November 23, 2011
The morning began with a meeting on the topic of the Metropolitan Branch Trail. At a recent T&E committee meeting I learned that the nonprofit group that manages the historic B&O Train Museum has reversed its position and now refuses to grant the county right of way for the Metropolitan Branch Trail. This is very unfortunate as community and elected leaders rallied behind funding for the restoration of that museum partly on the grounds that it would provide an excellent community asset on the trail. This is an issue we will return to in the capital budget process in January. If you ride the Red Line you may notice how much progress DC has made on the trail — and that the progress seems to stop as you cross into Montgomery County. This segment of the trail is an important issue that needs to be resolved in order to continue forward.
At noon, a meeting with officials from the Housing Opportunities Commission to discuss how to improve production of affordable housing. The council is going to consider a new housing policy in January, although that is more of an aspirational document. I am looking for some concrete steps we can take to support affordable housing production.
Then a meeting with Dick Lipsky, manager of the MCPS TV network, as well as Neil Greenberger, the council staffer who manages our part of the county cable network. We talked about ideas for the future of the cable system and continued the follow up from our last Gov Ops committee meeting, where the focus was on building the system we really want for the future. The cable groups have been discussing a new governance model, which is a helpful step. We are contemplating various recommendations for moving forward and I think there is growing consensus that significant changes are needed.
Next continuing discussions about economic development policy and how the county can be more effective in how we market the county to companies and grow our job base. We’re going to see a lot of policy initiatives next year on this topic and I am very optimistic about where we are headed.
Have a happy thanksgiving everyone!