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Welcome to my blog, which features frequent updates on local Takoma Park issues, including City Council meeting agendas, plus occasional commentary on national news and politics.

Agenda for April 19, 2017 City Council Meeting

Dear Neighbors:

The following is a link to the agenda for the April 19 City Council meeting: https://takomaparkmd.gov/meeting_agendas/city-council-meeting-agenda-wednesday-april-19-2017/. We’ll be voting on a resolution I support adding Racial Equity as one of the criteria by which we’ll consider Council actions. In addition, we’ll be discussing the desired characteristics and qualifications for our next City Police Chief, along with the recruitment and selection process. And, there are several proposed reappointments to resident committees, which I’ll be voting for.

Key Budget Events.  As detailed in my previous message, the Council is actively working on the City’s Fiscal Year 2018 Budget. The final vote on the budget is scheduled for May 17. Meanwhile there are two key upcoming public events. On Wednesday, April 26 at 7:30 PM at the start of our regular City Council meeting there will be two public hearings, one on the budget and one on the local property tax. Residents can speak for up to three minutes on each topic. On Tuesday, May 2 at 7:30 PM in the Community Center’s Azalea Room, I’ll be hosting a gathering for Ward One residents to ask questions about, and express their ideas and concerns, on the budget. I hope to see you at either or both of these events.

Racial Equity Lens.  https://documents.takomaparkmd.gov/government/city-council/agendas/2017/council-20170419-1.pdf.  I’ll be voting in favor of the resolution committing the Council to more actively consider the racial impact of our official actions. This concept is based in part on the idea that many governmental policies or actions that may appear race-neutral often have a variable impact on racial communities. Given our City’s unique respect and appreciation for diversity, I think it’s important that we place a higher priority on exploring these concerns in more detail.

As such, I was pleased that under the leadership of Mayor Stewart in one of our Council “retreats” earlier this year we heard a presentation on this set of issues from a representative of the National League of Cities. Subsequently, Councilmembers discussed the subject at length and agreed that we would apply a Racial Equity lens to all of our votes and agenda items. With the adoption of this policy, Racial Equity will be added to Environmental Impact and Fiscal Impact as a factor that is considered for any Council meeting agenda item. It will be listed as appropriate on the background materials made available by the City to help inform Councilmembers and the public prior to each meeting.

This is an exciting and important development, and I look forward to helping make this new commitment a reality for the Council going forward.

Commemoration Commission and Nuclear Free Takoma Committee reappointments.




Police Chief.  https://documents.takomaparkmd.gov/government/city-council/agendas/2017/council-20170419-3r.pdf  With the departure of our previous Chief, Alan Goldberg, the Citv now has a crucial opportunity to select his replacement. It’s my view that it will be particularly important for the new Chief to have a good grounding in and commitment to the principles of community-oriented policing. Taking into account the diverse makeup of our City (and this relates to the discussion above about the Racial Equity Lens), we need a Chief who will share the commitment that I believe most City residents have toward honoring and promoting our diversity, and encouraging the engagement of all residents in municipal affairs.

I’ll be recommending that we strengthen the emphasis on that point in the application materials that are circulated.

We also need to give some consideration to the process by which the new Chief will be selected. I think it’s vital that the Council and the public play a significant role in the process, and I look forward to exploring at Wednesday night’s meeting how best to achieve that goal. If you’re unable to attend the meeting, but you have thoughts on either the characteristics you think the new Chief should have or on the selection process, please feel free to pass along your views.

In addition, if you have question or comments about any of the other agenda items, please let me know. Thanks.

Peter Kovar

Takoma Park City Councilmember

Ward One




April 26, 2017 City Council Meeting Agenda

Takoma Park's Fiscal Year 2018 Budget