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And now for the “Team Rockville”

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Published on: Thursday, March 14, 2013

By Brian J. Karem

As a means to cure the problems in Rockville a group of plucky politicians think they’ve happened upon the ultimate antidote to the city’s sideshow political antics.

“Team Rockville,” kind of reminds me of “Team Daedalus” from the movie “Space Cowboys,” but the team in Rockville isn’t comprised of a bunch of over-the-hill astronauts trying to recapture their glory days.

“Team Rockville” is comprised of some older politicians and younger politicians trying to change the way the city does business.

For years Rockville has been anything but a smooth running machine. After Larry Giammo decided not to seek a fourth term as mayor, the city has had an increasingly difficult time governing itself.

The current Mayor Phyllis Marcuccio is level headed, and her and councilmember Bridget Newton find themselves in agreement on a great many issues. Unfortunately the other members of the council usually find themselves diametrically opposed to Marcuccio and Newton. This is one of the biggest stumbling blocks in making any decent progress in the city.

Now here come council members Mark Pierzchala and Tom Moore along with Virginia Onley, Julie Palakovich Carr and Beryl Feinberg as “Team Rockville” hoping to right the ship.

It’s an admirable effort.

Anything that gets the city moving is certainly highly anticipated, most needed and definitely worth pursuing.

Moore and Pierzchala certainly make a case for their slate of candidates. “We can either come together on these challenges or we can let these challenges divide us,” Pierzchala said. “Team Rockville is about coming together to solve our problems . . .”

Pierzchala stands in support of his slate which includes Onley, who has previously run for city council, and Feinberg who recently served on the Board of Supervisors of Elections. Julie Palakovich Carr chaired the public facilities ordinance committee and is currently on the city’s environment commission.

Moore said he believes with the proper slate in place the city government can move forward because “. . . we are losing common-sense votes.”

On paper these arguments all make a lot of sense and they address the very problem that is currently plaguing the city – a lack of political acumen, the inability to reach consensus and the reduction of the political process in Rockville to the attitude and tenor of a bunch of third graders fighting on the playground.

But here’s where I’m curiously non-plussed by “Team Rockville.”

As they attack the current Rockville City Council are we supposed to conveniently forget two members of “Team Rockville” are currently on the city council?

Another councilmember, John Hall, was in attendance as the team announced its slate and intentions to do the right thing in Rockville.

This means either Hall isn’t planning on running again, is planning on running again and wanted to see what the opposition is up to, or just really likes the pizza at the restaurant where the team announced its intentions.

Either way you go, three members of the current council – a majority – was in attendance as the team announced its intentions.

And as great and admirable as those intentions are, the 800-lb. gorilla in the room begging to be addressed is how will this slate deal with people who disagree with them?

It is very, very easy to deal with people who think exactly as you do – though I find the thought frightening and it makes me uneasy.

The challenge to politics is to reach a compromise. It is the art of half a loaf. It is the ability to forge working relationships with those who think differently than you do.

Two of the members of this current slate have already shown that activity to be a challenge they can’t always meet.

The real challenge for “Team Rockville,” and anyone elected to office in Rockville is to use common sense, compromise and level heads to reach an accord with those who think differently than they do.

There’s no reason to believe “Team Rockville” can do that later since we find them not able to do that now. But there’s still time to see if that can change. Otherwise beware strangers and politicians bearing gifts.

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