As Takoma Park’s Ward 4 prepares to elect the next council member, it’s easy for us to endorse the incumbent, Terry Seamens.
In office, Seamens has shown himself to be smart, caring and sensible.
He has held a council seat since 1999, except for a term when he ran for mayor and lost.
Seamens is focused on keeping young people busy with productive pursuits and giving adults training for secure, sustainable jobs.
The latter issue, in particular, is not typical fare for a small-city government. But Seamens said Takoma Park can and should take steps to ensure “a higher level of self sufficiency” for its residents. The city has added $20,000 to its budget to fund vocational training.
Seamens is working on plans for a new nonprofit organization to address employment needs — for both young people and local entrepreneurs, particularly immigrants looking to get a toehold in their new community.
He has a good grasp of the city’s social and governmental needs, saying that the city’s budgeting acumen and police department operations are much better than when he took office.
Earlier this year, Seamens and his wife, Joyce, took in a convicted rapist who had served more than 30 years in prison. The man was restricted from living with his mother, who received a state housing subsidy. This was a bold, generous act that signifies Seamens’ beneficence.
Seamens’ opponent is Eric Mendoza, who is trying for the third straight time to win the seat.
Mendoza has made youth issues a top priority, offering several ideas for change. He also has talked about rising housing costs, apartment building safety and renovation, and possibly increasing recycling.
Unfortunately, our editorial board did not get a chance to talk directly with him about his platform. After numerous attempts to schedule a meeting failed, he finally promised to come to our office on Friday, but didn’t show up.
That doesn’t automatically disqualify him from consideration, but other commitments seem to be interfering with his ability to focus on the race. We encourage him to stay involved, then run again when the timing is better.
We give Mendoza credit, though, for trying again this year and at least giving voters something to think about. With unopposed races for mayor and five other council seats, Takoma Park voters otherwise don’t get any choices this year.