What Do You Think? The Race to be the Next Mayor of Annapolis
Aug 29, 2017 01:00PM ● Published by Cate Reynolds
At a recent forum featuring four candidates for Mayor of Annapolis, I sat in the back row listening. On the one hand. it was heartwarming to see four passionate individuals inspired to serve our town. My wife, Janice, and I have lived here for 40 years. I have been friends with every mayor (and many candidates too) during this time period. But many of our mayors only serve one term due to some kind of public dissatisfaction. Dennis Callahan, Richard Hillman, Dean Johnson, and Josh Cohen come to mind, all of whom lost their bid for re-election. So, on one hand, it is clear that this year’s race is up for grabs. It seems there are many dissatisfied people these days. Maybe the public angst is spilling over from fractured Washington, D.C. In truth, the people of Annapolis have the ability to fix our own problems. That is why this race for mayor is so important. What do you think? Do we need to change our leadership, or are you satisfied with the way things are working in Annapolis? There is no easy answer.
The mayor sets the city’s agenda and hires the staff, but with only one vote, the mayor has limited power to pass any legislation. The other eight elected members of the City Council all have one vote. Making progress is tricky business. It can be challenging to try to understand what our very diverse citizens want the city to accomplish. There seems to be a constant struggle between and balancing: wanting change and keeping the status quo. The candidates include Democrats—veteran political leader John Astle and successful downtown businessman Gavin Buckley—and Republicans—lawyer Nevin Young and incumbent Mike Pantelides. It was clear to me, throughout the 90-minute forum hosted by Maryland Crabs Podcast and Eye on Annapolis, that the candidates were trying to find that correct balance.
The White House sits just 32 miles away from Annapolis. Every day we hear about the fractured U.S. Government. Everyone in Annapolis wants to see thoughtful decisions rendered on behalf of our historic town. The issues here seem a long way from what is being battled over in D.C. Several of the key issues discussed were: how much development should be allowed inside our city limits; should taxes go up to provide more services; providing ample downtown parking; public safety as a growing problem; the alarming rise of narcotic use; the annoying increase in traffic congestion; cleaning up downtown; improving City Dock; setting environmental priorities; and there was considerable discussion on how to make city government more user friendly.
What do you see as the priority issues the next mayor (incumbent or not) needs to address?
Over the coming weeks before the primary on September 19th and the general election on November 7th, there will be more forums, debates, and kitchen table discussions. It is essential that every citizen vote. The best citizens take the time to be informed. Who should be our next mayor and why? It is up to all of us to make a wise choice.