Rock,-Griffiths

Age: 55

Political party or slate, if any: Team Rockville

Current occupation and employer (if retired, list your last job): Executive director, DC – MD Justice For Our Neighbors

Previous work experience (up to two previous jobs before current or last one): Deputy director of development, Interfaith Works; President, Online and In Person LLC, a multifaceted communications company

Political experience (public offices held and when, as well as other unsuccessful campaigns for office): First time running for public office

Campaign contact information (website, email, Facebook, Twitter, other):

1. Why are you the most qualified to hold this position?

I have the experience and knowledge to lead Rockville. I’ve served in civic leadership roles, including 10 years in appointed city positions.

I’m a traffic and transportation commissioner working on pedestrian safety and previously improved the well-being of our city by chairing the Human Services Advisory Commission. I’ve served on the Microtransit Task Force, Rockville Summit Housing Committee, and 2009 Boards and Commissions Task Force, and was elected as Richard Montgomery High School PTSA president for two terms.

My knowledge of the issues has been proven through my work on Rockville Central and Rockville View, online community resources. 

2. What are the top two issues in this campaign? What specific ideas do you have to address them? 

1. Our police, parks, recreation programs, snowplowing, and other valued services all require a growing, diversified tax base. Rockville must join with other jurisdictions in Maryland to leverage our strengths through a formal coalition, so that Rockville can thrive economically with new jobs for our residents.

2. More than 10,000 Rockville households, including 53% of renters and 29% of homeowners, are cost burdened with housing because they spend 30% or more on housing (and many of these are severely cost-burdened with housing costing half of their income.)

We need to fix this situation. The city must improve its reputation and have leaders that are seen as partners who will work with nonprofit affordable housing providers, the county, and private builders to welcome new housing initiatives.

3. What has been your biggest accomplishment in office? If you have not held office, what is your biggest accomplishment that has prepared you to hold office? 

My big accomplishments have always been collaborative. When I worked for a nonprofit housing provider, the organization brought affordable housing and a park to Rockville. When I co-led Rockville Central, we created an online community hub with extensive community participation that successfully prioritized civility. While advocating for pedestrian safety, I’ve initiated improvements at four locations in the city. 

4. Have the current mayor and/or council taken any actions with which you disagreed? If so, what is the most significant one and what would you have done instead? 

I testified for bike lanes in Twinbrook Quarter. The mayor and council voted against having the developer continue the bike lanes on Chapman Avenue.

The Bikeway Master Plan is a part of the city’s master plan. By ignoring the master plan, they have set an unfortunate precedent for bike facilities going forward. These lanes are needed to provide space for bikes, scooters, e-bikes, and other new mobility devices.

Many barriers were put in place to stop bike lanes on established streets. Now, they are also eliminated from a new street. We need these forms of transportation to combat climate change.

5. What went wrong with RedGate Golf Course? How should the property be used next? 

Business went down. The number of golfers declined from around 50,000 to around 30,000.

RedGate had a deficit of $2.4 million in June 2011. Golfing advocates fought for the city to continue management with an extremely high expense structure, including pension costs and salaries for municipal workers, which is unusual for golf courses. When the city was finally able to seek private management, a qualified company was also not able to profitably manage the course.

The city must embark on a multiple-year process for resident input on next uses, including park, recreation, and social service needs. 

6. How would you describe the city’s progress in revitalizing Rockville Town Center? Would you do anything else or instead? 

The city has taken the step of creating an “ombudsman” to the Town Center, but there needs to be a private-public partnership that allows all entities to hold each other accountable.

Although parking options have been tried over the years, with multiple owners/lease holders now, the parking needs to be made consistent without passing the burden directly to consumers.

Councilmembers Onley and Pierzchala started the wayfinding process that needs to be completed. The ULI experts have determined there is too much retail space, so either businesses need to be converted or more residents need to be in the immediate area.