So much is happening at the moment. Today I’ve been looking for a job where I can innovate and collaborate, meeting for coffee with Jim Pinheiro to review a map proof, putting together a presentation for the fall Pennsylvania Greenways conference, helping WikiMapping clients make their sites multi-lingual, working on maps for a history book of Jenkintown, responding to the League of Women Voters questionnaire, and typing up meeting notes.
Here are some maps I made:
Marion Rosenbaum, through a contract with the Old York Road Historical Society, is writing a book about the history of Jenkintown. Jenkintown has lots of history. The first house we owned had been the home of the inventor of bubble gum. The first owners of our current house owned a toy factory that made little grand pianos sold in department stores, kind of like the one Schroeder plays in the Peanuts Comics.
Marion wanted to distinguish between Jenkintown Borough (where the TV Show, The Goldbergs, is based on) and Jenkintown zip code (19046), where Bradley Cooper is from. 19046 includes areas of Abington even though people refer to it as Jenkintown. And finally, she wanted to show the creeks and the Tookany/Tacony Creek Watershed.
These maps gave me a chance to use a combination of QGIS and Affinity Suite and were a fun diversion. My professional work is done mostly in Adobe, but using different kinds of software helps me to think differently.
My responses to the LWV questionnaire:
BA Macalester College & Masters in Urban Studies, Temple University
What do you see as the biggest challenge your municipality faces at this time, and how would you address it?
Jenkintown is adding a lot of apartments. This is great for a walkable environment and has potential to increase demand for local services. At the same time, growth like this can have a negative impact on both adjacent neighbors and also adds demands on school staff and classrooms. Jenkintown is a resourceful school district, but Borough Council and the School Board will need to improve communications with residents about the challenges so that we can collectively address these challenges. As a member of Borough Council, I will work to convey what is happening. Whether we serve on Borough Council or not, we all need to be constructively discussing problems with our neighbors. We are all responsible for improving our community.
What are your top three priorities for your municipality, and how would you address and pay for them? Please be specific.
My top priority is to develop a photo calendar like Abington’s that features groups (government, school, churches, and others). By knowing each other’s names, it makes problem solving easier. My second priority is to get families on bikes. Bicycling and walking are fun, and people should feel safe being physically active outdoors. Many people have bikes that they aren’t using. We need to coordinate our neighbors in Abington and Cheltenham because bikes often take us beyond municipal borders. We need to be selling Jenkintown to our residents. We need to keep pursuing inclusivity. If you live in Jenkintown, you should feel like you belong here – that you are home. I’m still learning about the budget and will share what I learn.
Recent changes to the Pennsylvania Sunshine Laws specifically require key deliberations be done in open meetings, including by Board committees. What steps will you take to ensure these laws are adhered to?
Communication with stakeholders takes time and effort above and beyond attending meetings. I value open meetings, and I know how much effort it takes to communicate what’s going on with others. If I think someone is asking for large amounts of information or making frivolous requests, it pays to wonder “Why?”. People can be frustrated by misconceptions about a situation, and it’s helpful to try to understand where they are coming from. I know I’ve been frustrated by decisions made in a seemingly black box at times.
To address growing financial challenges, some local governments are considering various measures, including joint service provision and/or regional consolidation and the increase of current taxes or the implementation of new taxes. What do you see as the pros and/or cons of these approaches for your area?
This is something I don’t have an answer for yet. I’ll research this.