4. Agenda Item 4. New Business. It was suggested that a task force be put together to walk around the neighborhood and see which street lights were flickering or no longer working, and then to make a report to Pepco. There’s an automatic system in place to report lights that are out. They want to know the street address and whether it’s a metal or wooden pole. Alternatively, the task force could e-mail the outages to the City engineer, who has the GPS location of all the City streetlights. It was suggested that the outages be reported to either the task force or one nominee who would then report them to Steve Halpern. A motion to establish a committee to look into the streetlight condition and report back to the BDCA board was made, seconded, and passed. Kevin Young sent a thank you note on behalf of BDCA to Bob Shrump of the City for helping to clean up the bonfire stack (the bonfire was cancelled due to rain). Thanks to the efforts of Marina Dullnig, the neighborhood directory is to be revived. The first meeting of the group organizing it will be December 1st. If anyone has any thoughts on how to help to finance it, or knows where we can get it printed at reduced costs, please let Marina know.
Kevin Young contacted the Washington Post about the contribution it had promised toward Berwyn Day. The Washington Post said it requires an invoice before it can pay it. Kevin has contacted all the newsletter advertisers to thank them. He encouraged us to support our local businesses.
5. Agenda Item 5. Special Guests: Maryland 21st District Delegates. Ben Barnes, one of the 21st District delegates, gave a short presentation. He said that the coming legislative session will be tough because of the budget issues they have to deal with. Without the stimulus package from the federal government ($2 billion last year, $2 billion this year), things would be even worse. The budget for discretionary spending is $16 billion, so the $2 billion makes a noticeable difference. Delegate Barnes serves on the Judiciary Committee. Last year it succeeded in having legislation passed that keeps guns from domestic abusers. Previously, a woman who filed a complaint of a violoation of a protective order got a hearing 4 months later. Now, the hearing must take place within 30 days. If the abuser is on probation, he will be required to wear a GPS device that will alert the police and the domestic violence victim that the abuser is in the vicinity of the victim.
Delegate Barnes thinks it should be the State’s responsibility to help provide police protection for College Park since its flagship campus is located there and therefore a lot of its young people are attending college there. A bill he helped write would create a new authority to give College Park $200,000 toward the policing budget. It hasn’t passed yet because of the current budget situation. It would be a contract program, since College Park doesn’t have its own police force.
Mary Lehman, legislative aide for Delegate Joseline Pena-Melnyk, spoke on behalf of Delegate Pena-Melnyk. Delegate Pena-Melnyk serves on the committee relating to health. There are currently lots of bills before that committee. Delegate Pena-Melnyk introduced a bill about mammograms. There are 2 bills that address Lyme disease. One bill would require better reporting and tracking of the incidence of Lyme disease in Maryland.
One bill Delegate Pena-Melnyk was involved with involved the posting of signs such as “we buy houses for cash” along state roads. The bill was struck down. Currently, it’s illegal to post these signs, but the State doesn’t have the resources to remove them. The bill would have given local authorities the right/responsibility to enforce this law.
Delegate Pena-Melnyk was involved in getting a group home in Calverton shut down. The home housed several people who were very mentally ill. While such group homes are needed, the location of this one was inappropriate – the residents’ behavior made the neighbors feel threatened. Surprisingly, it can be harder to shut down an unlicensed home than a licensed one. It was extremely difficult to find out who was operating the home – multiple agencies had to be called before it was possible to get this information because the agencies don’t share data. Delegate Pena-Melnyk wants to make it easier to shut down homes under these circumstances.
Ola Ogewiomi, legislative aide for Delgate Tom Dernoga, spoke on his behalf. She asked the audience to let them know if there were any issues they wanted addressed.
After the presentations, the floor was opened to questions. Someone asked if the deer herd could be culled because of apparent uptick in Lyme disease. Culling is coordinated through the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. There are hordes of ticks in Greenbelt Park this year. Ben Barnes gave his e-mail address (email@example.com) and cell phone number (301-346-4711) so people could contact him about this issue.
The last budget cut to the University of Maryland was in the amount of $25 million.
There’s a bill currently before the legislature to make mediation mandatory in foreclosure situations.
In response to a question about taxes, Delegate Barnes said that there is no appetite in the legislature for tax increases, so we’ll probably see cuts across the board.
Delegate Barnes said, in response to an inquiry, that the 21st Delegation would possibly consider providing some funds toward the proposed neighborhood directory.
Someone inquired about the intercounty connector (IC), which may have tolls. The Delegation asked the authorities to keep the tolls as low as possible. The IC will be great for Montgomery County, but Prince Georges County has other priorities. The Delegation asked the authorities to at least consider discounts for local drivers. The short answer they were given was no. The structure of tolls will be based on peak and off-peak travel times. We spent a lot of money on this road as taxpayers but we also leveraged ourselves because we sold bonds to pay for it. November 23rd is the deadline for sending comments on the proposed toll rate. See www.icproject.com for more details.
The proposal to turn the bike trail into a road is as good as dead. It was a consultant’s idea; no one was really for it.
Someone asked how State money was allocated. It uses a formula based on population, etc.
Eric Olson, our County Councilman, does everything he can for College Park.
Battery collection is important, but there is no “give back” program for medications. Delegate Barnes introduced a bill to create one. He also introduced a bill to require that only lead-free faucets could be installed in Maryland.
6. Agenda Item 6. City Council Update. Jack Perry and Bob Catlin, City Council members for Berwyn, gave their reports. Jack Perry said that College Park will still collect leaves even though the County isn’t doing it this year, to save money.
The City has decided not to replace the split rail fence in James Adams Park that was destroyed by vandals. Very large stones that came from the Starlite property might be used.
The City is getting an entirely new phone system. People will now be able to be transferred directly to the office of Public Works, instead of having to call a separate number for that.
The problem with streetlights that are flickering or out exists throughout the entire City.
The East Campus development project is “on hold” for the time being. The University doesn’t want to lose Birchmere, which committed to opening a concert venue there, so that and graduate housing will probably be part of the first phase of the project.
The “goat path” on the north of Greenbelt Road will be fixed so that you don’t have to
use the sidewalk on the other side of the road. Councilman Perry said he wanted to thank everyone who delivers the newletter. As far as dealing with the ticks in Greenbelt Park, one must keep “rattling cages.” Unlike some communities, the playground equipment in College Park is replaced
because it wears out from use rather than because of vandalism. Park & Planning is
responsible for sweeping leaves off the basketball court. Police would be interested in photos of graffiti if it’s suspected to be gang-related. Bob Catlin reported that the contract police go up and down the bike path on bicycles so
hopefully they’d see graffiti and determine whether it’s gang-related. The Route 1 sector plan was discussed in Upper Marlboro. The biggest issue in the sector plan is about traffic.
A minor league PGA golf league has held a competition in the County the past several years. Next year, the contest will be held at the University and 1,000 parking spaces will be needed. The University passed on the opportunity to provide parking, so the City has agreed to.
The Starview project will begin soon, as well as the intersection in front of University View.
7. Agenda Item 7. Other Business. The holiday party will take place on December 12th in Fealy Hall. Negotiations are being made with the North Pole for Santa’s appearance and look favorable. A flyer will go out to announce it. A motion was made, seconded, and passed to donate $100 to Holy Redeemer for use of Fealy Hall for our meetings and the holiday party.
The meeting was adjourned at 9:45 pm.
Meeting Attendees (from sign-up sheet):
Jerry Anzulovic Liesl Koch Kevin Carter Elizabeth (Bonnie) O’Donoghue Robert Catlin Jack Perry Marina Dullnig Harry Pitt Doug Hunter Terrance Rucker Lia Imhoff John Sutter Marc Imhoff Forrest Tyler
Sandy Tyler illegible Kevin Young illegible Lori Young
|Liesl Koch, Recording Secretary, BDCA.|