July 18th, 2007

we can't teach what we don't know
  • uu_mom

The District V Coffee Club Rocks!

I've avoided the District V Coffee Club meetings even though I've heard about them from many different people and been invited to join. I'm active locally & interested, but I think my introversion and the close quarters of their public meeting space at the Starbucks inside Safeway has been a subconscious deterrant. Well, I was out for other reasons this morning & decided to go grocery shopping and there they were.

There were about 25 people having a heated discussion, but very well controlled by the facilitator, Carolyn Lowe. I missed the first half of the meeting, but maybe I'll read about it in the paper since there were two reporters there. The second half of the meeting was about Wilmer's Park, which I'll address below, but my point for this post is that I was really impressed with this group. It is what I love about Prince George's County: DIVERSITY! There were young & old, business-owners, blue collar workers, people who are retired, mothers accompanied by their children, relative newcomers, people who've lived here all their lives, almost every shade of skin & hair color, and probably a lot of other descriptions, but I didn't know them all. I can only assume that there was diversity of religion and educational background and many other ways; there was certainly diversity of ideas there. The one thing we all have in common is that we're Prince Georgians who want to help make this area a pleasant place that we can live for as long as we can.

OK, on to the issue of Wilmer's Park (recent story here):

I live in Brandywine & I know both sides of the issue well (or maybe I should say, the many sides). I know most people are thinking "sneaky developer trying to get through the process by using his powers through the politicians & this bill." I really don't know all of why he is not going through the regular development process - text amendments shouldn't be used and he's been told that repeatedly by residents he's spoken to about his plans. I guess the process must be expensive, but apparently other developers do it, so I'm really not clear about that. I think our legislators are as much to blame about trying to use this bill as a means to circumvent the process, though.

Our democratic process is important and the people need a voice in what happens in our community. The developer says he wants to develop true community, but if he does, he should understand about this point of it. If the system needs to be fixed, then we need to fix it instead of finding ways around it. I hope we can work together to develop something that we can all live with.

[Note: I noticed a Washington Post article about a personality that used to perform or MC at Wilmer's Park, Petey Greene, since there's a movie out about him and a video on YouTube.]