GRANOLAPARK • BY GILBERT
Just for you, this evening – Oct 1 – the Granolapark staff will report from the scene as the fist-clenching excitement builds. Watch history-in-the-making unfold at the Takoma Park city council chambers as nominations are made for mayor and city council seats. Election Day, Tuesday Nov. 5 is just 5 weeks away! You can also watch on the city cable-tv channel or live streaming online.
10:00 pm: It comes down to this – the November city election will have only one race. That race is in Ward 4 between incumbent Terry Seamens and third-time challenger Eric Mendoza.
The irony is riper than a teenager’s unwashed socks. This is the council that reformed the voting laws, embroiling the city in angry controversy over giving 16-year-olds the vote, opened up new opportunities to register – including election day itself, and forced landlords to open apartment building halls so candidates could knock on renter’s doors.
All of which will be useless this election – except in Ward 4, which in recent elections had around 200 votes cast. That’s less than half the votes cast in wards dominated by single-family homes, such as Wards 1, 2 and 3. But around the same as the other renter/apartment building-dominated Wards 5 and 6
So, as small as the potatoes reaped in the voting reform harvest are this election, it will be a test to see if the reformers GUESSED correctly what reforms will bring more voters to the polls. We emphasize GUESSED because as avid as they were to engage more renters in the election process, they didn’t bother to survey them to find out why they are unengaged.
We’ll see if dropping the voting age to 16 brings that demographic to the polls. Eric Mendoza’s campaign rhetoric has centered on representing “youth” in his last two campaigns. Very likely he will attempt to register teens.
Before you Dear Readers start wailing about how uncontested races show apathy and an uninvolved citizenry and how this is the death-knell of democracy, consider the following.
The people HAVE voted. They voted with their butts – kept firmly at home – to keep those people in office, because the incumbents haven’t done so awful a job at it that they don’t need replacing.
That’s the voter’s opinion, mind you, not Your Gilbert’s.
Now, on to the campaign!
8:50 All the candidates except Terry are thinking how much money they save on voting signs and literature.
Now all the breast-beating will begin. What’s wrong with us? How awful not to have contested elections. Meh.
8: 48 Our Granolapark staff person announces the Takoma Candidates Forum, Oct 23, probably around 7:30 pm. It should take about 10 minutes or so.
8:44 NO other nominations for Ward 3. So, only one
8:36 Ward 3 – the last one. Incumbent Kay Daniels-Cohen is nominated by her brother Buddy. Reading her long list of civic involvement. It goes “on and on and on” he says.
The food trucks she got into Takoma Junction get mentioned by Buddy and the seconder.
We’ll be surprised if there are any challengers. Kay, who has struggled with health problems, yet missed only one meeting, is a sentimental favorite.
Many other accomplishments listed, just under the 3 minute time limit.
Jack Cohen, so far the only spouse to speak. He’s in support, fear not.
8:34 Ward 4 nominations closed. No other candidates.
8:30 OK, take 2. Here goes the FIRST NOMINATION OF A CHALLENGER. It was almost a no-hitter.
Eric Mendoza is nominated. As in previous campaigns, he’s touted as the youth representative.
THIS time they got a seconder. It was omitted last time, which got Mendoza disqualified.
8:23 Oops, that didn’t go as planned. Somebody tried to second Eric Mendoza before they were done with Terry’s seconds.
Ah, Eric Mendoza. Here we go again. He tried to run against Terry last election. The previous election he nominated Terry for mayor, after a passionate speech praising him to the end of the universe. Then he got nominated to run against Terry.
One of Terry’s several seconders.
8: 15 Ward 4, Terry Seamens nominated. “I nominate Terry Seamens,” – the entire speech. Short and sweet – got appreciative applause and laughter.
Seconded by mother of man who the Seamens took into their home.
Pat Loveless, of course, has to second him. As usual, hard to get him to stop.
Pat Loveless with red peace sign, speaks from the back of the room.
8:12 Ward 5. Councilmember Jarrett Smith nominated and seconded. “Small in size, but likes to do big things.”
And . . . no other nominations, again.
8:10 Ward 1 – Seth Grimes nominated, seconded. Short and sweet. NO other nominations
Rumors that there may be a contest in Ward 4. But, no others.
8:07 NO contest in Ward 2. No other nominations.
8:05 Also seconded by Julie Taddeo, the other Safe Grow organizer. Says she’s impressed by how late the council works on meeting nights. Yeah, well, when you introduce controversial ordinances those public meetings get pretty long.
7:59 Ward 2 now. Tim Male, incumbent is nominated by one of the Safe Grow organizers, Catharine Cummings.
7: 58 NO other nominations for Ward 6. Whew, says Fred.
7:55 Three nominators. Showing a lot of support. Fred’s not taking any chances. He had a close shave last time when Barry Howard put up a powerful campaign that lost by not too many votes.
7:51 Ward 6 nomination underway for Fred Schultz the incumbent. A nomination and one second.
Wow, that nomination/seconding for Mayor Williams was vastly understated compared with last election. No state legislators, no overwhelming roster of every important group in town.
7:47 Nope, that’s ALL for mayor, and no other nominations. The night’s first uncontested race.
7:45 Next seconder is Jay Keller from Ward 3. Will he get a second from representatives from each ward? 5 to go if that’s the case.
7: 40 Mayor Bruce Williams seconded by former Ward 2 councilmember Colleen Clay. Says Bruce is a great facilitator.
7:30 – Hard to move in the huge crowd.
The city auditorium a few minutes before the caucus. Not exactly standing-room only.
Jessie Carpenter, city clerk reads the ground rules. Marilyn Abbott serving as secretary.
Nominations for Mayor are beginning. Nominating Bruce Williams, incumbent.
The crowd HAS beefed up to around 40.
City councilmember Jarrett Smith, the newest councilmember – won the Ward 5 seat in an off-year special election.
He’s hitting the first mark – Tax Duplication, the issue that must be named.
Jarrett Smith nominates Mayor Bruce Williams.
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