Democratic Victory in Annapolis

While Republicans may have succeeded in winning the states of New Jersey and Virginia in yesterday’s election, the Democratic party is alive and well in Annapolis. Despite citizen unrest with the large city budget and the series of difficulties that have ensued in the management of the downtown Market House (departing tenants, lawsuits, and a dysfunctional cooling system for the building) , the voters gave their support to the Democratic party contenders in the city of Annapolis. It appears that the liklihood that a certified City Manager form of government be considered by voters is soon to fade into a distant memory. And what about that proposed 4.5% tax cap? Well, that will become a distant memory as well, unless there is a grassroots successful petition drive that manages to put these questions on the ballot to enable voters to directly decide pro or con.
Josh Cohen will be getting right to work in the next week to select his transition team and choose some of the key managers to help run his new administration. It will be interesting to see if he selects any of the former candidates to help create diversity of viewpoints in the new administration. For a rundown on the election results go to WhatsUpMag.com

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Annapolis Mayoral Debate Lively But Long

The most interesting part of the evening was when the candidates asked questions of each other.

Three hundred people gathered last night to hear the three candidates for mayor of Annapolis present their views on why they should be elected in November. For two hours they sat and listened to Josh Cohen, David Cordle, and Chris Fox answer questions posed to them by moderator Chris Nelson, President of St. John’s College. The most interesting part of the evening was when the candidates asked questions of each other.
David Cordle, an Alderman since 2001 wanted to know why voters should believe Josh Cohen would stick to being Mayor of Annapolis when he has a track record of dropping out of one commitment to take on another. He cited Cohen’s dropping out of St. John’s College, running for County Council while still an alderperson, and now running for mayor while sitting on County Council.
Cohen answered with a joke about how easy it is to be accepted into St. John’s if you write a good essay and how difficult it is to drop out. Then he went on to explain that he felt compelled to run for mayor because he grew up in Annapolis and knows he can do a better job of running the city than anyone else.
Cohen wanted to know why Fox had chosen to run for the office of mayor when his platform was so similiar to Cordle’s. Fox responded he had begun his campaign in 2007, long before anyone else had announced their candidacy and that although he was fiscally conservative like Cordle and supported the city manager form of goverment, he was a social liberal and an independent.
Fox asked Cordle if he would be running for mayor if the mayor’s salary was the same as that of an alderperson. Cordle responded “no” and explained he has four children to support , two of which are in college and two more coming up who will be going to college, and that although his wife works, they would need the mayor’s salary.
Cordle asked Fox how he would have the time to devote to being mayor when he owns and runs a business (The Sly Fox pub and restaurant). Fox explained to Cordle that he has very good managers he can rely on and that arranged his schedule so he only works one day a week for six hours.
All candidates agreed that the City has too big a budget with too many overstaffed departments and too many consultants. They talked about how they were going to revitalize the downtown area by hiring marketing professionals who would focus on attracting new businesses into the downtown area, provide more parking opportunities by having all city employees park in lots located outside the city dock region, and set up a better transportation system of buses or trolleys that would be more reponsive to visitor’s needs.
A major difference is their stand on the City Manager form of government. Cordle and Fox would immediately put in an interim City Manager while they conducted a nationwide search for an individual with eight years govenment experience. Cohen believes the mayor should take responsibility for management of the city and be directly responsible to the voters. He would hire a city administrator. also with a strong record of city managerial experience.
(If the City Manager form of governement is adopted , as proposed in the legislation introduced to the council by Cordle, the mayor’s approval would be necessary to either hire or fire the City Manager along with the majority vote of alderpersons. )
In their closing statements Fox told the audience he would bring new blood to CIty Hall, Cohen focused on his expertise in buildling consensus and he knowledge of public land use,budget management, and transportation.
Cordle reminded voters of his record of service to his country in the military and his commitment to Annapolis as an alderperson and board member of the Boys and Girls Club. If you’d like to see and listen to this particular debate in its entirety it was videotaped courtesy of Whats Up? ANnapolis and it is going to be aired on Comcast, maybe Tuesday evening at 10:00 p.m. I will post more details as they become available.

Three Way Annapolis Mayor Race Full of Surprises

Attend the Mayoral Debate on October 22nd and learn where the candidates stand on important Annapolis issues.

I’m seeing plenty of signs, as I walk around Annapolis. Signs for David Cordle, Chris Fox, and Josh Cohen. The majority of downtown is Fox territory. In my neighborhood of Murray Hill, the signage is mixed.
It has been pointed out to me that some of the downtown merchants posting signs are not city residents and will not have the opportunity to vote in the upcoming election. Too bad. The outcome will directly affect their livlihood.
In my position as editor at What’s Up? I’m hearing a lot of folks telling me they are tired of politics as usual and they feel it is time for a change. Does that mean they are going to vote for Cordle, a Republican? Or are they considering the independent, Chris Fox? Other longtime Democrats are confident that voters want an experienced politician and that with the majority of Democrats registered two to one in the City of Annapolis, Josh Cohen will be the victor.
I think there are many voters who have not definitely made their choice of who to vote for and that I would urge everyone who is registered to vote in the City of Annapolis to go to a debate and hear what the candidates have to say about the issues. What are their plans on how to manage The Market House? How do they plan to revitalize the economic health of the downtown area so that people are coming into the city to shop and businesses are thriving and expanding rather than shutting down? How are they going to see that the crimes rates go down rather than up?
Next week on October 22nd, What’s Up? Annapolis will be partnering with the Ward One Residents Association to sponsor a debate at 7:00 at the Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts auditorium. The moderator will be Chris Nelson, president of St. John’s College and the questions will be screened by Howard Ernst a professor at the U.S. Naval Academy and Dan Nataf, professor at Anne Arundel Community College. If you have a question you’d like to pose to the candidates, you can send it to me through this blog prior to October 2lst and I will see that it gets to the panel for consideration.
I hope to see you there!

The Suspense Grows re: Annapolis Mayoral Race

Folks keep asking me for the inside scoop on who I think will win the election, now that Zina Pierre pulled out of the race and the Democratic nominee is literally being selected by committee.
Talking to the business community, there seems to be a lot of support and interest in the candidacy of Chris Fox. Others seem to speculate that with all the criticism of the current administration, city residents are ready to elect a more fiscally conservative Republican–enter David Cordle.
What’s in store for Annapolis? We’ll know more this weekend.

Annapolis Politics at the Murray Hill Picnic

Chris Fox, independent candidate for Annapolis Mayor with Murray Hill residents, Peter and Judy Larson and Ward One Alderperson Dick Israel.
Chris Fox, independent candidate for Annapolis Mayor with Murray Hill residents, Peter and Judy Larson and Ward One Alderperson Dick Israel.

Even though only one of the three candidates for city mayor chose to attend, politics peppered the subject matter of many of the conversations at last night’s Murray Hill Picnic.
Clad in his bright yellow tee shirt, independent candidate Chris Fox was busy chatting up prospective supporters while other attendees talked about the prospects of Democratic candidate Zina Pierre who grabbed the front page newspaper headlines twice in one weekend by first withdrawing and then announcing her intent to stay in the race.
Miscommunication between staff and candidate was not as much as concern to voters as the lack of research that was done by the democratic party or the press prior to the election on the court records of the various candidates. Neither Pierre or Republican candidate David Cordle attended the picnic (at least not while I was there between 5:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.).

“I’ve always been in favor of a city manager form of government and my platform has not changed,” Chris Fox told me, “I refuse to get involved in any type of personal attacks on the other candidates. I’m interested in running a clean straightforward campaign.” While the hundred plus attendees from the neighborhood filled their plates with food, Fox made the most of the opportunity to talk one on one with voters residing in the Ward one neighborhood of Murray Hill. Residents posed questions on taxes, economic growth, and accountability , while others questioned how no one has bothered to thoroughly investigate the financial past of all the candidates until after the primary had taken place.

The usual array of delicious food overwhelmed the table and sideboard inside the home of Lynne and Brad Davidson, who generously opened their home once again for the annual picnic event. Fresh salads, barbecue pork sandwiches, stuffed shells, chicken, meatballs, spaghetti plus homemade pies and brownies were enjoyed by all, accompanied by wine, beer, soft drinks, and chilled water.
For more information about the Murray Hill Resident’s Association, visit their website at: http://murrayhill.annapolis.com/

And the Winner is….

The news was not readily available in the newspaper this morning. The race was too close. Who would have thought that despite all the money invested in colorful glossy flyers, multiple mailings, and email blasts coupled with the rallies and visits by multitudes of campaign supporters standing on street corners waving signs that one of the candidates who seemed to have less money and seasoned organizers would come out the winner. It just goes to show that in a small town like Annapolis, every vote counts and personal contact and personal perception is very important. Now we are on to the big race. If you have the time to attend a forum and can hear the three speak on the issues, it should prove helpful in deciding for whom to cast your vote in November.