2018 Primary election results

Deb Jung

Deb Jung
  • Democrat
  • Age: 62
  • Residence: Columbia

About Deb Jung

Education

I graduated from Duke University with a Bachelor of Arts degree and obtained my Juris Doctorate from the University of Maryland School of Law.

Background

I am presently engaged in the private practice of law, primarily representing clients in the nonprofit sector. Previously, I served as general counsel to the Maryland Association of Nonprofit Organizations and to the Close Up Foundation, a non-profit civic education organization located in Alexandria, Va. I began my legal career law as an associate at Whiteford Taylor Preston in Baltimore. Before attending law school, I worked at Close Up in the program and marketing departments and was a community organizer for NOW, working to obtain ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment.

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?
Jung: Tax Increment Financing (TIF) can be a useful tool in a jurisdiction’s toolbox to attract a developer to a distressed area that would not occur “but for” this type of financing assistance. While we need to grow our commercial tax base, I generally do not support this type of incentive in Howard County since it poses significant economic and financial risks, can be difficult to monitor, and has the effect of more deeply involving the County in development projects than I think is appropriate. Howard County is a relatively affluent and attractive jurisdiction for business location. To the extent necessary, I prefer more straightforward and traditional development incentives such as grants, loans, or Payment In Lieu Of Taxes (PILOT) agreements. By issuing TIF bonds with debt service to be defrayed by the tax increment of increased assessments in a special taxing district, a jurisdiction is assuming downside risks if the economy slides or the redevelopment otherwise fails. However, the jurisdiction is anticipating that, over time, the economy and project will remain strong and that it will receive tax revenue benefits at least as great as its debt service obligations for possible other general fund uses. Nonetheless, that is a long-term variable out of its control. I pledge to provide strong oversight over the existing TIF in Downtown Columbia to ensure fiscal accountability and transparency. I do not support TIF as a tool for redevelopment of any Columbia village center.
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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?
Jung: I support trained school resource officers (county police) being assigned to all public schools. Such officers are currently serving in all county high schools and several middle schools with some police coverage of elementary schools. I support additional capital and operational measures to provide controlled entry to schools, improved door locks and safe spaces, modifications of “open space” floor configurations to enhance safety, portables security, and increased training with emergency response protocols and communication awareness. Adequate funding of behavioral mental health and school counseling resources also is key. The County should seek additional State capital and operating assistance under the School Safety law recently enacted by the General Assembly. I do not support the routine use of the additional screening methods posed by the question given the large number of students involved.
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3
Privatization
Are there any county government services that should be privatized to save money and improve efficiency?
Jung: I do not support privatizing core governmental functions because of concerns over the risk of failed performance (insufficient planning, cost overruns, and poor service) and the need for strong oversight and accountability. Privatization also increases the potential for conflicts of interest. Core governmental functions include functions like management of the jail, law enforcement, conducting regulatory inspections, etc. Out-sourcing may be appropriate, after a thorough cost-benefit analysis, to meet short-term needs particularly when non-core functions are involved and/or when the government lacks the expertise or personnel or financial capacity to undertake a function. Examples would be specialized technology or health and human services, such as the assistance provided to vulnerable populations through Grassroots and HopeWorks. There also may be low risk ancillary services with discreet objective metrics that are appropriate for competitive bid such as for currently contracted solid waste collection services. To the extent lower skilled functions are involved, I believe that any outsourcing vendor should be required to provide a living wage at a minimum, and reasonable health and other benefits, to the vendor’s employees or subcontractors. It is important that the County continue to invest in efficiency and productivity improvements and I support the recommendations of the Spending Affordability Committee affirming the desirability of moving forward on software improvements for County payroll and procurement operations.
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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?
Jung: I have testified in favor or a strengthened Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance (APFO). Such APFO restrictions on development can conflict with other desirable public policies such as affordable housing. In enacting the final bill, the County Council added a “safety valve” amendment to allow subsequent Councils, after public input, to exempt certain affordable housing projects from building restrictions. The amendment is imperfect since it does not provide a clear legal standard for Council action other than consideration of certain limited criteria. This language may well need to be clarified. If elected, I pledge to do everything possible to ensure that this does not become an egregious loophole and exacerbate school overcrowding.
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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?
Jung: While I supported Council Bill 9-17, at this time, I do not believe that Howard County needs to legislatively declare itself a sanctuary jurisdiction. Subsequent to the veto of that bill, the Police Department adopted policy OPS-10 which achieved many of the key objectives of the legislation, including a statement that it had no authority to enforce civil violations of federal immigration laws and prohibits criminal investigations and enforcement based solely upon an individual’s citizenship or immigration status. This lays an important foundation for establishing trust in law enforcement within our immigrant community. However, if the immigrant community experiences instances where OPS-10 is not being observed by the police department, I would support a carefully drafted bill that protects the rights of our immigrant populations. On the question of reporting detainees in the county detention center to federal authorities, consistent with the former Obama Administration Priority Enforcement Policy, the County should honor federal detainers when a criminal alien in our custody has been convicted (rather than just arrested) of a felony or serious or multiple misdemeanors.
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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?
Jung: I support County Executive Kittleman’s proposed capital budget request for $17.1 million to mitigate flooding in the Tiber Hudson sub watershed and to better protect Ellicott City, including storm drain improvements and the continued design of stormwater retention facilities identified in the 2017 Hydrologic and Hydraulic Analysis. It appears as if the new money allocated to the specific Ellicott City CIP project for FY 2019 is $4.9 million with total appropriations through 2028 estimated at approximately $56 million. Because many existing structures in Ellicott City should be retrofitted, we need to look at the recommendations of the Commercial Stormwater Solutions Workgroup to incentivize property owners through tax credits, grants, and loans to make necessary stormwater management improvements. I would support funding for that purpose. Acknowledging the tight topographical conditions, redevelopment should be subject to stringent stormwater management requirements. For undeveloped and flood susceptible areas in the Tiber-Hudson sub watershed, additional land use limitations may need to be considered at least until a more comprehensive strategy is in place. The recent flooding caused by the extreme microburst is symptomatic of the climate change we are experiencing and a vivid example of what can happen if we think narrowly about commerce with minimal concerns about the environment. The loss of retail and service jobs from the flood is an example of why we need to consider the economy and our environment as one. It is critical that the Ellicott City plan contemplate the resiliency of this community in the future.
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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?
Jung: Opioid overdoses continued to climb in 2017 in Howard County. According to WMAR, Howard County experienced 228 overdoses of which 57 were deadly last year. I would continue to utilize a multifaceted approach of increasing public awareness, education, and overdose treatment training, including use of Naloxone. I support the recently created Opioid Community Council and the seven day per week walk-in screening and referral services program provided at the Grassroots Crisis Intervention Center. I would support additional funding for mental health services targeted to substance abusers and others at risk. To the extent reasonable, the County should expedite construction of an in-patient drug treatment center. Facility siting will be key, however, and community buy-in will require an open process and opportunity for input. Law enforcement efforts targeting drug dealers need to be aggressively pursued as part of this multifaceted strategy.
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8
Public transportation
Has the county invested enough in public transportation projects, including the regional bus network and BikeHoward program?
Jung: We need to invest more in public transportation projects. As Columbia and Howard County have become significant employment centers with greater population density in the Town Center and other locations, it is more important than ever to increase our County’s investment in transit, including the regional bus network, Bike Howard, mobility services, and pedestrian access. With regard to transit, I support the recommendations and implementation strategy set forth in the January, 2018 Central Maryland Transit Development Plan to guide public service improvements in the region over the next 5 years. For transit in Howard County, the Plan proposes a variety of enhancements including basic performance and service improvements, route reconfigurations and expansions, and additional capital investment. Specifically, I support the recommendations for Bus Rapid Transit to Silver Spring and expanded local service to and from Maple Lawn, River Hill, and Downtown Columbia. Improvements in demand-response mobility services may also be needed. I also support the County Executive’s recently proposed capital budget increases for bus shelter improvements and the Bike Howard program. However, bicycle usage would increase if more emphasis was placed on restricted (rather than shared use) bike lanes. I also support better connections from Howard County to the rail systems in Baltimore and Washington with more frequent MARC service. A balanced public transportation program includes roads and I support needed road resurfacing and planned projects for safety improvements and congestion relief in the MD 32, MD 175, MD 108, US 1 and US 40 corridors.
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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?
Jung: I do not support reducing the tax rate to the constant yield rate because, as reported by the Spending Affordability Committee, “general fund revenues are expected to experience relatively weak growth in FY 2019 which will put additional pressure on the County to meet additional service needs and anticipated cost increases such as rising employee and retiree benefit costs”. The Committee adds that the County’s service delivery capacity will be challenged by demographic trends such as an aging population and continued growth in school age population, as well as a shift in residential construction to multi-family housing. At this time, I do not favor moving to Zero Based Budgeting (ZBB) and annually rebuilding the budget from scratch given its complexity and the time constraints of the budget cycle. I prefer the TRACK Howard approach which focuses on performance management with the goal of developing tight department missions, outcomes, and metrics. This should result in a budget that is better prioritized and aligned with programmatic and financial strategic plans - goals of ZBB. We are fortunate to have a strong Spending Affordability Committee process to provide advice on revenues and maintaining spending discipline for the operating and capital budgets. As a 30-year Howard County taxpayer, I understand the need for fiscal accountability, sound financial management, and a government that is constantly looking for ways to improve efficiency, workforce productivity, and program effectiveness.
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