer of a candidate’s commitment to the Town.
  • Top priority is defending residents from Bethesda development and Purple Line impacts.
  • We need to help busy people, especially young families, participate in Town government.
  • I have number of innovative ideas about other initiatives the Town should consider.
  • We are in this together, and we need to treat neighbors with civility band respect.
  • Over 125 neighbors, including 6 past Town mayors, have endorsed my candidacy.

I think the Town is on a positive trend now, and I hope you will vote for me and two other candidates who will keep that positive momentum going.  Please read though this document or visit my website for more information (www.KirkRenaud.com).

Thanks for taking the time to vote in this important election.

Sincerely,

Kirk Renaud


CANDIDATE STATEMENT 2

Kirk Renaud
3906 Woodbine Street

While the Town has weathered a few storms over the years, thanks to the hard work of many volunteers, we have come together successfully as a community again.  We need to continue working together to keep our Town a wonderful place for all residents, from kids to seniors.  I am running for Town Council because I care deeply about our neighborhood, and I have the community knowledge, management experience, and collaborative teamwork skills to help build on our positive momentum.


Broad Management Experience

My career has included work for large companies, government, and small businesses.  I earned an MBA from Stanford University, then moved to DC to work as a management consultant for McKinsey and Co.  Since then, I have held executive positions and Board directorships in several businesses and non-profits.  Currently, I am the President and CEO of a health product company, and Board Chairman of an international sports product company.   I have also served on a number of non-profit boards, including the BCC Education Foundation Board.  One of my favorite Board roles right now is with a California foundation called Project Redwood, an organization that provides financing and mentoring to entrepreneurs who are developing creative approaches to reducing poverty in Africa and Central America.

Most of my work life has been about collaborating with different individuals and
managing teams to get things done.  As a CEO, I need to bring together electrical and mechanical engineers, software specialists and marketing people to design new products.  Manufacturing and distributing those products around the world means negotiating with another set of organizations that have different, often conflicting goals and objectives.  My company has international partnerships in the UK, Italy, Germany, Sweden, Australia, China, and Japan.  I have learned a lot from working on those relationships because they involve delicate negotiations with people with different objectives, cultures, and languages.  I also spend time on a wide range of everyday problems including government regulations, tax filings, information systems, legal concerns, accounting and finance, and occasional customer complaints.  I believe that kind of experience will be useful because our Town also has to solve these kinds of problems in the course of doing Town business.


Effective Collaborative Leadership

Just because I am the top executive for my company does not mean that I get to simply send out decrees and things happen.  I wish that was true, but as a small business leader, I don’t always get to dictate terms.  More often, I need to persuade other parties to do what is best for all the players in a given situation.  That kind of work takes tact, patience, active listening, and a good ear for finding fair solutions that can benefit everyone at the table.  Those kinds of skills help businesses succeed, and they are also important skills for a Town Council member.  The two examples below demonstrate the kind of patience, persistence, listening, and the ability to organize and present information that I believe we need to work successfully with local government, businesses, and other community organizations.


Solar Success

When Town resident Ketch Ryan and I created Common Cents Solar, we set our sights on helping homeowners install solar systems, but we also worked with schools, houses of worship, and local government. Those installations were naturally more challenging because they involved lots of different stakeholders and decision makers. We were especially eager to put a solar system on our own Town Hall/Lawton Community Center.  That effort required several complex written proposals with lots of technical detail and cost analysis, plus many meetings and negotiations with the Montgomery County Council, the Parks and Recreation Department, county purchasing agents, and others.  The process required careful listening to each party to understand and overcome obstacles that were blocking the solar installation.  For example, some were concerned that the roof would collapse if we installed solar panels, so we needed to bring in a civil engineer to assure people that it would be perfectly safe.  Eventually, we succeeded in getting the system installed, and it became the pilot project that led to the installation of 15 more solar systems on County-owned buildings.


School Start Times

I had a similar experience working on a task force that set out to change start times for Montgomery County high schools. The effort began when I realized that our rising ninth grader son would need to get up at 6:30 A.M. to get to school on time.  My work involves collaboration with NIH scientists who research neuroscience and circadian rhythms, so I was aware that such early start times are not healthy for teens.  The research shows what all parents can see for themselves.  Teenagers are literally operating on a different time zone than the rest of us, and their ability to learn is not as strong early in the day. 

We put together a team of concerned parents and medical experts who could marshal scientific arguments about why later school start times are more conducive to optimal learning for teenagers.  The task force conducted a survey of students, teachers, and parents to provide real data on the extent of the problem.  The survey showed that the problem of students sleeping in class was widespread, and the task of getting students up for school was a major stress issue for most families.  Our task force dove into
understanding all of stakeholders and all of the factors that complicated the issue. We considered bus-route economics, coaches' concerns about after school sports, teachers’ commuting issues, and many other factors.  The task force presented our findings and recommendations to MCPS leaders, and the BCC principal accepted a creative pilot test proposal so that we could find out what schedule changes approaches might work, and what the unintended consequences might be before rolling out major changes cross MCPS.  Our task force work set the foundation for a series of follow-up campaigns and studies.  Eventually, MCPS changed school start times so that high school students can now get about 30 more minutes of sleep than they did when we started our quest.


Extensive Community Service

My wife Sally and I moved to the Town 25 years ago and raised our sons Alex and Bryant here, from CCES through BCC High School. During that time, I have volunteered in many different ways, including:

  • Serving as a Block Captain and Town Committee member.
  • Coaching youth baseball and soccer teams for many years.
  • Organizing educational programs on renewable energy, electric vehicles, LEDs, etc.
  • Creating a nonprofit to put solar systems on homes, schools, and the Lawton Center.
  • Negotiating Town purchase discounts on electricity, roofing, & HVAC services.
  • Mentoring students as an intern sponsor, science fair judge, and entrepreneur tutor.

Those and other community service activities have given me a strong foundation of knowledge about the Town and its residents.  That foundation means that I won’t have trouble getting up to speed on issues of concern to the Town Council now, and others that may come up in the future.


Endorsements

We believe that Kirk Renaud would make an excellent Town Council member.  Kirk has the experience and management skills to help guide our Town, and he has a long record of community service work that demonstrates his commitment to our neighborhood.  He is also a person of integrity and calm temperament who really cares about our residents, and can be trusted to treat everyone with respect and fairness.

Alex Palacios, Bradley Ln.

Amanda LaForge, Woodbine St.

Amy Kossoff, Leland St.

Ann Ashbery, Ridge St.

Ann Truss, Bradley Ln.

Areg Mangassarian, Leland St.

Barbara Rose, Ridgewood Ave

Bari Schwartz, Willow Ln.

Barry Boden, Meadow Ln.

Barbara Mullenex, Blackthorn St.

Barbara Shepp, Ridgewood Ave.

Barry Hager, Willow Ln.

Ben Delancey, Leland St.

Betsy Hague, Leland St.

Betsy Johnson, Ridge St.

Bob Lyford, Beechwood Dr.

Bobby Greenfield, Curtis Rd.

Bridget Hartman, Ridgewood Ave.

Cathy Wolf, Lynn Dr.

Charles Tiefer, Woodbine St.

Christina Files, Maple Ave.

Carol Emig, Oakridge Ave.

Chris Mixter, Ridgewood Ave.

Coralee Hoffman, Virgilia St.

Craig Mullaney, Woodbine St.

David Debruin, Leland St

David Lublin,* Thornapple St.

David Strom, Ridgewood Ave.

Dedun Ingram, Elm St.

Demetrius Albanes, Bradley Ln.

Dennis Carroll, Beechwood Dr.

Dian Seidel, Stanford St.

Dick Clay, Woodbine St.

Donna Worsham, Woodbine St.

Don MacGlashan, Woodbine St.

Don Murphy, Conn. Ave.

Eileen Lawrence, Curtis Rd.

E.J. Matto, Woodbine St.

Elizabeth Taylor, Leland St.

Ernie Kelly, Oak Ln.

Fred Morse, Ridgewood Ave.

Georgia Guhin, Rosemary St.

Graciela Mangassarian, Leland St.

Hank Merrill, Ridgewood St.

Helen Price, Ridge St.

Helena Sebastian, Woodbine St.

Hillary Burchuck, Woodbine St

Holly Wright, Ridgewood Ave.

Irene Lane, Aspen St. 

Jean Shorett, Oakridge Ave.  

Jeanne Clay, Woodbine St.

Jim Gelb, Woodbine St.

Jim Worsham, Woodbine St.

Joan Hoover, Oakridge Ave.

Joe Guerra, Woodbine St.

Joe Gitchell, Stanford St.

Jon Hiatt, Ridgewood Ave

John Murphey, Thornapple St.

John Beale, Meadow Ln.

Judy Preston, Underwood St.

John Kolakowski, Leland St.

Judy McGuire, Rosemary St.

Julia Craighill, Maple Ave.

Karen Elkins, Thornapple St.

Katie Freeman, Maple Ave.   

Kathy Strom,* Ridgewood Ave.

Kathryn Allison, Woodbine St.

Keith Blizzard, 44th St.

Ken Button, Beechwood Dr.

Ketch Ryan, Oakridge Ave. (Seattle)

Kevin Sebastian, Woodbine St.

Lance Hoffman, 44th St (Tenleytown)

Laura Kalick, Stanford St.

Lauren Cook, Virgilia St.

Lees Hartman, Ridgewood Ave.

Leslie Hill, Beechwood St.

Linda Bartley, Beechwood Dr.

Linna Barnes,* Ridgewood Ave.

Lydia Adelfiol, Woodside Pl.

Marcie Meditch, Underwood St.

Mark Denbo, Woodbine St.

Mary Anne Hoffman, 44th St (Tenleytown)

Matt Vita, Maple Ave.

Michelle Ward-Brent, Meadow Ln.   

Mier Wolf, * Lynn Dr.

Mike Clurman, Woodbine St. 

Mike Durst, Oakridge Ave.

Michael Guhin, Rosemary St.

Molly Merrill, Ridgewood St.

Nick Krawczyk, Virgilia St.

Paul Magnussen, Leland St.

Pam Gardner, Meadow Ln.

Pat Burda,*, Woodbine St.

Peggy MacGlashan, Woodbine St.

Peter Edwards, Meadow Ln.

Phil Martin, Blackthorn St.

Rachel Gafni, Meadow Ln.

Richard English, Maple Ave.

Richard Preston, Underwood St.

Russ Powell, Ridge St.

Sally Clurman, Woodbine St.

Sally Duggin, Woodbine St.   

Sally Kelly, Oak Ln.

Sarah Smith, Woodbine St.

Scott Fosler,* Woodbine St.  

Sharon Pohoryles, Woodbine St.

Sheila Blum, Ridgewood Ave.

Steve Lawton, Stanford St.                 

Steve Seidel, Stanford St.       

Stuart Sessions, Meadow Ln. 

Ted Kalick, Stanford St.         

            Tim Gardner, Meadow Ln.

Vicky Taplin, Leland St.

Virginia Ceaser, Virgilia St.

Warren Topelius, Meadow Ln.

Wes Seigner, Woodbine St.

Yianna Albanes, Bradley Ln.

___________________________.                                        

* Past Town Mayor

** This list contains 3 neighbors who have moved, but are still well known in the Town.


Town Priorities & New Ideas

Frankly, I think all of the candidates agree that we will need to remain vigilant to address the adverse impacts of Bethesda development and Purple Line construction.  Those impacts risk dividing the Town, but we need to resist splintering into different factions and attack adverse impacts from a unified base.  Better yet, we need to collaborate with other groups (like CBAR) and communities who are also affected so we can multiply and leverage our influence.  If we use our combined clout wisely, we can minimize negative impacts.

I don’t think we can stop the Purple Line at this point, so I would not favor direct Town financial support of related lawsuits.  However, I do believe that the Town has an obligation to pay for expert studies of noise impacts and water quality, and perhaps other consultants who could monitor Purple Line and Bethesda development activities to make sure we receive the protections promised to us. These kinds of expenditures would be a good use of part of the Town’s surplus funds, and they could strengthen our hand if we ever do need to resort to legal action in the future. The Town might also be able to
support specific steps to reduce some resident impacts, for example building a higher noise wall and doing landscaping that can reduce noise and increase privacy for those closest to the Purple Line.  Those mitigations may be costs that we can share with other groups to capture some economies of scale.

In addition to the “big two” issues above, here are a number of other topics that I would be interested in working on:

  • Support Resident-Driven Environmental Initiatives

We need to find ways to help the Town and its residents become greener overall.  Town operations and activities use energy and create climate impacts.  We already do a pretty good job of recycling and minimizing waste, but we can look for ways to do even more.  I have been working with Irene Lane, our new Environment Committee Chairperson, to plan a Green Fair for next fall, and she has been doing a great job with that. We have also begun to create a group of people with environment skills and interests called “CEAG” – the Climate and Environment Advisory Group” who can function in an advisory capacity. CEAG has a long list of ideas for climate and environment education and initiatives.  We don’t have enough volunteers or resources to implement many in a given year, so we will work with CEAG to establish priorities and ask residents for input on which projects should go forward.

  • Get Broader Resident Input

We need to be able to listen to residents better.  Most people don’t have time to come to Council meetings to offer public comments, in person, so we need other ways to supplement resident input on Town policies.  One way to do that is to ask for opinions and ideas more often through brief topic surveys.  The technology to do that is readily available and simple to use.  I have initiated surveys on various specific topics from time to time.  For example, a few years ago I did a survey about trash pickup options, and gave the results to the Council for use in their deliberations.  The comments and data that came from that survey helped the Council decide not to make the service reductions they had been considering.  I also did a preliminary survey a few months ago about the community pool operating schedule for CCRA board.  The survey data helped the board decide to extend the summer pool schedule a few weeks.  Surveys have to be designed carefully to be useful and accurate. I have some background in creating surveys for market research and product design feedback, so I know something about how to do this. And I expect we have some other Town residents who might be willing to help.

  • Make Resident Participation in Town Activities Easier

It would be wonderful if we could help more residents participate in and support Town activities.  We are extremely lucky to have very capable people with a wealth of knowledge and experience in our Town.  Every time I go to a Town committee meeting, I come away extremely impressed by the expertise and high quality work of committee members.  I now know, for example, that we have at least two residents who are very expert on sound engineering, and that skill is very useful in figuring out Purple Line noise impacts.  But I also know that there is a tremendous amount of talent in the Town that we are not even aware of.  It’s difficult to tap into that resource very well, in part because people are so busy.  We might be able to develop informal advisory groups of people with expertise in particular areas, like the Climate and Environment Advisory Group.  Or we could build an expertise database, so we would better know who to contact about various topics.

One of the reasons that we don’t get more people engaged in Town matters is that the primary mechanism for participation is through membership on a standing committee that meets every month in the Town Hall.  These committees have made major contributions to the Town over the years, but they require a commitment of sustained time and effort.  
Parents with young children, in particular, have a hard time participating on committees, as do other residents with evening commitments.  Consequently, their interests are often underrepresented.

I have some ideas about how to
make participation easier and more “bite-sized” so more of our busy residents can get involved. Very short, focused surveys can help, as noted above.  People might be able to find time to answer a few questions on an online survey, and they could do that with out needing to find childcare.  We might also be able to involve more people by breaking up projects into smaller, task force groups that meet only one or two few times on a narrow issue. We should also be able to employ technology more effectively – for example by using conference calls or having online meetings that people can attend from home while they are watching their kids.  Very short volunteer opportunities could help.  For example, you might not have time to serve on the Centennial Garden Committee, but maybe you could come for one hour on a Saturday morning to help plant some flowers. 

  • Improve Town Connections and Communications

A resilient network of connections with Town residents can make our community stronger and safer.  The Town can communicate with residents in several different ways: Email from the Town Crier, print notices in the Forecast, and occasional direct mail letters or postcards, and the Town alert phone system.  The Town Neighbors list-serve and the Town Facebook page also serve as important unofficial community communications.  The combined system works pretty well, but no single channel can reach everyone in the Town.  Some neighbors do not use email or have not signed up for Town Crier, so they may not get timely notice of important events.  I would like to see us make a concerted effort to ensure that everyone is able to get digital notices via Town Crier, and that email addresses are kept up to date.  We also need to keep an up-to-date list of residents who do not use email so that we can reach them by phone or in person in case of an emergency.  We should work to make the Town Directory more complete too, so neighbors can communicate with each other easily.  Right now, only about 600 of the 1,000 homes in the neighborhood are listed in the directory.

  • Update the Block Captain System

The block captain network should be an important component of the Town communication system. We have let it lapse lately, in part because email works so well that it has become less necessary.  However, a time may come when we need to reach people when the internet is down.  In that case, it would be good to have a system in place where block captains could reach their neighbors by phone or in person. The block captain system also has the benefit of fostering community on a block level so people will be aware of and can help when neighbors are away, or a senior needs help.  We are all safer when neighbors know each other at least a little bit. When you are away on vacation and a moving truck pulls up and starts loading your TV sets, someone should be aware enough to call the police.

  • Enhance Traffic and Pedestrian Safety

It feels like cars are zooming through Town streets faster lately, and we might want to consider reducing speed limits or taking other measures to calm traffic.  I am especially concerned about traffic during times when kids are on the way to and from school.  It might be worthwhile doing a limited traffic study to see where the problems are.  Some have suggested speed cameras and speed bumps, and more signage limiting traffic access to the Town.  Others think a new traffic light should be added to East West Highway to allow a safer crossing for students on their way to and from BCCHS.  These may or may not be viable suggestions, but they are worth considering.  A workshop on traffic issues would be a good way to collect resident feedback and ideas to complement a traffic study.

  • Look for Opportunities to Add Green Space/Parks

However you feel about the Purple Line, we can all probably agree that the loss of the Crescent Trail took away a very valuable green space.  It was a lovely, cool, peaceful place that many in the Town enjoyed as bikers, hikers, and dog walkers.  We would be hard pressed to replace that lost tree canopy and the mini wildlife reserve.  But we can try to expand our park space on the west side of town to make up for some of the loss and, at the same time, create a buffer between residents and Bethesda development.  The Town has already begun the process of expanding green space on the west side of town, and considering replacing some of the surface parking lot near the Women’s Farm Market with park land that could effectively expand Elm Street Park.  A significant amount of public money will be designated for park creation, and we will want to get our fair share of that money to expand our Town parks.

  • Create a Dog Zone

It might be difficult to create an official dog park in the Town because of all the costs and regulations involved.  However, I think we could work out some “dog zone” arrangements as a number of residents have been requesting.  Those might include limited use of a few parks at specific times of day on some days of the week.  Pop-up dog zones seem to have worked out, and I think we should try more of those as pilots to test the idea more, then get resident feedback.  Perhaps we could also use those areas for dog training classes, agility demonstrations, etc.  We are dog owners, and I think our family would enjoy a dog zone.  I expect there will be some costs involved, so I would ask dog owners who want to use the zones to pay a modest annual fee to contribute to park clean up and maintenance.  In return, I would ask that dog owners not use the tennis courts, and stay clear of Chevy Chase Elementary School

  • Improve the Town Forecast and Town Website.

The Town website has gotten better over the years, but will always need regular reviews to make sure it is user friendly and responsive to residents’ needs.  Perhaps a small task force or expert advisory group would take that on.  No major redesign is needed, but some small, easy tweaks would help.  We probably have residents who do that for a living and could spend an hour now and then developing some recommendations.

The
Forecast would be more fun if we included regular reports and photos from Town events. Those reports would encourage more people to come to future events when they see the great event they missed.  As it is now, volunteers work very hard to put on wonderful events, but we never hear anything more after the event is over.  Wouldn’t you enjoy finding out who won the pie contest?  Or what the bourbon tasting event was like?  We could also have fun doing an occasional write-ups or interviews with town residents.  We have fascinating people in town, and it would be nice to meet more of them this way.  Who will do all this fun reporting?  Well, I think we have some journalists around; students who work for their school papers who might do some writing for us; and many others willing to pitch in now and then.  Let’s do a little survey and find out!


If you have gotten this far, I am very impressed!  Please email me and let me know about your reactions and additional ideas to add to this list. 
Kirk Renaud@aol.com.  If I hear from just one person, I will win a bet about how serious Town residents are about elections.  THANKS!

Plain text message

Dear Neighbors,

This post is a bit long because it offers more detail than other campaign statements. My hope is that more information will help you base your voting decisions on substance rather than who has the fanciest flyer! Key points supporting my candidacy are:

The Council will be stronger if some members have management experience.

Council Members with a collaborative leadership style will be most effective.

The Council works best as a team of people with different, complimentary strengths.

Past community service is the best barometer of a candidate’s commitment to the Town.

Top priority is defending residents from Bethesda development and Purple Line impacts.

We need to help busy people, especially young families, participate in Town government.

I have number of innovative ideas about other initiatives the Town should consider.

We are in this together, and we need to treat neighbors with civility band respect.

Over 125 neighbors, including 6 past Town mayors, have endorsed my candidacy.

I think the Town is on a positive trend now, and I hope you will vote for me and two other candidates who will keep that positive momentum going. Please read though this document or visit my website for more information ( www.KirkRenaud.com).

Thanks for taking the time to vote in this important election.

Sincerely,

Kirk Renaud

CANDIDATE STATEMENT 2
Kirk Renaud
3906 Woodbine Street

While the Town has weathered a few storms over the years, thanks to the hard work of many volunteers, we have come together successfully as a community again. We need to continue working together to keep our Town a wonderful place for all residents, from kids to seniors. I am running for Town Council because I care deeply about our neighborhood, and I have the community knowledge, management experience, and collaborative teamwork skills to help build on our positive momentum.

Broad Management Experience

My career has included work for large companies, government, and small businesses. I earned an MBA from Stanford University, then moved to DC to work as a management consultant for McKinsey and Co. Since then, I have held executive positions and Board directorships in several businesses and non-profits. Currently, I am the President and CEO of a health product company, and Board Chairman of an international sports product company. I have also served on a number of non-profit boards, including the BCC Education Foundation Board. One of my favorite Board roles right now is with a California foundation called Project Redwood, an organization that provides financing and mentoring to entrepreneurs who are developing creative approaches to reducing poverty in Africa and Central America.

Most of my work life has been about collaborating with different individuals and managing teams to get things done. As a CEO, I need to bring together electrical and mechanical engineers, software specialists and marketing people to design new products. Manufacturing and distributing those products around the world means negotiating with another set of organizations that have different, often conflicting goals and objectives. My company has international partnerships in the UK, Italy, Germany, Sweden, Australia, China, and Japan. I have learned a lot from working on those relationships because they involve delicate negotiations with people with different objectives, cultures, and languages. I also spend time on a wide range of everyday problems including government regulations, tax filings, information systems, legal concerns, accounting and finance, and occasional customer complaints. I believe that kind of experience will be useful because our Town also has to solve these kinds of problems in the course of doing Town business.

Effective Collaborative Leadership

Just because I am the top executive for my company does not mean that I get to simply send out decrees and things happen. I wish that was true, but as a small business leader, I don’t always get to dictate terms. More often, I need to persuade other parties to do what is best for all the players in a given situation. That kind of work takes tact, patience, active listening, and a good ear for finding fair solutions that can benefit everyone at the table. Those kinds of skills help businesses succeed, and they are also important skills for a Town Council member. The two examples below demonstrate the kind of patience, persistence, listening, and the ability to organize and present information that I believe we need to work successfully with local government, businesses, and other community organizations.

Solar Success

When Town resident Ketch Ryan and I created Common Cents Solar, we set our sights on helping homeowners install solar systems, but we also worked with schools, houses of worship, and local government. Those installations were naturally more challenging because they involved lots of different stakeholders and decision makers. We were especially eager to put a solar system on our own Town Hall/Lawton Community Center. That effort required several complex written proposals with lots of technical detail and cost analysis, plus many meetings and negotiations with the Montgomery County Council, the Parks and Recreation Department, county purchasing agents, and others. The process required careful listening to each party to understand and overcome obstacles that were blocking the solar installation. For example, some were concerned that the roof would collapse if we installed solar panels, so we needed to bring in a civil engineer to assure people that it would be perfectly safe. Eventually, we succeeded in getting the system installed, and it became the pilot project that led to the installation of 15 more solar systems on County-owned buildings.

School Start Times

I had a similar experience working on a task force that set out to change start times for Montgomery County high schools. The effort began when I realized that our rising ninth grader son would need to get up at 6:30 A.M. to get to school on time. My work involves collaboration with NIH scientists who research neuroscience and circadian rhythms, so I was aware that such early start times are not healthy for teens. The research shows what all parents can see for themselves. Teenagers are literally operating on a different time zone than the rest of us, and their ability to learn is not as strong early in the day.

We put together a team of concerned parents and medical experts who could marshal scientific arguments about why later school start times are more conducive to optimal learning for teenagers. The task force conducted a survey of students, teachers, and parents to provide real data on the extent of the problem. The survey showed that the problem of students sleeping in class was widespread, and the task of getting students up for school was a major stress issue for most families. Our task force dove into understanding all of stakeholders and all of the factors that complicated the issue. We considered bus-route economics, coaches' concerns about after school sports, teachers’ commuting issues, and many other factors. The task force presented our findings and recommendations to MCPS leaders, and the BCC principal accepted a creative pilot test proposal so that we could find out what schedule changes approaches might work, and what the unintended consequences might be before rolling out major changes cross MCPS. Our task force work set the foundation for a series of follow-up campaigns and studies. Eventually, MCPS changed school start times so that high school students can now get about 30 more minutes of sleep than they did when we started our quest.

Extensive Community Service

My wife Sally and I moved to the Town 25 years ago and raised our sons Alex and Bryant here, from CCES through BCC High School. During that time, I have volunteered in many different ways, including:

Serving as a Block Captain and Town Committee member.

Coaching youth baseball and soccer teams for many years.

Organizing educational programs on renewable energy, electric vehicles, LEDs, etc.

Creating a nonprofit to put solar systems on homes, schools, and the Lawton Center.

Negotiating Town purchase discounts on electricity, roofing, & HVAC services.

Mentoring students as an intern sponsor, science fair judge, and entrepreneur tutor.

Those and other community service activities have given me a strong foundation of knowledge about the Town and its residents. That foundation means that I won’t have trouble getting up to speed on issues of concern to the Town Council now, and others that may come up in the future.

Endorsements

We believe that Kirk Renaud would make an excellent Town Council member. Kirk has the experience and management skills to help guide our Town, and he has a long record of community service work that demonstrates his commitment to our neighborhood. He is also a person of integrity and calm temperament who really cares about our residents, and can be trusted to treat everyone with respect and fairness.

Alex Palacios, Bradley Ln.

Amanda LaForge, Woodbine St.

Amy Kossoff, Leland St.

Ann Ashbery, Ridge St.

Ann Truss, Bradley Ln.

Areg Mangassarian, Leland St.

Barbara Rose, Ridgewood Ave

Bari Schwartz, Willow Ln.

Barry Boden, Meadow Ln.

Barbara Mullenex, Blackthorn St.

Barbara Shepp, Ridgewood Ave.

Barry Hager, Willow Ln.

Ben Delancey, Leland St.

Betsy Hague, Leland St.

Betsy Johnson, Ridge St.

Bob Lyford, Beechwood Dr.

Bobby Greenfield, Curtis Rd.

Bridget Hartman, Ridgewood Ave.

Cathy Wolf, Lynn Dr.

Charles Tiefer, Woodbine St.

Christina Files, Maple Ave.

Carol Emig, Oakridge Ave.

Chris Mixter, Ridgewood Ave.

Coralee Hoffman, Virgilia St.

Craig Mullaney, Woodbine St.

David Debruin, Leland St

David Lublin,* Thornapple St.

David Strom, Ridgewood Ave.

Dedun Ingram, Elm St.

Demetrius Albanes, Bradley Ln.

Dennis Carroll, Beechwood Dr.

Dian Seidel, Stanford St.

Dick Clay, Woodbine St.

Donna Worsham, Woodbine St.

Don MacGlashan, Woodbine St.

Don Murphy, Conn. Ave.

Eileen Lawrence, Curtis Rd.

E.J. Matto, Woodbine St.

Elizabeth Taylor, Leland St.

Ernie Kelly, Oak Ln.

Fred Morse, Ridgewood Ave.

Georgia Guhin, Rosemary St.

Graciela Mangassarian, Leland St.

Hank Merrill, Ridgewood St.

Helen Price, Ridge St.

Helena Sebastian, Woodbine St.

Hillary Burchuck, Woodbine St

Holly Wright, Ridgewood Ave.

Irene Lane, Aspen St.

Jean Shorett, Oakridge Ave.

Jeanne Clay, Woodbine St.

Jim Gelb, Woodbine St.

Jim Worsham, Woodbine St.

Joan Hoover, Oakridge Ave.

Joe Guerra, Woodbine St.

Joe Gitchell, Stanford St.

Jon Hiatt, Ridgewood Ave

John Murphey, Thornapple St.

John Beale, Meadow Ln.

Judy Preston, Underwood St.

John Kolakowski, Leland St.

Judy McGuire, Rosemary St.

Julia Craighill, Maple Ave.

Karen Elkins, Thornapple St.

Katie Freeman, Maple Ave.

Kathy Strom,* Ridgewood Ave.

Kathryn Allison, Woodbine St.

Keith Blizzard, 44th St.

Ken Button, Beechwood Dr.

Ketch Ryan, Oakridge Ave. (Seattle)

Kevin Sebastian, Woodbine St.

Lance Hoffman, 44th St (Tenleytown)

Laura Kalick, Stanford St.

Lauren Cook, Virgilia St.

Lees Hartman, Ridgewood Ave.

Leslie Hill, Beechwood St.

Linda Bartley, Beechwood Dr.

Linna Barnes,* Ridgewood Ave.

Lydia Adelfiol, Woodside Pl.

Marcie Meditch, Underwood St.

Mark Denbo, Woodbine St.

Mary Anne Hoffman, 44th St (Tenleytown)

Matt Vita, Maple Ave.

Michelle Ward-Brent, Meadow Ln.

Mier Wolf, * Lynn Dr.

Mike Clurman, Woodbine St.

Mike Durst, Oakridge Ave.

Michael Guhin, Rosemary St.

Molly Merrill, Ridgewood St.

Nick Krawczyk, Virgilia St.

Paul Magnussen, Leland St.

Pam Gardner, Meadow Ln.

Pat Burda,*, Woodbine St.

Peggy MacGlashan, Woodbine St.

Peter Edwards, Meadow Ln.

Phil Martin, Blackthorn St.

Rachel Gafni, Meadow Ln.

Richard English, Maple Ave.

Richard Preston, Underwood St.

Russ Powell, Ridge St.

Sally Clurman, Woodbine St.

Sally Duggin, Woodbine St.

Sally Kelly, Oak Ln.

Sarah Smith, Woodbine St.

Scott Fosler,* Woodbine St.

Sharon Pohoryles, Woodbine St.

Sheila Blum, Ridgewood Ave.

Steve Lawton, Stanford St.

Steve Seidel, Stanford St.

Stuart Sessions, Meadow Ln.

Ted Kalick, Stanford St.

Tim Gardner, Meadow Ln.

Vicky Taplin, Leland St.

Virginia Ceaser, Virgilia St.

Warren Topelius, Meadow Ln.

Wes Seigner, Woodbine St.

Yianna Albanes, Bradley Ln.
___________________________

* Past Town Mayor

** This list contains 3 neighbors who have moved, but are still well known in the Town.

Town Priorities & New Ideas

Frankly, I think all of the candidates agree that we will need to remain vigilant to address the adverse impacts of Bethesda development and Purple Line construction. Those impacts risk dividing the Town, but we need to resist splintering into different factions and attack adverse impacts from a unified base. Better yet, we need to collaborate with other groups (like CBAR) and communities who are also affected so we can multiply and leverage our influence. If we use our combined clout wisely, we can minimize negative impacts.

I don’t think we can stop the Purple Line at this point, so I would not favor direct Town financial support of related lawsuits. However, I do believe that the Town has an obligation to pay for expert studies of noise impacts and water quality, and perhaps other consultants who could monitor Purple Line and Bethesda development activities to make sure we receive the protections promised to us. These kinds of expenditures would be a good use of part of the Town’s surplus funds, and they could strengthen our hand if we ever do need to resort to legal action in the future. The Town might also be able to support specific steps to reduce some resident impacts, for example building a higher noise wall and doing landscaping that can reduce noise and increase privacy for those closest to the Purple Line. Those mitigations may be costs that we can share with other groups to capture some economies of scale.

In addition to the “big two” issues above, here are a number of other topics that I would be interested in working on:

Support Resident-Driven Environmental Initiatives

We need to find ways to help the Town and its residents become greener overall. Town operations and activities use energy and create climate impacts. We already do a pretty good job of recycling and minimizing waste, but we can look for ways to do even more. I have been working with Irene Lane, our new Environment Committee Chairperson, to plan a Green Fair for next fall, and she has been doing a great job with that. We have also begun to create a group of people with environment skills and interests called “CEAG” – the Climate and Environment Advisory Group” who can function in an advisory capacity. CEAG has a long list of ideas for climate and environment education and initiatives. We don’t have enough volunteers or resources to implement many in a given year, so we will work with CEAG to establish priorities and ask residents for input on which projects should go forward.

Get Broader Resident Input

We need to be able to listen to residents better. Most people don’t have time to come to Council meetings to offer public comments, in person, so we need other ways to supplement resident input on Town policies. One way to do that is to ask for opinions and ideas more often through brief topic surveys. The technology to do that is readily available and simple to use. I have initiated surveys on various specific topics from time to time. For example, a few years ago I did a survey about trash pickup options, and gave the results to the Council for use in their deliberations. The comments and data that came from that survey helped the Council decide not to make the service reductions they had been considering. I also did a preliminary survey a few months ago about the community pool operating schedule for CCRA board. The survey data helped the board decide to extend the summer pool schedule a few weeks. Surveys have to be designed carefully to be useful and accurate. I have some background in creating surveys for market research and product design feedback, so I know something about how to do this. And I expect we have some other Town residents who might be willing to help.

Make Resident Participation in Town Activities Easier

It would be wonderful if we could help more residents participate in and support Town activities. We are extremely lucky to have very capable people with a wealth of knowledge and experience in our Town. Every time I go to a Town committee meeting, I come away extremely impressed by the expertise and high quality work of committee members. I now know, for example, that we have at least two residents who are very expert on sound engineering, and that skill is very useful in figuring out Purple Line noise impacts. But I also know that there is a tremendous amount of talent in the Town that we are not even aware of. It’s difficult to tap into that resource very well, in part because people are so busy. We might be able to develop informal advisory groups of people with expertise in particular areas, like the Climate and Environment Advisory Group. Or we could build an expertise database, so we would better know who to contact about various topics.

One of the reasons that we don’t get more people engaged in Town matters is that the primary mechanism for participation is through membership on a standing committee that meets every month in the Town Hall. These committees have made major contributions to the Town over the years, but they require a commitment of sustained time and effort. Parents with young children, in particular, have a hard time participating on committees, as do other residents with evening commitments. Consequently, their interests are often underrepresented.

I have some ideas about how to make participation easier and more “bite-sized” so more of our busy residents can get involved. Very short, focused surveys can help, as noted above. People might be able to find time to answer a few questions on an online survey, and they could do that with out needing to find childcare. We might also be able to involve more people by breaking up projects into smaller, task force groups that meet only one or two few times on a narrow issue. We should also be able to employ technology more effectively – for example by using conference calls or having online meetings that people can attend from home while they are watching their kids. Very short volunteer opportunities could help. For example, you might not have time to serve on the Centennial Garden Committee, but maybe you could come for one hour on a Saturday morning to help plant some flowers.

Improve Town Connections and Communications

A resilient network of connections with Town residents can make our community stronger and safer. The Town can communicate with residents in several different ways: Email from the Town Crier, print notices in the Forecast, and occasional direct mail letters or postcards, and the Town alert phone system. The Town Neighbors list-serve and the Town Facebook page also serve as important unofficial community communications. The combined system works pretty well, but no single channel can reach everyone in the Town. Some neighbors do not use email or have not signed up for Town Crier, so they may not get timely notice of important events. I would like to see us make a concerted effort to ensure that everyone is able to get digital notices via Town Crier, and that email addresses are kept up to date. We also need to keep an up-to-date list of residents who do not use email so that we can reach them by phone or in person in case of an emergency. We should work to make the Town Directory more complete too, so neighbors can communicate with each other easily. Right now, only about 600 of the 1,000 homes in the neighborhood are listed in the directory.

Update the Block Captain System

The block captain network should be an important component of the Town communication system. We have let it lapse lately, in part because email works so well that it has become less necessary. However, a time may come when we need to reach people when the internet is down. In that case, it would be good to have a system in place where block captains could reach their neighbors by phone or in person. The block captain system also has the benefit of fostering community on a block level so people will be aware of and can help when neighbors are away, or a senior needs help. We are all safer when neighbors know each other at least a little bit. When you are away on vacation and a moving truck pulls up and starts loading your TV sets, someone should be aware enough to call the police.

Enhance Traffic and Pedestrian Safety

It feels like cars are zooming through Town streets faster lately, and we might want to consider reducing speed limits or taking other measures to calm traffic. I am especially concerned about traffic during times when kids are on the way to and from school. It might be worthwhile doing a limited traffic study to see where the problems are. Some have suggested speed cameras and speed bumps, and more signage limiting traffic access to the Town. Others think a new traffic light should be added to East West Highway to allow a safer crossing for students on their way to and from BCCHS. These may or may not be viable suggestions, but they are worth considering. A workshop on traffic issues would be a good way to collect resident feedback and ideas to complement a traffic study.

Look for Opportunities to Add Green Space/Parks

However you feel about the Purple Line, we can all probably agree that the loss of the Crescent Trail took away a very valuable green space. It was a lovely, cool, peaceful place that many in the Town enjoyed as bikers, hikers, and dog walkers. We would be hard pressed to replace that lost tree canopy and the mini wildlife reserve. But we can try to expand our park space on the west side of town to make up for some of the loss and, at the same time, create a buffer between residents and Bethesda development. The Town has already begun the process of expanding green space on the west side of town, and considering replacing some of the surface parking lot near the Women’s Farm Market with park land that could effectively expand Elm Street Park. A significant amount of public money will be designated for park creation, and we will want to get our fair share of that money to expand our Town parks.

Create a Dog Zone

It might be difficult to create an official dog park in the Town because of all the costs and regulations involved. However, I think we could work out some “dog zone” arrangements as a number of residents have been requesting. Those might include limited use of a few parks at specific times of day on some days of the week. Pop-up dog zones seem to have worked out, and I think we should try more of those as pilots to test the idea more, then get resident feedback. Perhaps we could also use those areas for dog training classes, agility demonstrations, etc. We are dog owners, and I think our family would enjoy a dog zone. I expect there will be some costs involved, so I would ask dog owners who want to use the zones to pay a modest annual fee to contribute to park clean up and maintenance. In return, I would ask that dog owners not use the tennis courts, and stay clear of Chevy Chase Elementary School.

Improve the Town Forecast and Town Website.

The Town website has gotten better over the years, but will always need regular reviews to make sure it is user friendly and responsive to residents’ needs. Perhaps a small task force or expert advisory group would take that on. No major redesign is needed, but some small, easy tweaks would help. We probably have residents who do that for a living and could spend an hour now and then developing some recommendations.

The Forecast would be more fun if we included regular reports and photos from Town events. Those reports would encourage more people to come to future events when they see the great event they missed. As it is now, volunteers work very hard to put on wonderful events, but we never hear anything more after the event is over. Wouldn’t you enjoy finding out who won the pie contest? Or what the bourbon tasting event was like? We could also have fun doing an occasional write-ups or interviews with town residents. We have fascinating people in town, and it would be nice to meet more of them this way. Who will do all this fun reporting? Well, I think we have some journalists around; students who work for their school papers who might do some writing for us; and many others willing to pitch in now and then. Let’s do a little survey and find out!

If you have gotten this far, I am very impressed! Please email me and let me know about your reactions and additional ideas to add to this list. Kirk Renaud@aol.com [mailto:Renaud@aol.com] . If I hear from just one person, I will win a bet about how serious Town residents are about elections. THANKS!

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Message from Town Council Candidate Kirk Renaud