PHOTO: BOE members Marilyn Abbott, Brian Ernst and Arthur David Olsen talk to councilmember Tim Male during a meeting break, Jan. 14, 2016. Photo by Bill Brown.
GRANOLAPARK • BY GILBERT
Ward 3 council member Rizzy Qureshi announced his resignation at Takoma Park’s first city council meeting of 2016 – pending his expected $1.6 billion lottery win.
His hopes were crushed four hours later when the U.S. Powerball lottery drawing picked a number that inexplicably was not the one on his ticket. A city committee will be appointed to investigate.
Nine oh two?!
The big news from the Wednesday, Jan. 13 meeting is that it ended two minutes past 9 p.m. – not even close to the usual 11 p.m. to midnight finish. None of the council members had the chance to get cranky. Sadly, short meetings are not a sustainable practice. City manager Suzanne Ludlow confessed the council was starting off easy, shoving items that would have kept them up late that night into future agendas.
Can the city synchronize? Can it merge city and general elections and hold them on the same day, yet preserve Takoma Park’s artisanal election features such as non-citizen and minor voting?
These are the questions the city’s Board of Elections will work on this year. They’ll make a plan and they’ll do a study.
Voters in the 2015 election favored synchronizing election days – IF the city can do so without losing it’s unique voting features.
The BOE sketched out these plans in it’s General Election Report presentation Wednesday night. it was a rough draft – they will develop a calendar schedule, meet with the county BOE, and talk to the city lawyer.
They will also analyze all city voter turnout data from 2007 to 2015. That includes city and general elections. it will be a lot of data to sieve and sift, said Marilyn Abbott, BOE Chair, who made the presentation.
Oh, and could they have some staff help?
There was a heavy thud followed by a jingling sound as the city manager heaved open the big safe door under her desk and took a quick coin inventory. She said mmmmmmmaybe, could be, we’ll see, depends, we’ll look at that and get back to you.
Nurturing the young
Non-profit activist 20-somethings always perk up the council. Whenever one steps to the podium, the council’s paternal/maternal switches are toggled to ON. For instance when Michelle Dudley, Crossroads Farmers Market Manager stepped to the podium Wednesday night to brief them on the market and to make a couple of requests, the councilmembers’ faces went all soft and dewy.
Crossroads Manager Michelle Dudley briefs the council. Photo by Bill Brown.
The requests – to close a street for the weekly farmers market and to give the market another grant – were all but handed over with a plate of cookies and a glass of milk. They’ll vote on it later, but the outcome is not in doubt.
This is not to insult Ms Dudley or the market – which does good work and is worthy of the grant. But this frequently seen council reaction is too amusing not to report. Finding amusement at city council meetings is all that keeps us alive.
The market, subsidized by grants, provides low-cost fresh produce to low income people in Langley Park, and provides an outlet for local farmers.
This’ll make ’em sorry
Next week the council will have a work session on the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report and Audit and the Actuarial Report on the Police Pension Plan. THAT oughta make the new council members sorry they ran for election!
Then comes the exciting part – a briefing from the Montgomery College president on the community college’s plans for expansion.
The PTBTs (Pitchfork and Torch Bearing Townsfolk) from the Ward 1 neighborhood around the college will turn out force for that one
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