Councilmembers Hear Update On Thrive 2050; Elrich Urges Disapproval 

On Tuesday, the Montgomery County Council received an update on a racial equity and social justice review of Thrive Montgomery 2050, a plan to guide the county for the next three decades. 

Residents had a lukewarm response to the plan, according to consultants hired to lead the review. On Wednesday, County Executive Marc Elrich said the update was troubling. 

Elrich said the equity review was meant to solidify the plan moving forward, “but it actually did the opposite.”

“We now have more questions than answers,” he said. In a letter to County Council President Gabe Albornoz on Monday, Elrich urged the council to disapprove the plan to allow for more outreach to Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) and low-income residents based on the review. He said recommendations in the report “should be given full consideration.”

Consultants Nspiregreen and Public Engagement Associates led the review with a goal to connect with BIPOC and low-income residents to gather feedback about Thrive Montgomery 2050.

“They generally liked a lot of the things that they were hearing, but they felt that the issues were not necessarily representative of things that they were facing on a daily basis,” said Jordan Exantus, Managing Associate for Nspiregreen. Policies seemed to miss the mark or people felt like root issues were not being addressed.

“And they were worried that if policies were implemented, that they would be harmed in the process,” Exantus said.

Councilmember Craig Rice said the county needs to lead with intentionality to say “we are open to hearing things that we don’t want to hear.”

“We have to be accepting of that and understanding that it is more than just us saying that we are great, we are terrific, we are doing the right things and doing right by folks,” Rice said. “And understand that some of the things we do are not okay.”

Albornoz said the plan will not please everyone.

“That is obvious, but what is also obvious is that we can’t do nothing,” he said.

Albornoz said there will be a “part two” to continue the conversation.

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