GRANOLAPARK • BY GILBERT
Going out the way he came in, Takokma Park councilmember Reuben Snipper will be stepping down from office in mid-term this May. A special ward election will be held within 45 to 60 days of his departure. Snipper won his seat in an off-year election in 2007. The Ward 5 councilmember made his announcement at the March 5 city council meeting.
Sensationalistic rumors that the councilmember is fleeing the country to avoid charges related to a 2009 bicycle stop-sign running incident* are entirely fictional.
Snipper is moving temporarily to Rome, Italy. Snipper’s wife has taken a temporary work assignment there. They expect to return in 2-3 years, he said. Councilmember Fred Schultz immediately invited all Takoma Parkians to visit Snipper and stay in his new Roman villa. Snipper stabbed him with a pencil before Shultz could give the street address.
This makes FOUR councilmembers who have stepped down since last summer, Dear Readers. Freshman councilmembers took 3 of the 7 dias seats (counting the mayor). Once Snipper has been replaced, it will be a newbie-majority council.
Takoma Junction is an ugly duckling with a Peter Pan complex. It refuses to grow up into a beautiful swan. The Takoma Junction Task Force (TJTF), which is trying to nurture the 2-3 block area into functional adulthood, made it’s top six recommendations to the city council.
The Junction is where Route 410 and Carroll Avenue intersect – though “intersect” glosses over the complex physical layout.
The fask force presented it’s report a few weeks ago. It was a detailed listing of all the problems facing the Junction, and a long list of possible solutions for each – and their accompanying controversies.
Very good list, said the council, but er, could we have a prioritized list of actions we should take?
So, the task force presented their list March 5. Top of the list is to assign staff to come up with a five-year plan, and implement it. In other words – add an expense to the budget. Staff is overworked already, so this would mean more staff or more staff time. This is not a suggestion the council likes to hear. The other recommendations are that the city should work with the State Highway Administration to put in a new crosswalk and FIX THE DAMN TRAFFIC LIGHT TIMING ALREADY!
The task force asked the city to hold events in the city Junction parking lot to attract a crowd: craft fairs, festivals, food vendors, etc. They want to see the streetscape beutification project, delayed by the construction of the new county firehouse, finished. They would like to see sidewalk improvement and business facade renovation, too.
The last of their top recommendations is to get a bike-share station located in the Junction, and to make the streets more bike-friendly.
Crime is down! That ‘s what the chief says. Chief Ronald Ricucci presented the annual police report. Crime is generally down, he said, though two Takoma Park officers had to use lethal firepower last year. The world watched one incident last winter as a gunman holding a hostage at gunpoint was shot when he slipped on ice, allowing the hostage to escape, but continued to brandish his weapon. The other incident involved a deranged man who had just knifed a citizen and was attacking a police officer.
Read this item in a high, squeeky voice
Small Community Grants program. The city set aside $7500 grant money for it’s “small grant” program. A 3-member voluntary committee reviewed all the applications, made their recommendations at the previous council meeting. The applicants requests exceeded the available money, so the committee recommended partly funding most of them, and not funding four of them. The council, it’s big heart beating loudly, added more about 2 thousand more dollars and restored two projects to the list. Only two of the ten grant awardees were fully funded, a youth mentoring group MANUP ($2500) and a swim program sponsored by the a local PTA ($1400).
* In 2009 councilmember Snipper was detained and lectured by none other than Takoma Park police chief Ricucci after the chief witnessed Snipper willfully and with intent pedal past a stop sign without halting.