Some Questions for the City Council

Labrador or Labradoodle? I am sure the Council has an opinion they would like to express for us.

The Mayor and City Council's decision to and a constitutional amendment to for the residents of College Park got me thinking. Here are a few more questions that the Council and Mayor might want to give their two cents about for the residents of College Park:

  1. Should Mark Turgeon install Phil Jackson's famous "Triangle Offense" to improve our beloved Terps?
  2. How should Randy Edsall fix the myriad of problems on his team?
  3. Should the Redskins try to get Peyton, trade up for RG III, trade down for picks or just take the best available at the number 6 pick in the draft?
  4. While we are on the Redskins, should Dan Snyder sell the team so we can get a good owner?
  5. Labrador or Labradoodle? 

All kidding aside, what is next? Is the Council going to weigh in for the people of College Park on other potentially divisive issues that do not affect our city—like abortion, immigration reform and gun control?  

This is not about supporting or opposing the legislation they are addressing. It is about them using their public office to express opinions for us. It is the right and responsibility of each individual citizen to speak on important issues such as these to their appropriate elected officials. In cases that directly impact the city, it MAY be appropriate for the Council to weigh in. Our Council, with the exception of Councilman Kabir, obviously felt it necessary to speak for us. 


I suspect the council feels that they can do whatever they want on issues that do not concern the city. I believe that they are emboldened by the fact that most of them do not even have to campaign for their seats on the City Council.

Since these issues do not affect the city or its business, the Council had neither the right nor the responsibility to speak for the people... I wish they hadn't.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Tanweer K. Ahmed January 31, 2012 at 04:11 PM
I'm glad someone finally spoke up and publicly seconded Mr. Kabir on his opposition to the Council expressing opinions on something that has nothing to do with the city. They didn't even bother to find out what the city's opinion is on the issue before voting on it. Seems to me they're in office to do whatever they feel like and don't think they should be accountable to the citizens. And I'm wondering about those cameras, too.
Barry January 31, 2012 at 08:32 PM
I completly agree. I'm pretty sure this was pushed by Patrick Wojahn who is openly gay. Seems pretty self-serving if you asked me...
hmj January 31, 2012 at 10:00 PM
Too much political pandering to some self centered groups that place themselves ahead of the interested of the wider community. It is all about them. The Council sessions are now down right embarrassing ----- more like reruns of Beavis and Butthead episodes.
SF January 31, 2012 at 10:18 PM
100 percent in support of the council on this. It is well within their purview to express their collective views on matters affecting our community.
Rick Hudson January 31, 2012 at 10:41 PM
To say anything Councilmember Wojahn does on the council is self serving is a big reach.The demands on councilmembers time alone for the miniscule financial compensation they receive negate that concept. Additionally, he has spent his entire adult life, or at least it appears so from his city bio, as a dedicated servant to the public. The same sex marriage issue was introduced by another councilmember. He spoke in favor of it, with a very brave statement, as most of the council did. Councilmembers comment on the issues on the agenda, that is what they are supposed to do. My gripe is with it the council, as an entity, speaking for the city residents on social and constitutional mattters that do not directly effect the citiy's business. If you had to get a marriage license form the city, then this would be appropriate. If political campaign giving to candidates for city office wasn't capped at $250, the citizens united case might be their business. Please do not misconstrue this blog as an attack on any individual councilmember. It is not.
Barry February 01, 2012 at 12:19 AM
Like a previous poster said, if the city is going to start to speak for us outside of things that directly relate to the city then we should know when they "run" for office. If the state or fed gov is asking elected officals to "vote" for if they approve gay marriage then I'm 100% ok with that. Otherwise just do your jobs and focus on the things you have a direct influence on.
Barry February 01, 2012 at 12:25 AM
Rick, just because councilmembers work for "miniscule financial compensation" does not mean they can't be self-serving. There is a reason people seek political office and the majority of the time its not because they just want to better the community.
mj23 February 01, 2012 at 12:32 PM
Rick - thank you for these comments as you hit the nail right on. The Council does as it pleases most of the time without considering those they represent. Whether this issues was introduced by another councilmember or not, I feel pretty sure Councilman Wojahn pushed for it. Possible reasons for not introducing it himself was to avoid "self-serving". College Park residents need to pay more attention as a whole to what the council does because decisions THEY make affect ALL of us!!!
hmj February 01, 2012 at 02:07 PM
Agree with others that if you are a far left loon, you need to tell the voters when you are on the campaign trail. Wojahn seems to be very self centered ---- needs to represent all people ( yes, even religious citizens).
Richard February 01, 2012 at 02:30 PM
Rick, you have made your point well and also have tried to keep the conversation about whether the council needs to represents the city's residents on state issues that do not effect the management of the city. I tried to do this in the previous article but there was more interest in talking morality and gay basing. Some responded that there are gays and lesbians in the city, therefor it is a city issue. There are also plenty of people who live here that fled oppressive regimes in other nations. Should the city council petition the UN on there behalf? The residents of College Park are represented at the state level through Jim Rosapepe, Joseline Pena-Melynk, Barbabra Frush, and Ben Barnes. Does anyone here need their contact information?
Barry February 01, 2012 at 05:06 PM
"Some responded that there are gays and lesbians in the city, therefor it is a city issue" I bet there are also some religious people in the city who were not polled or represented. If lets say 50% of the citizens do not support gay marriage why is the council pushing for it when nobody asked them?
Peter February 03, 2012 at 09:05 PM
Rick-Though I do not entirely agree with your blog, I absolutely respect your viewpoint and enjoyed your writing and humor. As to you other people making comments, you are hypocritical bigots and just plain losers. You speak of and cite religion often in the recent comments on this blog and from the previously-related article. Last time I checked, Christianity teaches to love thy neighbor & enemies and to NOT JUDGE...hello!!! Also, we do have a growing Arabic/Muslim community in our city and you do not even allow your women to be seen...if that's part of your beliefs-fine, but it's pretty transparent why you might also be homophobic and very insensitive/intolerant of others. As for council member Kabir: he/you sent an email to your constituents the night before the vote explaining that you would be abstaining but less than 24 hours later, you opposed...??? Please explain this flip-flop and how this hopefully not become a pattern.
Fazlul Kabir February 03, 2012 at 11:04 PM
Peter, Thanks for your comments. In the email you mentioned, I was opposed to the idea of City taking a position, one way or the other. Where is the flip flop? Please see below the text.. Councilmember Kabir, however, intends to hold off his vote until he sees the actual content of the bill. However assuming that it is similar to the one that was introduced in the past years, he thinks the City should not take a position (either for or against) on this proposed bill. Unlike other issues that the Council decides, this bill deals with a social issue which is extremely controversial and touches upon enormously complex and abstract matters such as peoples’ faith and belief system. He has also found many residents oppose the bill because they do not want to see the current official definition of marriage is changed in the State (Article 2-201 Only a marriage between a man and a woman is valid in this State). He is not of the opinion that a few persons on the Council should be imposing their own opinions on thousands of City residents on such a complex and sensitive matter, especially when the State is not asking the City to take a position on this.
Arif February 04, 2012 at 12:00 PM
@Peter, I'm surprised on how Islamophobic your comment was. How dare you accuse someone of phobia when you yourself said one of the most stereotypical statements possible? Please actually speak to a Muslim woman before speaking on their behalf. They're actually using their American freedom to pursue what they believe in. Would you make the same outrageous statements about a Christian nun, or for a Jewish woman that observes head covering? Please think before you write. Ignorance and phobia has no place in our land.
Sean O'D February 05, 2012 at 04:28 PM
Peter, your attack on a city council member begins with a non sequitur on religion and continues with an attack on members of our community. If you had a point it was lost in vitriol. Arif, your resort to political-correctness as a sword to parry is also inappropriate. There is nothing in Peter's post to suggest he has an irrational fear of Islam. There are many fine points to be brought to the fore in this debate, but a running competition of phobia-slinging won't do this.
Dave Kolesar February 07, 2012 at 12:34 AM
While I would agree with the notion that it's a point for legitimate debate as to whether the city should take a position on issues not directly controlled by the city, I call into question the motives here. The council taking a position on a bag tax, the Cafritz property, or County speed camera legislation are all not directly within the city's jurisdiction, but did not generate the indignation as to whether it's proper to vote as when it did concerning the issue of civil marriage. Full disclosure: I am legally married to Patrick Wojahn, and I pay bag taxes (when shopping in DC and Montgomery County), have gotten snared in speed camera traps, and will most likely shop at the Whole Foods. I think it's relevant for the council to make statements on all of those issues, even if and though I did not agree with all of those resolutions. if I do or don't like it, that's why I vote. All of these issues I mentioned except civil marriage for LGBT couples (two consenting adults, mind you) probably touch everyone in the city, and civil marriage certainly won't harm anyone's heterosexual civil or religious marriage. So why the furor over the council taking a position? Is this just code for religious objections? If so, since we do live in a civil secular society, I would strongly suggest leaving those objections at the door. Advocating on behalf of minority populations, be they ethnic, religious, or otherwise, is a noble goal worthy of government at all levels.
Patrick Wojahn February 07, 2012 at 12:53 AM
I'm proud of the vote that I cast to take a stand for full equality in our State and in our City. The laws that our State passes directly impact all of the residents of our City, and while some (who hide behind anonymous pseudonyms) might call me "self-serving" or "self-centered," I voted not just on my own behalf but on behalf of all of the College Park residents who face status as second-class citizens. And I did so to support Councilmember Mitchell and her decision to introduce this resolution, so that we could send a message that College Park is an inclusive and welcoming community, that recognizes the full equality of all of its residents. To suggest that people didn't know my views when they voted for me is just wrong - I've voted yes on similar resolutions for the past four years in a row, as did a large majority of my colleagues.
Patrick Wojahn February 07, 2012 at 01:13 AM
Also, to comment to the Article - Rick, I strongly disagree that these two issues don't impact the City or its business. I've already spoken to the issue of marriage equality. In terms of the Citizens United decision, this goes directly to the City's ability to conduct its elections in a way that is fair and isn't unfairly influenced by people with financial resources. The City Council has chosen over the years to enact strict regulations over how City Council campaigns may be financed, for the purpose of ensuring that we have a truly representative democracy in our City. The Citizens United decision puts those regulations under direct threat of a court challenge. I don't see how anyone could argue that this issue doesn't directly impact how the City is run.
Nick February 07, 2012 at 02:35 AM
Patrick, there you go again, misstating or overstating the law. I will go over it one more time because I might not have been clear. The proposition of Citizen's United you find so objectionable is that corporations are persons entitled to rights under the Constitution. This means that Section 34-14(C), which prohibits political contributions to candidates, is presently unconstitutional. If and when this section is struck down, the impact will be minimal because College Park also limits contributions to $250 per contributor, a limitation that is constitutional. So, under Citizens United, a business should be allowed to contribute to a candidate for elected office in College Park but that contribution could only be $250. You are also misstating what you seek what you call "marriage equality." Marriage has traditionally been (and is presently) defined as a union between a man and a woman. There is very little stopping you from getting married, so long as it is within the recognized definition, i.e., to a woman. I say very little because there are limitations on consanguinity and existing marital state. What you seek is to redefine marriage, so that it is a union between any two consenting adults.
Nick February 07, 2012 at 02:43 AM
If I understand you right, it is a noble goal worthy of government to advocate on behalf of religious minorities so long as those religious minorities are banished from the public square. Or, to put it differently, you are okay with Muslims as long as they aren't Muslimy. I hate to think what you want for our religious majority. Fortunately, as you observe, the United States is a secular society, and, fortunately, it is not an atheistic society. All are welcome to make arguments on whatever basis they choose and the most persuasive will win. With respect to gay marriage, one's view might be informed by religious truth but one's argument might proceed on entirely non-religious principles. Or, one's view might be based on self-interest and proceed accordingly. All views should be allowed. By the way, you are absolutely wrong that gay marriage won't harm the institution of marriage. It will, in fact, completely redefine the institution, obliterating what has been the common understanding for the whole of human history so that it can serve an entirely different (teleological, if you will) purpose.
Patrick Wojahn February 07, 2012 at 03:18 AM
Nick - so I can get married, as long as I get married to a person of the gender you choose? What if I told you that you could get married, as long as you got married to a man? Probably doesn't sound so fair, does it? You're wrong about Citizens United. The holding was that the LIMITS on independent corporate expenditures (aka "soft money") were unconstitutional, not a prohibition on corporate spending. College Park campaign finance rules prohibit any entity from spending money to influence an election unless it is an individual giving money to the campaign itself, and then the campaign itself spending the money. Those rules could be exposed to a Constitutional attack under Citizens United - any corporation (or, for that matter, any person) could spend an unlimited amount of money independently of a campaign and influence a City election.
Dave Kolesar February 07, 2012 at 03:43 AM
It is a worthy goal for government to advocate on behalf of religious minorities, but you are incorrect in assuming that this means that I want them banished from the public square. That goes for religious majorities as well. If I'm not mistaken, a central idea in this country is that anyone can worship as they see fit, or not at all, and the secular government has a role to play in making sure that no one's rights are violated. When it comes to interaction in a secular society, tolerance is key. You tolerate my beliefs, I tolerate yours. All religions are not automatically against civil marriage for same-sex couples, and certainly do not speak as a monolith on the issue (and certainly not with any claim to "truth," not to mention whose "truth?"). So I don't view it as a secular versus religious issue, as I have seen religious beliefs inspire some people to oppose and others to support same-sex marriage. But don't assume that I am anti-religion because I believe in a secular society. As far as whether it harms heterosexual marriage, we'll probably just have to agree to disagree rather than resorting to "yes it is, no it's not" arguments. My opinion: it acknowledges families that are already there. The definition has never been static throughout history. But I've had people blame me, as a gay man, (in all seriousness) for wars, famine, pestilence, the downfall of modern society, etc, and the only thing I can say is "my bad, I'll do better next time." Cheers :)
Lee Havis February 07, 2012 at 10:35 AM
Patrick: Same-sex "marriage" isn't just "neutral" to society; it affects everyone because it is imposed on all by government. Once you establish this "right" it opens up a whole range of new rights based on "equality" in all related areas as well. For example, the "right" to enter and use the bathroom facilities of your "orientation" The next phase of exerting this new right is then to force private religious organizations to grant adoptions and conduct marriages to same-sex couples, or face legal sanctions under "equal rights" "uni-sex" or "gender-alternative" bathroom facilities under building codes. The same-sex "marriage" creates a new protected category of "gender-alternative" person, presumably determined by the person involved. Maybe there could be false claims of "gender-orientation" or people could change their minds to gain advantage and control of others. The point is, it's not about "equality", or private, personal choice, it's about government forcing on everyone something that some in society strongly oppose for many reasons. The issue fits into the whole "entitlement" concept to get government to give free money and benefits to some that everyone else must subsidize, whether they agree or not. This is abuse of the role of government in US. Unless halted, it will lead to dictatorship and the equality of the graveyard - everyone equally dead.
Nick February 07, 2012 at 02:21 PM
Then it is worse than I thought! Yes, the issue before the Supreme Court in Citizen's United was the limits BCRA put on independent political expenditures by corporations and unions. But if this is how you justify voicing an opinion on a Federal constitutional matter than you have been misrepresenting facts to the people of College Park. NOTHING... I repeat NOTHING in College Park's code limits or prohibits independent expenditures by corporations or unions. Or, to put it differently, the code "does not prohibit a business entity from independently promoting or opposing candidates by means of election advertisements or other published or distributed political matter." Truth be told, the reasoning (which those of political stripe find objectionable) is that corporations are guaranteed rights under the First Amendment. But I'll take you at your word... and, again, based on your word, COLLEGE PARK HAS NO INTEREST IN VOICING AN OPINION ON CITIZEN'S UNITED! This is pure political posturing for council members with partisan ambition. As for marriage, no one is telling you who you can marry, as long as you aren't already married or you aren't trying to marry a close relative. What you want is something that is presently understood as not marriage. So, in reality, you want to non-marry another man but to do non-marry you must destroy marry. Seems pretty clear to me.
hmj February 07, 2012 at 09:17 PM
It is wacky to think that this will not impact the larger society. Next will be the Warren Jeffs clones that think marriage should not be limited to just two people. And the Dems that favor a much lower age of consent ( Jerry Sandusky types) will join the race to the bottom too. They don't want to be limited either.
Peter February 07, 2012 at 11:56 PM
Hey 'hmj'-get a clue! Neither Jeffs or Sandusky are upstanding gay citizens...please stop using this idiotic argument!!! Jeffs is a polygamist and Sandusky happens to be a conservative republican Catholic from your GOP. Please stop making ignorant comments for your own sake & if you choose to continue, please use a real name and stop hiding your biggotry and close-mindedness behind 'hmj.' Thanks.
Peter February 08, 2012 at 12:01 AM
A little paranoid Lee...jeez...get a life! PLEASE! You suck and your comments are even worse. You are an extremely poor example of a teacher/person and I truly feel for the students at the Montessori School. Why don't you move to California...oh wait, they just ruled that the ban on same-sex marriage was UNCONSTITUTIONAL!!!! The world is coming to an end! You should go into hiding immediately!
Barry February 08, 2012 at 01:46 AM
The point is there is no reason for the city council to voice "their" opinion about this matter. Nobody cares if the city is for or against it. As a citizen it just comes off as self serving when this happens. The same way if you were to voice your support for starving children of Africa which is a much more important then gays being allowed to have a title of "marriage" conveyed to them. And yes, starving children in Africa is important to the citizens of CP.
Rick Hudson February 10, 2012 at 06:06 PM
This issue is very similar to the bag tax that was just killed by a state committee. I was opposed to the bag tax, however I am just as much against the a state committee arbitrarily deciding that Montgomery County can have a bag tax and we cannot. They should have stayed out of both discussions. Thoughts?
Nick February 13, 2012 at 02:29 PM
I believe PG county government went to the state legislature as a way to get around PG's requirement that new taxes be brought to the people. Montgomery County doesn't have this sort of good-government limitation, so they can impose onerous taxes against the will of its citizens.


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