by Sean Meehan September 4, 2015 at 2:50 pm 0

The D.C. Council is used to a lot of back-and-forth, but it’s not usually this literal.

Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans joined seven other councilmembers for a ping pong tournament in Farragut Square this afternoon. The event was organized by at-large Councilmember Vincent Orange and the Golden Triangle BID, which holds events in the square every Friday.

Evans faced off against Orange, Ward 4 Councilmember Brandon Todd, Ward 8 Councilmember LaRuby May, Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen, Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh, At-Large Councilmember Elissa Silverman and Council Chairman Phil Mendelson in singles and doubles tournaments.

Evans was a playful but formidable competitor, defending his home turf of Ward 2 with a gentle serve and an extensive arsenal of smack talk.

After winning his first game — an 11-5 rout against Todd — Evans said he wasn’t expecting his table tennis skills to come back to him, since it’s been more than 40 years since he last played.

“I grew up playing ping pong in the 50s and 60s, but back then everyone had homemade tables,” he said. “Your dad would get a piece of plywood and paint it green and you’d buy a set and play. I haven’t had a paddle in my hand for 45 years, but I guess it’s something you never forget, like riding a bike.”

Evans’ confidence waned after losing in the second round of the singles tournament to May.

Ultimately, it was Orange who emerged victorious.

But Evans seemed to have the last laugh: As Orange posed with his trophy for the singles tournament, Evans grabbed it and joked that Orange had been using deflated ping pong balls.

by April 24, 2013 at 7:25 am 0

"Borderstan""Borderstan Map"

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

How did your precinct vote for Council? Results from 15 precincts in the Dupont-Logan-U Street area are below.

Councilmember Anita Bonds held on to her At-Large DC Council seat in yesterday’s special election, defeating second-place finisher Elissa Silverman by 4.64%. With absentee and provisional ballots yet to be counted, Bonds has 16,054 votes (32.19%) to Silverman’s 13,740 votes (27.55%). Both are Democrats.

Republican Patrick Mara finished third with 11,367 votes (22.79%) while Democrat Matthew Frumin picked up 5,694 votes (11.42%). Paul Zuckerberg (Democrat) and Perry Redd (Statehood Green) each picked up just under 2% of the vote.

Referendum 8: Budget Autonomy

Voters will also approved Referendum 8, which amends DC’s Home Rule Charter to give the city final authority over its own budget — the measure racked up almost 85% in favor, citywide. At present Congress must approve all DC budgets. The Washington Post explains what will probably  happen next with Congress and the president.

Ward Breakdown

Bonds won by carrying Wards 4, 5, 7 and 8 — getting majorities in 5, 7 and 8. Silverman carried Wards 1 (including U Street area) and 6 while Mara won Wards 2 (including Dupont-Logan) and 3.

Turnout yesterday was lower than normal for DC special elections at just under 10%. Bonds will have to run again in 2014 in the Democratic Primary if she wants to hold her seat. She was appointed to the seat until the special election could be held.

The At-Large seat became open when Phil Mendelson won a special election in November as Chairman of the DC Council; the chairmanship spot opened up when Kwame Brown resigned.

Dupont-Logan-U Street: Silverman vs. Mara

In the Dupont-Logan-U Street area, Silverman won 12 of 15 precincts while Mara carried three precincts. Mara finished second in 10 of the 12 precincts won by Silverman and Bonds finished second in the other two precincts. Silverman finished second in the three precincts Mara won

Results for these 15 precincts below; all numbers are from the DC Board of Elections and Ethics. Final numbers will not be available for several weeks, after all absentee and provisional ballots have been counted.

April 23 DC Council At-Large Race Results

Addresses for each precinct are listed below the table.

Precinct  / Ward Anita Bonds Michael A. Brown (withdrew) Matthew Frumin Patrick Mara Perry
Elissa Silverman Paul
4 / W2 9%  1% 11%  51%  2% 24% 2%
13 / W2 6% <1% 13% 39%  1% 37% 3%
14 / W2 6% <1% 9% 36%  1% 44% 3%
15 / W2  11% 0% 10% 29%  2% 43% 3%
16 / W2  11%  1%  8% 32% 2% 46% 1%
17 / W2  14% 1% 9% 34% 2% 36% 3%
18 / W6 27% 4% 8% 15% 2% 37% 4%
21 / W6  30% 1% 6% 16%  3% 40% 0%
22 / W1 13% 1%  7% 31%  1% 45% 2%
23 / W1  17%  1% 4% 21% 5% 48% 2%
24 / W1 13% <1% 8% 20%  1% 51% 5%
25 / W1  8%  0% 11% 34% 3% 41% 3%
129 / W2 10% 9% 9% 38% 1% 38% 3%
137 / W1  23%  0%  8% 24% 6% 36% 3%
141 / W2  10% <1%  9%  21% 2% 49% 2%


Borderstan-Area Precincts with Addresses

  • 4 – West End Public Library, 1101 24th Street NW (Ward 2)
  • 13 -Our Lady of the Americas Auditorium, 2200 California Street NW (Ward 2)
  • 14 – St. Thomas Episcopal Church Parish Guild Room, 1772 Church Street NW (Ward 2)
  • 15 – Foundry United Methodist Church Community Room Lower Level, 1500 16th Street NW (Ward 2)
  • 16 – Fifteenth Street Presbyterian Church Fellowship Hall (lower level), 1701 15th Street NW (Ward 2)
  • 17 – Metropolitan AME Church Douglas Hall, 1518 M Street NW (Ward 2)
  • 18 – Kennedy Recreation Center Gymnasium, 1407 7th Street NW (Ward 6)
  • 21 – Watha T. Daniel-Shaw Community Library Large Meeting Room, 1630 7th Street NW (Ward 6)
  • 22 – Garnet-Patterson Jr. High School Auditorium, 2001 10th Street NW (Ward 1)
  • 23 – Rita Bright Community Center Gymnasium, 2500 14th Street NW (Ward 1)
  • 24 – Marie Reed Learning Center Living Room, 2200 Champlain Street NW (Ward 1)
  • 25 – Goodwill Baptist Church Fellowship Hall, 1862 Kalorama Road NW (Ward 1)
  • 129 – Martin Luther King Library, 901 G Street NW (Ward 2)
  • 137 – Garrison Elementary School Multi-Purpose Room, 1200 S Street NW (Ward 1)
  • 141 – Frank D. Reeves Municipal Center North Lobby, 2000 14th Street NW (Ward 2)

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by April 16, 2013 at 10:23 am 0


At-Large DC Council candidates, from left: Matt Frumin, Perry Redd, Elissa Silverman, Patrick Mara, Paul Zuckerberg. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From David McAuley. Email him at david[AT]

More than 150 people watched the five of the candidates in the April 23 special election for a DC Council seat take part in the Loose Lips At-Large Candidates Debate at the Black Cat, yesterday evening. The April 15 debate was sponsored by Washington City Paper. Attending candidates were: Democrats Matthew Frumin, Elissa Silverman and Paul Zuckerberg; Republican Pat Mara; and DC Statehood Green Party candidate Perry Redd. Democrat Anita Bonds did not attend.

The event was moderated by City Paper Editor Mike Madden. The candidates were questioned by Tom Sherwood of NBC4, James Wright of the Washington Informer, and Alan “Loose Lips” Suderman of the City Paper.

Democratic Candidates Try to Isolate Mara?

The opening Q-and-A section from journalists gave an opportunity for the other candidates to isolate the lone Republican. Some efforts were more successful than others.

  • Suderman asked the candidates if they would post recent personal tax returns on their campaign web sites. All immediately said “yes” except for Mara. Mara said it would support disclosure of tax returns for all elected councilmembers.
  • But will you, a candidate, post your returns, Suderman pursued.
  • “I would consider it,” said Mara. This met with boos from the crowd.
  • Finally, Mara agreed to post his returns “if all the other candidates did the same”.
  • Sherwood noted that, nationally, Republican party opposes gay marriage and that a Michigan state Republican official had recently characterized homosexual lifestyles as “filthy”. How did Mara reconcile this to DC Republican’s support of gay marriage?
  • “This disgusts me greatly,” Mara said, before detailing the long history of support for gay marriage by both DC Republicans and Mara personally.
  • “I’m the only one who testified at the Wilson Building for gay marriage,” Mara said. “I lobbied conservative members of Congress.”
  • Mara then said it was unfair to tie him to the national GOP, just as it was unfair to tie other candidates to the current Democratic corruption in DC government.
  • The other candidates, except for Paul Zuckerberg, said the national Republican party’s position was “relevant”.
  • “I don’t think Pat should be dinged for what some yahoo said,” Zuckerberg said.
  • During the later audience Q-and-A period, Mara stood alone as the only candidate not endorsing mandatory sick days for restaurant workers whose income depended primarily on tips. Mara said this measure would “discourage small business in DC”.
  • In his concluding remarks, Mara characterized himself as a “very moderate Republican”.
  • “I’m never ever ever going to be a true member of the Wilson Building club,” he said.

Ugly Moments on the Racial Politics of DC

Wright asked the candidates what they would do for “people who feel that Washington is not for them anymore.”

  • Answering second, Redd began: “What you posit here is a factual thing.”
  • He then began to talk about “new residents”.
  • Tom Sherwood interrupted to ask him if meant white people.
  • Redd avoided a direct answer to the question.
  • Then he said, “Check your conscience.”
  • At this point, Redd then began to inaccurately cite the poem by Martin Niemoller that begins, “First they came for the communists, but I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist”.
  • Redd said, “When they came for the Jews …”
  • Members of the audience began to boo Redd.
  • “Are you booing me?” Redd asked in angry disbelief.
  • Tweets sent at this point indicate some spectators thought Redd was comparing DC gentrification to Nazi Germany.

I don’t think this comparison was his intention. I think he meant to say that, if you are well-off today but don’t help the less-well-off, then one day when you are no longer well-off, no one will help you. Perhaps some of the audience, having progressed past their first beer by this point, were not prepared for this level of nuance.

However, Redd never had the chance to finish his quotation or explain his meaning completely.

Tom Sherwood began the next question by observing the proportion of DC’s population that is African-American has declined from 70 percent to 50 percent.

  • “It’s called ethnic cleansing!” a woman shouted from the crowd.
  • “I can’t hear that,” Sherwood said.
  • “Ethnic cleansing!” the woman shouted louder.
  • Sherwood went on to note recent remarks by Anita Bonds on WAMU. She said: “People want to have their leadership reflect who they are. The majority of the District of Columbia is African American. … There is a natural tendency to want your own.”
  • Sherwood asked the candidates what they thought of this remark.
  • Answering third, Redd said, “It is a fact that many African-Americans have that belief … We want to be respected. When whites are in control, they don’t respect the most wronged.”

All Candidates to be Full-Time Councilmembers

All candidates supported the abolition of “pay to play culture” in DC politics and said they would have no outside employment during their terms as councilmembers. Perry Redd went further, saying he would only serve one term and he would employ an “open source software solution” so every telephone call and every meeting he attended could be monitored by the public.

Still Anybody’s Race

A poll reported yesterday that Anita Bonds has the lead among voters with a land line responding voluntarily to an automated survey. However, 43 percent of respondents said they had yet to make up their minds.

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by March 11, 2013 at 9:05 am 3 Comments

From David McAuley. Email at david[AT]

Which of the seven candidates is the front-runner for the At-Large DC Council Seat up for grabs in the April 23 special election?

Depends who you talk to, and when. The dubbed Matthew Frumin the frontrunner on February 10. But by March 3, the Washington Examiner was citing “political observers” proclaiming Republican Patrick Mara and “establishment Democrat” Michael A. Brown as the leading candidates.** Mara was also “tough to beat” last week on, but “the race is much too early to call.”

As a voter, it’s sometimes hard to keep the candidates straight. In the end, one defining characteristic must be seized upon to remember them. Mara is the Republican and Perry Redd is the candidate from the DC Statehood/Green Party. Since this is DC, the most memorable characteristic of some candidates – Anita Bonds and Michael Brown – are accusations of unethical behavior. (Bonds was appointed to hold the seat until the special election.)

Paul Zuckerberg is a Libertarian marijuana-rights attorney. Elissa Silverman used to be Washington City Paper‘s “Loose Lips.” And Matthew Frumin out-fundraised his nearest rival by a factor of two, which is probably why he was the only candidate to paper every seat with leaflets at a February 27 public forum on Sunday parking in the ANC 2F/Logan area.

Matching Websites?

Sometimes the campaigns don’t make it easy to tell them apart. Some of them have eerily identical websites, for example:


Candidate websites, from left: Silverman, Mara and Zuckerberg.

What’s up with that? How did candidates of such diverse opinion end up looking the same? Does the Board of Elections give out computer templates when you file your signatures?

No, it just turns out that the candidates, regardless of their political affiliation, may have turned to the same vendor for web platforms. In this case, the vendor is NationBuilder, “the world’s first Community Organizing System: an accessible, affordable, complete software platform that helps leaders grow and organize.”

“Victory” and a Meeting with Bob

To test this hypothesis, I decided to launch a “Borderstan for DC Council” web site. I signed up for the 14-day free trail and, 20 minutes later, I had this:

Borderstan for ANC.

Borderstan for DC Council.

The name of the template which appeals to such a wide variety of political opinions is called “Victory.”

Thirty minutes after signing up for the free trial, a salesman named “Bob” (not his real name) from Nation Builder called to offer a free tutorial and guidance. He said that a NationBuilder website starts at $19.99 and increases depending on the amount of traffic the site is likely to get, with potential state governors shelling out more than potential members of a local school board.

Under Bob’s questioning, I felt like I had been caught out in a lie, so I admitted that Borderstan was not really running for anything at this time. Bob was very understanding: “Sorry I creeped you out.”

Bob said he was coming on a sales visit to DC next week. Did I want to meet for a half-hour demo? he asked. I asked: Did he really understand that Borderstan was not running for anything? “Sure no problem,” he said. Sure, I said, I’d be happy to get a free demo. What could possibly go wrong?

To any of the candidates who want to move away from the Victory template: email me at david[AT] I’ll introduce you to Bob.

** Anonymous is correct (see comments). The and the Washington Examiner are completely separate publications and we have corrected the article. The first (February 10) piece cited appeared in the and NOT the Washington Examiner as I wrote. The second (March 3) article appeared in the Washington Examiner. Apologies to both publications and to readers. – David McAuley and the editors

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by February 28, 2013 at 1:00 pm 3 Comments

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


John Settles is no longer in the special election race for City Council. (Luis Gomez Photos)

The city’s special election for an At-Large Council seat is now less than two months away — and we finally know who is, and is not, on the ballot. The election is to fill the seat formerly held by Phil Mendeslson, who won a special election in November for Council chairman — and is currently held by Anita Bonds, who was appointed by members of the Democratic Party to fill the seat until the election.

One of the original eight candidates will not be on the ballot come April: Logan Circle resident John Settles. Supporters of candidate Elissa Silverman challenged the ballot petitions of candidates Paul Zukerberg and John Settles. A total of 3,000 valid signatures were required to be on the ballot in April (there is no party primary, just the general election on April 23).

From John Settles’ February 26 statement: “It is political tricks of the status quo that taint the process and disproportionately impact new candidates, those with new ideas, positive energy, and no allegiances to the political establishment. It is an exploit of political insiders, insistent on maintaining power, at the expense of the betterment of the city. Civic-minded citizens need to stand up and call out those candidates, and their supporters that engage in these tactics. The Board of Elections also needs to answer the question of how they can limit voter choice, and impact elections using faulty data.

It turns out that Settles submitted more than enough signatures, but many were deemed invalid, per the DC Boards of Elections and Ethics requirements (DCBOEE). Now, Settles, who is out of the race, questions the DCBOEE’s records and their reason for knocking him off the ballot. One of Settles’ main questions goes to the accuracy of the DCBOEE voter registration files — the board has not been quick about processing change of address forms for DC voters.

The  candidates that remain in the race are Michael A. Brown (who lost his At-Large seat last November), Anita BondsMatthew FruminElissa Silverman, Paul Zukerberg, Perry Redd (Green Party) and Republican Patrick Mara. For more information about the candidates’ stand on the issues, visit Let’s Choose DC, a website created for the April 23 election by Greater Greater Washington, DCist and Popville.

Under the DCBOEE guidelines, registered DC voters who sign petitions must be registered at their current address. But, Settles asks whether this really matters in an At-Large (citywide) election, as long as voters are registered at a valid address in DC — and at what point is the DCBOEE responsible for its tardiness in processing change of address forms.

Statement from Settles

On February 26, Settles released the following statement, titled “Dirty Politics and Petition Changes” (Silverman’s reponse follows) –

“Less than four months ago I was listening to the news, and within a span of 10 minutes I heard about a rash of armed robberies on streets across the city, proposed school closings, and the increase in the average cost of a home in DC. As I thought of these and other problems, gripping my neighborhood and the broader city I thought about what I might be able to do. I decided to enter the race for the DC City Council.

“I had no idea of the sacrifice it takes to run for office. In spite of the difficulty I discovered, I was still ready to start courageous conversations and at the very least have a positive impact on the debate. Initially I was getting some pressure from a few insiders to drop out of the race.

“Just as my campaign was gaining momentum, a supporter of Elissa Silverman, a competitor, challenged my petition signatures, on her behalf. The DC Board of Elections requires candidates to collect 3,000 signatures from registered voters, in just over a month. We collected well over the required number, however, around 500 were ruled not registered and over 675 of these signatures were contested because while the signers were registered to vote in DC, they had moved and their new address was not in the Board of Elections system. Thirty-one people who signed were residents of the homeless shelter; they were ruled invalid because in the midst of struggling to keep their lives together they didn’t file a change of address form. Hundreds were elderly residents living in senior citizen facilities. The other majority were low-income individuals, who move frequently due to the high cost of housing in the city.

“The data used to determine the validity of the challenge has been in question for years. Even after receiving a count from the Registrar, we found over a dozen voters that the Board of Elections had ruled as not registered, were in fact registered, the board admitted the error, and revised the count. Many signers that were challenged informed us that they had just voted in November, and that they had changed their address, either when they renewed their driver’s license, or voted.  It is surprising that a voter can update their change of address at a polling station on Election Day, and still be eligible to vote, but they can’t sign a petition to get a candidate on the ballot. In a city wide election why does it even matter that someone is not at the same address if they are registered to vote?

“It is political tricks of the status quo that taint the process and disproportionately impact new candidates, those with new ideas, positive energy, and no allegiances to the political establishment. It is an exploit of political insiders, insistent on maintaining power, at the expense of the betterment of the city. Civic-minded citizens need to stand up and call out those candidates, and their supporters that engage in these tactics. The Board of Elections also needs to answer the question of how they can limit voter choice, and impact elections using faulty data. Elissa Silverman, and her supporters also need to explain how in good conscious they can disenfranchise homeless individuals, seniors, low income individuals, and minorities, using data that they contend is faulty, in a current lawsuit against the board of elections.

“Even if I lose the opportunity to campaign to voters in this Special Election, I am still committed to taking on the status quo, starting courageous conversations and being part of the solution.  A technicality may end this campaign, at least for now, but my compassion for the people does not end here or now.  I want to thank the voters who signed my petitions, the volunteers who helped me in this campaign and the supporters who were encouraging throughout the whole process. Even if it is not in electoral politics, my desire for action and change has only been intensified by this experience.”

Silverman’s Response

Candidate Elissa Silverman responded to Settles’ statement with the following statement –

“I put my own petitions through the exact same process used to review John’s petitions before I handed them in to the Board of Elections. I put that process in place given my experience collecting signatures for a grassroots initiative to put a campaign finance reform bill on the ballot, and so I could guarantee to my volunteer circulators and signers that I would meet the ballot requirement. I think we need more oversight over the Board of Elections and its process to register and update voters, and I vow to do that on the Council.”

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