Rock,-Perkins

Age: 51

Political party or slate, if any: No slate. Running independently.

Current occupation and employer (if retired, list your last job): Criminologist working as technical assistance provider nationwide focusing on community-based crime prevention initiatives

Previous work experience (up to two previous jobs before current or last one): Justice Research and Statistics Association; U.S. Department of Justice

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

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

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

My professional experience includes work with city governments, police, community groups and residents in challenged neighborhoods. I work for a large economic development and housing nonprofit. I know the importance of collaborative government and the impact of place and physical space on everyday lives.
I volunteered as a coach for 15 years, meeting hundreds of kids and their families and learning the power of community. A highlight was working with my players to raise funds for and carry out a tournament for HIV/AIDS prevention educational in Honduras. I can connect across boundaries and guide people toward a common objective.

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

My top two priorities for this campaign are 1) making city government more responsive and collaborative and 2) developing the infrastructure for an increasingly dense and populous Rockville.

A more collaborative government is one that finds mechanisms to encourage and use community expertise, on terms that meet the needs of residents. Communication between city and residents should meet resident lifestyles, including developing an app for city communication and services.
With a projected population of almost 100,000 in 20 years and space at a premium, the city must act now and aggressively to maintain a high quality of life for all residents. This includes infrastructure to support biking and walking as legitimate transportation alternatives – not just as leisure activities – and community-based commercial centers. Rockville should be built for the people who live here, not just those driving through.

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?

Rockville has a strong city manager, capable and committed employees, and capacity to bring on experts to assist with planning and governance. The role of council members is not to micromanage and approve details for all manner of city decisions.

The role is to set expectations and culture for city performance, establish a long-term strategy and work with residents and fellow council members to establish a consensus on city priorities. This is a role in which I have repeated successes, catalyzing neighborhood change in places like Rainier Beach in Seattle, Mantua in Philadelphia and the Rundberg section of Austin.

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?

Of course, the mayor and council have (and will) taken actions with which I disagree, but the point of governance is in negotiation and reaching consensus. I am committed to finding ways to work together.

My greatest frustration with the city over time has been a lack of decisive action and planning to effectively deal with increasing density. Since the building of King Farm and Fallsgrove, new development has largely consisted of putting people in boxes on or near Rockville Pike, with insufficient amenities, like parks, to make the new residents full-fledged members of our city.

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

The supply of nearby golf courses, both public and private, clearly meets demand and RedGate proved to be redundant. I see no need for the city of Rockville to be in the golf course business and propose that the RedGate property be used in 4 ways: part of the land for mixed-use development, including mixed housing, to add to the city’s affordable housing stock; developed park land; permanently undeveloped parkland; and property preserved as undeveloped park land for at least 20 years to be available for future municipal needs.

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

The failure with Town Center (RTC) has been viewing RTC as the end-all, be-all rather than as part of a larger downtown development strategy. The project was fatally flawed in not providing enough public space to hold the number of people needed to support businesses.

European-style town squares are many times larger. New development has dramatically reduced the space available to make up for the small size of RTC.
The city must now envision a downtown core where RTC is a feature, not the main focus, and look for creative alternatives, like moving city offices into RTC.