With plans to focus on issues like growth, infrastructure and diversifying the city’s economy, Frederick Alderman Roger Wilson announced Friday his bid to run for mayor.

Wilson, a Democrat, kicked off his campaign with a virtual announcement and YouTube video, citing the COVID-19 pandemic as the reason for not holding a more traditional in-person event.

Wilson will face incumbent Mayor Michael O’Connor in the Sept. 14 Democratic primary for a spot in the Nov. 2 general election. O’Connor was the only candidate listed Friday on a city website of primary candidates.

Wilson’s announcement comes as he is facing allegations from several women of inappropriate sexual remarks or behavior. Wilson has strongly denied the allegations, saying the accusations only made him more motivated to run.

Wilson said he wants to focus on the city’s infrastructure — not only the roads, bridges and physical elements but the social infrastructure of coordinated services for people with mental health issues and other health issues.

The first-term alderman said he wants to move ahead with a project to build a downtown hotel and conference center, which he believes can be a “game changer” for the city’s downtown.

A former county director of government affairs and public policy for County Executive Jan Gardner (D), Wilson said he’d like to see a better partnership between the city and county to create more affordable housing. He wants to make sure the two entities’ housing policies are in sync.

With the city preparing to hire a new police chief, Wilson said he’d like to have a discussion of how the racial justice issues of 2020 have changed how police work is done.

“What does community policing 2.0 look like?” he said.

The discussion shouldn’t be on defunding the police, he said, but about the need to invest in the police department. He’d also like to update the vehicles in the Frederick Police Department’s fleet.

Since police can’t be everywhere at once, Wilson said he’d like to see more closed-circuit cameras downtown.

A former employee with IBM for nearly 20 years, Wilson also hopes to modernize the city’s IT systems.

One of Wilson’s main priorities would be to diversify the city’s economy and make it more resilient to withstand the strain of a viral pandemic such as the current one.

Years ago, the city focused on attracting biotechnology companies, Wilson said, and now he wants to do the same with attracting renewable energy firms.

The city already boasts a fairly diverse economy, but it can always be better, he said.

He said he thought about the political implications of challenging a mayor of his own party, but he looks forward to a vigorous campaign with O’Connor.

“I have nothing personal against Michael,” Wilson said Friday, adding he’s known the mayor for some time and considers him a good man. “I just think that I can do a better job.”

Follow Ryan Marshall on Twitter: @RMarshallFNP

Ryan Marshall is the transportation and growth and development reporter for the News-Post. He can be reached at rmarshall@newspost.com.

(60) comments

kfmd

Can we get a third choice? Please. Frankly, I'm tired of any elected leadership—who has the ability RIGHT now to ask questions, explore alternatives, and begin processes—but just sits on their hands. “What does community policing 2.0 look like?” should have been asked PRIOR to the chief selection process.

petersamuel

Ald Wilson is wrong on the downtown hotel project. The hotel business devastated by the covid pandemic and it's unclear how complete or quickly any recovery will be. Surviving hotels are going to be dropping their prices to gin up business. Now is not the time -- if ever there's a time -- for taxpayers to be supporting new hotel rooms. Downtown restaurants and shops live off day-trippers from the greater DC-Baltimore-NoVa area. If the City has money to support the downtown business it's going to better spent boosting what we have -- making the downtown more attractive to DC day-trippers. By, for example, rebuilding Market and Patrick Streets with wider sidewalks and extra space for outdoor dining, so we can get rid of the ugly white plastic buffers. And moving forward with modernization of parking decks.

gabrielshorn2013

Absolutely agree patersamuel. There is also the boutique Visitation Academy project (not funded by taxpayers) in the same area that the proposed boondoggle will need to compete with. The downtown demand, if there really is any, can be accommodated by the Visitation facility.

KellyAlzan

Mr. Wilson:

As you can see the comments here have turned into being all about that hotel.

You may want to abandon that idea.

Tax payers do not support it with using state or county or city money.

You had everyone supporting your bid for mayor, until you.......exclaimed support for “that hotel”.

It’s like a game of chess. Plan your moves. And plan them without “that hotel”

LeonardKeepers

a hotel and convention center down town is not needed

Piedmontgardener

I think Mr. Wilson is a thoughtful, smart man who has a good handle on this community. I strongly disagree with any public money being spent towards a convention center, particularly when COVID related costs and tax hits on revenue will be registering on the fiscal line. Private investment can and should be the only way this gets built, if it ever does. The infrastructure challenges of accommodating traffic and parking in my mind are large.

mcrider

“ .... diversifying the city’s economy” ???

What the heck does that even mean ?

threecents

Putting our eggs in more baskets.

yogib

So good to see Roger step to the plate for Frederick. His serious consideration of the downtown Conference Center is a breath of fresh air. According to tax records the past 9 year average growth of the Historical District assessed value is 1.49%.

There is no way Frederick City can make progress with that level of growth.

Lets do it Roger.

KellyAlzan

Has the city found a private investor the hotel would be built by now. Harpers Ferry has a private investor. It can be done

gary4books

OK. And let us find private investors for new roads. Perhaps every thing else the city needs and if we do not find investors, just do without.

gabrielshorn2013

Weak argument Gary. A privately run hotel is not the same as a road for public use. You understand the difference, right? For example, the Carroll Creek Project was for flood mitigation that benefits all. The hotel is also poorly designed, and the "public parking deck" (which is really the foundation of the building) will be full at 50% hotel occupancy, while the hotel requires 70% occupancy to be profitable.

KellyAlzan

Gary, such a poor comment like that makes you look lost

KellyAlzan

Typo - it should say - “had the city......”

Piedmontgardener

Assessed value of property transferred in the last 9 years is that low? I find that hard to comprehend, given the sales prices of properties in the HD in the last four years. We are currently in a red hot market for Frederick property. Some would say very overheated, to be honest.

PurplePickles aka L&M

The first-term alderman said he wants to move ahead with a project to build a downtown hotel and conference center, which he believes can be a “game changer” for the city’s downtown....WHY? Anyone realize how many years they have been "trying" to build this conference center? It's a democratic pipe dream for some reason? I think it's okay at this point to be against it? I don't think being for it is a good politics at this point?

I'm glad Mr. Wilson is running for Mayor and all that, BUT if there is a another candidate on the ticket for Mayor that doesn't support the Conference Center, and depending on a few things, I will seriously consider voting for the candidate that doesn't support the Conference Center... .....

gary4books

What if all the candidates want a hotel? So far, all the elected people in Frederick have liked the idea. Perhaps it really is a good one.

Blueline

Maybe he can go on Shark Tank & see if anyone there is interested in the idea.

gabrielshorn2013

I bet they'll all say "I'm out", leaving the developers to do the rejected "walk of shame" out the double doors.

girlinfrederick

Congratulations Roger! It is time to bring ethics and common sense back to the Mayor’s Office.

Treva B

Ryan Marshall. If you choose sensationalism over solid journalism, as it seems you have in this article, then you've already lost your way. We don't need more of the CNN and Fox News style of hysterical reporting. We need solid, reliable journism to prevail and shine through in this wrecklessly divisive state of our union. Please, for all of our sakes, do and be better.

KellyAlzan

The way ryan mentions allegations against Wilson, is written like women have come forward through appropriate channels like the women accusing the male doctors of inappropriate touching.

And so far, not one single woman has come forward through appropriate channels.

At this point it’s strictly MacSHAME with allegations, saying there are women out there alleging such. But this has not been confirmed.

Media MUST confirm allegations

And accusations before writing a story. And FNP has not confirmed that real people with alleged allegations even exist.

I just saw on Ch 4 news this week, they said “this story has been confirmed by News 4......”.

Ryan Marshall - please revise your wording for the online edition. It’s giving a false sense

That people have come forward. No one has come forward. You do not even know for sure if such people even exist. Wilson’s attorney is reading these news stories, I suggest you write your stories as if a judge is watching over your shoulders.

Treva B

Congratulations Ald. Wilson ! I look forward to watching and supporting your campaign as the coming weeks and months unfold. As a native fredericktonian, I believe it is beyond time for Frederick to advance forward in every way.

threecents

I hope he does not get "canceled", as O’Connor has not earned re-election, and it seems to me that Wilson has earned a shot.

gary4books

"The first-term alderman said he wants to move ahead with a project to build a downtown hotel and conference center, which he believes can be a “game changer” for the city’s downtown."

I agree and it is time for those who do not want public money to help our visitors (as with a visitor center and all the rest we spend now) and give us such "reasons" as a hotel will cause an infestation of bed bugs or other excuses to not spend a dime on anything at all to put up good reasons or just shut up. Perhaps there were some flaws in the original process. Just fix them now.

.

C.D.Reid

The only flaw in the original process is to use public tax dollars for a private enterprise. As has been stated here many times before, if its such a good, and profitable, idea why can't the developer(s) finance it in its entirety themselves? Aren't they confident of a respectable return on their investment? Or do they, in reality, want a larger return by spending less of their own money?

gary4books

And as I have said, if it were good and profitable we would have a hotel now. It is more of a service and a speculative investment. And that is why it needs some support to get started. I would let the voters decide. I get this question often and do answer it.

C.D.Reid

I agree with letting the voters decide, but I don't see this controversial issue as the type that would be put on the ballot.

gabrielshorn2013

If it is speculative, and the downtown merchants believe they will derive a benefit, let them pony up and invest in that boondoggle. Leave the taxpayers out of it!

gary4books

Downtown merchants do pony up. They pay a lot of taxes and a hotel will help them with more traffic and customers.

gabrielshorn2013

That's not ponying up Gary. That is paying the same taxes as every other business, most of whom will receive zero benefit, meanwhile the other hotels will be funding their competion! Weak argument. If the merchants will receive a benefit that others will not get, let those merchants be investors to get those benefits, and share in the financial risk. Don't put that risk on the backs of County taxpayers, most of whom do not live in Frederick City.

KellyAlzan

At a minimum, the city should make an honest, ETHICAL, attempt to find a private investor. Had a private investor been located, the hotel would be up and running by now.

Finding a private investor then takes all the concerns of using public monies out of the equation, and it takes a fair amount of politics out of the equation.

public-redux

I’ll add bedbugs to my list of the dumbest “reasons”. The others are: 1) the hotel would dramatically increase the cost to the city of snow removal; 2) the cost to the city of picking up litter would dramatically increase; and my favorite 3) heavy trucks servicing the hotel would cause damage to the sewer system but heavy trucks servicing anything else downtown would not damage the sewer system.

Amazingly, all three came from the same person.

I oppose the hotel/conference center. Just not for those reasons.

gary4books

Thanks. I do love our "heavy metal" contributor.

KellyAlzan

Out of context.

“Heavy trucks”. As in construction trucks during the construction. NOT meaning trucks pertaining to daily operating.

Downtown Frederick DOES not experience heavy truck construction traffic. Downtown Frederick does not have 48” lowboy trailers with a 22 ton excavator on hits back. The axles on lowboys are at the back of the trailers - trailers will be drug over curbing and portions of sidewalks when they make the 90 degree turns on the streets going and leaving.

Do this everyday, pretty sure I know what I’m talking about!

public-redux

You pick up litter downtown every day? Good for you.

KellyAlzan

48’ not 48”

public-redux

You did remind me that’s I misstated your third reason. It was actually that heavy trucks would damage the sewer system if the hotel has public funding but wouldn’t if the hotel is privately funded. Something about that excavator being able to tell the difference.

KellyAlzan

Not correct public.

You may have interpreted something that way. That’s on you. Not me.

Public or private funds, I never mentioned that in relation to the underground pipes. Spend the morning searching. You’ll see that never was stated or implied!

Yes, the heavy (construction) trucks most certainly can damage the sewer and water lines under the road!

C.D.Reid

Considering all the negative opinions posted here on the matter of a downtown hotel and conference center, my own included, I'm not sure that supporting their construction is a good running platform.

gary4books

Good platform? We will see. The seemingly organized campaign to stop the hotel was supported by a paid lobby in Annapolis. What will it do now?

gabrielshorn2013

Who is that lobbyist Gary? I have never supported this taxpayer funded boondoggle, and I have never heard of such a lobbyist.

public-redux

IIRC, the lobbyist was Bruce Bereano and his services were retained by Gary Cohen, either directly or thru his hospitality enterprise(s).

gabrielshorn2013

Thanks public. While he may be working in Annapolis (representing hotel competitors who are not taxpayer subsidized?), he certainly is not leading the taxpayer opposition in Frederick County from what I can see. Nonetheless, I would support his efforts on our behalf.

threecents

Yah, he is very pro-conference center, as are most people in city government.

DickD

I don't often agree with you CD, but I don't want tax money to subsidize a private company. Let them use their own money.

micky

A "woke" candidate for mayor. Why don't we just become MoCo North and make it official !!

C.D.Reid

The libs are working on doing just that, micky. Unfortunately.

Comment deleted.
FrederickFan

It is the old guard who approved Urbana on the 60 s and 70s, it just didn't start to happen until 20 years ago. It is also the old guard who approved all the development in Lake Linganore 50 years ago. It's the old guard that did this and everyone since has had to follow the zoning and agreements the old guard approved.

Comment deleted.
Comment deleted.
PurplePickles aka L&M

@phy

See I told you it was puppy love....

bpswp

Good luck in this run.

petersamuel

On this sentence "Wilson’s announcement comes as he is facing allegations from several women of inappropriate sexual remarks or behavior," the Frederick News Post has so far only reported Alderman Ben MacShane's vague allegations of women's complaints. Has this newspaper confirmed MacShane's story? If so that confirmation should have been front page news. If not then the above sentence is a just another disgusting smear against Ald Wilson that the newspaper should be ashamed of having published.

KellyAlzan

Ryan Marshal:

How come you did not include a link to Wilson’s video?

threecents

This one??

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g9Cc7iInETY

KellyAlzan

FNP WRITER MR MARSHAL:

You need to change your wording, You wrote:

”Wilson’s announcement comes as he is facing allegations from several women of inappropriate sexual remarks....”

Should say “of”. Instead of

From.

Because so far the allegations come ONLY from a male city alderman. So far NO women have come forward, none. So far there is nothing supporting that these women exist.

Mister Marshall, please edit your story.

TomWheatley

Add to that the source of the allegations (Facebook post) is missing from the article.

gabrielshorn2013

Go for it Mr. Wilson! [thumbup] Best wishes and good luck!

phydeaux994

Time for his accusers to put up or shut up.

Dwasserba

There is no process for them to do that safely.

Dwasserba

The lack of process does not serve him well either, that is to say. Coming forward on Facebook just leaves everyone involved as open targets for speculation and judgment. It could happen but should not.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it clean. No vulgar, racist, sexist or sexually-oriented language.
Engage ideas. This forum is for the exchange of ideas, not personal attacks or ad hominem criticisms.
TURN OFF CAPS LOCK.
Be civil. Don't threaten. Don't lie. Don't bait. Don't degrade others.
No trolling. Stay on topic.
No spamming. This is not the place to sell miracle cures.
No deceptive names. Apparently misleading usernames are not allowed.
Say it once. No repetitive posts, please.
Help us. Use the 'Report' link for abusive posts.

Thank you for reading!

Already a member?

Login Now
Click Here!

Currently a News-Post subscriber?

Activate your membership at no additional charge.
Click Here!

Need more information?

Learn about the benefits of membership.
Click Here!

Ready to join?

Choose the membership plan that fits your needs.
Click Here!