“I don’t think it’s necessarily a great idea to have so many members of the County Council living in one area. People may feel that area will get special attention.”
*(Washington Post, Sept. 19, 2010, p C 1)
Residents of Takoma Park-East Silver Spring are among the most politically active in all of Montgomery County. It’s no coincidence then that three of the four at-large Montgomery County Council members— Marc Elrich, George Leventhal and Hans Riemer — reside in District 5, and apparently three’s a crowd as far as their colleague Valerie Ervin is concerned. She complains that council members literally “bump into each other” providing constituent service. In the Washington Post article, Ervin laments the “confusion of having so much representing going on in one place.”
She went on to say “It got really messy there for a while. Things would happen and I wouldn’t know about it. People would get confused in the community: ‘Who do I call? I’ve got George, I’ve got Marc, I’ve got Valerie, and now I’ve got Hans.’”
Ms. Ervin’s observations offer some insight for voters about how well she plays with others. If the system works well for Valerie, it’s okay, if it starts to overshadow her ego, watch out.
Ms. Ervin coached Hans Riemer in his first bid for a Council seat in 2010. She once served as George Leventhal’s chief of staff. Marc Elrich, because he has consistently demonstrated he can run countywide, and because he garnered the most votes for an at-large seat in the 2010 election, represents a threat to Ms. Ervin’s own aspirations for countywide office. Ms. Ervin, you see, has a base in Takoma Park, but she’s never had to put herself up to the entire County.
So, what’s a shrewd politician to do? Start throwing your allies under the bus. First it was the unions that nurtured her career for 30 years and helped her get elected first to the School Board and then to the County Council.
Now, Ms. Ervin views her colleagues as baggage, so it’s time for her to start unloading.