Berwyn District Civic Association Meeting

September 20, 2018


Meeting came to order at 7:40 p.m.  Meeting held at Fealey Hall.  Board members in attendance:  Christy Dollymore, Bob Catlin, Chad Stern, Jim Nealis, Kevin Young, Dan Blasberg.  Other attendees included  PJ Brennan, Monroe Dennis, Joe Theis, Joshua Westgard, Maddie Koenig, Jason Daniels, Rich Douglas, Ronald Cameau, Liesl Koch, Linda Rippeon, Harry Pitt.  Upcoming civic association events include the annual bonfire on Sun., Oct. 28th – wood drop-off will take place the 21st to 27th.


The first speaker was Lt. Collins, P.G. Co. Police contract officer in College Park. Our contract officers are a supplement to the County force, paid by the city. We have from 2 to 10 officers on duty on various schedules. Crime remains low in this section of the county – mainly thefts of valuables that were left in plain sight or in unlocked cars. About 50% of local ‘break-ins’ involve cars left UNLOCKED, so lock your doors! Contact Bob Ryan at City Hall to request police monitoring of areas where stop signs, crosswalks, etc., are ignored by drivers. Remember that about half of police vehicles are unmarked, so there are more officers on patrol than you might think.


 City Councilman PJ Brennan suggested folks check local listserves, newsletters, etc., to see numerous activities taking place in the city.  On Thur., Sept. 27th, at 7 p.m., City Hall will host a ‘visioning’ meeting to get resident input on what the new City Hall should include.  College Park Day will be Oct. 6th, noon-6 p.m., at the Aviation Museum parking lot.  Bands, vendors, non-profits will participate.  Berwyn’s Smile Herb Shop will host a festival on Sat., Sept. 29th.


 Candidates for District 21 House of Delegates spoke.  Joseline Peña-Melnyk has been a delegate for 12 years, and claims credit for saving ‘Obamacare’ and shaping new insurance programs in Md., saving Laurel Hospital, getting bonds for College Park. She supports public financing of elections, reducing drug prices, and says she has a proven record of service. She chaired the state commission on health insurance.


Ray Ranker is a pastor at UM, and a graduate of UM. He supports public financing of elections – says too much money is influencing politics. He says he will not accept corporate or special-interest donations. Big issues he will tackle include education, transportation, criminal justice, high property taxes. He is an independent and wants to reform the system from the ‘outside’. One attendee complained about the state taking money from the transportation fund to pay for other projects.


Chike Anyanwu is an immigrant from Nigeria – told an inspiring story of a difficult childhood in that country, and how grateful he is to be an American.  He wants to give back to America, is concerned that one-party control in Annapolis will lead to corruption. He wants to fix the notoriously gerrymandered congressional districts in Maryland, and wants a ‘lock-box’ on lottery funds.  He is generally supportive of Gov. Hogan’s efforts in Annapolis.  Need to improve PG schools and bring them up to standards seen in Anne Arundel, Howard Cos.  We need more vocational programs.


Rich Douglas is a Republican, and says our state lacks the political will to expand business opportunities and economic expansion, and wonders why states like Alabama and Tennessee are drawing new factories and industries like Mercedes-Benz , Mazda – but not Maryland?  Good jobs are a real solution to most Md. problems, not more government.  He suggests State Attorney General Frosh’s lawsuits against the Trump Administration may have cost PG Co. a chance to house the proposed new FBI headquarters?  We need more economic opportunities and growth.


Ben Barnes dislikes Gov. Hogan, and supports Mr. Frosh’s lawsuits against Pres. Trump. He supports more parental leave rights, more child care subsidies, and a $15 per hour minimum wage.  Calls himself a ‘strong Democrat’, and stated support for the recent rain tax Hogan repealed, claiming it helped clean up the Chesapeake Bay.


Mary Lehman is a current County Council member (last 8 yrs.), grew up in Greenbelt, attended UM, lives in Laurel.  She has been honored to serve on the Council, has brought more Co. services to north end of PG Co.  She helped ban Styrofoam use, and supports environmental, housing and health care issues.  Interested in education and work of the Kirwan Commission. She also supports public funding of elections, wants to ban corporate, union, ‘pac’ monies. Limit personal campaign donations to $250 per person.


Meeting adjourned at 9 p.m.



Notes compiled by Jim Nealis