GRANOLAPARK • BY GILBERT
It’s not a slate, it’s not a cabal, it’s not a coalition, it’s not an alliance, it’s not a party – it’s an . . . endorsement club? Three Takoma Park city council candidates have endorsed each other, yet they have no common proposals or program. What they do have in common, they say, is that they work together well.
Apparently the Takoma Junction Task Force is a hotbed of political endorsement. All three candidates: Seth Grimes (Ward 1), Lorig Charkoudian (Ward 2), and Kay Daniels-Cohen (Ward 3) serve together on that task force – the latest in a long line of citizen groups studying the perpetually failing, traffic-choked Takoma Junction. The three decided they work well together, declared their interests in running for council, and pledged their mutual support. This, they say, was before they knew about any other declared candidates.
Takoma Park being a small town, this in itself has boiled up as a character issue, especially in Ward 2. There are resentful mutterings on all sides about who decided to run first, who knew about other candidates when, who didn’t talk to whom before endorsing whoever, and who do they think they are, anyway? Candidates are touchy about it – giving defensive, biblically-long stories about the genesis of their campaigns. Partisans say the shortcomings supposedly revealed by these events show how EVIL the opponent is. These partisans sidle up to Your Gilbert, nudging him and pointing out the opponent’s cloven hooves and devil’s horns. “Off the record,” of course. Where it will stay.
[Your Gilbert feels so Pure and Above It All, now. We deserve a drink!]
The three agree that the TJTF was the cradle of their not-exactly-an-alliance. As Grimes tells it, they observed on the task force that their working styles were compatible. The others say pretty much the same thing, but Charkoutian adds that they are united in their aim to make the city council more proactive. Daniels-Cohen says it is also a “get out the vote” effort. A more personal aim, she says, is to get more women on the council.
The other Ward 2 candidate, Tim Male says he is puzzled by the endorsement group, as it has “no specific agenda.” Male was recently targeted by Charkoudian’s endorser Seth Grimes. Grimes, running unopposed in Ward 1, criticized Male on community discussion lists, casting him as anti-tree. It’s all in the political game, however. Grimes says that, should Male beat Charkoudian, he could work equally well with Male.
Mike Graul, one of the three candidates in Ward 3 had no comment on the endorsement group. He says he has not been targeted by other members of the group.
Charkoudian in Ward 2 started out with an endorsement deficit. Now, however, she has endorsements from two former mayor/ councilmembers: Cathy Porter and Ed Sharp, and Tom Perez, former president of the Montomery County Council. Male, the other Ward 2 candidate, was endorsed by, among others, sitting councilmember Colleen Clay, and former councilmember Carol Stewart.
With 6 days to go before the Nov. 8 election, the candidates we contacted said they would spend their remaining time going door-to-door, leafletting, greeting voters at the local food coop and the Sunday farmers market, and so forth. Seth Grimes, though running unopposed, says he will still knock on doors and attend the farmers market. At this point, it’s a get-out-the-vote effort.
Tim Male reports that the experience of going door-to-door is “affirming,” as he encounters people, more than he expected, who are newly engaged in city issues and politics.
Ward 3 candidates Mike Graul and Kay Daniels-Cohen both said they were hoping to bring more voters to the polls. The city tends to have low voter turnouts. Graul says he aims to get Ward 3’s vote up to 20% of the voting population.
It is hard to say how the race is going in Ward 3. Both Graul and Jeffrey Noel-Nosbaum decided against using yard-signs, the usual method of showing candidate preference – and of measuring support percentages.
The big question
The question on everyone’s mind (“everyone” meaning the half-dozen Takoma Park politics junkies) is whether Seth Grimes will hold his biannual election prediction contest! This year Grimes is a candidate, himself. He’s unopposed, however, so he has the time – between vacuuming his car and rearranging his silverware drawer – to organize the contest this year. That’s what he told us, anyway. Watch this space, and get your calculators out!