Guest Column: In support of Marc Rodriguez for Ward 5 Alderman

| October 19, 2017
Rams Head

Annapolis Alderman Jared Littmann (Ward 5)

I’ve had the privilege of representing Ward 5 on the Annapolis City Council for the last five years. Since January 2016, I’ve worked closely with Marc Rodriguez, who is running to replace me on the Council; I am not running for re-election. Marc has assisted me with issues ranging from the No Net Loss (of trees) ordinance, to the City’s budget, to helping to fill potholes in Hunt Meadow. Marc is passionate and prepared to serve the citizens of Ward 5. Unfortunately, his opponent has chosen to misrepresent Marc’s position on an important issue in our community – the future of the Crystal Spring project – based purely on conjecture and the distortion of a friendship Marc and I both share with a community leader, Walter Vasquez.

Walter Vasquez is a friend. We enjoy discussing City politics, good government, and issues unrelated to politics. We share many points of view, such as supporting candidates based on their character and integrity even if we don’t agree with them on every issue. We share a passion for the City of Annapolis, want to see people succeed and have opportunities for jobs. We agree on the concept of responsible and smart development, but disagree on whether certain projects, such as Crystal Spring, represent smart development – he thinks it does and I do not. Yet, Walter has supported my initiatives to raise the standards by which proposed developments should be measured, including the Forest Conservation Act, co-authored with Aldermen Arnett and Budge and Alderwoman Finlayson; No Net Loss (of trees), co-authored with Aldermen Arnett and Pfeiffer; and Adequate Public Facilities (for school capacity), co-authored with Aldermen Arnett and Pfeiffer. Because we are friends and we can agree to disagree, Walter has been kind to host multiple fundraisers for me which helped me provide better constituent services during my time as the Ward 5 Alderman. Walter is a huge and wonderful advocate for City residents who are trying to improve the lives of their families and for public safety in general. We should be celebrating people like Walter, and indeed the Chamber of Commerce for Anne Arundel is doing just that with an award at an upcoming event.

Gavin Buckley - Democrat for Mayor

Similarly, Walter has befriended Marc Rodriguez, who has worked as my Special Assistant for Ward 5 since January 2016. Walter and Marc also share a passion for improving the City and Walter respects Marc’s sincerity, honesty, education and experiences in finance and community service, and willingness to put in the time and effort to reach out to and improve the lives of all residents and businesses in the community. They also have opposing views on Crystal Spring, just as Walter and I did. Marc has always been forthright with Walter that he is not supportive of this large proposed development that would require the destruction of 30+ acres of forest and leave exposed significant portions of the remaining forest for further development. Despite this disagreement, Walter supports Marc and hosted a campaign event for Marc, just as he had done for me.

These types of friendships are necessary for effective leadership and stewardship. We should be reaching out to people of different political parties, views, opinions, and perspectives so that we can learn, grow, and have the opportunity to change other people’s viewpoints or have them change ours. As voters, we should celebrate the candidates, like Marc, with friends and supporters who support us for our integrity and character despite having differing viewpoints on isolated projects and issues. We should build up individuals like Marc for showing this leadership, rather than tearing them down with innuendo and baseless opinions because of these associations.

During the time that Marc has worked with me, he has been steadfast in his belief that development must be controlled and held to the highest standards for the environment, traffic, and impact on public services such as schools. That is why he has pledged to work on improving the Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance mentioned above by reducing the threshold for closing areas for development when any feeder school is at 100% of state rated capacity. When passing this legislation, the Council had compromised at 120% for the High School and 105% for the other schools because the Mayor had wanted to weaken the Ordinance by eliminating the High School from consideration altogether and increase to 110% the other schools.

I support Marc Rodriguez to succeed me as the Ward 5 Alderman because of his passion, integrity, intelligence, and ability to work with and listen to people of all backgrounds and perspectives. He will be an advocate for the environment, schools, planning, and public safety.

–Jared Littmann, Ward 5 Alderman, City of Annapolis

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