Some Thoughts on The "Idea Teams" ~ Annapolis Capital Punishment

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Some Thoughts on The "Idea Teams"

Put some thoughtful, dedicated citizens together and ask them to study and come up with ideas about improving city government for a new mayor, and what do you get? A lot of good ideas, some not so good ideas, new ways to save money, new ways to spend money, complementing ideas on how to do things differently, contrasting ideas on how to do things differently etc.

It all comes down to what new Mayor Josh Cohen intends to do. He can essentially, listen and heed or listen and ignore. At Monday night's meeting, he listened intently, kept the meeting running on time and he promised to act. Citizens may read the team's reports at Read one or two, read them all, or read the executive summaries. They are all the result of concerned and interested citizen volunteers who took the time and energy to reflect, observe and recommend.

I was honored to have been chosen to serve on the Transportation and Parking team. I can only hope that at least some, and certainly the major "ideas" we presented will be heeded.

At the meeting, I was not surprised that Alderman Kenny Kirby showed up about twenty minutes late. He seems to make a habit of that, as I amply and easily demonstared during the campaign. Within minutes after the Budget  Chair Maurice Tose explained our severe financial crisis and said we need to cut jobs, Kirby, who is now reported to be living in public housing, said that we cannot cut jobs. I asked him about it during a break and was treated to a rambling and rather unclear explanation as to why we cannot cut jobs and must raise taxes. In essence, he believes that cutting jobs take food off of people's tables. I asked him what about if raising taxes would take food of my table. He did not have a clear response.

One team recommended putting the Harbor Master's office in one department while other teams had other ideas. Alderman Ross Arnett drew laughs when he suggested that there must be gold in the department because everybody wants it.  Mayor Cohen got a bunch of chuckles after listening to the chair of the economic development team report that the city has a culture of "no" when it comes to doing and supporting business. Cohen responded by saying "I have one response to your team and it's No....just kidding". The crowd guffawed.

We should all be paying careful attention as Cohen and his team listen to and either heed or disgregard the various recommendations. It's not an easy task, but somehow it seems that every time you ask citizens what they want, their answers will cost money to make it happen.

LISTEN TO CP Publisher Paul Foer on 1430WNAV at 8:15 every weekday morning or click on the WNAV icon to the right. READ CP Publisher Paul Foer's "The Ninth Ward" every Wednesday in The
Join us for Sip N' Blogs each THURSDAY, 8-9 am at ZU Coffee, 934 Bay Ridge Road in the Giant Shopping Ctr. February 4, Civic Activist Scott Mobley
February 11, County Executive Candidate Joanna Conti
February 18, ???


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