Who won?

Dear Readers,

Now that the Takoma Voice Candidate Forum is over, the hot issue on everyone’s mind is: who won the bingo game?

We are pleased to report that S. Leitch came in with the high score of 15 points. Second was former councilmember Hank Prensky with 10 points.

Prensky garners another 2 points for noting how many times each key word or phrase was uttered, and by whom. It makes an interesting gauge of what issues figured most prominently.
down to “Special Local Events” and click on 2009.

You can also see it rebroadcast on Takoma Cable TV at the following times:

Thursday, Oct. 29, 12:00 noon
Saturday, Oct. 31, 12:00 noon, 8:00 pm
Sunday, Nov. 1, 3;00 pm and 11:00 pm

There were about 35 people present to observe the forum. They were well behaved. There were no outbursts, only a few murmurs of approval for Ward 4 Councilmember and candidate Terry Seamen’s when he spoke about the difficult economic times his constituents were experiencing.

The statement that most stirred up the audience and the candidates was a proposal from Ward 4 candidate Eric Mendoza that he would like to cut funding for the city police and divert it to youth activities.

All of the candidates presented themselves credibly. We have a serious crop of them this election year.

They have been sent a questionnaire with questions from the audience and viewers, and questions from the Voice staff that didn’t get covered in the forum. Their responses have been posted on the Voice site.
And, don’t forget to vote! Polls Takoma Park Community Center – Sam Abbott Citizens’ Center, 7500 Maple Avenue. The polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Vote at the Community Center on November 3!
(continued)


Here is a list of the words/phrases and the number of utterances. Regrettably, some of the results are skewed, since Ward 6 candidate Navid Nasr mischievously listed several of the bingo words in his introduction speech. Clearly, Mr. Nasr is trouble!

budget, 5
crime, 4
New Hampshire Ave.,4
taxes, 3
sustainability, 3
Washington Adventist Hospital, 2
rent stabilization, 2
Old Town, 2
traffic calming, 2
diversity, 2
storm water, 1
tax rebates, 1
committee, 1
Public Works renovation, 1
Chief Ricucci, 1
forgotten ward, 1
Crossroads, 1
livability, 1

Also interesting were the words not spoken:

Sam Abbott – no peans to the feisty, deceased former mayor, OR to his widow Ruth, who recently passed away!
Belle Ziegler – same for the recently deceased driving force behind the city’s annual Fourth of July parade and fireworks display.
Takoma Junction – The areas of Old Town and New Hampshire Avenue were discussed, but not T. J.
TASDI – that’s right, nobody mentioned the TASDI report, perhaps because efforts to secure tax money the city says the county owes it have stalled, and conventional wisdom is that it is a pointless pursuit now that the county is having to cut back its own expenditures.

Dear Readers, it is probably best if you watched the forum yourselves, rather than have us tell you what happened.

It can be viewed online

Scroll down to “Special Local Events” and click on 2009.

You can also see it rebroadcast on Takoma Cable TV at the following times:

Saturday, Oct. 31, 12:00 noon, 8:00 pm
Sunday, Nov. 1, 3;00 pm and 11:00 pm

There were about 35 people present to observe the forum. They were well behaved. There were no outbursts, only a few murmurs of approval for Ward 4 Councilmember and candidate Terry Seamen’s when he spoke about the difficult economic times his constituents were experiencing.

The statement that most stirred up the audience and the candidates was a proposal from Ward 4 candidate Eric Mendoza that he would like to cut funding for the city police and divert it to youth activities.
All of the candidates presented themselves credibly. We have a serious crop of them this election year.

They have been sent a questionnaire with questions from the audience and viewers, and questions from the Voice staff that didn’t get covered in the forum. Their responses have been posted on the Voice site.

And, don’t forget to vote! Polls Takoma Park Community Center – Sam Abbott Citizens’ Center, 7500 Maple Avenue. The polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Vote at the Community Center on November 3!
– Gilbert.

About the Author

Gilbert
Gilbert is the pseudonym of a hard-bitten, hard-drinking, long-time Takoma Park resident who maintains the granolapark blog. Gilbert and William L. Brown — Granola Park's mild-mannered chief of staff, researcher, and drink pourer — have never been seen in the same place at the same time.

4 Comments on "Who won?"

  1. Tom Gagliardo | October 31, 2009 at 10:49 am |

    The link to the candidates’ forum is broken.
    Fixed now, we believe.
    – Gilbert

  2. Roger won. His comment on how the room accommodated the crowd was perhaps the most cutting critique of the attitude of the city council and their delusions of grandeur.
    the renovation wasn’t needed.
    We are a small town, not a city and the chambers renovation deserves a chamber pot for inception.
    As Roger said have to distinguish between our wants and needs.
    The mayor and council were caught short by the resistance to the new public works boondoggle.
    If Roger hadn’t objected it would be built and the cost over runs would be covered by tax increases.
    It might yet happen that way.

  3. Lawrence, the project is already underway. It will be built, Roger or no. The renovation is not so much for the council, it is to make the council chambers into a multi-use auditorium. As it is now, the room is only used one day a week for about 4 hours.
    – Gilbert

  4. Colleen Clay | November 3, 2009 at 1:58 pm |

    boondoggle [boon-dog-uhl, -daw-guhl]
    –noun. a project funded by the federal government out of political favoritism that is of no real value to the community or the nation.
    This project has not yet even started, the funding and parameters not solidified. Something will need to be done with the public works site. Status Quo is not an option due to the condition of the facility. As to political favoritism — I fail to see it.
    More importantly though, we need informed dialogue. Characterizing the PW issue as a boondoggle at this juncture doesn’t promote a good dialogue that might lead to the ends the detractors seek.
    Also, while I believe that Seth’s candidacy for Mayor changed the discussion and impacted the direction of the current council, I do not believe Roger’s candidacy will have the same impact. His perception of the power and role of the mayor overestimates the power and control of the mayor over staff and council(mayors have one vote just like the rest of the council), and underestimates the kind of role our recent mayors have embraced and the amount of time it takes to be a good mayor for the city. If Roger had experience in the city, either as a council person, or serving a neighborhood association or council committee, then his campaign might have been more successful, and he might have articulated concrete ideas to achieve his “We can do better.” Want’s vs needs talk in reference to the auditorium or community center may resonate with tax weary homeowners, but in reality, neither of those things resonate with informed voters. Auditorium renovation was funded by grant dollars and the council members and mayor that gave us the community center debt are mostly gone. Those decisions are out the door. What I did not hear, and what I think Takoma voters know they did not hear, is what would be CUT from city services, and the budget impact that would have. I do not see a 51% majority in this city to cut any current service. And not until 4 candidates say they will cut services, and get elected, will you see service cuts, and therefore a significant change in the staffing needs of the city, which drives our budget. Anyone who says they are going to cut the budget and leave services intact is living in la la land. Those cuts have mostly been made. That is why most sitting council members are looking for short and long term revenue enhancement, while trying to hold down the budget as much as possible.
    Like Seth, if Roger had run for the council seat instead of mayor, then he might have a vote/voice on the council, might have become more familiar with all of these issues and the parameters, and might brought his knowledge of public administration to provide some new solutions to some of our challenges. His ideas to sue the county over taxation and expand rent control to the county are budget busters.
    Like his ideas or not, Seth ran a campaign of ideas, and not vague notions like “we can do better” or “wants vs needs.” And that is why I think Seth’s campaign was good for the city, and why I think Roger’s campaign will not have any lasting impact.
    Colleen

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