Pikesville Community Didn’t Deserve Attacks

June 19, 2014

I am writing to respond to Jon Herbst’s June 13 letter, “Setting Record Straight on District 2.” It saddens me that my opponent attacked so many of the great people and institutions in Pikesville that work hard every day to make our community a better place.

When my opponent criticizes Pikesville Middle School, he is not simply attacking a brick-and-mortar building, but all of the people who work so hard to make this and every other school a great place. He fails to support the hard work done by our teachers and students every day at Pikesville Middle School. He undermines the efforts of the Pikesville Middle School PTA, the PGCC Education Committee and every involved parent.

Most disappointingly, at a time when we should be celebrating the years of dedication to our children by the retiring Pikesville Middle School principal, Mia Talarigo, she is instead hearing her school and her work constantly demeaned in public. We should all thank her for her inspirational leadership and pledge to support her successor, Diane Richmond, currently the Summit Park Elementary School principal.

When my opponent attacks the local business community, he is not attacking buildings, but the people who work hard every day to make our local business community a success. The Pikesville Chamber of Commerce is an outstanding group. Its executive director, Jessica Normington, and her executive assistant, Ayme Lederman, have brought tremendous energy to Pikesville. Chamber President Marcy Gorman, Vice President Mark Pressman, immediate Past President Steve Cohen and the entire board work tirelessly for our business community.

The Chamber has grown from approximately 200 members to more than 350 members in the last three years, a sure sign of the strength of our Pikesville small businesses. It has launched the Taste of Pikesville, which showcases our great restaurants. David Elkes leads an outstanding Brown Bag lunch series, which allows small businesses to network, exchange leads and support each other’s businesses.

The wonderful Pikesville Farmers’ Market is a tribute to Nick Attias, of blessed memory, who was such an outstanding community volunteer. From the Pikes Theatre to the revitalized old Suburban House site to the new Walgreens and the major renovations at Commerce Center and Pomona Square, it is clear that Pikesville is alive and growing.

Finally, when my opponent criticizes the Foundry Row project as being “fast tracked” he shows a lack of basic understanding. All 296 Comprehensive Zoning Map Process decisions in all seven Council districts, of which Foundry Row was one, went through the same year-long process, including a series of public hearings. All 296 were voted on by the County Council on the same day, August 20, 2012. We should be celebrating the fact that a national leader like Wegmans and visionary local people like Erwin Greenberg, Brian Gibbons, Len Weinberg and Brad Glaser believe so much in our community that they would turn an abandoned factory site into a future anchor of our community. Everywhere I go, people can’t wait for “their” Wegmans to open.

I could go on and on about the positive things happening in our community. There are so many great people, businesses, schools, houses of worship and organizations in Pikesville and throughout the 2nd Council District for which all of us should be thankful. I will continue to work with all of these positive forces in our community.

 Councilwoman Vicki Almond
2nd District, Baltimore County

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