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Up-County issues take center stage in Darnestown debate

  • Published in Local

DARNESTOWN — With the June 26 primary closing in, candidates for County Executive continued their campaign tour to the up-County, this time making their pitch to voters in Darnestown.

While most of the County Executive forums have featured only the Democratic candidates running for office, the forum hosted by the Darnestown Civic Association included the County’s sole Republican candidate – Robin Ficker – as five of the candidates squared off to woo voters in one of the more rural parts of Montgomery County.

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County Executive candidates make pitch to local Jewish voters

  • Published in Local

With about five weeks to go before the Democratic Primary on June 26, the six Democratic candidates for County Executive have made their pitch to a wide variety of voter interests and constituent groups as they each tried to set him or herself apart in the field.

On Monday, Jewish voters had their turn to listen to and weigh in on the debate as the six Democratic candidates for County Executive gathered for another forum, this time at Kol Shalom in Rockville. The issues ranged from the rise in hate crimes and security to the County’s economy, with the candidates rehashing debates and making attempts to appeal to Jewish voters.

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Spending for County Executive race climbs

  • Published in Local

MoCo LogoFor months a new face has appeared on television airwaves, on banner ads for websites, at Metro stops, and commercials on YouTube.

While admittedly an unknown six months ago when he entered the race for Montgomery County Executive, businessman David Blair has used his own money to fund an advertisement blitz six weeks away from June 26 Democratic Primary.

Blair, who served as chair of Accountable Health Solutions before he decided to run for County Executive, has used online and traditional marketing to help bring his name recognition to voters in the County, including a commercial of him standing outside the White House saying while he is a rich businessman with no experience in elected office, he is the “opposite of the Donald Trump.”

“Montgomery County is still an amazing place to live, but we’re slipping in certain areas,” Blair said.

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Money is the devil in politics

MC DC The Best Money Can BuyProgramming my own music on YouTube is one the last pleasures a diehard rock n’roll fan has left to look forward to in this topsy-turvy world.
Miguel is fine, but I like my guitar solos, back beats and a signature rock lyric.
Yes, I know I’m dating myself, but Led Zeppelin, The Stones, The Who, The Beatles, David Bowie, Lou Reed and a few others really still get my blood flowing.
And let’s face it, us old farts need to keep our blood flowing.
Everyone grows older if they’re lucky, but there are some things from childhood I absolutely refuse to part with until they pull the shroud over my eyes that one last time.
Imagine my consternation then when the Jim Carroll Band’s “Those are people who died” is interrupted by a David Blair ad.

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County throws support behind local union

  • Published in Local

countysealROCKVILLE — Local union leaders, members of the County Council and the County Executive gathered in solidarity last week before the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a case that could do significant harm to labor unions, and in the process, cut off a major source of funds to Democrats across the country. 

On Monday, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Janus v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. The case will determine whether public sector unions can legally require employees who are not union members – but still reap the benefits of a collectively-bargained contract – to pay the union so-called “fair share” fees. 22 states allow public-sector unions require employees who are not members to pay such fees – which are generally 20-30 percent less than full union dues – if the union negotiates their employment contract.

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Elrich and Berliner square off over public financing

  • Published in Local

Ehrlich BerlinerCounty Council members Marc Elrich (D-At Large) and Roger Berliner (D-1). COURTESY PHOTO  The new public finance laws in Montgomery County are leading to a war of words between two current council members running for County Executive.

Marc Elrich, (D-At-Large) is using public financing and claims Roger Berliner (D-1), who isn’t using public financing, is part of the problem with politics.

In the first required finance report of the 2018 campaign season, Berliner reports that real estate development businesses, and individuals associated with those firms, contributed approximately $266,000 - nearly half - of the funds his campaign raised from Jan. 10, 2017 to Jan. 10, 2018, according to the State Board of Elections.

These groups include local residential and commercial real estate developers, building contractors and financial investment firms associated with real estate.

“The business community is obviously a significant stakeholder in our county, and I’m proud to have the business community’s support,” Berliner said. “I’m proud that the business community believes that I am the best candidate to lead our county to a more prosperous future.”

“This is why we need public financing,” Elrich said. “The whole point behind public financing is to take special interests out of elections like this. In Montgomery County there’s never been a bigger special interest than real estate development. There is no rival to the real estate development industry. What they look for is people who will minimize the impact on them of the cost of doing business in Montgomery County. Clearly Roger is heavily dependent on them for money.”

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County Executive candidates debate issues in Sentinel forum

  • Published in Local

County Exec Candidate DebateFrom left to right: Roger Berliner, Marc Elrich, Executive Editor Brian Karem, George Levanthal and Bill Frick joined the Sentinel-hosted candidate forum to debate issues this week.     PHOTO BY MARK POETKERROCKVILLE — The four Democratic candidates running for Montgomery County Executive squared off in a debate Monday night to make their cases to County residents.

The debate, hosted by the Sentinel Newspapers, was an opportunity for the four men vying for the Democratic nomination for County Executive – Council members Marc Elrich (D-at large), George Leventhal (D-large), Roger Berliner (D-1) and Del. Bill Frick (D-16) – to separate themselves from one another.

New in this year’s election, is a campaign finance system. For those participating in it, the program limits donations to county executive candidates to $150 and matches a portion of donations with public money.

Debate moderator and Sentinel Newspapers Executive Editor Brian Karem asked the candidates if they took campaign contributions from developers.

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County executive candidates square off

  • Published in Local

POTOMAC – Saturday’s candidate forum was one of the first opportunities for the four men filed to run for County Executive to take the stage together and speak to the public directly.

On Saturday, the Montgomery County Muslim Council hosted a forum at the Potomac Community Center for the four people who filed to run for County Executive candidates and current County Council member Roger Berliner (D-1) Marc Elrich (D- at large), George Leventhal (D- at large), and attorney and former member of the Maryland House of Delegates Robin Ficker.

The candidates answered questions about diversity, profiling, schools and taxes.

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Sentinel Hosts Live Stream Debate Among Democrat Candidates for County Executive on Oct. 16

  • Published in Local

MoCo LogoROCKVILLE -  The Montgomery County Sentinel will be hosting a live stream debate among the Democrat candidates for County Executive on Monday, Oct. 16, in the Council Hearing Room (third floor) in the County Council Building at 100 Maryland Avenue in Rockville. 

Brian J. Karem, the executive editor for The Sentinel Newspapers, will moderate the event which is scheduled from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. 

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