To do so we must start to work on building a carbon neutral economy. We can create thousands of green jobs, move toward 100% renewable energy, and increase building efficiency to save energy.
Other jurisdictions are making great strides toward this goal. Across the US, forty seven cities, four counties and one state have already adopted 100% renewable energy as a goal, most of them setting 2030 as a target date.
Denver just became the latest city to require green roofs on new, large buildings (joining San Francisco and New York.) The insulation provided by green roofs can save so much money they pay for themselves in as little as six years.
In addition, the county has a powerful tool for combating global warming in the agricultural reserve. If we implement regenerative agriculture in the reserve we can rebuild the soil and sequester millions of tons of CO2 from the atmosphere. We can be proactive in the fight against global warming and not just reactive.
Montgomery County should be a leader in the transition to a green future, not a follower.
Our development policies are badly off course and threaten the quality of life in the county.
Our development policies have been based on the ideas of New Urbanism as an alternative to suburban sprawl. New Urbanism promised walkable, transit oriented development that would get people out of their cars into mass transit. This was an admirable ideal.
Our problem has been that we have allowed development to proceed with no plan for how to pay for and build the infrastructure that would be necessary to support it.
This poorly planned growth has given us the most crowded schools in the state, ever more congested roads, a Metro system badly underfunded, and ever higher taxes to pay for these infrastructure needs.
We must change our growth policy to restrict development until adequate schools, infrastructure, and services are guaranteed.
Further, new urbanism can’t change the fact that most of the county remains suburban, that transit comes nowhere close to meeting the commuting needs of these neighborhoods.
We cannot completely ignore road infrastructure in those parts of the county that have been promised transit solutions for years and that have never seen these solutions materialize because they cannot provide sufficient demand.
Constructing fixed route transit systems in the crowded down county is expensive and disruptive. Expensive fixed transit systems are still problematic in the up county where demand may not pay for them. When we chose a transit system we should use the least expensive, most flexible transit solution that meets the community needs. Creative new solutions are appearing around the country including flexible transit, on demand transit and micro-transit systems.
Without creative new policies to meet the infrastructure and service needs of a growing population, the new urbanism will quickly devolve into the old urbanism with all of the problems that come along with it.
We face a widening divide between the wealthy and the rest of us. We must devote more resources to those who are struggling to get by.
Too many people are struggling to make it in our county. Our schools are becoming segregated into wealthy districts and poor districts. We need affordable housing. Housing costs continue to rise faster than wages, squeezing the middle class and poor. Soaring college costs saddle students with a choice between lack of education and crippling debt.
We must ensure that all schools have access to equal resources and all students access to programs that they need such as AP classes or magnet schools. We should implement a universal pre-k program for 4 year olds and free college tuition.
We need to promote affordable housing. Now we are tearing down more affordable housing than we build. This is a losing strategy. We should preserve and retrofit existing affordable housing,
We should enact stricter rent control guidelines and enact more renter safeguards such as a just cause eviction rule. Our housing authorities still reflect when we were a suburban, bedroom community. We need to allocate more of our resources to apartment code enforcement and educating tenant of their rights.
Foreign born residents now make up a third of our population. They need to be guaranteed an environment that is safe and secure. Under the present administration ICE raids are becoming more common. These are terrorizing tactics for those foreign residents who are here legally. Among those undocumented residents many cannot return to their home countries for fear of violence or death. We must offer a safe have for all of our residents.
To promote a just society we should end the use of the money bail system which results in the incarceration of the poor who cannot afford bail, even the innocent an non flight risks. We should treat drug addiction as a health issue not as a crime and we should end the disproportionate incarceration of people of color, racially motivated policing strategies and racially biased minimum sentencing.
We can build a society that is sustainable, prosperous and just but it will take serious efforts at reform to some of our present policies. I am dedicated to making those changes.
I believe we can make these changes but I need your help.
I am running a campaign based on small individual donations. I will not accept donations from developers, unions, or PACs. I would like to qualify for public matching funds but to do that I need many individual donations. Please consider making a donation online. Or mail a check to Friends of Tim Willard, P.O. Box 217, Kensington, MD. 20895
Thank you all for your support
Authorized and paid for by Friends of Tim Willard, Jon Cook, treasurer