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Berliner supports local Muslim communities

  • Published in Local

SILVER SPRING – Montgomery County Council President Roger Berliner (D-1) came to the Muslim Community Center as part of MCC’s Community Education Series to address members’ concerns regarding hate crimes in the area after the MCC received a threatening letter in late February.           

“This is a time and a conversation that I never thought I’d have in my lifetime,” Berliner said.  “For those of us who believe in government and the goodness of our people, this has been a particularly challenging time … if you don’t feel welcome in Montgomery County, then we’ve failed you.”

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Candidate filing opens to a flurry of activity

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It was an unusually busy day at the Montgomery County Board of Elections as two people decided to file their paperwork to run for County offices on Tuesday.

Tuesday was the first day candidates could file their paperwork to run for any of the offices in the 2018 gubernatorial election. BOE Operations Manager Christine Rzeszut said it was an unusually busy filing day with two people deciding to file and total of five scheduled appointments to file.

“We’re going to have more of an active interest because we have open seats, especially in Montgomery County,” Rzeszut said.

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Berliner renews battle against Pepco

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Council President Roger Berliner (D-1) is calling for “financial consequences” for Pepco after the power company failed to meet its reliability targets for 2016 after its merger with Exelon.

During his Monday news conference, Berliner, a frequent critic of Pepco, said the power company should pay financially for its lack of improvement in its reliability since the Maryland Public Service Commission approved Pepco’s merger last year with Exelon, a Fortune 100 energy company based in Chicago.

“A deal is a deal, and if there aren’t consequences, it’s simply not OK,” Berliner said.

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Gathering for bagels and not bombs

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Bagels not bombsLoretta Rudolph and John and Robyn Quinter attended the Wednesday morning rally in support of the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School, which had been the victim of a bomb scare two days earlier. PHOTO BY SUZANNE POLLAK  

About 50 people gathered at the Randolph Hills Shopping Center in Rockville on Wednesday morning to show support for the nearby Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School, which had received an automated bomb threat by telephone Monday morning.

Students did not evacuate as police checked the interior and exterior of the building Monday. No bomb was found. More than 20 Jewish schools and community centers received similar threats that same day.

“I felt like we needed a place to stand together to show that this is not who we are,” said Aviva Goldfarb, of Chevy Chase, who coordinated the Bagels Not Bombs rally at the shopping center across from the Rockville school.

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General Assembly draws County ire over minimum wage

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While the County Council is split on raising the minimum wage, it is unanimously opposed to a bill in the General Assembly that would prevent the County from raising the minimum wage.

House Bill 317 would prohibit local jurisdictions in Maryland from raising the minimum wage. While the council is split on raising the minimum wage in the County, it – along with the County Executive Ike Leggett – is opposed to the bill.

Berliner, who voted against the bill to raise the minimum wage in the County to $15 per hour, said he is against the state’s preempting the County.

“While we may differ internally as to the right path to 15 dollars an hour, we are unanimous in believing that it is our responsibility, not something the state should assume for itself,” said Council President Roger Berliner (D-1). “This state has great diversity, and our situation is not the same as Garrett County, our situation is not the same as St. Mary’s County, and we are in the best position to address the needs of our people.”

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Council mulls real reaction to an “Existential threat” to the county

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Calling climate change an “existential threat,” a joint County committee discussed Roger Berliner’s (D-1) bill to divest County pensions from fossil fuels.

At last week’s joint Government Operation and Transportation Infrastructure, Energy and Environment Committee meeting, the committee discussed the merits of bill 44-16, which would divest County pensions from fossil fuel companies.

“I felt that we could both be true to our values and what many of us believe to be an existential threat to our planet and be true to our retirees,” Berliner said. “This was not an either-or situation. This was a design from day one to be able to advance both.”

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Waste facility still needs repairs, county says

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County and state officials said they do not believe that a trash incinerator plant in Dickerson that caught fire in December is beyond repair.

While the cause of the fire, which lasted more than a day, is still not known, the Dec. 8 fire did bring attention to several issues that plague the Montgomery County Resource Recovery Facility located on 21204 Martinsburg Road.

County Executive Ike Leggett blamed the 21-year-old facility’s age for its recent issues.

“The facility, after 20 years or so in the amount of use, has had some failures; it was not able to burn as much trash as it was normally able to,” Leggett said.

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County Raises Minimum Wage

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Council passes minimum wage raise, now awaits Leggett's signature

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ROCKVILLE – After many debates, protests and public hearings, the County Council voted Tuesday to increase the County’s minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2020.

Now Bill 12-16 awaits County Executive Ike Leggett’s signature before it can become law. Patrick Lacefield, a spokesperson for the County, said Leggett has not decided whether he plans to sign the minimum wage increase in to law.

“We're still reviewing it; we haven't made a decision,” Lacefield said.

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Local leaders uncertain about future under President Trump

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MPI GovHog-0047Governor Larry Hogan speaks with Jacob Eisner while visiting the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School. PHOTO BY MARK POETKER  

ROCKVILLE -- President-elect Donald Trump’s incoming administration is causing feelings of economic uncertainty among County officials, according to a County report.

Steve Farber, council administrator, in his fiscal update to the County Council last week, said the incoming Trump administration’s proposed polices on health care, tax and spending cuts, regulations on labor and the environment, and a change in immigration laws would have a major impact on the County.

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