Monday, April 25, 2011

City council election tomorrow: Who should you vote for? I'm leaning Weaver

As you may know, the special election for at-large councilmember is tomorrow. This is the seat vacated by Kwame Brown when he became council chair. There are a lot of candidates running, but only a few with legitimate shots at winning. DCist has a great voter guide which I encourage everyone to check out, but here are my brief picks. Here's the Board of Elections guide with all the questions you might have: where to vote, how, who, etc.

The main candidates running are former councilmember and mayoral candidate Vincent Orange, Adams Morgan ANC commissioner Bryan Weaver (he of the cool campaign commercials), Ward 1 school board member Patrick Mara, who I believe is a part owner of Meridian Pint, current temporary councilmember Sekou Biddle, and newcomer Josh Lopez, who worked on Adrian Fenty's campaign.

So who do I like and who don't I like? In short, I'm leaning towards Bryan Weaver. Here's the longer explanations:

First off, I won't be supporting Vincent Orange. He's the definition of insider, having run for election for about 20 years in DC. I've never really seen him do anything positive or anything negative, which leads me to believe he'll just be a seat-filler. Plus he recently had a campaign vehicle parking illegally at 14th & Girard while the vehicle broadcast a message about enforcing DC laws. Not the best example to set. He also put out a (presumably) racially-themed ad in Ward 8 saying "He walks like us. He talks like us" -- presumably as opposed to the white and Hispanic candidates. It seems like he's doing whatever he can to get elected.

I also won't be supporting Sekou Biddle. He's heavily involved with both Kwame Brown and Vincent Gray, and neither of their terms so far have gone very well -- see the Lincoln Navigator or Sulaimon Brown. Kwame Brown's father was on Biddle's campaign staff until he was fired after he made some controversial remarks about white residents of DC. Biddle seems like a decent guy, but the remarks and the deep involvement with Gray and Brown rub me the wrong way.

I like Patrick Mara, who is a Republican claiming to be socially progressive and fiscally conservative. He also vows to meet with a different Republican congressperson every week if he's elected -- that's a strong plus for me, as I'm strongly for DC voting rights and against Congressional interference in DC's budget. He also got the Washington Post's endorsement, as well as Congressman Tom Davis and others. That said, the city may need to raise taxes to balance the budget and he's strongly against that.

I also like Bryan Weaver. He's an energetic, involved ANC commissioner who gave Jim Graham a good run in the last election. He's campaigning heavily on cleaning up the Wilson Building, and as DCist mentions, he also got the endorsement of the City Paper, Greater Greater Washington, The InTowner, the Georgetown Voice, the D.C. YouthPAC and the D.C. College Democrats and the Current newspapers called him "the most knowledgeable challenger we've interviewed over the past 16 years." The Current didn't endorse him because they don't think he is well-known enough, but turnout is sure to be low. I say vote for him.

Josh Lopez seems like a good guy, and I like his connection with Fenty who I supported last time around, but I think he's a little inexperienced.

So in short, I like Bryan Weaver and Patrick Mara. I'm probably going to vote for Weaver. I suggest you vote for either of them, but whether you do or not, go vote! What are your thoughts?


  1. I pretty much agree with your assessment, and I also came down to Weaver and Mara. I like Mara a lot and think he'd be great, but I decided to go with Weaver because of all the silly little scandals since Gray and K. Brown took over. We need someone who is primarily focused on ethics and accountability on the Council.

  2. I would also be happy with either of these two, but Weaver would be my first choice by a long shot. To my mind, an endorsement from Tom Davis is a big minus, and Mara's position on taxes strikes me as dogmatic. Weaver seems to have really well thought-out positions on a range of issues, and I also think his work with Hoops Sagrado is both admirable and extremely relevant.

  3. I'm going for Mara, only because Weaver doesn't have the people skills for the job. When he was running against Graham I went to one of his fund raisers and he was not very endearing or curious about what my neighborhood problems might be. I ran into Mara on the street and he asked questions gallore

  4. Mara! Mara! Mara!

    Seriously - I'm tired of being the 10% in this city who gets dogged with 90% of the taxes.

  5. Got to back local Columbia Heights resident Mara on this one.

  6. I agree with your assessment too, except I'm a little kinder to Biddle, who I think got the Brown/Gray machine's backing only because they thought he could beat Orange.

    I like Mara (voted for him for the School Board) and would vote for him in a heartbeat over Jim Graham. And if this were a pick-any-two-candidates election, he'd be my second choice.

    But we only get one vote, so I'm voting for Bryan Weaver. Smart, hardworking, in tune with the needs of the District, and just an all-around good guy. We need more people like that in the Wilson Building.

  7. I was debating between Weaver and Mara even as I had the ballot before me. Weaver probably is a bit more closely aligned with my politics, but I like the fact that Mara could bring a bit more diversity to the Council (while I lean Democratic, I never like one party to dominate so completely), plus potentially build some bridges to the Republicans in the House. I'm not too concerned with his dogmatic stance on taxes as he'll be in the minority on the Council.

    I hesitated in front of the ballot, but I voted for Mara.

  8. Voting for Mara, but I wouldn't be terribly disappointed if the V goes to Weaver.

  9. I will be voting for a Republican for the first time EVER. Mara has my vote for the reasons stated above. The last thing DC needs is more taxes and I think the DC government has a long way to go in tightening their own belt before asking for more from residents (Escalades and other SUV's anyone??) And to have a Republican who can/will talk to other Republicans in Congress is priceless.


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