Community Vision for Takoma Endorses Schlegel, Kovar, Swyers, and Smith

Roger Schlegel for Mayor

For the 2020 City elections, Community Vision for Takoma has endorsed:

Roger Schlegel for Mayor (he/him)
CVT is enthusiastically supporting Roger for Mayor, as he will deliver greater transparency, accountability, and public responsiveness for Takoma Park. Roger will bring the City together by addressing the divisions exacerbated by the current administration. He also brings new expertise, education, and broad experience in comparative public administration to:

  • rein in the steady increases in the budget and City staff,
  • reassign resources to support the residents who need them most,
  • embed actions to dismantle systemic racism in all City programs,
  • keep big projects like the Library and NH Rec Center on budget,
  • identify ways to protect and increase affordable housing,
  • hire a new City Manager and restore proper Council/staff power balance,
  • apply a racial and social justice lens to the rethinking of policing and public safety,
  • put meaningful goals and actions into our climate plan and its application to development projects.

Roger has deep knowledge of why the current Takoma Junction plan will not work, and a vision for a consensus plan that will:

  • support local businesses including the Co-op,
  • face the traffic, transit, and safety issues,
  • further our climate goals, and
  • hold the developer to the City’s own vision to bring the community together on public land, rather than exacerbate racial and economic segregation.

It is essential to elect Roger to restore balance between Council and staff, reclaim the budget process, stop the current Junction plan and ensure the Co-op’s future at the Junction, create more effective responses on the urgent issues of racial justice and the climate crisis, and work to unify our community. 

Peter Kovar for Ward 1 Councilmember (he/him) 

Peter (running unopposed) keeps Ward 1 fully informed about City matters, with hard-working outreach and constituent consultation and an obvious commitment to listening and taking into account all perspectives on issues. He seeks progressive solutions for pressing problems in every ward, and clearly explains his positions and votes. Peter has been a consistent voice on the Council for reining in objectionable aspects of the Junction project, like its excessive size and lack of public space; when that effort failed he cast an appropriate ‘no’ vote. Peter will be able to join forces with new Council allies for needed staffing, budget, and management reforms.

Olly Swyers for Ward 3 Councilmember (they/them) 

As a documentarian and activist, Olly is immersed in the key issues of our times including housing insecurity, Black Lives Matter, policing, LGBTQ+ equality, and the climate crisis. Having grown up in Takoma and worked at several local businesses, they have experienced the value of the Co-op and assessed the danger of the proposed Junction plan to accelerate “late stage gentrification.” Olly has clearly stated they are opposed to the current Junction development plan. In contrast, the current Ward 3 representative refused to survey her own constituents or take constructive corrective action on the Junction project until very recently — when residents (and a challenger) rose up. Olly has a keen analytical mind and refreshing combination of energy, Takoma-grown understanding of the City, clarity and fortitude, professional communications skills and political experience, and dedication to justice. It will be exciting to have Olly bring new perspectives and action ideas to the Council.

Jarrett Smith for Ward 5 Councilmember (he/him) 

Among his significant contributions to both Ward 5 and the City at large, Jarrett proposed the City’s original framework for racial equity, later weakened by the Mayor and staff. He has deep experience in housing and tenant/landlord issues and the importance of rent stabilization, and previously served on the City’s Commission on Landlord-Tenant Affairs. He started and obtained funding for the Lunch and Learn program – a successful initiative to provide children with meals, academic support, and enrichment in the summer. He has been a leader in championing the Flower Avenue Green Street Project, and is well-known for the resources he has brought to Ward 5 residents. Jarrett voted no on the last Junction development plan vote, and has stated clearly that the current Junction plan is “not the way to go for this community.” In contrast, Jarrett’s opponent is a newcomer to Takoma Park who lacks experience in City issues or governance, and supports moving forward on the Junction development plan.

Moreover, as the only Black man on the Council, Jarrett’s perspective and opinions, including on the need to dismantle systemic racism, have been prophetic and moving.  His is an essential voice, versed in City history and municipal governance. Jarrett serves on the board of the Maryland Municipal League, and is an adjunct professor, and a graduate student in public administration. With support from a new Mayor, City Manager, and Council, he will be even more effective in enacting his vision for the City, and in representing and bringing resources to Ward 5. 

For more information on these candidates, or to lend them your support, click on the embedded links to their websites above. 

Community Vision for Takoma asked all candidates for City office in the November 3rd 2020 Takoma Park election to provide 200-word responses to three questions–on racial equity, Takoma Junction, and the budget. All of the questions and responses we received are posted here.  The responses informed our decisions on endorsements for this City election. We were not able to consider candidates who did not respond to the questionnaire (or responded after we had posted the initial responses).

If you’re a resident of Takoma Park, please remember to vote–by drop-box, by mail, or in person if you do not receive a ballot in the mail.  If you are registered to vote with the City or State, you should receive your Takoma Park ballot in the mail by mid-October. Any resident age 16 or over is eligible to register to vote in city elections. US citizenship is not required.

Author: Susan Katz Miller

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