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In the race to fill out the last two-years of her term, former Hyattsville Mayor Candace Hollingsworth said voters should choose interim Mayor Kevin Ward for the role. In the process, she also issued a stinging denunciation of mayoral hopeful and current Ward Five City Councilor Joseph Solomon that was quickly echoed by another current City Council member.
In an 18-paragraph 1,370-word statement shared on Facebook, Hollingsworth used seven paragraphs and 630 words to praise Ward, writing in part that he “is the only candidate in this race who I would trust with the responsibility of leading this city.”
Ward told Route 1 Reporter he was happy to have Hollingsworth’s endorsement.
“I am extremely excited and happy to have that endorsement,” said Ward in an interview. “To be honest, Candace, she just did the job so well and with such grace. For her to believe that I can do the job well, let alone as well as she did, is very much an honor.”
The remaining 11 paragraphs and nearly 800 words of Hollingsworth statement were spent ripping into Solomon, accusing him of impropriety, procedural grandstanding and delaying City Council action when he did not get his way.
Route 1 Reporter reached out by phone and text message to Solomon for comment. Solomon replied by text message saying he was out campaigning and had not yet read Hollingsworth’s endorsement. He added that he would reply “later if necessary.”
Hollingsworth accused Solomon of attempting to negotiate on behalf of the city with outside developers, municipal associations, and state agencies without authorization from City Council. Legislatively Hollingsworth noted his votes against establishing the city’s Covid Relief Fund, accused him of delaying action on Hyattsville’s landmark non-citizen voting rules, and accused Solomon of adopting a deliberative tone around efforts to rename Magruder Park so as to not alienate voters.
“There is not a single other member of the Hyattsville City Council who has collected this level of negative, ineffective, and counterproductive work,” wrote Hollingsworth. “I urge you to consider, very strongly, this information before trusting Mr. Solomon with this responsibility.”
Hollingsworth’s denunciation of Solomon, after it was published on Hollingsworth’s social media accounts around 4 p.m. Friday evening, was echoed by Ward One City Councilor Bart Lawrence, who is not seeking re-election this year. In a message sent around 4:30 p.m. to a Hyattsville-focused Listserv, Lawrence also endorsed Ward and further detailed allegations of impropriety against Solomon. Among the accusations, Lawrence said Solomon disregarded City Council’s decisions on policy endorsements to forward to the Prince George’s County Municipal Association. Lawrence said Solomon without authorization organized meetings with state representatives concerning safety upgrades on Hamilton Street that threatened to undermine city efforts to secure funding for the project.
Lawrence also shared Hollingsworth’s message on social media, writing on Facebook that “these words from our former mayor are all true. No one likes having to write these things, but when you’ve lived them and know them to be true, it’s not right to stay silent.”
Ward said he agreed with Hollingsworth’s critique of Solomon.
“I don’t find any disagreement with what my colleague’s written,” said Ward “I don’t find anything here to be any different than what I have experienced.”