Friday, March 28, 2014

New Columbia Heights' voting recommendations for the election on Tuesday

This Tuesday is the primary election for mayor, some city council spots and a few other positions in the city. Hopefully you're already registered (if not, you can register there, just read the rules here.)

There are a lot of folks running, so here's my recommendations for who I think you should vote for. But like Reading Rainbow, don't just take my word for it! Check out the City Paper's voter guide and Greater Greater Washington's endorsements

Mayoral Primary
Short version: don't vote for Gray or Bowser. I like Tommy Wells, but David Catania more than any of them.
If it weren't for Vince Gray's scandals and possible indictment for the "shadow campaign" where donors funded people working for his campaign, I would say vote for Gray. The city has gotten better since he's been in charge, even if he has lately started pandering pretty heavily, for example by trying to exclude churchgoers from Sunday parking rules.

On the other hand, I can absolutely not support Muriel Bowser. As Ward 4 councilmember, she has been utterly unresponsive whenever I've reached out to her with problems or with my opinions on city issues like Uber and the DC United stadium. Considering one of a councilmember's main job is to help her constituents with problems (I live on Spring Road now) she has completely failed. My alleyway and the parking space behind my house has experienced a lot of problems like loud people yelling late at night, and we've found human feces and dozens of used condoms there. We worry that the alley is being used for prostitution or drug use. I've called the police a couple of times and wrote her to ask for her help, maybe with getting a light installed or having police patrol the area more often, and nothing. I received no response from her. Since then, the landlord has added a fence and motion-detector lights. I've also written her about my support for Uber, my support for the DC United stadium (twice) and about her parking illegally on Rock Creek Church Road. The only thing she responded to was an email asking about the large abandoned Jewish home building on Spring Road, which is owned by the city. She basically said she thinks something will happen there, and after a year of nothing, I followed up. As usual, no response. Since then, however, I've received dozens of emails about her mayoral campaign. For that reason alone (aside from the fact that I don't think she has done much and will be a business-as-usual mayor) I cannot support Bowser.

The other candidates, to me, haven't done a great job to differentiate themselves from each other. Tommy Wells and Andy Shallal both promote progressive platforms, and while Wells has worked to implement it as a councilmember, the City Paper notes that he might not have enough allies to get it done. Jack Evans seems like a decent guy and has a lot of experience on the council, but hasn't really inspired me. In that case, I say Vote for Tommy Wells. I know that's not a very strong argument or endorsement, but I don't really feel very strongly in any of these three guys, who all seem decent. (And note that whoever wins will face current at-large councilmember David Catania, who is an independent so not running in a primary, in the Novermber mayoral election. I support Catania over any of these candidates, he's a hard-working, straight and narrow guy and I think would make a great mayor. I believe Bowser will win the primary and I hope Catania beats her. The Post supports Bowser.)

At-Large Council Primary
Short version: Vote for John Settles
I'm not super familiar with this election. I haven't heard much from Anita Bonds since she won the special election last year with 31.5% of the vote -- as the Washington Post noted, due to the number of candidates and the special election itself, she was elected with less than 1/3 of 10% of DC's electorate -- a prime reason why instant-runoff voting should be instituted in the city. The City Paper said the same thing, that she hasn't done a whole lot. And based on the interview he gave me and what else I've read about John Settles, he seems like a good guy with an outsider viewpoint, which is something the Council needs.

Ward 1 Council Primary
Short version: Vote for Brianne Nadeau
This race pits long time Ward 1 councilmember Jim Graham against U Street ANC commissioner Brianne Nadeau. Former candidate Bryan Weaver dropped out to give Nadeau a better shot. I've liked Jim Graham for some time, he's always super responsive when I have problems and puts me in touch with the people who can fix them. He's also worked hard for the ward. However, he has also been the subject of various ethics charges, such as the one where he didn't report an attempted bribe to the city. He was reprimanded and lost his seat on the alcohol committee and his chief of staff went to prison for taking a bribe. The council also dinged him in an alleged vote trading scheme. Recently, Graham accused Nadeau of falsifying her income on a home loan, which she denies. The Post hit Graham hard over the accusation. None of these have been enough for criminal charges against Graham, but that's not much of a defense when it seems they keep happening. For that reason I support Nadeau, but wouldn't be sad if Graham won anyway. He has done a good job, but maybe it's time for a change. The Post also supports Nadeau.

Council Chairman
Phil Mendelson looks to win in a landslide.

But those are my opinions. What do you think?


  1. I am voting for Nate bennett fleming At-Large

    He has strong endorsements:

    And he is the most forward minded person. Ward 1 Dems support him!

  2. Anonymous is right. We don't have instant runoff voting now, so if you want to defeat Anita Bonds you should vote for the candidate who has the most support. That's clearly Nate, who has some name recognition from having run citywide twice before—more than 200,000 people voted for him in the 2012 election. He has endorsements including the Washington Post (which will help especially in Ward 3) and progressive groups like DC for Democracy and Jews United for Justice (who often don't agree with the Post editorial board), and he won majorities in the votes of the Stein Club (LGBT Democrats) and the Ward 8 Democrats. Nate knows how to talk to people on both sides of the city.

    Like Matt Frumin last year (but without Frumin's money), John Settles is a good guy but hasn't caught on with voters. If you're concerned about splitting the anti-incumbent vote (as we all should be under our current system), vote for Nate.

    [I tried submitting this with the "Name/URL" option, but it said "Please enter some kind of name when you comment instead of being anonymous," so weirdly I'm having to submit as "Anonymous" instead. I'm Keith Ivey (@kcivey on Twitter).]

  3. Hmm, I guess that message is always there. Must've been some other error.

  4. David Catania worked and voted against city support for the DCUSA project and the Tivoli/Giant projects with jump started Columbia Heights development. Pushed for and got the city to take ownership of the DCUSA garage and then did nothing to ensure proper management of the project. He was also a mover behind the Anacostia Street Car project when it was mismanaged. Catania gets a bid fat ZERO for Columbia Heights.


  5. I was going to vote Bowser until I read the DCist interview. She comes off as Fenty 2.0, not that smart and pretty shallow. Although he won't win, I think it's Tommy Wells for me and probably four more years (or months) of Gray.


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