Spare Change?

Dear Readers,

By amazing coincidence (snort!), just prior to hammering out next year’s budget, the Takoma Park City Council was hit up for hand outs by a series of committees and groups.

Not all of them, we admit. The Washington Adventist Hospital Land Use Committee is just forming up and more interested in getting members than money at this point. Safe Takoma, a cross-jurisdictional group (Takoma, DC and Takoma Park) that plans to work on crime prevention through youth programs, among other enlightened means, was more intent on working out a memorandum of understanding with the city than with funding – though funding will be needed ($75,000 budgeted so far).

Hat in hand, Historic Takoma, which has purchased a building in Takoma Junction and is turning it into an office and center to house its records, said it it will “need help” from the city in FY 2009 (note how easily Your Gilbert slips into the bureaucratic jargon, there – “FY” means “fiscal year,” which for you non-bureaucrats means “year. Of course it’s silly and redundant to say “the year 2009,” when “2009” or “next year” would do, but it is much more satisfying to the Bureaucratic Mind to use as many words as possible so they can be trimmed down to impenetrable acronyms).

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Even the Independence Day Committee, the group that organizes the Independence Day Parade and fireworks, came poor-mouthing to the council. They were seeking organizational help to raise money more than looking for a line in the budget, however. It seems the annual parade is falling on hard times. There aren’t as many marching groups as there used to be – some of the fancier groups prefer to march in parades where they get paid or have a chance to win more prize money. For some reason the number of homegrown marching groups has declined, as well.

There may not even be a reviewing stand for the judges this year. The city mobile bandstand, which was used for many years, fell apart, the stands borrowed from local counties are not available this year. The committee members and the city council played a game of “hey, why don’t you buy one and we’ll borrow it? “Naw, why don’t YOU buy one and we’ll borrow yours?” for a while but it ended in a stalemate.

What they should do is make all the city committees and groups like Historical Takoma enter floats in the parade and as they march along the parade route hold out buckets for donations. Whatever they get in the buckets is their annual budget with a small cut taken out for the Independence Day Committee.

Now, why didn’t the council think of that? Until they do, Dear Readers, prepare to be pestered to enter a float in the parade, make a donation, and sell and/or buy raffle tickets. The parade and fireworks display are funded entirely by donations and raffle ticket sales, by the way. Other than providing police and such services, the city government (and budget) is not involved.

So, buy those raffle tickets!

While we’re at it, how about a granolapark float? All you Dear Readers would love the chance to carry and attend Your Gilbert in an enclosed sedan chair, wouldn’t you? In harem costumes, definitely.

– Gilbert.

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.