Berwyn District Civic
March 15, 2018
Meeting came to order at 7:38 p.m. Meeting held at Fishnet Restaurant. Board members in attendance: Rose Greene Colby, Bob Catlin, Karyn Keating-Volke, Chad Stern, Dan Blasberg, Jim
Nealis. Other attendees included Mary
Cook, PJ Brennan, Liesl Koch, Kelly Jordan, Margaret and Harvey Himelfarb,
Kolbi Hunt, Karen Pasta, Tom Pasta, Christy Dollymore, Marc Pound, Mary Daniel,
Maia Sheppard, Jason Daniels.
Rose Greene Colby thanked Fishnet for hosting our meeting. A
motion was made and seconded to proceed directly to the speakers. Two candidates running for County Executive
spoke: Paul Monteiro spoke about growing
up in the Adelphi area, the child of teenaged parents and attending overcrowded
schools with temporary classrooms. He
worked for the Obama administration and handled outreach programs to
non-profits. Ran the AmeriCorps Vista
program, was a mediator at the Dept. of Justice, currently Chief of Staff at
Howard Univ. He feels education is a major
issue in the county – our poor schools are preventing large companies such as
Amazon from locating in our County. He believes in ‘restorative justice’ –
creating pathways for those with criminal records to rejoin society, get jobs,
etc. Stewardship is important – public employees have a public trust to serve.
Edwards spoke next – she became active in her civic association in Oxon Hill,
worked with National
Harbor developers to get
union/living wages there, bike trails, etc. She served over eight years in
Congress, helped organize the National Network to End Domestic Violence. She
supports Innovation (coordinate programs with local experts at Goddard, UofM, Bowie State,
Andrews AFB), Development (wants cohesive program for county-wide development.
Also says she won’t accept donations from developers), Education (need real
leadership, no excuse that we spend comparable amounts per pupil to Montgomery,
Fairfax Co. schools but get poorer results), and Accountability (real
transparency in government performance).
Member PJ Brennan said they are seeking a grant to connect sidewalks along
Berwyn/Potomac/Quebec for easier walking for Holy Redeemer students and
residents. A Boy Scout improvement
project at eastern end of Berwyn
Rd. is on hold until spring returns.
addressed an issue of concern – granting the city executive (i.e., Mayor)
additional authority as a voting member of the legislative branch of city
government (City Council), by allowing a mayor to vote on some issues in order
to break tie votes. The county and city attorneys have different opinions on
what a “legislative” body is. Dan
insisted the city should make public the notes from outside attorneys on this issue;
PJ has mixed feelings about this. Main issue seems to be votes on changing the
city charter – the Maryland
state constitution says city charters can be changed by a “majority” on the
legislative body, and Dan feels the mayor, as the executive branch, should not
be allowed to become a voter on the legislative branch of government in these
matters. The audience seemed to agree
that if 5 of 8 council members can’t agree on a change then maybe that change
should be tabled. Dan proposed the BDCA
should send a letter to our city with three requests: 1) release the outside
attorney’s notes, 2) postpone any city charter amendments until the Attorney
General settles what the constitution means by ‘legislative body’, and 3) allow
for a non-binding referendum for charter changes. Meeting attendees voted 6 to 5 to send such a
letter to the city. People who wish to
express opinions on this can send comments to Dan at firstname.lastname@example.org. They can also send letters to city officials.
Report was put on hold until next month.
The April BDCA meeting will start the nominating process for the BDCA
Board of Directors positions. PJ Brennan
said city will work with MNCPPC to fix playground equipment damaged/destroyed
by a tree that fell last week in the neighborhood park. Pontiac
St. near Rt. 1 at the Cambria Hotel site should be
repaved this spring. Dan Blasberg said
the state will soon build a curb and plant grass where Rhode Island Ave. dead-ends at Greenbelt Rd. Mayor Wojahn, who arrived near the end of the
meeting, said a Senior Arts Show is coming up on Apr. 20th at the UM
Catholic Student Center. PJ Brennan
noted home owners can get a $150 rebate for planting a tree and up to a $2500
rebate for removing chain link fences from front yards. Good Neighbor Day, involving service projects
done by residents and UM students, will be Sat., Apr. 7th.
at 9 p.m.
Notes compiled by Jim Nealis