The Raise, The Race, and the Rage

Dear Readers,

The Takoma Park city council voted themselves a raise last Monday night (Sept. 24, 2007). They had the sense to round off the mysteriously uneven amounts ($9,982.50 for councilmembers, and $13,310 for the mayor) to $10,000 for the councilmembers and #13,000 for the mayor. The salaries rise to that amount over the the next three years. Citizens Rino Aldrighetti and Tom Gagliardo spoke against the raises. They said in the light of budget overruns in the building of the community center, the raises appear unseemly and would likely be criticized in the upcoming elections.

The council defended the raises on the grounds that, though the salaries do not entirely compensate for the time spent on city business, they help with associated costs such as child-care. They pointed out that thought the current members are all well-paid enough in their other jobs to enable them to serve on the council, a larger salary might encourage people to run for office who could not previously afford to.

If that’s the case, such people have a week to announce their candidacy. The city’s Nominating Caucus, the special public meeting in which candidates for council and mayor are announced, was set for Tuesday, October 2 at 7:30 pm. The order of nominations will be: mayor, ward 1, ward 5, ward 6, ward 3, ward 1, and ward 4. The order of the ward nominations is determined by lottery.

To be nominated, Dear Reader, you must be qualified to vote for the seat you wish to run for. So, if you are a qualified Takoma Park voter, you may run for mayor (please! So far there is only one candidate!). If you are qualified to vote in a particular council seat election, you may run for that seat, yourself (and two will be open t his election).

You will also need at minimum one other person, because the nominating process takes two: one to nominate, another to second the nomination. Usually, a candidate brings a pile of influential or symbolic supporters to do all the nominating, seconding, and long boring statements in support of the candidate. But, it HAS been known to happen that a candidate nominates him or herself, and one other person seconds it. These are not usually the winning candidates.

The fun starts at 7:30pm Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2007 in the city council chambers – or “auditorium” as some prefer to call it these days in anticipation of the possible renovations that would turn that space into a part-time Birchmere concert hall.

Following dozens of citizen comments urging the council to do so, council passed a strongly (that’s what it says in the title) worded resolution against the insidious Metro site development, “Resolution Strongly Urging the WMATA Board to Disapprove the Proposed Amendment of the Mass Transit Plan Regarding the Takoma Metro Station So As to Preserve Full and Continued Access to the Station Facilities for Transit Users”

Despite local opposition WMATA staff recommended in a report to proceed with the land sale that would precipitate the development. The WAMTA Planning, Development and Real Estate Committee is set to approve that report on October 11. The WMATA Board could take action on the sale as soon as October 25.

Play the “JAWS” music!

The deadline for public comments on the matter is October 5th.


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.