Correction to This Article
The item below on the Seat Pleasant election contains an error regarding the outcome for at-large members of the City Council. In the four-way race for two at-large seats on the council, incumbent Kelly Porter and Latasha Gatling won. The item has been corrected.

Mayor Says Small-Town Leadership Experience Should Not Be Shortchanged

By Rosalind S. Helderman and Nelson Hernandez
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, September 11, 2008

Berwyn Heights Mayor Cheye Calvo says he hasn't decided which presidential candidate he's supporting in November, but he does know this: Small-town mayoral experience is valuable.

Calvo found himself in a national spotlight after a Prince George's County Sheriff's Office SWAT team shot and killed his two black Labradors during a drug raid on his home July 29. He defended the experience of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the Republican nominee for vice president, in a recent interview.

Police have said Calvo and his wife were innocent victims of a drug smuggling scheme, but the sheriff has defended the deputies who shot the dogs. The incident attracted national outrage and landed Calvo on CNN.

"Being a small-town mayor, you're on the front lines," Calvo said. "Anyone can stand up at any time at my town meetings and raise their hands and express their opinions. . . . It's great experience to learn how to interact with state and local agencies, how to manage people."

Calvo, who leads a town that is somewhere between a third and half the size of now-famous Wasilla, Alaska, the town once run by Palin, said the experience has made him "smarter" and "humble." In a nod to bipartisanship, he likened it to serving in the military, as Sen. John McCain, the Republican presidential nominee, did, or being a community organizer, a job once held by Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama.

Calvo, a registered Republican, said neither party truly represents his policy positions, and he's been contemplating registering as an independent. He noted approvingly that he received a personal note from the libertarian presidential candidate, former Georgia congressman Bob Barr, after the killing of his dogs. Barr put out a public statement, too, citing the raid as an example of an overreaching government.

Calvo will speak today at a forum at the Cato Institute about police raids.

"I'm someone whose vote is undecided," Calvo said, adding, "Don't be shortchanging small-town mayors out there."

Grant Reelected Seat Pleasant Mayor

Seat Pleasant Mayor Eugene W. Grant was reelected to lead the city of roughly 5,000 people.

Grant defeated opponents Johnie Higgs and Eugene Kennedy in the city's municipal election, capturing 289 votes. (That was 54 percent of the vote in the low-turnout election.)

Higgs had been serving on the City Council. In the four-way race for two at-large seats on the city council, incumbent Kelly Porter and Latasha Gatling won. Also reelected were council members Elenora Simms, Brian K. Shivers and Reveral Yeargin. Incumbent Charl Jones was defeated by Gerald Raynor. Darrell Hardy was also elected to the council.

Grant and the seven council members will be sworn in at 7 p.m. Oct. 6 at the John E. Feggans Center, 311 68th Pl.

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