GRANOLAPARK • BY GILBERT
Breaking news: City councilmember Kay Daniels-Cohen dies.
The Maryland legislature never, NEVER makes a decision without checking with the Takoma Park city council first. Last Tuesday night, Feb. 18, the 141 delegates in the General Assembly and the 41 members of the Maryland Senate were waiting all a-tremble for the city’s 7 city council members to pass judgement on the bottle bill, the crowd-funding investment law, and the decriminalization or legalization of marijuana.
Three proposed bills got the thumbs-up sign from the Sagacious Seven, as awed state legislators refer to them. They approved of marijuana decriminalization, but the majority did not go as far as approving marijuana legalization.
The biggest marijuana skeptic was councilmember Tim Male. He said he did not share his colleague’s certainty that drug control was a failure or a bad idea – citing hard-drugs such as crack cocaine and crystal meth, etc. He was not comfortable with provisions in the proposals that would allow marijuana growing and use in homes around children.
Councilmember Tim Male ponders legalization.
The crowd funding bill would allow people to make small investment loans, less than $100 each, to small, local businesses. The Local Business Investment Law to do this was introduced by local state politicians state senator Jamie Raskin and delegate Tom Hucker.
The proposed law is thick with legalisms. Many on the council found it dismayingly, or annoyingly, unclear. But, the reasoning went, our reliably left-wing state senator Jamie Raskin introduced it, so it must be ok, right? Right? It got a majority of votes.
Councilmember Fred Schultz voted against it, “just to be obdurate.”
Mayor Bruce Williams noted his advanced vocabulary, “Another word tossed on the dais.”
“Yeah,” deadpanned Schultz, “take that!”
Such hilarious moments make watching hours of city council tedium worthwhile. And hours. And hours . . .
The bottle bill, the Statewide Container Recycling Refund Program, would create a deposit/redemption system for glass, plastic, or metal bottles, cans, and jars.
This will give the state legislature sleepless nights, but not all the councilmembers relish their advisory role.
Councilmember Tim Male said “We don’t have to weigh in on everything the state does.”
The council’s opinions will be sent in a letter to the state legislature, where it will be given the usual consideration and respect.
The nuke list
In case you don’t know, Dear Reader, Takoma Park is a nuclear-free zone. This means you may NOT sell a nuclear bomb to the city.
It also means that if you make nuclear bomb parts you can’t sell anything at all to the city.
That’s the law. It’s the stand the city made against nuclear weapons in 1983. Though the Cold War nuclear threat is over, nuclear proliferation continues, and so does the Nuclear-Free Takoma Park Committee.
The citizen committee provides oversight on the law’s implementation. In other words, when the city wants to buy stuff, they check if the manufacturer is on the committee-provided list of nuclear weapon’s producers.
Ah, but where to get that list?
The information is harder to find due to the nation’s post-9/11 security.
Pricey but valuable
The city has gone largely listless for a few years, recently the committee found a source. Unfortunately, the annual cost to access the list was $8500!
The committee negotiated a $6000 yearly subscription with the provider. That was the deal they asked the city council to approve.
Takoma Park resident and Nuclear Free Takoma Park Committee member Paul Gunter informing the city council about the list.
Without the list, the law would be harder to follow. Staff would have to use a much older, out-of-date list.
The council, many of them making “yikes, that’s expensive!” faces and comments, agreed, but only for one year. They will revisit the issue in early 2015.
Apparently, they don’t go along with, or have forgotten – as even Tim Male seems to have – Males words from the dais two years ago in February. If the city is to make a progressive stand, he said, let it be for something “hard to do.”
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