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Tag Archive | "DC politics"

Reader Poll: Who’s Got Your Vote for President on Tuesday?


"Borderstan""Borderstan Map"

News from DC’s Dupont, Logan and U Street neighborhoods.

Washington is an overwhelmingly Democratic city, with 75% of voters registered as Democrats. Independents outnumber Republicans 17% to 6% and registered Statehood Green Party members are under 1%. But, in Ward 2 (Dupont-Logan), Republicans are 13% of registered voters and 5% in Ward 1, which includes the U Street corridor.

If DC were a state, it would be the most Democratic in the country — no other state (no, not even Massachusetts) would come in a close second. The only question about tomorrow’s presidential election in DC is, “What percentage of the vote will Obama get?”

In 2008, Obama got 92% of the vote in DC. Democrats John Kerry and Al Gore took home 89% and 85% of the vote, respectively, in 2004 and 2000. Since DC first got the right to vote in presidential elections in 1964, it’s 3 Electoral Votes have gone to the Democratic presidential candidate every time.

So, let’s see how Borderstan readers plan to vote tomorrow for president and how that will compare to Tuesday’s results. Are we more inclined to vote Democratic than the city as a whole, or less so?

BTW, on election night, you can get the DC voting results on the DC Board of Elections and Ethics website.

Who's Got Your Vote for President on Tuesday?

  • Jill Stein, Statehood Green Party (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Undecidided (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Write In (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Gary Johnson, Libertarian Party (3%, 3 Votes)
  • Mitt Romney, Republican Party (18%, 17 Votes)
  • Barack Obama, Democratic Party (79%, 75 Votes)

Total Voters: 95

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Heated Discussion at Washington Post Forum on DC Leadership


"Washington Post"

“Connecting the Dots in the District” at “The Washington Post.” (Rachel Nania)

From Rachel Nania and Tom Hay. Contact Nania at rachel[AT]borderstan.com and follower on Twitter @rnania. Contact Hay at Tom[AT]borderstan.com and follow him on Twitter @Tomonswann.

On Thursday, September 27, The Washington Post hosted a public forum on the state of leadership in DC, on the heels of recent corruptions in City Council and a federal investigation surrounding Mayor Gray’s election campaign.

“Connecting the Dots in the District” was the latest in a series of “Behind the Headlines” programs sponsored by The Post. Panelists for the evening included Barbara Lang, president and CEO of the DC Chamber of Commerce; Kojo Nnamdi, host of The Kojo Nnamdi Show on WAMU radio; Carol Schwartz, a former DC Councilmember; and Clinton Yates, Express editor and opinion writer for The Root DC.

Washington Post columnist Bob McCartney started off the discussion by asking the panelists for their thoughts on leadership and accountability.

Lang spoke about her thoughts on qualities of leadership. She highlighted the importance of integrity and being able to deliver results. Lang also emphasized how we, as the electing public, need to hold our city’s leaders responsible for what they promise.

Nnamdi received applause after calling for a “policy ombudsman,” and stressed that perception is everything in leadership, drawing an analogy to the recent NFL replacement referee controversy.

Schwartz recalled how during her terms on the Council there was an attitude that you need to “go along to get along” and not rock the boat if you want to survive. Schwartz also recounted how she was often the only councilmember who would meticulously report all the gifts she received while in office, and called for a change to this norm. By far the youngest on the panel, Yates spoke on DC’s current “culture of silence” and “old boy” network in District politics.

As McCartney turned the conversation to how we break the old political culture, Nnamdi noted that the one-party system allows someone to win without seriously being challenged in terms of intellect and integrity, and went on to suggest an open primary. It was at this point that some drama erupted in the auditorium. An attendee, who later identified himself as Robert Brannum, shouted “No, No, No” after Nnamdi’s comments on open primaries. Brannum also fired out comments as Yates decried the political culture in DC.

At the end of the panel discussion, attendee questions were read by McCartney. Many questions were submitted on the topic of The Washington Post’s reporting of malfeasance in DC government. Some suggested The Post was not doing enough given their resources (one question cited how often The City Paper often uncovers scandals despite their small budget). Others were outraged that The Washington Post constantly targets the same officials and regurgitates the same stories for weeks.

More information on the “Behind the Headlines” series is available on The Post’s website.

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Sunday: DC Councilmembers in Public Forum at Busboys and Poets


From Rachel Nania. Check out her blog, Sear, Simmer & Stir. Follow Nania on Twitter @rnania, email her at rachel[AT]borderstan.com.

"DC forum"

A public forum with DC Councilmembers will take place at Busboys & Poets on Sunday, September 9. (Luis Gomez Photos)

On Sunday, September 9, DC at least six members of the DC City Council will participate in a public forum with local journalists and residents from 5 until 8 pm at Busboys and Poets (2021 14th Street NW).

So far, Phil Mendelson (D-At Large), Michael Brown (I-At Large), Vincent Orange (D-At-Large), Jack Evans (D-Ward 2), Muriel Bowser (D-Ward 4) and Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6) are confirmed to participate in the forum. Bowser and Evans are on the ballot this year. Mendelson is running in the special election for Chairman of the DC Council to replace Kwame Brown, who resigned earlier this year.

“Many communities feel disconnected from what ought to be their city hall,” said Nick McCoy, a local activist and moderator of the upcoming event. “We’re holding this forum to reassert the people’s right to hold our public servants accountable.”

Local media outlets such as the Washington Blade, the Washington Informer and WPFW, among others, will have an allotted time period to question the candidates. Time will also be made for members of the public to address the officials.

For more information, contact Nick McCoy at (202) 280-5403.

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DC’s Gentrification and a Reporter’s Case for the Positives


"Borderstan""14th Street NW" "People Walking"

14th Street NW: The two sides of gentrification in DC. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Rachel Nania. Check out her blog, Sear, Simmer & Stir. Follow Nania on Twitter @rnania, email her at rachel[AT]borderstan.com. 

The topic of gentrification in the District is generating some buzz — as it often does. Last week, the Root DC’s Stephen A. Crockett Jr. introduced us all to the term “swagger jacking,” which then triggered a slue blog posts (including our own) on the subject of DC’s economic, cultural and racial shift.

Shortly after Crockett’s piece, The Atlantic published a follow-up story that exposed a series of counter arguments to Crockett’s commentary. In the article – “The Politics of the Urban Comeback: Gentrification and Culture in DC” – writer Garance Franke-Ruta argues that DC’s developmental boom [aka: gentrification] should not be seen as such a bad thing.

Yes, DC is changing; but the once dubbed “Chocolate City” has been undergoing this major transition for more than a decade. And according to Franke-Ruta, development in the city (especially in the U Street area) is not to blame for the loss of DC’s black population – that happened long before the “culture vultures” swooped in with construction cranes and hipster ambiance.

“A close look at the Census data shows that black population loss in the neighborhood actually slowed as gentrification picked up, dropping almost in half from the previous decade’s rate,” writes Franke-Ruta.

The article also emphasizes the importance of the District’s continuing development for tax revenue and population retention purposes. (I don’t know about you, but I am sick of being referred to as a “transient city.”) Encouraging revitalization, development, small business establishments and residential space in DC (especially in the U Street corridor) has been a major priority for the District’s last four mayors.

So there you have it – two sides of the city’s decade-long great divide. Crockett longs for a city that dodges a disheartened sense of “faux black ethos,” while Franke-Ruta longs for a less dodgy city. Is one argument better than the other? And is there a way for the city (and for U Street) to continue to develop and evolve in a way that pleases the majority of the District’s residents?

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Borderstan Poll: 77% of Readers Say Vincent Gray Should Resign


"Vincent Gray"

Mayor Vincent Gray. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Rachel Nania. Check out her blog, Sear, Simmer & Stir. Follow Nania on Twitter @rnania, email her at rachel[AT]borderstan.com. 

It’s been about four weeks since Mayor Vincent Gray’s 2010 corrupt “shadow” campaign was revealed. Shortly after U.S. Attorney Ron Machen announced the Gray campaign’s failure to report $653,000 in campaign funds used in his race against DC’s incumbent mayor, Adrian Fenty, several councilmembers called for Gray’s resignation, including Mary Cheh (D-Ward 3), David Catania (I-At Large) and Muriel Bowser (D-Ward 4).

About a week after the news broke, The Washington Post published a poll, illustrating the District’s discontentment with the mayor. According to the poll, 54% of readers said Gray should resign, while another 59% disapproved of the way Gray is handling his job as Mayor.

Here at Borderstan, we decided to conduct our own poll to see how the Dupont-Logan-U Street area compared to the city overall. It’s no secret that this part of the city is not a “Gray area.” In this neighborhood, then-incumbent Mayor Adrian Fenty was the heavy favorite in the September 2010 primary results, running up huge majorities. Then, in the November general election a write-in campaign for Fenty got a surprisingly large number of votes (39% in Ward 2 and 30% in Ward 1).

Reader Poll Results on Gray

So, when the Borderstan reader poll results came in — it was really no surprise that a large majority of poll respondents are not pleased with Gray and the revelations and accusations surrounding his 2010 campaign. Of Borderstan readers who took the poll:

  • 77% said that Gray should resign now
  • 16% said Gray should not resign unless indicted for a crime
  • 2% said Gray should not leave office unless convicted of a crime
  • 5% of readers were not sure what Gray should do

What’s next for Gray? Aside from a recent meeting between Gray’s chief of staff and crisis management expert, Judy Smith, it seems as though the scandal has fizzled out in the news over the past month. Could the lack of publicity buy some time for the mayor? Some political analysts predicted that he would resign from his position, but nothing has happened and Gray has not been legally charged with any wrongdoing. In the end, will it all be much ado about nothing, with Gray serving out the rest of his term?

Perhaps the most interesting question is, “If Gray did end up resigning, would win the special election to succeed him?”

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Reader Poll: Should Mayor Gray Resign?


Take the Borderstan Reader Poll: Should Mayor Gray resign?

Unless you’ve been traveling somewhere without access to U.S. news, or intentionally tune out DC politics, it would be almost impossible to avoid the scandals surrounding Mayor Vincent Gray’s 2010 campaign — and the ongoing federal investigation.

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Mayor Vincent Gray.  (Luis Gomez Photos file photo)

If you’ve read any DC newspaper or online site over the past several months, you’ve read about the “Shadow Campaign,” the questionable/illegal campaign contributions and reports of the questionable use of a list of voters from DC Public Housing.

Borderstan.com has covered the brouhaha, too. While we normally confine our coverage to the Dupont-Logan-U Street area, some citywide issues are too big to ignore — especially when three City Councilmembers call for the Mayor’s resignation.

The seemingly steady stream of negative coverage from these past few months (even though it seems like an August lull has set in) has taken a toll (see Gray Near All-Time Low Approval Rating for DC Mayors). In a recent Washington Post poll, 54% of DC respondents said Gray should resign.

Should Mayor Gray resign or would that be premature? Should he resign if he is indicted? Or should Gray wait for a possible indictment and a trial to run its course? Tell us what you think in our Borderstan reader poll.

The Dupont-Logan-U Street area was never a Gray stronghold — as we saw in the September 2010 primary results between Gray and then-incumbent Mayor Adrian Fenty, and then again in the November general election when “Write In” (the vast majority for Fenty) got 39% in Ward 2 (which includes Dupont-Logan) and 30% in Ward 1 (which includes most of the U Street corridor and surrounding neighborhood).

What sayeth you, Borderstanis? Should Gray resign from the office of DC mayor?

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Kishan Putta is Second Candidate in Race for ANC 2B-04 Seat


"ANC 2B Dupont"

ANC 2B encompasses the Dupont Circle neighborhood. District 04 is in the northeast side of the ANC. (ANC 2B website, boundaries that are in effect for 2012 election)

From Rachel Nania. Check out her blog, Sear, Simmer & Stir. Follow Nania on Twitter @rnania, email her at rachel[AT]borderstan.com

Dupont resident Kishan Putta has announced his candidacy for Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner (ANC) in the District 04 seat in ANC 2B/Dupont. Elections for ANC positions are on the November 6 ballot and are non-partisan; 300 seats throughout the city are up for reelection this year.

Putta’s campaign, however, does not come without competition. Last month Martin Espinoza officially announced his candidacy for the same seat. Jack Jacobson, the ANC 2B-04 incumbent, is running for DC School Board in Ward 2 instead of seeking another term.

Putta and volunteers were spotted in the district last weekend gathering petitions to get on the ballot — with a handout card, flyer and even a cookie with Putta’s name on it. This seems to be shaping up as a spirited race between Putta and Espinoza.

"Kishan Putta"

Kishan Putta is running for the ANC 2B-04 seat. (Courtesy Kishan Putta)

Similar to Espinoza, Putta’s efforts as a commissioner would be grounded in neighborhood safety. Putta is a currently a Public Safety Liaison for ANC 2B, and a former crime and government reporter for the Los Angeles Times and the Providence Journal.

“My public safety journalism experience helps me to appreciate and work well with the diversity of residents, advocates and officials in our community to make the neighborhood safer, but also to keep it welcoming,” Putta told Borderstan.

In addition to crime and general neighborhood safety, Putta is also campaigning on safer streets and sidewalks and local economic development.

District 04 is the most densely populated, and smallest in geographic area, of ANC 2B‘s nine districts. By law, each ANC district is to have approximately 2,000 residents. The southern boundary is Q Street, running north to S Street NW, and from 15th Street to 17th Street NW.

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Community Service: Got What it Takes to Run for an ANC Seat?


From Rachel Nania. Check out her blog, Sear, Simmer & Stir. Follow Nania on Twitter @rnania, email her at rachel[AT]borderstan.com

"ANC 2F Map"

One of the neighborhood ANCs is 2F, which covers the Logan Circle area. It is gaining two seats due to population growth in the area. Click to see on Google Maps. (Map created by Geoff Hatchard)

We’re all guilty of it. “I can’t believe the city hasn’t fixed this street yet!” or “My child needs a playground in the area, there are no safe outdoor places for kids to play anymore.” Whether we like it or not, we are all active complainers when it comes to neighborhood (and city) politics and government.

While some complaining is fun now and then, there is a more proactive approach: running for a seat on one of the city’s 38 Advisory Neighborhood Commissions (ANCs) with a total of 300 Single Member District (SMD) seats citywide. The role of an ANC is advisory and they cannot actually pass laws or set regulations. However, DC government agencies are required to give consideration and weight to the resolutions that ANCs pass.

ANCs Represent Neighborhood Interests

Each ANC has about eight to 10 commissioners, and one commissioner represents a SMD with approximately 2,000 residents. When drawing boundaries for ANCs an effort is made to draw lines that take recognized neighborhoods into account.

ANCs work with community members, District government agencies, the City Council and some Federal agencies on a range of issues including traffic, parking, recreation, street improvements, liquor licenses, zoning, economic development, police protection, sanitation and the District’s annual budget.

Local ANCs in Borderstan

Locally, the following ANCs serve the Borderstan area:

Getting on the Ballot, Raising ANC Campaign Money

In fact, you could begin picking up nominating petitions on July 9 from the DC Board of Elections (DCBE) — you only need the signatures of 25 registered voters in your SMD. The deadline for turning in petitions is August 8 in order to qualify for the November 6 general election ballot; the races are non-partisan with no party labels attached to candidate names. The DCBE regularly updates the list of people of who have picked up petitions for ANC seats.

Worried about raising money? Campaign contributions are capped at $25, but you can give as much as you like to your own campaign.

Do You Have What it Takes to Serve?

If you think you have what it takes to fight for your neighborhood’s needs and concerns, then consider running for commissioner on your local ANC. If you are committed to the job, it can be time-consuming and commissioners are not paid (see ANC 2F-02 Commissioner Barron Not Seeking Full Term for a first-hand account of the duties of an ANC commissioner).

So let’s all slow down the complaining, stop making excuses, and find a way to better serve our community, one way or another.

Related Posts on ANCs

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3 DC Councilmembers Call for Mayor Vincent Gray to Resign


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Mayor Vincent Gray:  As of Wednesday, three DC councilmembers have called for his resignation. (Luis Gomez Photos, file photo)

From Rachel Nania. Check out her blog, Sear, Simmer & Stir. Follow Nania on Twitter @rnania, email her at rachel[AT]borderstan.com

On the heels of DC Mayor Vincent Gray’s recently exposed shadow campaign, three of the city’s 12 sitting concilmembers have now called for Gray to resign on Wednesday due to the scandals in his 2010 Democratic Primary campaign against incumbent Mayor Adrian Fenty.

Councilmembers Mary Cheh (D-Ward 3), David Catania (I-At Large) and Muriel Bowser (D-Ward 4) have said Gray should resign in the wake of federal prosecutors investigating Gray’s 2010 election campaign for illegal funding. Catania even went so far as to call the mayor a “joke,” adding that he is a “laugh line” and an “embarrassment.”

What is notable about Cheh’s Wednesday statement is that she endorsed Gray over incumbent Fenty in the September 2010 Democratic Primary. It was not a popular move among Cheh’s constituents in the upper Northwest Ward, which voted overwhelming for Fenty over Gray.

So what exactly happened to account for these accusations? Well, it is reported that Gray’s 2010 campaign misreported (or failed to report) $650,000 funneled from local contractor and (major) local political donor, Jeff Thompson. (Read more about Thompson in the Washington City Paper – in particular, how his home and office spaces were raided in suspicion of illegal activities related to the 2010 campaign.)

On Wednesday, Gray spoke about his allegations in a press conference where he confessed that he was not aware of the illegal reporting of contributions to his campaign. Gray said that he has no intentions of resigning.

Whether or not he was aware of it, Eugenia Clarke Harris, an aide in Gray’s campaign, pleaded guilty to charges that unreported money was used in campaign efforts to beat out incumbent, Adrian Fenty. Two other aides have pleaded the same charge. According to NBC Washington, Harris could receive 30 to 37 months in prison, and a fine between $6,000 and $60,000.

And even though Thompson’s contributions hardly made a ripple in the money pond of the election (Gray reported raising and spending about $2 million, whereas Fenty spent nearly $5 million), local politicians and supporters are outraged and feel betrayed by the candidate that campaigned on integrity.

Early this morning, ABC7/NewsChannel 8 reported that “Campaign workers for D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray tell The Associated Press that day laborers who worked at polling places on Gray’s behalf in 2010 were routinely paid $100 in cash — twice the legal limit.”

Borderstan Area Voted Overwhelmingly for Fenty

The Dupont, Logan and U Street areas of DC voted overwhelmingly for Fenty over Gray in the September 2010 primary. Fenty carried 9 out of 10 local precincts, winning six with more than 70% of the vote.

DC’s electorate is overwhelmingly Democrat, which means winning the Democratic Primary is almost always tantamount to election. But, in the November 2010 general election, Fenty got approximately 23% of the vote in a write-in campaign organized by Fenty supporter Joshua Lopez. Locally,  Fenty got 30% in Ward 1 (which includes the U Street corridor and Adams Morgan) and 39% in Ward 2 (which included the Dupont and Logan areas). For example, Write-In (Fenty) received 43% of the vote in Precinct 16 at 15th and R Streets NW.

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Kwame Brown Resigns Council Chairmanship After Bank Fraud Charges


By Michelle Lancaster. You can follow her and let her know your news on Twitter @MichLancaster. Email her at michellel[AT]borderstan.com.

DC, Council, Wilson, Building

The DC Council is based at the Wilson Building, 14th and Pennsylvania NW. (Luis Gomez Photos)

Now slightly less fully loaded, Kwame Brown announced his resignation from the City Council on Wednesday. The now former chairman of the DC Council admitted in his resignation letter to lying on his bank loan application a few years ago and apologized for any “negative attention” his conduct has brought.

DCist tracked the story and has his resignation letter, Mayor Gray’s reaction and the earliest rumors of his resignation. In the meantime, Councilmember Mary Cheh will be interim chair and the Council will choose a replacement from the At-Large pool of members next Wednesday — Phil Mendelson and Vincent Orange, both Democrats, and David Catania and Michael A. Brown, both Independents. BTW, The Washington Post has already made its choice: Mendelson.

UPDATE: Washington City Paper is reporting that Brown has now been charged for “violating the District’s campaign finance laws during his 2008 re-election campaign.”

With several members potentially considering a run for mayor, it will be quite interesting to see who makes a move,who receives support and from where that support originates. Hat tip to DCist for great coverage of this breaking story. The Council will meet June 13 says The Post, to select a temporary replacement until a special election can be held, which must happen no later than 114 days after Brown’s resignation. By our math, that means an election must be prior to late September.

There is also a caveat that comes with being Council chairman — no outside income (like the mayorship). DC councilmembers area allowed to earn as much as money as they want from outside jobs. So, who is willing to give up the extra bucks for a shot at being Council Chairman? It’s a pay raise from the $125,000 for being a plain old councilmember to $190,000 for being chairman.

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