Saturday, May 08, 2010

Chevy Chase Village Ousts Incumbents

Chevy Chase Village held its election on Saturday for three seats on the Board of Managers. Village residents unseated all three incumbents in the election held today for the Board of Managers. What happened?

While one incumbent, Betsy Stephens, fell just nine votes short of winning another term, the other two incumbents received comparatively desultory shares of the vote--a repudiation of the current leadership of the Village. Here are the results with asterisks by incumbents:

Peter T. Kilborn 352
Larry C. Heilman 174
Allison Shuren 172
Betsy Stephens* 164
Alec W. Smith 94
Robert L. Jones* 70
Timothy J. Trifilo* 53

The demand for change stemmed from a number of factors. First, the Village is running a sizable deficit. Indeed, the speed cameras along Connecticut Ave. have not only ceased bringing in substantial revenue but now cost more money to run than they bring in to the Village. (A cause of schadenfreude elsewhere but tsuris in the Village.) Another reason that the Village is hemorrhaging funds is an expensive lawsuit over a strip of land claimed by the Village between two other properties.

One well-placed source in the municipality located south of my own informs me that another problem faced by incumbents was the perception that they had little interest in listening to residents when they spoke at meetings or in incorporating their ideas into decision making. Finally, the Village has experienced controversy over a new playground.

Perhaps a warning to all incumbents: make sure your fiscal house is in order.