Empathy For The Devil

Dear Readers,
You’d think a famously “progressive” city would approve of bleeding heart liberalism!
Kay Daniels-Cohen, a resident of Sherman Ave. steamed up to the podium at the October 11 city council meeting to disabuse her councilmember of that thought. She was outraged by Councilmember Dan Robinson’s humanistic musings last week regarding the arrest of Corey Antonio Moore.

Moore’s lengthy article in a 2001 Washington City Paper issue about him. There he was portrayed as a young man embroiled in crime and the courts -an almost inevitable outcome considering his alcoholic, drug-addicted mother, and absent father.
Last week, speaking from his bleeding heart, Robinson said “I think its a sad story,” He credited the city police with a job well done, mentioned the large quantity of drugs and money found, and said “I think it’s a real tragedy” for “all the players,” which he listed as Moore’s family, the District of Columbia government, the court system, police departments, and the law firm that spent a million dollars defending him in court against a murder charge earlier in the decade.
This week, Kay Daniels-Cohen demanded to know why Robinson’s constituents were not on that list. She thought his concern was misdirected. Daniels-Cohen, second generation Takoma Park activist, and president of (but not speaking for in this instance) the S. S. Carroll Neighborhood Association, is often seen at city council meetings speaking on behalf of various groups, causes, and concerns.
Robinson did not back down. He pointed out that though Moore had been arrested on Sherman Ave., he had not victimized anyone in the ward. To her implication that Moore didn’t deserve sympathy, he said “we are all complex people.”
No Lightening Bolts
Everyone sidled away from Councilmember Fred Schultz when he voted “nay” to a speed bump. As the mayor pointed out at an earlier hearing, the council has never voted down a speed bump request. So, when Schultz cast a negative vote, there was fear of sudden lightning bolts, fissures opening in the floor, or falling light-fixtures in his proximity.
None appeared, to everyone’s amazement. They were not, however, so amazed by Schultz’s “nay” vote considering his remarks at the Sept. 21 council meeting. Then, Schultz reported on his “test-drive” of the proposed speed bump location on Sherman Ave. He said he found that section to be “extraordinarily steep.” He was worried about safety, and said, “I don’t see how a speed hump is going to solve any problems” at that location.
Schultz’s was the only nay vote. He jumped back on the bumpy bandwagon for the next vote – making it unanimous for a speed bump on Grant Avenue. But not before a couple of residents spoke out against speed bumps.
Pal Loveless, a blind, disabled Maple Ave. resident, council meeting gadfly, and “official Takoma Park Peace Delegate,” said he hates speed bumps. They jar his spine when he is driven over them, he said. The mayor advised him to ask his driver to “slow down,” and find alternate routes.
An Informative Digression
Your Gilbert has found that studies back Loveless up, however.
A British community organization, the Bromley Borough Roads Action Group, cites several instances of injury and pain experienced by people suffering from such conditions as osteoporosis, motor neurone disease, a brain cyst, spinal or bone conditions, and people recovering from operations. “If you complain about such problems to road safety experts they simply say you should take another route, or slow down more. The former is often not possible, and is effectively discrimination against disabled people, and the latter does not work in most cases.”
In addition, a 2004 policy paper on speed bumps by the Los Angles Fire Department lists a number of reasons why the department opposes them. The report says ambulance patients “with chronic spinal problems report speed humps aggravate their condition, causing increased pain and further injury. ” It also notes potential danger to emergency vehicle crew members of “head, neck and back injuries while responding to emergency incidents”
Bumping up Emissions
Steve Davies, former co-chair of the Task Force on Environmental Action, complained that speed bumps contribute to pollution. They cause more emissions when vehicles slow down, then speed up. Furthermore, he said with a nod toward Pat Loveless, they are a “pain in the back.” He said the city could stop building them, a recommendation that was #6 in his “top ten” list of inexpensive environmental actions the city could take. More on that later.
No Free Ride
Vote for the county ambulance fee! That’s what the city council urges you to do, Dear Readers.
The controversial fee will be on the ballot this November. Whenever it comes up for a county council vote the county’s ambulance and firefighters groups get frothy-mouthed about it, and activate public pressure against councilmembers. So, the county council turned it into a ballot referendum.
The ambulance fee, say it’s promoters, would be billed directly to residents’ insurance companies. People with no health insurance would not be charged. Prince George’s County and the District of Columbia both enact such a fee.
The detractors say that lives will be endangered because some people, thinking they have to pay an out-of-pocket fee, will hesitate to call an ambulance.
The city council is taking a stand on this because they want the county to get the estimated $14-17 million in fee revenues. Our local council doesn’t want to go through another budget bloodbath such as this year’s, when the county axed over $300,000 from the revenues it owed the city.
More More More
Yes, Dear Readers, we hear you clamoring for more about last week’s meeting. And there IS more, especially the discussion about the Task Force on Environmental Action report. You’ll have to wait for the next exciting installment!

– 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.

2 Comments on "Empathy For The Devil"

  1. Tom Gagliardo | October 18, 2010 at 5:16 pm |

    Well, if Sherman Avenue is very steep at the location of the new speed up some one should have suggested this compromise:
    Cars don’t speed going up the hill, only going down the hill, so build a hump across half the street. Duh!
    P.S. I’m not going to have to explain this, am I?

  2. William Bell | October 18, 2010 at 6:27 pm |

    Charging a fee for ambulance use could work very well, not only by raising revenue to cover costs from the people who make use of the service, which is only fair, but also by deterring frivolous demands for emergency service.
    Salutary deterrence would be nullified, however, if insurers are required to cover 100% of ambulance fees incurred by those with coverage and those without are exempted.
    Why exempt everyone without health insurance? The county could adhere to a policy that ambulance service will be provided regardless of ability to pay, but why not at least send a bill to ambulance-users lacking health insurance, or present it to them when they’re discharged from the hospital? Some of them will pay up, which would be a good thing, and the mere prospect of being asked for payment might deter others from making frivolous demands.

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