On the issues: Mayor candidates, question by question
Hyattsville will elect a mayor June 7, 2022. Vish Bhatt, Robert Croslin, and Danny Schaible are running. Click on the links in bold below to find out how they answered questions at the Hyattsville Life & Times forum on May 12. Scroll to the bottom for the links to watch their opening statements.
Goals for the next year (Ron Pedone) This special 2022 mayoral election is for one year term only. If elected, what will be your major priorities and commitments during your one year in office, and what do you hope to accomplish during this time?
What role do you see the Hyattsville mayor having in regard to local development? (Based on questions from several residents.)
Vacant storefronts (Brian Henry) We hear a lot about Hyattsville in general — and the Arts District, the soon-to-be-named Hyattsville Crossing, and University Town Center specifically — as “vibrant”, “thriving”, and/or “up-and-coming” business areas; and yet, there are many vacant storefronts up and down route 1, in the Metro Shops at PG Plaza, and along America Blvd. Why do you think that is, and what do you think can be done (that hasn’t already been tried) to get high-quality businesses to move into and to remain in the city?
Supporting small businesses, given rising commercial rents (SoHy Cooperative) With new development coming in and charging $35-50 a square foot, what will you do to ensure that small businesses can stay in Hyattsville? How can Hyattsville attract more small businesses?
Property tax and tax relief programs (Melissa Schweisguth) Hyattsville is getting a lot more property tax money now that property values are so high. We do have tax credit programs designed to protect residents from big property tax increases. People have to fill out forms to participate in them, and for most people, they only protect against increases of more than 10%. What do you think is the right property tax rate for the city? What yearly cap do you think there should be on property tax increases for individuals?
School construction and swing space (Kristen Wares) This has been a hard year for students at Hyattsville Middle School. They have to travel to a distant school while their school is being rebuilt. Some have had to take hourlong bus rides. Many have missed class because of the commute. Now, building a new Hyattsville Elementary School is under discussion. Many families chose HMS and HES because they want a walkable local school, and how do we make families feel comfortable selecting HES if they are nervous that they too may have to deal with a similar situation in the future?
Housing assistance for those on a fixed income who are not senior citizens (question from anonymous resident)
Efficient, inclusive council meetings (Melissa Schweisguth) Council meetings can sometimes run quite long, in part due to councilors getting stuck in a circular argument or repeating themselves, and we don’t see all members getting equal air time. What’s your approach to facilitating more efficient discussion and decision making while ensuring discussion is inclusive?
What makes a good leader for Hyattsville? (Gloria Felix-Thompson)
Why should we trust anyone crazy enough to want to be mayor? (Greg Smith)
Also check out opening statements from Bhatt, Croslin, and Schaible.
Thanks to former managing editor Maria James for moderating, former managing editor Rosanna Landis-Weaver for keeping time., and board member volunteer T. Carter Ross for editing the videos.