Sunday, June 19, 2011

Let the (Election) Games Begin

Laurel’s elections are four and a half months away (November 1, 2011) but the election season evidently is starting in earnest. And the rumors are flying. First up: Current Mayor Craig A. Moe is running for a third term. At the Board of Trade Annual Meeting a distinguished retired Laurel figure informed out table that he had received a letter from Mayor Moe announcing that he is running for a third term. And I also at the BOT dinner that a well known (unnamed) figure was planning to run against him Is that Mike Sarich? At a meeting I attended later that evening, I was told that former councilman and administration and council nemesis Mike Sarich is also planning a run for mayor.

At this point I’m just reporting what's out on the street. But it suggests it will be an interesting election season to say the least. Like all council members, newly appointed council member, Valerie M.F Nicholas will have to defend her seat, and I believe at least one other current member is not planning to run again. Elections will be by district for the first time in a long long time, and there will be two polling places, finally. Let’s hope all the races are contested, since lively races not only generate discussion of important issues, but may increase the incredibly dismal turnout at Laurel’s local elections. (which we'll discuss another time)

Laurel’s mayoral system is a very strong one – and the mayor determines the City Administrator, appoints all the key staff, determine the makeup of boards from planning to the historic district commission, creates the budget and sets the city’s development priorities. The Mayor and Council are responsible for your local taxes, and the types of businesses that get approved for entry into the city. Who they are, their priorities and vision count. Taking an interest is not only our civic duty, but it should be a critical matter for all of us.

So even though it’s early – mark your calendar for November 1. And let the games begin

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Life on the List Serve

I’m a member of the Old Town Laurel List Serve. Not only is it a window into “hot” news in the local area, but it provides a window into what local issues concern one small part of the Laurel community. Traffic safety is big, as are pet and animal related issues and so is information about shops, businesses and other local topics. Wednesday, the emails were flying fast and furious about two very different, but equally passionate topics: A lost dog, and the unexpected, overnight closing of the High's at 5th and Main.

The news that High's had closed was first out of the gate when “Dave” sent our well-informed nNeighbor Rick Wilson an e-mail and query about the closure at 11:52pm Tuesday night and Rick posted it on the list-serve. The local High’s for those who may not be familiar, was/is located at the corner of Main & 5th. While not the most aesthetically pleasing store, the manager was nice, the milk and eggs reasonably priced, and it served as a convenient place for last minute ingredients or health care needs. I suspect that many of the seniors at Selborne House, directly across the street, found it particularly important. I counted 19 e-mails on the list-serve on this topic. Questions flew on the site’s fate, and according to our intrepid former councilwoman, and soon to be moving Gayle Snyder, the High’s is scheduled to be replaced by another convenience store, maybe with a deli. I'll be holding my breath, and regretting having to plan to have milk and eggs in the house, since my easy fix is gone.

The lost dog, who belonged to the daughter of Old Town’s Washington Post/Sun/ delivery person extraordinaire Gail Turney, occupied folks for much of the day. My walk group encountered a searcher around 7:45 and we suggested he get it up on the list serve. It was up by 8:32. I counted at least 16 different messages as folks tried to track down the Daisy – who was a vigorous little pup, going up PG Street, through St. Mary’s, evading Animal control and ending up at Patuxent Place. All documented through folks’ comments on the list-serve.

Coming up a distant third – what’s going to happen to Mangoes and Irene’s if/when the Walgreens is approved.

List-serves are a great tool to find out what’s happening in your own back yard, (like and I’m always puzzled by those who haven’t signed up for their local one. There’s no obligation to respond to anything. Susie, who monitors the site does a great job, like many who’ve taken on this often thankless job. Thanks Susie. And folks, keep those posts coming.