Opinion: When government has the wrong priorities, it's time for a change

Opinion: When government has the wrong priorities, it’s time for a change

Self-interest drives resistance to proposed County Council structure

| Published:

To the editor:

The news that Montgomery County ​could lose​ $1 billion in revenues over the next six years is devastating to our families, communities, businesses and nonprofit organizations.

But in truth, it’s no surprise. This County Council has the wrong spending priorities, which is harmful to county residents. This is a recent example.

More than 16,000 Montgomery County residents signed the petition to put Question D on the ballot to bring equal representation to everyone in the county, changing the council structure to nine district seats, eliminating the four at-large seats. More than 11,000 signatures were approved.

To protect the status quo, the council suspended its rules of procedure and rejected the Charter Review Commission’s recommendation for no action. Without holding a public hearing, the council passed an alternative referendum, Question C, which would expand the council from nine to 11 seats, each with four staff members.

In addition to salaries, benefits, and other expenses for 10 more people (which is not exactly the “job growth” our county badly needs), more concerning is that the current physical council space only has room for nine council members.

New construction would have to be undertaken and new furniture purchased to add offices to the building and make significant changes to accommodate a council of 11 plus their staff.

One simple question: Where did the council plan to get the money to pay for this? It did not give a budget for the grandiose plans to save their seats, but experts suggest that this could cost taxpayers literally millions of dollars.

Less revenue will be coming into the county, there will need to be budget cuts in every department, and we’re bleeding jobs while Fairfax and Prince George’s counties overtake us in job growth. But the council voted to spend millions to enable four sitting at-large members, all from inside the Beltway, to keep their seats.

The way they insist on prioritizing their own personal needs over the public now is almost as bad as when the council voted themselves a pay raise in the past.

As a Democratic Party activist, I believe that sometimes we need higher taxes and budget cuts.

But our taxes will have to go up to enable the incumbents to bill us for more staff, construction and furniture, so they can keep their seats? When government is hurting our families and children, it’s time to change government.

This is exactly why we need voters to support Question D on the ballot, which would give everyone​ a voice on the County Council.

Kimblyn Persaud
Chair, Nine Districts for MoCo


Editor’s note: Bethesda Beat encourages readers to send us their thoughts about local topics we have covered for consideration as a letter to the editor in our Saturday newsletter. Email them to editorial@bethesdamagazine.com. We require a name and hometown for publication. We also require a phone number (not for publication) for us to verify who wrote the letter. Please provide a source for any facts in your letter that were not part of our coverage; if they can’t be verified, they likely will be omitted.

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