UPDATE On Monday, February 14, 2011, the Montgomery County Council voted against supporting MC/PG 112-11. The Montgomery County Delegation of the Maryland General Assembly will still be considering the bill on February 25 in Annapolis. Without the support of the County Council, it is unlikely that the delegation will approve the bill – but stranger things have been known to happen. Therefore, it is imperative that, if Equiery readers in Montgomery County oppose this bill, you let your state delegates know. To find out who your state delegates are, click here.

Equestrian Partners In Conservation, a non-profit equestrian organization in Montgomery County commonly known as EPIC, has issued the following call to action:

Montgomery County Parks Funding & Park Police Under Attack!

Action needed today!

Montgomery County’s 34,000 acre Park system, long ably managed by the independent, bi-partisan Park and Planning Commission, has been nationally recognized as one of the finest in the nation.  However, County Executive Ike Leggett proposes to end that relationship, move control of the parks to the county government and merge our park police with the county police.

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 Council members today. Tell them to oppose Bill MC/PG112-11.  An individual email to each delegate is most effective.

Just a few sentences in your own words are more powerful than form letters. Scroll down for key points for your letter.

Phil Andrews                   councilmember.andrews@montgomerycountymd.gov

Roger Berliner                  councilmember.berliner@montgomerycountymd.gov

Marc Elrich                      councilmember.elrich@montgomerycountymd.gov

Valerie Ervin                    councilmember.ervin@montgomerycountymd.gov

Nancy Floreen                 councilmember.floreen@montgomerycountymd.gov

George Leventhal             councilmember.leventhal@montgomerycountymd.gov

Nancy Navarro                councilmember.navarro@montgomerycountymd.gov

Craig Rice                        councilmember.rice@montgomerycountymd.gov

Hans Riemer                    councilmember.riemer@montgomerycountymd.gov

Please copy EPIC at:  saveourparksmontgomery@gmail.com

Key Points

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.

1.  Continue to guarantee funding for parks. Provision for optional funding is an invitation to disaster in regards 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.  Tell them how much you value Montgomery’s parks in your own words.

8.  Please Vote No on Bill MC/PG112-11 !


Not in Montgomery County? Do you want Maryland equestrians to know the legislative challenges in your jurisdiction? Let The Equiery know by e-mailing editor@equiery.com.


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