Berwyn District Civic Association
Thursday, May 17, 2007
Agenda Item 1. Roll Call for Officers.
The meeting was called to order at 8pm by BDCA Vice President Jerry
Anzulovic, the President being absent. Also
present were officers and board members Bob Baca, Al Cutino, Chuck Ireton,
Liesl Koch, and Harry Pitt.
Agenda Item 2. Minutes from Last Meeting.
Minutes from the April 2007 meeting were accepted into the permanent
Agenda Item 3. Presentation by Joseline Peña-Malnyk and Ben
Barnes, 21st District
Senator Jim Rosapepe and Delegate Barbara Frush were unable to attend. A wide variety of measures that our delegates
were involved in were discussed. Peña’s
committee assignments include a seat on the Health and Government Operations
Committee. $400 million was approved for
school construction; Prince George’s
County will received approximately 12–13 percent of this amount. College tuition has been frozen; the Governor
wants to freeze it for at least one more year.
A living wage bill was passed – to be a state contractor, an employer
must pay his or her full-time employees a certain amount in rural areas. Maryland
received a failing grade for the Chesapeake Bay. It used to take the Bay’s oysters one day to
clean the entire Bay; it now takes them a year.
Another bill that was passed allows parents to keep their children on
their health insurance coverage until the children are 25 years old. Eight hundred thousand people in Maryland are without
health insurance. The Health Access bill
will insure 200,000 of those with a $1 tax on tobacco. This bill passed the House but not the
Senate. A special session in October
will consider various taxes. Changes in
income tax have been proposed to make the tax more progressive. Peña sponsored two bills, including the Human
Papilloma Virus (HPV) bill to help prevent cervical cancer. She also sponsored a bill to help
nurses. This bill mandates that all
hospitals study purchasing equipment to help nurses lift patients. Peña and Barnes got $75,000 for the Boys and
Girls Club. Ben Barnes is on the
Judiciary Committee. Barbara Frush
helped get passed a smoking ban in all government offices across the
State. The Maryland Gang Prosecution Act
means that if you’re indicted for a crime and it was gang activity, the
sentence is increased. Another bill
requires a minimum mandatory sentence for child sex offenders. Another bill requires insurance companies to
pay if it is determined that they acted in bad faith. Three bills that Barnes has been involved in
are the following: (i) a tax exemption for law enforcement personnel if they
live in the county they work in; (ii) homebuilders have to install carbon
monoxide detectors in new homes; and (iii) farmilies with disabled children
will now have someone specifically assigned to them by the State and it will be
easier to cut through some of the red tape that hindered them from getting help
on a timely basis in the past.
Peña and Barnes met with Jack
Johnson to discuss Route 1. They
insisted that it needs funding. Johnson
lowered it on the County’s priority list from number 6 to number 4. Several representatives state to Duncan, at the University
of Maryland, that if the
Purple Line were not to have a stop on east campus they would not support it. John Pocari told them that it would be
necessary to get Mote to change his mind – Mote is currently insisting that the
Purple Line run underground, which would be too expensive.
Funding for Route 1 isn’t going to
happen this year because of the projected $1.5 billion deficit for the
State. We used $10 million for
engineering and design. It would cost
$110 million to fix Route 1. It was
suggested that it be done in three phases, using whatever monies we can get now
to begin the first phase. The State
works up a transportation package only once every 10 years. The County Executive
and the County Council has a list of transportation projects they want worked
on – so far, they haven’t reconciled the lists.
This year there will be one letter
from the County. It’s too expensive to
put the utility wires underground. The
most important thing right now is to get money for the design and engineering. The project is important not only for
aesthetic reasons but for safety reasons.
Mote’s vision is to have a private road that bypassed the city. NPR had a report saying that bypass roads
hurt the businesses and communities they’re bypassing.
BARC is an under-appreciated “jewel”
in Prince George’s
Each delegate receives $36,000 to
distribute in scholarship money. Only
people who live in the 21st district are eligible for Peña’s and Barnes’ money.
Regarding Prince George’s Hospital, the first check
(for $19 million) was delivered last week.
The hospital system includes Laurel, Bowie, Spellman, and two
senior citizen buildings. It serves
180,000 people and is the only trauma hospital in the area. A big financial problem is the hospital’s
pension obligations, which the County didn’t want to take on. The County owns the building and land. The problem is that 80 percent of the care is
uncompensated so there is no money for capital improvements. It’s mostly P.G. County
residents using it. The Delegation wants
the State to be a partner. Next year,
the County probably will not bail it out.
Peña and Barnes are both opposed to
slot machines. Eighty percent of the
revenues from the lottery comes from Baltimore
and P.G. County, so essentially it’s a tax on the
poor. Crime around slot parlors goes up
200 percent. They’re a drain on local
services. However, the Delegates are
“keeping their powder dry” in order to stay in the game – they haven’t taken an
uncompromising position so that they’ll still have some leverage. However, twenty-three Delegates are against slots,
so that’s a good chunk of votes.
No-fault insurance is “not going to
happen” in Maryland.
The Governor has asked all
Departments to cut $200 million from the budget.
The action that Maryland
is doing to restore the Chesapeake Bay is not
reciprocal with other states at the moment, but the momentum is in that
There is a $250 million surplus in Prince George’s County.
Bob Catlin mentioned that the
University itself is a student to having student housing built. The 21st district delegation wrote a letter
to Duncan, who denied that the University was being a hindrance. Jim Rosapepe, however, being on the Board of
Regents, knows better. Duncan says that it’s the legislature that
doesn’t give the money. Peña says that
the University has the money – it’s how they choose to spend it. The University owns seven acres on Azalea Lane that
would be “perfect” for student housing.
The Assembly passed a bill to
encourage renewable energy.
House Bill 875 passed – Peña and
Barnes both support it. It’s about new street lights, and will give Pepco
Another bill passed that will give
more aid to municipal police forces.
Mayor Brayman stated that he’s seen
first-hand how well our delegates are working for us.
Agenda Item 4. Treasurer Update. Treasurer Al Cutino reported that the May
newsletter cost $151 to print and the Post Office box cost $210. Bob Catlin has about $200 from dues and ads
to add to the treasury. The current
balance is $919.41.
Agenda Item 5. Committee Updates.
There were no Committee updates.
Agenda Item 6. Civic Association Updates.
There were no Civic Association Updates.
Agenda Item 7. College Park Reports from Our Council Representatives.
Catlin announced that the City’s budget was about to be passed. A number of “wish list” items will be funded,
but not big ones. There are development
issues coming up on the horizon. The
hotel project for the property adjacent to Exxon has been held up – no one’s
quite sure why at the moment.
Perry reminded us that this year is election year for the City of College Park. Our neighborhood’s “block captains” will
distribute an “Are You Recyclying” pamphlet.
Leaves and brush in plastic bags will not be picked up.
City is purchasing a new trash truck(s?) to the tune of $190,000 each – that’s
a big capital expense. It will probably
stick with diesel trucks rather than investigate “greener” options.
have been a lot of executive sessions of late.
is “bike to work” day.
Mayor added that the budget session on Tuesday should be interesting. The City Manager, who studies the “wish
lists,” is doing a good job. The City
may give some grants to some local schools.
It’s costing us one-half million dollars for the policy contract
program. So far, that program has had
some small successes – for example, one officer has been involved in 2–3
parking garage will be paid for with revenue from parking meters, not
is trying to work with Public Services to get speed control on Greenbelt Road – we
need speed limit signs between Route 1 and the Washington Post.
Agenda Item 6. New Business.
will be a Route 1 corridor study presentation at City Hall on Wednesday, May
30, from 7 to 10pm. The County Council
got involved with the study. The study
is broader now because it’s a transportation study on top of everything else.
Tim Triplett wrote a letter to Mr. Ridgeway thanking him for improving his
Jackson is the judge adjudicating the disputed property north of the railroad
has been a resurgence of graffiti. The
graffiti on the side of the Kidwell
Building was painted over
– it had been 9 months since they last had to paint it. There was some graffiti on the retaining
walls on the bicycle path by Gina’s and Harry’s houses – the City removed
that. We will want to go back under the
bridge over Greenbelt Road
and paint over that graffiti.
passed around an artist’s rendition of the proposed Hilton Hotel, which Mr.
Vogel will be developing. It will be
where Merchant Tire, Jerry’s, and the old Alario’s building currently are. He had to shorten the building in order to
meet FAA restrictions. The driveway
would line up with Berwyn House
Road – they’re negotiating that access now.
was adjourned at 10:00 pm.