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Dear District 1 Residents and Friends,  

Summer is just about here, school is almost out, and vacations are imminent.  But life on the Council does go on...and we have been working.  


But do know this.  There is an important election on June 24th. And it comes at an odd time, not a time when we have voted in the past.  As a result, everyone says that turnout will be very very low.  Never a good thing for our democracy.  So, do vote if you can, and if you can't vote on June 24th, you can vote early or vote absentee.  See important information below about early and absentee voting.  Until next time, please enjoy the rest of spring.



Roger Berliner

District 1


Poolesville Goes Solar


Yesterday, I was proud to join the leaders of Poolesville at the official ribbon cutting for their municipal solar system. A big deal. A deal that took years of hard work. Hard work that the leaders of Poolesville, including resident activists, kept at until they were able to make it work economically. A win for their taxpayers, a win for the planet, and a win for Standard Solar, one of our county's leading renewable energy players. And it was particularly nice because Poolesville has a rich tradition, a tradition based on the earth, based on community. And they have added to their reputation a green edge. And that's a good thing too. I am proud that our county has taken similar steps, including passing legislation I sponsored that will result in our buying only renewable power for our entire county consumption of electricity.


Early & Absentee Voting Information


Early Voting Information 


Montgomery County will open nine Early Voting Centers from June 12 to 19, from 10 a.m. - 8 p.m. Any registered voter may cast a ballot at any one of these sites on the same voting equipment used on Election Day. Many voters find that early voting is more convenient than voting at their assigned polling place on Election Day.


Early Voting Centers are located at:


Activity Center at Bohrer Park, 506 S. Frederick Avenue, Gaithersburg, 20877


Damascus Community Recreation Center, 25520 Oak Drive, Damascus, 20872


Executive Office Building, 101 Monroe Street, Rockville, 20850

Germantown Recreation Center, 18905 Kingsview Road, Germantown 20874


Jane E. Lawton Community Recreation Center, 4301 Willow Lane, Chevy Chase, 20815


Marilyn J. Praisner Community Recreation Center, 14906 Old Columbia Pike, Burtonsville 20866


Mid-County Community Recreation Center, 2004 Queensguard Road, Silver Spring, 20906


Silver SpringCivic Building, One Veteran's Plaza, Silver Spring 20910 


Wheaton Community Recreation Center, 11711 Georgia Avenue, Wheaton, 20902


You may visit, or download the new mobile app at, to view more information on early voting, including wait times for each center, updated hourly during voting hours.


For more information, call 240-777-VOTE, visit, the Maryland State Board of Elections' website at, or follow the Montgomery County Board of Elections on Facebook or Twitter.


Absentee Voting Information


The deadline for receipt of a completed and signed Absentee Ballot Application depends on how a voter wants to receive the blank ballot. Voters may Request an Absentee Ballot Online from the State of Maryland's Election Website or download, print-out, and complete an Absentee Application.


For the 2014 Primary Election, your application must be received (not just mailed) by:

  • Tuesday, June 17, 2014, if you want to receive your ballot by mail or fax 
  • Friday, June 20, 2014, if you want to download your ballot from the State's website



A Wider Circle Proclamation 


Dr. Mark Bergel and his top flight team at A Wider Circle are one of our county's finest non-profits.  Really.  


On May 13, I (along with Councilmember George Leventhal who chairs our Health and Human Services Committee) presented them with a proclamation.  Mark was picked as a 2014 CNN Hero Award recipient. And he deserved that too.


Back in 2001, Mark was working as a health professional and part-time faculty member at American University teaching about poverty, as well as a volunteer who delivered food to impoverished residents in the Washington, D.C. area.  Doing that work wasn't enough for him.  He wasn't satisfied teaching about poverty.  He had a burning desire to end it.


And so, he founded A Wider Circle and began delivering programs in February of 2002. That year, Wider Circle served 1,081 individuals; by 2013, it was serving more than 25,000 people per year. To date, through all of its programs, A Wider Circle has served more than 125,000 children and adults.  


The organization is known mostly for providing families that sometimes do not have a stick of furniture -- not a bed, not a table, not a chair -- with whatever they desire from their warehouse.  But they do more than that.  They provide clothing, including clothing for professional appearances, and life skill courses to help prepare them for job interviews and the like.  It makes me proud to serve on a Council that prioritizes the needs of our most vulnerable citizens. We are a compassionate community -- it's part of our DNA.  In the FY 2015 budget that we recently passed, we increased funding for the Department of Health and Human Services by 6.2% from last year. This funding will go to organizations like A Wider Circle, who will continue to provide a strong safety net for those in need.


New Bikeshare Stations 


On May 14, the Maryland Board of Public Works - consisting of Governor Martin O'Malley, Comptroller Peter Franchot, and Treasurer Nancy Kopp - approved $250,000 for purchase and construction of five new Capital Bikeshare downcounty stations to augment Montgomery County's existing system, which currently has 49 stations. The five new stations are expected to be installed in spring 2016. The County will fund the bikes and operating expenses.


The State funds were allocated to the County through a General Assembly Bond Bill passed in 2012. The bill sponsors, including many legislators (bolded) that represent portions of Council District 1, were Senators Brian Frosh, Richard Madaleno and Jamie Raskin and Delegates Al Carr, William Frick, Ana Sol Gutierrez, Sheila Hixson, Tom Hucker, Ariana Kelly, Susan Lee, Eric Luedtke, Heather Mizeur and Jeff Waldstreicher.


As Chair of the Council's Transportation committee, I am pleased that the use of Montgomery County's Bikeshare program nearly doubled from March to April. The number of trips originating in Montgomery County grew from 1,630 in March to 3,182 in April, an increase of 95 percent. The total number of trips since the program began in September 2013 through April 2014 is 11,533. This is all great news, and all the more reason to hop on a bike, help make our county greener, and enjoy the ride.


More information about Capital Bikeshare is available online.


Taking Pride in the C & O Canal


The C & O Canal is truly one of the treasures of our district. Stretching from Cumberland to Georgetown, the Canal is a place for so many residents to enjoy by taking a walk or jog, a bike ride, or a tour of all its historical sites. I was so pleased to attend this year's Canal Pride Day, where so many volunteers came to help preserve historic buildings, improve the grounds, plant trees, and paint buildings, benches, picnic tables and more at the Historic Great Falls Tavern.


It was great to see C & O Canal Trust President Mike Nardolilli and his staff, and hear from them about a new initiative they are starting where people can borrow bikes to use on the Canal. With the weather turning warm and sunny, I look forward to enjoying this special place in our community, and I hope you can too.



Zoning Code Rewrite Work Continues


Now that the FY 2015 Budget is done, the Council will return to its work on the new zoning code approved last winter which will go into effect on October 30, 2014.   


Although virtually all residential zones remain intact and unchanged, the new code does create some new zones and delete some current zones.  Therefore, the zoning map must now change to conform to the new code. Heights and densities in the old code will remain consistent in the new code and zoning map, in keeping with current master plans.  


The PHED Committee will meet in June and July and review outstanding issues before making recommendations to the full Council. They will meet at 2 PM on June 9th and at 9:30 am on July 3rd to take up this issue.  Both meetings will be held on the 7th floor of the Council Office Building in Rockville. (Please note that the Council's committee schedule is subject to change so please check back on the Councils website for the most up-to-date schedule)


You can view previous updates on the zoning code rewrite here. More importantly, if you have views on this, please share them with me and my colleagues.  Our work on this is governed by "ex parte" rules that limit our ability to opine on this matter prior to the entire record being presented to us for our consideration as a Council.  But YOU are free to opine, so please do.  I will be listening!


Strut Your Mutt


On May 17, I was proud to take my dog Max (last year's Best Licker winner!) and attend the 8th annual Strut Your Mutt parade, which was organized and sponsored by the Bethesda Chevy Chase Rotary Club and held in Bethesda's Woodmont Triangle. Strut Your Mutt is a tradition that I enjoy attending every year, as it raises money for the Montgomery County Humane Society and the fantastic work they do. It is great to see so many friends out and about with their dogs, and it's really one of those events which showcases the best of our caring community.


  The Grateful Shred


On May 10, I attended the 7th annual Grateful Shred event sponsored by the Friends of the Clara Barton Community Center. With a steady stream of cars coming into the Center all morning, over 11,000 pounds of unwanted paper was shredded.  Modest donations were given by individuals for each box or bag of paper that was shredded. The profits from the Grateful Shred go to help support activities and programs at the Clara Barton Community Center, which is a Montgomery County Recreation facility. As a whole, the Center was able to net more than $1,800. This event is a win-win-win, for the Center, for our residents, and our environment.



Pictured from left to right: Michael Jamison, Kathy Jamison, Roger Berliner, Jamie Jamison, Patrick Jamison, Linda Lewis, Jeremy Criss, David Weitzer

Honoring Jamie Jamison and Our County's Farmers   

I was proud to recently present Jamie Jamison a Council proclamation for being chosen as this year's recipient of the Mid-Atlantic Master Farmer Award and his induction into the 81st class of Master Farmers. Agriculture has a long and storied tradition in Montgomery County. And I am proud to be one of three Councilmembers who represent portions of our Agricultural Reserve. Working together, we as a Council just approved substantial funding in the FY 2015 operating budget to help our farmers with technical assistance so that they will be able to meet all their state stormwater requirements. I look forward to continue partnering with the Jamison family and all our county's farmers to ensure that they have the resources they need to thrive and grow.


Montgomery County Council, 100 Maryland Ave, Rockville MD 20850
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