GRANOLAPARK • BY GILBERT
Takoma Park’s new city council, with three new and bouncy ward representatives, was sworn in Nov. 21.
The main event was short – they all swore/affirmed loyalty to the Constitution, Maryland, and Ward (fill in number here). The rest of the meeting was long – everyone thanked everybody else. Hands shook hands all around. Tudes were platted. Group photos were staged.
The “‘departing,” incumbents, and newbies all said the same thing, and they each had to have their own turn saying it. First the citizens came forth to praise and thank the three departing councilmembers, the sitting councilmembers, and the new councilmembers. Then each of the departing members praised each other and the remaining councilmembers and the new councilmembers. Then the mayor and the three reelected incumbents had a go at it. Then after one last roll call vote and the swearing-in, the new councilmembers each gave a praise-and-thanks speech – AND the mayor and reelected incumbents had a second round while Your Gilbert wistfully remembered more exciting council sessions. Discussions, for instance, about community center public usage policies and fees. Sigh, those were exciting times!
We’ll save you from the tedium and, as a public service (for a slight fee) give you a mash-up of their collective quotes, “Thank you! [ We are/I am] . . . “grateful, . . . humbled, . . . honored, . . . [by our/my] . . . family . . . spouse, . . . supporters, . . . voters, . . . campaign volunteers, . . . business community, . . . opponent(s)!”
There WERE less boring parts. Freshly sworn-in Seth Grimes said he aimed to be the “best Ward 1 councilmember ever!” Your Gibert has entered that quote on our “Things to Bring Up At Awkward Times” list.
Kay Daniels-Cohen’s perhaps spoke for the three newcomers with her first word as Ward 3 councilmember, “Yikes!” Succinct and to the point.
Departing councilmember Josh Wright choked up on his farewell speech. “We live in one of the greatest places in the world!” he said. We’ll drink to that!
Both he and Colleen Clay offered advice to the incoming councilmembers. “Breathe deep!” was Wright’s advice. Clay said the council’s work is all about “inflow and outflow,” much of it “to do with Public Works.” Ick! She warned the incoming members that what she called “the silent majority” will rise up – “even if there were five meetings” in which no opposition emerged. Her third point was that “the small things are the most important.” She finished by – one last time – smacking Josh Wright in the head for stealing her ideas.
Highly skilled, professional observers (Your Gilbert the best of them all) noted a subtle underlying theme in the veteran councilmember’s statements. There were nuances in certain phrases and words they used. There were also such nuances in how the mayor and incumbents threw themselves on the floor sobbing and clutching the ankles of the departing representatives who had to wrestle themselves free. Chief Riccucci assisted in their escape with a few expertly directed spurts of pepper spray.
Not only were the incumbents sad to see Colleen Clay, Josh Wright, and Dan Robinson go (no reflection on the incoming members, they assured them), they signaled to the new councilembers that Boot Camp was now in session.
The mayor, formally attired, emphasized to the newbies that the papers placed in front of them were NEXT WEEKS MEETING AGENDA. Ahem, ahem. We thought we heard someone whining, “What? A homework assignment on the FIRST DAY?” Terry Seamens, in his umpteenth term as Ward 4 councilmember – and dressed like Wyatt Earp (actually an Abraham Lincoln costume) – suggested that the new council all sit down and discuss their various campaign platform proposals, and “see what we can do for each other” [i.e. “pop your bubble”]
Also, in his wrap-up statement the mayor just happened to mention that he’d been talking to several of the past city mayors and concludes that the city and council must “remember our history – so we don’t repeat it!” I’m looking at you, and you, and you!
Up until this election Ward 6 councilember Fred Schultz was the newest member. Shultz was mum about whether he would continue the council’s freshman hazing tradition which he was subjected to. He was seen, however, writing “KICK ME!” on three post-it notes, then heartily backslapping the three newcomers.