Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Candidate Q & A, The Gazette

The Gazette has an excellent election section that features a Q & A with each candidate, including yours truly.

Follow this link to see more of my thoughts on expanding our commercial tax base, helping our local businesses, revitalizing our town center, and furthering the city's efforts to go green.

Mount Rainier Candidate Q & A - The Gazette

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Candidate Night - Watch the Video

Thanks so much to the League of Women Voters for organizing the Mount Rainier Candidate Night this past Wednesday, April 20, 2011 and special thanks to the two dozen or so people who attended.  The audience asked several excellent questions and it is worth your time to watch the video on Mount Rainier Television (MRTV).

Mount Rainier Candidate Night - First Half

Mount Rainier Candidate Night - Second Half

Friday, April 15, 2011

Local Government Sustainability Conference

Thursday, April 14, I traveled with fellow Mount Rainier resident Nick Williams to the Local Government Sustainability Conference organized by my friends at Maryland Sierra Club with support from Maryland Department of Natural Resources and  ICLEI (local governments for sustainability network).  I work daily with "green" issues and sustainability for local communities but as a candidate for city council I wanted to learn more about specific local government initiatives that could be applied in Mount Rainier.  Conference agenda (PDF)

The conference was opened by my friend, Mayor Adam Ortiz of Edmonston, who I like to call "The Anacostia's Mayor."  The Northeast Branch of the Anacostia divides Edmonston in two, and the town has done much to be good stewards of the river.  After experiencing flooding four times in ten years the citizens of Edmonston realized that as a low-lying community along the river, they were bearing the brunt of generations of stormwater mismanagement.  Edmonston flooded not once from the river itself but rather flooded due to stormwater runoff from the roads, parking lots, and roofs of areas upstream that were developed without adequate stormwater management.
The Anacostia River appeals in the Edmonston seal

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

City Recycling Event Saturday 4/16

FYI  the City is holding a recycling event this Saturday.  At the council meeting Monday night I asked City Manager Jeannelle Wallace what would be accepted and she said, "Everything.  Electronics, even stuff that doesn't work."

So bring out your junk on Saturday for a little spring cleaning and keep inappropriate waste out of our county landfull.

City of Mount Rainier Recycling Event
When: April 16, 2011
Where: Public Works Garage
3715 Wells Avenue
Time: 9am to 1pm

For more information contact Ruth Sandy at 301-985-6583

Monday, April 11, 2011

Mayor and Council Meeting Tonight

Special work session on the budget, tonight 7PM at Mt. Rainier Town Hall.
Agenda (pdf)
Mount Rainier Proposed FY12 Budget (pdf)

Neighborhood Watch Walk

Since February, Mount Rainier's neighborhood watch program has really been revitalized.  Rick Ruggles and John Campanile hosted an organizing meeting February 27 and have been serving as coordinators of the growing effort.  The initial meeting was attended by over two dozen people from all over town, many of whom expressed interest in organizing their own blocks as part of the greater effort.
Thanks to MRPD for "walking" with us!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Better Block Project Was Awesome

On Saturday, April 9, 2011, the Better Block Project provided a vision of what our historic 34th Street business district could be - vibrant, beautiful, and the center of our community.  I thought it was very telling that even though it was a chilly day, tons of people were out and about on the street throughout the event (even eating at the outdoor cafe spaces!).  Saturday's turnout shows that there is a lot of pent up demand in our community and I think that the city is at a moment to take proactive steps to really make our town center thrive.

We have several great established businesses like Glut, Nisey's Boutique, and the super delicious Island Style Ice Cream.  Add in shows or classes at Joe's Movement Emporium and a meal at the wonderful new vegan bakery and cafe Sweet and Natural and you begin to realize that locals and visitors alike could spend a happy afternoon in our town center!  The problem is, no one is sharing this message with the world.

I think the city should work closely with the Mount Rainier Business Association (check out the MRBA welcome package) to promote our existing businesses and attract new investment to our town center.  A marketing plan for our existing businesses and for the historic business district as a whole would establish a sense of place and show the world what Mount Rainier has to offer.  Thousands of cars drive through town every day on Route 1 - imagine if we captured even a fraction of that traffic for a trip up 34th Street to our historic business district.

The excellent Mount Rainier, Maryland blog has great photos and videos from Better Block.

Stay tuned for more video of the Mount Rainier Better Block event

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Earth Day Cleanup of the Anacostia River

Saturday April 9 was the annual Earth Day cleanup sponsored by the organization I work for, Anacostia Watershed Society.  Each year we typically host about 2500 volunteers at around 25 sites all over the Anacostia watershed.  Months of planning was thrown into disarray Thursday and Friday as we prepared for a possible government shutdown, moving hundreds of volunteers from federal parkland.  Fortunately we have an extemely dedicated group of volunteers and there was a great turnout at the cleanup despite the changes and the cold damp weather.
The beautiful Anacostia River, April 7, 2011

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Certified Candidate!

Monday night the election judges certified my ballot petition and at last night's city council meeting my candidacy was made official!

Vote May 2, 2011, 7am - 7pm at 3405 Rhode Island Avenue (Star Potts Hall) between City Hall and the library.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Better Block Project

Sunday I participated in "Elbow Grease Weekend" for the Better Block Project in Mount Rainier, a collaborative community-driven project to invigorate our historic 34th Street business district.  The idea is to show the potential of the Mount Rainier Town Center by showing off our "Main Street" at its best for one day - a new coat of paint on old buildings, revitalized storefronts for existing businesses, and "pop-up" art and businesses in vacant storefronts.  I encourage everyone to come out on Saturday, April 9 from noon to 6pm at 34th St and Bunker Hill Road and support this kind of creative thinking about revitalizing our community.
Painting the Odd Even Thrift Shop at 34th and Rhode Island