Closing time

Oct 24 council meeting


Dear Readers,

What, you may wonder, is the Takoma Park city council up to as the end-times near?

It is up to the same thing Congress gets up to when facing a change of party majority. They hurried to finish up business  before a newly elected council can get its nose into their business and CHANGE something!

Or, to be more charitable, they rushed to tie up loose ends so the new council won’t have to start over again at Step One.

They especially wanted to finish up the Recreation Department vision statement. The city is about to hire a new Rec. Dept. director. Before it does, the council wanted to redefine the Rec. Dept.’s mission.

A few meetings ago Josh Wright made a presentation, as did the citizen Recreation Committee. Based on citizen surveys and research on Rec. Departments elsewhere, they want to push the mission more toward “life skills.” In short, not just ball games, but classes, too.

Under the current council (give or take a few personnel changes over the last couple of elections) the Rec. Dept. has earned scorn and scrutiny. So, the council reviewed the new mission statement with suspicion. Their first suspicion was that the city would end up spending money on programs that were neither needed nor cost-effective. The other suspicion was that, if the mission is not well thought out, the Rec. Dept. staff will slither around it.


Election Central – candidate websites, scheduled appearances, and election dates!


At one point in the discussion Councilmember Colleen Clay reminded the council of the time she asked the department for data showing the per-student costs of a program. The Rec. Dept. said it didn’t keep such data. Nor, recounted Clay, would it agree to begin to, since there was no such requirement written into their contracts/job descriptions.

They want no such omissions in the new job description. So, they had the magnifying glasses and their paranoia out, as they scanned for loopholes.

At the last meeting before the elections, October 24, they put a seal of approval on a much-revised “vision” statement. It was, as councilmember Fred Schultz put it, “ugly sausage making – but a good product.”

What’s fun got to do with it?

Councilmember Reuben Snipper asked for one small change, he asked that the word “fun” be included as one of the Rec. Dept.’s goals.

The rest of the council looked perplexed. Fun??

Yeah, you know – fun, recreation, fun, as in recreational fun? said Snipper, or words to that effect.

So they added “fun.” There are no grinches in Takoma Park!


Councilmember Josh Wright noted an misstatements in the recent Takoma Voice candidate forum. In particular he mentioned that the credit for restoring state Highway User Funds to the city’s coffers last year belonged to Mayor Bruce Williams, not the city manager.

And so we say farewell to councilmembers Josh Wright, Dan Robinson, and Colleen Clay. It is hard to imagine the council without them, and we suspect it will be a while before the new council gets up to speed enough to match their performance.

What’s next

Elections are Tuesday, Nov. 8.,Wed, Nov. 9, the council will have a brief meeting to certify the election results. The combined final meeting of the current council and the first meeting of the new council will be Monday, Nov. 21.

– 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 Comment on "Closing time"

  1. Bruce Williams | November 3, 2011 at 8:48 pm |

    A correction to your note of a correction 🙂 What Josh Wright actually said was that he wanted to correct a statement that was made at the forum that indicated that the City staff was responsible for the successful lobbying in Annapolis to return a portion of the Highway User Revenues. The credit should not have gone to the City Manager, but to the Mayor 🙂 🙂

    The Mayor

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