From the County Council Office of Valerie Ervin
Dear Resident,

With everyone settled back into their fall routine, I wanted to update you about what's going on at the County Council. This fall and winter, we will be focusing on land use issues.  There are several sector plans which are slated for review and final Council action prior to October 2010. We are currently reviewing the Growth Policy and just concluded public hearings for the White Flint Sector Plan. The Planning, Housing and Economic Development Committee is in the process of reviewing the Gaithersburg West Sector Plan and will then start work on the White Flint Sector Plan. 
Most important for District 5, the Council will begin its review of the Kensington Sector Plan as soon as deliberations on Gaithersburg West and White Flint Sector Plans have concluded. Up-to-date information on the Kensington Sector Plan can be found at:
These land use decisions are extremely important because they provide guidance about how our communities should look, feel and operate in the future.  That is why it's essential that I hear from you about issues in your neighborhood.  Please do not hesitate to send me an email at: or give me a call at 240-777-7960. I look forward to working with you on land use and other issues affecting the future of District 5.

Leading the Charge to Save Sligo Creek
Golf Course
First Hole at Sligo Creek Golf Course On September 29, 2009, my Council colleagues and I approved a $150,000 special appropriation to continue golf course operations at Sligo Creek. Without this appropriation, the golf course would have closed.
In addition to the special appropriation, I am looking for solutions to save Sligo Creek Golf Course over the long-term. I along with Councilmembers Floreen and Leventhal sponsored a resolution to create a 17-member Council task force that will evaluate several options for the future of the golf course, including my proposal to develop a public-private partnership with the Department of Veterans Affairs at the federal or state level. This partnership would provide therapeutic golf for veterans and their families and could provide a stable funding stream for course operations. Growing up in a military family, I know the sacrifices that the men and women of the armed forces make each day. I believe that this is a small way that we can give back to those who have given so much. 
For information, meeting agendas and minutes visit:
Working for Good Government
The Inspector General's Office often takes on sensitive and sometimes controversial issues related to various county departments and county-funded agencies; however, under current law, he must ask the County Attorney's Office, if he needs outside legal counsel. While the County Attorney's Office must represent both branches of government, this can be difficult when an investigation involves a county department.

As a result, I have proposed Bill 33-09, Inspector General - Attorney, which would enable the inspector general to request special legal counsel directly from the County Council. This bill is needed to head off potential conflicts of interest and to ensure accountability.

I expect that Bill 33-09 will be enacted before the end of the year, and it will have no fiscal impact on Montgomery County taxpayers. For more information, you can view the bill on the Montgomery County web site.
Important Tax Credit Information
The State of Maryland has a program that gives a credit against the homeowner's property tax bill, if property taxes exceed a fixed percentage of the household income. It sets a limit on the amount of property taxes any homeowner must pay, based on his or her income. Montgomery County offers two supplemental tax credit programs. The deadline to apply for credits has been extended to Monday, November 2.
For more information visit or call the tax credits telephone service at 410-767-4433 or 1-800-944-7403 (toll free in Maryland).   
Jim Dandy to Receive 2009 Neal Potter Path of Achievement Award
Jim Dandy and Valerie Ervin I am excited to report that Rev. Samuel Meyers, known to most as Jim Dandy, will receive the Neal Potter Path of Achievement Award next month. I nominated Mr. Dandy for this award because of his life-long commitment to serving Silver Spring residents. 
The Neal Potter Path of Achievement Awards are given to county residents who are at least 60 years of age and whose work and spirit have lead to special accomplishments in personal and community endeavors. 
Mr. Dandy, age 93, has operated his own dry cleaning shop in Silver Spring for 36 years. Jim Dandy Cleaners and Formal Wear on Bonifant Street is known for its top-notch service and the personal touch of its owner. Jim Dandy is an outstanding example of a local business owner who never gave up.  His commitment and drive to succeed is something to recognize and celebrate.
Wheaton Redevelopment Committee Ramps Up Advocacy Efforts
Wheaton Logo As the councilmember who represents Wheaton, I was happy to convene a meeting with my Council colleagues, the County Executive and the Wheaton Redevelopment Advisory Committee on September 16. The purpose of this meeting was to get everyone up to speed on what residents would like to see for the future of Wheaton and to discuss legislative strategies for tapping into funding opportunities at all levels of government that would help to revitalize the central business district.
I have invited several county, state and federal elected officials to come to a second meeting with the Wheaton Redevelopment Advisory Committee on November 9 at 7:00 p.m. This meeting will take place at Lindsay Ford in Wheaton, which is located at 11250 Veirs Mill Road. The purpose of this follow-up meeting is to open up the lines of communication with officials on the county, state and federal level and will focus on how to get Wheaton more visibility and make it more competitive in attracting an anchor tenant and securing funds. 
Discovery Communications and Councilmember Ervin Help Get Students Off to the Right Start
Val at Center for nonprofit Advancement 1
When students at Highland Elementary started the fall semester, they did so with a backpack full of school supplies, thanks to the generosity of Discovery Communications.   The company's backpack program, provides essential school supplies, so elementary school students have what they need to start out right on the first day of school.

Discovery is not only a committed community partner, but is also an environmentally sensitive one.  All of the backpacks that were donated were also eco-friendly. I was happy to join with company representatives to distribute backpacks to all the elementary school students.  Connecting with these students is truly one of the best parts of my job.
Annual Peace Summit
On Saturday, October 10, MXD Unity held its 1st Annual Peace Summit at Montgomery College in Takoma Park. I was happy to partner with this youth-led coalition to host this Peace Summit, which brought together young people to strategize about ways to promote peace on the streets.

This free event included workshops on gang violence, genocide, and gender / sexual / domestic violence, and the development of an action plan. I am so proud of all the young people who worked so hard to make this event a success. Tony Hausner also donated a significant amount of time organizing this event. Thanks to all.
Community Gardens
Community Garden
I was proud to partner with residents in the Sligo Overlook community, Park and Planning, the City of Takoma Park, and Friends of Sligo Creek to create a county-sponsored community garden located in Sligo Mill Park on Orchard Drive.  On a recent visit, I was able to enjoy the organic vegetables that were grown by several residents.  As the fall harvest draws to a close, I look forward to seeing everyone back in the garden this spring.
Richard Romer Joins the Team as a Policy Analyst
Val at Center for nonprofit Advancement 1
I am delighted to announce that Richard Romer from the Council's Office of Legislative Oversight has joined my office as a policy analyst.  Rich will be handling transportation and environmental issues as well as some public safety issues. Rich also serves as my liaison on neighborhood issues in Silver Spring and Takoma Park.

Rich holds a graduate degree from the University of Maryland's School of Public Policy. Prior to his work at the Office of Legislative Oversight, Rich was a research assistant in the Office of Smart Growth Research and the Office of Executive Programs at the University of Maryland. He also interned at the Maryland State Department of Education and the Maryland Municipal League.