In case you forgot, the general election is tomorrow! While the mayoral race is pretty much decided, especially since the write-in Fenty campaign never really got off the ground, there's still a lot of competitive and important races on the ballot: at-large council, school board, advisory neighborhood commissioner, and an amendment on whether to have an elected attorney general. Here's the Board of Elections site with polling places and more info, here's a sample ballot, and below are my opinions on these races:
At-Large City Council: For At-Large council, you can vote for two people. The front-runners are independent David Catania and Democrat Phil Mendelson, both council vets. I see no reason to go with somebody new.
The School Board (officially, and oddly, known as the State Board of Education) is a largely advisory body on standards, policies, and regulations. It might not be sexy, but it serves an important role, setting curriculum and graduation requirements and approving charter school accreditation groups, among other things. Patrick Mara is running against Dotti Love Wade, who is the incumbent. I've met Wade and she's a nice lady, but I've never heard her name in anything other than her campaign posters. Mara, however, is all over the neighborhood, and actually came to my door the other day to campaign. He made the point that the school board should be vocal, especially with the differences of opinion over Michelle Rhee. While some think Mara has higher goals, like a council seat, I think that's just fine, as if he wants to go higher, he'd better do a good job, so I'm going for Patrick Mara. He also got the Post's endorsement.
Advisory Neighborhood Commission: the ANC is a local elected body that serves to advise the city council on neighborhood issues. It also has some other important tasks, like protesting or setting guidelines for liquor licenses for bars and restaurants. Each seat serves a very small area, usually only a few blocks. As such, there are too many candidates to mention, but for the most part, I'd recommend not voting if you haven't heard of your ANC commish -- that, to me, means they aren't getting out there. However, I do recommend writing in Gavin Holland if you live in 1A11. He's running because Kat Skiles, who I endorsed before, had to drop out. I also recommend voting for Sedrick Muhammad, he's a tireless ANC commish who also runs the South Columbia Heights Civic Association. I'd recommend voting for Jonathan Madison, who is running against Lenwood Johnson. Johnson always seems to forward every argument to entire listserves, middle-school style. Very mature.
Elected Attorney General: The last issue is a vote whether the city should have an elected attorney general or not. Currently the position is appointed by the mayor. My recommendation is YES, YES, YES. This amendment has been around since 1998, but in this case, there's a good reason to pass it -- current attorney general Peter Nickles is basically Adrian Fenty's attack dog and a real jerk, to put it bluntly. For example, he called councilwoman Mary Cheh "stupid" and an "angry woman," he settled a fishy case with a firm run by Fenty's fraternity brother, denies lots of Freedom of Information Act requests, reportedly lost and destroyed tons of evidence in the Pershing Park case, where MPD arrested a bunch of protesters and random passers-by, apparently without telling them to disperse, and much more. Nickles, as an appointee, has no reason to explain any of his actions. An elected AG would. Vote for this amendment.
But whether you agree or not, just vote!