Michael Theis is the editor and publisher of Route 1 Reporter. He grew up in Hyattsville and College Park. He has more than 10 years experience as a professional journalist, working for such news outlets as the Frederick News-Post, The Shepherdstown Chronicle, Patch.com and the Austin Business Journal.
Hyattsville’s Magruder Park will be officially renamed David C. Driskell Park. The change in namesake replaces a prominent white, early 20th-Century Hyattsville politician and landowner, William Pinkney Magruder, with a prominent African American, late-20th Century Hyattsville artist and scholar in Driskell.
Consider this Route 1 Reporter’s paean to the elections of the Prince George’s County Route 1 corridor’s smaller towns. Amid an historically-large field of candidates in Hyattsville this year, I was unable to provide the type of coverage I’d like for the other races in the corridor. Still, voters in Mount Rainier, Brentwood, Riverdale Park all have elections that are coming to a close today, May 3, 2021, while University Park will vote the next day. Below, a rundown of the races:
In Brentwood, a rhetorically contentious election pits two slates of candidates against each other. The Fair Leadership slate sees incumbent Mayor Rocio Treminio-Lopez court votes alongside council hopefuls Stefan Leggin, Quianna Taylor and Mary Vechery.
Hyattsville’s mayoral debate revealed two candidates – interim Mayor Kevin Ward and Ward Five City Councilor Joseph Solomon – as rhetorical front runners in the three-way campaign for the city’s top job.
Projects funded include a long-sought parking garage in downtown Hyattsville, stormwater infrastructure work in College Park, an effort by DeMatha Catholic High School to redevelop land along Baltimore Avenue, and money for a new city hall in Brentwood.
A split Hyattsville City Council appears poised to rename Magruder Park after renowned African American artist David Driskell, with the deciding vote likely to come at its May 3, 2021, Council meeting.
After mistakenly granting, then revoking, a tax break for a student-housing project, College Park City Council narrowly approved a measure granting the project a reduced tax break anyway under a new waiver created for this specific situation.
An endorsement from County Councilor Deni Taveras in Hyattsville’s mayoral race – and its deletion from a popular Hyattsville listserv afterward by a moderator – sparked a controversy Tuesday. Critics of Taveras focused on the ethics of using her official county email address to send the message. Critics of the moderator, Hyattsville activist Jim Groves, said the decision to remove the post from the forum was overzealous moderation at best, censorship at worst. In the end, both Groves and Taveras were pleading for understanding from the public.
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 from former mayor Candace Hollingsworth.