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September 9, 1996

DC Story

Dear Neighbors:

Here's the last word from the candidates before the election.


Jeffrey Itell


It is always an educational experience reading the comments of the readers/writers of DC Stories. Also, its great to respond to them knowing that its an open forum. Let me respond first to my supporters who think that change is a must if we are ever to make DC a better place. Thanks for all your kind words and support during the last several months of my campaign for City Council At-Large.

As you know I am a very hard worker and give my best to the issues that I believe in. When elected to the Council, I intend to work full-time on behalf of all the citizens of the city, rather than part-time, like many of the incumbent City Council Members, including my opponent. Anybody who can't make ends meet on $80,000+ shouldn't be asking for a position in public service.

I've been working without salary as D.C.'s "Shadow" Representative for the past two years. In fact, I've been the most visible "Shadow" in the history of the position. I find it odd that there's a person out there who has never heard my discussions on the Derek McGinty Show, the Ernest White Show, or WOL. Even so, you should at least have seen the many articles written about my efforts for DC in the Washington Post, the City Paper, the Washington Business Journal, Roll Call Newspaper. (Send me your address and I'll send you the clippings.) And, by attending literally hundreds of community meetings, I earned the City Paper's somewhat sarcastic label of "the parapatetic John Capozzi." You might have met me at the party at Uno's for DC Stories, which I attended this year, or noticed my occasional comments on these pages.

One thing that I've learned in this campaign is that negative campaigning is unfortunately ever-present in DC politics. After assisting in the successful positive campaign of Jesse Jackson, Jr. for US Congress in Chicago last fall, I vowed to make my campaign for City Council a positive, issue-based campaign. I've refrained from attacking my opponents, but I have responded when attacked.

So when Jeff Itell boils my whole campaign down to a couple of sentences from the Washington Post about some connection I'm rumored to have with the Mayor, he denies my sixteen years experience in public service, including my Masters Degree in Public Administration, with an emphasis in city management; my experience working for the EPA and the National Park Service; my 10 years experience owning and operating a small business in DC as a technical recruiter; and my ten years of civic activism in my neighborhood at Barney Circle, SE, and the entire City.

I met with the Mayor. I met with several DC Council Members, including Kathy Patterson and Harold Brazil. In fact, I met with a WHOLE LOT of people when I decided to run for this job. All were friendly, cordial, and interested in my campaign. When I was campaigning in Ward 8 two weeks ago, I heard the rumor that Mrs. Barry planned to vote for me. The Mayor has never stated his preference. According to the Jeff Itell School of Politics, I should have asked my supporter not to vote for me.

For the past ten years that I've been fighting the Barney Circle Freeway, I've been opposed by both Mayor Barry and Mayor Kelly. So the idea that I wouldn't stand up to the Mayor if I disagreed with him is without merit, in fact I've already done it. However, if we agree on an issue, why shouldn't I stand with him. Yesterday, I was at a ceremony at Kennedy Playground dedication, in Ward 2, with Jack Evans, Mayor Barry, and other officials. Councilmember Evans was complimented by the Mayor who said, "we agree 95% of the time." Evans, in turn, complimented the Mayor for working with him on this and many other projects. Did you ask Evans to renounce the Mayor's support? No, nor should you have.

Itell's main criticism of my platform is that my only solutions to our City's fiscal problems rest on the revenue side. Well...he's half right. I've worked hard to bring to light some of the core reasons that our businesses and residents are leaving the City. Our taxes are too high because Fannie Mae, large non-profits, the World Bank, the universities, the embassies, the commuters, and the Congress itself make use of our City services but do not pay their fair share in taxes or in payment-in-lieu-of-taxes.

The other half, the half that Jeff missed, is that I want to eliminate waste in the DC government and I have the experience and backbone to find it and root it out. If I can stand up to the City bureaucracy on the Barney Circle freeway issue, and to the largest company in the country, Fannie Mae, then I can stand up to DC government managers and make them accountable for doing their jobs efficiently and effectively. One of the alternatives that has been kicked around for DC is the City Manager form of government--why wait when you can elect someone on Tuesday who has that experience already? I guess I should have bragged more about my background in Public Administration and Business Management to make sure Itell knew who I was.

I want to take Ian Gordon's issue head-on. I am the U.S. Representative for the District of Columbia. As such, I set up a Constituent Service Fund, reported to the Office of Campaign Finance, to defray costs associated with my fight against the trillion dollar corporate giant, Fannie Mae, and other activities on behalf of my constituents. The 12 folks who came to the party donated a grand total of less than $200. (Maybe I should have asked my Council-race opponent's fund raiser to help.) I appreciate Kurt Vondren's help, and support.

Mr. Gordon's attempt to tarnish my reputation as a fierce supporter of the $100 campaign finance limit is a clear example of why negative campaigning is alive and well in our community. If we ever want to build integrity into the election process, we can't expect people to be elected with $1000 contributions and anticipate that those contributors will not expect $1000 favors.

I respect Kathy Patterson, so her explanation of her support for Harold Brazil was a disappointment to me and points to why we need real change on the City Council. When I supported her in her successful bid for City Council, I told Ward 3 residents that if we are ever going to get change in this city, we have to vote for it.

I'm asking you to vote for change on September 10th. I'm a reform candidate who CAN WIN this election and change the way our city governs itself, but I need your support to do it. Please call if you'd like to help in my campaign, (202) 518-8595.

John Capozzi U.S. "Shadow" Representative, DC


"The Best Candidate Running" is of course Carol Schwartz. No one on the Dem side can even come close.

Greg Jones


Jeff, your recommendations are sound... except voting for Brazil & hoping that Ward 6 voters do the right thing by electing Sharon Ambrose, an unknown to most of my friends, is a bit much too ask. Holding back one's endorsement until the last moment hoping for this occurrence is a bit too Machiavellian for me. Who is to say that she can defeat Capozzi in Ward 6 anyway? He has built quite a campaign force while serving in the shadow.

Voting for someone so another won't win never works out. It's better to deal with your political opponents straight on, not through a third party compromise. Besides, we should all be standing firmly against what Brazil is trying to do. This loophole in the election laws should be closed immediately. Anyone attending any political forum would realize that Brazil was the first choice of practically no one in the city, yet he raised more money than all the other candidates, maybe even in total.

The best thing to do is to vote for the person who you feel can do the best job. For me that candidate is Phil Mendelson, for the reasons you mentioned and because he is absolutely tenacious in his perseverance to force government to work properly. We should send as loud a statement as we can that we want a government that is accountable to its citizens.

Mike Geglia at See my website at to learn more about Phil Mendelson


Home PC Computer Assistance. I'll help you choose and buy the best model for the lowest price, get your computer up and running, teach you the ins and outs of Windows 95 and applications, show you how to maintain your system, build special applications for you, and get you up and running on the internet. $60/hour. 202.244.4163.

Jeffrey Itell

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