Score one for Councilmember Clay who three weeks ago was pooh-poohed by her colleagues (and a certain commentator) when she asked if the city was prepared for spontaneous street demonstrations on Election Day eve. More longtime residents on the council assured her that such spontaneous demonstrations don’t happen in the politically-jaded Washington DC metro area.
As it happened spontaneous celebrations DID break out shortly after it became apparent that Barack Obama had won. Not only in front of the White House and on U Street in Washington DC, but right here in Takoma Park.
A group of about 30-40 celebrants chanting and banging on makeshift drums was seen around 11:30 pm processing past the municipal building and up Philadelphia Avenue toward the Fire Station. The crowd consisted mostly of white folk in their teens and 20s. The police were not interfering but providing protection during this observation. The group, accompanied by at least two patrol cars, continued toward Carroll Ave, out of sight of our reporter, though the drumming and chanting continued for at least half an hour afterwards.
Your Gilbert sends hopes for a speedy recovery to councilmember Colleen Clay. As we reported in our previous post Clay is now described as “fine,” but she looked far from fine as she was helped from the council dais Nov. 3.
Councilmember Clay reports in a comment to this blog that “My heart was racing for several minutes before the meeting and I thought if I sat down it would stop. It didn’t and when I thought I might pass out on camera I decided to leave, as it was obvious to me I needed help. The ambulance took me to Washington Adventist, where they said I have “Supraventricular tachycardia.” It may have been exacerbated by the flu meds i’ve been taking. The doctor described it to me as having extra wiring in my heart that over rides the normal rhythm at times. I’m OK. But I need to see a cardiologist, and I’m going to take a few days of down time to relax and do all the doctor stuff.” We hope to see councilmember Clay in her usual place next meeting.
Emergency Preparedness Comes in Handy
Perhaps not coincidentally, the people who immediately leapt into action to aid Clay were CERT-trained councilmember Terry Seamens and Emergency Preparedness Committee co-chair Chief Ronald Ricucci, as well as another police officer. The chief just a step behind him, that quick-thinking officer launched out of his seat in the first row and stepped onto the dais — as he radioed for assistance — at the instant Clay first voiced distress. He and Seamens supported Clay off the stage and out to the lobby to meet the ambulance. Score one each for the Takoma Park Police and emergency preparedness.
An honorable mention for emergency semi-preparedness goes to the councilmember who, when Clay said “I have to go” answered “there’s a bathroom through there.”
Clay’s assertion that “flu meds” had exacerbated her condition, are likely calculated to counter rampant speculation that a more significant factor in her near-collapse was overindulgence in sweets at her famous annual Hallowe’en party. Such rumors are bound to circulate in this highly-charged city pre-election season.
Ready For The Election?
Not the one that just ended, but the city election which is now a year away. Believe it or not, we are halfway through the council and mayoral term, the first term of our new mayor Bruce Williams and three new councilmembers, Josh Wright, Dan Robinson, and Reuben Snipper. Hairsplitters will note that Snipper was a “premie,” hatched in a special election a few months earlier.
Yes, the political thoughts of our representatives will be turning towards reelection. But, fear not, Dear Reader, they will not soon be roaming the city streets looking for babies to kiss.
Traditionally, the Takoma Park election season doesn’t start until the Nominating Caucus, held a month prior to the November election. Until then, our good representatives (and they are all good, of course) will be keeping an eye out for wannabes who suddenly start attending all of the meetings, keeping notes and staring hungrily at the plush council chairs on the Exalted Dais.
Municipalities, Mansionization, and Worms
Oh, yes, as well as dealing with counclimember Clay’s medical emergency the council had a full meeting. They had a nice chat with county councilmember George Leventhal. City councilmember Dan Robinson again promoted his idea of encouraging more county municipalities to incorporate. Leventhal agreed only that it might be a good idea to study the relative efficiencies of city and county services. We had the impression he didn’t expect the same results Robinson did. In fact Leventhal seems to Your Gilbert to be a master of responding warmly to suggestions of progressive change with a variation of “I know what you mean, but we’ve looked at that and as much as we all would LOVE to do it, the sad result would be that worms would come out of your nose.”
This was, in essence his response to councilmember Josh Wright’s concern about mansionization. Leventhal said that mansionization was a problem in such areas as Chevy Chase, not Takoma Park, and the current laws were sufficient to protect the former. Tightening the laws, he said, would make worms come out of your nose.
The Mayor complained that Takoma Park being in the part of the county farthest from the park department’s maintenance depot meant that our county parks get short shrift. Leventhal countered with an assertion that every part of the county says it gets short shrift and that other parts are favored. The miffed mayor said that may be, but he has spoken to the parks department and THEY said we get short shrift because we are so distant.
Leventhal got many council kudos for his help with various local issues and projects including the Piney Branch pool.
The council got a staff presentation on the Purple Line, the proposed public transportation line that will run from Bethesda to New Carrolton via Langley Park. The council is due to present its position on the line at a November 22 meeting at Montgomery College.
The staff recommended that the city favor light rail (as opposed to a dedicated bus lane which is the alternative), because it has a higher capacity and would not have to mix with traffic.
The council approved several appointments to various citizen committees, approved the purchase of a new recycling truck, and voted to approve the New Hampshire Avenue Corridor Plan.