IMAGE: Takoma Park Public Works Director Daryl Braithwaite discusses the Flower Avenue Green Street Project with the city council, Sept. 14, 2016. Photo by Bill Brown.
GRANOLAPARK • BY GILBERT
ARE YOU GUYS GOING TO COME UP WITH ANOTHER NAME FOR THE COMMITTEE?
That was city manager Suzanne Ludlow’s question to the Takoma Park city council.
When the citizens committee was proposed months ago it got the temporary name Takoma Junction Community Consultation Process Advisory Board. The acronym TJCCPAC is just as awkward. “We can change the name later,” they said. So, when is “later?”
Every time the committee has been mentioned since then, somebody says “we need a better name for that.”
But nobody has proposed one, not officially. But, unofficially, at the Wednesday Sept. 14 city council meeting, councilmember Tim Male tossed a suggestion into the general discussion: JIB, for Junction Information Board.
It won’t be that easy, though. The council will have to discuss it and vote. Variations of that suggestion and other names will be proposed and mulled over. In the end they will probably not decide but send it to the TJCCPAC for them to discuss and make counter proposals.
Rename the woods
Sort of like Dorothy’s Woods. That’s the wooded parcel of land the city bought at a tax auction in January, 2015. It’s the former Washington-McGlaughlin Christian School’s back lot.
Dorothy is Dorothy Barnes, who spent most of her life in an Elm Street house backing the woods. Among the many stories she’s shared about growing up in Takoma Park are several about the lot, how she played there as a child and how it was once a Victory Garden.
A basketball hoop at the edge of the wooded lot. Photo by Bill Brown.
Neighbors want to rename the woods in her honor. They petitioned the council and it followed the process described above. The council discussed it, suggested a variation, “Dorothy Barnes Woods,” and punted it to the Commemoration Commission.”
As council freshman councilmember Rizzy Qureshi said. “What is the Commemoration Commission?”
That’s a volunteer citizen’s group charged with keeping track of who should be memorialized in Takoma Park – people, organizations or businesses that “that have made significant contributions to the social, cultural, historical, political, economic, or civic life of the City.”
The commission has a meeting Tuesday, Sept. 20. PERFECT! Over to you, commissioners!
Rename the street?
How long before they decide to rename Flower Avenue?
The former state highway is now a city street, and is on it’s way to becoming a “green street.” Green-street features include storm water management, energy efficient lighting, traffic calming and new and fixed sidewalks and bus facilities.
The city tried to do it without spending it’s own money, using grants and money the State Highway Administration gave the city to take the road off their hands. But, you know how costs spiral upwards, Dear Reader. The council voted to kick in around $47,000 from it’s own construction funds.
Before you get outraged at the extra expense, note, as Ward 5 councilmember Jarrett Smith said, this is the biggest investment in Ward 5 improvements in twenty-five years.
Not that he’s resentful about how much city money is thrown at Old Takoma and the more affluent neighborhoods in other wards. No, why would that make him RESENTFUL?
Smith said he was grateful the green street project would raise the quality of life and raise property values in the area.
Rename the election day?
While they are at it, why not rename city election day? They are changing everything else about it.
The city council had a special work session Monday, Sept. 12 to discuss “synchronizing” the city’s election day with the general election. The city’s election board gave the council another report on what it would take to enact it in 2018.
There wasn’t much new, if you’ve been following the story, Dear Readers. As reported earlier, synchronizing would (will!) mean voters having to vote twice, once on a general ballot, again on a city ballot. Instead of one voting station – the city community center – the city would have to conduct voting in the three Takoma Park general election polling places. Changing the day requires changing the city charter.
Another tradition that will likely pass with the election day change is the free chili for voters and candidates provided by volunteers at the community center on city election day, seen here at the 2013 election. Photo by Bill Brown.
One new tidbit was a price-tag, $60,000, though it was such a rough estimate, it is hardly worth discussing. Another was the suggestion to rely more on mail-in ballots.
Again, it was stressed by Board of Election members and the few councilmember who oppose the measure, that finding the increased number of city election judges on the same day as the general election will be a challenge.
The council has tentatively set a vote Sept 21 to proceed to the next steps. It is not the final vote, stressed Mayor Kate Stewart. There will be public hearings and more votes ahead.
As we’ve said before, the outcome is obvious. A council majority favors synchronizing the elections over all objections.
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