Editor’s note: Route 1 Reporter is a subscriber-supported local news website. In the interest of the public discourse, articles about hyperlocal politics are available for free. If you like the reporting, please support Route 1 Reporter on Patreon.
Former Mayor Candace Hollingsworth’s high-profile endorsement in the race for the city’s mayor has touched off an endorsement-storm on the city’s prominent digital forums. Over the weekend, after the floodgates opened by Hollingsworth’s statement, dozens of residents began to weigh in with endorsements of their own. Most prominently, Ward Four City Councilor Edouard Haba issued a lengthy endorsement of mayoral hopeful and Ward Five City Councilor Joseph Solomon, rebuking “negative and unfounded” accusations against Solomon.
Haba, who is running unopposed for re-election to his Ward Four seat, praised Solomon’s character and said he has been a “critical thinker” and a strong advocate for Ward Five residents.
“The true image of Solomon is far from the picture that some people are trying to paint of him,” said Haba. “I know Joe as a methodical thinker and a compassionate leader, who will go above and beyond to make sure that the needs of his constituents are met.”
His message, shared Sunday evening on a Hyattsville-focused listserv, was a response to Hollingsworth’s at-times stunning denunciation of Solomon that accompanied her endorsement of Ward. Haba said many of the complaints against Solomon stem from “challenging” the status quo in city politics and not being afraid to work outside city power structures.
“Joe is well aware of the power limits of the City Council. That is exactly why he has worked tirelessly to network and develop strong working relationships with people at the various levels of government the the city has to work with,” wrote Haba.
Solomon, perhaps more than any other City Councilor in Hyattsville’s post-Mayor Tartaro era, has been willing to assert his office’s political discretion to publicly disagree with decisions or postures adopted by the broader City Council. At times he has been willing to act on that. One notable example is when he broke ranks and discussed with Route 1 Reporter his recollection of his viewing of a video of the fatal police shooting of Leonard Shand in late 2019.
Haba also dismissed accusations that Solomon acted improperly in his dealings with the Prince George’s Municipal Association, a chapter of the Maryland Municipal League. Haba was also active in the group.
“We both had the privilege to serve on its Board and thanks to his dedication and the passion he always displayed about various concerns and issues, Joe has subsequently been elected and trusted by the representatives of the 27 municipalities that make up PGCMA to lead the association, in addition to occupying various leadership roles,” wrote Haba.