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August 1, 2010

Endorsements: First Round

Dear Endorsers:

Now we’re talking. There are many and varied candidate endorsements and non-endorsements in this issue of themail, and there’s plenty to agree or argue with. I’d encourage you to do just that in the next issue.

The Adrian Fenty campaign published its latest (but far from its last) press release today in the Washington Post,, and it was so proud of its talking points that it released it two days early, on Friday. Alan Suderman, The Washington City Paper’s still-new Loose Lips, has the best comment on what he headlines sarcastically as, “Shocker: Post ‘Enthusiastically’ Supports Fenty” ( “This endorsement, of course, isn’t much of a surprise. The knock on the editorial board around the Wilson Building is that they are so far in the tank for DCPS Chancellor Michelle Rhee that they would endorse Charlie Manson to keep her around.” Aren’t you proud that you can write a better-reasoned, more convincing, and definitely more independent-minded endorsement editorial than the Post?

There are two more must-read articles that I recommend to your attention: Valerie Strauss prints a fascinating article by Patrick Ledesma about why many people believe that managers who use abuse and humiliation as their management technique are “charismatic,” and admire them,; and Colbert King writes about why the top issue in this election cycle should be DC’s fiscal health and responsible budget decisions, not the future of Michelle Rhee, These two articles teach more about the issues in DC government than the Post editorial board is capable of learning.

Gary Imhoff


BOEE Nominee Mital Gandhi
Dorothy Brizill,

On Monday, the council will return again temporarily from its summer recess so that the Committee on Housing and Workforce Development can hold a roundtable hearing at 10:00 a.m. on the FY 2010 summer youth employment program and consider emergency legislation from the mayor to extend the program from six to seven and a half weeks ( The council will then hold a legislative meeting at 2:00 p.m. to consider the emergency legislation. At the legislative meeting, an effort may be made by Fenty allies on the council (Bowser, Catania, Evans, and Wells) to “remove from the table” and vote on Mital Gandhi’s nomination to the DC Board of Elections and Ethics (BOEE) (see my previous articles in themail on May 12 and June 30).

For the past few weeks, Mital Gandhi and his Republican Party supporters have launched a massive public relations campaign in publications friendly to Mayor Fenty (The Northwest Current, June 30 and July 7,; The Washington Post, July 29,; and Jonetta Rose Barras’ July 28 column in The Examiner, calling for a council vote on Gandhi’s nomination to the BOEE. The PR campaign was prompted by the fact that, on June 29, the council voted to “table” consideration of Gandhi’s nomination to the BOEE when several councilmembers (among them Phil Mendelson, Jim Graham, and Harry Thomas, Jr., raised serious concerns about Gandhi’s background and qualifications. However, rather than acknowledging Gandhi’s shortcomings, the DC Republican Party falsely claimed that the vacant seat on the BOEE is reserved for a Republican, that therefore the Republican Party should be consulted on any appointment to the BOEE, and that Gandhi’s nomination was a victim of “party politics” and of councilmembers who didn’t want any Republicans on the BOEE. In fact, the DC Code merely specifies that no more than two members of the Board should be of the same party; regardless of that fact, independents and members of other parties have never been named to the Board, while a succession of Republicans (Dr. Lenora Cole, Jonda McFarland, and Norma Leftwich) have been.

Last Thursday, as the council was poised to vote on Togo West’s appointment to the DC BOEE, Mital Gandhi and the Republican Party lobbied the council and delivered yellow plastic ducks to councilmembers who, they claimed, were “ducking” a vote on the nomination. Just prior to the 3:30 council session they joined forces with the mayor’s office to feverishly lobby councilmembers in the corridor just outside the council chamber in an effort led by Catania, Bowser, and Wells to get Gandhi’s nomination added to the meeting’s agenda. It is likely that the same scene will be repeated Monday afternoon.

For more than fifteen years, I have closely followed the work of the BOEE, including attending the Board’s monthly meetings; filing complaints regarding violations of the District’s election, campaign finance, and ethics laws), and reviewing the background of appointees to the Board. Over the past two years, I have been alarmed when Mayor Fenty sought to appoint unqualified friends and associates to the BOEE. Mital Gandhi, however, is by far the worst appointment the mayor has sought to make. He lacks the integrity, independence, and work ethics the position requires.


Watermelon Sorbet and Watermelon Lemonade
Trish Chittams,

One of my marvelously generous neighbors gifted me with an enormous watermelon the other day and, with only four of us at home, there was no way we would be able to consume this gift without it going bad, so I took to the Internet. I received several suggestions on my Facebook page and was told “Just eat it!” and “make a slushy.” So, fully inspired, I began a full search to turn our watermelon into something other than just the usual cold slices. I came across a couple of recipes which I highly recommend.

The watermelon sorbet turned out to be magnificently light and barely sweet, a refreshing desert for a hot summer night. Using a blender puree about six cups of watermelon, adding a quarter cup of sugar and the grated peel of one lime. (Make sure to strain the watermelon to remove seeds.) Bring one cup of watermelon puree to a boil with the sugar and lime peel, add a pinch of salt, and heat until the sugar is melted. To this, add the remaining three cups of watermelon puree and whisk in a half cup of light corn syrup. Pour the watermelon mixture into a nine-inch metal pan and freeze until firm (four hours or overnight). Remove the frozen watermelon from the freezer, let stand about five minutes, break up the frozen watermelon into two-inch cubes, transfer to a food processor, and pulse until smooth. Refreeze in a freezer safe container and store for one week.

As a child, every summer I sold lemonade to people getting off of the street car in the Beltzhoover neighborhood of Pittsburgh. I wish I had this recipe then, I would have made a killing. Watermelon lemonade: to one cup fresh squeezed lemon juice, add four cups of watermelon puree, strained through a coarse strainer to remove seeds, two and a half to three cups of water, and simple syrup to taste, Serve over ice. This is grown-up, refreshing lemonade, perfect for our hot summer nights. Anyone else have any suggestions for refreshing deserts and/or drinks to cool our brows during the dog days of summer?


DC Launches Tax Amnesty
Natalie Wilson,

Delinquent taxpayers will get a rare opportunity to pay outstanding taxes and interest to the District of Columbia, have their penalties and fees waived, and avoid criminal prosecution. The DC Tax Amnesty program will run from August 2 through September 30, offering individuals and businesses the opportunity to satisfy their tax liabilities.

A special web site,, has been established to help tax delinquents expedite payment and resolve their tax liabilities. Among the issues addressed are eligibility requirements, necessary documents plus the application form. Taxpayers can call the Office of Tax and Revenue at 202-727-4TAX (4829), E-mail questions to, or visit the service center at 1101 4th Street, SW, Suite W270, between 8:15 am to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Known receivables of $170 million are owed to the District by 42,000 individuals and businesses. Sixty percent are located in the District, with 40 percent outside, primarily in the Maryland and Virginia suburbs. The amnesty applies to all taxes administered by the Office of Tax and Revenue with the exception of real property-related taxes and the ball park fee. All periods covered by tax returns due prior to December 31, 2009, are eligible.


Revive the Council’s Education Committee and Evaluate 2007 Public Education Reform ACT
Mai Abdul Rahman,

In 2007 Council Chair Vince Gray eliminated the DC Council Education Committee and consequently made education the responsibility of the Committee of the Whole. Education became every councilmember’s responsibility, and subsequently no ones responsibility. DC’s education legislative oversight structure is unique in the US — no other state, city, municipality or federal legislature has advocated or enacted the responsibility for education to the Committee of the Whole. The Education Reform Act also established mayoral control for the District of Columbia Public Schools and created six costly educational agencies: the District of Columbia Public Schools, Department of Education, State Board of Education Agency, Interagency Collaboration Services and Integration Commission, Office of Public Education Facilities Modernization, and the Office of the Ombudsman for Public Education. The cost of this elaborate structural change is over two billion dollars — half of which is allocated to DC Public School and DC Public Charter Schools, totaling more than $1 billion ($586 million for DCPS and $534 million for DC charter schools), . This resulted in an education bureaucracy that is top heavy, horizontal, and often has redundant functions and overlapping responsibilities.

In 2008 a GAO report outlined the structural problems DC’s Education Reform Act has produced and recommended the development of a strategic plan to evaluate and assess “the goals of multiple offices and identify if they are aligned or working at cross purposes.” In addition the GAO recognized the frustrations of DC public school parents who since 2007 are excluded from meaningfully participating in the many important decisions that impact their students and schools and are dependent on official nonobjective sources to learn about their schools. The GAO recommended the necessity to build institutional capacity “to communicate information to stakeholders and, when appropriate, incorporate their views,” . None of the GAO recommendations has been addressed, whether by the mayor, his multiple agency executives, or the Committee of the Whole.

In fact, since 2009 public school parents lost the only official vehicle for parents to communicate and resolve their school complaints. The Office of Ombudsman, originally established in 2007 to provide and encourage communication between school parents and the mayor formally ended operations on September 30, 2009. Meanwhile the State Board of Education — stripped of most of its budget and staff, and with little power, has played a minimal role in shaping school initiatives or reform and has little contact with public school parents. Mayoral control will not address the many complicated and critical issues facing our city schools. Chicago, currently the longest standing mayoral controlled school district (since 1995), remains at the bottom of the barrel and has yet to show significant improvements.

Although the Education Reform Act of 2007 gave the DC council an expanded role in overseeing DC public school management, its record is dismal — it has been futile, contentious, and its oversight role is at best mediocre. This has allowed the consolidation of all educational matters in the hands of Chancellor Rhee and an aloof Mayor, and produced a horizontal redundant structural system that has left out parents.


Are You Collecting School Supplies?
Susie Cambria,

I wanted to share some information on school supplies for kids going back to school next month. The other day, I blogged about the school supplies kids need when they start school in DCPS ( I also blogged about a survey of sorts I am doing to identify who is doing back-to-school supply collections; I will collect it all and then blog it ( I expect the Washington Post and some others to pick up the list of supply drives; this is free promotion for your efforts!

If you are aware of organizations doing back-to-school drives, please encourage them to take a few minutes to share their drive information. The deadline for providing supply drive information is close of business, August 4.


An Endorsement
Bill Franz,

Could it be that the small number of endorsements is due to the difficulty your readers have in processing the reality that Rhee’s and therefore Fenty’s most prominent supporter is Obama? Earlier this week, his Department of Education gave DC’s education policies a strong endorsement by putting DC on its short list for Race to the Top funds. It may be difficult for some to assimilate, but here are the facts: DC schools, the lowest performing of all, beat out thirty-two states in getting these funds. There must be strong DOE approval for DC’s policies, for DC’s political clout is so small that this cannot be pork.

Obama is the most pro-union president since Harry Truman, and is head of a party whose most powerful core supporters are the teachers’ unions. Nevertheless he picked and is close to Arne Duncan, whose Race to the Top competition is vigorously if ultimately ineffectively opposed by the teachers’ unions. When liberal Democrat and teachers’ union pet and puppet David Obey moved to cut funds from the Race to the Top in order to bail out more teachers’ jobs, Obama threatened a veto, against the wishes of the teachers’ unions. So anti-Fenty, pro-Obama, readers must overcome their cognitive difficulties and come to terms with the fact that the Obama administration is pro-Rhee and therefore pro-Fenty.


Voting Choices from the Edge
Richard Layman,

Did you watch the movie “Postcards from the Edge?” In the scene where Meryl Streep tells her mother (Shirley MacLaine) how terrible it was growing up, Shirley says “Well, I could have been like Joan Crawford,” and Meryl replies “Those are my choices?” That’s how I feel about the upcoming elections.

I don’t like the choices for council chair. I would never vote for Vincent Orange because of how he rammed through special legislation awarding master development rights for the Florida Market with the possible use of eminent domain authority for connected interests (represented by other connected interests) with no public tender for proposals or an open and transparent process for selecting a developer — it’s the dirtiest deal I’ve witnessed as an involved citizen (other than the directing of contracts to mayoral friends through the subterfuge of a nonprofit connected to the Housing Authority). But a council chair needs to be damn good, and I don’t think our other choices reach that level. Maybe I should do a write-in vote for Vincent Gray?

I don’t like the choices for mayor. I have many of the reservations about Mayor Fenty that others have, and I believe that the public schools are being destroyed through idiosyncratic rather than systematic, structured, and robust “reform” efforts. But he is future oriented, and focused on building the city for the future — I think that a lot of our problems as activists come from our efforts during the time that the city was shrinking and needed to be stabilized, and now that the city has the potential to grow, many of us aren’t able to modify our agendas and look forward. I think Vince Gray is whip smart (he’s raked me over the coals during testimony before him, which only makes me respect him more, because he bored in on the single weakness in my argument), but his candidacy has issues that concern me, and I think that many of the interest groups that are endorsing him prefer a return to interest group politics that frequently do not favor the city’s future, but are a return to the past.

As far as choices for at-large councilmembers go, I favor Phil Mendelson (even though I don’t agree with him on everything) over Clark Ray because I think we need some independent intelligent voices on council, and on the current council Phil is one of the few independent and intelligent voices that we have. If Clark wants to run for council, I wish he’d do it “against” a different seat on the council, as I do think he’s bright and he cares, even if I can’t see him as much of an independent voice. Since now I live in Ward 4, I will take a pass on commenting on the Ward races (1, 3, 5, 6), except that I like Tommy Wells, and his focus on “livability,” advocacy for streetcars, bicycle tracks, and other transportation improvements. Given that the city’s competitive advantage rests in large part on optimizing transit, walking and biking over automobility, we need a councilmember who understands this and makes it a key priority in his ward and for the city at large.


Don’t Candidates Have to Give Reasons to Support Them?
Tom Grahame,

Gary, when you aren’t excited about any candidate, does that mean that the candidates themselves are poor, relative to before? Does it mean something about you? Have you become too cynical? Have you come to believe that things won’t get too much better no matter what? My lack of enthusiasm, I want to believe, has to do with the candidates. Four years ago, Fenty had it right: the only way urban kids are going to have good choices in the future is if we can find a way to educate them better. He easily beat an “establishment” candidate, for lack of a better word. I was cautious about his youth, his lack of executive experience, but Cory Booker in Newark had those characteristics, and has been exceptional, as far as I can tell (how many readers have rented “Brick City” from Netflix, or seen it on PBS? If you haven’t, do it). I was very excited that someone appeared to be addressing education with more than lip service. Maybe it had to do with the mass exodus for charters. . . . If we can’t do the very hard work to fix the public schools now, when can we?

It does seem to me, unless the figures have been played with, that test scores have improved quite a bit in four years. That seems like progress. Many teachers and administrators have been fired. Is that part of progress, or unnecessary harm? I can’t tell from the outside. I have to guess that it is a bit of both, in my ignorance of ground truth. But let’s lay that aside for the moment . . . the reason I can’t get enthused about Fenty is that he seems to have taken the attitude from his first day in office that he’s going to run things the way he wants, citizens and council members be damned. Peter Nickels is his Haldeman and Erlichman, his pit bull. Appointing unqualified cronies. No press conferences, no contact with the citizenry to speak of. A complete character transformation. Bluntly, we don’t matter now that we elected him the first time, except to be manipulated by his PAC money to vote for him again. So if should I vote for Fenty this time around, it will be with little enthusiasm. And only if I believe that the apparent progress in schools is real, not the product of manipulated figures. It didn’t have to be this way, Adrian.

What about Vince Gray? I have a good image of him because of his work at Covenant House. I have found him to be personable. But I don’t know much about what he will do if he is elected, other than the apparent progress in the schools, if it has to do with Fenty and Rhee (which I think it must have to at least some degree), will likely be curtailed. (If this is wrong, I would like someone to tell me why, it’s important!) He won’t be as aloof as Fenty, he’ll work better with the council, and this would be progress, but I don’t actually have a sense of what he wants to do to make things better. I think he’s running only because people asked him to and he has a shot. So no enthusiasm, and some trepidation that education once again might slide back.

What about the council? I think Gray was a good chairman, despite some issues that I thought he went the wrong way on. You can’t win everything. I think whoever will replace him is unlikely to be as capable in that position. I don’t have any enthusiasm for any of the candidates for council chair. Again, please tell me I’m wrong, and tell me why — I very much want to be wrong.

Maybe I’m getting more cynical. I prefer to think that we’ve had better candidates in the past. I was a precinct captain for Tony Williams for almost three months. Call me crazy, but I would bet that most of us would rather have Tony Williams than either Fenty or Gray as mayor, based on past performance. And who would you rather have as council chair, Vincent Gray or one of the present candidates? I’ve worked for political candidates, off an on, for over forty years. I did so when they excited me about what they could do, how they could make things better. I wouldn’t dream of doing so this time around. The last time I worked for a candidate was for Lisa Raymond for school board, just two years ago. I’d like to see her run for higher office, I think she has good common sense as well as determination. I would work for her with enthusiasm. I can’t think of another potential candidate for whom I would volunteer, right now.


This Black Ward 6 Resident Supports Fenty
Mary C. Williams, Southwest Waterfront,

I have steadfastly supported Adrian Fenty’s reelection for a number of reasons. The primary reason is that this city, for the first time in my decade of living here, is now focused on education reform and public safety. Prior to his election, this city was still trying to deliver basic services to its residents and was marginally improving this effort. Today, a majority of residents take basic services for granted and are now discussing the pros and cons of education reform. That alone is worth my support. It gives me hope that DC public schools may one day produce a generation of geniuses that will eradicate world hunger, broker peace in the Middle East, and wipe out cancer. Similarly, Fenty’s hiring of Police Chief Cathy Lanier was initially controversial and broke with all sorts of stereotypes. Today, Cathy Lanier and her assistant, Dianne Groomes, are among the most popular employees in this city, particularly in my SW neighborhood. I don’t hear anyone complaining but the police union official. These two women are getting the job done. In fact, our community policing efforts and resident participation are way up, as our shootings are down. We now go many weekends, even months, between senseless shootings. We don’t miss the good ole days of neighborhood terrorism. Even those who are reluctant to give Fenty credit for having the foresight to hire these two women, Michelle Rhee and Cathy Lanier, it’s impossible to say that they have failed. In addition to results, we also have been given hope. We want more positive changes. A better education system will produce more skilled and college-bound students who will eventually join the workforce and compete in a global market for the best jobs, effectively reducing or even eliminating the need for many to resort to illegal means to support themselves. By all accounts, Fenty has delivered for a majority of the people. This city is no sprint to govern. It needs someone who is disciplined, independent, can make the tough decisions, and can go the distance. Fenty is not perfect, but he does run marathons and has demonstrated that he can do this job. He can go the distance. He has earned an opportunity to finish what he started.


My Choice for Mayor
Harry F. Gates,

The “debate” at the University of the District of Columbia was most enlightening. Sitting before the audience were Vincent Gray and Kwame Brown, the city’s next leadership team. Those attending the forum know Vincent Gray is the right choice. He is honest, accountable and direct. Every question was fully answered. And, he was there! A comparison of the two mayoral candidates and their current responsibilities, that began simultaneously, makes clear that Vincent Gray has demonstrated leadership and maintained a strong work ethic. As chairman, he has led the council in support of the mayor’s school reform and budget. On the other hand, Adrian Fenty has been arrogant and unable to work collaboratively with the council or his constituents. His staff and agency heads know the mayor doesn’t want to hear bad news or another point of view; he would prefer to by-pass planning and hurry up to get things done.

Parents want schools to continue to improve, but it is wrong for the mayor to let Michelle Rhee hold them hostage. Colbert King noted schools are not the most important issue facing the city when he broke ranks with the Post editorial board and correctly identified the District’s fiscal health as the prime issue in this election. Chief Financial Officer Natwar Gandhi issued a strong warning to the city’s leadership after the three Wall Street rating agencies informed him they are concerned about the District’s declining general fund and the ease with which reserve funds are tapped. If the mayor is going to have to say “no” to the further use of reserve funds, Gray is capable of setting those limits.

Vincent Gray attended the city’s public schools and graduated from George Washington University and its law school. He is a “home boy” and proud of it. He has spent his career in service to his city and community. He is a leader and capable of working collaboratively with the council and residents of the District. He is a man of integrity with a vision for the city and a plan for its implementation.


My Endorsements
Bryce A. Suderow,

I’m voting for Adrian Fenty because he is the only elected official willing to fire teachers in order to reform the school system. Vincent Gray wants to turn the clock back to the time when everyone micro-managed a mediocre school system.

I’m voting against Tommy Wells and Phil Mendelsohn because the logical result of their policy towards youthful criminals ensures that these kids remain free to slaughter people on the streets of Washington.

The city turned a corner in 1998 when the reform candidate Anthony Williams was elected. Thousands of middle class citizens moved into the city and they have transformed it. However, they won’t stay unless the schools function and we can keep young criminals off the streets.


Support for Mayor
MaryAnn Miller,

I support Vince Gray for mayor 1000 percent!

Fenty is lacking in so many respects, it’s hard to know where to begin. He, Peter Nickles is an outrage as AG, the thugs around him are cheats and liars, etc. The intimidation that’s going in Ward 3 is a disgrace.


Vincent Orange Has the Juice to be Chair
Kathryn Pearson-West,

Clearly, in these recessionary times the District of Columbia — our nation’s capital with the eyes of the world constantly watching, judging, and sometimes marveling and envying — needs a council chairman with the business/financial acumen and political savvy to help lead DC to more promising financial health. The District needs a master legislator and consensus builder. Orange is talented, smart, experienced, likable, honest, and quite able. DC needs Vincent Orange for chair. Vote Orange! Orange has the juice to be council chair. Vincent Orange, a former Ward 5 Council member and a former PEPCO business executive, has a multitude of skills to help lead this magnificent city forward. He has focused a lifetime of building his skills as a leader; he is prepared academically and professionally. He has held several key career positions and has a list of results and accomplishments to prove his ability.

Orange has a pleasant demeanor, though reserved, and is easy to connect with to get things done. Orange listens and acts with great leadership skill and poise. He stays on top of issues and is proactive as a result. He works well with people and encourages stakeholders to participate in the discussion of issues to seek a resolution that is pragmatic and acceptable to many. He is a firm negotiator and has the results to demonstrate his competence and leadership. It’s hard not to go to Home Depot and Giant in Brentwood in Ward 5 without thinking about how he championed the building of that Northeast shopping center. He also ensured that the once closed McKinley was transformed into a solid technology school, preparing young people for careers in science and technology. Orange worked with concerned community residents to prevent a section of his ward from becoming a red light district for the adult entertainment industry. Orange is visionary and cares about the people of this city and the future of the nation’s capital. He is not a tax and spend leader, but is a man who practices financial discipline and follows financial protocols, even within his household. He needs to be at the table to assist in leading DC forward and take stands on behalf of the people when necessary. He does well collaborating with stakeholders to get the job done or make the deal happen.

Not only is Vincent Orange a great leader, he is a positive role model and a good family man. Orange is married to a special needs educator and has two sons and a daughter. He lives in a modest home in Ward 5. He has worked hard side by side with his wife to ensure that his children are set on the right path to success in life. His children attended DC public schools, though he may have turned to other options along their way in their childhood to meet their individual needs. He is a churchgoing man with quality spiritual values and an appreciation of the tenets of faith, which he tries to follow. He attends Metropolitan A.M.E. Church in downtown Washington. Additionally, the Honorable Vincent Orange is determined and enthusiastic about improving education and economic opportunities for residents. He is not shy about pushing to reduce to the vast underemployment and unemployment in the nation’s capital. He is all about trying to defeat poverty and improve upward mobility options while simultaneously trying to build and protect the middle class. He wants to keep neighborhoods clean, safe, and stable and he wants to improve or at least maintain the quality of life for residents, from the young to those in their twilight years. Being chair will help him achieve a shared vision for Washington, DC, supported by the citizens of this promising world class city and home to over half a million residents. He is a innovative and talented leader that will work with citizens to promote family friendly policies as well as policies that will attract and maintain residents from all walks of life, races, creed, ages, and so forth.

Orange is also a creative person and communicator. He puts forth a strong message that resonates, even if that communication is sometimes in the form of jingles. Orange has a fun personality as well and works hard and plays hard. When he was a Ward 5 councilmember, he was known and well liked for bringing people together at annual galas, Halloween and winter holiday parties, picnics, festivals, and even his own annual birthday parties. At any of these events, the warm and gentle side can be seen in this fierce, determined, able, and accomplished legislator, negotiator, and lawyer. He is known for his eagerness to get on the dance floor with his constituents and fellow dance enthusiasts to do the latest line dance. As the Vincent Orange signs dot the city in yards and lamp posts, it is a sign of hope and possibility that Orange will be the next chair. He will be rewarded for his good works. He will not be a slave to special interests and is free to speak his mind, always focusing on doing the right thing to improve the beloved city so many call home. Orange can disagree without being disagreeable and is a great debater with the issues and facts. He gets things done in a timely fashion and doesn’t have to wait to be told or pushed to make things happen. He builds strong working relationships. He gets the job done. Go Vincent Orange. Win the race for chair of the council and show DC and the nation what you’re working with.

Though Vincent stumbled in the race for mayor in 2006, he is the comeback kid and is the best candidate to help lead the city forward. He will be able to excel with rival and fellow candidate Councilmember Kwame Brown serving with him on the council. At the end of the race, citizens will have two strong leaders on the council, with Orange as chair and Brown continuing in his position. Brown will also be able to take some time to get his own financial house in order and advance the need for quality financial planning for families and households. Brown will be able to take some time to talk about the need to practice good financial discipline at home as well as at work. And the charming, ubiquitous Brown will be able to teach struggling under- and unemployed resident how to advance in their careers in government and the private sector with less than stellar credit reports. Many job applicants are turned away from jobs because of unemployment — not lavish spending — have dampened their credit reports. Vincent Orange is the best candidate to be chair at this time and will bring new thinking and new ideas to the position and will lead with expertise, vision, compassion, and a commitment to excellence. Vincent Orange for Chair! The city wins when he wins. Take the juice and don’t drink the Kool Aid of others that are not able to pushing DC in the direction that the residents truly value and want it to go. Win with Vincent Orange as chair of the DC council. Vote September 14 for Orange.


The Winning Team
Leo Alexander,

I announced my candidacy for mayor of the District of Columbia on September 14, 2009, I knew it would be one hell of a challenge. I didn’t have much name recognition given the fact that I wasn’t a career politician and hadn’t worked as a TV news journalist in a decade. I didn’t have millions in my bank account. I wasn’t a native Washingtonian like the incumbent or the chair. But I knew I had one thing that neither of the other two could claim – a platform to benefit all Washingtonians. Over the next six weeks, the voters of DC will come to realize what our movement for change has known for some time. Mr. Fenty has a solid base of support that plans to vote for him regardless of his many alleged ethical shortcomings, because of one issue alone — DCPS Chancellor Michelle Rhee. After a full term as DC council chair, Mr. Gray has what we call soft support: the ‘Anybody But Fenty’ crowd. What makes this crowd of support so soft is that they aren’t really supporting Gray because of a track record of wins, an exciting platform, or some phantom unblemished public service record — they’re only supporting Gray because they think he has the best chance of beating Fenty. As a matter of fact, most of his support came his way be default. There were no other career politicians brave enough to take on the mayor’s multimillion dollar war chest, and Don Peebles took his tantalizing bankroll and went back to Florida. After months of what seemed like agonizing contemplation, coaxing from the old guard, the media, and organized labor, Gray finally announced his candidacy in March of 2010.

Since Gray’s announcement, I can’t count the number of times someone has come up to me and said, “Aren’t you afraid you’re going to split the vote and allow Fenty to get a second term?” My answer has always been, “No, because this time the voters won’t allow themselves to be fooled.” Deep down they know that on paper there’s absolutely no difference between Fenty and Gray. Here are just some of Fenty’s and Gray’s greatest hits: Fenty wanted to take over the schools, Gray approved it. Fenty hired Michelle Rhee and Peter Nickels, Gray approved both. Fenty proposed three budgets and spending that took us into a $666 million deficit, Gray approved all three budgets. It’s alleged that Fenty’s cronies illegally made millions on the Parks and Recreation Centers deal and Gray’s cronies stand to make millions on the new lottery contract. They’re both singing from the same anti-transparency hymnal. Gray’s crowning achievement was the marriage equality law, and this time it was Fenty who approved it, and they celebrated by signing it in a church. The only real difference between the two men is thirty years of age.

From all indications, the Fenty and Gray duet was hitting all the right notes until 2008. That’s when Fenty didn’t share the District’s allotment of Nationals baseball tickets with Gray. If you take a closer look at the timeline of what else was happening about this same time, you’ll see that the lottery deal was caught in a tug of war between the two. In a recent series of articles by The Washington Times’ investigation of this lottery contract, it appears that only after Gray was successful in replacing Fenty’s cronies with his own that Fenty retaliated by not sharing the baseball tickets. Meanwhile, a third of our citizens over the age of sixteen are functionally illiterate, nearly half of the children in DC are born into poverty, 75 percent of the black men walking our streets have criminal records, and the HIV infection rate is over 300 percent higher than the CDC’s definition of an epidemic . . . third world numbers while our two highest elected career politicians carve up the booty.

The Washington Post endorsed Fenty even though he has no plan to create jobs. He has no plan to address the budget shortfall except by using federal stimulus money, and no plan to tackle the spike in armed robberies across the District except through targeted incarceration of our poor. Their endorsement came earlier than usual this year because they know that he’s in trouble. Gray doesn’t have a platform at all except birth-through-24 education, with one major omission — where’s the funding? Gray knows he can’t win with just a fraction of the ABF vote, and since he doesn’t have a plan to create jobs either or knows whether or not he’ll cut services or raise taxes to balance the budget, the chances of him chipping away at Fenty’s base is slim.

My platform touches all by attacking the root causes of generational poverty. I intend to raise the minimum business tax, while making the District’s business taxes more competitive with Maryland and Virginia to grow our tax base. I plan to exempt those making less than $50,000 a year from paying DC income taxes. Those making less than $100,000 will get a tax cut and those making more than $150,000 will see a slight increase on their personal income taxes. I believe the best way to keep honest people honest is to randomly audit agencies to uncover waste, fraud and inefficiency. I will end the practice of spending $140 million per year on leased office space in favor of forming a public-private partnership to build a green, mixed-use government-commercial complex — One Columbia Plaza. Each year, the District spends $1.5 billion a year on people trapped in a cycle of poverty, which has basically created an incubator to fuel the prison industrial complex with more young bodies. I plan to end this trend through reducing the dependence on social services by 10 percent every year, thereby moving residents from psychologically crippling government dependency to self-sufficiency. The District will invest in our people by funding child care, literacy training, substance abuse treatment and mental health counseling while protecting jobs for blue collar Washingtonians. The estimated $150 million in savings from this strategy will be reinvested into quality of life issues across the District of Columbia which will benefit all residents.

This time we have a choice. We can either chose the status quo of Fenty or Gray that does nothing to address displacement, dependency or prison beds for DC’s poor, or we can ante up and attack this wasteful cycle at its roots. I need your support. Together we can form that winning team on September 14.


P.L. Wolff,

Gary, in response to your query in Wednesday’s posting, “Does no one have a preference in the mayor’s race, the city council chairman’s race, the at-large councilmember races, or the four ward councilmember races?,” speaking for myself, I call attention to my editorial (“From the Publisher’s Desk”) in the current PDF issue of The InTowner (online at There will be found my personal endorsements for Ward 1 and at-large council Democratic primary races; I will deal with the mayoral and council chair Democratic primary races in the August issue, the PDF of which will be posted on the August 13.

Whether my endorsements are ever useful in any way I do not know, but I put them out there for whatever they might be worth. Sometimes, candidates I have endorsed win, other times they may have been the “kiss of death” — either way, nobody can say I am bored with contemplating the outcome of elections, though often the campaign rhetoric and posturing drives me nuts!


City Elections
H.S. Harlach,

Are there any Republican candidates?

Who knows, perhaps a change of parties might bring some improvements to our local government?


Voice in the Primaries
Wayne Curtis,

As soon as independents have a voice in the primaries, I will have a choice.


Nir H. Buras,

Someone asked me the same question yesterday. Preference? For what? What is really proposed?

What is the difference? What am I missing?


We Are Too Busy in AZ
Star Lawrence,

Our beloved cartel murderers pasting people’s faces onto soccer balls and tossing them around, earnest young dads being hauled out of ice cream shops and slapped on the bus to Nogales, marches, propaganda on both sides, people clambering over fences . . . I just can’t get to my DC news as much as I’d like.


The Cleanup After the Storm
Kevin Twine,

We understand that you are clearing up yard waste from last weekend’s severe storm and many of you also suffered the loss of electricity, which has led to spoiled food. The Department of Public Works wants to help by collecting the smaller tree limbs and branches, spoiled food, and the recyclable food containers. Check for your neighborhood’s collection(s).

We ask you to do the following. With your yard waste, please cut limbs into four-foot lengths, bundle them, and place the bundles with your trash. In Supercan neighborhoods, yard waste will be collected on your regular trash collection day. In twice-a-week neighborhoods, yard waste will be collected on your second collection day. These collections are subject to available space in the trash trucks. With spoiled food, please empty recyclable glass, cardboard (juice boxes, etc.) and metal food and beverage containers, rinse the containers and place them in your recycling bin(s) or cart(s). Place the spoiled food in your garbage disposal or a sturdy trash bag. The bagged food should be put in your trash can and placed out for collection on your next collection day. Recyclables are collected in Supercan neighborhoods the same day trash is collected. In twice-a-week neighborhoods, please put your recycling containers out on your scheduled collection day.


Support Mital Gandhi’s Nomination to the BOEE
Marc Morgan,

This morning, I took a stand against the DC council’s dodging the nomination of Mital Gandhi to the DC Board of Elections and Ethics. With members of the District of Columbia Republican Committee, other DC council ward candidates, and some dedicated volunteers, we delivered a message to our current councilmembers to not “duck” the Gandhi nomination, and called for a vote. For too long, the Democrats of the DC council have tabled Mital Gandhi’s nomination, simply because Gandhi is supported by Republicans. The DC Board of Election and Ethics is supposed to be a bipartisan board, and we believe that the council should allow a GOP-supported candidate his proper place on it. This is simple majority party games, and voters of the District of Columbia deserve better.

I hope that you see the issues with the current leadership we have running our great city. I hope to be a voice of reason, willing to move on all matters of importance to our city. Without reasonable people willing to do what’s in the best interest of all of the District’s citizens our city will never rise to its full potential. I don’t want to see this happen. Do whatever it takes to make sure our voices are heard, and we no longer have to submit to the one party rule that has misguided our city for so long.



Ward Four Democrats Endorsement Forum, August 4
Cherita Whiting,

The Ward 4 Democrats mayoral endorsement forum will be held on August 4 at St. Georges Conference Center and Ballroom, 4335 16th Street, NW. Voting will be from 6:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m. The mayoral candidates forum will be from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.


National Building Museum Events, August 7
Johanna Weber,

Postmodernism, August 7, 1:00-2:30 p.m. Roger K. Lewis, FAIA, architect, planner, professor emeritus at the University of Maryland School of Architecture, and author of the “Shaping the City” column in The Washington Post, draws on his years of writing to discuss this reactionary approach to architecture. At the National Building Museum, 401 F Street, NW, Judiciary Square Metro station. Register for events at


Community Review of Georgia Avenue, August 7
Parisa B. Nourizi,

The ECAC, a founding member of the Georgia Avenue Community Development Task Force (GACDTF), invites all residents, business owners, and other stakeholders to a community review of Georgia Avenue on Saturday, August 7, from 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. at the Howard University School of Architecture at 6th Street and Howard Place, NW. The Georgia Avenue corridor is undergoing major change from New Hampshire Avenue to S Street. It is important that the current residents and businesses clearly identify the issues and the vision they have for new development before the bulldozers arrive. At this Community Review of Georgia Avenue, participants will have a chance to discuss issues that will affect their quality of life in areas such as housing, safety, retail options, environmental initiatives, recreation, and more. Small group discussions will take place between 9:30 and 1:00, with a large group meeting beginning at 2:00. Lunch will be provided.


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