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From the Mail Bag...

Comments from the residents of Montgomery County

Monday, October 04, 2010

Mr. Leggett - Thank you for your leadership in recovering funds from insurance companies for emergency services.  It is so critical that Montgomery County align itself with other communities where such practice is commonplace.  The hysteria on the other side of this issue strengthens my resolve to commend you for your leadership and build public support for your position.  Best- Fritz Hirst, 7502 Wyndale Road, Chevy Chase, MD 20815
CATEGORIES: comments
POSTED: 9:04:00 AM |

Friday, April 09, 2010

Great work on the budget. Keep cutting the waste in years to come, and please keep our taxes from rising.
CATEGORIES: comments , budget
POSTED: 2:05:00 PM |

Friday, April 09, 2010

I am the President and Chief Operating Officer of a company which developed and manages seven residential communities and 1,278,500 square feet of office/retail properties in Montgomery County. Approximately 9,800 people make their homes in our 3,429 residential units while the tenants of our office/retail properties employ some 8,500 workers. In addition, we ourselves employ over 425 individuals, many of whom are also residents of the County. We are firmly invested in Montgomery County.

The multifamily buildings we manage include utilities in their monthly base rent Therefore increases in utility costs, such as the one currently being considered, are passed through to residents by means of increased rental rates. It is ultimately the rental residents who pay for the increases and we believe that they place an unfair burden on them. While homeowners are also subject to the increased energy tax, there is still a large disparity in the tax rate being charged, and homeowners have the benefit of tax deductions that rental residents do not. I find it ironic that the County has been so concerned about the availability of affordable rental housing, and yet, is imposing this energy tax disproportionately on apartment renters as opposed to homeowners, who in general, are better able to afford it.

As you are aware, there is stiff competition in this region for commercial office. research and retail tenants and Montgomery County has made ~ a public priority to present itself as THE place for Corporations to establish themselves, especially to those related to defense contracting, technology and research which historically require large blocks of space The increase in energy tax would seem to be counter productive to this endeavor, especially when neighboring jurisdictions such as Prince George’s County are managing to avoid them. The
County property tax increases over the last several years have already triggered significant increases in lease rates, and have severely impacted the marketability of available space within the County. Increasing another operating expense such as the energy tax will merely exacerbate the situation making it even more difficult to bring in new or expanding tenants.

While we recognize the need to close the budget deficit we do not believe this increase to be a viable answer. Revenue should be generated in a fair and equitable manner, with all residents contributing to the stability, welfare, and the quality of life in the County. There must be alternative solutions. which are more fair and reasonable, to address Montgomery County's revenue requirements than by imposing unreasonable and disproportionate financial burdens on the owners, apartment renters and tenants of commercial properly, asking them to shoulder the responsibility for the County's budget through the imposition of energy and other tax increases.
CATEGORIES: comments , budget
POSTED: 2:04:00 PM |

Friday, April 09, 2010

I understand that there will be a 70% reduction in funding for Community Vision. I am urging you not to cut their budget so severely that they will have to cut programs that provide job counseling and vocational training for homeless people. It was reported in the Gazette that they have a high success rate, one half of the 130 adults found jobs. Why would you cut a program that helps people to support themselves? I understand that there is a severe budget crisis; however, employing people helps to save the taxpayer’s money.

I urge you to reconsider the decision to cut this successful program so severely. I don’t think that this program should bear a greater burden of the cuts I am sure that there are other programs that do not have such a high success rate that could be cut.
CATEGORIES: comments
POSTED: 2:03:00 PM |

Friday, April 09, 2010

I oppose the cuts to the school health aides’ hours.

I know there is a budget crisis but this cut is not they way the county should look first.

My son is a 6th grade, diabetic student in Montgomery county schools.

He is newly diagnosed and often has trouble differentiating between life-threatening low blood sugar symptoms and just ordinary fatigue or illness.

Low blood sugar can be extremely fast acting and dangerous. Not having staff on duty the whole school day every day, could delay the treatment my son gets and also jeopardize his health and safety. Secretaries are not medically trained to recognize these life threatening symptoms

It is not a risk the school system, the county or you as elected officials should be taking.

Please reconsider these cuts, keep the School Health Room Aides at the current hours, and leave the medicine and medical tasks to those who job it is to do it, not office staff.

Thank you please consider the safety of these fragile children.
CATEGORIES: comments , budget
POSTED: 2:03:00 PM |

Friday, April 09, 2010

I am writing to you because I am a person who cares about the community in which I live. I have demonstrated my concern by volunteering actively in my community for 28 of the 35 years that I have lived in Montgomery County.

I recognize that elected officials have a much harder job when money is tight, and it is very tight now. Your decisions are very significant to the future of our community. It concerns me greatly that your decisions regarding our libraries have become short-sighted.

I am concerned that the cutbacks to the library system are so severe that we should rename the buildings "study halls" instead of libraries. Simply having the buildings open does not suffice. The collection of materials there (books, magazines, databases, etc.) must remain vital and current and be updated without gaps. There must be professional staff members available to guide patrons to use the collection effectively. And of course, there must be a manager in each building to organize it all.

The libraries have been cut deeper than any other county department recently, and were cut last year, and the year before that. Somehow, the libraries have continued to function despite reductions. (Maybe due to good management?) However, the current and proposed reductions just simply go too far: they will make our libraries dysfunctional. Without trained staff and without current materials, what is left? Just some buildings housing old books.

Please, be sure that there is adequate money specifically allocated for library staff (including branch managers!) and for acquisition of library materials so that our libraries do not become walls around materials which have little purpose.
CATEGORIES: comments , budget
POSTED: 2:02:00 PM |

Friday, April 09, 2010

In response to your proposal for increasing taxes on Fuel and on Cell phones I have to say please don't do it. We are taxed enough as is and now you are again going for our pockets. I urge you to take a close look at your county residents and think about what you are proposing. Affluent people have already decided to leave the county where taxes are being forced on people. Your proposal will force middle class to re think about staying in the county. Make the tough decisions on cutting the budget by reducing spending. No Tax Increase…..
CATEGORIES: comments
POSTED: 2:02:00 PM |

Friday, April 09, 2010

I have been a member of the Quince Orchard Library Advisory Committee since 1996 and help found the Friends of the Library, Quince Orchard Chapter in 1999. I am still heavily involved in both organizations and attend Library Board meetings and volunteer in support of the Montgomery County Library system however I can.

I understand the pressures you face to provide services to Montgomery County residents under a balanced budget. You are faced with unbelievable deficits with more bad news during the next couple of years. But I think targeting the minuscule budget of the Dept. of Libraries is a huge mistake. I am very distressed at the direction your actions seem to be going.

But first I want to say that running a branch library is not like running a commercial fast food franchise. A public library is not formulaic storefront where the menu is the same at 100 locations, you do some advertising, and wait for the customers to come in. While they all have common attributes, each Montgomery County library serves a unique portion of the population with diverse interests and needs. One library has a high senior citizen patronage while another is heavily visited by small business owners. One serves a large Russian and Ukranian population, another caters to Salvadoran immigrants, a third to Chinese or Korean Americans, a fourth to the Indian-American population. Yet another is very popular with high school students. Another provides critical Internet services to those looking for work or investment opportunities. One provides arts and music opportunities for children that might otherwise join a street gang. A couple serve very rural communities with interests and needs hugely different than the big downtown branches. Part of the library branch manager’s responsibilities beyond providing the standard services is to reach out to the local community and determine how to best meet the needs of that citizenry.

Pairing managers with two libraries to run is insane. How can they possibly maintain quality services trying to balance the needs of what might be two distinct constituencies? Never mind the fact that the library managers deal with staffing issues, plan programming and outreach, manage building facilities, interact with local groups, liaison with the local schools, and fill in at the information or circulation desks when staffing is short. Managing one library is a very difficult job requiring patience, strong organizational and interpersonal skills, understanding the local community, and managing the operations based on government and user requirements. Throw in additional staff cuts and less support from central administration and the local agency manager is faced with double the work load. And yet you expect quality service? You must be kidding! You run the risk of burning out your senior staff, promoting poor morale among the local staff, and introducing poor customer service, thus alienating the very clientele the libraries were meant to serve.

Second, and others have said this already, the Montgomery County Dept. of Libraries has suffered enough. The system took deep and unproportional cuts in 2008, 2009, and twice in 2010. Keep going like that and you run the risk of trashing a first-class operation, slamming the doors on unemployed and underemployed patrons who need the resources to make a living and pay county taxes, denying opportunity for immigrants struggling to learn the English language and American culture, providing a safe haven for children after school hours, and turning our system into a forlorn shell. It’s bad enough that the grass doesn’t get cut. By cutting additional resources, you run the risk of destroying the community trust, patronage, and heavy usage these community resources now enjoy. Our citizens, myself included, need the quality services that our Montgomery County libraries offer today.
CATEGORIES: comments , budget
POSTED: 2:01:00 PM |

Friday, April 09, 2010

I have a suggestion in cutting the budget that could be an alternative to cutting the SHRA's back to 6 hours next year in order to meet the budget shortfall.

I suggest that each person that works for the county, in every capacity, that would be from the Administration on down to the lowest job position, be cut (one) work hour per week over the course of the next year or until the budget can handle the reinstatement of that hour. Therefore, every fulltimer in every position and pay bracket in the county and every part timer in every position and every pay bracket in the county give up one hour of pay to the cause of the budget. To say it another way, every full time employee of the county will be paid for a 39 hour week and every part timer for the county will be paid one hour less than their regularly scheduled hours for the week.

This method seems truly equitable and will at least meet the same reduction in spending that reducing the SHRA hours from 7 to 6 hours per day will achieve, and probably exceed it. No one would be hugely effected financially by this reduction, yet everyone will be contributing in the same way. No one group suffers.

This idea deserves consideration as an option.
CATEGORIES: comments , budget
POSTED: 2:00:00 PM |

Friday, April 09, 2010

Earlier this month, I sent a message requesting that reduction in funding for the Park Police would “…result in increased crime, risk, and possibly death to persons entering our parks.”
It has been reported there is proposal to eliminate The Park Police. The Park Police are an essential part of good governance, Montgomery County.
Please see to it that priority is placed on the reduction of, and elimination of, wasteful resources.
CATEGORIES: comments , budget
POSTED: 1:59:00 PM |

Monday, August 25, 2008

Dear Mr. Leggett:

I'm the mother of Dov Klugerrnan, the 14-year-old pedestrian who was killed by a speeding SUV in May 2006. As you may recall, I was in touch with you some time ago about safety concerns on Arcola Avenue, where we live and where our son was fatally wounded.

Today, I'm writing to thank you for the outstanding work that has been completed on Arcola Avenue. The road work has improved pedestrian safety considerably and compelled motorists to obey the speed limit while allowing traffic to flow easily. Just last week, I crossed the street halfway while pushing my toddler in a stroller, waited on the pedestrian island, and incredibly, traffic stopped to allow us to complete crossing. I have lived on Arcola Avenue for nine years, and I have never in all that time crossed my street as easily and safely as I am able to now.

Any major changes undoubtedly trigger complaints, and I am certain that you and your staff have received a good amount of negative feedback from motorists who were angered at being slowed down. But please know that I not only speak for myself and my family, but also many, many residents of our community when I say thank you for having the courage and resolve to implement these lifesaving measures.

We are grateful to you for making pedestrian safety a priority in Montgomery County. Unfortunately, it will not bring our son back, but it's heartening to know that this important step will undoubtedly save the lives of others.

- Yaffa Klugerman, Silver Spring

CATEGORIES: transportation , comments
POSTED: 10:21:00 AM |

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Hello Mr. Leggett, 

A great big "Thank You" for all your work to get the montgomery county commission on veterans affairs presented & then passed.

This will be a first step in helping our new young vets deal with problems encountered upon their return home. it will also be a help to us older vets.

The celebration for the a.d.a. anniversary had a good turnout. keep up the good work in "the land of we're already doing that!"

Welcome home!

best regards.

- Bill, Silver Spring

CATEGORIES: comments , community
POSTED: 11:35:00 AM |

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Thank you so much for your responsiveness to my letter concerning the proposed changes to North Four Corners Park and thank you even more for your actions already taken regarding this issue. Its is very heartening to know that our government is keeping the community in mind by weighting in our views, allowing us to have a say in the future of our neighborhood. I am very impressed with the care that you and many others have given in this matter, and am sharing this with my neighbors. Thank you!

-Ron, Silver Spring

CATEGORIES: community , comments
POSTED: 9:10:00 AM |

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

I appreciate your concern for order, as a Montgomery County employee who is affected by the reorganization plan. I realize that some things must be done, in order to more effectively serve "ALL" I don't know what's ahead, but if you are leading, I am following.


CATEGORIES: comments
POSTED: 9:49:00 AM |

Friday, February 01, 2008

I wish to express my thanks to Isiah Leggett and the Montgomery County Council for their efforts related to county cable/video consumer options. I am fortunate in that I am able to retain residence in Maryland while I work in New York. The quality of life here is great. As you can see I work for a major broadcast company, CBS Television.

As a Silver Spring resident, in mid 2007, my cable service quickly deteriorated to little or no video/internet delivery. After three months of patience, cajoling, begging and, I confess, some anger, I finally switched. However, I'm one of the lucky homeowners. Our neighborhood had been wired. I know there are many Maryland neighborhoods that still do not have this option.

I cannot stress enough the importance of the steps you are taking. Some may think these services are "optional". However, in today's wired society, if I didn't have the superior quality of these servcies, I could not live in Maryland. These services allow me to telecommute hundreds of miles from my official office. Without them, I could have needed to move my family to New York taking my "upper income" earnings with me.

Again, my thanks for your efforts.

- J.W.
Silver Spring

CATEGORIES: comments , cable
POSTED: 9:58:00 AM |

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

I just want to thank you for fining Comcast. It's so rare to see a big company held accountable for years and years of abysmal service. Seems like a no-brainer to me for keeping your constituents happy! Keep up the good work.

- David
Takoma Park

CATEGORIES: comments , cable
POSTED: 9:52:00 AM |

Friday, January 25, 2008

Thanks so much for listening and hearing those of us with frequent bus-traveling teens. My kids are so relieved that this important program, Kids Ride Free, will stay in place.

As my kids say, "You Rock!"

- Mairi
Mother of 4 bus-riding teens
Takoma Park

CATEGORIES: comments , transportation
POSTED: 9:55:00 AM |

Friday, January 04, 2008

Ike, I read in the Post today that you are freezing hiring, except for safety concerns.

I am very much in favor of this plan. However, I look at it as forcing each group to truly look at improving efficiencies and to ultimately reduce an ever increasing bureaucracy. If you can force these changes, you will have truly been successful and the taxpayers would be the biggest beneficiaries.

Thanks for your time.

- Conrad

CATEGORIES: comments
POSTED: 9:41:00 AM |

Friday, December 21, 2007

As a resident of Montgomery County, I think the riding free for seniors and disabled on the metro system is absolutely fantastic!  I volunteer as a Compeer for someone who is disabled.  It blows my mind the things they have to pay for on their limited incomes that those people making 10 times more get reimbursed for….subsidized metro fairs, paid parking, reduced rates on doctor appointments because we have insurance, while the doctors charge those without insurance the full price (often double what we pay).  I admire my friend so much.  She takes responsibility for all these expenses and pays for them by buying second hand clothes and eating meals that are cheap.  I will never complain about what I don’t have again.  And it is so wonderful to be a citizen in a compassionate, caring county that helps those in need, not those in want!

- Joanne

CATEGORIES: comments , transportation
POSTED: 9:40:00 AM |
graphic of mailbag
Last edited: 11/8/2010