GRANOLAPARK: What would you do with a gob of money?

IMAGE: Still empty, but not for long. Photo by Bill Brown.


Dear Readers,

Maryland governor Larry Hogan is pushing to extend summer school vacations by a week or so. He should also extend Takoma Park city council’s summer recess. Another month off would be refreshing for all of us.

But, no, the Scintillating Seven return – all too soon – next Wednesday, Sept. 7, leaving trails of beach sand and sunscreen drops across the dais.

We predict the council comments will be a series of sympathy statements for the Long Branch explosion and fire victims followed by individual “what I did on my summer vacation” reports. They are going to tell us all about highly interesting stormwater, recycling, public works, alternative energy and sustainable-practices programs they observed in towns they visited on break.

Then they will jump right into a public hearing on the community development block grant program. These are commonly called “CDBG grants” by public policy types to put people to sleep so they won’t pay attention.

What they are is a gob of federal money, an estimated $91,000, for affordable housing, job creation, services to the vulnerable and other good-hearted stuff.

The city administers its own CDBG program, and this year the council decided to prioritize projects for low and moderate income populations. Residents with ideas on how to do that are encouraged to show up Wednesday and pitch them at the public hearing.


The council will undoubtedly pass a resolution supporting the “Unity in the Community” police-community relations initiative. They better, because the kick-off party is planned for Sept. 25 at Capitol Cheesecake. That was a sly move by organizers Mayor Kate Stewart, Meaghan Murphy, co-owner of Capital City Cheesecake, and Takoma Park police captain Tyrone Collington.

Other than a work-session update on Takoma Junction redevelopment, there’s not much else exciting at the Sept. 7 meeting – not anything that couldn’t have been put off until October, say.

So, they put Takoma Junction at the very end of the agenda so we all have to sit through the consent vote, status of road and utility projects report and discussion of legislative priorities. Welcome back!


The more exciting stuff comes next week, but not at the city council meeting. There’s a special work session Monday, Sept. 12, 7:30 on changing the city election date – synchronizing it with the state general election. If there’s anybody out there who’s alarmed by the prospect, this is the time to speak up about it. Supporters, too. Here’s background info and a link to submit comments if you can’t make it in person.

The goal of the Synch-o-pants (those panting for synchronicity) is to get more people to vote in city elections. That will happen because the bigger crowds that turn out for general elections might want to take a stab at the city ballot, too.

Coincidentally, this very morning we heard an NPR interview of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, athlete, activist and author of the recent book Writings on the Wall: Searching for a New Equality Beyond Black and White. Interviewer Steve Inskeepasked Abdul-Jabbar about a section of the book in which he criticizes efforts to encourage people to the polls who are not particularly interested in voting.

“Ignorance is not something that lends itself to a meaningful discussion. Some of these people really shouldn’t vote because they don’t know what the issues are, and I think people that are voting in the blind are doing a disservice to our country by not being better informed.

– 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.