Small Town Mayors Unite.
Maryland Moment (Post Blog), 8 Sep 2008 (Helderman).
Berwyn Heights Mayor Cheye Calvo says he hasn't decided which presidential candidate he's supporting in November, but he does know this: Small-town mayoral experience is valuable.
Calvo has found himself in a national spotlight recently after a Prince George's County Sheriff's Office SWAT team shot and killed his two black Labradors during a drug raid on his home on July 29. He defended the experience of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin in a recent interview.
(Police have said Calvo and his wife were innocent victims of a drug smuggling scheme but the sheriff has defended his deputies who shot the dogs. The incident has attracted national outrage and landed Calvo on CNN.)
"Being a small town mayor, you're on the front lines," Calvo said. "Anyone can stand up at any time at my town meetings and raise their hands and express their opinions...It's great experience to learn how to interact with state and local agencies, how to manage people."
Calvo, who leads a town that is somewhere between a third and half the size of now famous Wasilla, Alaska, the town once run by Palin, said the experience has made him "smarter" and "humble." In a nod to bipartisanship, he likened it to serving in the military (as Sen. John McCain did) or being a community organizer (a job once held by Sen. Barack Obama).
Though a registered Republican, Calvo said neither party truly represents his policy positions and he's been contemplating re-registering as an independent. He noted approvingly that he received a personal note from the Libertarian presidential candidate, former Rep. Bob Barr, after the killing of his dogs. Barr put out a public statement too citing the raid as an example of an overreaching government.
"I'm someone who's vote is undecided," Calvo said, but, he added, "Don't be shortchanging small town mayors out there."