Montgomery County Parks Are Under Attack! Your Action Is Needed Before Monday, February 14.

Legislation just proposed by County Executive Ike Leggett threatens Montgomery County’s Park funding and safety.

Montgomery County’s 34,000 acre Park system, long ably managed by the independent, bipartisan Park and Planning Commission, has been nationally recognized as one of the finest in the nation.

Incredibly, Mr. Leggett’s Bill MC/PG112-11 would:
  1. Allow funds, now guaranteed to the Parks Department for acquisition, development, maintenance and recreational facilities, to be siphoned by the Executive and Council at their discretion.
  2. Transfer management of all park lands and facilities from the independent Park and Planning Commission to the Montgomery County government. Under Mr. Leggett’s scenario, the County’s vast acres of parkland would become subject to the political whims of elected officials. Pressures to use parkland for housing or transportation projects would likely increase under politicized management.
  3. Negatively impact public safety and park use by merging the Park Police, now directed by the Planning Commission, to the County Police with allegiance to the County Executive. The assertion that the merger of the two forces would save money was debunked in the 2010 budget hearings.  Park police pay and retirement benefits are lower than county police. This merger may actually cost money. Park Police are trained to routinely monitor park use, safety concerns and more. Under County Police authority, in-depth park monitoring would not likely be a priority.

What can YOU do to stop this dangerous legislation?

Write and/or call your councilmembers BEFORE next Monday, February 14, when they will vote. Tell them to oppose Bill MC/PG112-11. An individual e-mail copied to each one is most effective.

Just a few sentences in your own words are more powerful than form letters. We have included some key talking points below for your convenience.

Roger Berliner        
Phil Andrews         
Marc Elrich            
Valerie Ervin          
Nancy Floreen       
George Leventhal   
Nancy Navarro      
Craig Rice             
Hans Riemer          
cc: and

Tell the Council:

Don’t put our nationally acclaimed park system at risk. There is plenty to fix in the county but the Park system clearly works and has been recognized as one of the nation’s very best.

Key Points:

  1. Continue to guarantee funding for parks. Provision for optional funding is an invitation to disaster to the long term health of the County’s park system and to the public’s safety and welfare.
  2. Montgomery’s residents rate their park system as a primary reason to live and locate businesses here. This action will negatively affect all residents.
  3. Park Police are best in charge of our parks! Their presence keeps parks safe for all!
  4. Our county runs strong because of the independent nature of the Park and Planning Commission! Politics must not play a role in the public’s quality of life.
  5. The county’s long-term fiscal health depends on long-term, prudent, collegial planning and decision making. This legislation is counter to this basic premise.
  6. This is a power and land grab that has no fiscal benefits and will not improve efficiency of either county government or parks operation.
  7. In your own words, tell them how much you value Montgomery County’s parks.
  8. Please vote “No” on Bill MC/PG112-11!

Show your love for Montgomery County’s trails and parks by contacting your councilmembers BEFORE Valentine’s Day.