11-23-2011, 05:23 PM
Join Date: Oct 2006
Happy Thanksgiving from Councilmember Navarro - November 23, 2011
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I want to begin by wishing you and your family a wonderful Thanksgiving! Even during these challenging economic times, we in Montgomery County have so much to be thankful for. As my family sits down for our Thanksgiving dinner, we will be thinking about those who are less fortunate in our community. Take a minute to make a donation or sign up to volunteer at Manna Food Center, a group that has been fighting hunger in Montgomery County for nearly three decades.
Please remember to "like me" on Facebook or "follow me" on Twitter for the latest updates and news about the County Council throughout the year.
I hope you enjoy this e-news letter. Please e-mail me if you have any questions or comments.
Councilmember Nancy Navarro
Youth and Families Support Enhancement Initiative
Since the debate about the County Executive's proposed curfew started over the summer, I have thought about the underlying reasons we are having this debate in the first place. While some point to a stabbing in Silver Spring during the July 4th weekend as a reason for a curfew, others argue that a "flash mob" in Germantown could have been prevented if the policy were in place. Just this week, another group of teens shoplifted at a 7-11 store in Silver Spring at 11:30 p.m. on a Saturday--a half hour before the proposed curfew would have been in effect.
Beyond teens shoplifting or isolated youth crimes, we have seen a much more serious and disturbing trend, with an increase in domestic killings in Montgomery County. The tragic murders of 11-year-old William McQuain and 12-year-old Jessica Nguyen put into focus the need for providing youth and families with core services designed to prevent incidents like these from ever happening again. These awful incidents are emblematic of a larger crisis engulfing many families living in Montgomery County. The economic downturn has resulted in once middle-class families falling on hard times and looking to local government to provide much-needed support.
Even as our County faces difficult budget decisions moving forward, I believe we have an obligation to increase funding for positions and existing programs that target those with the greatest need. I propose a Youth and Families Support Enhancement Initiative to make a down-payment on services that will address the underlying issues of poverty, family dysfunction, and a lack of positive youth programming. This initiative should include:
- Increasing the number of Pupil Personnel Workers and Parent Community Coordinators to enable our schools to serve as an early detection mechanism for families in crisis;
- Enhancing the Street Outreach Network (Health and Human Services (HHS) program that works with Police Gang Unit) to emphasize our commitment to prevention and intervention strategies, as opposed to a narrow focus on suppression tactics;
- Proving additional positive youth programming opportunities for young people through the Department of Recreation, with programs like the successful Teen Escape Club at the East County Community Center;
- Reinstating the Community Police Officer position so the Police Department has the human resources it needs to better engage with the community.
I know that we won't be able to reinstate all of the services our residents need overnight (or even in a single budget cycle), but we need to show our families and our youth that Montgomery County is committed to making a positive difference in their lives. Our budget is a reflection of our values. We have made a long-lasting commitment to our schools and to public safety--now is the time to show families and youth with the greatest need that we are here for them too.
Intercounty Connector (ICC) Opens in D4
Earlier this year, six miles of the Intercounty Connector (ICC) opened to traffic driving between I-370 in Shady Grove and Georgia Ave. Yesterday, another 10 mile stretch opened to I-95, near Laurel. New connections are now open at Layhill Rd., New Hampshire Ave., Route 29 (Columbia Pike), and Briggs Chaney Rd.
The Maryland Transit Authority (MTA) is offering a free test-drive period until December 4th. After that, you'll need an EZ-Pass, which you can order from the ICC Project Website.
The Washington Post put together a great user's guide as a helpful tool to answer frequently asked questions about the ICC.
The Council had a productive work session last week on the Wheaton Central Business District and Vicinity Sector Plan. The plan utilizes Wheaton's proximity to Metro to build a downtown with increased density and opportunities for economic development. The groundbreaking of the Patriot/Safeway Project is only the beginning of the mixed-use, transit-oriented development that the plan envisions taking place over the next two decades.
During the work session, the Council explored a variety of issues, including ways to improve housing options, mitigate traffic congestion, and promote job growth in the area. We discussed ways to promote needed development, while protecting our environment. The overall goal of the Wheaton Sector Plan is to create opportunities to develop Wheaton into a vibrant downtown that maintains the unique character and diversity of the area. The plan also includes clear language that protects single-family neighborhoods at the edge of the Sector Plan.
I'm looking forward to voting for this plan and working with the community and developers to make Wheaton a great place to live, work and play.
Reminders for the Holidays and New Year
Just a reminder: the 5-cent per bag fee on disposable carryout bags at Montgomery County retailers starts on January 1, 2012. You can find more information on the County website or by watching this Public Service Announcement.
As you shop this holiday season, remember to only park in spaces reserved for people with disabilities if you have a valid parking permit. Montgomery County Police are stepping up enforcement in the coming weeks and will begin using a database to identify drivers who illegally use disabled parking permits.
Credit Card Theft Alert
Montgomery County Police are investigating several related incidents in which elderly residents have become victims of credit card theft. The victims had their credit cards stolen in public places, such as the Giant Food store at Leisure World Plaza and the elevator of a medical office building in Olney. Oftentimes, the suspect(s) in these incidents will attempt to distract the victim before committing the theft. Be vigilant of such distractions and protect your valuables.
The Police Department is offering the following tips to help eliminate the opportunity of becoming a victim of this type of theft:
- Avoid carrying your wallet in your back pocket. Thieves will generally avoid stealing a wallet from a front pocket.
- Avoid carrying large sums of money, several credit cards, or several forms of ID in your wallet.
- Avoid carrying your wallet in your purse or use a purse that is difficult to open.
- When carrying your purse, keep it closed and in front of your body.
- Never leave your purse unattended on a store counter or in a grocery cart.
Councilmember Nancy Navarro
100 Maryland Avenue
Rockville, MD 20850
Councilmember Nancy Navarro | 100 Maryland Avenue | Rockville | MD | 20904