We Have a Choice to Make Right Now.
The City of Takoma Park is in trouble.
- We are spending more than we are taking in,
- City staff and manager salaries keep growing while the population is flat,
- The relationship between the Council and unions is so bad they’re considering an outside mediator,
- Climate change is bringing bigger storms and the City’s stormwater response is inadequate,
- And the NDC lease, and threat of litigation, still hangs over the Junction.
Right now, you can vote for candidates who want to “continue the work” of the current Council, are endorsed by the current Council, and/or want to continue to try to work with NDC.
Or, you can vote for change–for candidates who are unafraid to confront the way things have been going in the City and work to correct our course.
CVT has endorsed Jarrett Smith for Mayor, Mark Sherman (Ward 1), Randy Gibson (Ward 3), and A.J. Campbell (Ward 5) as candidates best equipped to navigate us out of our current troubles, and return Takoma Park to its historic position as a progressive leader.
Why the Junction is Still Important
Some candidates would prefer to forget the failure of the development plan at Takoma Junction. They urge voters to move on. But the Junction is still essential for these reasons:
1) NDC still has a 99-year lease at the Junction, preventing anyone else from making improvements there. Many of us would love to improve the esthetics, the stormwater system, and the infrastructure for both public use and low-impact pop-up retail use. But none of that is possible while NDC holds the lease.
2) The Junction is very much an active topic on the City Council right now, but that conversation is going on behind closed doors. City Council has been holding closed meetings with the City Attorney about the Junction for over a year now, with the next one scheduled for this Wednesday.
3) The vibrant new and old businesses at the Junction, including the planned arrival of an exciting new restaurant, the new bridal and nail salons, the bakery and butcher, and the Co-op, all rely on our City lot. The Junction has revitalized–the lot is full. We do not need new traffic, new cars trying to park, or new safety challenges for pedestrians, cyclists, buses, delivery trucks, and drivers.
4) Several candidates have indicated they are still open to a new plan from NDC, despite this developer attempting to kick the Co-op and public off our public land.
For the Record
In the key 2018 vote on the Junction plan by the City Council, sending the plan to the County for approval, Jarrett Smith voted against the plan. Talisha Searcy voted for it (listen to her defend the project on the Kojo Nnamdi Show here).
In 2020, Jarrett Smith was the only Council member to sign a letter with 100 local residents to the County Planning Board, expressing grave concerns about the racial equity and gentrification effects of the Junction plan.
In 2021, Seth Grimes was still advocating for NDC’s Junction plan, urging the County’s Planning Board to approve the plan despite multiple findings that it was unsafe, and despite unanimous disapproval at that point from the City Council.
On his campaign website, Seth Grimes writes that he is “open to a new junction proposal” from NDC.
It has been suggested that we should all focus on the New Hampshire Recreation Center renovation and the Purple Line, rather than the Junction. This is a false binary.
CVT supports equity and investment in all wards, and is strongly in favor of a vibrant community-driven renovation of the Recreation Center, including exploration of affordable housing and satellite library services there.
It has been falsely stated that CVT is anti-housing, or anti-development, because we opposed NDC’s Junction plan. CVT is strongly in favor of exploring new affordable housing options throughout the City, including at the Rec Center and other locations on New Hampshire, at the old hospital campus, and at the old McLaughlin School campus. CVT also urges new efforts to prevent Purple Line displacement of low-income residents and small local businesses, through expanding residential and commercial rent stabilization, and increasing and improving affordable housing at the Crossroads.
This is the moment. Vote for change, and vote for a return to our progressive ideals.