Monday, September 11, 2006


Tommorrow is primary day in our nation's capital district. On 9/12 we will cast the important votes for this election season, as in an area as Democratic as DC the primaries nearly guarantess success in the general election.

I am underprepared and have begun to more seriously analyze the options. As I have done so, I've been underwhelmed by many of the options.

We will have the oppurtunity to vote for candidates for:
  • Delegate to the United States House of Representatives (a non-voting house member)
  • DC Mayor
  • Chairperson of the City Council
  • Ward 1 Rep, City Council
  • Shadow Senator
  • Shadow Representative
  • At-Large Council Member
Delegate: I heard a spirited debate between the candidates on NPR and was impressed with the incumbant, Eleanor Holmes Norton, her long history of advocacy for the District, her ability to navigate the Congressional bureaucracy by building relationships, and later (after reading some) by the creative spelling of her first name. I plan to vote for Eleanor Holmes Norton.

Mayor: Early in the campaign I attended an Adrian Fenty fundraiser organized by MB. Fenty seemed quite smooth and articulate. He connected comfortably with the young, progressive, mostly professional crowd. The folks I know who have been working hard on affordable housing and various other local social and economic justice issues have had generally good things to say. Fenty is also a very good looking guy and possesses the shiniest dome in the race. But he has been criticized for caring more about running for office than running the city, and AMSS reports, seems cocky and arogant. He has been criticized for his machine characteristics, he gets constituent services done and doesn't get a whole lot done in terms of more significant lawmaking. He famously couldn't name important agencies connected with municipal bonds.

Linda Cropp, the main challenger to front-runner Fenty, currently runs city council and seems to have built a fruitful relationship with current mayor anthony williams, who has endorsed her. She is thought of as a member of the old-guard and an insider. She is a consensus-builder and she gets things done. Easy choice, right? Who doesn't like an experienced pol with a track record of delivering the goods? Apparently, the washingpost. They endorsed Fenty. It is a good read and gives a balanced view of the pros and cons of fenty and cropp.

I wish there was someone with fenty's youth, energy, and shiny headness with Cropp's team-first attitude, policy adeptness, and track record of getting things done. Alas there isn't. Of the remaining candidates only Johns has gotten a major endorsement and it is from wignut publication The Washington Times. Marie Johns is a succesful business person. I was suspicious since i saw here first campaign sign: different. real. better! What a rediculous choice of descriptors. Let us know what you stand for not that you are better. Obviously you think you are better or you wouldn't be running. As for real, is this some sort of Sartre existentialist thing? Maybe dog-whistle racial politics. Who isn't real? You must be different if you are better, right? If you were not different, you'd be the the same and not better. How about something like Balanced Budgets, Equal Rights, Progressive Values or something. From a former Verizon executive I expected more communications acumen.

On balance i am leaning towards Fenty despite my better judgement and oritentation towards known commodities and folks who know how to make a bureaucracy hum. In the end, the city has a council to do the work of hashing out legislation and needs a public face to bring washinton to the world and the world to washinton. i want someone i can be excited about.

Cropp came out against civil unions, and since other issues are close between fenty and cropp that puts cropp out of contention for my vote.

With Cropp out, i am vaguely considering Johns, but I'll probably vote for Adrian Fenty and hope for the best (and the dismissal of sleazy sinclair skinner ).

Chair of City Counci:

The WaPo endorsed Vincent Gray. Josh N, in an e-mail blast endorsed Patterson as did the SEIU. Both seem strong choices. They both seem stong and I lean slightly towards Kathy Patterson.

Ward 1:

This is second easy choice: Jim Graham. He has made himself quite available. His office returns e-mails the day they are sent and helps constitutents navigate the DC system. The WaPo endoresed him. I loved seeing him at the Caribbean Day festival. He was in the parade, in the back of a convertible, standing up, throwing out mardi gras beads. Lenny S ripped some out of the air. It was a good time. Go Jim. Oh and his opponent keeps sending me spam. That sealed the deal.

Shadow Senator: OPEIU (the union i belong to) supports Phillip Panell. That seems good enough for me. It's an unfortunately low impact position.

Shadow Rep: again, it doesn't make much of a difference, my little bit of knowledge leads me towards Panetta.

I am voting Mendelson. Folks i like seem to like Phil. He is backed by labor and a seemingly solid, if unspectacular dude.
Josh N said "Or as the City Paper put it, this is "… a simple choice between a bald, nerdy, self-effacing public servant—incumbent Phil Mendelson—and an arrogant, self-aggrandizing blowhard—attorney A. Scott Bolden.""
This makes it simple. Who wouldn't vote for a bald, nerdy, self-effacing public servant?


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