Montgomery in Focus Masthead
September 2011


Tips on Testifying

Nancy Floreen at daisWhen the Council returns in September, we will take up some important topics ranging from budgeting to land use to our local economy.  We have public hearings on a variety of issues scheduled nearly every week, and we want to know your views.  For newcomers as well as seasoned veterans, here are a few tips to make the most of your testimony:

  • Keep it simple.  Put your request or main point at the beginning of your testimony.  Use plain language and put technical points at the end.
  • Keep it short.  The Council adheres to the three-minute limit, so make sure your points come across in that time frame.  You don't have to use the entire allotted time, though.  Sometimes good things come in small packages.
  • Bring 15 copies of your testimony with your name, contact information and main points clearly identified.
  • Let your personality shine through. Levity or a personal anecdote can help you stand out in the crowd.
  • Relax.  Don't be afraid of the formal setting or the television cameras.  Just be yourself.

I understand public speaking isn't for everyone, so you can also call or e-mail.  To have your written correspondence included in the public record, send it to or Council President, 100 Maryland Avenue, Rockville, Maryland 20850.


Town Hall Meeting for Students - back to top

stedents in audience of town hall meetingJoin us for our second-ever town hall meeting for students on Wednesday, October 12. High school, middle school and elementary school students from across the County will be able to express views on issues and ask questions of councilmembers in an organized, but informal, setting.

When it comes to decisions affecting young people--whether in regard to schools, libraries, recreation, parks or the community in general--the practice too often is to have one set of adults talk to another set of adults. This Council will have many important decisions to make in the coming months--and many of these decisions could have significant impacts on people 18 and under. We think the best way to find out what this generation of Montgomery County residents need and want is to hear directly from them.

The meeting, in the Council's Third Floor Hearing Room, will start at 7 p.m. A pre-meeting reception will begin at 6:30 p.m. in the building's second-floor cafeteria. The meeting will be broadcast live on County Cable Montgomery (CCM--cable Channel 6 on Comcast and RCN, Channel 30 on Verizon) and rebroadcast at various times in the following weeks.

RSVP by calling 240-777-7931.


Public Hearing on Two Council Redistricting Maps - back to top

Share your views at the Montgomery County Redistricting Commission's public hearing at 7 p.m. on Thursday, September 1, in the Third Floor Hearing Room of the Council Office Building. The Commission, which has previously held five public meetings, is working on the once-in-a-decade task of redistricting the five County Council districts.

You can speak at the hearing without signing up in advance. However, those who sign up in advance will be permitted to speak earliest. To sign up, call 240-777-7803.

Commission members Henry Kahwaty and Don Spence have each proposed new maps that will be the focus of the public hearing. The 2010 Census showed significant gains in population in the Germantown and Clarksburg areas in the northern part of the County, both of which are now in District 2. New maps will apportion the County into five districts--each with approximately 194,000 residents. Each of the proposed new maps differ significantly from the current district divisions.

The mission of the Commission (as required by the County Charter) is to recommend five Council district boundaries based upon information provided in the 2010 Census. 

The proposals by Commission member Kahwaty (a Republican) and Commission member Spence (a Democrat) each seek to place municipalities in single districts and communities such as Olney, Wheaton and Four Corners in single district. However, each plan takes significantly different approaches on how to achieve balanced districts.

Appointed by the County Council in January 2011, the Commission was tasked to present a redistricting plan and report to the County Council by October 3.  Within 30 days after receiving the plan, the Council must hold a public hearing on it.  If within 90 days after presentation of the Commission's plan no other law reestablishing the boundaries of the Council districts has been enacted, then the plan, as submitted, will become law. 

The County Charter requires districts to be substantially equal in population, compact, and contiguous.  The new districts will be in effect for the 2014 Council election.


Another Year With Transit Subcommittee - back to top

I've been re-appointed as chair of the Transit Subcommittee of the National Association of Counties' (NACo) Transportation Steering Committee, so I'm looking forward to another year of advocacy. In particular, I find talking with leaders from more than 2,000 counties across the country especially productive as we share best practices and common challenges related to transportation and transit.

NACo advances issues important to local jurisdictions with a unified voice before the federal government, improves the public's understanding of county government, assists counties in finding and sharing innovative solutions through education and research, and provides value-added services to save counties and taxpayers money. It's a great mission, and I'm glad to be a part of it.


BSO Celebrates Women Leaders - back to top

As a member of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra's Women's Leadership Forum, I am looking forward to the five BSO concerts at Strathmore and related activities celebrating women in music.  The kick-off event on September 24 will feature the world premier of a special commissioned work, Chuphshah! Harriet's Drive to Canaan, depicting Harriet Tubman's journey from slavery to freedom.  I hope to see you there.


Fast Fact - back to top

The news that local concert goers have been waiting for--the new Fillmore Silver Spring box office is open for business at 908 Ellsworth Dr. in Downtown Silver Spring (between DSW and Borders). The box office opens on Sunday and weekdays at 11 a.m. and on Saturday at 10 a.m. Tickets are now on sale for the opening night show on September 15 with Mary J. Blige, plus other shows to follow. Tickets are also available at and all Ticketmaster locations. We look forward to this new venue's contribution to the revitalization of downtown Silver Spring. 


Green Tip of the Month - back to top

Fall is going to be a very busy and very fun time in Montgomery Parks.  Organizers need volunteers at these great outdoor festivals and events:

  • Apple Festival at Meadowside Nature Center, Friday evening, September 16
  • Children's Day at Brookside Gardens, Saturday, September 17
  • National Public Lands Day - cleanups in parks all over Montgomery County
  • Harvest Festival at the Agricultural History Farm Park, Saturday, October 1

If you are a student, this is a great way to earn your Student Service Learning hours.


Let's Talk - back to top

Is your community organization hosting a public meeting?  Please let me know how I can help.  I am happy to assist residents in understanding pending bills or in finding ways to get involved in the political process.  Even more important, I want to hear about what matters to you.  Send your meeting notices to or call 240-777-7959 if you would like me to address a particular topic with your group.