Berliner Says Council Must 'Start Thinking Differently' In Welcome Video
Montgomery County Council President Roger Berliner (D-Potomac-Bethesda) said he challenged the other eight council members and County Executive Isiah Leggett (D) to "start thinking differently about the way our government operates," when he took over as council leader at the beginning of the year. The comments come in an almost four-minute "Welcome Video" published yesterday by Montgomery County. In it, Berliner touted some of his own work in economic development, transportation projects, the energy tax reduction and electricity reliability issues with Pepco. "Our county's demographics are, for the first time, changing in a very significant way," Berliner said. "A Montgomery County way needs a fresh approach to get things done." According to 2010 U.S. Census numbers, Montgomery County is now one of 336 "majority-minority" counties in the country, meaning people identified as minorities make up more than 50 percent of the population. The county's Hispanic population grew by almost 65 percent from the 2000 Census, and the population of non-Hispanic Whites fell from 59 percent to 49 percent of the population in the same time. "We need to introduce new words like nimble and entrepreneurial if we are going to compete in an increasingly competitive regional and global economy," Berliner said. "I sponsored legislation this year that assisted our county small businesses and I am pleased that we are making progress on streamlining our permitting and development processes so that businesses can spend more time cutting ribbons and less time cutting through red tape." Berliner also spoke about fighting to keep the 2nd District Bethesda police station open for 24 hours a day and about adding more police officers on the street. The Council President typically serves one one-year term, in which he or she sets the agenda and acts as the public face of the council. Berliner's term will end in December, when Council Vice President Nancy Navarro (D-Colesville) is slated to take over.