Menu

Discovery discovers NYC

  • Published in Local

County to lose more than 1300 jobs in media relocation

Discovery Communications BuildingDiscovery Communications, a longtime Montgomery County-based corporation which currently employs 1,300 workers, announced Tuesday it will move its corporate headquarters from Silver Spring to New York after months of negotiations with County officials failed.

Discovery Communications President and CEO David Zaslav announced Tuesday the company will likely move from its headquarters located in downtown Silver Spring to New York sometime in the second half of 2019.

“The media industry is rapidly evolving, increasingly global, more consumer focused and more multi-platform and Discovery must evolve with it,” Zaslav said in a statement. “The decision to move our global headquarters from its founding home is one we do not make lightly. We remain unwavering in our support of the Maryland and Greater Washington, DC area and we thank the leadership of the State of Maryland, Montgomery County and, most importantly, our employees for their cooperation and understanding as we make this important next step for the long-term success of Discovery.”

County Executive Isaiah “Ike” Leggett said Discovery’s departure will be a big blow to the County, with 1,300 jobs now being moved to New York.

“When you lose that number of jobs and that number of employees and the salaries, that is not easily replaceable,” Leggett told the Sentinel.

Read more...

Leggett plans budget cuts

  • Published in Local

MoCo LogoMontgomery County Executive Isiah “Ike” Leggett released his plan for $60 million in proposed cuts last week, after news the County is way short of its proposed revenues for the current year.

Leggett’s proposed cuts, most notably target schools – the largest part of the County’s budget – include a proposed $25 million cut to Montgomery County Public Schools and a $5.2 million cut to Montgomery College.

“There are very few options that are there, you don't go there unless you absolutely have to,” said Leggett of his proposed $30.2 million cut to schools.

In addition, Leggett also proposed a $3.8 million cut to police, a $2.6 million cut to the Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission, a $2.6 million cut to fire and rescue services and a $4.4 million cut to the Department of Health and Human Services to make up for the revenue shortfall.

Read more...

County prepares opioid suit

  • Published in Local

MoCo LogoROCKVILLE – Montgomery County has taken a significant step towards filing a lawsuit against manufacturers of prescription opioid painkillers by hiring the San Francisco-based law firm of Robbins, Geller, Rudman and Dowd LLP as outside legal counsel to conduct the suit, County Executive Ike Leggett announced last Wednesday.

“Every day brings fresh evidence of the very real damage that the Opioid crisis in wreaking on individuals and communities throughout our great nation,” Leggett said in prepared remarks. “I wish I could stand here and tell you that Montgomery County is immune to this epidemic. Unfortunately I cannot do that.”

The announcement is the latest step Leggett has taken towards filing the civil action against prescription opioid manufacturers, which Leggett accused of violating marketing laws by downplaying the addictive nature of their products.

Not only will Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd help represent the County in its forthcoming action – which Robbins Geller attorney Aelish Baig said the County will file in early January -- but it will also help the County wrap up its own investigation into prescription opioid manufactures.

“Just what the lawsuit will look like is currently unfolding, but we will take the action, if necessary, to ensure we stop this very addictive process,” Leggett said.

Read more...

Berliner says “NO” to cuts in education while Leggett mulls options

  • Published in Local

MoCo LogoROCKVILLE — No program is safe from cuts as the County seeks to mitigate the effects of a projected budget shortfall next fiscal year, County Executive Isiah Leggett (D) said.

Last week Leggett announced that the County officials were anticipating a large unexpected budget shortfall, and asked that each County agency consider cutting two percent of their budget.

The sudden shortfall caught County finance analysts and council members by surprise as they based their $5.4 billion budget for the fiscal year 2018 off of much greater revenue projections.

"For me, everything is on the table, and you try to work through the particular details," Leggett said of the coming budget cuts.

Read more...

In The Hole

  • Published in Local

County scrambles to find a solution to unforeseen budget shortfall

MoCo LogoROCKVILLE — Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett directed County departments to make two percent cuts after the discovery of a $120 million budget shortfall.

The cuts are meant to make up for $95 million in projected income tax receipts that won’t be collected for the current fiscal year, combined with last year’s budget shortfall of $20 million, the total comes to roughly $120 million missing from the County’s budget, which Leggett noted is an unusual occurrence considering that the decrease in tax revenue comes as Montgomery County’s unemployment rate has simultaneously decreased.

“The traditional wisdom is when you have higher employment and a larger tax base you don’t normally see those kinds of shifts,” Leggett said. “What we’re doing is analyzing why you have a shortfall in the income tax.”

Read more...

“Fight for $15”

  • Published in Local

Leggett signs county's new minimum wage law

4K5A4484County Executive Ike Leggett signs the new minimum wage law, flanked by Montgomery County Council President Roger Berliner, CASA Executive Director Gustavo Torres and County Council member Marc Elrich with fellow County Council members and other supporters. PHOTO BY GLYNIS KAZANJIAN  The lengthy debate and amendment process leading to passage of Montgomery County’s new minimum wage ordinance should be an example for other Maryland jurisdictions looking to increase their own minimum wage rates, County Executive Isiah "Ike" Leggett said during a bill-signing ceremony on Monday.

“It establishes a foundation for the rest of Maryland and how we go forward,” he said during the ceremony, which was hosted by CASA de Maryland, an advocacy group that supports immigrants in job training and other services.

Leggett signed the bill while surrounded by supporters of the “Fight for $15” movement, representatives from labor unions, and various progressive groups as well as eight of the nine council members who passed the legislation.

Leggett’s spokesman, Patrick Lacefield, said that laborers and restaurant workers will benefit most from the new law because they lack collective bargaining representation.

Read more...

County’s HHS amends minimum wage proposal to $15 an hour

  • Published in Local

MoCo LogoThe County Council Health and Human Services Committee voted to make two amendments to the current proposal to increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour.

The HHS committee voted 2-1 to extend the implementation period by two years and change the definition of a small business from one of 25 employees or less to 50 employees or less.

“It’s very difficult to project what can to happen in the future. We have a madman in the White House,” said Council member and HHS Committee Chairperson George Leventhal (D-at large). “We don’t know where the economy is going to go. Currently the economy remains strong despite the uncertainty of our federal leadership.”

Read more...

County to appeal recent pesticide ruling

  • Published in Local

MoCo LogoAfter an Aug. 4 decision by a Montgomery County Circuit Court to strike down the County’ ban on pesticides, the County Council decided to appeal.

On Aug. 16, the County Council voted to direct the County Attorney, Marc Hansen, to appeal the Montgomery County’s Circuit Court decision on the County’ ban on “cosmetic” pesticides. Montgomery County Circuit Court Judge Terrence McGann ruled that County’s ordinance preempted state law.

“Our Council’s legal team advised us that the County would have a reasonable chance of prevailing in an appeal of the Circuit Court’s decision,” said Montgomery County President Roger Berliner (D-1) in a statement.

Read more...

Elrich proposes a minimum wage raise

  • Published in Local

Going into their month-long August break, County Council members will have one main issue on their minds – whether to increase the County’s minimum wage.

With the Council waiting for a County-commissioned study to be released within about a week, Council member Marc Elrich (D-at large), introduced another bill, Bill 28-17, Tuesday to increase the County minimum wage to $15 per hour.

“Poverty is expensive and taxpayers often wind up footing the bill, and it’s not fair to ask Montgomery County taxpayers to pays subside to Wal-Mart workers,” Elrich said.

Read more...

"We Are Still In"

  • Published in Local

County defies the President and vows to adhere to Paris Climate Accords

 

ROCKVILLE - “We are still in” the Paris Climate Accord despite the president’s decision to withdraw, declared County Executive Leggett, along with more than 1,000 local, state-level and business leaders around the country this week.

The officials and business leaders released the statement June 5 after President Donald J. Trump announced that the United States would leave the greenhouse gas reduction effort four days earlier.

Leggett cited the county’s Fiscal Year 2016 sustainability report, showing that it is well ahead of its own goals for “reducing greenhouse gas emissions from government operations” and installing solar energy atop government buildings. The county recently bought more electric vehicles for its fleets and has seed-funded a new Green Bank helping to finance energy-efficient retrofits in private buildings.

Area businesses and consumers appeared to remain on track for planned energy improvements. Joe Inglisa, who heads sales for Bowie-based SemaConnect, a manufacturer and seller of electric vehicle charging stations, said Trump’s announcement had “no impact” and that the “Trump announcement might even motivate buyers to do their own thing.”

Charging stations are usually installed in office and apartment buildings and parking lots.

Inglisa said, “Our momentum is picking up for several reasons. Many states and cities have their own environmental standards, and there is no sign they are changing anything. Maryland still has strong incentives, and I do not see this changing.”

In fact, unless tax laws are changed, there remain substantial federal tax benefits for both electric vehicles and solar installations.

Inglisa added that electric vehicles’ reputation among consumers “is getting stronger as time goes on, and prices are coming down.” Inglisa’s market area includes Maryland, D.C., Virginia, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Ohio.

“Consumers, especially in our area of higher-educated people, are motivated to do their part in contributing to a cleaner environment,” he noted.

Amelia Chasse, deputy communications director in Gov. Larry Hogan’s (R) office, noted that Hogan “signed the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act into law in 2016, adopting some of the most aggressive air quality goals in the country — significantly more aggressive than those in the Paris accord.”

Hogan’s 2017 legislative program included programs to “encourage the use of EVs [and added] incentives for renewable energy,” Chasse said. He “remains committed to preserving Maryland’s natural resources for future generations, and Maryland will continue to lead by example,” she added.

Kaymie Owen, communications manager for the Maryland Energy Administration, said that statewide in 2016, the solar industry employed 5,429. As of the end of May, the state had 9,300 electric vehicles, or EVs.

Maryland has 1,260 energy and sustainability businesses, she said. It ranked seventh among the states last year in the square footage per capita of LEED-certified commercial and institutional green buildings. LEED certification is the nation’s primary designation for energy-efficient buildings.

Mark Bryan, communications director for D.C.-based U.S. Green Building Council, the main advocate for LEED standards, told the Sentinel, “We do not expect that the Trump administration's decision to withdraw from the Paris Accords will have any immediate effect on LEED or green construction in the D.C. metro area, as local standards and regulations are strongly supportive of building and operating sustainably. Building owners and developers in Montgomery County and other partners in Maryland have been working with local lawmakers to ensure that new construction meets or exceeds some of the strongest standards in the country, and investors are increasingly demanding green building practices before they commit to financing. None of the administration's recent decisions are going to change that.”

One potential cause of a future slowdown in the building efficiency realm, Bryan said, would be action taken by the Trump administration to have the U.S. Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency cease developing new standards, benchmarking and research. Bryan concluded: “While we're all disappointed by the administration's decisions, the momentum toward building sustainably is unlikely to slow for one simple reason: It's good for business.”

Maryland ranked near the top among states in a scorecard compiled last year by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy for “combined heat and power policy,” Owen added. The scorecard includes requirements that electric companies give solar consumers credit for power they put back into the electric power “grid.”

Practically all the Maryland delegation in Congress responded to Trump’s June 1 decision immediately after his announcement. The response was along party lines, with the lone Republican, Rep. Andy Harris (R-1), saying that former President Barack Obama “made a bad deal” for the U.S. in the Paris accords. He said any new agreement should be run through the Senate as a formal treaty.

@vtime492

 

Read more...
Subscribe to this RSS feed