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Floreen gets the signatures

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Says she still won’t call herself a candidate for county executive until ratified

Nancy Floreen smiles as she turns in her petition signatures.  COURTESY PHOTONancy Floreen smiles as she turns in her petition signatures. COURTESY PHOTOGAITHERSBURG — At-large County Council member Nancy Floreen said she is waiting for her paperwork to be processed before she will call herself a candidate for County Executive.

The four-term member of the County Council surprised many after she announced she would switch her party affiliation from Democrat to independent and make a run for County Executive. While her candidacy is not official yet, that has not stopped Floreen from campaigning.

On Monday, Floreen invited members of the media to watch as she turned in a petition with 20,343 signatures, calling for her to be placed on the November ballot. The 20,343 signatures are significantly more than the roughly 7,000 signatures Floreen needs from Montgomery County voters, but the signatures still have to be verified by Montgomery County Board of Elections staff, before Floreen’s name can be placed on the ballot.

Floreen said she is running in part because she is concerned about economic growth in the County and that the Democratic candidate, Council member Marc Elrich, will not be able to accommodate the needs of businesses.

“We are going to create a culture of making businesses feel that they add some value to our community,” Floreen said. “That’s only part of it – just part of it – but if we want to support our incredible school system, our park system, what our employees need, we need a tax base that will allow us to do that.”

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County refuses to release Amazon bid info

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Amazon.com logo1When the New York Times received its public information act request on Montgomery County’s incentive offer to Amazon to locate its second headquarters here, the newspaper received 10 pages of material – with every word redacted.

But Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett is making no apologies for the lack of transparency in the bid process, saying its secrecy is a prerequisite for attracting the tech-retail giant to the County.

“We're not going to discuss any of the details of our proposal at this point and time,” Leggett said. “Obviously, if we are moving forward, if Montgomery County is in the final running to get this, at that point of time, we will have everything open for people to have a discussion about.”

While other jurisdictions, including the State of Maryland, have publically released details of incentives they are offering to Amazon, Montgomery County is among many jurisdictions bidding to be the home of the retail giant that are refusing to release any details.

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Officer Cleared In Shooting

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Montgomery County police officer won’t be prosecuted for shooting unarmed man

YouTube screen capture of body-camera video released by Montgomery County Police of an officer providing backup to Officer Anand Badgujar during incident with Robert White. COURTESY PHOTO  YouTube screen capture of body-camera video released by Montgomery County Police of an officer providing backup to Officer Anand Badgujar during incident with Robert White. COURTESY PHOTO  The Howard County State’s Attorney’s Office this week cleared Montgomery County police officer Anand Badgujar of any wrongdoing in the June 11th shooting that killed an unarmed Silver Spring man, 41-year-old Robert Lawrence White.

In a letter to Montgomery County Police, Howard County State’s Attorney Dario Broccolino said that his office will not press charges against Badgujar, 32, who shot and killed White, an unarmed African-American man after an afternoon confrontation in a parking lot.

“After reviewing all of the pertinent evidence and after a thorough review of the law, by myself and the members of our Senior Staff, we have, unanimously, concluded that Officer Badgujar’s actions were justified under the circumstances. As a result, no further action will be taken by this office,” Broccolino wrote to Montgomery County Police Chief Tom Manger.

According to a source close to the investigation, the confrontation between Badgujar and White began when Badgujar approached White near the 9200 block of Three Oaks Drive in Silver Spring. After Badgujar approached White, White charged and attempted to hit Badgujar, but White’s punch did not land. That led to Badgujar’s attempt to pepper spray White, but he missed. According to police, the situation escalated from there, as Badgujar requested backup, and went to turn off the ignition to his police cruiser. While Badgujar was going to turn off the ignition, White then ran at Badgujar, knocking him down. As Badgujar fell, he discharged his weapon. At this point, White also fell, got up, stood over Badgujar and began to assault him. Badgujar then fired multiple shots at White, killing him.

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Blair Demands Recount

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Second place finisher for Democratic nomination for County Executive lost by 79 votes

David Blair  FILE PHOTODavid Blair. FILE PHOTOOn Tuesday, Democratic Candidate for Montgomery County Executive and businessman David Blair said he plans to request a recount from the Montgomery County Board of Elections.

Blair, who lost the Democratic Primary to Council member Marc Elrich (D-at large), said in a letter to supporters that given how close the race was, it is worth requesting a recount. On Monday, the Montgomery County Board of Elections certified Elrich’s victory, as he defeated Blair by 79 votes.

“We share the desire to have a nominee chosen in a timely manner so the party can come together and prepare for the General Election,” Blair said. “On the other hand, we fully believe that participation in the electoral process is the hallmark of our democracy, and it is imperative that all ballots are accurately counted.”

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Elrich wins by 80 votes

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Board of Elections still needs to certify closest County Executive race in recent memory

Council member Marc Elrich.  FILE PHOTOCouncil member Marc Elrich. FILE PHOTO  With all the ballots counted, Council member Marc Elrich is the unofficial winner of the Democratic Primary for Montgomery County Executive.

After days of vote-counting, and a race that was too close to call on Election Night, Elrich edged businessman David Blair by just 80 votes after Montgomery County Board of Elections officials finished counting ballots late Sunday evening.

With all ballots counted, Elrich has 37,529 votes, with 29.02 percent of the total count, while Blair came in second, with 37,449 and 28.95 percent of the vote.

The results are unofficial as the Montgomery County Board of Elections has yet to certify the results, which it will do during its meeting on July 16, but as of now Elrich is the leading vote-getter with no more ballots yet to be counted.

“I’m excited, there’s a lot of work to do... but I’m excited to have the opportunity to take that on,” Elrich told the Sentinel shortly after he learned of the results.

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G-Prep graduate nominated to Supreme Court

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Federal Judge Brett Kavanaugh. COURTESY PHOTOChevy Chase resident Brett Kavanaugh could be mistaken for many suburban fathers in Montgomery County.

He has a high-paying government job, and he lives in a small, wealthy community. Like many County residents, he has both an undergraduate and master’s degree from a prestigious university. He coaches his daughters’ basketball games on the weekends.

If you were not following the news, it night be easy to mistake Kavanaugh for just another Montgomery County resident – and not a nominee for the United States Supreme Court.

On Monday, President Donald J. Trump appointed Kavanaugh as an associate justice to the Supreme Court, replacing the outgoing justice Anthony Kennedy. Kavanaugh, who is currently a U.S. circuit judge of the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, is a resident of Chevy Chase and has deep ties to Montgomery County.

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Floreen jumps into Exec race

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Nancy FloreenCouncil member Nancy Floreen. FILE PHOTO  More than a week after filing her intent to run, Montgomery County Council member Nancy Floreen has announced she will run as an independent for County Executive in a move local political watchers say could severely divide the Democratic vote in November.

Meanwhile, Republican Robin Ficker says he isn’t concerned if Floreen gets on the ballot – or not. “I think I will win whether or not she gets her signatures and gets on the ballot,” Ficker said.

While Floreen filed her paperwork to run last week, she said she only did so to meet the July 2 deadline, saying at the time in a statement she had yet to make up her mind as not all the votes had been counted in the Democratic Primary with no winner declared.

Now that fellow County Council member Marc Elrich is the unofficial winner of the Democratic Primary, Floreen announced Wednesday her intent to enter the race as an independent.

“I am a candidate for County Executive – unexpectedly, I admit – because it would be a terrible loss for this county to fall into the sort of polarized posturing that has poisoned our national Politics,” Floreen said in a statement. “That’s not my way. I want to get things done for all of us.”

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Environmentalists weigh in on stormwater compromise

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MoCo LogoWhile the County Executive and Council have reached a tentative compromise on the issue of the future of stormwater-management projects and their contracting, environmental groups say they are skeptical about the plans.

On Tuesday, the Montgomery County Council held a public hearing on the compromise bill, which would bridge the divide between members of the County Council and the County Executive on the future of contracting for stormwater projects.

While some members of the County Council said they are hopeful about the prospects of a compromise, the environmentalists who testified Tuesday said they still have doubts about the plans.

Plans originally proposed by County Executive Ike Leggett to streamline the permit process for stormwater projects has caused worry among environmentalists, who believe that the contracting work, done by companies for profit, could lead to a reduction in the quality of environmental standards for stormwater projects.

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Police hold back footage of officer’s shooting

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policecar1 300x200 1Howard County prosecutors requested Monday Montgomery County Police not release body camera footage from a June 11 officer-involved shooting – a move that has sparked an outcry for transparency from local activists.

Detectives from the Montgomery County Police department met with Howard County Deputy State’s Attorney Mary Murphy Monday about the ongoing investigation into the police shooting of an unarmed black man, Robert Lawrence White.

On June 11, Montgomery County Police Officer Anand Badgujar shot and killed White, after police say White attacked Badgujar.

As per the agreement between the two counties, the Howard County State’s Attorney’s office is conducting the investigation into the shooting. Since the investigation is still ongoing, Murphy asked Montgomery County Police to not release body-camera footage from the shooting, according to T. Wayne Kirwan, a spokesperson for the Howard County State’s Attorney's Office.

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Two incumbents in County delegation lose bids for Democratic nomination; Meiklejohn wins her rematch

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Two incumbents in Montgomery County’s delegation in the Maryland House of Delegates lost their bids for the Democratic nomination after being overtaken by challengers.

Del. Shane Robinson came in fourth place with 19.4 percent just behind incumbent Del. Kirill Reznik and Lesley Lopez to finish just outside one of the three spots to represent District 39 which includes Germantown and Montgomery Village.

In District 19, which includes Wheaton, Aspen Hill, and Olney, incumbent Del. Maricé Morales finished fourth with 15.7 percent just behind incumbent Del. Bonnie Cullison and Derwood attorney Vaughn Stewart.

In a 2014 rematch, Barbara Meiklejohn defeated Alan Bowser to secure the Democratic nomination for Clerk of the Circuit Court for November’s General Election.

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