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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.

June 8, 2016 City Council Meeting Agenda

Dear Neighbors:

The following is a link to the agenda for the June 8, 2016 Takoma Park City Council meeting:  https://documents.takomaparkmd.gov/government/city-council/agendas/2016/council-agenda-20160608r-1.pdf.

We will be taking a preliminary vote on an ordinance to extend the existing Owner Occupied Group House Registration Program; along with votes on a contract for continued development work on the City website and on several appointments to the City’s Recreation Committee; followed by a presentation from the Police Department on its use of Investigative Surveillance Equipment, and a discussion on the Draft Streetscape Manual.

Owner Occupied Group House Registration. https://documents.takomaparkmd.gov/government/city-council/agendas/2016/council-20160608-1.pdf

I believe the registration program helps ensure that critical safe and sanitary housing standards are met within the City, and I will be voting in favor of the ordinance. As noted in the agenda information, further changes may be made to the program as part of our future efforts on affordable housing, and this ordinance will simply keep the registration program in operation.

City Website Development Contract. https://documents.takomaparkmd.gov/government/city-council/agendas/2016/council-20160608-2a-rev1.pdf

Funding (up to $14,000) for this contract for Phase II development work on the website was included in the City budget adopted last year. I will be voting yes.

Recreation Committee Appointments.https://documents.takomaparkmd.gov/government/city-council/agendas/2016/council-20160608-2b.pdf

I will be voting for the appointments.

Police Investigative Surveillance Equipment.  https://documents.takomaparkmd.gov/government/city-council/agendas/2016/council-20160608-3.pdf

When used properly, covert photographic surveillance equipment can be very valuable for both investigating and deterring crime, so I am generally supportive of the use of such equipment by our Police Department. However, there are obvious questions relating to privacy and civil liberties, and I will be seeking clarifications and more details in areas like what kinds of crimes the technology will be targeted toward, the security of the data that is compiled, and whether and how it can be shared with other law enforcement agencies.

Draft Streetscape Manual. https://documents.takomaparkmd.gov/government/city-council/agendas/2016/council-20160608-4.pdf

The manual has gone through several draft versions, which have improved it, but I believe it still needs stronger language relating to consistency in streetscape features in residential areas, including in such areas as sidewalk concrete coloring, ADA pads, etc. I intend to raise those points during the Council discussion.

Please feel free to let me know if you have any comments or questions.

Peter Kovar, Takoma Park City Council (Ward One)

June 22, 2016 City Council Meeting Agenda

June 1, 2016 City Council Meeting Agenda