Dear King Farm Neighbor

As a father of two young boys, I can confidently say that we have a choice in this election. Two candidates, James Hedrick and David Myles, have young children themselves and will truly fight for King Farm’s many young families. Cynthia Cotte Griffiths, who has two boys—the youngest recently graduated high school—has years of educational leadership experience, including as President of the Richard Montgomery High School’s PTSA.

We are also proud of our diversity in Rockville and in King Farm.  Our diverse cultures, experiences, and perspectives enrich our city.  If elected, Virginia Onley would be our City’s first African American mayor and would bring her extensive experience as a current City Council member and as a leader in the private sector.  Her advocacy of affordable housing will ensure that we have a city where teachers, retail workers, young professionals, and police officers can afford to live where they work.

Last but not least, Mark Pierzchala will bring his years of institutional knowledge and experience as a City Council member. Mark has fought for a fiscally responsible city and has also been the driving force on the Council to find a suitable adaptive use for King Farm Farmstead.

I want my two young boys to grow up well-educated in a city where their bi-racial background and multicultural heritage are part of a welcoming, inclusive, and diverse community, where they will find good jobs and affordable housing when they grow up.

For all these reasons, I support Team Rockville as the team that has the vision, leadership, and values to ensure that Rockville is the ideal place to live, work, and play for generations to come.

Sincerely,

John Chu

King Farm Neighbor

The last candidate forum will be hosted at the King Farm Community Center today, October 23 from 6-8 pm

Greater Greater Washington Moves with Team Rockville

Greater Greater Washington,  a nonprofit organization that brings people together for an inclusive, diverse, growing Washington, DC region, has endorsed all five candidates of Team Rockville. Recognizing that there are two competing visions for Rockville’s future, Team Rockville’s acknowledgement of the need for housing affordability and Vision Zero policies attracted Greater Greater Washington’s attention and their conclusion that “Rockville should move ahead with Team Rockville.”

Team Rockville will work to foster growth around our metro corridors, oppose plans to widen I-270, and promote housing affordability within Rockville. Virginia OnleyJames HedrickMark PierzchalaCynthia Cotte Griffiths, and David Myles will bring an urbanist future for Rockville and we urge City of Rockville residents to vote for them on November 5.

For the detailed endorsement, read “In Rockville, Pro-Affordable Housing and Anti-Development Slates Battle for the City Council.”

Team Rockville’s Wide-Ranging Endorsements

We are honored by the many endorsements we’ve received during this election, especially because they represent both organizations and community leaders who have demonstrated their interest in the future of Rockville.

Organizations that have endorsed the every candidate in Team Rockville include the Action Committee for Transit and the Coalition of Asian Pacific American Democrats.

Community leaders that have endorsed every candidate in Team Rockville include:

  • John Chu, King Farm resident
  • Susan Hoffman, former Rockville Mayor
  • Will Jawando, Montgomery County Council At-Large
  • Tom Moore, former Rockville City Councilmember
  • Julie Palakovich Carr, Maryland State Assembly, District 17
  • Vaughn Stewart, Maryland State Assembly, District 19
  • Sima Osdoby, former Rockville Mayoral Candidate 
  • Judge Chung Pak, retired Administrative Patent Judge at the U.S. Patent Trial and Appeal Board
  • Ben Shnider, former Montgomery County Council Candidate, District 3
  • Steve Silverman, former Montgomery County Council President and Director of the Montgomery County Department of Economic Development.

Organizations that have endorsed individual candidates in Team Rockville include:

David Myles: CASA in Action, New Politics

James Hedrick: CASA in Action, Progressive Maryland, Our Revolution, Run for Something

Virginia Onley: Our Revolution, Progressive Maryland, CASA in Action

Thanks again for everyone’s support during this tough election and please encourage your friends and neighbors to mail their ballot well before the November 5 deadline (postmarks do NOT count!).

Mark Pierzchala on RedGate Golf Course

Mark Pierzchala at the former RedGate Golf Course in Rockville.

Mark Pierzchala, a Rockville City Councilman who is up for re-election this fall, was extensively interviewed in Governing about public golf courses in “Course Correction.” The case study is Rockville’s RedGate Golf Course, which was recently managed by Billy Casper Golf until it decided to end its lease. Here’s an excerpt that provides some background and Mark’s vision for RedGate:

Back in Maryland, Rockville’s first reckoning with its municipal golf course came in 2010. The Great Recession had wreaked havoc on the city’s budget and amid all the cuts to consider, RedGate’s half-million-dollar annual losses floated right up to the top. “Many golfers were very angry about the idea of not subsidizing the course,” says Councilman Mark Pierzchala. After weighing various options, the city opted to contract with Billy Casper Golf to run the course beginning in 2011. The hope was that by folding RedGate into a national company’s portfolio, Billy Casper would make the necessary investments to get the course to turn a profit. “We knew there was a possibility they couldn’t make it work,” says Pierzchala. “But in the end, we figured it was our best shot.”

Eight years later, the prevailing market forces are now too strong to salvage RedGate. It’s surrounded by competition. Four different country club courses are just miles away, and a county-run golf course and driving range is about 10 minutes northeast. Unable to turn much of a profit, Billy Casper Golf cut down on maintaining the course, which led to a host of irrigation problems in the hilly terrain. A National Golf Foundation report issued after Billy Casper dropped the course found that it would cost at least $2.5 million to repair the drainage, irrigation, cart paths and other landscaping necessities required to restore the course to its heyday. In total, the city was looking at an investment of up to $3.7 million to get the course back in good condition. And that investment came with no guarantee that the course would then break even.

In June, the city council officially decided to consider other options for the course and took the first step in hiring a consultant to conduct a master planning process. Unlike in 2010, there was very little—if any—pushback. Instead, most council members view it as an opportunity. For Pierzchala, it’s a chance to finally get the $15 million windfall the city needs to restore a historic dairy barn and farmstead on the north end of town for use as an event venue. The city’s town center also needs new investment, he says. The councilman is hoping Rockville sells a portion of the land to a developer for mixed-use housing and retail. Others would rather invest in keeping the entire area as open parkland. The debate is sure to dominate the city’s elections this fall. “To me,” says Pierzchala, “it’s about what are you giving up to rescue this place.”

To read the complete story that puts Rockville in a national context, visit Governing.com. To learn more about Mark Pierzchala and his vision for Rockville, visit https://votepierzchala.org/.

Action Committee for Transit endorses Team Rockville

Montgomery County’s Advocates for Better Transportation

Team Rockville cares about expanding transit options, reducing traffic, and protecting neighborhoods from harmful development so we’re pleased our hard work in this area has been recognized by the Action Committee for Transit with this endorsement:

The Action Committee for Transit endorses the Team Rockville slate for Rockville City Council. Team Rockville is committed to stopping the destructive plan to widen I-270, to making lively, walkable mixed-use neighborhoods flourish around the city’s Metro stations, and to increasing the supply of affordable housing for Rockville tenants.

The two current council members on the slate have shown their commitment to a better Rockville. Town center resident Virginia Onley, the slate’s mayoral candidate, has worked hard to make downtown Rockville thrive. Mark Pierzchala initiated the citizen movement against the I-270 widening. They are joined by three first-time candidates: James Hendrick, who has a particularly far-seeing urbanist vision, Cynthia Cotte Griffiths, and David Myles.

Continue reading “Action Committee for Transit endorses Team Rockville”

Mark Pierzchala on the Impact of I-270 Widening on Rockville

Detail of Rockville from the interactive map of the I-495 & I-270 Managed Lanes Study.

Gov. Hogan’s plans to add lanes to I-270 are now two years old and as controversial as ever, in part because residents still don’t know what to expect. I have fought against this plan from the start, and if it continues to go forward, I will work tirelessly to minimize the impact.

Options have narrowed, and the state seems to prefer those with two managed (toll) lanes in each direction because of the revenue they would provide. With these, the interstate would expand from 12 to 16 lanes through Rockville.

Under current plans, it’s unclear whether—and how many—backyards would shrink. Whatever happens, our City will see disruption for some number of years.

Some or all of the bridges over the highway may have to be rebuilt. The Gude Drive overpass will be used to provide ramps for the managed lanes. This will cause changes in traffic patterns for Woodley Gardens, King Farm, College Gardens, West End, Rockshire, Fallsmead, and nearby neighborhoods. Streets likely affected: Nelson Street, College Parkway, Gude Drive, Wootton Parkway, Watts Branch Parkway, Research Boulevard, and Piccard Drive to name just some of them. Gude Drive’s bridge is slated to have perpendicular ramps to the toll lanes. The Wootton Parkway bridge was also mentioned in one of the meetings, though the use of this bridge does not appear as likely.

Phase 1 of the state’s plans goes from just south of I-370 down to the Beltway. So far, plans do not address (1) the area north of I-370, (2) the Beltway, or (3) the American Legion Bridge.

At present, Phase II covers I-270 north of I-370. Frederick and Gaithersburg are so-called “participating agencies” for Phase II. But Rockville is not a participating agency for Phase I. Why not? We should be.

Continue reading “Mark Pierzchala on the Impact of I-270 Widening on Rockville”

Coalition of Asian Pacific American Democrats Endorses Team Rockville

Yesterday, the Coalition of Asian Pacific American Democrats of Maryland (CAPAD-MD) and its regional organization, Coalition of Asian Pacific American Democrats of Montgomery County (CAPAD-MC), endorsed the members of Team Rockville in the Rockville Municipal election:

In their endorsement, CAPAD-MD and CAPAD-MC stated that they recognized our

commitment and proactive stance to promote diversity and fairness, recognize the special needs of multi-cultural communities, and support economic empowerment for minority communities and the community at large.  CAPAD-MD and CAPAD-MC also believe that your vision and actions would help improve Montgomery County’s and Rockville’s economic position, address and integrate the special needs of our immigrant communities, support minority small businesses, and continue to make Maryland, Montgomery County and Rockville one of the best places to live for working families. Once again congratulations.

Continue reading “Coalition of Asian Pacific American Democrats Endorses Team Rockville”

How Vote-By-Mail Works in Rockville

Team Rockville candidates explain how vote-by-mail works in Rockville in this short YouTube video. Remember, election day is now election month starting in early October when you receive your ballot by mail and ends when the City of Rockville receives your ballot by 8:00 p.m. on November 5, 2019. Postmarks do not count.

To receive a ballot automatically by mail, be sure you’re registered by September 20. After that, you’ll need to register in person at City Hall (you can even register and vote the same day on November 5). More information about voting is available at the City of Rockville.

Team Rockville Goes Out at Night Despite Thunderstorm

National Night Out experienced terrific thunderstorms in Rockville, but where neighborhoods could gather, Team Rockville candidates visited. To share the evening with others who weren’t able to attend, here are a couple snapshots from our visit to Living Faith Lutheran Church in Twinbrook. Thanks for welcoming us and the community during this important national event.

Did you know that Councilmember Mark Pierzchala voted to build Rockville’s police department and Mayor Bridget Newton voted against it?

Washington Post posts Op-Ed by Mark Pierzchala

Screen Shot 2019-07-24 at 1.57.58 PM

In partnership with Prince George’s County, Montgomery County recently convinced the  Transportation Planning Board at the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments to consider a more complete and environmentally sensitive approach to the State’s plans for easing congestion on I-270 and I-495. The new alternative to be studied includes managed lanes, reversible lanes, active traffic management techniques, spot improvements, expansion of park & ride facilities, and dedicates some toll revenues to already planned transit projects.

But as Team Rockville member Mark Pierzchala points out, this won’t be sufficient in his recent Washington Post op-ed.  As he notes, “There is too much sprawl in the region for transit alone to solve the commuting crisis…The mess is decades in the making.”  As an alternative to the endless cycle of growth and sprawl encouraged by bigger and faster highways, he suggests a better use of land through transit-oriented development.

This year, Rockville finally embraced a transit-oriented development near the Twinbrook Metro called Twinbrook Quarter. But it was a rough fight, and the project nearly failed on the issue of school crowding, even though it will pay for more school capacity than students it will generate. I don’t blame parents for being angry about schools bursting at the seams. They’re paying high property tax rates, and their children deserve better. But their children are going to grow up, and they should be able to live and work in Rockville as young adults if they so choose.

Think this is too radical for Rockville?  Actually, transit-oriented development has been around for at least twenty years and the DC region has several examples that serve as  national models. Indeed, Rockville is actually falling behind in this kind of land use planning, even though it’s an ideal solution to the region’s housing and transportation problems.

Thankfully, as our Councilmember, Mark is thinking ahead and as a part of Team Rockville, he brings with him a group of thoughtful, experienced, and diverse residents to address community issues today to create an even better future for our children and grandchildren. Mark served two terms as Councilmember from 2009 to 2013 then returned in 2015. On the Council, he has reduced spending while growing Rockville’s tax base. His experiences on the Council, as a small-business owner, as president of the College Gardens Civic Association, and his stint as chair of the Town Center Action Team, as well as his biking and walking tours of all City streets give him a unique perspective on the needs of residents and businesses.

To read the entire op-ed, see “The Interstate 270 Mess Was Decades in the Making” by Mark Pierzchala in the July 5 edition of the Washington Post.