|Officers:||Bailey Condrey, President
Matt Murton, Vice President Maryann Dillon, Secretary
Gerald Sharp, Treasurer
|Directors:||Gail Dalferes Condrey, Chair, Beautification
Kira Lueders, Chair, Block Captains
Peter Mansbach, webmaster
|Members:||Approximately 25 other PRA Members|
|Guest:||State Delegates Al Carr and Jeff Waldstreicher, District 18|
2. Old Business:
A motion was made (passed) to approve minutes of 4/13/10 meeting.
3. Al Carr: Environmental and Energy Issues:
After multiple power outages last summer, Delegate Carr along with State Senator Rich Madaleno, County Exec. Ike Leggett and Governor Martin O’Malley wrote to the Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC) regarding Pepco’s reliability. Hearings were held and the Commission opened up a case on the matter. Delegate Carr testified in Rockville as well. The PSC got Pepco to admit that its reliability performs in the bottom 25% of utilities. Pepco has pledged to better trim trees, automate customer service, install underground lines where it makes sense, and replace equipment. The State is considering legislation to require minimum standards of performance. Pepco was granted a recent rate increase to allow it to trim additional trees and install smart meters. Maryland does have competition for electricity supply including from Constellation Energy and Washington Gas as well as Pepco, but better consumer protection is needed. Electric utilities were unregulated in 1999. Del. Waldstreicher is pushing campaign finance reform to restrict Pepco’s lobbying ability.
4. Jeff Waldstreicher: Education:
Del. Waldstreicher stated that, despite recent rumors during the White Flint Sector Plan process, there are no plans within Montgomery County Public Schools to redistrict. White Flint is anticipated to have a 30-year build-out, and it is still likely that Kensington Parkwood ES will remain in the Walter Johnson cluster. White Flint eventually will require an additional elementary school but that should not affect Kensington Parkwood. The State funds schools at a macro level, but the County decides on both capital and operating budgets. Redistricting is handled by the school board alone, not County Council.
5. Questions for Delegates:
Re: concern about traffic around schools, the State has jurisdiction over state roads (those with numbers, such as Connecticut Ave, Knowles), not County roads where most schools are located, so State delegates have a very limited role in promoting traffic safety around schools.
Re: state education policy, Del. Waldstreicher explained that Maryland policy is set by education experts not politicians. State Board of Ed decides on macro curriculum. The State Board is appointed, while County Board is elected. He explained that school lunch policy is controlled by the Federal government and was an outgrowth of the New Deal, when many children were undernourished, so that food choices tend to be of high caloric content. He is an advocate for healthier standards. Maryland has started a Farm to School pilot program. He also noted that some bills have been proposed setting standards for recess and physical education.
Del. Waldstreicher also fielded questions about allowing wine to be shipped to Maryland residents, which he believes requires a strong ID process, although he believes it will eventually be permitted. He mentioned Office of People’s Counsel website for information on utility choices.
Re: a question about higher efficiency street lighting, he noted that street lights are owned by Pepco and leased to County, and that there was a pilot program with LED lights in Somerset. He suggested encouraging the County to pressure Pepco on this issue. Pepco received Federal funds to install more smart meters, which it intends to make universal.
Re: environmental issues, Del. Carr stated that the Federal government is more involved in cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay; Maryland has been relatively good on this issue. The State school board has voted to include environmental studies as part of the curriculum.
One resident stated that they discovered their Verizon FIOS box had not been grounded, and that State mandated inspections revealed that 15% of such boxes were not properly grounded. Del. Carr stated that Verizon is regulated by State PSC while the County regulates cable.
Re: a question about reassessing property taxes more frequently to better reflect higher assessments on new sales, Del. Carr pointed out that this is a County, not State, function.
6. Treasurer’s report:
Gerald Sharp reported that PRA again intended to include applications for membership renewals with addressed envelopes with the Winter newsletter, as this had resulted in approximately $5,000 in membership fee revenue vs. $3,000 two years prior when envelopes were not included.
Gail Dalferes Condrey, Beautification Chair, reported that fall flowers are being planted and she’s looking for volunteers. The neighborhood identification signs approved for installation at Franklin and Beach and at Cedar Lane and Parkwood (both in park property) will cost $1,970. Maryann Dillon moved (seconded) to approve the purchase of the signs for up to $2,000. Motion carried unanimously. Kira Lueders stated that PRA had County permission to install a bench along the Wildwood island.
8. Other Business:
Bailey opened discussion on the recent listserv suggestion to organize volunteers to assist senior citizens in shoveling snow this winter. There was a suggestion to manage this through the listserv.
Kira Lueders enquired about developments on request for sidewalk on Parkwood Drive. Bailey responded that County staff person had retired, and new staff had to completely reopen the file to make a final decision.
Recently installed safety islands on Saul around the school had been damaged by plows last winter; PRA has not requested any action on this.
There was discussion re: whether to advocate for speed cameras around the school. There was a motion made (seconded) to support mobile traffic cameras in the neighborhood and to include the KP PTA and administration in advocating support. Motion carried.
There was additional discussion about speeding buses, and concerns re: traffic backup when the Cedar Lane bridge is closed for repairs next summer.
There was a motion made (seconded) to donate a pet waste bag dispenser to the KP grounds, and ask neighbors to refill it. Motion carried. There was concern expressed that this may be attractive for children to play with.
There was a proposal to request installation of a 3-way stop sign at Franklin and Beach to protect pedestrian traffic. There was no motion taken on the proposal, and some discussion that this would cause controversy. There was a motion made (seconded) to request that a crosswalk be painted across Franklin at Beach. Motion carried.
There was a motion made (seconded) to request restricted parking on Franklin close to Beach Drive. Motion carried.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 9:00 PM.
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