by November 5, 2012 at 5:50 am 1,376 0

"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.

[poll id=”34″]

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by October 2, 2012 at 4:00 pm 1,451 0

"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] and follower on Twitter @rnania. Contact Hay at Tom[AT] 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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by September 7, 2012 at 5:00 pm 1,605 0

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

"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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by August 13, 2012 at 4:00 pm 2,046 0

"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] 

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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by August 13, 2012 at 8:00 am 1,437 0

"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] 

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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by August 7, 2012 at 2:00 pm 2,121 2 Comments

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.


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. 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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by July 17, 2012 at 8:00 am 2,784 0

"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]

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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by July 13, 2012 at 12:45 pm 2,078 0

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

"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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by July 12, 2012 at 8:45 am 2,128 0

"Vincent Gray"

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]

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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by June 7, 2012 at 7:42 am 2,440 2 Comments

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

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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by June 5, 2012 at 10:00 am 2,154 2 Comments

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

Given Mayor Vincent Gray’s legal troubles and Chairman of the Council Kwame Brown still under investigation, it seems to have created an open field for the Mayor’s seat. Or so the The Washington Post would have you believe.

"DC Wilson Building"

The Wilson Building is home to the DC Government. (D.C. Council website.)

It seems they believe the leading contenders — noted, this means those that have taken steps to consider a bid, not their endorsement — may be Muriel Bowser, an African-American Washingtonian in her second term as Councilmember of Ward 4; long-time Councilmember Jack Evans (Ward 2) and Councilmember Tommy Wells (Ward 6). Ward 2 includes the Dupont and Logan neighborhoods.

When asked about possible mayoral aspirations, Evans’ office provided the following statement from the Ward 2 councilmember: “Right now, I remain focused on Ward 2 and the work of the Committee on Finance and Revenue. Like most elected officials, I always aspire to higher office and if an opportunity were to present itself, I would certainly consider it.”

What is notable about that list is not that all are sitting councilmembers; it’s that two of the three are white. DC has had an African American mayor since ‘home rule’ — when DC was allowed to begin governing itself in the 1970s — and it seems this could possibly be the election to break that streak.

Washington City Paper seems less than satisfied with the list of prospective candidates posed by the Post in their comment, “yeesh.” The city’s demographic trends make a strong white candidate a distinct possibility. We will all have to see who emerges as the front-runner to take hold of a fractious council and ongoing budget turmoil.

What a lucky person they will be, regardless of pigmentation! All kidding aside, the district is changing in demographics, income and goals. The next mayor will have a large hand in the path forward and in defining what direction counts as forward. Read up and get engaged, already.

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by March 19, 2012 at 2:00 pm 1,737 1 Comment

From Alden Leonard. Contact him at alden[AT] and follow him @aldenleonard on Twitter.

A group called D.C. Public Trust is trying to place the measure Ballot Initiative 70 on the November 6 ballot; this measure would ban direct donations from corporations to candidates for DC office.

Ballot, Initiative, 70, DC, politics, Luis, Gomez, Photos

Ballot Initiative 70 would ban corporate campaign contributions to DC candidates. (Luis Gomez Photos)

If successful, the proposal would put DC in line with federal law, forbidding contributions from corporate interest groups to public officials and candidates. More than 20 other states have similar laws banning this type of contribution. However, even if the initiative makes to the ballot and passes, it would still be overturned by the DC Council. The Council overturned an voter initiative to impose term limits last decade.

According to the group, “This initiative, if passed, would prohibit corporations and other business entities from making direct contributions to principal campaign committees, exploratory committees, legal defense committees organized in support of public officials, transition committees, inaugural committees, or constituent-service programs.”

This new measure would stand in direct contrast to the current state of affairs. Currently, DC law allows corporations with city contracts to make direct contributions to the elected officials, creating major conflicts of interest and, as many critics note, a “pay to play” culture in the District.

To make Ballot Initiative 70 law, DC Public Trust needs to collect at least 23,000 signatures by July 9. If you support the measure, sign up online or make a donation.

Bryan Weaver is one of the leaders of the initiative; he filed the paperwork on the initiative. A Ward 1 resident, he ran in the 2010 Democratic Primary against Councilmember Jim Graham (D-Ward 1). Weaver was also a candidate in the 2011 special election to the fill the At-Large Council seat that was won by Vincent Orange. The chair of the group is Sylvia Brown of Ward 7 who is the Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner for ANC 7C-04.

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by January 11, 2012 at 8:00 am 1,785 0

Dupont Circle, Logan Circle, U Street NW, Borderstan

News from Dupont-Logan-U Street.

From Michelle Lancaster. Follow her and tell her your news on Twitter @MichLancaster or email her at [email protected].

Melody Records Owner Speaks Out

The Washington Examiner nabs a quick interview with Jack Menase, owner of Melody Records. They cut right to the chase, starting out the interview with the “why are you closing” question. Unfortunately, it’s been asked and answered, and it seems that record stores may be going the way of bookstores. In a day where your personal phone can let you preview music, download a book or follow playlists of everyone in your social network, it seems hard to fathom that our beloved indie hideaways stand much of a chance against pocket rocket tech.

Politics of Booze in DC

While Derek Brown plugs his own bar and a few other non-political bars, he does give some decent advice. In the “places that are old DC”, Dupont’s Tabard Inn makes the list in this piece by TVNZ. Yes, Derek is talking about local boozing to a New Zealand media outlet. The Gibson gets a plug as well for “local colour.”

Poor Timing for WMATA’s Fare Hike?

It may never be a good time to raise the Metro fares, but this may be particularly poor execution on their part. TBD chronicles all of their misadventures last week, from a suicide to stunning workday delays and a host of other issues. Now, after we’ve already found out that they essentially made up the length of time for escalator repair at Dupont Circle, they have advised us we can pay more for the pleasure of riding Metrorail. It made me think of this recent piece by the Washington Post on our previous system…which may or may not have been less reliable.

Pay Up, Disabled Motorists

If you are a disabled motorist, you have been able to park at meters for free. Not anymore. DDOT announced the policy change on Tuesday, citing widespread abuse of the policy as the reason for its repeal. New ‘red top’ meters will designate meters that serve disabled drivers; they still must feed the meter, but get twice the time. MyFOX broke the story and cited several downtown workers that said the excessive number of hang tags made it difficult to find parking for workers or customers.

Historic Shots of U Street

U Street Girl has some great snaps of what U Street looked like back in the day. She culled them down out of Lydia DePillis’ full link and interview with the Streets of DC author in the Washington City Paper. I know I’m a bit of sappy sentimentalist, but I think quite a few of these look much better than the buildings that took their place, either in construction or color choice. Hey pea green and mustard yellow complex by the 9:30 Club, I am side eyeing you. Hard.

by December 27, 2011 at 10:00 am 1,419 0

Patrick Mara, Borderstan, Luis Gomez Photos

Patrick Mara: The March Q&A with the Republican candidate was the most popular story of 2011 in the Politics & Government category. (Luis Gomez Photos

Following are the top politics and government stories each month on Borderstan in 2011. The top story each month was the one that was read by the most readers. The writer’s name is next to each story.

Top story for the year in terms of reader views? The run-away winner was Michelle Lancaster’s March Q&A with Patrick Mara.




by November 9, 2011 at 9:07 am 2,938 1 Comment

Proposed Ward 2 map, DC redistricting, Shaw, Borderstan

Ward 2 covers the Dupont and Logan areas plus Gerogetown, Kalorama, downtown and some other areas. (DC Council map)

Fiona Greig has decided to not go through with her challenge to incumbent Councilmember Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) in the April 3 Democratic Primary. Evans was first elected in 1992 and has raised large sums of cash, putting any challenger in an uphill battle.

Moreover, Greig’s pre-campaign (she had formed an exploratory committe in anticipation of a run) had gotten off to a rough start after The City Paper‘s  Loose Lips column reported last week that a spreadsheet, inadvertently filed with the Office of Campaign Finance by Greig’s campaign committee, refers to Greig’s co-worker at McKinsey Consulting as a “homosexual”. DCist noted that Greig has issued an apology. The term homosexual is considered by many people in the LGBT community to be a slur — at best, very clinical term.

Will another challenger step forward? The 90-day deadline for filing ballot petitions for the April 3 primary is on January 4.

Ken Archer at Greater Greater Washington offers his take on Greig’s announcement; Archer was her campaign chair.

Greig’s Wednesday-morning email message is below and on her site:

Dear Friends and Supporters,

I have decided not to run for the Ward 2 seat on the DC Council, a decision that comes after a great deal of contemplation and discussion with my family and friends. I want to thank all of you who encouraged me to run, and especially those who gave financial support to my efforts.

I wanted to run because I think that Ward 2 should be a leader in ethical government, community-based school reform, and smart growth and development. Perhaps I’m biased, but I believe we have some of the best neighborhoods in this city, and we should have the best public assets–such as schools, parks, transportation, and even a ward Councilmember–that equal our great residents and businesses. My husband, Paul, and I decided to buy our house because it was across the street from Rose Park, a gem of our city, and because the wonderful business strips along M and Wisconsin allowed us all kinds of amenities without ever getting into a car.

Like many of you, I was embarrassed by the stories I read in the newspaper about our elected government, and I wanted to do something. I have a lot of professional experience working with federal government agencies to find efficiencies in operations, and I relished digging into the DC budget to do the same. I also had experience working within DC government. As many of you know, while on loan from McKinsey to the Deputy Mayor’s office, I started the program, Bank on DC, which has enabled thousands of DC residents to get bank accounts. I loved that experience, and even my husband said he thought it was the happiest he’d seen me.

But working inside DC government didn’t prepare me for what I faced when I launched an underdog challenge for the Ward 2 seat. Perhaps I was naïve, but I didn’t expect to face an intimidation campaign by a 20-year-incumbent and his supporters. At home, I received muffled phone calls telling me about the “dirt” my opponent had on me. Someone wanting to hold a Meet and Greet for me received nasty emails from the opposing campaign. And I learned from a city agency that a well-known private investigator whose firm does “surveillance” and “domestic investigations” had requested my records. Maybe that explains the man who repeatedly walked past my house one night, looking in the windows.

All this occurred because I thought it would be good for voters to have another choice on the ballot. In my opinion, this intimidation campaign just isn’t right. We need to change the nature of the local DC politics to welcome more residents to take part in our political process–not spend time and money to shut them out. Without more resident participation, we know which voices will get heard. In this election, more than 50 percent of contributions to the Evans campaign come from big business – developers, parking garages and restaurants, many of whom hide their ownership behind limited liability companies. In economics we call this “extracting rents” – no business would give to a campaign if there wasn’t something to gain. This has led me to see the need for strong campaign finance reform, and I plan on lending my voice and time to this effort.

I made some mistakes in trying to wage a campaign, but I don’t consider it a mistake that I tried. After six weeks of intense effort, I decided I just wasn’t ready to mount the kind of campaign it would take to win.

Thank you again for all your time, support, and encouragement.



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