GRANOLAPARK: All a-tingle

PHOTO: Ward 1 candidate Peter Kovar’s signs were the first to go up in that ward’s city council campaign. Another candidate, Victor Thuronyi announced his campaign early this week. Photo by Bill Brown.


Dear Readers,

Feel that cool tingle in the air? That’s not fall weather, that’s the upcoming Takoma Park city election. Excitement molecules are building up in the local atmosphere. There will be a big release of them NEXT TUESDAY, Sept. 29.

That’s the city’s Nominating Caucus. If you don’t know, that’s a public meeting where city council and mayoral candidates are nominated, then seconded. This puts them on the ballot.

Political geeks will be watching who the nominator and seconders are. This is where candidates show off their clout and depth of support.

Elected officials rank first, the higher the office, the better. Next are neighborhood association presidents, then respected, politically-active residents, then minority-group and low-income residents. Spouses and family members are at the bottom of the scale, in fact they sometimes count as detriments.

The candidates themselves do not speak.

They’ll be speaking plenty in the weeks to come. Don’t forget that the Voice’s Candidate Forum will be Wednesday, Oct. 21.

Election Day is Nov. 3, but there are early-voting days, too. Check the calendar.

A contest!

We won’t know until the caucus is over, but at this point there is only one contest. That is in Ward 1. Peter Kovar announced a few weeks ago, and his campaign yard signs are up already. Victor Thuronyi announced his campaign early this week.

Summing up the candidate’s positions stated on their websites, Kovar stresses long-term planning and making government more responsive and accountable. He lists development, diversity and affordability, public safety and library renovations as his important issues.

Throughout his statements a theme emerges – concern for low income, renters, and youth.


Peter Kovar. Photo provided by campaign.

Thuronyi proposes big changes – reducing the number of wards from six to four and creating two at-large candidate seats. He also proposes increasing mayoral and council member salaries. This would lead to a more diverse council, he says.

He wants the city to do more to reduce its carbon footprint – to be a model for the nation. He also wants to take on state and national issues such as death-with-dignity legislation.

Other issues he mentions are police/community relations, plain-language city code ordinances, more citizen involvement, updating the nuclear-free zone ordinance and restoring the city’s tool library.


Victor Thuronyi. Photo provided by campaign.

To recap the pre-campaign season campaign, campaigning started months earlier than usual when Mayor Bruce Williams announced he would not run for re-election. That was in July.

Two candidates quickly stepped forward: Kate Stewart, city councilmember for Ward 3, and Seth Grimes, councilmember for Ward 1.

Then Seth Grimes had second thoughts and announced that not only was he not running for mayor, he was not running for re-election.

This left one candidate in the running for mayor (which could change at the nominating caucus), and two empty councilmember seats.

All of the other council members are running for their own seats – so far as we know.

This just in

, who follows the city council for FUN (obviously insane) tweeted today, Friday Sept. 15, “BREAKING: Rizzy Qureshi to run for Ward 3 council seat.”
We have no confirmation as of yet. This is officially a rumor.

Nuclear-free free?

Guardians of the city’s Nuclear-Free Zone Ordinance were upset with Tim Male’s comment – in his ward newsletter – that he favored “eliminating our Nuclear-Free committee, . . .”

This was an inflammatory remark that may have caused readers to overlook the rest of the sentence in which he proposed combining nuclear-free zone criteria with other “general sustainability criteria” for city contractors. So, he wasn’t necessarily saying get rid of the ordinance. He also proposed “moving the functions of the committee to the Committee on the Environment.” Its not clear whether he proposes moving NFZ committee members to that committee as well.

Male did not bring up the subject in a city council discussion on city committees Sept. 21. They discussed making changes that would involve them more in interviewing prospective committee members, and more in committee functions.

As usual, the council should have just shut up and listened to council member Fred Schultz. “I don’t understand what problems we’re trying to solve here.” he said. “I don’t want to manage any committees.”

He objected to changes that would create more workload for council members. Wise fellow.

Unfortunately, the rest of the council was intent on tinkering, then tinkering with each others tinkering.

Class warfare

Battling for middle-class values over those of the poor and working-class, the city council raised objections to the building of a Taco Bell at the corner of New Hampshire Avenue and Holton Lane. The neighborhood – the one beyond the strip malls lining New Hampshire Avenue, is largely Hispanic, immigrant and lower-income living in rental apartments.

Apparently the council has abandoned these neighbors and are catering to the neighbors-to-be. They’ve let the counties (Prince Georges and Montgomery) proceed with development plans calculated to drive out the low-income people and gentrify the area. All in the name of the Purple Line.

We remember when the counties sold the Purple Line by saying it would enable the low-income workers in that area – Langley Park – to commute to their menial jobs in Bethesda. Of course, they must have known that by the time the Purple Line was built, those low-income workers would be pushed out.

– Gilbert


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