GRANOLAPARK: Pick three

IMAGE: Yes, that’s a city bicycle. Photo by Bill Brown.

GRANOLAPARK • BY GILBERT

Dear Readers,

It wasn’t a heated discussion, but it got a little warm when the council couldn’t agree on their three priorities for state legislation.

The list of three priorities is for the Maryland Municipal League. The MML is sort of like the Justice League of America –  if the Justice League was formed by city pols and bureaucrats, not costumed super-heroes, and instead of saving the universe, it lobbied the Maryland State Assembly.

The MML asks each municipality to submit a list of their three top priorities. The MML complies and winnows them down to the list of issues their Legislative Committee lobbies for.

Getting Takoma Park to settle on only three issues went about like you’d expect. ONLY THREE!!!??? BUT WE HAVE FIVE!!!

One of the five was withdrawn by council member Jarrett Smith, it was about collection of police body-cam videos.

Two of the remaining four were shoe-ins. Personal property/inventory tax reform got seven votes. State legislation to make utilities and the State Highway Administration coordinate their roadwork with municipalities got five votes.

Creation of an “innovation fund” of state grants for municipalities got four votes, but so did abolishing tax duplication.

Each council member processed aloud his or her stand on the two tie issues.

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The sky behind the city community center/council chambers is still light around 9 p.m. June 22, the evening following the summer solstice. Photo by Bill Brown.

Councilmember Jarrett Smith, who serves on MML’s Legislative Committee, was adamant about staying the course against tax duplication. It is “our” issue, he argued, and we’ve taken the lead for years on it. If the city signals that it no longer wants to be the leader, the MML staff may not put it on the list of issues to lobby assembly members on, he said.

Councilmember Tim Male switched his vote, however, saying nothing prevents the city from continuing to advocate against tax duplication even if it isn’t on the MML list.

In the final vote it was four for innovative funding, three for tax duplication. So Innovation Fund is the third priority.

Conventional thinking

The MML is coming up on it’s annual convention June 26 – 29 in, as usual, Ocean City. The purpose of having it at a beach tourist-trap is so all the participants can compete over who most ignores the beach. Beach? There was a beach? I was SO INTO ALL THE MEETINGS I did NOT notice the beach.

One of these years, Your Gilbert will get a city grant to attend the MML Annual Convention and SPEND THE ENTIRE TIME AT THE BEACH (and the bar). Just to show them how it should be done.

So, next week the city council will not meet next week, they will be too busy staying off the beach.

There is also the possibility that the reason they don’t go to the beach is that they are members of the alien lizard overlord conspiracy who have an aversion to salt water.

Citizens have a right to know, councilmembers! We demand to see photos of the city council on the beach!

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City council wraps up the June 22 meeting. Photo by Bill Brown.

Successful youth

Youth Success Day was a success, according to all the council members who were there. It was last Saturday, June 18 at the city community center. And it was a success. That’s what we hear, anyway.

It was the second Community Conversation held by the city. The first was on affordable housing in February. That “conversation” inspired the city council to develop a new housing policy. Youth Success Day  may result in something similar. It’s likely, since the event description said the “top priority” was to ensure local youth opportunities to succeed. Let a thousand indy rock bands blossom!

The fleet is in

The city has a new fleet. It’s a fleet of bicycles. It’s a fleet if more than one is a fleet. There are two bicycles stabled in front of the police department entrance and supposedly one or two at the Public Works Department.

City employees are using them on city business. Deputy City Manager Jason Damweber said he was pleased to have them available since his personal bicycle was stolen, a terrible thing to happen to an expectant father. City Manager Suzanne Ludlow announced Damweber’s impending parenthood, saying it might get him out of having to attend the July Maryland Municipal League conference.

Deputy Damweber responded with a happy, naive smile. It was liking watching the Light Brigade preparing to charge, only it’s not a brigade, there’s just one guy. And he’s not riding a horse, he’s riding a bicycle. And he’s not going to get blown up, he’ll just never get a full night’s sleep again in his life.

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Zika concerns

City Manager Ludlow said she and Emergency Planner were called out to an area with “Zika concerns,” which means, apparently, they had to go door-to-door in a neighborhood she was careful not to identify and tell people to eradicate their mosquito-breeding puddles: standing water in flower pots and in tarp folds and gutters, over-turned trash can lids, etc.

Councilmember Rizzy Qureshi told her he was concerned about Spring Park’s mosquito-breeding potential. There’s a lot of standing water there, he said, and people have reported seeing mosquito larvae and eggs.

Without council discussion the final vote, called a “second-reading,” on an ordinance extending the owner occupied group house registration was unanimous. There’s nothing to discuss, really. This was a stop-gap vote to keep the law from expiring. The council will revisit the overall issue of owner-occupied group houses when it discusses housing policy in the fall.

There was also a quick vote on a bundle of no-brainer ordinances – which they call a “consent vote.” No biggies there.

The council will resume July 6.

– Gilbert

 

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About the Author

Gilbert
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: Pick three"

  1. Randall Marks | June 25, 2016 at 9:36 pm |

    LOL at Maryland Municipal League=Justice League of America.

    Sad that tax duplication got dumped as an MML priority.

Comments are closed.