The following article was published in this week’s Gazette paper.
A Strong Civic association for All North College Park Residents

[In reference to the story], “Proposed household voting limit splits group,” I decided to vote against the amendment because the proposed amendment would have caused serious conflict with the existing bylaws that guarantee membership to all residents living in the North College Park (“Article IV: Membership Section 1: Eligibility. Membership in the North College Park Civic Association shall be open to all residents in the North College Park area”). Limiting the voting memberships to only one or two thus equals to disenfranchisement of many residents who are part of large families living in one household. Most University of Maryland students sharing their houses with their landlords would have lost their voting rights, too. Many members also found it strange that a resident was being denied the chance to vote when the same person just voted to elect their council members two months ago and a president two years ago. The denial of such voting rights is like taking the association backward to a time when women and African Americans were denied their voting rights in this country.

As a NCPCA member of many years, while I think my fellow long-time members deserve recognition for their contributions to the association, they also bear responsibilities in inviting and retaining them in the association. The credibility of our association to the public officials depends much on the strength of our membership. I wonder how credible our association appears to our elected officials when only 0.01 percent of the population votes on an important matter that affects the entire neighborhood. Thus, instead of being welcoming and neighborly to the new members, blaming them as being part of a bloc or branding them as “recruited” will only repel them from the association.

We need to find strength in these new members, especially when our city’s budget is shrinking at an alarming rate and the demand for services are going up.

Fazlul Kabir is secretary of North College Park Civic Association