By Kit Slack

On August 12, Maria James, our former managing editor, posed tough questions to the candidates for the 2021 Ward 1 Special Election. 

We’ve listed each question below, with a link, for each question, to the portion of the video in which each candidate has a chance to respond, unscripted, after hearing the question for the first time. 

Thanks to candidates Mai Abdul Rahman, Michael Brown, Daniel Vallejos-Avila, Joanne Waszcazk, and Scott Wilson for joining us.

Special thanks to Maria James for guiding us through the event with skill and grace, and to our board member Emily Strab for keeping us on time.

School rebuilding and swing space

Hyattsville Elementary School is slated for a much needed renovation in the coming year.

Given the challenges finding swing space for Hyattsville Middle School:

What can the city council do to ensure safe, convenient and appropriate swing space for HES students when our neighborhood school is up for renovation? 

What do you believe the city council can do to advocate to protect our HMS students over the next two years?

Crisis management

The recent shooting outside of Busboys and Poets has left the community shaken. What is your view of the police’s response and handling of the situation? What would you have them do differently, if anything?  (Note: Michael Brown answers this question along with the next in the following segment.)

Police budget 

What is your opinion on the city’s Police budget? Are you in favor of limiting the budget or redirecting funds away from “crime-fighting” and toward other areas, such as mental health? Where would you propose the council direct funding?

Affordable housing and development

Hyattsville has seen rapid economic growth for many years now, with new housing being built or planned to be built in the near future. Residents have expressed concern about new development and rising housing prices. If elected, what steps will you take to address this issue? 

Supportive housing for seniors, and Friendship Arms repairs  

Friendship Arms is an apartment building with supportive housing for the elderly and people with disabilities. Following a fire in October of 2020, the seventh floor of the building still hasn’t reopened. How would you advocate for these tenants and others who need supportive housing?

Traffic, bike, and pedestrian safety

What measurable actions do you think the Hyattsville City Council should take to make our roads and sidewalks safer for pedestrians and cyclists?

Support for small businesses 

Entrepreneurs starting out are having trouble making use of retail spaces that currently exist, but are vacant due to high cost. How will you, as a city council member, address this issue?

You can also find opening and closing statements from the candidates at the beginning and end of the forum replay.