Letâ€™s Get Serious About Gaithersburg Business Development
To the Editor:
I am extremely disappointed with our Mayor, City Council and City Manager Jones for their stated push for economic development. What are they thinking?
The Knapp contract is at the top of my list of concerns â€” I have questioned this hire from the beginning for its lack of transparency and the lunacy that a sitting County Councilman (Yes, he was still a County Councilman when this contract began.) had such unique skills to avoid a procurement process.
But, I guess after creating a slush fund of $2 million earmarked for business development for this fiscal year, M&CC had to hire someone for $90,000 to do nothing except â€śmeet and greet.â€ť Nothing, I repeat nothing, has been done by Mr. Knapp or Mr. Tomasello, our cityâ€™s business development gurus.
When Mr. Knapp finally accepted KDPâ€™s invitation this past fall to meet some of our business owners and talk with us about his plans and our objectives, I was wholly disappointed with his knowledge of our commercial district. He came to the meeting having not read the Master Plan for Kentlands Downtown, and not even knowing that a charrette had taken place. I provided him my copy of the Master Plan and asked to talk again. He seemed to think he knew our business district well because he has shopped here often (perhaps Iâ€™m qualified to run Disney World after a shopping spree there this fall). Following up afterward, I offered further assistance and asked him what his interim deliverables would be; and I have never heard back.
Mayor and City Council, what is the plan for economic development? Letâ€™s go through your plan based on my observations:
Create $2 million slush fund; donâ€™t use it. Check.
Hire economic development consultant with no experience; donâ€™t hold him accountable to deliverables. Check.
Denigrate the Kentlands Downtown businesses by telling them they are doing just fine. Check.
Eliminate funding for special events designed to attract shoppers. Check.
Use city events to hire out-of-towners to compete with local businesses. Check.
Buy property in Olde Towne and sell for a huge loss. Check.
Hire permanent economic development chief. Led six-month search, but nope.
Attract new businesses to Gaithersburg. Nope.
Improve highway signage for Gaithersburg business districts/use ICC as a way to attract new shoppers. Nope.
Create economic development budget and gameplan. Nope.
I like Mr. Katz and the City Council personally, but it is time for our leadership to step up or step out. City Council elections take place this year and it is time to hold our elected officials accountable. While [the] City Council presented a bleak budget and raised property taxes this year, they now have an additional $1 million from speed cameras and $1.9 million left in this business development slush fund. I call on our leaders to present and enact a plan for business development this spring, or we all need to do our best for the benefit of our City to help find people who will.
â€” Paula Ross
Paula Ross is a Lakelands resident, and current president of the Kentlands Downtown Partnership.
To the Editor:
I have enjoyed reading The Town Courier regularly and respect its quality of coverage of issues relevant to its readers in this area. Even your Thumbs Up and Thumbs Down have been fair, even though I might not agree with all of them.
Your Artley cartoon on page  of the March 4 edition was in dramatic contradiction of my prior observations. It was a direct and uncalled for attack on this nationâ€™s democratic system of representative government. Whether or not you agree with Gov. Walkerâ€™s proposals, he was duly elected as governor of Wisconsin on a platform that a majority of voters endorsed. He governs with a majority in both houses of the legislature who were also elected with similar policies. Elections in this country do have consequences!
Gov. Walker is not more dictatorial in pressing what he considers his voter mandate than, for example, President Obama pressing his legislative agenda even though many do not agree with some of that agenda. Since the president presses on with his policies, maybe the cartoonist should have substituted the president for the governor! (Or did the cartoonist have an agenda?)
Obviously, that would be wrong, too. The dictator of Libya is a dictator. The governor and the president are democratically elected leaders conducting representative governance. They have constitutional responsibilities to advance policies for which they were chosen to pursue. To date, neither the governor nor the president has resorted to â€śstrong arm tacticsâ€ť to advance their objectives. Objectors have been free to demonstrate their views in any peaceful way they chose. Both leaders could teach many Middle Eastern rulers how democratically elected leaders conduct representative governance â€” a far cry from teaching the cartoons â€śstrong arm tactics.â€ť
â€” Allen E. Pritchard
To the Editor:
What exactly is the point of parking a nationally themed political cartoon in the middle of a local neighborhood newspaper? Are you serious? Â
Comparing a madman dictator brutally killing his own people to a Wisconsin governor trying to rein in giveaways to unions to save his state from bankruptcy isn’t a joke. There is real blood flowing on the streets of Libya. Is that funny? Not to me.Â Union thugs are threatening to kill legislators trying to do their job instead of hiding out in another state. Â Is someone threatening to kill a politician funny? Not to me.
The joke is the person on the Courier staff who couldn’t get past their own blatant liberal bias and see that. It sad to see the Courier’s denigrate itself to be the MSNBC of neighborhood news. Come on, you can do better than that.
â€” Demos Chrissos
City Considers Rezoning Aquatic Center Site
(First reported at www.towncourier.com.)
C. H. on March 7:
â€śI understand the economic issues facing the city. And I believe that this is probably not the right time to enter into a longterm fiscal burden for the city. However, having lived here since 1993 with the promise of an indoor aquatic facility, I feel disappointed and sad.â€ť
City Economic Director
The Town Courier has learned that when the economic development director job is reposted in a few weeks it will have a higher salary range.
A. R. on March 1:
“This is a joke. They had a ton of resumes for this position also and raved about the quality of the candidates. Not sure what a bigger posted salary is going to do. Perhaps they should hire a headhunter rather than a former county councilman to lead their search.”
Chocolate Factory Opens on Main Street
L. B. on March 3:
â€śWhat an awesome article and we are so proud of everyone who has worked so hard and for so long to make this dream come true. We are so looking forward to being at the grand opening and tasting each and every delicious treat. Congratulations to all.”
Bike to Work Day is May 20 although there are no pit stops in Gaithersburg again. Do you think the city should be taking part in this annual event?
Y. B. on March 3:
“They should if they truly wish to be a green city.”
QOP Considers Bagging Dog Stations
(First reported on The Town Courierâ€™s Facebook page.)
J. H. on March 8:
â€śThey could take an old newpaper vending box and put the bags in there, available for 25 or 50 cents. Probably would only break even at best, but at least it shifts the tiny cost to the users, making it a targeted tax. They could also make it a bin where dog walkers deposit their plastic grocery bags, and then take bags as needed. One bin, then no more cost â€” it’ll work as well as people occasionally bring bags.â€ť
L. T. on March 8:
â€śOk. But isnt it fertilizer for plants and bushes? They are animals. Squirrels and geese poop all over the place. I would rather control the geese poop or pigeon poop. It is all over the walkways.â€ť
J. B. R. on March 9:
â€śI walk the path about three times a week and have never seen anyone use them. As a dog owner, I carry my own bags, so I’ve never used them either.â€ť
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