When I ask residents what their biggest concern is about our City, the answers almost always involve keeping the great things we have in Rockville going. One recent answer to my question, though, struck me immediately. A neighbor in Woodley Gardens stated that her number one concern was “the lack of civility when we talk about national, county, and local issues.” Frankly, I don’t think asking for “civility” from our local elected officials is setting the bar high enough. Civility should be a basic expectation from your fellow human being. Our elected officials should be held to a higher standard.

As a veteran community leader and a newcomer to election campaigns, I look to those who have come before me as an example of what I should, and should not, be doing. When sitting Council members attack their elected colleagues with half truths, inconsistencies, cherry-picked claims, and edited videos, and allow their surrogates to do the same, it reduces the democratic process to a slimy reality show that has no place in the public realm. Run on your record and your vision, or don’t run.

I’ve stepped up to the podium during Community Forum or at public hearings dozens of times over the last five years, and I can’t help but think what it will be like, especially for those who are doing so for the first time, to come before a Mayor and Council who have won through maligning their opponents. What will they say about me, or you, if we come before them with a request or a concern with which they disagree?

When the election is over, five individuals chosen by the people of Rockville will not only have to work together, but we’ll still be each other’s neighbors. Why don’t we begin as we should continue, and behave as such?

What I’m reading with my coffee this morning: