Wednesday, May 22, 2013 3:30 AM
Published on: Thursday, March 14, 2013
By Holden Wilen
ROCKVILLE - Slate politics officially made its return to Rockville Saturday afternoon.
In front of a crowd of more than 50 people at Giuseppi's Pizza Plus, Rockville City Councilman Mark Pierzchala announced his candidacy for mayor as part of Team Rockville, a group of five candidates for seats on the council or the mayor’s office, in an effort to “end of the nonsense” in the city’s government.
The other members of Team Rockville are current city councilman Tom Moore and council candidates Virginia Onley, Julie Palakovich Carr and Beryl Feinberg.
“For several years it has been difficult to run the city’s business,” Pierzchala said. “For several years, it has been impossible to have a sensible policy discussion. We have many examples where it has taken several years to solve problems that could have been solved in a year or even a few months. Team Rockville is going to put an end to that.”
Pierzchala previously ran for mayor in 2007, finishing second out of the three candidates. This race will be different, he said, because in 2007 he was unknown and had no political experience. Now he has experience from two terms on the council and is part of a team.
The members of Team Rockville are very diverse, Pierzchala said, but diversity is not the reason why the candidates are members of the team.
“We actually have qualifications,” he said. “By having those qualifications, we are avoiding some of the problems with the current council.”
As a member of the current council, Moore said he has led a statewide effort to save Maryland’s ethics laws and also advocated biennial budgeting. Additionally, Moore said he and Pierzchala led the approval of the Twinbrook Metro Place project.
However, he also noted some of the losses, such as not making any progress in reforming the city’s adequate public facilities ordinance. His teammate, Carr, chaired the adequate public facilities ordinance committee.
It’s important to have a governing majority that understands how the city runs and approaches challenges rationally, Moore said.
“Mark and I are fighting common-sense battle,” he said, “and we are losing common-sense votes.”
Feinberg recently served on the Board of Supervisors of Elections but resigned in order to run for office. She joined the board in 2006 with the purpose of honoring her mother, she said, who was an election judge when Feinberg was a child. Feinberg said she had no idea she would run for office when she first became a part of the board.
Onley, a resident of the Americana Centre, said she has served on various city commissions and boards throughout the past 20 years and most recently served on the Charter Review Commission. She also ran for office in the city council twice before but lost both times.
The first time she ran, Onley said nobody knew who she was. The second time she ran, more people knew her, but she said she wasn’t aggressive enough. This time will be different, she said, because she is a part of a team.
Onley said she wants to be the voice for the people of Rockville as a member of the council.
“You will never have to worry about me soft-pedaling it, politicking it—I’ll give it to you straight from the bottom of my heart,” she said.
Rockville faces two challenges, Pierzchala said, which Team Rockville will help the city handle. One of the challenges is the federal sector is going to shrink and the private sector needs to increase. The second problem is Rockville is going to grow even while the federal sector shrinks. It’s time for the city to rise, he said.
“We can either come together on these challenges or we can let these challenges divide us and cripple Rockville for the future,” Pierzchala said. “Team Rockville is about coming together to solve our problems and thriving for the future in these difficult times.”
Among those in attendance at the event were current councilman John Hall, former mayors Rose Krasnow and James Coyle, and former councilmen Bob Wright and Jim Marrinan. The city’s election takes place on Nov. 5.