Voters from a score of municipalities in the Washington area go to the polls tomorrow and Tuesday to elect their town officials.
In Maryland, two contested mayoral races -- in Cheverly and Capitol Heights -- and contested council races in seven cities highlight the voting in 14 municipalities in Prince George's and Montgomery counties.
In the Virginia suburbs closest to Washington, there are no contested mayoral elections, although all but Falls Church have contests for local council seats. Most attention this year is focused on the Loudoun County towns of Leesburg, the county seat, and Hillsboro, where some residents and officials have expressed apprehension about possible effects on the elections by newcomers who support political extremist Lyndon H. LaRouche Jr.
Although there are no known LaRouche candidates on the ballot, local officials say they are concerned about possible write-in efforts.
In Leesburg, LaRouche's home base, Mayor Robert Sevila is unopposed. Three of the seven council seats are up on Tuesday. In Hillsboro, Virginia's smallest incorporated town with 115 residents, there are five council seats to be filled. Before news of the registrations by LaRouche followers, only one council member filed for reelection. But Mayor Alexandra Spaith has postponed plans to move away and is joining other longtime town residents as write-in candidates.
One of the liveliest races in Maryland is in Capitol Heights, where mayoral candidates Juan Lacey and Vivian Dodson are leading slates of candidates for the six at-large council seats. Lacey, a records manager for the International Brothers of Electrical Workers, said the theme of his campaign is improved communication between the town's 3,200 residents and the town government.
"In the past, people did not go to town meetings because they felt they could not get a lot of response from the government. We feel the council members need to network among the residents," he said.
Dodson, who is completing her first four-year term as a council member, is a communications operator for the county government. Dodson said that, if elected, she would propose the construction of a civic center in the town.
"The children in Capitol Heights have no place to swim or play basketball within the town," Dodson said. She added that she would like to stop dual registration and clean up abandoned homes in the town.
In Cheverly, Ward 6 council member Patricia Glaser is challenging Mayor Alan Dwyer, who was appointed by the Town Council last June after the death of Mayor Robert W. O'Connor.
A major issue in the election centers on Cheverly Oaks, a recently proposed 15-acre subdivision. Both candidates said they were worried about the impact of traffic from the subdivision. But Glaser, a lawyer, said she believes that Dwyer has not taken a stand on the development. "I feel that he's looking at the project as if it's a fait accompli . . . that it's going to go forward no matter what . . . instead of something we can curtail or stop entirely," Glaser said.
Dwyer, a project manager for an engineering and data processing consulting firm, said he has many concerns about the development but does not believe that "we should just give up and oppose it at this point."