05 Nov 2012

A Voting Guide for the Lazy Hill Voter

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photo by Mr. T in DC

I’m sure most of you savvy The Hill is Home readers have already diligently followed local politics and are ready to make all of your down ballot choices. Great, than you can stop reading! This post is for the rest of you, the people who come up to me and say, “hey Krepp, you follow such things. Isn’t there some sort of DC election thingy also? Shadow mayor ANC candidate or something?” Yeah, you people keep reading.

Let’s start with what you won’t see. There’s no mayoral or Ward 6 elections this cycle. So that’s off the table.

There is a Council Chair election, to fill the remainder of Kwame Brown’s term. You’re probably going to vote for Phil Mendelson, and you should. He’s boring, pedantic, and often infuriating, but he’s honest and dedicated. DC can do worse than having Phil Mendelson as Council Chair, and, in fact, just did. Also, it’s only through 2015, so we get to do it again in two years. Yay.

Then we move to the other at-large seat. Per the Home Rule Act, we elect two at-large candidates, and they can’t be from the same party. We can (and should!!!) argue the merits of having partisan elections in heavily Democratic DC, but that’s a discussion for another time. For now, you get two votes, and two people will be elected. So how will you spend your votes?

Let’s start with who you shouldn’t vote for:

Vincent Orange: Look, I know if you’re a DC resident, you are likely to be a Democratic voter. 92.46% of us voted for President Obama last time, and I doubt that’s going to slip much this time. This is going to be hard for you: Do not vote your party this year!

If you’ve been following the Jeffrey Thompson debacle, Vincent Orange was one of the largest recipients of his money. Thompson is a businessman and political fundraiser whose shenanigans are being slowly unraveled by the Feds. This won’t end well, and Orange is a knee deep in it. Orange is trumpeting the Office of Campaign Finance audit that “clears” him of any wrongdoing, but it basically just asked him if he was guilty and he said no. Also, he’s done a whole lot of nothing while on the Council, so there’s that as well.

Michael Brown: Let’s leave aside the weasley “Independent Democrat” label he’s adopted, which lets him run as the not-the-Dem candidate. Let’s also leave aside the questions about his leadership style, shady business dealings, driver’s license suspensions, failure to pay taxes, or his ramming through internet gambling without proper scrutiny.

No, let me focus a little bit on why I’m not voting for the guy. To start with, he was part of the committee that attempted to redistrict a two block sliver (my two block sliver!) into Ward 7. I haven’t forgotten that, nor his role in it. Then he was one of the architects of the attempt to get a Redskins training facility into Reservation 13. Finally, he’s attempting to increase the size of the homeless shelter at DC General. So, yeah, not much there for me.

Fine, I’ve wasted quite a few words on two guys NOT to vote for, who’s left?

David Grosso is a strong choice. He’ll get one of those votes. He’s the only candidate I’ve seen who’s had anything to say about education deeper than the usual, non-specific “we want world class schools” blather. He hammers home ethics reform (of course, why wouldn’t he, considering his opponents). He’s a former Sharon Ambrose staffer, which bodes well for his knowledge of Ward 6 issues, as well. And Tommy Wells has strongly endorsed him, which doesn’t hurt.

Fine, who else? Should you just do a “bullet vote”, a vote for only one candidate? You can, and that’s not a bad choice, but to me it’s a cop out. SOMEONE will be the next Councilmember, and it’s our job to pick them. So, who to pick for the second vote?

Mary Brooks Beatty. I had hopes for Ms. Beatty, as she is a Capitol Hill resident and ANC commissioner. She a Republican, which is non-starter for many people, but as the local GOP has eschewed many of the national positions I find repugnant, I had no issue with that per se. I had a favorable impression of her from her work during a spate of carjackings a few years ago, but I’ve been disappointed with her campaign. She has embraced the “war on cars” rhetoric in recent debates, which is troubling to me. Besides that, she hasn’t seemed to lay out much of a vision beyond hammering the other candidates on ethics. Obviously, that’s fine and needed, but you have to stand for something else as well.

Leo Swain. With all the talk of corruption in this city, when this guy was tested, he came out with flying colors. When offered a bribe as head of the Taxicab Commission, he not only turned it down but went to the FBI and became an informant. Not all current DC Councilmembers have been as ethical, so this would be a step up.

A.J. Cooper. Seems like a good guy. Never managed to get much traction in this campaign, but better than throwing your vote away.

Ann C. Wilcox. The Statehood Green candidate. I have heard literally nothing about her.

Finally, you’ll have an Advisory Neighborhood Commission election to vote for. There are far too many to go into great detail here, and mine is uncontested anyway, but The Hill is Home has been running candidate profiles if you wish to look up yours. But if you live in 6B02 or 6B05, take a good look at this Greater Greater Washington discussion. Ivan Frischberg and Brian Pate deserve your attention, they’ve done good work.

So there you go. Again, these are not “endorsements”, certainly not by The Hill is Home, and not even by me.

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  • Ivan Frishberg (AME)

    Thanks for the encouragement and support Tim. I will add on the Grosso front that a group of Ward 6 ANC Commissioners had a letter of support published in the HIll Rag over the weekend. We got together with him recently and talked through a range of issues and decided to go public with our support.

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