Dear Readers,

It hasn’t been all Takoma-Junction-development-proposals all the time in the Takoma Park city council auditorium. No, they’ve got other pots boiling, too. What else have those scamps been up to, you ask?

Goodbye, Polly!

The council continued work on an ordinance restricting commercial use of polystyrene food containers. The second, final vote will be next Monday, Nov. 10.  How long before smug Takoma Parkians start carrying re-usable to-go containers?

Mutual Aid

The city passed a Police Mutual Aid Agreement between Takoma Park and Montgomery County. This gives authority to on-duty police officers to act within each other’s jurisdictions.

Parking potential

Voice reporter Naomi Eide covered the Oct. 20 city council discussion about parking in neighborhoods adjacent to commercial areas. They are worried about what ill happen this January when Busboys and Poets opens in Takoma, DC right on the city border – right next to Maple Avenue’s residential neighborhood. The city and Old Town Business Association have ingeniously identified potential parking for up to 540 vehicles – IF the private-lot owners such as CVS, The Takoma Business Center, and the SDA Church are interested in opening up to public parking in the evening.

Hello, I must be leaving

The new Washington Adventist Hospital president Erik Wangsness dropped in Nov. 3 to say “howdy” to the council and get his butt chewed by residents. The brief story on this is that WAH has applied to the state to leave its Takoma Park campus for a new one several miles and minutes away. Residents are freaked out, worried they are all going to die in long ambulance rides. The city council has done what they could to keep them in Takoma Park (some frothy-mouthed citizens say they could have done more), but now the council are bitterly resigned to the move. However, they are keeping things cordial with the hospital, hoping WAH will leave some kind of urgent care facility here.

Some residents are howling for a “free-standing emergency room” such as the one in Germantown, MD – one of two in the state. But, as Wangsness demonstrated, WAH can slip out of that discussion because there is currently a state moratorium on creating new free-standing ERs while they figure out the regulations. Until they they know what the regulations are, they can’t promise anything, said Wangsness.

Badly trimmed

The audience mostly refrained from booing and hissing when Jerry Pasternak, Pepco Region Vice President, defended Pepco’s tree-trimming practices to the city council Oct. 27. His assurances were undermined by citizens who later gave the council personal anecdotes that indicated trimming crews were not as well trained as claimed.

Pasternak also spoke of Pepco’s “reliability enhancements” and a proposed merger with Exelon Corporation. Nobody was much impressed.

Worthy Ones

They had the first of two “readings” of an ordinance establishing a Recognition Commission. As in most ordinances, the first reading gives them a chance to make revisions, the second reading is the final vote. This Commission will decide who the city’s Worthy Citizens were/are, and how to honor them. The Worthy Ones were/are people who have made significant contributions to the “social, cultural,historical, political, economic, or civic life of the City as a whole or to a neighborhood/local area.”

The Commission will have seven voting members – each nominated by ward council member or mayor – and four non-voting members, one each selected by Historic Takoma, the Arts and Humanities Commission, the Recreation Committee, and the City Manager.

We can just imagine all the city residents sure that they deserve Recognition. here’s a gigantic backlog of distinctive figures in Takoma Park history. So, get to the back of that long line, Distinctive Citizen.

Permitting film

The council discussed a possible film permit ordinance. This would not apply to private film shooting. You can take all the home movies you want in public – as long as you’re not blocking traffic or setting off explosions. But, professional-type filming that does would require a permit. And a fee.

This was set off by the 2012 filming of independent film American Milkshake. A 90s nostalgia piece, it was set and filmed in director David Andalman’s Takoma Park hometown. It came to the city’s attention when neighbors complained about a loud late-night filming session in a residential neighborhood.

How anyone can get nostalgic about an era so recent as the 90s is beyond Your Gilbert. That was only about five years ago, wasn’t it?

– Gilbert

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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 "GRANOLAPARK: What else"

  1. Hello- After years of wasted talks, it is unreasonable to expect the Washington Adventist Hospital to throw out recently submitted plans, revised over a two-year period, in response to a mere question from a lone council member that seems intended to rationalize the ongoing council passivity. The city council has passed no resolution supporting freestanding ER legislation, the legislation has not been added to the city’s list of legislative priorities, the District 20 delegation is not participating, and city officials have not educated themselves about freestanding ERs or even bothered to tour the Germantown facility.

    Two of the three existing freestanding ERs were authorized by Maryland General Assembly legislation. How could the council and WAH have met on a monthly basis from mid-2012, when the first White Oak application was withdrawn, through 2013 without having investigated freestanding ER legislation or included the district 20 delegation in the talks?

    The council needs to take action to protect Takoma Park residents from enduring a disproportional share of the negative impact of building a White Oak regional hospital. The eleventh hour really is approaching and lives literally are at stake. If the entire eastern portion of the county benefits from locating a hospital in the White Oak Science Park, then the Maryland State government should accept responsibility for providing Takoma Park residents with the same freestanding emergency services that were provided to similarly situated Germantown residents impacted by long ambulance trips in gridlocked traffic.

    An integrated Takoma Park version of the Mayo Clinic Emergency and Urgent Care Center (EUCC) would strengthen the Washington Adventist Hospital (WAH) Certificate of Need (CON) application and cement a constructive partnership between the hospital and the city. By discouraging the unnecessary use of emergency facilities and by addressing access issues caused by worsening White Oak gridlock, a Takoma Park facility combining emergency and general care services would improve the hospital application’s chance of being approved and further the WAH’s medical mission.

    Mayo Clinic Emergency and Urgent Care Center (EUCC)

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