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City Council Meeting - Wednesday, January 17, 2024 7:30PM


Good Evening Ward 1,

I hope you are well. This is a busy week in our city. Please reach out with comments on what we have going on.


Last week meeting highlights:

  • We discussed the changes in city Sidewalk and Traffic Calming requests. I have let staff know what my questions/concerns are from what has been presented. I am mostly interested in seeing specifics for evaluating requests. 

  • We voted to approve the Employment Agreement between the City of Takoma Park and Robert DiSpirito

  • Some residents have reached out to me with concerns about the circumstances under which our new city manager left his previous employment in Rockville.  The Takoma Park City Council believes that Mr. Dispirito’s record, averaging ten years in the past three cities he has served in, speaks well to his ability to serve our city. We did an official background check with our recruiting company and also reached out through some informal channels, to better understand how he came to leave Rockville.  After an intense election year, their City Council and Mr. Dispirito felt that it was best for everyone to start a new relationship with a new hiree. We are confident that Mr. Dispirito has the skills and experience necessary to help our city function more effectively. Under his management, we are certain that residents will be more satisfied with our services and that staff will feel better supported. We felt that someone with a plethora of experience is what will best serve our city at this time. 


Maple Avenue Connectivity Project-Thank you to our Housing and Community Development Staff for holding last Thursday evening’s meeting and thank you to all those who attended. If you are interested in providing feedback, the link is now live to do so. https://takomaparkmd.gov/government/housing-and-community-development/planning-and-community-development/maple-avenue-connectivity-project/


Per Scholas-On Monday I joined Grant Review Committee member Jim Sebastian in a meeting with grant awardee Per Scholas (https://perscholas.org/)  to learn more about their organization. I was really impressed with the work that they are doing to create a more diverse and inclusive tech community. 


Minor Master Plan Amendment- This Thursday January 25th at 7pm at Takoma Park Middle School, the County Council Public Hearing - Minor Master Plan Amendment will take place. Residents who wish to testify at the public hearing in person or on Zoom must sign up by Jan. 24 at 5 p.m. on the Council’s website or by calling 240-777-7803. If you choose to testify, I would appreciate a copy of your testimony. 


Kindness Day in honor of Tommy Raskin-Please join other community members to celebrate Tommy Raskin at Piney Branch Elementary School on Saturday, January 27. Event from 10:30am-1pm. I will be there hosting a table to make gratitude cards and decorate lunch bags for Because We Love You Meals (https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=61553232943243). 


This Week's Meeting:

LEGISLATIVE UPDATE

Anne Ceikot will update us on her lobbying efforts on behalf of the City


1. MCPS Presentation on the Public Schools Attended by Takoma Park Residents

A Montgomery County Public Schools representative will present to meeting attendees. My inquiries will (1)why Piney Branch Elementary School continues to be left off the MCPS Capital Improvement Plan and (2)why isn’t Takoma Park Elementary School considered to be over capacity when its classrooms are intended to be used for 17 students and instead average 21 students?


Please consider sending me your questions for MCPS before the meeting.


VOTING SESSION 

3. CONSENT AGENDA

Currently, no Ward 1 appointees. 


Congratulations newly appointed member Gregory Lebel and thank you Joseph Goldman for your continued service. 


Congratulations newly appointed member Tom Gagliardo.


Congratulations newly appointed member Michael Miller. 


Congratulations newly appointed member Ken Simler and thank you Rachna Rikhye for your continued service. 


No ward 1 representatives at this time. 


There are no new appointees, but thank you Ward 1 Grants Review Committee members Mark Swartz and Jim Sebastian and Emergency Preparedness member Benjamin Glickstein for your continued service. 


WORK SESSION

I reached out to Chief DeVaul and he explained that the Takoma/Langley Crossroads area has suffered from the uptick in crime more so than other areas in Takoma Park. The usage of video camera trailers has been proven to both reduce crime and help in prosecuting offenders. The purchase of the new camera will ensure that our other camera can continue to be moved to other locations as needed.


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2 Comments


Sharon B
Sharon B
Jan 24

Can I add that we all feel bad about saying anything about TPES as it will reflect on the staff. That is not true, they are doing the best they can in the situation. Teachers and staff rise to the occasion but it is still not the best situation for the children or for them.

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Sharon B
Sharon B
Jan 24

Hi Shana

thanks for keeping us up to date. I want to make you aware that the situation at Takoma Park Elementary School is actually much more dire than you may know. The kindergarten classes have 27 children and 1 teacher. From my outside perspective as a grandparent of a k student and a former educator, the situation is alarming. Kids are always sick, there is a rampart lice problem and not enough janitorial support. There seems to no differentiated instruction and no attempt to engage kids in creative or insightful learning. Teachers are reliant on dittos simply to deal with the numbers. We stayed in Takoma Park because we thought the schools were excellent. It is beyond disheartening to…


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