Monday, November 3, 2014

New Columbia Heights' recommendations for tomorrow's election: at-large council, attorney general, mayor, more

DC's election is tomorrow, the most competitive in some time. I've already written why I think you should support David Catania for mayor, and I hope you do. I think he'll get a lot done and has already demonstrated his knowledge and skills as an effective and responsive At-Large Councilmember.

As for the other major races, there are some tough choices, especially due to the large fields for At-Large Councilmember and the new Attorney General position. Here are my recommendations on the various races.

(And don't forget you can register and vote the same day! More info here.)

At-Large Councilmember
Short version: Vote for Robert White, not Silverman or Bonds. 
Robert White, who also was endorsed by the Post and Greater Greater Washington, has a very specific and detailed platform for what he wants to accomplish and how he plans to do it. He seems like he'll engaged and work hard, and I'm supporting him in this election, in which voters choose two candidates.

The second spot, however, I'm not so sure about. I have nothing against Anita Bonds, I just haven't heard much from her after she won her special election for Council with 32% of a very small turnout. Elissa Silverman, Bonds' main rival in that race, seems like a good candidate: she doesn't accept corporate donations and talks about her progressive credentials and being above the usual DC politics. However, she also asked a fellow candidate in that same special election to drop out in order to not split the vote, saying she would support him in future elections if he did. A pragmatic solution, but not a particularly progressive one or one that is above the usual DC politics. That has always rubbed me the wrong way -- what else would she compromise on if elected? In her defense, she did release her emails about it.

Courtney Snowen is also endorsed by the Post, and she seems to have a lot of good experience, working on the Hill and a government relations firm, but her platform is disappointingly non-specific. I wouldn't be upset if she won, however. Eugene Puryear, who is running on the Statehood-Green, impressed me in a brief chat at Columbia Heights Day, and the City Paper likes Graylan Hagler's progressive issues like living wage, affordable housing and opposition to the death penalty.  They both seem like good, fresh voices too, and maybe it's time to get someone other than a Democrat or Republican in, like Puryear. The remaining candidates haven't made much of an impression on me.

Attorney General
Short version: Vote for Paul Zukerberg, but Karl Racine also seems good. 
The elected Attorney General position is a new one to the District, coming about after voters passed a referendum about it, basically a knock against then AG Peter Nickles, who was a real jerk, calling Councilmember Mary Cheh "stupid" and an "angry woman," losing or destroying evidence in the Pershing Park case, and so on. (I wrote more about this in 2010.) However, when the City Council voted to delay this election until 2018, possibly later, attorney Paul Zukerberg stepped up and sued the city to have it back when it was supposed to occur, in 2014. He won, and he's the reason why this election is happening. For that reason, I support Paul Zukerberg. The City Paper agrees with me.

That said Karl Racine, who has the endorsement from the Post, seems like he'd be an effective manager and administrator of this new position, having served as partner at a major law firm. Edward "Smitty" Smith also collected a number of endorsements from local organizations like the police union and other unions, also seems like a good person, as do the rest of the candidates, really. Lateefah Williams, interestingly, is the only public defender running.

Board of Education
Short version: I don't know! Read their interviews.
I'm not sure about this one. The candidates who responded to my interview, Scott SimpsonDavid DoLillian Perdomo, and Laura Wilson Phelan, are all worthy of your vote. To be honest, not having children, I'm not as up to speed on these issues. I hope if you have kids, or may soon, you'll read the interviews and pick the best.

Delegate to the House of Representatives
Eleanor Holmes-Norton has been our Delegate for a long time. She will win again, hands down, but I'm voting for Tim Krepp. Maybe more support for him will invigorate Holmes-Norton a bit. That said, Holmes-Norton has done a pretty good job in a difficult role. I would like to see her in the national media more often, however.

Ward 1 Council
Brianne K. Nadeau was my pick in the primary, and is still my pick. She should win in a landslide, anyway.

Chairman of the Council
Phil Mendelson is a longtime hard-working member of the Council and took over the Chair position when Kwame Brown was arrested. He should keep doing a fine job. I haven't heard much from any of the other candidates.

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