James Appel (R) | Ward 5
Challenger to candidate Marc Rodriguez (D) for seat being vacated by retiring incumbent Jared Littman (D)
James Appel has lived in Annapolis from 1989-96 and 2016 to the present. He has experience in the private sector but more recently has worked for the state government. His current position is Executive Financial Officer for the Department of Information Technology, an appointment made by Governor Hogan.
Appel believes that his business experience and financial knowledge make him a good candidate for Ward 5. He has run state and federal programs, which will help him bring more efficiency to city government. He would allot more funds to the police and fire departments, as well as to the city’s open space. The funds would not come from increased taxes but by “making existing revenues go further.”
Appel says that one of the ways to reallocate funds would be to review the city’s staffing. He would not eliminate current employees but might not fill their positions when they became vacant. He has used this tactic to save the State money by not filling 64 jobs. His standard for reviewing staff positions would be to not assume a position is needed just because “we’ve always done it that way.”
In addition to efficiency in government, Appel would focus on development, crime, and open space. He believes that there must be a balance between the rate of development and the availability of city infrastructure. Crystal Springs is a big issue in Ward 5, he believes, because of the additional traffic that it would generate. He would also review annexation proposals but would not propose a moratorium on development.
Crime is also a concern of Ward 5 residents. Appel would reallocate to the Police Department any monies saved by instituting more efficient measures. He would also encourage more police involvement with the community and supports Mayor Pantelides’ efforts in this regard. He would involve the police chief is setting goals for what the Police Department needs to reduce crime.
Appel is committed to increasing the outdoor quality of life for city residents. He is a lifelong tennis player and wants to encourage efforts to involve citizens in outdoor recreational activities. To that end he supports the Pip Moyer Recreation Center but would not support privatizing it—although he would consider an outside organization such as the YWCA operating it, if that were more efficient. He supports the sale of the city’s golf course and would designate the funds received from it to recreational facilities. He would consider a new pool as one project for use of those funds.
Because he believes that the city should have a diverse population, Appel supports public as well as affordable housing. No ethnic group has told him of any particular concerns, and he believes that he should help all residents equally. In response to how he would have voted on 0-1-17, Non-discrimination Foreign-Born Residents Equal Protection, Appel states that he would not have supported it because “[it] was a very poorly written bill and did not bring any additional protection to [Annapolis’} citizens. It was a political statement against the newly elected President and I feel it was unfortunate that the citizens of Annapolis were used as pawns.”
This profile is based on interviews Action Annapolis conducted with the candidate in July.