Training Wheels

Dear Readers,

Training wheels strapped to the dais, the new Takoma Park City Council took it’s first wobbly ride. The new councilmembers made their maiden comments during the council’s segment Nov. 28th.

Kay Daniels-Cohen used her time to make event announcements and to boost local shopping. Councilmember Seth Grimes stated his plan to solve a major problem.

Grimes was hot to tackle the issue of who owns Route 410 – the city or the State Highway Administration (SHA), and who should maintain it. He informed the council he was planning to ask local county and state elected officials to intervene in the matter.

The mayor told him he might want to check with the city attorney first. She’s negotiating with SHA, drafting a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). He implied that Grimes plan, well meaning and ambitious as it is, might, as your Gilbert would delicately phrase it, screw things up.

Tim Male, the third new councilmember, didn’t have much to say. In fact, he had nothing to say. The mayor didn’t call on him! Neither did he call on councilmember Terry Seamens to make public comments. Whether this was by design or by mistake was not made clear. Nobody hollered “HEY, YOU FORGOT MEEE!”. Maybe those two councilmembers opted out to save time. Bless their hearts!

Try, try again

Male did get some words in about liquor licenses. And so did Seamens.

Remember the liquor license flop last state legislative session? After determining that there was little resistance in the city to allowing beer and wine stores, the council sent a request to the state to grant licensing.

Sorry, this gets complicated. The city has to ask the state to pass a law allowing liquor licenses to be granted by the county to businesses in the city. Got it? Yes, we think it’s a stupid system, too. Join the club!

Long story short, the state turned the city down because the city wanted veto power over licenses. Nope, that’s up to the county only, and we wouldn’t want to set a precedent, would we?

The council are trying it again. They will send the state a toned-down request. Maryland state legislature starts January 12, 2012 and wraps up 90 intrigue-and-caffeine-fueled days later.

Terry Seamens, the lone councilmember who stands in opposition to off-sales liquor licensing, woke observers up (woke us up, anyway) by asking the new council to go back to square one and vote on whether a majority still wants to allow wine and beer stores. If all three newbies were against it, it could have ended the effort right there.

And, guess what?? . . . . They weren’t against it, and the effort continues.

No recess?

The council voted to give itself most of this December off as usual – unless important stuff comes up. Eager-beaver Seth Grimes brought the room to silence by declaring that, though he wouldn’t do anything about it this time, NEXT year he would ask the council to reconsider “how much recess it takes in December.”

The veteran councilmembers cleared their throats and let the moment float by. Let’s see how he feels next November when he has a belly-full of these meetings, eh?

Grimes, by the way, has his OWN blog

This is unfair to Your Gilbert! Targets shouldn’t be able to shoot back!

 – 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.