Friday, January 1, 2016

Write In

Stephen Del Giudice, Takoma Park mayor from 1985 to 1990, died in December.  Del Giudice famously defeated incumbent mayor Sam Abbott by 8 votes in 1985, running on a platform whose first plank emphasized a more conciliatory approach to city unification.  A Hillwood Manor resident, Del Giudice was elected to the Prince George's County Council as a write-in candidate in 1990.  Of course, it helped that his opponent had been indicted for campaign fraud ("We are called upon to decide, inter alia, whether an office holder and candidate for political office can be convicted of stealing from "his" campaign committee's funds."  Apparently, they can, even in Maryland.) before the primary and then convicted prior to the general election, thus making him ineligible to hold elected office.  In that position, Del Giudice helped persuade the county's council and legislative delegation to not oppose a referendum on city unification, which was held in 1995 and returned a vote for unification in Montgomery County.  As a result of the efforts of Del Giudice and others, my property subsequently became part of the county in 1997.

It's also interesting to note the other plank of Del Giudice's platform, which called for greater community participation in development matters.
Any strategy for revitalization of Takoma Park's business districts must begin with community involvement in the initial development of use, design and implementation plans. Cooperation among developers, citizens and public officials will encourage effective use of all private and public funds, and will ensure preservation of the residential and historic character of our town. We have not always proceeded with these clearly defined goals. Unfortunately, Old Town now faces the redevelopment of a large tract of property located within Takoma Park and the District of Columbia. Our community has been excluded from initial planning discussions with the developer and our neighbors in D.C. because the current mayor has again adopted a confrontational approach. We would be best served by working with developers and our neighbors in the planning stage. We must do a better job of obtaining and making good use of all available public funds. The state of Maryland has funding programs that can greatly assist with commercial development, infrastructure repair and historic preservation. We must work with state and county officials to obtain this money, which will allow for better fiscal planning and overall development. 
Unfortunately, this statement would still be relevant in a city election platform today with only minor alterations.

No comments:

Post a Comment