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April 08, 2014


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Josh Friedman

First, Oakland Mills would benefit from stopping its practice of expanding its board every year to avoid contested village elections. Cut the board from 8 to 5 and maybe you'd get 3 more candidates for CA Board. I also think the Siddiqui situation was different because the Democratic establishment made clear that anyone who ran against Janet Siddiqui did so to the chagrin of the party establishment (meaning you either win, or see your political career over before it starts). The problem with a policy prohibited individuals from running for one office while holding another, is that the people end up being cheated. Jurisdictions that have rules against allowing people to hold office while running for another generally have much higher rates of incumbents re-elected. I was oppose to Tom Coale leaving the CA board and I strongly opposed when members of the General Assembly tried to tie city elections to the state office elections making to city office holders couldn't hold their seats while running for state office. For those in the "game" it seems unfair, but for citizens who want a choice, it cheats them. I also wonder how much of the opposition to what is happening is because Reg Avery is Reg Avery (I've never met the man)? There are several instances of village board members also holding offices in their party's respective central committees (including in Oakland Mills). There are also members of village boards who are intimately involved in the campaigns of other elected officials, serving as campaign treasurers, etc. What about board members who work for state and local governments? Where is the boundary? What is the precise conflict where candidacy for public office would put a CA Board member in breach of their fiduciary duty to CA?

Bill Woodcock

Josh, time doesn't permit a longer response, but thanks for making my points!

The fact is in OM is that no one wants to run against Alex because of the negativity. Just like the situation you have in LR in Russ. You have far more qualified members on your VB (including yourself!) who would've made a better CA rep.

Second, OM does try to be open and transparent. Despite what you may read and hear. Where we get ourselves in trouble are when we lack transparency. And if Alex had made his intentions known earlier, maybe some of those other candidates (at least one) would've run for Board.

Last, your facts are off about OM expanding its board. When I was first on the board there were 5 members (the minimum), it later expanded to 7 and has been 7. The current board voted to expand to 8 to correct a clerical error made on election documents that indicated 8 members on the board. Looking at the materials and understanding the situation I didn't see it appropriate to penalize a perspective board member their seat, but it was made clear that this was a one time exemption.


COuld you run as a write-in candidate? I admit I haven't paid attention to CA elections in almost 20 years.

Jessie Newburn

I'm grateful for you post, Bill, and for Julia's and Tom's on this subject.

The thing I find most distasteful about this entire situation re Mr Hekemian keeping his choice not to run again private and his apparent "hand selection" of his replacement (with no opposition and no true election) is that it appears that Mr Hekemian seems to have thought this elected position was *his* to do with as he pleased. Were he a role model of what he has asked of others (CA in particular) -- transparent, forthcoming and honest -- then we'd most likely have an election with opponents to Mr Avery, for candidates would have come forth to run for the CA board spot and serve the community.

Instead what we have is -- in my eyes - cronyism, lack of transparency (by both the outgoing and incoming candidates) and shenannigans.

Long-time and now-current Oakland Mills gal, out.

Josh Friedman

It would appear that people were not as upset 4 years ago when Pearl Atkinson Stewart and Andy Stack did the same two-step.



Josh, you seem to be splitting the issue. If the Reg/Alex succession was for just the CA Board, your point about Owen Brown would be apt. Reg is the single candidate in Oakland Mills and is running for County Council.

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