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 17, 2013 at 4:00 pm 0

From David McAuley. Email him at david[AT]


Patrick Mara at ANC2F education committee meeting. (David McAuley)

Local parents and DC Council candidate Pat Mara participated on April 13 in a wide-ranging discussion about the state of local public education.

Those interested resisted the siren call of a beautiful Saturday morning in spring to turn out at a meeting co-sponsored by the Logan Circle Community Association and Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 2F. The meeting was at Luther Place Memorial Church and was led by ANC 2F education committee co-chair Evelyn Boyd-Simmons.

The Headache of School Admissions

The conversation returned again and again to the difficulty parents have negotiating DC’s patchwork of lotteries and admission criteria for local charter schools, exam schools and feeder schools.

The next meeting of the ANC 2F education committee is scheduled for May 11, 10 am, at Luther Place Memorial Church, 1226 Vermont Avenue NW. On the agenda is “all things Garrison,” said Boyd-Simmons, referring Garrison Elementary School, 1200 S Street NW.

“This is super important. We have a situation where a number of parents in Ward 1 and Ward 2, but also all over the city, may know where they’re sending their child to elementary school. But that trajectory upward to middle school and high school is much more uncertain to parents. As many parents say to me, it shouldn’t be this difficult,” Mara said in an interview after the meeting.

Mara is the Ward 1 Member on the DC State Board of Education and a candidate in the April 23 special election for an At-Large Council seat.

Parents aren’t the only ones worried about progressing through the DC education system.

“I had a fifth grader ask about grade point averages,” said Cardozo High School Principal Tanya S. Roane at the meeting. “They want to know academics. Life is different now than when we were young. Children in this age are about competition.”

Principal Roane’s Tough Road Ahead at Cardozo High

It is Roane’s first year as Principal. She told the committee about the challenges facing Cardozo High. Next year, Cardozo will become a school for grades 6 through 12 after Shaw Middle School is shuttered. The third floor of the Cardozo High building will become a completely separate Middle School, Roane said. The new middle school on the third floor will have 150 students total.

Roane also said she had a problem retaining students at the school.

“I ask kids: what’s the problem? Perception of the school,” she said.

The school has a 44 percent graduation rate, Roane said. (A Washington Post article from April 2012 put the graduation rate at 39.9 percent.) But this number is misleading because students who leave for a charter school are counted as dropouts. In addition, Cardozo has the second-highest ESL population in district, and students in the English as a Second Language program normally get an additional year of instruction.

“We get penalized if they don’t graduate in four years,” Roane said.

Roane is convinced the school is improving. “People are saying that this is a better place.”

She talked about some of the improvements taking place at the schools, including a community-accessible year-round swimming pool (“a lap pool, not Olympic-sized”), a health suite with a GP on staff, and a no-charge day-care center.

“We’re increasing Advance Placement courses. I’m trying to start a college credit program. If we have something to offer that another school doesn’t, that will make us stand out,” Roane said.

This year, Cardozo High students also built a house on 13th Street NW.

“The house sold,” Roane said. “We didn’t get any money.”

Principal Roane emphasized her open door policy. She hosts a coffee hour on the first Tuesday of each month. On the third Wednesday of each month at 5:15 pm, there is also an open meeting with school contractors. This takes place at Cardozo High School @ Meyer, 2501 11th Street, NW.

“We are changing perceptions,” Roane said. “And having community people come in.”

“[Principal Roane] has taken over Cardozo just this academic year,” Mara said later. “There is a great need for improvement at Cardozo, and I think she may just be the principal to move the school to the next level. But there are great problems with truancy. There are great problems with engagement. I think, from a programmatic standpoint, if you don’t have the capacity at the school, you can’t offer things like athletic programs. You can’t offer things like arts and music, or at least nothing outside a very core basic class required for graduation. You can’t offer a diversity of languages. So she’s up against a lot, but I do think she is the right person.”

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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 December 27, 2011 at 10:00 am 1,412 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 April 27, 2011 at 7:03 am 2,924 0

Borderstan, Elections, Luis Gomez Photos

Another campaign is just months away. The DC Primary election for local offices is scheduled for September 2012 unless it is moved up. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Matty Rhoades

Yesterday was the big day, folks. April 26 was Special Election Day in D.C. to elect an At-Large Councilmember. Did you get out and vote? If you didn’t you were most assuredly not alone. Turnout was only about 12%.

The winner is former Ward 5 Councilmember Vincent Orange, who snagged 12,216 votes (28%). In second place was the lone Republican in the race, Patrick Mara with 11,096 votes (26%). Interim Councilmember Sekou Biddle pulled 8,842 votes (20%), Bryan Weaver got 5,665 votes (13%) and Josh Lopez had 3,079 votes (7%). Four other candidates pulled around 2,200 votes.

Orange will have to face the voters again in the 2012 primary; yesterday’s election was simply to fill the remainder of a four-year term. In other words, another campaign season is just months away. The primary for D.C.’s local offices is traditionally in September.

Both Mara and Weaver live in Ward 1, which includes the U Street area. Mara was elected to the D.C. Board of Education last November from Ward 1; Weaver ran against incumbent Councilmember Jim Graham in the Democratic Primary in Ward 1 last year.

By Precinct and Ward

In the 13 precincts in the Borderstan area, Mara won eight of them — Precincts 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 21 and 129. Weaver won the other five — 22, 23, 24, 137 and 141. Moreover, Mara finished second in the five precincts won by Weaver while Weaver finished second in four of the precincts won by Mara.

Citywide, Orange carried Wards 4, 5, 7 and 8. Mara won Wards 2, 3 and 6 while Weaver won Ward 1.

In Ward 2, which contains the Dupont Circle and Logan Circle neighborhoods, Mara got 46%. He was followed by Weaver with 18%, Biddle with 17%, Orange with 10% and Lopez with 6%.

In Ward 1, which contains the U Street area, Weaver got 35%. He was followed by Mara with 23%, Biddle with 17%, Orange with 13% and Lopez with 8%.

by March 31, 2011 at 11:16 pm 2,444 0

Borderstan, Luis Gomez Photos

Candidate forum on March 29 at Church of the Holy City. From left: Sekou Biddle, Tom Brown, Dorothy Douglas, Joshua Lopez (at microphone), Patrick Mara, Vincent Orange, Alan Page and Bryan Weaver. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Michelle Lancaster. You can follow her on Twitter me @MichLancaster.

Reform was the buzzword at the At-Large City Council Candidate Forum, held Tuesday evening at Church of the Holy City, 16th and Corcoran NW. Education reform, ethics reform, zoning reform, reforming the DCRA process… all were part of a robust question and answer session attended by all candidates running for the seat. The event began with an introduction of the candidates, proceeded into a question and answer period and concluded with a brief closing statement by each candidate.

The event was well attended, as 70-plus citizens packed into the room, some standing the entire event, to hear the candidates discuss their positions. The majority of the candidates and attendees continued on to the reception graciously sponsored by Annie’s Paramount Steakhouse, following the event, which offered the opportunity for one-on-one discussions with candidates. The event began with candidates Sekou Biddle, Joshua Lopez, Patrick Mara, Alan Page and Bryan Weaver. They were later joined by Dorothy Douglas, Tom Brown and Vincent Orange.


by March 6, 2011 at 11:24 am 5,560 6 Comments

Patrick Mara, Borderstan, Luis Gomez Photos

Patrick Mara was elected to the DC State Board of Education on November 2. Can he win the April 26 special election to the DC Council? (Luis Gomez Photos)

Editor’s note: The following interview with Patrick Mara has been in the works since he won the Ward 1 seat on the DC State Board of Education last November 2. We were interested in learning more about the first Republican elected to a major office in D.C. since Carol Schwartz served on the City Council and current Councilmember David Catania switched his party affiliation to Independent.

Mara is now running for an At-Large Council seat in the April 26 special election. The seat opened up when Kwame Brown was elected Council Chairman; Sekou Biddle was temporarily appointed to the seat and is running for a full term. Since a number of Borderstan readers reside in Ward 1, we also have an interview with Bryan Weaver scheduled; Mara and Weaver are the only two candidates in the race who live in Ward 1.

• • • • • • • • • • • •

From Michelle Lancaster. You can follow her on Twitter @MichLancaster.

Borderstan: When and why did you first move to D.C.? Where did you live before moving into the Borderstan area — what brought you to the hood?

Mara: I permanently moved to D.C. in the spring of 1997 to work for the late Senator John Chafee of Rhode Island, on the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. I previously lived in Foggy Bottom and Capitol Hill. I bought in Columbia Heights in the spring of 2004 on 11th Street between Kenyon and Lamont. This was following the closure of Knob Hill and just prior to the opening of Wonderland — a weekday neighborhood favorite.

I love Columbia Heights because of the rich diversity of the neighborhood as well as the convenient placement of metro and bus. Although there was a much smaller Giant at the time, there was a new supermarket coming in (“New Giant”). I continue to not own a car, so public transportation and supermarket options are very important to me.

Borderstan: Favorite thing about living in the neighborhood? Least favorite?

Patrick Mara, DC Council, April 26 election, Borderstan

Mara: You could pretty much spend your entire life within a five block radius of Columbia Heights without ever having to leave. There are restaurants, the historic Gala Theatre, a big supermarket, schools and retail. It’s a livable, walkable community. What I’m most concerned with is that D.C. strongly discourages small business development in the city. We definitely need to do a better job of incentivizing small independent businesses.


by September 9, 2008 at 3:00 pm 1,478 0

Jack Evans

Jack Evans

Cary Silverman

Cary Silverman

Today is primary election day in D.C.; polls close at 8 p.m. Borderstanians vote in Precinct 16 at the 15th Street Presbyterian Church at northeast corner of 15th and R Streets NW. Two hot races. On the Democratic side, Ward 2 Council incumbent Jack Evans is being challenged by Cary Silverman. On the Republican side, incumbent Carol Schwartz is being challenged in the primary by Patrick Mara for an At-Large D.C. Council seat. Remember that you must be a registered Democrat to vote in the Democratic Primary, or a registered Republican to vote in the Republican Primary.

Photographs: One Photograph A Day


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