Election Results Stand
The College Park elections board last week unanimously voted to reject two challenges to the Nov. 2 City Council elections, said John Robson, head of the board.
The election results were challenged by defeated District 2 candidate Marie L. Labonte and defeated District 1 incumbent Sherrill T. Murray. Labonte had questioned whether Lisa A. Blevins-Steel of District 1 actually lived in her district. Murray had questioned whether voting machines were working properly.
Blevins-Steel said her residence continues to be her house on 51st Avenue, not an apartment in District 2 on Tecumseh Avenue. The apartment, she said, is listed under the name of her husband, Derrick.
The city's charter requires council members to live in the district they represent.
Murray, who lost her seat by nine votes to Mark D. Shroder, says she was concerned about possible voter fraud in the election.
Robson said the challenges were defeated after hearing testimony from Blevins-Steel, Labonte and Murray.
The board said a council member may have one domicile, but many residences.
Labonte says she still believes the election is invalid and is considering legal action against Blevins-Steel or the city.
She is seeking the assistance of the Voting Integrity Project, a nonpartisan election watchdog group based in Alexandria. The group sent a lawyer to the board meeting last week to gather information.
"I'm just looking forward to continue representing my district and working on city business," Blevins-Steel said.
-- Ashley M. Heher
Street Lighting Battle
The residents of the Barlowe Ridge neighborhoods in Glenarden have been turned down in their bid to have that city's government pay for street lights in their community.
The Glenarden City Council decided at a recent meeting that the city would not pay for the lights, which became a point of contention last year after residents were told the city would no longer pay to illuminate their neighborhoods.
The neighborhoods--Glenarden Woods and Frost subdivisions--had been provided with lighting by the city as are other residents of Glenarden. But the City Council last year instructed Baltimore Gas and Electric to stop billing the city for lights and to start billing Barlowe Ridge residents.
The residents protested, arguing that $67 a year each household pays in lighting taxes goes to light the city and that their neighborhoods should be included in the areas lighted.
Residents said the City Council decided to charge them extra to help pay for the city's $1 million annual budget. They said assessing them taxes for lighting and then charging them again to light their neighborhoods was tantamount to charging them twice.
For several months, residents have been unsure what the council would do. Several times, the council had told residents that it would announce a decision but then would fail to put the matter on the agenda or to vote on it during regular meetings.
Several city officials, including Mayor Donjuan Williams, City Council President Louis Vaughn and City Clerk Brenda Leake, failed to return several phone calls regarding the lighting issue.
City Council member Andrew Ward said in an interview that residents have now asked the council for consideration of an easement to make it possible for the city to pay for the lights. That matter was expected to be discussed at a meeting Monday.
-- Avis Thomas-Lester
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