September 20, 2011
Today we had another round of discussions about the county’s take home
vehicles. The proliferation of these vehicles and the county’s
inability to properly manage the system has been a running problem for
decades. In 1992 and again in 2001 there were major council initiated
investigations into the problem, finding each time that the county was
failing to collect payments from many employees for their commutes.
The estimate at the time was over $200,000 in lost collections per
year. This year at my request the T/E committee reviewed take home
vehicles again and found the same situation occurring! The
administration has cut the number of take home assigned vehicles by
14% in response and has instituted new procedures to reclaim money
owed to the county going forward. Whether this can really work given
the repeated failures over the years is something I am considering
After the busy day of council work I went to a dinner organized by
Bethesda Green at Chef Tony’s focusing on “farm to table” issues.
With 40% of county land set aside for agricultural uses, we actually
have very little “table food” farming. It’s something we need to
August 18, 2011
Are you in a farm share? For the past few years I have shared a
subscription to the Licking Creek Farm run by Esther Siegel and Mike
Tabor. From spring through late fall, we get a weekly pickup not far
from the house of organic produce from their farm in PA. It’s been a
good experience although I will confess the extra trip for food is
sometimes a challenge.
In any event I was reading about a city council that organized a “CSA”
or farm share for council members and staff and I thought we should
try that! But maybe we could also persuade all county agencies to
host a CSA for their employees, from farms here in Montgomery County.
If folks could pick up the produce at their offices that would be a
big bonus. So I tossed the idea over to Steve Silverman and Jeremy
Criss at the Department of Economic Development and Bruce Adams in the
Office of Community Engagement. I was particularly inspired to make
the suggestion after reviewing an invitation to an event at The Red
Wiggler Farm, based in the Ag Reserve. These things all fit together.
We’ll see where this goes…
And I would be remiss if I did not note that Karen Jackson Walker, my mother
in law, is working hard to promote CSAs from her position at USDA,
where the initiative is a big policy priority. All in the family!