Sunday, November 10, 2013

A city-election report, and a council retreat

Incumbent members of the Takoma Park City Council all ran for reelection and -- no surprises we all won. The only contest was posed by a late mayoral write-in campaign. A big Thank You! to everyone who voted.

Election results are posted. The vote tally includes 59 16 and 17 year olds, 41 of whom took advantage of the city's new Same Day Registration & Voting. Overall 91 individuals registered just before voting: 64 U.S. citizens and 27 non-citizens. Early voting, from October 30 to November 3, attracted 226 voters.

The City Council -- the old council, same as the new council -- will meet this week in a facilitated discussion of council priorities, in a "retreat" format rather than in a conventional meeting. The meeting is open to the public. Join us if you wish: Tuesday, November 12, 6:00 p.m. at Washington Adventist Hospital, Building 7620, 3rd floor, although the public will not participate and the meeting will not be broadcast or recorded.

I welcome constituents' comments on the agenda posted below, in advance of the meeting, by e-mail (sethg@takomaparkmd.gov) or phone (301-873-8225) or in-person at my resumed twice-monthly Ward 1 councilmember drop-in office time, Tuesday November 12, 5-6 p.m. The address is 7006 Carroll Avenue, #202, entrance between the Mark's Kitchen and the Middle Eastern Cuisine restaurants. My drop-in times after that will be the 4th Wednesday of the month, November 27, 8-9 a.m, then the 2nd Tuesday of December, December 10, 5-6 pm.

The draft agenda for the Tuesday, November 12 council retreat, created by facilitator Ellen Kandell, is as follows:

6:00 Dinner, welcome, agenda review and ground rules

6:20 What are the criteria for evaluating priority items?
Outcome: Information sharing and discussion

6:40 Review of Priority rankings memo
Outcome: Consensus on priorities

Break

8:00 This legislative term: What do you want to accomplish? What are the themes for this term?

Outcome: Consensus on themes

9:00 Legislative decision making process:
A) How do you support the body's decisions when you don't agree with them?
B) How to streamline the council process?
Outcome: Possible list of ground rules or common understandings

9:45 Next steps

10:00 Adjourn

What about city priorities?

Earlier this fall, City Manager Brian Kenner asked councilmembers to prioritize items in an extensive list of city matters. He compiled the responses as follows:

Top 10 High Priority Goals - Prioritized

1. WAH Relocation
2. Tax Duplication
-----------------------------
3. Gang Task Force
4. Dog Park
5. Flower Ave Green Street
6. Upgrade Web Content
-----------------------------
7. Anti-Littering
8 (tie). Sustainable Action Plan
8 (tie). Police in Schools
10. Safe Grow

[Paragraph added November 10, in response to comments I received by e-mail:] We recognize that this exercise does mix items that are funded and part of current city plans, such as the Flower Avenue Green Street project, with items that are aspirational, in relatively early stages and not yet funded, such as the dog park. Further, this priority ranking is for purposes of discussion at the Tuesday council retreat. It is not a planning document or anything like that, and there isn't going to be any "one from group A, one from group B" type of selection.

Top 3 Goals - organized by their rank in each thematic area

Environmentally Sustainable
1. Sustainable Action Plan
2. Safe Grow
3. Food Compost

Service Oriented Govt
1. Upgrade Web Content
2. Library Visioning
3. Outreach Coordinator

Safe, Accessible & Enjoyable Community
1. WAH Relocation
2. Gang Task Force
3. Dog Park

Fiscally Sustainable
1. Tax Duplication
2. Flower Ave Green Street
3. Takoma Junction

Again, join us if you wish at the retreat Tuesday, 6-10 p.m. at WAH, or get in touch with me directly by phone (301-873-8225), e-mail (sethg@takomaparkmd.gov), or during my drop-in office time.

Thanks,

Seth

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