Fortunately, we have an abundance of qualified and progressive candidates.

Seth Grimes is my clear choice for Mayor. A former Ward 1 Councilmember for two terms, Seth is an extremely hard-working activist who uses a data-driven approach to decisions, plans reforms to make our city government more transparent and engage the considerable talent in our community. Seth’s work is centered on sustainability in all dimensions – social, economic and environmental. He has a strong track record in advancing equity and justice, reforming policing and public safety, housing and public spaces, climate change and other environmental actions. He is an enthusiastic communicator in person and uses a variety of media.

Seth is an environmental leader with a proven track record of initiating, writing and enacting environmental legislation (on pesticides, composting, banning polystyrene and creating the city’s sustainability office) at the local level and working with county and state officials to advance and enact climate and other environmental policy. 

Unfortunately, neither of the other candidates have demonstrated much interest or knowledge about climate change or other environmental issues.

An example of Seth’s thoroughness is getting the facts before acting. He introduced both the Young Activist Act of 2014 (inspired by Takoma Park youth) — Takoma Park’s first-in-the-state ban on polystyrene food serviceware — and 2015 legislation requiring commercial and apartment-building recycling. Seth’s first 2014 draft proposed to require commercial and apartment landlords to collect food waste for composting, building on city curbside collection of food waste. Then he did the research, visiting buildings to learn who their waste disposal companies were and calling each company to find out whether they had capabilities for composting. They did not, making compliance infeasible, so instead he put a composting “placeholder” into the legislation the council passed, a marker for future action.

 Noting that food waste is responsible for 8% to 10% of greenhouse gases globally, Seth promises to advance that action if elected mayor, to bring forward a Takoma Park Zero Waste initiative along the lines of the proposal he developed in 2019-20 as a member of the city Committee on the Environment.

Seth is relentless, which he understands is off-putting to some people. However, I think that our city needs a mayor who is relentless in advocating for all of our residents, making our city government more efficient and responsive, and in working to get more federal, state and county resources. Seth is at the point in his career where he can be a nearly full-time mayor.

My second-choice vote will go to Jarrett Smith who talks about a fresh more open approach to city government. My friends at Community Vision for Takoma have endorsed Jarrett in large part because of his more recent opposition to the proposed NDC development at Takoma Junction. However, if Jarrett and his fellow councilmembers at the time had joined in opposing NDC’s revised plans more than 5 years ago, we would not be at the point of controversy where we are today. I am also concerned about the lack of specificity in Jarrett’s statements and I am unconvinced of the need to cut city services as he proposes.

I will not be voting for Talisha Searcy. I have testified before the Council on three issues recently – in support of the Climate Action Framework resolution, purchase of an EV street sweeper and in opposition to the plans for Takoma Junction. Talisha voted against me every time! 

I am particularly concerned about Talisha’s recent statements about her vote opposing the Climate Action Framework resolution. Talisha says that she opposed this non-binding resolution because of lack of outreach to her ward and to businesses and other residents of the city. This is a cop out. It is Talisha’s duty as a Councilmember to reach out to her constituents and keep them informed and seek their opinion, rather than expecting the one-person city sustainability staff to do so. Other council members held meetings in their wards. Talisha could have done that. Additionally, Talisha introduced at least 3 amendments to weaken the resolution. All of her amendments were rejected by her fellow Councilmembers.