Welcome to the fall 2017 edition of Katz Corner. I hope you had a wonderful summer with your family and friends. As summer recess ends, the Council is looking forward to working on important issues for the well-being of the citizens of Montgomery County.
Public participation is vital to government. The Montgomery County Council regularly holds public hearings on proposed legislation and policy changes. The Council conducts its public hearings in the hearing room on the third floor of the Council Office Building at 100 Maryland Avenue in Rockville. If you wish to testify, please call 240-777-7803 or sign up online by visiting http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/COUNCIL/PHSignUp.html
Cold weather is coming and with it comes the need for leaf removal, snow removal and other county services. If you need any type of county-provided services, please do not hesitate to contact MC311. MC311 Customer Service Center is Montgomery County’s Source for non-emergency government information and services. You can reach MC311 by calling 311 in the County or 240-777-0311 anywhere, Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. MC311 also provides interpretation service for about 150 languages. If you need more information, please visit http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/mc311
I would love to meet and hear from you at my town hall meeting on Thursday, October 5, 2017 at 7 p.m. at Lakewood Elementary School, located at 2534 Lindley Terrace in Rockville.
Please join me for a Senior Forum on Friday, October 27, 2017, from 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Bohrer Park Activity Center, located at 506 S. Frederick Avenue in Gaithersburg. The forum will focus on: Spotting elder abuse, avoiding senior scams and living life to the fullest.
As always, thanks for reading. It is my pleasure to serve as your Councilmember.
Sidney A. Katz
Councilmember, District 3
About District 3
Located in central Montgomery County, District 3 includes Gaithersburg, Rockville, Washington Grove, Leisure World and parts of Aspen Hill, Derwood, North Potomac and Potomac.
District 3 is home to the National Institute of Standards and Technology, Rock Creek Regional Park, part of Seneca Creek State Park and the Shady Grove Life Sciences Center (Including Shady Grove Adventist Hospital). Bisected by I-270 and Route 355, District 3 is served by several MARC commuter rail and Metrorail stations.
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If you or a friend would like to sign up for Katz Corner, please visit http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/Katz/ and click on the “Sign Up to Receive My Newsletter” button at the bottom of the page.
Connect with Councilmember Katz
Beware of Impersonation Scams
We all read about scams. And of course, all of us believe they could happen to someone else but not to us. Well, I did not fall for it, but back in April, I was called by a person who wanted to scam me. I do know that as soon as you realize something is a scam you should hang up the phone. But I continued the conversation because I wanted to hear what the scammer had to say so that I could pass along the information to everyone in case they, too, might be about to receive such a call.
It was one of those rare days when I happened to be at home in the middle of the day. When the phone rang, caller ID indicated that the call originated in Silver Spring. My wife, Sally, answered. The caller asked if she was Sally Katz. She replied that she was. He identified himself as a captain with the Sheriff’s Department in Montgomery County. He then told her that he had a warrant for her arrest because she had not appeared to serve on a federal grand jury.
He said that she needed to come to Rockville to have the warrant served on her and she needed to do it that day. He explained it would take about seven to eight hours to process her and she would be put in a holding cell during that time. My wife handed me the phone. Of course, both my wife and I knew that this was a scam. In fact, I had just heard of a different type of scam at one of the senior forums that my office had sponsored. Both the State’s Attorney for Montgomery County, John McCarthy, and the Director of the Office of Consumer Affairs, Eric Friedman, had spoken about them.
The caller repeated to me that he was a captain with the Sheriff’s Department. He told me his name and explained again that there was a warrant for my wife. He said that there was a failure to appear warrant and a contempt of court warrant. He then recited the numbers for both warrants.
I asked him the name of the sheriff of Montgomery County. He answered correctly. I asked him which judge signed the contempt of court warrant. He gave me the name of a sitting circuit court judge in Montgomery County. He asked if we were coming in to process these warrants. Before I could answer, he told me to hold on because one of the deputies needed to speak to me.
After putting me on hold for a few minutes, that second person told me that he had some good news, and perhaps he could help me. He said that the fines for both warrants totaled $1,995. Even though we needed to come in that day, he said he could process payment right then if I gave him a credit card number over the phone. He said that it would take only about 45 minutes to process serving the warrant.
He asked if we wanted to do that. I told him that we did not. He said, “OK, then come on in and it’s going to take seven to eight hours.” I told him we were not going to do that, either. He became angry and said well, then, he was going to dispatch a sheriff and pick up my wife at our home. I laughed and told him to go ahead. The caller abruptly hung up.
I then called my longtime friend, the Sheriff of Montgomery County, Darren Popkin, and told him what had just taken place. He said that this type of thing had happened a while back and that those perpetrators were arrested in another state.
Sheriff Popkin immediately put the story up on social media and contacted others so that they, too, could put it up on social media to let everyone know that this type of thing was happening again. I said that I was going to put the information in my Council newsletter so that those readers would know as well.
If you receive a phone call like this, please hang up the phone. It’s a scam. Sheriffs will never call and threaten to arrest you if you don’t immediately send an electronic payment. Please notify the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office at 240-777-7000. Please save any recorded messages, record the date and time of the phone call, the purported name of the caller, the call back number and the caller’s phone number as displayed on caller ID.
Please tell your family and friends about this story because the more we get the word out, the less likely it is that the scammers will win.
Montgomery County Historical Society
Since 1944, the Montgomery County Historical Society (MCHS) has been collecting, preserving, interpreting and sharing the histories of Montgomery County’s residents. MCHS currently operates two museums on its Rockville campus–the c.1815 Beall-Dawson Museum and the Stonestreet Museum of 19th Century Medicine.
MCHS is launching an imaginative and fun exhibit this fall, “BOOM: The 1950s in Montgomery County.” It will tell the story of Montgomery County during a period of explosive growth and development. The exhibit will contain over 200 historic objects, photos and documents at the historic Beall-Dawson Museum in downtown Rockville. The exhibit will give visitors a vision of what life was like in Montgomery County during that pivotal decade. It will run from October 15, 2017 to July 15, 2018. If you would like more information, please visit http://montgomeryhistory.org/boom-the-1950s-in-montgomery-county/
Katz for Dogs
I was the lead sponsor of Bill 21-17, Animal Control – Municipal Dog Exercise Area. This bill gives municipalities (excluding Rockville and Gaithersburg because they have their own Animal Control Departments) the authority to designate dog parks/exercise areas in which dogs could be off-leash. Prior to enactment of this law, only the County or the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission could designate these areas. As a dog owner, I know how important it is for dogs to have safe places to exercise and socialize. I was very happy to see this bill pass unanimously.
Family Justice Center
The Family Justice Center is located at 600 Jefferson Street, Suite 500, Rockville, MD 20850. It is Montgomery County’s one-stop shop for victims of domestic violence. It houses county agencies and private partners who work together to provide services in a family-friendly environment to those affected by domestic violence. Anyone who is experiencing or has experienced domestic violence is eligible to receive free services, including: Safety planning, legal advocacy, legal representation for civil protective orders, emergency protective orders, shelter placement, immigration consultation under the Federal Violence Against Women Act and discussions with a detective or prosecutor about possible criminal charges or pending cases.
The Family Justice Center is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Walk-ins are welcome and multiple language assistance is available. Please call 240-773-0444 if you have any questions.
On Monday, August 28, 2017, Maryland started the long-overdue construction of the Purple Line. The $2.6 billion public–private infrastructure project is the largest in the United States. The 21-stop Purple Line will run between New Carrollton and Bethesda. It is expected to help ease traffic congestion in the region and promote economic growth in the affected neighborhoods.
The groundbreaking was well attended by dignitaries from Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties. Speakers included Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett, Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker, Congressman Anthony Brown, Senator Chris Van Hollen, Governor Larry Hogan and U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao. Construction began after the ceremonial signing of a $900 million federal funding agreement between Governor Hogan and Secretary Chao. The groundbreaking site is where the future Purple Line Operations Center will be located.