August 8, 2012
FROM: Council Vice President Nancy Navarro and Councilmember Hans Riemer
SUBJECT: Wheaton Public Safety Working Group
Background:The Wheaton Public Safety Working Group is an element of the Montgomery County Council’s
efforts to revitalize Wheaton’s downtown core. While crime has reportedly decreased in
Wheaton, public perception of safety in the area remains mixed. Public safety is integral in the
overall revitalization effort and shaping attitudes concerning Wheaton’s future.
On Monday, July 9th we met with Montgomery County Chief of Police J. Thomas Manger, 4th
District Commander John Damskey, Mid-County Regional Services Center Director Ana Lopez
Van Balen and Wheaton Urban District Operations Manager Joe Callaway to discuss ways of
bringing community stakeholders together to discuss public safety in downtown Wheaton and
follow through on outstanding recommendations presented by the Wheaton Public Safety Audit
Task Force in October of 2004. The meeting started with an analysis of the 2004 Task Force
recommendations, many of which continue to be relevant today.
Scope of the Initiative:
The scope of the Wheaton Public Safety Working Group will be to study and implement ways of
improving public safety, quality of life, and perceptions of downtown Wheaton as it relates to
revitalization efforts. The Working Group will focus on the following areas:
• Review, evaluate and seek to implement outstanding recommendations from the 2004
Task Force report;
• Establish a community outreach mechanism similar to the Briggs Chaney/IDA Sector
Community Meeting model;
• Educate residents and business owners about Wheaton revitalization and redevelopment
• Identify gaps or possible areas of improvement in current public safety services in
• Develop strategies to improve perceptions about public safety in Wheaton;
• Provide recommendations, as necessary, to the County Executive and Council.
Participants for Proposed Initiative:
Membership of this Working Group will be comprised of government agencies, civic
associations, residents and business owners. Members will include:
• Representatives from the Offices of Councilmembers Navarro and Riemer;
• Mid-County Regional Services Center Director Ana Lopez van Balen;
• 4th District Police Commander John Damskey (or designee);
• A representative from the Mid-County Citizens Advisory Board, the Wheaton Urban
District Advisory Board (WUDAC), and the Wheaton Redevelopment Advisory
• A representative from Westfield Mall;
• A representative from the Wheaton and Kensington Chamber of Commerce;
• A representative from Montgomery County Public Schools and Parent-Teacher
• Representatives from neighborhood civic associations; and
• Wheaton business owners and residents.
The Working Group will receive staff support from the Executive Branch, including the Mid-
County Regional Services Center, Wheaton Urban District, and Montgomery County Police
Community oriented policing requires strong, collaborative partnerships among government,
business and residents. This initiative carries on the mission of the 2004 Public Safety Audit
Task Force to alter the existing perception that Wheaton is unsafe, while also taking into
consideration Wheaton’s ongoing revitalization—both through public and private investments.
As long-time supporters of its redevelopment effort, we believe the Public Safety Working
Group is one more way we can demonstrate Wheaton continues to be a top priority.
CC: J. Thomas Manger, Chief, Montgomery County Police Department
John Damskey, Commander, 4th District Police Station
Ana Lopez van Balen, Mid-County Regional Services Center Director
Joe Callaway, Wheaton Urban District Operations Manager
Rob Klein, Wheaton Redevelopment Program ManagerPeter McGinnity, Manager, Business Development & Intergovernmental Program
August 3, 2012
May 17, 2012
This week, the Maryland General Assembly passed an income tax increase that will disproportionately hit Montgomery County residents. At the same time, our County Council approved a budget that will keep property tax revenue level and cut the energy tax.
While the State is passing off its obligations to local government and tying our hands with mandates, we are investing in our children, our community and our future.
This budget is an important step toward restoring many of the services that have been cut since the Great Recession. The FY13 Operating Budget was our first opportunity since the economic downturn to strengthen our social safety net by supporting programs that help our most vulnerable residents. We restored the Working Families Income Supplement and added an energy assistance program for low income residents.
We kept our promise to enhance positive youth development programming by funding the Families and Youth Enhancement Initiative, a key step towards strengthening our communities. We are increasing staff levels for our gang prevention specialists in the Street Outreach Network and expanding the successful East County Teen Escape Club model to 4 more sites Countywide. We are also providing job opportunities and indispensable learning experiences to youth this summer through the Student/Teen Employment Program (STEP).
As chair of the Government Operations and Fiscal Policy Committee, I have worked side-by-side with my colleagues to maintain our County’s pristine credit rating by making fiscally responsible decisions. This budget continues to adhere to the most rigorous fiscal policies and responsible Spending Affordability Guidelines that our County has ever adopted. We were able to fully fund all negotiated agreements by our public employee unions and give our hard-working County Employees a one-time lump sum payment after years of cuts and furloughs.
In the Capital Budget, I was proud that my colleagues came together to invest more than $66 million in Wheaton’s downtown over the next six years. We accelerated the construction of Wheaton Library and Recreation Center and kept on track the renovation of Wheaton High School and Thomas Edison Technical High School. We continued essential funding for the Olney Library, which is scheduled to be completed on time. This Council has always been fully committed to our transportation priorities, which is why we added funding for key Purple Line and infrastructure projects.
I want to thank our County Executive for sending a responsible budget, Council President Berliner for his leadership, and my colleagues for their diligent work in enhancing our priorities. Finally and most importantly, I want to thank our constituents for their feedback and contributions to our great County.
March 13, 2012
Council Seeks Intervention in Situation Involving
Montgomery College Student from Germantown and His Parents
ROCKVILLE, Md., March 12, 2012—All nine members of the Montgomery County Council today signed a statement expressing their concern about the Department of Homeland Security’s detention and pending deportation of Germantown resident Jorge Steven Acuña (age 19), his mother, Blanca, and his father, Jorge.
“We urge the White House and the Department of Homeland Security to intervene in this terrible situation,” the statement reads. “We also call on Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform to finally fix this broken system.”
The complete Montgomery County Council statement on the detention and pending deportation of the Acuña Family:
We are deeply concerned by the Department of Homeland Security’s detention and pending deportation of Germantown resident Jorge Steven Acuña (age 19) and his mother, Blanca Susana Acuña and father, Jorge Acuña.
This issue was brought to our attention because of the incredible outpouring of support and activism by students at Montgomery College. More than 4,000 people have signed a petition and joined a Facebook group in an effort to stop this unjust action by the federal government.
Jorge’s parents brought him to the United States from Colombia when he was 8 years old. He grew up in Montgomery County, was an honor student at Northwest High School, and is only a semester away from graduating from Montgomery College. His parents, in an effort to do the right thing and seek legal asylum status, were caught up in our nation’s broken immigration system and now face the prospect of deportation. The entire family is currently being held in an ICE facility on the Eastern Shore.
In a similar situation earlier this month in Florida, ICE used its prosecutorial discretion and decided to defer deportation of an 18-year-old high school valedictorian who was born in Colombia and came to the United States at 4 years old. We encourage ICE to use the same good judgment again, this time in the case of the Acuña Family.
We stand committed to working with Congressman Chris Van Hollen and Senators Ben Cardin and Barbara Mikulski to help the Acuña Family avoid deportation. The Acuña Family’s attorney has prepared an emergency stay application and the Montgomery County Council is strongly supportive of this request.
We urge the White House and the Department of Homeland Security to intervene in this terrible situation. We also call on Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform to finally fix this broken system.
For additional information:
Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/groups/300409916692389/
Change.org Petition: http://www.change.org/petitions/jsa
Twitter Hashtag: #JSA
January 12, 2012
Have you ever been unsure about where to go to find all of the incentives, information and programs to help you green your lifestyle and save money? Now there is one site for Montgomery County residents to get this information and learn from others in the community: MyGreenMontgomery.org! Check out: http://www.mygreenmontgomery.org Access resources available to you and find out how to save money and decrease your impact on the environment. Visit MyGreenMontgomery.org to learn more!