Councilmember Nancy Navarro:
2009 Year in Review & 2010 Priorities:
A Focus on Jobs and Investment for
East County Residents
Congratulations to Leisure World: Councilmember Nancy Navarro presents a proclamation to Leisure World's outgoing Legislation & Taxation Committee President, Abbott Roseman, for his 65 years of public service. Leaders from District 4's largest retirement community joined him in the ceremony.
"Standing Up for All of Us"
Football Fever: Nancy Navarro Honors District 4's Good Counsel football team for being ranked #1 for the first time, by the Washington Post
First and foremost, I want to thank all of the residents of District 4 for banding together during one of the worst winters recorded in history. It was at times scary, and more often than not, frustrating -- but we all had to brave this natural disaster together. I was heartened that for many members of the community, the storm brought out the best in us.
County employees and contractors worked around the clock to plow streets and remove safety hazards, but where they could not get to streets quickly, I saw neighbors helping neighbors and residents joining together like never before. My staff fielded an unprecedented number of help requests during the storm, and we worked day and night to try and help families get their power back and ensure that our streets and sidewalks were plowed. We are still dealing with the last of the cleanup, especially on sidewalks, so if you have any lingering issues, please do not hesitate to contact my office at (240) 777-7986 or Councilmember.Navarro@montgomerycountymd.gov
But even as the remnants of our last natural disaster melt away, we are still dealing with one of the greatest man-made disasters we've witnessed in ages: our economic crisis. Montgomery County residents are facing some of the greatest challenges we've witnessed in decades. I want you to know that I share your concerns and anger about the threats facing our communities and our livelihood. But beyond that, I hold a strong belief that Montgomery County is one of the best places for a family to plant roots. If we work together, we can turn this ship around.
To that end, I've spent my term in office fighting every day for jobs and investment in East County
, all the while standing up for our most vulnerable residents during this recession.
District 4 Stimulus Funding:
Governor Martin O'Malley set the tone on the importance of managing the economy, when he announced that repaving miles of New Hampshire Avenue in District 4 would be one of the nation's first stimulus projects. Since then, I've never let go of my focus on bringing jobs and investment to our communities. [Read O'Malley's Letter]
Jobs, Jobs, Jobs:
Within a few weeks of taking office last year, I immediately sent the message to the world that District 4 and East County were ready for jobs and investment. As the County began to launch its proposal for an influx of biotech jobs in the Upcounty area and I-270 corridor, I once again wondered, what about East County
? As a result, I wrote a letter with my colleague Councilmember Valerie Ervin, and we asked the County to explore ways to deliver a slice of the biotech jobs and investment to our often-ignored part of Montgomery. [Read the Letter]
Please read this 2009 year-in-review, as well as some of the plans we have for 2010, to see some of the exciting things I have begun working on -- and always remember that I will never stop standing up for all of us
Thanks so much!
Bringing Jobs & Investment to East County
- Creating East County Biotech Jobs in the Route 29 Corridor: With the growing focus on cultivating biotech job centers in Montgomery County, I have fought hard to make sure East County and District 4 get a fair share of any new jobs. With the federal government expanding its presence in White Oak at the FDA headquarters, now is the time to leverage the increasing life sciences footprint with complementary projects and facilities. That's why I began working with the County's Planning Department to expedite planning for the Route 29 corridor, and to examine the land use and transportation plans in the area. I hope that with adequate community input, we can create a consensus on how to incentivize the creation of high-quality jobs in East County.
- Increasing Transit and Transportation Options for District 4 Residents: One of the greatest barriers to locating jobs and amenities in District 4 is our woeful lack of transit options. Only one Metro station is located in District 4, and most residents are currently forced to drive long distances for work, shopping, and entertainment. As a result, I am supportive of Councilmember Marc Elrich's plan to promote a world-class transit network in Montgomery County. His proposal would create multiple transit lines servicing East County residents. These transit lines would not only spur jobs and investment in District 4, but they would also ease our traffic mess, reduce our carbon footprint, and shorten commutes for residents. In the last year, I also re-doubled my support for two new light rail, mass transit lines: the Purple Line (which would run from Bethesda to New Carrolton) and the Corridor Cities Transitway (which would service the I-270 corridor).
- Standing with Our Workforce: With untold numbers of County residents being laid off, furloughed and losing their benefits, I stood with our workers to try and help them keep quality jobs and health benefits. Unfortunately, this story is becoming increasingly common as we adjust to the new economic realities, but I am firm in my belief that whenever possible, we should do as much as we can to help those who will be hardest hit by our growing unemployment crisis. [Read Article]
- Stabilizing Burtonsville: Time and again, residents of Burtonsville have told me that they've felt ignored by the County for too many years. As a result, I've re-doubled efforts to help drive jobs and investment to the neighborhood, but in a manner that is sensitive to community concerns.
- Burtonsville Town Square & Crossing: Many residents of Burtonsville have eagerly awaited the arrival of the new Burtonsville Town Square, which promises a newly renovated Giant, CVS, and new restaurants and stores. In collaboration with the County Executive, we are working to secure $4.2 million to beautify Burtonsville's retail zone with lighting improvements, facade improvements, and other measures to create a "village center" atmosphere for residents to enjoy.
- Montgomery College Burtonsville: While I have been excited about the potential facelift in Burtonsville, I have also been mindful of the loss of the Dutch Market and potential deterioration of the adjacent strip mall. That is why I have begun discussions with Montgomery College to try and bring a satellite campus or other workforce training programs to the vacant retail and office spaces being abandoned by Giant and other businesses in Burtonsville. Doing so will bring jobs to East County, create new customers for Burtonsville's small businesses, and help stabilize an area that is in danger of decline. [Read Article]
Maintaining Services and a Safety Net for
Our Most Vulnerable Residents
- Preventing Foreclosures: With the ongoing housing crisis impacting scores of County residents, I hosted a foreclosure seminar to help families in crisis keep their homes. [Read Article]
- Protecting Our Libraries: In a sour economy, more and more residents use libraries for job searches, internet access, entertainment, and programming. For that reason, I stood with my colleagues to say "no" to a proposal to eliminate free parking for library patrons. I have also been adamantly opposed to moving Wheaton Library from its current location and asked the County Executive to reject this proposal. [Read Blog]
- No Ambulance Fees: After listening to the concerns of many residents, particularly senior citizens, I voted against charging insurance companies for ambulance fees in Montgomery County. Too many feared that the costs would be passed on in the form of higher premiums, and that this could create a disincentive for residents to access critical care. [Read Press Release]
- Public-Private Cooperation on Health Care: When Kaiser Permanente announced plans to eliminate after-hours urgent-care at its Kensington location, I called on them to reconsider their decision. Though the facility is not in District 4, it serves 125,000 people, including many District 4 residents. Along with Rep. Chris Van Hollen and Councilmembers George Leventhal, Duchy Trachtenberg and Marc Elrich, we succeeded in persuading Kaiser to re-instate after-hours care in Kensington. [Read Letter]
Urging Fiscal Restraint During this Crisis
- Saying "No" to Unnecessary Corporate Welfare: While I continue to lament some of the difficult budgetary decisions facing Montgomery County, I have attempted to balance the need for high quality services with the need for fiscal restraint during this recession. As a result, though I recently supported all of the elements of the County Executive's 2010 budget savings plan, I have declined to support a $4 million taxpayer subsidy to bring Costco to Wheaton Plaza. Though I make no comment on whether they should open a store in the area, I cannot in good conscience vote to authorize this expenditure at the same time that we're slashing critical County services. [Read Article]
- Deferring Expensive Purchases & New Programs: Unfortunately, our fiscal crisis has made it very difficult to launch new programs and to purchase new equipment. In keeping with the need to tighten our belts, I declined to support a proposal last year to launch a new helicopter program for Montgomery County. While the public safety benefits may exist to support such a program in the future, it is my opinion that this is not a priority for the County in this climate. [Read Press Release]
Open Government & Transparency
- Independent Monitoring: Last year I co-sponsored successful legislation to authorize our County's Inspector General to retain an independent attorney to investigate complaints about government misconduct. The current system of monitoring created the potential for conflicts of interest in investigations, and I felt this bill was necessary to instill public confidence in County Government. [Read Article]
- Whistle Blower Protections: This year, I am also co-sponsoring legislation to protect County workers from retaliation, should they report wrongdoing. Bill 2-10 would provide the right to appeal for employees who allege that they have faced retaliation from whistleblowing, and it would also extend protections to employees of certain County contractors. [Read Article]
- Preventing Pork Barrel Spending: Last year, the Council also passed legislation that would require any new bills to cover only a single subject. I was proud to co-sponsor this legislation, which was designed to ensure that members do not insert unrelated pork barrel projects into popular legislation. [Read Bill]
Civil Rights & Equality
- Equal Benefits for County Employees: With the help of Equality Maryland, I was thrilled to sponsor a bill to require equal benefits for same-sex employees of Montgomery County's government contractors. This landmark legislation would ensure non-discrimination in benefits for Montgomery County's workforce, and passed unanimously. [Read Article]
- Expanding Job Opportunities for Disabled Residents: I am also pleased to announce that the County Council passed legislation to expand job opportunities for certain qualified persons with disabilities who apply for employment with Montgomery County. I was a co-sponsor of this legislation, and I hope to find more ways in the future to ensure meaningful opportunities for all residents of Montgomery County. [Read Article]
Engaging Our Diverse Residents
- Listening to Our Seniors: Given the large number of senior citizens residing in District 4, I have made a special effort to reach out to this unique population. Through my excellent staff, we are beginning the process of establishing a coalition of seniors representing a cross-section of various neighborhoods and retirement communities throughout District 4. We will continue to deliver information about county services and other important issues through this network, and we hope to expand its activities throughout the year.
- Engaging Our Youths: In order to better understand the needs and goals of the many talented youths in District 4, I launched a Youth Advisory Group (YAG) composed of student leaders from high schools throughout our community. This amazing set of young people has begun reaching out to students in their schools to solicit input for my office on issues ranging from recreational programming to crime and neighborhood amenities. [Facebook Youth Advisory Group]
- Spanish-Language Outreach: As part of my continued efforts to engage traditionally under-represented communities, I have begun regular guest appearances on Radio America - 1540 AM. You can catch me every Friday morning at 9:20 am, with host Alejandro Carrasco, as I discuss local government and ways for residents to get involved in their communities. [Radio America]
- Encouraging Census Participation: As many residents may have already heard, the U.S. Census Bureau is launching the 2010 Census, and I have been asked to co-chair Montgomery County's effort. It is important that every resident stand up and be counted, as millions in dollars in federal funding are at stake. I recently stood with County Executive Ike Leggett at a press conference to publicize our outreach efforts and to make sure that everyone participates. [Read Article]
Protecting Our Quality of Life
- Preserving Our Green Space: One bright spot to the recession is that I persuaded the County to preserve delicate green space for Fairland Park in Burtonsville, only a mile or so from the ICC. But we were only able to do so because a developer sold their land to the County for well below market rate, given the downturn in the real estate market. The Washington Post created a nice tour of this ecological treasure [Watch Video] [Read Article]
- Housing Code Enforcement: I am a strong supporter of preserving Montgomery County's quality of life. To help maintain our neighborhoods, I have pledged my support for the County Executive's package of housing code enforcement reforms. These proposals will implement a range of changes, including reforms to help eliminate commercial vehicles and multiple cars on single-family lots. [Read Summary of Recommendations]
- Milestone: Honoring Our Commitment to Good Neighbors: The residents of North White Oak have worked with the County for several years to relocate the 3rd District Police Station to the Milestone area of White Oak. However, they have now become concerned with the substantial loss of tree cover and buffers for the neighborhood. It is my firm belief that we must honor our commitment to those neighbors who have worked in good faith with the County to pave the way for new facilities in residential neighborhoods. In this instance, the residents were promised greater buffers and tree cover than are now being proposed, so I remain vigilant in asking the County Executive and Planning Board to incorporate their concerns into a more community friendly design. [Read Letter]
- Lake Frank: Honoring Our Commitment to Good Neighbors: Some residents of the Manor Lake community have expressed concerns about the Park Department's routing of a connector trail between Lake Frank and the Rock Creek Trail. Originally, residents were promised ICC mitigation, in the form of removing abandoned parking lots and reforesting land in the immediate area. Without adequately notifying residents, the decision was made to instead pave a connector trail, so I have requested that the Parks Department go back to the drawing board and include the input of area residents. [Read Letter]
- Character of the Neighborhood: Lastly, Burtonsville has for too long faced an ad hoc approach to development and land use, resulting in various eyesores and underutilized office space in the area. To combat this persistent problem, I sponsored a Zoning Text Amendment (ZTA) to try to bring the permitted land uses in Burtonsville in line with residents' desires for the area. With the help of my colleague, Councilmember Marc Elrich, I co-sponsored a parallel ZTA to help protect the character of Sandy Spring's retail zone.
I pride myself on the strong constituent services provided by my hard-working staff. The Washington Post
last year profiled one of my aides, Alexis Reed, who works directly with constituents on issues affecting their communities. These cases have ranged from general neighborhood concerns, such as crime and pedestrian safety issues, to individual issues, ranging from deer and tick problems to cable television service problems. If you are having a problem in your community, please contact my office at: (240) 777-7986 or Councilmember.Navarro@montgomerycountymd.gov
. [Read Article]
Helpful County Services
Information on Services for Seniors [HERE]
Information on Services for Small Business Owners [HERE]
Information on County Services
Get Plugged Into My Virtual Office
Blogspot Facebook Twitter