The Takoma Park City Council is on summer recess. City police have stepped up patrols in the area, and residents are urged to be especially vigilant.
The police are particularly worried this year since councilmembers were unable to get into already-full city recreation department summer programs.
“These councilmembers will be roaming the streets, bored and looking for trouble!” said Chief Ricucci. “They are burnt out from 11 months of intense, thankless work, and they suddenly find themselves at loose ends – unsupervised.”
He warned citizens to be alert for anyone approaching them with the intent to discuss installing a speed bump or volunteering for a committee. “Tell them to just go home and lie down!”
Only one day after the council recessed, he said, someone “tagged” the community center with graffiti saying “budgets suck!”
“This could be worse than any gang activity we’ve seen.” said a concerned chief Ricucci.
The council zipped through its last summer meeting July 26, quickly and unanimously approving various employee pay plans and a consent agenda (a consent agenda is a bunch of no-brainer ordinances and resolutions voted on all at once to save time).
They voted in favor of renaming Takoma Urban Park in honor of city resident Gilbert Kombe, who passed away last November. There were 5 votes in favor and two abstentions: Colleen Clay and Reuben Snipper.
The resolution is only a statement of support. The city can’t change the name because it is a county park even though it is located in the city. The county Park and Planning department is in charge, so the local community association will make its request to them.
At the July 19 council meeting Clay suggesting creating some other kind of memorial. Further, she said the city needs an established place and procedure for honoring expired worthies. Most councilmembers agreed with her latter point. The council will likely take this up in the fall, especially since Clay raised the issue of follow-up at the the July 19 meeting. She said ideas offered in council meetings are not “tracked” well, and she requested a more efficient process of following them through.
Also at the July 19 meeting, Clay objected to the name change in part because she didn’t think the county would agree. In a public comment posted to Granolapark, Clay said “If the county follows it’s own guidelines, they will not approve this request.”
She suggested alternatives, “city parks, street names, the city hall and other city properties as well as tree and park bench dedications. I believe that honoring Mr. Kombe with a city resource is a better choice.”
Clay implies in her note that she would have preferred a citywide discussion about renaming the park instead of restricting it to one ward and the local neighborhood association.
She also bruises her council colleagues’ shins a bit, saying “Personally, I would have handled this differently were I the mayor or the councilmember of the family.” She says “I think it was cruel and inconsiderate to force a public vote on this issue in this way, knowing several council members had concerns.
So, Dear Readers, the council is on break (and it looks like they need one). They return in September. But, stay tuned to Granolapark! Your Gilbert will be writing up a post on some of the things we missed, The Task Force on Environmental Action report, for instance.