Back and Behind

Dear Readers,
Police struggled to control the adoring thousands who turned out to welcome the returning city council. Back from a long six-week hiatus, the council and mayor waved and blew kisses to their many fans who tossed handfuls of confetti, hats, and a few undergarments.
Excitement mounted as the roll-call was read, and each councilmember responded in turn with arm pumps and exaltations. When the Mayor gleefully intoned the words “Our first item on the agenda is. . . ” those few audience members still sitting jumped to their feet with a grateful cheer. The interminable meeting-less weeks were over at last!

What, you missed it, Dear Reader? You must be the only one in town who did!
Or, perhaps we imagined the whole thing.
One is the Loneliest Number
But, no, the council did meet Sept. 7 and they discussed the one item on the agenda – the first annual review of the city’s Strategic Plan. The Strategic Plan is . . .
Wait, another item was added to the agenda. The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) has a presentation to give. OK, we can sit through that first. Egad, it’s long!
Oh, and there’s a resolution authorizing an application for Community Legacy Projects funding – better take care of that, too.
Might as well make an appointment to the Board of Elections, as well. Now, back to the Strategic . . . .
Oh-ho! The State Highway Administration (SHA) is back with another proposal about Ethan Allen Avenue for Flower Avenue. That should be discussed pronto, at length, and with many scathing remarks about the SHA.
The issue here is that the imperious SHA stopped maintaining Ethan Allen just as it started to need maintanence badly. Their excuse was, they said, that the city owns it. This was news to the city. Ethan Allen is part of heavily used state route 410.
In short, the SHA proposes to hand Flower Avenue to the city and keep (and maintain) Ethan Allen Avenue. This is close to acceptable, but city staff will make some counterproposals. The council wants part of the deal to be an agreement that the SHA will not arbitrarily widen the road. Route 410 is two lanes wide through the city, but becomes 4 lanes wide just across the city line.
By the way, this new proposal doesn’t mean the SHA has not gone all soft and cuddly. Mayor Williams said the council and he lobbied state officials who in turn squeezed SHA’s tender parts.
Strategic Retreat
Ah, finally, the annual review of the Strategic Plan . . . whoa! Look at the time! Put that on next week’s agenda!
That’s about how the first meeting went, Dear Readers. Already, there is no shortage of items to discuss and decide.
Next week the council is scheduled to hold a public hearing to discuss allowing beer and wine stores in the city. If a lot of residents show up to comment, that could take a while.
Also, the city will vote on a resolution petitioning the state to give the city back the tax revenues that were, . . . to put it mildly, “diverted” last spring.
And, of course that Strategic Plan needs reviewing.
Fun-filled times ahead, Dear Readers!

– 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.