College Park minister Barry Wood, who lead attempts during the past year to ban a hot-tub spa and topless dancing in the city, announced this week he is a candidate for council member in the city's eighth district.
"Instead of complaining about politicians, I've decided to become one," said Wood, the senior pastor of College Park's New Covenant Christian Community. "I got tired of fighting little brush fires. On the inside, I can do much more. It's a place for me to start, where I can make a positive contribution to the community."
The nonpartisan election for mayor and eight council seats will be held on Nov. 8. Wood's opponent will be incumbent Anthony Yanchulis, who announced his candidacy last week. Other announced candidates include incumbent Mayor Alvin Kushner and his opponent, City Council member John Perry.
Wood, who has lived in College Park for 10 years, said he sees politics as a complement to, not in conflict with, his ministerial duties. "The thrust of my life has been helping people, and this is just another arena for doing that," he said.
Last October, Wood lead a group of College Park residents in asking the City Council to prevent a Washington hot-tub spa from opening a branch near the University of Maryland. The effort failed, but Wood did persuade the Prince George's County Council to enact an ordinance regulating such spas.
Earlier this year, Wood asked the City Council to ban topless dancing at the Starlight Inn on Rte. 1. The city referred the matter to the county liquor board, which placed restrictions on the club's liquor license that were eventually thrown out in court.