Published on: Tuesday, June 5, 2018 City Council & Mayor Blog

A blog from Councilmember Seamens: "We're all in this together"

By Councilmember Terry Seamens

Takoma Park has a long history of activism which is derived from and spurred on by the passion of our residents. I have lived in Takoma Park for 35 years and had the privilege of serving as a Councilmember for about 18 years. I have experienced, and been a part of much of the activism. It’s a wonderful characteristic that has put Takoma Park on the map and made our small town known nationally and internationally. I am proud that we stand against injustice and make our voices heard wherever it rears its head. This activism has taken the form of powerful messages to federal lawmakers, protests in the streets of Washington, testimony in front of the State General Assembly, lobbying at Montgomery County Council meetings, public comments at City Council meetings, in blogs, and on listservs.

Today is a time of heightened partisanship and uncertainty, which is exacerbated by claims of fake news, the speed at which information is shared, and the many platforms people now have to communicate. Occasionally, we even see passions get the better of someone and it comes out in what they say and how they act.

I remember how divisiveness reached a fever pitch as the Community Center was being renovated, when the Fire Station was being rebuilt, when Washington Adventist Hospital was trying to expand on their current site, and to a lesser degree when the City was planning the dog park. We have been through this sort of thing many times.  Recent public comments at Council meetings and the ongoing debate regarding the Takoma Junction development shows that we have reached similar levels of passion.

Almost every issue the Council deals with and faces is difficult, even those that don’t seem so on the surface. Very rarely is there across-the-board agreement on anything. However, I believe we are such a strong city precisely because, even when we have strongly divided opinions, we remain civil, respectful and engage in meaningful debate and dialogue.

As we proceed through the difficult Takoma Junction development topic where there are very strong opinions, I hope we can refrain from personal attacks and misrepresentations aimed at strengthening an opinion. We are all in this together. If one thing is clear it’s that we have always had only the best interests of our wonderful, green, diverse, inclusive city in mind and at heart. Together we can reach the compromise that is best for all.