Change is Good

The council resumes tonight after a forced week off. Last week’s snowstorms closed down the regular Monday night meeting.
We hope to see the mayor in a chef’s hat and apron. At the Feb. 1 council meeting he proposed the city replace its food vending machines with a mobile snack cart, stocked with healthy comestibles.
This is what happens when the council is allowed to brainstorm. Clearly their caffeine intake should be limited.

The snack wagon suggestion was a digression. The council was reviewing a staff “change order” request. A change order is a revision submitted to a building contractor. In this case the change order is for a revision to the municipal building lobby renovation.
The lobby is being souped-up as part of the auditorium renovation. It, like the rest of the renovation, is funded by a grant, not the city budget.
When councilmember Colleen Clay got to the bit that described where vending machines would be located, she said “I don’t want to see junk food machines in the lobby!”
Deputy city manager Suzanne Ludlow said the staff could find a provider of healthy snacks to put in the machines, but this was lost in the sound of the council in full roll. Imagine, Dan Robinson said, the spectacle and inconvenience of people lining up for the vending machines during intermission time.
Councilmember Terry Seamens suggested having a snack counter instead of vending machines, and Mayor Williams rolled out the idea of a mobile snack cart.
Who would staff the snack counter or cart was not addressed. Your Gilbert hopes it will be the mayor or any councilmember who looks good in an apron and floppy chef’s hat. Handlebar mustache optional.
There was a slight dustup about the revised plans. Terry Seamens thought the council’s previous criticisms of the lobby plan were not all reflected in the new one. Suzanne Ludlow assured him that the new plans were based on a “straw poll” taken at the end of the previous discussion.
A polite “did not!” “did!” “did not!” exchange was resolved by Ludlow meeting Seamens in the hall during the break to demonstrate her kickboxing technique. No, actually she met the council in the hall to show the detailed lobby plans.
Seamens was still grumbling a bit, keeping well out of kicking range, but he and the rest of the council approved the change order. Whether the vending machines will go in, what will be in them if they do, and whether they might be replaced by a snack counter or snack wagon is subject for a later discussion.They will all be munching on raw broccoli and sipping non-caffeinated, herbal tea.

– 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.

4 Comments on "Change is Good"

  1. Lawrence Silberman | February 18, 2010 at 2:06 pm |

    a new thread.
    Perhaps they could restore meter parking in the center of the street by the post office.
    At one tine that area accommodated 10 or more cars, parked on an angle.
    Its already an impervious surface. Put in meters, remove the poles on one side, line it, and good to go.
    For less than $3000 you could have ten spaces.
    1 year pay back on investment.
    Or I will put up the meters for free, in exchange for the collection concession for the next ten years.
    Put the poles on e bay or save em for whatever.
    If there were more places to park the stores would have a better chance of survival.

  2. Steve Davies | February 19, 2010 at 9:19 am |

    Never happen. There are trees in the median (so it’s not 100% impervious).

  3. Lawrence Silberman | February 19, 2010 at 11:39 am |

    I believe they cut down all the trees before when the did the sidewalks.
    The voice had photos of the stump forest.
    There was little or no protest.
    Transplant the trees to replace trees that have died this winter.
    The businesses will not survive with out traffic.
    No parking equals empty storefronts.

  4. Indeed. But that was done fairly recently (a few years back), making it much less likely that they would tear it all up again. In addition, isn’t there a parking lot being built on Eastern?
    I have a better suggestion: Eliminate the personal property tax for businesses in Takoma Park (which is, essentially, a tax on inventory). That would save money for businesses now, instead of tearing up the street for months — and inevitably reducing traffic to businesses — in the hopes that a handful of new parking spaces would help them sometime in the future.
    In addition, it’s an idea already proposed by and supported by the businesses themselves. I seriously doubt any of them would support another makeover of that block.
    Of course, instead of debating this on a blog, we could ask the businesses what they think. Maybe the Voice could do a story on this, interviewing the businesses, OTBA, city officials, and others.

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