Why Run?

Bounce house safety check before the neighborhood kids arrive at the last East Rockville Neighborhood cookout.

On a late night walk home from the Pump House where we, the East Rockville Civic Association, had to work through some complicated issues regarding our neighborhood plan, I was really feeling the weight of it all, and questioning everything.

Bounce house safety check before the neighborhood kids arrive for the last East Rockville neighborhood cookout.

Were we doing the right thing? Was the process right and inclusive? Were we forgetting anything? Were we ensuring that the neighborhood maintained and even grew a more diverse housing stock? Were our (very few) historic and public places adequately protected? Was one of our neighborhood babies teething or did he have a cold? Did my neighbors around the corner order enough tile for their new bathroom? Did our “junior member” of ERCA get that scholarship to UPenn? I had all the worries.

Then I got to the corner about a half a block from my house and heard one of the most unmistakable sounds on the planet–one of my favorite neighbors laughing. I had to stop and smile at this deep, heart-felt sound that is so recognized and loved within our four-block radius and, as I stood there, I picked up the sound of children playing, and underlying that the low hum of adults deeply engaged with one another in conversation.

I remembered something in that moment–it’s not about the buildings, it’s about the people inside the buildings, and I don’t get up every morning looking forward to more meetings and firing off more e-mails to the City, I get up every morning because the community that the people of Rockville have built is worth working and fighting for.

By the time I walked the half a block to my house, I knew I was going to call the Mayor, who had been waiting patiently for an answer, and tell her yes, that I would run with her in the 2019 election. Everyone in Rockville deserves to have someone at City Hall who finds them inspiring, and I’m grateful for the reminder and the opportunity.

Here’s what we’ll do:

  • Commit to a community-based, people-centered approach to development.
  • Be better partners to our school community through creating and supporting an Education Commission that gives Rockville a stronger, unified presence within MCPS, and extends a hand to MCC.
  • Foster community through a sustained, focused effort to preserve and develop public and private “third places,” or places where all are encouraged to gather and interact.
  • Preserve and grow our green spaces and tree canopy for our connectedness and well-being.

What I’m Reading:

Butler, Stuart M, and Carmen Diaz. “‘Third Places’ as Community Builders.” Brookings, Brookings, 22 Aug. 2017, www.brookings.edu/blog/up-front/2016/09/14/third-places-as-community-builders/.

Jacobs, Tom, and Tom Jacobs. “Living Near Trees, Not Just Green Space, Improves Wellbeing.” CityLab, 31 July 2019, www.citylab.com/environment/2019/07/urban-tree-canopy-green-space-wellbeing-research/595060/.

Oldenburg, Ray. The Great Good Place: cafés, Coffee Shops, Bookstores, Bars, Hair Salons, and Other Hangouts at the Heart of a Community. Da Capo Press, 2005.

Recommendations for Building a New Model for Community-Centered Development, Partnership for Working Families, www.forworkingfamilies.org/resource-toolkit/recommendations-building-new-model-community-centered-development.

Gonzales, Ron. “The New York Times > College > College Specials > Mayors On Education | San José: 10 Ways A Mayor Can Help Improve Public Education”. Archive.Nytimes.Com, 2019, https://archive.nytimes.com/www.nytimes.com/ref/college/collegespecial3/coll_opinion_gonz.html?8bl.

RedGate’s Opportunity

When Mayor Newton asked me a couple of months ago what I thought about the City working with the County and Veteran’s Affairs to locate a facility and housing for veterans on the RedGate property I was thrilled. As the wife of a combat veteran, mother of a son determined to serve, and granddaughter of two World War II veterans, the deep need for better care for our service members hits home.

In Western tradition, a red gate or door symbolizes sanctity, the entrance to a safe place or the offer of hospitality. The symbolism of the RedGate property, as well as its location and size, make it an ideal setting for a partnership with the VA with the possibility of green space the entire City could enjoy.

Our family is lucky–David, my husband, is happy and whole, and both of my grandfathers made it home and lived long, productive lives. Each year, fewer of our veterans share our story, with an alarming increase in veteran suicides, a lack of secure housing, and income instability. With over 40,000 veterans in Montgomery County, RedGate has the opportunity to offer sanctuary and healing to a vulnerable population–the men and women who have served our country during wartime. Rockville has the opportunity to work with the County and the Federal Government to lead on the issue of supporting our veterans, and we need the right people at City Hall to make it happen.

What do you think? How do you envision RedGate?


Matthew and David up early to run the Army 10-miler; David and Dave–40 years separating the same stories; David and I at a Veterans Day lunch with our friend, Harry, who lied about his age and fought at the Battle of the Bulge at 15 years old. Harry lives at the Soldier’s Home at Lincoln’s Cottage in D.C.; my grandpas–one served in Europe and the other in the Pacific during WWII.

Read more:

Anderson, Bendix. “U.S. Veterans Face Housing Difficulties on Top of Other Challenges.” Multifamilyexecutive.com, Nov. 2017, www.multifamilyexecutive.com/design-development/us-veterans-face-housing-difficulties-on-top-of-other-challenges_o.

Holder, Sarah, and CityLab. “Veterans Are More Likely to Be Homeowners-But There’s an Exception.” CityLab, The Atlantic, 12 Nov. 2018, www.citylab.com/equity/2018/11/veterans-housing-unaffordable-young-opioid-homeowner/575635/.

Montgomery County Maryland Commission on Veterans Affairs, 2018, www.montgomerycountymd.gov/HHS-Program/Resources/Files/A%26D%20Docs/CVA/CVA2018AnnualReport.pdf.

Authorized by the Committee to Elect Suzan Pitman, Brett Layton, Treasurer.