Christiana Rigby

Christiana Rigby
  • Democrat
  • Age: 33
  • Residence: Columbia

About Christiana Rigby

Education

I am a University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) graduate with a degree in Environmental Studies (domestic policy concentration). I have minor degrees from UMBC in Sociology and Dance. I attended Atholton ES, Hammond MS, and am a proud Hammond Golden Bear graduate.

Background

As Vice-Chair of the Kings Contrivance Village Board, I work on the concerns and issues directly affecting our community. In 2016 I led the board to support meaningful, affordable housing and fiscally responsible policy in Downtown Columbia. In addition, I proudly serve on the Economic Resource Allocation Committee under the Howard County Board to Promote Self Sufficiency, where I work with a dedicated team to ensure Howard County’s fair share of state and federal funding to improve economic stability and reduce poverty in the County. I also serve on the board of Howard EcoWorks, a nonprofit that organizes environmental improvement and workforce development programs for a more sustainable and environmentally healthier Howard County. After graduating from UMBC, I joined Arizona Public Interest Research Group (Arizona PIRG) as a community organizer. I worked with communities to lead consumer protection initiatives, strengthened environmental regulations, and fought to safeguard employment opportunities for the LGBTQ community. I have also worked for United Way of Central Maryland, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Alice Ferguson Foundation, and the National Breast Cancer Coalition to build coalitions and partnerships. I am a vocal, progressive champion of grassroots activism and I work to inspire others to stay involved and work collaboratively to solve tough challenges as the founder of the Women’s Democratic Alliance of Howard County.

Questionnaire

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1
TIFs
What are your views on the use of tax-increment financing as an incentive for private building and redevelopment projects, including remodeling blighted village centers in Columbia?
Rigby: In general, I have not and do not support corporate welfare, especially where development would happen without government investment. Public Funds should only be used to encourage private investment in exceptional circumstances where revitalization is truly needed (such as Route 1, certain village centers, etc) and would not otherwise happen. Diverting general fund dollars to TIFs impacts the community for years to come and restricts our ability to respond to emergent needs.
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2
School safety
With rising concern over school safety, should county police officers or sheriff’s deputies be assigned to all public schools, along with additional screening methods, such as metal detectors, student pat-downs and clear backpacks?
Rigby: Many of the proposed measures are “safety theatre.” If we secure the front office - yet send hundreds of kids from overcrowded schools out of the building into portables, we are not truly keeping our kids safe. The data shows that institutionalizing our schools and increasing a prison-esque environment decreases trust between students and administrators. A high level of trust between students, teachers, and administrators is critical in stopping school violence through student led information. Our approach needs to be measured, data driven, and age appropriate
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3
Privatization
Are there any county government services that should be privatized to save money and improve efficiency?
Rigby: Nonprofit partners in our community can leverage government funding into additional dollars and provide wrap-around services in a way that the government cannot do. However, in other areas such as public works, contractors are often used as a way to avoid union employment. Outsourcing should be approached as an extension of County employees and not as a replacement of County employees.
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4
Adequate public facilities
Is a provision in the county’s recently adopted Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance that allows developers to build affordable housing in areas where a building moratorium is in place a responsible approach?
Rigby: Through my work on the Economic Resource Allocation Committee of the Howard County Board to Promote Self Sufficiency, I have been a strong supporter of integrated full spectrum housing across the County. However, I have concerns about exempting affordable housing properties from APFO tests due to the impact of increased density in already overcrowded areas. We need stronger planning methods in place to ensure proper capacity across county resources. Prior to reaching full capacity in County resources, a collaborative process must begin between the County Council, County Executive, Board of Education and other stakeholders.
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5
Sanctuary county
Is it appropriate for Howard to be a “sanctuary county” and prohibit county police from reporting detainees in the county detention center to federal authorities?
Rigby: I support using County resources for County purposes–our officers should be focused on supporting our residents and enforcing County law. I support legislation that increases trust between victims and witnesses to support our officers in their efforts to stop violent crime.
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6
Ellicott City
What efforts, if any, should Howard County take to install more flood-control systems in and around Ellicott City, and how many tax dollars should be involved?
Rigby: The County has a role to play in helping areas that experience flooding, particularly when flooding is related to new development. New regulations on developing upstream from areas that already flood can help prevent increased flooding conditions. However, once the development has occurred, the County should help residents with ways to mitigate the impact of flooding. There are a number of areas that have been particularly impacted by flooding, including Ellicott City, but also parts of Allview and others as well. We need to make sure we protect these areas from increased impervious surfaces and mitigate the harm they currently face. We need to review our current processes to see how we can improve the system.
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7
Opioids
How would you respond to the opiod overdose epidemic? Should Howard expedite construction of an in-patient drug treatment center?
Rigby: We need to stop pretending drug addiction isn’t an issue in Howard County. Currently, we pay for treatment beds in Carroll County which strip people away from their families and networks of support. I support a community based model for rehabilitative health that includes wrap-around services for drug addiction.
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8
Public transportation
Has the county invested enough in public transportation projects, including the regional bus network and BikeHoward program?
Rigby: No. We are woefully behind our peer jurisdictions. Our current transit network is one that people take when they are forced to. We do not attract choice riders. I support an integrated multimodal system. This needs to be taken into consideration during the planning stages of new projects and developments. We need to evolve into an efficient and effective system that people choose to take to help reduce road congestion and improve our environmental health.
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9
Taxes
The state is recommending a constant yield property tax rate of 99 cents for the budget year ahead, below the current tax rate. Do you support reducing the tax rate to the constant yield level and adopting zero-based budgeting?
Rigby: We must continue to provide a high level of service and recognize that the cost to provide services increases each year. Each year the Council should continue to look at our resources and fiscal future carefully to evaluate the appropriateness of reducing the tax rate. In the event we have excess resources with decreased need year over year, then we should consider expanding services that improve the quality of life in Howard County and consider the possibility of returning resources to the taxpayer.
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