Mayor on State of The City--With A Focus on Transportation ~ Annapolis Capital Punishment

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Mayor on State of The City--With A Focus on Transportation

Did you hear Ellen O's speech? I watched and listened carefully and will say I am impressed on many levels, both positively and negatively. Last year I gave her high marks for reasonably managing finances in a city nearly impossible to finance. I'll say the same for this year in some respects, but I don't think she properly addressed the huge needs that are looming. Did you read what I wrote a few days ago in which I made a few predictions about her speech? Check it out at: Mayor to Give "State of the City" Speech Monday. If I may so myself, some of what I predicted would be in the speech, was in the speech.

But I'd like to comment on two things, and concerning the first item, this has already become news since I am posting this a few days after the speech:

1. The Market House--I was shocked that she discussed it because it is such a black mark, yet I thought it was supposed to be hush-hush because THERE IS A LAWSUIT GOING ON and at least two aldermen have told me they could not discuss it. Yet Ellen O. brought up the possibility of condemning it in order to wrest control of it again! about a shot across the bow! She said how the tenants have not been paying rent, but she seemed to forget that they have been ordered by a court not to pay rent. Hey--are there any eminent domain lawyers out there? Are there not protections against condemnation actions when a property is in distress or in a lawsuit against the governing authority with the condemnation power? Who is giving our city government its legal advice? Oh yeah...

2. Transportation--My favorite issue. The mayor moved transportation planner Kwaku Agyemang Duah from Planning and Zoning to Transportation. I'd like to know what that's about or what she hopes it will accomplish other than move this professional to the most marginal department in the city politically and geographically. I suspect he has already been marginalized at P and Z. Will it clean up our buses or fix the air conditioners? She says it will help us move people from "Parole Centers" to Washington DC and Baltimore....Huh? Please tell Mayor Moyer that we are a small city with a small urban system and we need to move people in and around Annapolis first. If she could ever talk to the County Executive, maybe then we could build a regional transit system, but we already cut routes from Kent Island and to South County and now she talks about Parole to Washington to Baltimore? What about us right here IN the city? This is like so many things we seem to do in Annapolis by trying to be the tail wagging the dog.

Which staff person was she talking about to work on alternative transportation and bicycle initiatives. I welcome this but she was vague. Who will this be? What is this position?

Moving parking enforcement officers (PEO's) back to Transportation? That's where they were years ago and then were moved back to Police and now back to Transportation again? For what purpose? I hope this requires council approval and they don't give it. Yet another reason why I say nobody is really in charge of parking in this town but the PEO's do enforcement as in "E" and Transportation does transportation while Police do enforcement. Will somebody please get this figured out?

Stop working on buses to Washington until we get our own system in order. Stop lying to us about a partnership with Dillons' Bus Company. There has not and is not a partnership with Dillon's and she knows it and if she is using scarce city resources to support a private bus system--that would appear to be...inappropriate perhaps?

She wants to market the shuttle buses going by the Knighton Garage. How come there has not been a marketing plan? What is the transportation marketing specialist doing?

Outsourcing bus maintenance? Thank you. It is about time but the problems there are just the tip of the iceberg. I guess it was too much for your director to handle? It took you eight years to figure out how bad this situation had become? Perhaps if you or your city administrator had actually gone on a bus ride or visited that department, you might have known this earlier.

While Cordle and Shropshire were present as aldermen, where were all the other mayoral candidates? I only spotted Trudy McFall, but then again, she alone among candidates has consistently remained visibly active and involved in every city issue, even for a year or more.

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