Council Update: Hiring

The Council recently hired a Public Works Director, will soon be interviewing candidates for Town Administrator, and is about to embark on a process for hiring a Chief of Police. Provide your input on these two hires using the link on my home page.

For more information on the process to fill these vacant positions, please take a look at my most recent update. You can sign up to automatically receive these here.

And a special thank you to Public Works’ excellent maintenance of our town parks; this little gal celebrated turning three in Boyd Park last weekend and it was a beautiful party in a beautiful park!

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Nicole Bryner
Lessons from Ward 4

Last night I had the pleasure of attending the 4th Ward Civic Association’s monthly meeting. For anyone unfamiliar with the history of Ward 4 and its historical significance during and following the era of segregation, I urge you to read Fred Price Jr’s and Leila Price’s narrative here. From that page:

The Fourth Ward Civic Association was organized in 1960.  Its purpose was to identify and work on common issues affecting the community (Ward 4) and to stimulate interest and active participation in civic affairs.

The Fourth Ward Civic Association is still very much active and engaged today. At last night’s meeting, there were thoughtful and productive discussions about Public Works priorities, community policing, and traffic safety, among other issues.

While the Civic Association model is one that is unique to Ward 4 and its rich history, I like the idea of the Ward having the opportunity to come together face to face regularly to chat. Something like open office hours or informal meetings. Is this something my Ward 3 neighbors would be interested in? Let me know!

And thanks to the Fourth Ward Civic Association for this lovely video!

Nicole BrynerComment
Council Update: May 19, 2019

My very first Council Update is now live! To sign up and have the updates delivered directly to your inbox click here.

To view the May 19, 2019 update, click here.

Hoping everyone had a fabulous weekend! It was so lovely to see so many friendly faces at Cheverly Day! From the Second Line to the fireworks my family and I had a blast; heartfelt thanks to the Cheverly Day Committee, volunteers, Public Works and CPD staff that made the day such a success! 

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Nicole BrynerComment
Before I get sworn in...

Thanks again for your support and your trust. I am so looking forward to representing Ward 3 on Council—those who voted for me, those who didn’t, and those who didn’t vote at all!

Before I step into the great unknown of being privy to all the things the Council is privy to and speaking as an elected official, I wanted to post here one last time with some promises. I know that now that the dust is settling from the election there are concerns about how our new representatives will work together. I hope I can reassure you, through my words and my actions, that I will be collaborative and thoughtful.

As your Councilmember:

I will work collaboratively in good faith with the mayor and council. 

I will not hesitate to speak up on issues my constituents have told me are important to them. 

I will always advocate for transparency and communication. 

I will not "go rogue" in ways that are illegal or violate the trust you have placed in me. 

I will ask probing questions and demand accountability as much as possible, and push back on "this is how it's always been done."

I will not devolve into personal attacks or deception to advocate for my position. 

I will only ever be myself: straightforward, sometimes blunt, passionate, but never mean. 

I am so grateful for this opportunity, and will serve our ward faithfully and honestly.

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Money Matters

Fun fact: campaigning is kind of expensive! I have been very lucky that my “$3 for Ward 3” fundraiser has given me the opportunity to buy 10 lawn signs and pay for a website. But design and printing and postage all cost money.

Back in the February worksession* a few folks raised concerns that there aren’t any town regulations around campaign financing. We were told that Cheverly never needed that and most municipalities have no regulations.

So I’m surprised to see so much concern now around candidates pooling resources or looking to other grassroots organizations for support with campaign materials.

The alternatives are for a candidate or her family to have a good deal of disposable income, or for a candidate to raise a lot of money from potential voters.

It might be because I pay more for childcare than I do for my mortgage, but it seems to me that narrowing our candidate pool to those who have a lot of money or those who have a lot of supporters/friends with money results in a race that is not super equitable and puts candidates (like me) who are a little strapped at a disadvantage. It also puts candidates in the position of feeling more indebted to some residents (who contribute more money) than to others. Is that a better scenario than having 4-5 names on the same door hanger?

Just my two cents! Pun very much intended.

*There are somehow no meeting minutes on Cheverly’s website for any meetings held in 2019, so I don’t have exact dates on this. I’m pretty sure it was February.

Hashtags and letters

A door hanger has gone up on a few doors that says “If you are a first time voter, bring a government ID, check stub, or utility bill with you.” The phrasing is unfortunately a little vague but it is a shortened version of what it says on the Maryland election board website itself.

Screenshot taken from the MD Board of Elections Website

Screenshot taken from the MD Board of Elections Website

Some residents were really quick to start using a hashtag on this with claims of voter suppression. In the meantime, Beth quickly clarified, paused the use of the hangers while she confirmed the guidance on the Board of Elections site, triple checked her research, and took steps to make sure everyone has the correct information.

I wish we were not so quick to assume the worst of people, particularly of our own neighbors.

Criticizing candidates is a natural byproduct of an election, but I prefer that we stick to their statements and actions as candidates and elected officials, and not make accusations about their motivations without doing a bit of research.

 

Speaking of criticism, many of you in Ward 3 have probably received by now a letter from Cheverly resident Glenn Ivey. I am grateful that Glenn, with his considerable experience as a leader in our county and state, believes in me and my ability to be an effective councilmember.

Glenn’s letter was frank about the lack of information in town around recent retirements and investigations, and about the positions of some of our candidates on whether or not information surrounding these should be shared with the town. Something I have been struck by since the letters were mailed is the reaction in town to that frankness—not on facebook and the exchange, where this topic has been discussed for a while, but while door knocking.

I have encountered so many residents who have said some variation of “I had no idea this was happening here!” Folks are surprised that the council and mayor have not taken any steps to provide context around the abrupt departure of some of our town officials, and that they were not at least aware of independent investigations having taken place. And they are grateful that someone is at least letting them know.

 

I want to underline this point: for many of our neighbors, the first time they are hearing about any of this is from a letter from a concerned neighbor. Not from the town itself. How different might all of these conversations be today if the town had been proactive and sent their own letter months ago, or had at any point communicated a plan for how all of this would be addressed and communicated in a legally acceptable way? How can we do a better job of keeping our residents who aren’t plugged in to the exchange and facebook up to date and informed?

This is my top priority: to make sure that residents have ways to get the information they want and need. So that a privately-run listserv is not the primary way our residents get information (and misinformation) that should be coming from the town. So that residents who have service requests and questions can find that information easily and intuitively. So that there are avenues for dialogue that inform policy and decision making broadly. So that there is trust between residents and their government again.

Frequently Asked Questions!

Q: What do you mean by “transparency”? I don’t want the town to get in trouble!

A: Neither do I! I don’t use transparency to mean that we should set up clotheslines outside of town hall and air all our dirty laundry. What I do believe is that light is a disinfectant, and that in a vacuum people will use their imaginations to dream up even bigger hairier monsters than what is being concealed. To me, transparency means being proactive about notifications and releasing information whenever possible. For example: a statement that effectively says “You may have heard about personnel issues in town, and we are legally not allowed to discuss those. The council has engaged independent investigations to explore these matters and we will continue to provide a high level of accountability and be as transparent as possible. Thank you for your understanding and patience.” Or hiring a communications expert to help us with that.

 

Q: I haven’t seen you at my favorite event/club/committee. How can you be on council if you haven’t been engaged in Cheverly?

A: Campaigns are built on sound bites and bullet points, easily digestible information.  I might not have a long list of clubs and committees to rattle off, beyond serving on the executive committee of Progressive Cheverly, but is that really disqualifying? I know so many wonderful folks who spend their time advocating and helping their community in harder-to-articulate ways: caring for and supporting neighbors in need, advocating for others in less-than-official capacities, connecting needs to resources in ways big and small but all “below the radar.”

There are a lot of ways to be involved in your community, just as there are a lot of ways to define what and who your community is. Community goes so far beyond clubs and committees, and when we narrow our definitions of community we invalidate the experience of thousands of our residents who aren’t involved in those ways.

 

Q: How can you possibly do a good job with the Cheverly budget if you’ve never worked on the Cheverly budget process?

A: I agree that the Cheverly budget is so so important! I have created and managed multi-million dollar budgets on the federal level, which is a much more rigorous and fraught process than the Cheverly budget process. I have experience working with stakeholders with directly competing priorities to come together and create a budget that is a workable compromise for all parties. Having observed as much as I can of the Cheverly budget process, I can say with confidence that my experience is more than sufficient, and my commitment to understanding the priorities of my constituents and advocating for them is essential.

  

Q: Are you part of a slate/clique/cabal?

A: I am not! I am friendly with and supportive of other candidates. I have not agreed to any set of policies or priorities with anyone; I am committed to being directed by my constituents’ priorities and needs, and not any predetermined group efforts. Like any Cheverly resident, I have a preferred mayoral candidate and I’m happy to talk to anyone who is interested about why I support her.

 

Q: Why are you running?

A: As I’ve lived in Cheverly longer and gotten progressively more involved in local politics, I’ve noticed that it takes a lot of work to be an engaged and informed citizen in Cheverly. Finding meeting minutes on the hard-to-navigate town website, digging your newsletter out from a pile of junk mail on your table, making the time to attend a long and often unwelcoming meeting--if you want your voice to be heard in Cheverly, you have to work for it, and I want to change that. I want to make it easy to find the info you need and have your needs met; I’ve laid out some of those ideas on my website at www.nicolebryner.com

 

Q: Yes, but you don’t know the right people/you haven’t participated in the right groups/you haven’t lived here the right amount of time. You haven’t earned the right to run for or sit on council!

A: That’s not a question, so here are some questions in response:

  • Who decides who the right people are, and how do the rest of the residents of Cheverly feel about not being considered the right people? How do we engage more of the town when we continue to have a narrow definition of which types of people qualify for elected office?

  • Why are only some groups and activities considered qualifying as experience, when people and communities are so diverse, as are the ways in which we serve and learn? What are we really saying when we question someone’s fitness for office based on whether we’ve seen them at the same events and activities as us?

  •  How many years does one have to have lived in Cheverly to understand the community’s needs, and to be considered suitable to represent the community? What qualities does someone who’s lived here longer possess over someone who hasn’t?

And finally:

  • Is a seat on Council/as mayor a prize to be won by someone who has checked a certain number of boxes? Or is at a role we elect someone to when we believe that they will do the hard work of listening, advocating, problem-solving, and connecting? And if we truly believe the former, who are we excluding from town leadership as a result?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nicole Bryner
One more time for the people in the back

There are some candidates in this election who are interested in exploring the ideas of transparency and accountability at a deeper level than other candidates. To expect those candidates to avoid each other rather than lift each other up is folly, just as it would be for the remaining candidates to not also promote and support each other.

No one in town can vote for more than two candidates—one mayor and one councilmember.

Don’t villainize a group of women who come together for mutual support and encouragement in the face of some really ugly accusations and assumptions just because they also happen to share some of the same priorities.

On “cliques” and politics

With one week to go until the election, I’ve talked to a lot of neighbors about a lot of things. And it’s been so lovely! What an excellent community of kind, smart, engaged residents we have here in Ward 3.

A word that’s come up recently, and that we heard during the Women’s Club forums earlier this month, is the idea of there being political “cliques” in town. I wanted to address and explore that idea, from my own point of view, speaking for no one but myself.

I was kind of a nerd in middle and high school; no one could ever accuse me of being one of the popular kids. In fact, my first experience with campaigning was in 7th grade when I ran for student council; I hand-drew signs with a medieval-style town crier whose speech bubble said “Hear ye, hear ye, Vote for Nicole!” and I gave speeches about field trips to museums and having more hands-on science labs.

I lost in a landslide.

Which is all to say that I am not one to align myself with the politically expedient ideas just to win or to be popular. I am never going to be anyone but wholly, honestly, 100% myself. Which is not as easy as it sounds!

I was never as cool as these two, that’s for sure.

I was never as cool as these two, that’s for sure.

In fact, this whole campaigning business has NOT been easy. If you’re tired of doorknocks and postcards and emails (and I’m sure you are!), just try being in the middle of it, with criticism and false rumors and unfounded accusations to boot. Who wouldn’t seek out like-minded women, in a similar situation, for camaraderie and support?

It’s true: there are other candidates in town I support and admire*. They are strong, fierce, passionate women who are dedicated to service and community. We may not always agree—in fact, I imagine there are topics on which we are directly opposed. We don’t spend a lot of time discussing policy or strategy. We talk about our experiences, and provide encouragement, and maybe share tips on the cheapest place to order lawn signs. We try to lift each other up. It’s what neighbors do. And no matter who ends up in those seven seats next week, it’s what I hope we all will do for each other, and for the town.

I could link to any number of articles here that explore the way that, in the past few years, women candidates have tended to look to each other for support and encouragement, from the local to national level. There’s a lot of dismay around the way national politics is being reflected in our local election, but there’s one area where (I hope) we can all agree it’s a boon—the number of women, and particularly women of color, running for office. It’s an honor to be able to campaign alongside these women, and to support and be supported by them.

The biggest irony in being criticized for being in a “political clique,” my own school unpopularity aside, is that I am running for council because it seems to always be the same folks in positions of power in Cheverly. My number one goal is to welcome a diversity of perspectives and ideas on council, not to focus or restrict in any way.

I’ve always thought of cliques as being pretty exclusive and elite, whereas my political dream is the equivalent of throwing a giant party where everyone is invited, no one feels unwelcome or bored, and every song is the one that sends everyone to the dancefloor with their hands in the air. Can we throw that metaphorical party in Cheverly? I think we can. And if that means that this nerdy girl is somehow in a clique, then sign me up.

*To be clear: I respect everyone. I know that there seems to be a “two sides” situation in the town, which is probably natural when most seats have two candidates, and when there are so many new faces. I imagine elections are much less tense when most seats are unopposed and there isn’t a giant elephant in the room like the current scandals playing out. I hope I’ve shown that I have the temperament to work with everyone, despite my sometimes-blunt nature.

Nicole BrynerComment
Weekend Events!

Hello friends and neighbors!

I have been so overwhelmed by all of the support and encouragement I have received throughout this campaign process--I can’t believe we’re just ten days away from Election Day!

I am so looking forward to finally rolling up my sleeves and digging into the work of the Cheverly Council--I know I've spoken to many of you, discussed at the forum, and posted online about exploring a number of key issues including:

Of course, before we can start to have some impact in these areas, I need to actually get elected! And in the days between now and May 6, the best way to make that happen is the way most good things happen: by chatting with our neighbors. There are two opportunities this weekend to do just that!


Saturday: Campaign Kickoff and Birthday Celebration!

If you are free this coming Saturday, 27 April, I would love to see you at Boyd Park for Mayoral Candidate Beth MacKenzie's Campaign Kickoff event. 

From 12 to 1, we'll eat lunch, and you'll have a chance to chat with candidates and engage with neighbors on issues important to you. 

Starting at 1, groups will spread out across Cheverly to encourage neighbors to Get Out the Vote on May 6. If you've been hesitant to volunteer to knock on doors or canvass, this would be a perfect opportunity to give it a try in a way that is friendly, low-pressure, and with a partner or two. It looks like the weather will be perfect for walking those Cheverly hills.

If door knocking isn't your thing, I hope you'll still join us for lunch, or for snacks from 5 to 6!

Here's a link to the facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1219757034846027/


Sunday: Meet and Greet!

Another opportunity to engage with neighbors will be happening on Sunday evening: Alan & Maureen Dwyer will be hosting a meet and greet for Beth MacKenzie from 6-8pm. Come with your questions for Beth and me and enjoy discussions about the town we love, its challenges and its bright future. Refreshments will be provided.

Al and Maureen Dwyer

3120 Laurel Avenue

Sunday, 28 April, 6-8pm

Hope to see you there!


Volunteering

Now that we’re in the home stretch, word of mouth and getting out the vote are going to be key to making some positive change in Cheverly! If you're interested in helping with door knocking in Ward 3, either on Saturday or another time in the next two weeks, please use the Sign Up Genius link to sign up:  https://www.signupgenius.com/go/8050F4FAEAC2DABFD0-bryner.

I'm so excited about the potential for our town, and I know from all the conversations I've had recently that you are too. Thanks as always for your support; I know that together we can accomplish amazing things in Cheverly!

Hope to see you Saturday and/or Sunday, and if not, looking forward to seeing you on May 6th!

Me and my favorite doorknocking volunteer!

Me and my favorite doorknocking volunteer!

Nicole BrynerComment
Youth Engagement in Cheverly

A topic that has been raised multiple times during this election season, in one-on-one conversations and at the forum hosted by the Women’s Club, is opportunities for teens and young adults in Cheverly. The plethora of programming for children, through organizations like CPRC and the Boys and Girls’ Club, seems to drop precipitously once our young people become teenagers. This, combined with the complications of our local group VineCorps being able to use the gym, have combined to create a gap in teen programming.

I addressed my concerns about racial profiling when it comes to teens, both in my answers at the forum and in previous posts on this site. All of these discussions have led me to another potential idea that I have been researching—engaging youth directly at the municipal level. It seems to me that, beyond creating programs for these young adults, we should be making sure that we are giving them the power to help create and shape their community and how they engage with it. There are so many positive outcomes to this kind of model: young people are connected and develop key skills, the town opens up lines of communication with a subset of residents who can provide perspectives to aid in decision-making and future policies, and we can ensure that any future youth programs are created with input from all stakeholders.

My research so far has not been in-depth, as it is still in its early stages. But it seems like there are a number of successful models available that would ensure that our young people have a voice and a seat at the table. Our neighbor Hyattsville has information about a Teen Advisory Committee on their website, and I’m hopeful that if elected I’ll be able to connect with them about how it was formed and how we might do something similar. Here’s a story about it from a few years ago.

From the reading I have done so far, it seems clear that there is a wide range of youth engagement possibilities, from very adult-centered to youth-centered. Many articles reference “Hart’s Ladder,” which visualizes the continuum that these initiatives can fall on. This page, while nominally focused on health-related topics, has an easy-to-read rundown of these options. I would caution that it would be easy to fall into an adult-centered model here; it would be a priority for me to ensure that any youth advisory group formed would provide meaningful decision-making power in some way.

What do you think? Is there interest in engaging our teens and young adults in this way? Are you (or do you know) a teen who might be suitable for this kind of opportunity? Let me know!

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Nicole BrynerComment
Meet the Candidates Forum: Full Broadcast

The full broadcast of Tuesday night’s Forum (for mayor and wards 1, 3, and 5) is now available online.

A note: the day after this forum, I was informed that I had been too negative about our town, that I was “bashing Cheverly.” This was a complaint that was made to leadership of the Women’s Club, and included both my comments and Councilmember MacKenzie’s. It was, frankly, shocking to me. I did not step forward to serve on council to be complacent or stationary. How can I talk about ways I will improve the town if I don’t mention areas for improvement?

Please don’t think I am making a comparison here, but I think it’s relevant: one of my favorite modern speeches is the one President Obama gave in Selma on the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday. He talked about patriotism in a way that I’d never heard framed before. There are two passages that particularly resonate for me:

What greater expression of faith in the American experiment than this; what greater form of patriotism is there; than the belief that America is not yet finished, that we are strong enough to be self-critical, that each successive generation can look upon our imperfections and decide that it is in our power to remake this nation to more closely align with our highest ideals?

and:

It’s the idea held by generations of citizens who believed that America is a constant work in progress; who believed that loving this country requires more than singing its praises or avoiding uncomfortable truths. It requires the occasional disruption, the willingness to speak out for what’s right and shake up the status quo.

If you haven’t, I encourage you to read/watch the whole speech.

I am no Obama, and Cheverly is a small town. But these ideas about criticism and patriotism still apply: Cheverly is strong enough to withstand criticism and come out better for it. Believing in/loving this place and acknowledging its flaws are not mutually exclusive. I can do both. I will continue to do both. I hope you will watch the forum and come to your own conclusion. (The opening statements begin around the 12-minute mark.)

Nicole BrynerComment
Meet the Candidates Forum

A big thank you to everyone who was able to come out for last night’s Meet the Candidates Forum, sponsored by the Women’s Club. Last night candidates for mayor and wards 1, 3, and 5 gave brief statements and answered questions from the audience (and tonight, the mayoral candidates and wards 2, 4, and 6 will do the same).

I am working with some neighbors to see if we can get the video for the entire thing online somehow (it was broadcast on local cable but for many who have cut that cord, having another way to watch would be useful). In the meantime, my husband filmed my opening and closing statements, so I thought I would share them here for anyone who missed the forum.

Nicole BrynerComment
A Busy Week in Cheverly!

I hope you are all enjoying this beautiful Spring weather! 

I've been so happy to have the chance to chat with many of you about what we love about Cheverly and what we see for its future--along with lots of conversations about alleys, loose dogs, and coffee shops. If we haven't chatted yet, I look forward to connecting soon! 

I am planning to be at a few events in Cheverly in the next week and wanted to share in case they are of interest to you:

Thursday, 4 April: Progressive Cheverly Forum on Policing, Race, and Community. 

I coordinated this forum, which will look at some of the trainings that our Cheverly PD has already participated in and some more innovative trainings being developed at UMD. It should be an interesting evening! 7:00-9:00, Hoyer Education Center

Saturday, 6 April: Donuts and Coffee Social, 10am-Noon

Rachel Dabney Rice and Amy Rice are hosting neighbors who are interested in learning more about mayoral candidate Beth MacKenzie and Ward 6 candidate Amy Fry. While I'm not officially on the flyer, I will be there (free donuts!) and will be happy to chat with anyone!  Contact me directly if you need more information.

Sunday, 7 April: Cheverly Schools Parent Meet-Up (CPRC)

This is an opportunity for Cheverly parents to learn more about local schooling options and connect with other parents! (My son goes to Pullen ES, so I will be there answering questions about our experience there.)

Tuesday, 9 April: Women's Club Candidate Forum

This will be a chance to learn more about me and my platform in a public setting, and to hear from the mayoral candidates. On April 9th, candidates for wards 1, 3 and 5 will be present and on April 10th, candidates for wards 2, 4 and 6 will be present. Come to the Community Center, or watch: televised on Comcast 71 or Verizon Fios 35. 

Looking forward to seeing some of you at these events! As always, I am available via email or phone for any questions or concerns. 

Here’s someone who is very excited about the warmer weather:

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Nicole BrynerComment
Meet the Candidates!

Hello! Thanks to everyone who has emailed, called, or answered the door; I’ve had some great conversations with neighbors about ways we can make our lovely town even more welcoming, inclusive, and responsive.

Please mark your calendars for Tuesday, April 9th! The Women’s Club will be hosting their Candidate Forum for mayor and wards 1, 3, and 5 that evening. (And if you’re in wards 2, 4, or 6, plan to attend April 10th!) All candidates for those wards, plus the two mayoral candidates, will be there to talk about themselves and their platforms and answer questions from the audience. Questions will be solicited from audience members and each candidate will have to answer, so please start thinking about your questions and concerns!

If you can’t get to the Community Center, the forum will be broadcast locally on Comcast 71 or Verizon Fios 35.

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Nicole BrynerComment
April Newsletter Statement

Today all candidates for the upcoming elections were asked to submit a <350 word statement to be published in the April Cheverly newsletter. Since those newsletters sometimes don’t land in mailboxes until a week into the month, I decided to post my statement in full below. Thanks so much for reading!

Hello neighbors! I’m Nicole, a 5-year Cheverly resident passionate about community and ready to serve as Ward 3 Councilmember.

 

When I think about why I chose to run for Council, I think about the million ways I see Cheverly residents shine: during Cheverly Day and snowstorms, from Cheverly Village to CPRC, in Cheverly Station and Old Ward Four.  I think about the incredible generosity we extend to refugee families or during a federal shutdown. That spirit of service and community inspires me.

 

I firmly believe that all our residents deserve a voice in town decision-making, a clear understanding of town proceedings, and easy access to town services. As council member, I will accomplish this by prioritizing:

 

·      Service: The council should advocate for and represent their constituency. I will create mechanisms to ensure that Ward 3 residents will have prompt, helpful responses to their concerns, and have input on council business—from gym usage to future development.

 

·      Communication: I will promptly distribute meeting notes and announcements so Ward 3 will be informed and have opportunities to provide feedback. I will push for a redesigned town website and newsletter, and a clear process for service requests that includes tracking updates.

 

·      Accountability: Let’s be honest: the recent departures of our Town Administrator and Police Chief, while shrouded in silence and legalities, have shown us that Cheverly is not immune to scandal. Even with few details, it seems probable that for some time, two of our trusted town leaders behaved inappropriately, in ways that potentially misused tax dollars and actively harmed town employees and residents. That is unacceptable. I promise you that I will not hesitate to ask critical questions. I will insist on a level of oversight that, prior to 2017, seemed lacking on Council.

 

As Council Member, I will be a fierce advocate for every resident of Ward 3 and do the hard work to prioritize the interests of my constituents. To learn more about me—and my vision for Cheverly—explore www.nicolebryner.com or email brynerward3@gmail.com.  I look forward to seeing you around town and at the ballot box on May 6!

Nicole Bryner
$3 for Ward 3!

Good evening!

I added a donation page to my website. If you’re interested in learning more, please check it out here.

And since I’ve ended all of these posts with a video, I could not resist sharing this:

Nicole Bryner
Rumors, but not the good Fleetwood Mac kind

Most of the time I love my small town! But sometimes living in a small town can be maddening.

I heard there’s a rumor going around town that I am knocking on lots of doors and telling people that “Acting Chief Towers needs to go.” This is bananas! For two reasons!

  1. First, I am so far behind on knocking on doors that I have literally spoken with SIX potential voters so far. Six. The only time our Acting Chief came up was with one neighbor, when I mentioned how impressed I am with the work he’s done so far. Because…

  2. I am really impressed with the work Acting Chief Towers is doing so far!

I began looking into Cheverly’s use of stop and frisk when Robshaw was still Chief. I requested data (which didn’t exist) and asked to discuss how the town could start collecting data (I never got a response). I was stonewalled and condescended to.

In contrast, Acting Chief Towers is open to discussing issues, putting measures in place for accountability and transparency, and actively solicits input from the community. He is also responsive to criticism! Which is why I feel comfortable asking tough questions of him. And it’s also why I think he is a good fit for this town in this moment.

Yesterday Acting Chief Towers brought his entire force and staff to my workplace, the National Museum of African American History and Culture, for a powerful and innovative training on the intersections of race and policing, historically and in our present time. I am so happy that he took the initiative to learn about and attend the training, and then insist on bringing everyone from the department back for the training. (I had hoped to say hello to everyone while we were all in the same building, but that’s a story for another time.)

In summary: the steps that Acting Chief Towers has taken so far in his tenure are completely aligned with where I think the police force should be going! But that doesn’t mean that I’m not going to ask probing questions and look for ways to increase accountability and transparency. Which is something I wish had been done sooner with our previous Chief.

So, in honor of Fleetwood Mac’s amazing album and also a ridiculous aspect of our town’s election season which I can’t for the life of me understand, I present my favorite song from Rumours:

Nicole Bryner
Policing in Cheverly

The video from last night's Progressive Cheverly forum with Acting Chief Towers is worth watching. I really appreciate the steps that he is taking to improve transparency and accountability in the police force. As he mentions, it is incumbent on the town and its residents to help hold the force accountable.

As I did at the last PCAB (Police Chief's Advisory Board) meeting, I asked about the use of Stop and Frisk and the Terry Frisk. I will add some links at the bottom of this post but in short: there's a lot of concern about how these policies disproportionately impact people of color in communities nationwide.

You'll see in the video (if you get that far, it's toward the end) that I push back a little bit on the Chief's answer. I am not trying to be antagonistic; I truly believe it's important to have these conversations in the open, and to express concerns that I've heard from Cheverly residents in a public forum.

These concerns are not partisan. It is not partisan to advocate for equity and justice, nor is it partisan to care about the needs of all Cheverly residents. The majority of Cheverly's residents are people of color.

It is vital that town leadership is willing to ask difficult and probing questions. Access to a microphone--literal or metaphorical--is an awesome responsibility. With the support of my neighbors, I hope to not take that responsibility for granted.

If you have questions, compliments, or concerns about your past interactions with our police, let me know! Contact Nicole

Washington Post Op-Ed

Local Campaign to End Stop and Frisk

More Info About DC’s NEAR Act

Nicole BrynerComment