“There are some bad ideas in California!” Councilmember Colleen Clay conceded at the March 21 City Council meeting. She specifically criticised how California’s constitution is frequently changed through ballot initiatives! The rest of the council was floored by her uncharacteristic fault-finding.
Picking themselves up off the floor, they rushed to Clay’s side to administer first aid: a morsel of lotus blossoms.
Clay is expected to recover. Her shocking statements have been attributed to the stress of Girl Scout cookie sales. Earlier in the evening the councilmember fretted that after a long day of carting a wagon-load of cookies around the city, she still had 10 unsold boxes of Tagalongs and Lemon Cremes. (probably all gone by now, sorry, Dear Readers!)
Her lapse into anti-Californiaism was not deep, it was noted. Minutes before, she extolled her favorite state as an example for all others – more like her usual self.

She recommended to a politely smiling laundromat developer that he adopt the model of her favorite Berkeley, CA laundromat. That establishment, she said, featured a coffee shop and murals of dolphins and whales. She said Takoma Parkians would appreciate such Berkeley-like features. Berkeley, CA is the Takoma Park of the West.
The developer presented plans for the laundromat proposed for 6450 New Hampshire Avenue. It would be a 2 story building on what is now an undeveloped lot. This is the second time around for the lot. A car wash was proposed in May 2009.
The council heard adjacent Sligo Mill Road resident’s concerns – presented by Pinecrest Association president Roger Schlegel. The council will vote whether to approve the laundromat – with certain conditions that address resident’s and the council’s concerns – March 28.
ABSMHEMC for Short
The beer and wine license bill is progressing through the state legislative process (insert the usual statements about sausage factories here). City staff reported that a few subcommittee members are annoyed with Takoma Park because it wants “local control.” What that means is that the city council wants to have final approval when granting a beer-and-wine sales license. That’s “off-sales” as opposed to drink sales in restaurant or bars, in case you’ve forgotten this issue.
Usually who gets a license is up to the county. The annoyed legislators don’t want to set a precedent, they say. Mayor Williams poo-pooed this, saying that Annapolis has already set the precedent. Whether that will convince the committee remains to be seen.
Sub-committee, actually. Take a gulp of coffee, Dear Readers, this is guaranteed to glaze your eyes! The bill is being reviewed by the Alcoholic Beverages Subcommittee of the Maryland House Economic Matters Committee. If it doesn’t pass the subcommittee, it will be reviewed by the full committee, and the Montgomery County delegation has pledged support there.
Don’t tell those legislative guys in Annapolis, but the council would concede local-control t if passage of the bill hinges on giving it up. But, they will keep pushing for it as long as there is a chance they can keep it.
UPDATE: Deputy City Manager Suzanne Ludlow reported at the city council meeting tonight (March 28) that this is “crossover day” in the state legislature. This means that bills that have passed the state House of Representatives go to the state Senate – and vice versa. Bills that have not passed for various reasons, such as being stuck in the Alcoholic Beverages Subcommittee, DIE! Ludlow said there is no news about the beer and wine bill, it is now in the hands of the Montgomery County delegation to squeeze it through in time.
Ward One Night
So how about making Philadelphia Avenue into a pedestrian mall one day a week – as the city does to a section of Sligo Creek Parkway? Since the State Highway Administration says we own (part of) it, we should be able to do that, right?
That was suggested by a resident on Ward 1 Night, one of a series of ward nights the council hosts. The featured ward’s constituents get a comment period all their own on these nights.
Ward 1 residents of Victory Tower want the city’s ladder truck back! They’d feel a lot safer in their high-rise senior-housing building with that truck in the city firehouse just two blocks away. Right now, the county has moved the ladder truck to a firehouse in Silver Spring, and the city is trying to convince them to move it back. The truck is county property, but it has spent most of its time in Takoma Park where, the argument goes, we have a large number of older highrise residential buildings that don’t have up-to-date sprinkler systems, so our need is greatest. The mayor asked residents who feel strongly about getting the truck back come testify at the early April county budget hearings.
Another Takoma Tower resident spoke in favor of new sidewalks, March’s controversy of the month.
One Ward 1 resident asked the council not to take on Flower Avenue, the roadway that the State Highway Administration has offered the city. The maintenance costs would be too high, she said, and residents need tax relief, not the increases she feared would be necessary for Flower Ave.
Positive comments were made as well, especially by one resident who has been away for five years. She pointed out many recent improvements, in particular several new “eateries,
and a hardware store in Old Town.

.- 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.


  1. Gilbert, thanks for the smile! Ultramat is in Santa Cruz, CA, though there are some copy cat mats in Berkeley. And I’m not giving up the lemon cremes, they are a favorite of the city manager. I do have a few tagalongs and peanut butter cremes though……

  2. Aha! Reading Granola Park during council meeting again?
    Santa Cruz – that’s another Takoma Park of the West, isn’t it?
    Hmmm, peanut butter creames . . . no somoas, huh? They are great dunked in rum.

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