Monday, January 08, 2007

Old Year Hangovers

Dear Readers,

Your Gilbert has been busy with holidays and a virus, so we will just have a quick year-end update of a couple of important city issues.

AS PREDICTED, the pitchfork and torch-wielding masses showed up at the Dec. 11th Takoma Park City Council meeting to complain about some aspect of the proposed rent stabilization reforms. Most of Gilbert’s other predictions came true as well, with the exception that no tears were shed (that could be seen). Landlords said “too little, too late,” and claimed that the reforms, though an improvement, still do not allow them to make a fair return - only getting rid of rent control would do that. Tenants said the landlords, the corporate landlords, anyway, were liars, citing incidents of negligence, gouging, fraud, and bill padding.

The process staggers onwards. Mayor Porter says she is aiming at, but not promising, finishing up the process by late February or early March. Dr. Barr, the consultant who drafted the reforms, will return in January to tweak them. She assured everyone that there is still time for comment and input.

Also discussed at the Dec. 11 meeting, the last held in 2006, were the city gym funeral arrangements, er . . options. Following up on the previous week’s discussion of three plans, each costing several million dollars more than the city has, the council decided to keep the patient on life-support. Options such as a public forum/charette were suggested, a process similar to that out of which the Carroll Avenue improvement plan came. The main concern was informing every possible constituency. Nobody wants to develop a plan only to have a group of citizens come forth and say “hey,you didn’t ask US about this!”

So, watch for notifications of a public forum soon in the city newsletter and perhaps other venues. The Mayor herself may come banging on your door with an engraved invitation!


--Gilbert

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