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Hanson joins race for Montgomery County Council

Royce Hanson, who three weeks ago retired as chairman of Montgomery County's Planning Board, Tuesday launched a bid for the Montgomery County Council seat being vacated by Michael Knapp (D-UpCounty).
Hanson, 78, said he decided to run for the seat because Montgomery is at a "defining moment."

"The next council has to work harder and smarter to share a sustained vision," he said to a crowd of about 50 who turned out to hear him announce his candidacy in Germantown. He said the nine-member council, all seeking re-election except Knapp, "needs a working majority that will champion smart, independent and effective planning; will address the county's fiscal crisis so we don't stumble from time to time into another fiscal disaster; and will strength the education system...and protect and improve the nation's most honored park system.." He said lawmakers need to tend to "fundamental things that make the county great...we have to get the fundamentals right," and hopes to push for improvements in the county's transit system, including adding bike paths, and a rapid bus system.

Hanson said he needs $50,000 to $100,000 to run an effective campaign. He faces a crowded field that includes Democrats Sharon Dooley, Charles Kirchman and Craig Rice, a member of the Maryland House; and Republican Robin Ficker, an attorney and longtime county activist. The district includes Clarksburg, Germantown, Montgomery Village and Olney.

Hanson's recent term on the planning board board was his second tour as chairman. More than 30 years earlier, he led the effort to protect 93,000 agricultural acres in the county as a development-free zone and helped formulate the law that allows growth if there are enough schools and roads to support it.

Taking the helm again, Hanson put in place a final design for the urbanizing suburb, creating a vision for revamping Rockville Pike into an urban center and leading efforts to create a biosciences community near Gaithersburg. He also tightened environmental enforcement -- although not enough, in the eyes of many local environmentalists -- and stepped up oversight of construction violations. He launched a major rewrite of the county's complicated zoning law and tried to weather substantial budget cuts.

Well-known county environmentalists - Dolores Milmoe of Audubon Naturalist Society and Caroline Taylor of the Montgomery Countryside Alliance are backing Hanson. He also is supported by WSSC commissioner and former Maryland Delegate Gene Counihan, and former planning board members Meredith Wellington and George Kephart. All attended Tuesday's announcement.

--Miranda S. Spivack

By Washington Post Editors  |  July 6, 2010; 3:28 PM ET
 
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Comments

The agricultural preserve does not need an absentee landlord. As the only candidate who actually lives there and farms, I am committed to preserving the agricultural reserve.

Posted by: robinficker | July 6, 2010 5:48 PM | Report abuse

Royce Hanson does not have to be a resident of the Ag Reserve to be best choice for District 2. Royce will not only represent the residents of upper Montgomery County, he will also represent the residents all the way in Olney. His record on the planning board speaks volumes. His willingness to run demonstrates is commitment to implementing the vision he helped shape for Germantown, Olney, Clarksburg, as well as the Ag Reserve. We are privileged to have a person of his caliber committed to serving all of us in District 2 instead of retiring. Thank you, Royce, for running. I hope you win this seat. We really need you!

Posted by: TheKotlers | July 6, 2010 10:02 PM | Report abuse

I think it's time to shake things up, and get Ficker elected!

Posted by: island1 | July 6, 2010 10:38 PM | Report abuse

Great news for the upcounty. Dr. Hanson will see that the Clarksburg Hospital and Medical Campus is built as planned, and the Montgomery College Germantown campus will be saved from an awful hospital plan that hurts the environment and takes space away for classrooms for future students.

Posted by: mford00 | July 7, 2010 7:16 AM | Report abuse

Ficker, why don't you just go away? You were an absentee attorney for your clients, that's why you lost your legal practice. And when was the last time you tilled the earth, harvested crops, milked a cow, fed the hogs and chickens, and made your primary living from farming?

Posted by: VikingRider | July 7, 2010 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Ficker, why don't you just go away? You were an absentee attorney for your clients, that's why you lost your legal practice. And when was the last time you tilled the earth, harvested crops, milked a cow, fed the hogs and chickens, and made your primary living from farming?

Posted by: VikingRider | July 7, 2010 11:16 AM | Report abuse

I don't know what Mr. Ficker is talking about in his post. Last time we looked, he was living in District 4 to run in that Council race. Now, just like in the "Whack-A-Mole" game, he's popping up in District 2.

Thank goodness, Mr. Hanson's candidacy will significantly raise the bar for this Council race. He pulled us out of the Clarksburg mess, and is willing to continue his public service. Thanks for giving us voters hope.

Posted by: dbgm1234 | July 7, 2010 11:17 AM | Report abuse

I don't know what Mr. Ficker is talking about in his post. Last time we looked, he was living in District 4 to run in that Council race. Now, just like in the "Whack-A-Mole" game, he's popping up in District 2.

Thank goodness, Mr. Hanson's candidacy will significantly raise the bar for this Council race. He pulled us out of the Clarksburg mess, and is willing to continue his public service. Thanks for giving us voters hope.

Posted by: dbgm1234 | July 7, 2010 11:20 AM | Report abuse

"WHACK-A-MOLE" FICKER.

Damn, I really like that. Wish I had thought of it.

Yes, as I recall, Mr. Ficker claimed his legal residence in District 4, Silver Spring, not that long ago to run, as the perpetual candidate he is, for a vacant council seat in a special election.

Oh my, now he's popped his mole head up in District 2!

WHACK AWAY.


Posted by: LAWPOOL | July 7, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

I attended Royce Hanson's announcement of his candidacy yesterday. I went to listen and learn about his views on the issues facing us in District 2. I came away very impressed. His presentation was very substantive and the facts at his fingertips, as he was questioned by the audience, demonstrated his extensive knowledge of the County in general and District 2 in particular.

We will face a number of challenges -- and opportunities -- over the next four years in District 2. We need someone who can land on his feet running and Royce Hanson's leadership is what we need in District 2.
Sharon Cranford
Montgomery Village, MD

Posted by: shc18828 | July 7, 2010 3:46 PM | Report abuse

I post here in my own name. Why doesn't Royce Hanson?

Here are some questions for Royce:

Why do you want to urbanize parts of Montgomery County?

The Ficker Amendment requires all 9 council votes for the council to exceed the charter prooperty tax limit. I plan to vote against exceeding the charter property tax limit. Why don't you?

Why aren't you for term limits for the council and executive?

The council just raised residential energy taxes over 400% for the period before July 1 and 240% for the period after. An d they increased cellphone taxes 75%. Why don't you support my charter amendment to limit increases in the county energy and cellphone taxes to the rate of inflation?

Why did you support a building as high as 250 feet for White Flint?

You criticized the council for interfering in the planning board's function when at the planning commission. Why are you not trying to interfere in the planning board's function now as a council candidate?

Why don't you live in the agricultural reserve as I do?

Whty don't you support extending Metro to Germantown as I do?

I have lived in Montgomery County all my life. Why did you leave the county to live elsewhere for such a long period of time?

Posted by: robinficker | July 7, 2010 4:06 PM | Report abuse

The Montgomery Countryside Alliance does not endorse or support any candidate. The views of its employee's does not reflect the view of the MCA, its membership, or board. MCA's goal is to foster education and promote the continued and enhanced protection of the Montgomery County Agricultural Reserve.

Posted by: laserveteeg | July 7, 2010 4:08 PM | Report abuse


Please, Mr. Whack-A-Mole Ficker:

How many times have you run for elected office? How mamy times have you changed your party affiliation based upon what you perceived as political expedeniency in the hopes of finding some, and for that matter any, elected job?

Did you not declare maybe a year or so ago that you were a legal resident of District 4 [way down-county, I might add] in order to run for that one county council opening via a special election?

Please, leave your politicing to your political fliers, etc. You can even dress up like Santa Claus and get arrested at Montgomery Mall for trespassing, as I recall happened when you were engaged in one of your many sad campaigns for public office many years ago. "Your Friend Ficker", damn, I still remember that to this day.

But this site, I submit, is for rational people to exchange ideas, not for candidates to espouse their BS, and certainly not for your own delusional, if not pathalogical, desire for self-promotion.

Move on, and get some semblance of a life in the real world.

Just my opinion.

Posted by: LAWPOOL | July 7, 2010 5:13 PM | Report abuse

I do not think it is appropriate for Mr. Ficker to use this blog as a platform for his run for District 2. This article is about Mr. Hanson. Can we direct attention away from Mr. Ficker a bit and focus more on what Mr Hanson can do for District 2? I'd be happy just to ignore Mr. Ficker. I think we would be fortunate to have Royce represent District 2. I hope he wins this seat. How many out there agree? Your thoughts???

Posted by: TheKotlers | July 7, 2010 9:07 PM | Report abuse

Royce Hanson is a sure vote for the large property tax increase the council plans to give us right after the election.

In 2008, while I was collecting the signatures to place the Ficker Amendment, which required 9 council votes for the council to exceed the charter property tax limit, on the ballot, the council passed the largest property tax increase in a generation. It increased property tax revenue 420% of what the charter limit allowed or 13.5% that year and each succeeding year.

Then the Ficker Amewndment passed with almost 200,000 votes county wide and in Council District 2 by 10,000 votes despite the actions of the council and the Vote No Coalition led by Royce Hanson.

When News Channel 8 held a live debate on the Ficker Amendment, which, again, requires all 9 council votes for the council to exceed the charter property tax limit, who showed up to debate me but Royce Hanson? He is a sure vote for property tax increases on the council at a time when we are in a recession, have record numbers of foreclosures, and when our homes are assessed way above what other homes on the same street are selling for.

Robin Ficker, licensed Maryland real estate broker, Robin Realty

Posted by: robinficker | July 7, 2010 11:16 PM | Report abuse

Why does Royce Hanson and his campaign keep posting in the names Lawpool and the Kotlers? Why doesn't Royce man up and speak himself?

Posted by: jason14 | July 8, 2010 10:01 AM | Report abuse

OK, Jason14, just for the record, I am not speaking for Royce Hanson. I am merely giving my own personal opinion. Can we keep discussion on point? Otherwise, this blog is pointless. Clearly Mr. Ficker is still using this platform for his own purposes, and everyone is entitled to an opinion. I believe Mr. Hanson has spoken up. The article is about Mr. Hanson. Did you read it? Or are you like the others who are just on the attack? It's a shame. I was hoping for a discussion.

Posted by: TheKotlers | July 8, 2010 9:16 PM | Report abuse

jason14:

You attribution of my comments to, or coming from, Royce Hanson is sorely mistaken. I am not Mr. Hanson. Indeed, while I do respect the man, I'll be the first to admit I also part company with him on certain issues.

What I am is a 6th generation resident of Western Montgomery County with what I like to think is just a fair amount of historic and institutional knowledge as to where this County was and what it has become.

In that respect, while I do repsect Mr. Hanson, I'll also frankly state I do not respect Mr. Ficker for any number of obvious reasons. Indeed, I hold him in nothing less than abject contempt.

Call me what you want in your opinion, even an a** if you believe that, which is your right, and I won't deny you your opinions.

But don't call me Royce Hanson, because I am not.

Fair enough?

Posted by: LAWPOOL | July 10, 2010 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Ike Legget and most of the current county council have run amuck. They know no limits on spending to meet union demands for extravagant benefits packages, including unsustainable health care and retirement benefits. No doubt the thousands of speed bumps have addled their ability to act with any fiscal restraint.

Wake up sheeple, its time for change, and Royce Hanson isn't that change.

Robin Ficker is right this time, and the only hope.

As a life long resident of this county, as a registered Democrat, I am stunned at what is going on with energy taxes, cell phone taxes, property taxes etc, our imperious out of touch out of control "leaders" who operate for the benefit of only a few.

Posted by: ubimea | July 11, 2010 2:10 PM | Report abuse

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