You May Thank Beryl Feinberg for the Changes to Rockville’s APFS

In her effort to win re-election to the Rockville City Council, Beryl Feinberg made a pretty remarkable statement about her ‘No’ vote on the changes to the City’s Adequate Public Facilities Standards (APFS) at the Chamber of Commerce debate last week: “[I]t was the developers who were really for the APFS changing.”

Actually, that’s not the case.  There is one person in this City who was more for the APFS changing than anyone else. That person is more responsible than anyone else for the passage of the APFS changes. That person is not a developer. That person is Beryl Feinberg.

Let’s review.  During the 2013 campaign, candidate Beryl Feinberg took a consistent and strong stance in favor of moving the city’s school standards to match the County’s. For example: “I would like to align the City’s APFO closer to the County’s,” Feinberg said in an October 2013 televised debate.

Whether to change the city’s school standards came up for consideration in Fall 2014. I favored moving forward with changes this term, but was willing to listen to arguments otherwise.  Councilmember Julie Palakovich Carr expressed the quite reasonable concern that it might be too late in the term to address the issue well.

But Councilmember Feinberg was absolutely adamant that the Mayor and Council move ahead with changing Rockville’s APFS school standards to match Montgomery County’s this term. She even told me and her other colleagues that she would raise the issue of changing the city’s school standards and move it forward even if she were the only person on the Council who favored doing so. She also refused to consider any alternative to changing to anything but the County’s standards.

This put Councilmember Palakovich Carr and me in a really tough spot –  we thought it was vital to the City’s future to pass the changes, and we did not want to be in the position of having to oppose them just because we didn’t like the timing of the effort.

So we moved ahead on the schedule that Councilmember Feinberg insisted upon: Launching the effort in November, holding one public hearing, and holding a vote in late January.

After a few twists and turns, this Mayor and Council voted on June 1 to align the City’s AFPS school standards with Montgomery County’s. Because she forced the issue to move forward this term, Beryl Feinberg is more responsible than anyone else for Rockville’s aligning its AFPS school standards with the County’s.  Be sure to thank her the next time you see her!


Of course, that’s not every bit of the story, is it, now… Councilmember Feinberg didn’t vote in favor of the changes this past June 1; the measure succeeded 3-2 with my vote and the votes of Councilmember Virginia Onley and Councilmember Palakovich Carr.

The rest of the story is kind of interesting in a train-wreck kind of way, and it shows why Beryl Feinberg does not deserve to win re-election.  I’ll tell it next time.