Election Results and a Word of Thanks

May 3, 2011

Here are the results from yesterday’s elections here in Cheverly.  For more, you can also read the Gazette article here.

  • Rachel Audi – 70 votes
  • Mary Jane Coolen – 120 votes
  • John Dotson – 1 vote
  • John LeGloahec – 76 votes

As you can see, I was unsuccessful in being elected as Council Member for Ward 2 on the Cheverly Town Council.

There are many people that I would like to thank, first and foremost, I need to thank my wife Marisa and our two boys, Ted and Joe.  Throughout this campaign, she has been the steadiest presence for me.  Tomorrow, May 4, is our wedding anniversary and she continues to be the best part of my life.

I also must thank those individuals who supported me over the past several weeks.  I was very proud to have the support of both State Senator Victor Ramirez and Delegate Jolene Ivey and because of their efforts, I feel that I was a better candidate this year and am disappointed that I could not carry the day yesterday.

Here in Cheverly, I spoke a lot about the warmth and welcoming nature of its residents and how everyone looks after one another.  This feeling is clearly seen in the efforts of Susan and Joseph Pruden, Nikki Greco, Rachel Dabney-Rice and Amy Rice, Andrea Cerulli and David Rapp, and Riley Grimes.  All of these individuals made significant contributions to my campaign, and I am in their debt and extremely grateful for their support.

There were also a number of individuals who lent their support to me by signing on to a letter that was distributed to residents as well as others who offered help, advice, and words of support over the past several weeks.  I thank all of those individuals as well.  From the bottom of my heart – you are all additional examples of what makes Cheverly such a great place to live.  To those of you who hosted my sign in your yard, I thank you for that visible support.

Finally, and just as importantly, I must thank all of those individuals who voted for me.  I had so many conversations with friends and neighbors over the past several weeks while out in the Ward and I had hoped that we would be victorious and I would have the opportunity to work for all of you – listening to your concerns and questions – and talking with you about the best for Cheverly.

I am, of course, still here in Cheverly, and will remain active in the other endeavors that I am involved in, and look forward to seeing everyone down the road.

Quality of Life Issues

April 28, 2011

We’ve seen the discussions on the Cheverly Exchange and the CPRC lists.  Of all of the things affecting the residents – some of the most important – are how we look after our way of life here in Cheverly.

I hope to have the opportunity to serve as your Council Member for Ward 2 and that you will give me your vote on Monday May 2, Election Day.  Voting will take place at the Community Center from 7:00am to 8:00pm.

Soon after moving in, my sister-in-law was visiting and went out for a run in Town.  She came back later and remarked how hilly Cheverly was.  We have a great town that is extremely walkable (or runable).  We need to be aware of our sidewalks and our road conditions to allow our residents the opportunity to safely walk around our town.  Where there are sidewalks and roads in need of repair, they should be fixed as soon as possible.  I have had several conversations with residents about the conditions of our roads and sidewalks.  If elected, I would work with our fine Public Works staff to ensure these issues are resolved quickly.

One recent discussion was about yard sales in town.  Susan Pruden, Ward 2 resident and phenomenal real estate agent (and a supporter of my campaign) did some research about the issue, including citations to the appropriate Town Codes. The Recreation Council does hold a community flea market every spring at the Community Center and it is always well attended.  When we moved to Cheverly, we were excited to have found a home where we could raise our growing family and have more space for our stuff.  Of course, as usually happens, we accumulated more stuff.  I would love to be part of a Town-wide yard sale and would support efforts by residents to make that happen on a semi-regular basis.

One of my fondest memories growing up was chasing down the ice cream truck in my neighborhood.  I know there is resistance by residents to having ice cream trucks come through Town hawking their wares (and playing their music).  However, I would like my children to have those same memories that I had growing up and would like to reexamine the restrictions placed on ice cream trucks in Town.  (If you would like some ice cream, you should come to the ice cream social being sponsored by Rachel Dabney Rice and Amy Rice on Saturday April 30, outside their home on Crest Avenue, from 3:00 to 5:00.)

This list could go on and on: animal control (dog parks, feral cats, loose pets), children’s issues (summer camps, childcare) infrastructure issues (water quality, downed trees) are all issues that have recently been discussed on the Exchange.  I would continue to work with Rachel Dabney-Rice, the moderator of the Exchange, as well as monitor the traffic on the Exchange, as well as discuss all of these issues with residents.  While I have been out campaigning, there have been specific issues that residents have brought to my attention.  As a candidate, I was able to reach out to the Mayor and Town officials to have these issues addressed and in some cases resolved.  Everyone has their own list of issues that are most important to them.  Letting your Council Member know what they are is the first step to seeing them resolved.

Communication and Representation

April 27, 2011

Third in a series

I am taking this week before the election to let residents know where I stand on the many issues that affect us here in Cheverly.  I hope to have your support on Monday May 2, Election Day, and that you will elect me as your Council Member for Ward 2.  Voting will take place at the Community Center from 7:00am to 8:00pm.

My decision to run for Town Council in 2009 was largely prompted by my concerns regarding communication in our ward. I felt our current Council Member was not effectively communicating with his constituents and that issues and concerns were not being heard by the Council.  If I am to be effective as your Council Member, I need to hear from the residents about the issues that are most important to them.  If I am elected as your Council Member, I will keep the lines of communication open.  I will work with the Mayor and my colleagues on the Council to ensure the work of the Council is transparent and that all input is considered.  I would explore the idea of establishing “Council Member’s Hours” similar to the “Mayor’s Hours” to allow residents to bring issues and questions to the table.

I would like to see Cheverly and the Town Council utilize social media tools, like Facebook and Twitter to better communicate with the residents.  I would continue to update this blog with information on on upcoming Town Council meetings as well as alert residents about happenings around the Town and the Ward.  I would make use of email as well as ward walkabouts to stay in touch with residents.  As your Council Member, I would work for you.

Another issue of concern that I have discussed with neighbors relates to Ward 5 representation. For nearly a year, one-sixth of the Town has been unrepresented on the Town Council. Ward 5, comprised primarily of the Cheverly Terrace Apartments has not had a Council Member since the resignation of Council Member Johnson. I applaud the efforts of Mayor Callahan to find residents of Cheverly Terrace to work on behalf of their neighbors. If elected, I would continue those efforts.

In order to better involve the residents of Ward 5 and allow them greater access to their Town and their government, I would advocate for the Town Council to hold events in Ward 5, for example holding a Town Council Meeting in the complex.  I would suggest that Town-sponsored events be held in Ward 5, perhaps one of the summer’s Cheverly Community Market days.  No one should be denied access to their government or the services they are entitled to based on their housing status.

The Real Estate Picture

April 26, 2011

Second in a series.

Another issue that has been a topic of discussion between my neighbors and me as I have crossed the Ward talking with you is the uncertainty of the real estate market here in Cheverly, as well as the national picture. I am very honored to have the support of Cheverly’s great real estate agent, Susan Pruden, who provided me with these numbers regarding the market.

I hope to have your support and your vote to be your Council Member from Ward 2 on Election Day, Monday May 2, 2011.  Voting is at the Community Center from 7:00am to 8:00pm.

As of the end of March, there were 28 houses for sale in Cheverly. Of those, 2 are in active foreclosure (7% of the market) and 12 are short sales (43%). Within Ward 2, there are 3 houses currently for sale – 2 short sales and 1 non-short sale (though Susan feels it will ultimately become either a short sale or a foreclosure).

Susan (and other agents operating in Town) are seeing an effective 60 days on market to sell a house. The number is somewhat misleading as houses are either selling very fast or staying on the market for a long time. If no new houses came on the market in town, it should take about 1.9 months to sell all our inventory, the real estate term known as the “absorption rate.” However, this is an excellent absorption rate although 43% of the current market is short sales.

Susan notes that prices have stayed remarkably steady over the past 12 months. Investors are returning and purchasing the foreclosures, which is great news. The problem remains the short sales. They are lingering on the market because they are just so hard to sell. Of the recent houses under contract (11), only 3 of those are non-distress sales with the rest being short sales (5) and foreclosures (3). Short sales tend to have a harder time reaching settlement.

When Susan talks with people who are thinking of selling in town, the main concerns are houses in disrepair and vacant houses. I believe the Town (and the Town Council) should conduct an inventory of vacant homes. This would allow the Town to be aware of properties that police should perhaps pay special attention to and identify problem properties that may have slipped through the cracks. It is a good likelihood these houses may be uninsured, meaning if a fire or flood happens, there may be no one to pay for repairs, as has been the case in other parts of the Town.  I know this is an issues for I have encountered vacant houses while walking around town, yet there is no “for sale” sign outside.

To assist with continuing the economic recovery here in Cheverly, I would like to see the Town look into grant opportunities or identify low interest rate programs to help senior citizens and residents in need of financial help to get needed repairs done.  I think the Town needs to identify properties in Town that could be brought under the Town’s control, repaired or renovated into a position where the property could be sold, and then sold to individuals who wish to live in Cheverly, but may not have the financial means to find a home elsewhere.  This program could also be targeted to Cheverly residents or children of Cheverly residents who wish to move back to town.

In a town with such a community spirit (as well as a wealth of individuals with a wide variety of talents), I would like to see a “Christmas in April” type project to help those who can’t do repairs themselves.  Another way to improve on our community relations, I would like to see more events, for example, regularly organized block parties so we can all get to know our neighbors.

One thing that many of the people I have talked with over these past six weeks is the lack of a meeting place in town.  Longtime residents lament the loss of “the Friendly” and would like to see a coffee shop in town, or some other establishment where residents could stop in and see their friends and neighbors.  There are a number of places in town that could fulfill this need.  If elected to Town Council, I would advocate for reexamining the zoning process that might allow for some properties that could serve this function to be allowed to do so.

I know the Mayor has advocated for improvements in Legion Park as well as other open spaces in town.  I would like to see additional outdoor events in Cheverly, perhaps an outdoor movie night or live concerts during the summer, yet more opportunities for us to get out and be a part of Cheverly and make new friends and renew old acquaintances with our neighbors.

Development and Construction

April 25, 2011

First in a series.

In this final week before the election, I wanted to lay out in greater detail my position on many of the issues affecting Cheverly and what I would do as your Council Member.  I hope to have your support and your vote on Election Day, Monday May 2, 2011.  Voting will take place at the Community Center one week from today from 7:00am to 8:00pm.  Thank you.

All of us here in Cheverly saw how the recent work on Cheverly Avenue affected our travels around town.  Belleview Avenue saw a dramatic increase in traffic and other detours around town were necessary.  Luckily the work performed was done as part of a WSSC project to improve infrastructure so it was completed at minimal cost to the Town.

As most of you know, one of my main priorities if elected will be to examine the possibilities and potentials along the Tuxedo Road / Arbor Street corridor.  This area has been a challenge for Cheverly for many years.  If elected to the Town Council, I would like to renew the conversations with the businesses here and see what can be done to improve the conditions, both for their businesses as well as for Cheverly.  I would also like to have a conversation with those residents that are outside the borders of Cheverly to see if they would consider joining the Town and enjoying the great benefits that we all have here.

Another topic that was a frequently discussed point with my neighbors when I have been out talking with residents is the area surrounding the Cheverly Metro station.  However, there are a number of additional factors that prohibit extensive development in this area.  First, there are significant transportation issues, specifically regarding the bridge that crosses over Route 50 to the Metro station.  The bridge is already overworked based on the truck traffic and more importantly, there are issues regarding the traffic light that poses a challenge to residents trying to cross the intersection safely.  There are also environmental issues that would prevent extensive development around the Metro station.

The Town Council needs to look for opportunities along the Route 202 corridor.  A new sector plan, advocated by Mayor Callahan, would identify areas along Route 202 that could be developed (or in most cases re-developed) that would provide enormous benefit to the residents of Cheverly.  I am happy to see that a new Aldi grocery store will take the place of the Giant in that shopping center, which is an essential need for our seniors as well as those residents who do not have the means or the ability to get to grocery stores that are further afield from Cheverly.

Extensive development would of course, lead to a shift in the population density of Cheverly, along with other issues, such as the two noted above (transportation and environmental).  The Town Council needs to examine areas that can be redeveloped smartly and with an emphasis on green development.  We must be aware of the toll that development takes on our natural resources and and our infrastructure before green-lighting any projects for Cheverly.  When the original proposal was made for the Walgreen’s on the site adjacent to the Giant shopping center, I was glad to see the developers had put in a number of ecologically appropriate designs for the site, which would be essential for that small lot.  I am also supportive of Mayor Callahan’s efforts to work with the management company of the shopping center to improve the shopping center lot, as well as working with representatives of Aldi to ensure the needs of Cheverly are met.

There has also been a lot of discussion lately regarding taxes.  I applaud the efforts of the Mayor and the current Town Council, which has been extremely financially responsible, along with the extraordinary work of the current Town Administrator, David Warrington, which has left the Town with a healthy fund balance and allowed the current tax rate to stay unchanged for the past several years.  Living in Cheverly, we do get a break on our taxes.  The current Cheverly tax rate is  $0.48 per $1,000.  The county tax rate for those residents not living in an incorporated area is $0.96.  Living in Cheverly reduces that rate to $0.80.  If elected to serve on the Town Council, I would advocate for continued fiscal responsibility, with the hope that taxes would not have to rise in the near future.

Remarks from the Meet the Candidates Forum

April 19, 2011

Tonight, the Cheverly Women’s Club sponsored a “Meet the Candidates” forum at the Community Center.  Approximately 40 people were in attendance, including the Mayor, Mike Callahan, and several residents of Ward 2.  The event was broadcast live over the Cheverly Channel (Comcast 71, Fios 35) and will be replayed over the next several evenings at 6:oopm.

I have had the opportunity to meet with so many residents of the Ward and will spend these remaining days continuing those conversations and finding out what is important to you.  Below are the remarks that I delivered this evening, first the two-minute introductory remarks, followed by my three-minute statement on issues within the Ward and across the Town.

Remember – Election Day is Monday May 2, 2011 at the Community Center.  Voting hours are from 7:00am to 8:00pm.

Introductory Remarks
Good evening. I would like to preface my remarks by thanking Joyce Lang, Ann Wallas, and the other members of the Cheverly Women’s Club for sponsoring this event tonight, giving the candidates the opportunity to reach the voters of Cheverly.

I am seeking the Council Member seat in Ward 2 to represent my neighbors and advocate on their behalf, while listening to their concerns and questions about the issues that affect their lives in the Ward, across Cheverly, and in their lives.

As a federal government employee – I’m an Archivist for the National Archives and Records Administration — I have a keen understanding of how forces outside our Town’s borders can affect us. As a candidate, I am drawing on my experience as a Town resident, where I am involved in many areas of the Town, including St. Ambrose Catholic Church and the Cheverly Swim and Racquet Club, to help my neighbors with the issues that are important to them.

Previously, I was also a teacher, which gives me a perspective on educational issues, which are so important to the young families that live here in Cheverly. There is no greater asset in Town than our young people and we need to broaden our opportunities for our children.

Local politics is at its very root, about constituent services, and the resolution of problems and issues. I also have a background in customer service, wherein I sought to find solutions to people’s problems in new and innovative ways. One of the fundamentals of good customer service is that the customer is always right – and not to say no – but to find out and provide more information to the issue at hand.

My wife and I, with our two boys, have lived here in Cheverly since 2007 and in that time I have become very active in many levels of the community, including serving as Treasurer of the Cheverly Swim and Racquet Club, Hospitality Coordinator at St. Ambrose Catholic Church, and Secretary of the Mens Club.

I look forward to the opportunity of serving the residents of Ward 2 and would be grateful for your support in the upcoming election. Thank you very much.

Remarks on issues of concern

There are a number of issues that are affecting Cheverly and the residents of the Town and Ward 2. If elected to serve as Council Member, I would like to focus issues concerning development, representation, communication, and the quality of life issues that are so important to all of us and are the most frequent area of discussion that I have had with my neighbors. In order for the Town Council to be most effective in helping the residents they serve, we need to hear from you – and I would always be available to the residents of Ward 2.

In the area of communication, I would like to see the Town work with social media tools to raise the level of communication. While I have been out talking with my neighbors, I have heard from so many of you and I would work to keep those lines of communication open, through the use of an email distribution list, social media tools, like the blog that I created for Ward 2, and making the residents aware of the work of the Council.

For the development question, it should be noted that Cheverly is in excellent financial health and I would advocate for the continuation of the high level of services we enjoy in Town. However, we must look for opportunities to expand and improve. Development and progress is the one issue that has been at the forefront for many years here in Cheverly. The Tuxedo Road corridor is certainly high on everyone’s wish list and it is for me as well. I would like to continue the conversations with local businesses in the area, urging them to step up and become valued members of our community. We need to explore all options, working with representatives from the state, county, and regional levels to find avenues to improve this gateway to our Town. We must also look at the Route 202 corridor to improve the businesses in this area and identify areas, which can be developed, which will lead to a more robust tax base and provide needed services and products for the citizens of Cheverly. I would work collaboratively with our neighboring communities to identify sources of grant funding for development projects. In particular, I am looking forward to having a grocery store back in the borders of Cheverly, which is essential for our seniors and other residents who need access to retail close to home.

Finally, I would like to address the issue of representation. It was very rewarding to see so many candidates running for Town Council and I applaud all of my fellow candidates for deciding to run. I truly believe in the idea of public service and if you have the opportunity to do so and help out your neighbors, you should. As many of you know, there are currently no candidates for the open Ward 5 seat. No resident of the Town should be denied a voice in their government, especially as a result of their housing status. I would advocate for the Town to hold events in the Cheverly Terrace apartments, arrange for civic programs there, and talk with the residents of Ward 5 to find individuals who would like to help their neighbors with the issues that affect them.

I hope that you will support me on Election Day and allow me the honor of serving as Ward 2 Council Member. Many thanks.

Meet the Candidates Forum – April 19, 2011

April 12, 2011

The Cheverly Woman’s Club will hold a “Meet The Candidates” Forum for the upcoming Town Elections on May 2, 2011. The forum will take place on Tuesday, April 19 at 7 p.m. at the Community Center.

The forum will feature most of the candidates for four of the Wards in which there are competitive elections.  Council Member Eldridge has a previous commitment and will be unable to attend.  I have RSVPed for the event, but am not aware if the other candidates for Ward 2 will be attending as of today.

The Woman’s Club is introducing a new format for the evening as there are 12 candidates running across the town for four of the 6 Wards in town.  Each candidate will speak first for 2 minutes giving background and qualifications information. Then each candidate will have the opportunity to address the main issues in their ward and the whole town for 3 minutes.

The order will be chosen randomly by ward and alphabetically within each ward.

Refreshments will be served afterwards and audience members will be encouraged to ask questions and have discussions with the candidates during this time.

Remarks Delivered at Open House – April 9

April 10, 2011

Version of the remarks delivered at Dave Rapp and Andrea Cerulli’s home on April 9, 2011.  I had the opportunity meet with about 30 residents of Ward 2 and listen to everyone’s concerns and questions.  I want to especially thank Dave and Andrea for allowing me to speak to those who attended – and I look forward to speaking with more residents in the remaining weeks before the election.

Good evening everyone. I want to thank you all for coming tonight and especially I would like to thank Dave and Andrea for opening their home to me and all of you this evening.

When I made the decision to run for Town Council two years ago, my wife and I had lived in Cheverly for just over a year. But I was already committed to Cheverly and wanted to do my part to preserve all that we cherish here in town. The issues that were important to me then are just as important to me now.

As everyone surely knows, this year Cheverly will commemorate its 80th Anniversary on May 14th, Cheverly Day. The people working hard on Cheverly Day have challenged Town residents to think about “what Cheverly means to them.” To me, Cheverly means so many things. Chief among them are family, safety, progress, and communication.

When my wife and I began to look for a home in which to raise our growing family – at the time our son Teddy was 3 and Joe was on the way – we looked in other communities and then came to Cheverly. Marisa’s brother-in-law grew up here in Cheverly and suggested that we look here. After one weekend looking and just a few houses – we knew we had found the right place. On the day we moved in we were greeted warmly by our neighbors, which reinforced for us that our decision to move here was the right one. Teddy is currently at school at St. Ambrose and in a few years, Joe will follow him. I would love to see expanded educational opportunities for all of Cheverly’s students – for they are our greatest assets.

A second issue that is important to me is communication. One of the reasons I ran for this seat two years ago was a perception that our Council Member was not communicating with the residents of the Ward. The idea of public service, which is very important to me, is about just that – serving the public. As a member of the Town Council, I would work for you. If we are to be successful as your representatives, you must have the opportunity to bring your questions, concerns, and issues to your elected officials.

I want to also address the idea of safety and those “quality of life” issues that are often at the forefront of discussions around Town. I am very pleased with the actions of Chief Robshaw and the rest of the Cheverly Police force. While I have been out talking with residents, I had a conversation with one of our neighbors about an issue of concern to her. I brought the issue to the Mayor and the Chief and it has been dealt with in an effective and responsible manner. I have had the opportunity to do a “ride-along” with one of our officers and I highly recommend the experience.

Finally, I want to talk about progress, and our future, while also taking note of the past. While I have been out talking with you and our neighbors, I have heard from many of you about you care most deeply about. You have all hopefully heard or read about the things I care about – one of which is progress. We really do have a great thing going here in Cheverly and I want to be a part of helping the Town move forward. The Tuxedo Road corridor is a gateway to our town, which could use a little love. The Town should be proactive with the businesses there and push them to be integral members of our community and take as much pride in Cheverly as we all do. With the loss of the Tuxedo Road fire station, we are faced with a large building on Tuxedo that may very easily become a target for vandalism. If the fire station is not going to return – the Town should approach the county and see what could be done to transform the fire house into something that would benefit all of the Town’s residents. As disappointed as I was to see the Giant on 202 leave – I was heartened to see that Aldi will move into its place. Our senior citizens and the residents of the apartments need that resource close to them, when they may not be able to get to the supermarkets, which are further afield. Progress is also needed in Ward 5, which is primarily comprised of the apartments. For the past year the apartments have been without representation, with the departure of Council Member Johnson, who moved out of the Ward. No resident of the Town should be left without a voice in their government.

I hope that you will consider supporting me in the election coming up on May 2. I believe in Cheverly, as I am sure that you do. I look forward to hearing your questions and speaking with you about what Cheverly means to you. Thank you.

Open House Event

April 3, 2011

Dave Rapp and Andrea Cerulli

Invite you to meet

John LeGloahec

Candidate for Ward 2

Cheverly Town Council


Saturday April 9, 2011

7:00pm – 9:00pm

5719 Forest Road


Children welcome!

John will speak briefly at 8:00pm

and answer your questions throughout the evening!

Four Way Race in Ward 2

March 29, 2011

The filing deadline for candidates to run in the upcoming Town elections passed last Friday, March 25.  There are four candidates running for the open seat in Ward 2.  I have been out talking with the residents of the Ward and look forward to meeting more of you over the next few weeks.

The Gazette has an article on the race.  You can read it here.

I hope that if you have any questions or concerns about Cheverly and Ward 2, I hope you will get in touch with me.  I hope that you will consider supporting me on Election Day, Monday May 2.