Dear Readers,

Here are some comments worth featuring, if only to point out a problem here at granolapark. We are flooded with comments, make that “comments,” that are actually advertisements for everything from car insurance to pornography.

We have a fillter that shunts most of it off to a “junk folder,” but it is not a perfect filter and some of the spam leaks through. Worse, some legitimate comments get shoved into the junk folder, and may not get noticed in a timely manner or at all. The junk folder deletes itself after a number of days, we regret that that pressures of other duties do not allow us to constantly monitor the junk folder.

This is why your comments do not automatically appear on the site when you submit them, otherwise a lot of spam would appear on the site. This is also why some of the comments do not appear at all.
If you make a comment and it does not appear within a day or two, please e-mail us directly at

— Gilbert

PS. A commentator below cites an incident where a car crashed into a building on Carroll Ave. and “LEVELED THE PLACE”. If this is the same incident of which we are aware, this statement is not accurate. The porch (a substantial structure) was smashed up and had to be rebuilt, but the building was not leveled.
Gilbert, Like the Gazette, you missed the point. I object to the recreation department putting the kids in a van for as much as six of the ten hours the kids have for recreation on the days they go to the amusement parks, and I object to taking the same ten kids to the amusement park 8 times over the course of one summer. Further, I object to the inaccurate budget reports that claim that the program costs 35 dollars per day per child, while charging roughly the equivallent. In fact, if you add the cost of the van, the driver, the supervision and the admission costs, not including overhead the program costs the city three times that amount, over $500 per kid per session. It is a fiscal responsibility issue, not a micro-management issue. Anytime a council member challenges any aspect of how the city conducts business, micro-management is charged. You fail to note that I do not object to any portion of that program except the repeated amusement trips, and supported one or two such trips over the course of the summer, just not 8 for a single summer with the same kids.

It is unfortunate that elected officials and the press whould either support or remain silent to such low expectations for our recreation department, and the innacurate statement made by the recreation director that the program costs just 4.50 an hour, including transportation costs. The average of the activity cost alone is 4.50 an hour. There is a lot more than that to developing a cost analysis of a recreation program.

You also fail to note that I did not suggest that we cut the recreation budget, only that we spend the money better, serving more kids in a more meaningful way. Neither did I, as the Mayor and rec director suggested, put forth that the summer camps be some purely educational experience.

I think this all begs the question of why there is such a lack of transparancy regarding the budget, why the misinformation, and why are there so many people vested in squashing any evaluation of the services that could make the program better.

That is part of my responsibility to the citizens of this city.
Posted by: Colleen Clay | May 16, 2007 04:55 PM
A modest retort

from a TP citizen

OK, Gil–this is my last attempt at commenting on your blog. If I don’t make it on, then I shall have to peddle my disgruntlement on my own site…

Sadly, right here in Takoma Park, the venues for intelligent discourse are so few that CouncilMember Clay and other misguided people (me) must resort to responding to a pseudonymous something or other.
It may be time to change that.

But on to the real subjects. I’m basically with ya on Frank, tho I understand some/a few businesses don’t like the chalk dragged onto their carpets, which they’re responsible for.

A neighbor of mine made a good suggestion — why not the gazebo?

it makes sense, I told him. But watch — some bureaucratic technicality (money) will prevent it from happening. My hunch is Frank would have to pay for the privilege.

The Post Office — doesn’t seem like a good idea either. You just move the problem down.

It woulda been nice if the city had taken the same interest in the “parking spot” in front of Savory that was quite often filled by SUVs that blocked most of the sidewalk, forcing ALL people — not just kids, not just parents with kids or baby strollers — to venture into the street.

Some question of safety was brought up about Banjo Man. Gimme a break. Savory is right at a sharp turn… hell, we all know where it is. A car drove through the front of the B&B next door and LEVELED THE PLACE. Remember the dilapidated structure that was there for years?

In any case, some will have noticed the “No Parking” box where there used to be asphalt beckoning quick-pay-and-go coffee drinkers who were just parking “for a minute” (make that five), even as kids were walking to the bus stop.
Who painted that space?

a) Savory
b) The city
c) U-Md students who ran out of “BAY DRAINAGE” Stencils?
d) none of the above

If you answered d, you’re right. It was a family of friends of mine (2 parents, 2 children) from Westmoreland who went out with buckets and brushes in broad daylight while the customers sipped java.
No one objected.

They and I had complained multiple times to the management and to the police. I had gone into the place (actually did so again the other day when someone was parked in the NEW space) and complained.
A painted No Parking space had been suggested.

Nothing was ever done until citizens took it into their own hands.

woulda been nice if the level of intensity directed against Banjo Man had been used instead on Savory. But hey, this is Takoma Park, and those self-absorbed parents and their unruly brats are far worse. (I mean, pulling money out of SunTrust in protest? Are you kiddin me?)

But on to my other point, Gil — Clay has every right to ask questions. The budget is incredibly general! Congressional appropriations are more detailed! Why do you think no one is showing up for the hearings? Because they can’t figure out what the hell is in the budget!

Look at maintenance, look at the amount of money spent on gasoline for city leaf blowers and street cleaners, and on right-of-way upkeep.

I would rather my tax dollars not go to take kids to Kings Dominion every week, if the councilmember is correct on the facts.

If anything, Takoma Park seems to think of itself as a mommy, but without the means to really pull everyone up. We assess our needs and goals and then … leave them unfulfilled or unaddressed. Health care , for instance. Um, what exactly can Takoma Park do for people who don’t have health care? Yet we have a committee looking into it.

They will probably produce another report destined for the bookshelf, right next to the great Climate Change Action Plan, now going on 7(?) years old.

It might be worth looking at the dusty document to see what has been implemented. My guess is, not much.

But hey, it’s Takoma Park! Let’s celebrate ourselves! We’re doin great!

Seamens also has a good point about temporary labor, although I see how there would be significant cost savings.

All of the city departments should have to justify their budgets in detail.

By the way, is our local press missing the great stormwater fee story? Stay tuned.

All the best
Posted by: Steve Davies | May 25, 2007 03:00 PM
I ‘heard’ the conflict with the Banjo Man was based on the fact that he plays next to the alley that cars come in and out of, and with little kids running around while he plays, posed a serious health hazard. Not true?.

About the Author

Gilbert is the pseudonym of a hard-bitten, hard-drinking, long-time Takoma Park resident who maintains the granolapark blog. Gilbert and William L. Brown — Granola Park's mild-mannered chief of staff, researcher, and drink pourer — have never been seen in the same place at the same time.

3 Comments on "Comments"

  1. Hi Gil:
    I used “leveled the place” partly for effect, but I also qualified it, because I know what “leveled” means. You “corrected” my statement, but that would have been unnecessary had you simply left my writing alone.
    Here’s my original sentence, which you edited to leave out my qualifier:
    “A car drove through the front of the B&B next door and LEVELED THE PLACE. well, almost–remember the dilapidated structure that existed for years? [Italics added for emphasis]”
    Perhaps you have all the facts, Gil, but as I recall, that structure was uninhabitable for quite some time.
    Of course, my point was that that turn is a dangerous place. You seem to have missed that.
    Thanks again for giving me the opportunity to comment.
    Keep on bloggin’
    Steve Davies
    Poplar Ave
    Thanks for the comment. We did not edit out the qualifying “well, almost”. That phrase was not in the version of your comment we received.
    We didn’t miss your point.
    Please don’t forget to notify us when you send a comment at
    — Gilbert

  2. Steve,
    What is “the great stormwater fee story” that you say the local press is missing? The stormwater fee came up at the last council meeting and was a big Nothingburger.

  3. Steve Davies | June 15, 2007 at 7:37 pm |

    Gil —
    OK, OK, you’re probably right about the “edited out” material. I thought I sent the final version to you, but I may not have (translation–I screwed up). I hereby retract my (false) accusation. “Totalled” would have been a better word.
    On to stormwater… I didn’t pay my $48 fee on time and so the city sent me an ominous “final notice” in May (only the second I’d gotten after the first one in Feb or March).
    In it, I was informed that that I now owed penalty and interest in addition to the $48, but it did not include the new total. Instead, the city (no contact name and # were given) said I had to call to find out the penalty and interest.
    I decided to just add $7 to my check and be done with it, but I called anyway to find out what the total would have been.
    They had docked me an extra 80 cents.
    For this they paid, what, 39 cents? I say, nail all latepayers for $2.50 and put the money in a kitty for rain barrels for the municipal building.
    The kicker, however, is that the city’s notice said if I didn’t pay in less than a week (I got the notice Saturday of Memorial Day weekend and was given till the next Friday), my home would be put on the auction block.
    Seriously, if I didn’t cough up the $48-whatever in four business days, they threatened to sell my home.
    The fellow I got hold of at the city about the bill and I had a good laugh about that. “I mean, you’re gonna sell my house?!”
    I’d love to hear a lawyer’s take on this, but I can’t believe it’s legal. Also, can’t we enter the 21st century and let people pay this online? Maybe you can and I just don’t know about it.
    A final uplifting note — I’ve been watching with excitement as Takoma Park’s stormwater dollars are put to good use in Spring Park, where arborist Todd Bolton is overseeing a combination wetlands creation/drainage project to address, once and for all, the stormwater runoff and springs that frequently turn the park into a soggy mess and endanger pedestrians in winter by converting the sidewalk on Poplar into a sheet of ice.
    Boulders, gravel, backhoes and brute force are being applied in the effort to let the water flow as naturally as possible. I went down to the park yesterday and talked with Bolton, City Engineer Ali Khalilian, and Public Works Director Daryl Braithwaite and came away impressed by their commitment to fixing the (multi-, multiyear) problem. And since it’s being done by the city, the costs are much lower than they would have been if the job had been contracted out.
    Bolton is providing hands-on supervision and city crews are working hard to transform Spring Park into a more ecologically friendly place. Should be fun to see when it’s all done, but it’s also interesting to watch the process.

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