Peter on the Issues

When I ran for reelection to the City Council in 2017, in my view our biggest challenges were managing economic development to preserve the characteristics that make Takoma Park a great place to live, strengthening the City’s inclusiveness so all residents are safe and able to more fully engage in municipal affairs, and keeping the City affordable across a range of income levels. Those are all still major concerns.

Two other Issues have emerged recently -- one unanticipated, the other regrettably not treated previously with the urgency it demanded -- which require more immediate focus. I’m referring of course to responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and the need to re-imagine how policing in our City can be changed to better serve our entire population, including specifically Black and Brown residents. While we’ve begun to take action in both areas, we’re still in the early stages, and I expect these issues to be significant topics for Council attention this fall and in the next City Council term.

Click on the headings below for details about my work on COVID, policing, and more.

Responding to COVID-19
When the extent of the pandemic began to become clear, I called for several key budgetary steps to address the health, housing and economic impacts of the Coronavirus. First, allocate funds quickly to help residents and businesses affected by COVID. Then, for this year’s budget, not only earmark funds for COVID aid, but put “on hold” additional budget dollars to give us flexibility to respond as further needs connected to the virus emerge. I’m pleased the Council took steps along those lines by creating a $640,000 COVID fund, and putting on hold another $1.3 million. Read more...

Re-imagining Policing
The recent abhorrent murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and other Black people at the hands of police officers have justifiably brought new attention not only to the Black Lives Matter movement, but to the necessity of thinking about law enforcement in this country in new ways. Our Police Chief had already begun eliminating controversial use of force techniques linked to police violence in those and other cases. We need to continue that process, and take further steps to reduce unduly militaristic equipment, training and practices. Read more...

Managing Development
I appreciate the positive impact emerging businesses can have on the vitality of the City, but we need to ensure that economic growth and development projects are respectful of the features we like about our community, and that Takoma Park remains an affordable place for homeowners and renters. To me, that means appreciating and supporting important institutions like the Library, the Co-op, and the Farmers Market, working to right-size projects like Takoma Junction and the new Montgomery College building planned for North Takoma, as well as engaging with affected neighborhoods to solicit residents’ views on renovating the New Hampshire Avenue Recreation Center or on future uses for the Washington Adventist Hospital site. Read more...

Promoting Inclusiveness
City residents often express appreciation for the racial, ethnic, linguistic and economic diversity we’re fortunate to have in our community. But not all residents have shared in the benefits that come with higher home prices or new business openings. And many of our neighbors haven’t always felt able to engage fully in civic life. Ensuring our racial equity policy is more fully implemented and delving deeply into police reform can help address those challenges. Read more...

Keeping Takoma Park Affordable
We’re near a big City with lots of good jobs and we’re on the Metro and many bus lines; we have diverse neighborhoods, high quality local services and schools; well-run, interesting small businesses, a vibrant political culture, a varied housing stock, and a remarkable sense of community. So -- people want to live here. That can drive up housing costs, and our City services can be expensive. As a result, we’re in danger of having two Takoma Parks, one made up of expensive single family homes, the other with less pricey rental options, and little in between. Read more...

Advancing Sustainability and Responding to Climate Change
One of Takoma Park’s hallmarks is a commitment to preservation of the environment. And in the face of the massive worldwide challenge posed by climate change, it’s vital for us to take action. When I ran in 2017 I called for us to set a timeline for achieving a carbon neutrality goal for the City. We’ve now passed a detailed climate change framework that gives us the tools to move much of the way in that direction in the next couple of decades. Read more...

Preserving Community Quality of Life
We’re fortunate to live in a community with a small town feel, despite being right next to a major metropolitan area. That didn’t happen by accident. Activists from Takoma Park have fought to preserve our way of life for many years, and it’s incumbent on today’s residents (not to mention Councilmembers) to continue those efforts. This goes beyond managing development, and flows down to day-to-day quality of life issues. I’ve put a high priority on responding to residents’ requests and complaints, and also urging City staff to be as responsive as possible. Read more...

Showing 1 reaction

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.
  • Paula Kowalczuk
    published this page 2020-08-06 13:55:50 -0400