well as retain businesses. And it also needs
to make progress addressing what I think
is the overarching national issue, which is
income inequality and growing poverty in
our county. We need to [address] both. If
we are competitive economically and grow
our tax base, it will give us the revenue we
need to make progress on the other. To
me, the future is pretty clear. It is an innovation economy. And our county needs
to be positioned as a county that itself is
innovative, and encourages entrepreneurs
and an innovative economy.
Our county is getting poorer. It is
shocking. I got involved in creating a
hunger plan because our county had never
formally said, ‘We need to reduce hunger.’
And I said, ‘We’re just giving dollars to
nonprofits, and we don’t have a plan?’
And now we need [a plan] on poverty, too.
;at means also that our education system
needs to adjust. …Institutions as large as
county government, as large as the school
system, are, by definition, slow to adjust.
So my hope is to be a spur to overcome
sort of the natural stasis that sets in and
see if we can’t spur a little more innovation
across the board.
Notwithstanding several steps taken
in recent years, such as the creation
of a small-business navigator, which
you sponsored, there continue to be
complaints that the county is not
business-friendly. What additional
moves are needed?
We do need to change the perception of
our county, and I think there are enough
things we don’t do particularly well to
justify a perception. I just had a meet-
ing where someone was sharing with me
his experience of building a 10-foot-by-
10-foot shed in his backyard. It took 14
pages [of paperwork] and a plat—and
two inspectors. And he’s a land-use
expert. He said to me, ‘I don’t know how
somebody who isn’t a land-use expert
could possibly have done this; they
would have needed to hire a lawyer.’
[If elected], I’m going to have to
really dig down in departments like the
Department of Permitting Services.
Why does it take this long, why do our
residents have to go through this kind
of process? Aren’t there ways we can
make it easier for…them to interact with
You were part of a unanimous county
council vote in 2016 for a property
tax increase that averaged about
9 percent. County Executive Ike
Leggett urged a lower increase, and
there is a widespread view that the
hike was a major factor in term limits
being approved by voters that year.
Any second thoughts?
No. It was all about the school system.
;e county executive proposed exceeding the charter limit [which restricts the
growth of property taxes to the rate of
inflation without a unanimous council
“Moving to Maplewood was one of the
smartest decisions that I ever made.”
Home ownership, quality health care, and superior services
in a community where each resident’s voice is heard.
Voted BEST SENIOR LIVING COMMUNITY by
readers of Bethesda Magazine
9707 Old Georgetown Road, Bethesda, MD 20814
301-530-0500 • www.maplewoodparkplace.com