Friday, September 10, 2010
NCH election endorsements: voting is Sept. 14th!
But whether you like my recommendations or not, vote!!!
Mayor -- Adrian Fenty boils down to a couple main issues: schools, development, and being a jerk. He's done all he can to shoot himself in the foot this election cycle, after winning every precinct in the city last time around. By most measures the city is better off than it was four years ago, there's new development, a growing population (for the first time in many decades), the city government is more responsive, and on and on. The only problems are that he acts pretty arrogant and he pals around with some less than shining characters. But in the grand scheme of things, there have been no major scandals, and if he were a little friendlier and responsive he'd take this election by a landslide. Vince Gray seems like a good guy, but I'm worried he'll be too status quo and won't want to continue to push for school and government reform. Thus I'm backing Adrian Fenty, though to be honest I think Gray would be a decent mayor as well.
Council Chairman -- In another close one, I think Kwame Brown would do a better job than Vincent Orange, who seems to be around a lot but I've never really noticed him doing anything major. Not a good sign for a long time politician.
At-Large Council -- I really like Clark Ray, who's an energetic guy and ran the city's parks and rec department, but through no fault of Ray, I'm going with incumbent Phil Mendelson, an accomplished veteran politician. The reason is that the other candidate, Michael D. Brown is basically running on name recognition of another man: Michael A. Brown, a popular At-Large Councilmember. In fact, Michael D. Brown hasn't been appearing in debates or interviews and doesn't put his picture on most campaign material, most likely because he's hoping people don't figure out that he's not who they think he is. Don't let Michael D. Brown pull a Distinguished Gentleman on DC, vote Mendelson.
Ward 1 Council -- This is a tough one. Jim Graham has been in office for a long time and does a fantastic job on constituent services: if you email him, you'll get a response quickly. However, he's also a bit of a publicity hound and had some issues with his chief of staff a year ago. Challengers Bryan Weaver and Jeff Smith both seem like very good guys: Weaver is an energetic ANC commish and Smith ran a schools non-profit. Unfortunately I can only pick one, so I'm going with Jim Graham's experience. To be honest I wish all three could be on the council.
US Rep and Shadow Rep -- Eleanor Holmes Norton. She's a feisty lady. And while Mike Panetta hasn't been in the news too much lately, which is basically his main role in the shadow rep spot, he seems like a good guy and clearly believes in the cause.
ANC -- For the most part, I would recommend only voting for ANC commissioners you've heard of -- if you haven't heard of them, they probably aren't doing a very good job. That said, I always support Sedrick Muhammad, who's a very responsive guy and also runs the South Columbia Heights Neighborhood Association, and Kat Skiles, who's the first person I've seen actually have an ANC campaign. That kind of energy deserves votes!
If it was based just on Columbia Heights Yahoo Listerserve posts and negative comments on my blog, I would recommend voting for whoever is running against William Jordan, but as an ANC commish Jordan actually seems like a reasonable guy. And that's saying something on the ANC. And if he's running, I'd recommend voting against Lenwood Johnson, who always seems to forward every argument to entire listserves, middle-school style. Very mature.
Anyway, hope that helps. Here's the 2010 voter guide and a sample Ward 1 ballot. You can find your polling place and learn more at the Board of Elections site.