Score one for Councilmember Clay who three weeks ago was pooh-poohed by her colleagues (and a certain commentator) when she asked if the city was prepared for spontaneous street demonstrations on Election Day eve. More longtime residents on the council assured her that spontaneous demonstrations don't happen in the politically-jaded Washington DC metro area.
As it happened spontaneous celebrations DID break out shortly after it became apparent that Barack Obama had won. Not only in front of the White House and on U Street in Washington DC, but right here in Takoma Park.
While the city council pondered the parsing of their official priorities list, a group of citizens stepped up to the microphone with a bold call for action. The city should ban gas-powered leaf blowers, said Seth Grimes, representing a group of 31 local activists.
Blowers are a noxious source of pollutants and noise, said the group, and they called on Mayor Bruce Williams to "schedule a City Council work session as soon as practicable" to devise a plan to phase them out.
The group's letter, presented at the Citizen Comment segment of the October 13th city council meeting, was met with silence from the mayor and council. They often do not make remarks following citizen comments, but Your Gilbert wonders if this time it was because they were thinking "oh, crap!" It is one thing to spend hours working out the wording of a priorities statement in favor of environmental sustainability. It is another to enact a law that does something about it, especially when it pries gas-powered tinker toys out of the hands of outraged voters.
What did you do on YOUR summer vacation? Your Gilbert went off-planet for most of the summer, and did not once think about Takoma Park or how we might bring back some alien practice or idea to improve it. Not so the city council! At the first meeting of the fall, they vied to out brownie-point each other suggesting city government wonkery they'd like to transplant here from their vacation spots such as Maine, Cape Cod, and Costa Rica.
Clearly our overly dedicated elected officials did not get enough rest this summer - as further evidenced by the turgid, sometimes tense discussion at the Sept. 2 council meeting.