A great listener and a practical problem solver, Roger will unite our community to actually expand affordable housing, balance budgets that meet our needs without unrelenting tax increases, speed racial justice, help small, locally-owned businesses thrive, and reduce our carbon footprint.
Why I Am Running
I’m running for Mayor of Takoma Park because it’s time for our community to move beyond saying the right things to actually doing the right things. People who have worked with me over the years believe I have the right mix of knowledge, experience, and personal qualities to lead our Council under new and challenging circumstances. I know every street and neighborhood of our multifaceted town. I understand how municipal management and oversight work. I explain the issues well, and I have a clear vision of how we can harmonize and pursue our big objectives while getting the details right on a day-to-day basis.
Gestures That Lack Substance
In recent years, Takoma Park has announced bold strategies for pursuing racial equity, reducing carbon emissions, promoting community-oriented economic development, and ensuring a diverse mix of housing options. Looking closely at these strategies, they come across as impressive gestures that lack substance–as lists of desires rather than plans of action. It’s good that we’ve chosen to make these commitments, but there’s a widespread sense that we aren’t on a consistent path toward achieving results that will keep our beloved community diverse and sustainable. Are we resting on our age-old reputation as “funky, liberal Takoma Park?” even as inequities become more pronounced, housing ever less affordable, and city government less accountable, less transparent?
Real sustainability–for our community, for our local economy, for our environment–requires us to target priorities, carefully plan action, and manage our resources wisely. Instead of chasing after everything we want, all at once, we must discern what we truly need. Once our work is underway, we have to measure how we are doing and adjust our course as we go. And we have to follow through on our commitments! Case in point: Our City is allowing development at Takoma Junction to move forward without demanding that the project exemplify the very values we hold dear–community-oriented economic development, racial equity, and zero tolerance for further climate damage.
Why We Need Change
The ongoing disruptions of the pandemic and its accompanying recession, along with our long-postponed national reckoning with systemic racism and the accelerating climate emergency, require us to reevaluate how we’re “doing” local government. The adjustments we make, and the solutions we pursue, must be unique and finely tuned to who we are as a community. We can learn from other places, but we don’t need to copy them! We should trust ourselves to make progress in ways that fit our Takoma Park culture and circumstances.
When we ignore residents’ input, fail to plan carefully, or simply look the other way, the results are embarrassing and frustrating. Too often, these problems are compounded by a lack of transparency and elected officials’ failure to take responsibility or insist on accountability. These are signs that we need a different leadership approach.
My Leadership Style
For me, it’s non-negotiable that our public processes operate with integrity, that we be honest and direct with each other, that people know they have been heard and respected, and that we see their concerns reflected in the decisions reached. This kind of collaborative decision-making is positive and productive. Years of teaching and community work have taught me to welcome conflict, value all perspectives, and keep a sense of humor. I don’t care about the spotlight, won’t claim to have all the answers, and simply want to help make good things happen. For me, the process is always about placing the community first.
Get Ready to Vote
Whether you are thinking about what’s happening on your own street or about what’s happening to our nation and planet, take our upcoming Takoma Park election seriously. Find out how the voting process works, compare the candidates, talk things over with family and neighbors, and fill out your ballot! The events of this year have changed our situation in so many ways–consider what kind of leadership you want to see now from your City Council–mayor included–and vote accordingly.