Greater Greater Washington

Breakfast links: Orange you glad?


Photo by Daquella manera on Flickr.
Orange wins: Vincent Orange won an at-large seat in yesterday's election, beating Patrick Mara by 2 percentage points mostly on the back of strong results in wards 5, 7, and 8. Bryan Weaver won in Ward 1. Orange has to run again in the primary less than a year away. (DCist)

Investigation of Gray admin hits snag: Mayor Gray's early missteps are back under the microscope in a Council investigation. Problem is, the council can't find Sulaimon Brown or another witness and the Brooks family is pleading the 5th. (City Paper)

Good signs and bad for MARC: MARC on-time performance is pretty high so far this year, though the summer always brings the biggest challenges. ... In the face of rising complaints, MTA issued a warning to MARC riders not to abuse the privilege of drinking on MARC trains. (Getting There)

MoCo will fight immigration rules: County Executive Ike Leggett says Montgomery will fight the federal illegal immigration program which would require all detainees to be fingerprinted and checked in an immigration database, whether or not they are charged with a violent crime. ( Examiner)

How is Metro today?: A web tool shows real-time Metrorail train positions and judges whether the lines are messed up or not. It has two versions which differ only in their language: How's Metro versus How F***ed is Metro. (Michael Perkins)

MoCo picks new schools chief: Montgomery County officials named Joshua P. Starr as the new superintendent of the County's school system. Starr comes to Montgomery with experience in getting full budget requests approved despite lean times. (WAMU)

London bikeshare outgrowing itself: Capital Bikeshare isn't the only bikeshare system experience growing pains and capacity constraints. One writer has had success on only 2 of his last 10 trips on London's Boris Bike. (Economist)

AASHTO backpedals on bike-ped objections: In light of significant opposition from advocates and it's own members, AASHTO withdrew its objection to FHWA guidance that requires transportation agencies to show a considerable burden in order to be allowed not to include bike/ped infrastructure. (Streetsblog Capitol Hill)

And...: MPD leaders are contradicting each other about what their escort policy does and doesn't allow. (Examiner) ... A recent transplant to DC is writing a song for each Metro station, attempting to capture the mood of the stations and their immediate surroundings. (Post) ... Two artists are turning potholes into small works of art. (Design Milk, Veronica D.)

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Erik Weber has been living car-free in the District since 2009. Hailing from the home of the nation's first Urban Growth Boundary, Erik has been interested in transit since spending summers in Germany as a kid where he rode as many buses, trains and streetcars as he could find. Views expressed here are Erik's alone. 

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I'm sure Montgomery County will have just as much success as Arlington in fighting against Secure Communities. Or maybe they could just do some case study and learn a bit about how it works and save their time and money.

by Lou on Apr 27, 2011 9:08 am • linkreport

Does "How's Metro" use the same data as the PIDS? If so, it's just as untrustworthy, no?

by OX4 on Apr 27, 2011 9:09 am • linkreport

DC progressives need to organize. The special election results indicate a strong appetite for a new kind of politics, but pro-reform forces are too scattered now to overcome the kind of politics that the citrus guy represents.

I like the ideas here, but I don't know if that's more than one or two people or not.

And I like the people in DC for Democracy, but I'm not sure if that's the best vehicle for moving DC politics forward, and I'm kind of thinking something that operates both within and without the Democrats might be better. But I haven't been active within DC4D, so maybe I'm wrong.

Or maybe we need a fresh start with something new.

Any thoughts/suggestions from anyone?

by Matt W on Apr 27, 2011 9:26 am • linkreport

GGW, thanks for splitting the vote with your backing of Weaver. You really need to learn how to play politics. We almost had a chance to bring an outside influence to the corrupt council, but people had to throw away there vote on Weaver. Don't get me wrong - I like Weaver, but he had no chance of winnning. I am not even a Republican - but Mara was better than Orange and Biddle. Now we have another racist, anti-smart growth, career DC politician on the council. I might be giving GGW a little too much credit here, but I think you guys could have had a 2% influence that caused Mara to lose. I like GGW, but you effectivley shot yourselves in the foot.

by Almost on Apr 27, 2011 9:27 am • linkreport

@OX4, it uses the data exposed by Metro's developer API:

http://wmata.com/rider_tools/developer_resources.cfm

They must have fixed something recently, because the predictions this morning were spot on.

Also, I remember reading somewhere that the problem with PIDS was with the PIDS signs specifically rather than the predictions. That is, the problem was a delay in getting the data to display on the in-station signs, rather than a problem in the quality of the data that was being produced.

Then again, there's no warranty, right?

by Michael Perkins on Apr 27, 2011 9:30 am • linkreport

I think it's worth pointing out that "How ****ed is the Metro" is based heavily off the original website (I think) for the T in Boston: howfuckedisthet.com

by gogurt on Apr 27, 2011 9:34 am • linkreport

@Almost: Mara lost any chance of my vote with his no-tax-increase pledge. (So did Orange, who had other issues as well.)

by davidj on Apr 27, 2011 9:41 am • linkreport

@Matt W:

DC progressives need to organize.

We were pretty much screwed the second Biddle was (unfairly in my opinion) tarred as being Kwame Brown's (and Gray's!) man.

The problem is that for someone who's pure demogogue like Orange, you can build a coaltion simply by positioning yourself as the candidate of anti-change. What's he stand for? He supports same-sex marriage, except when he doesn't, and thinks anyone who does is "not morally fit to run the city." Real paragon of virtu there. At least "he walks and talks like us", though. Or, as he changed it after much backtracking (and unintentionally hilarious and apropos) version, "He walks and talks like everybody in every Ward of the city."

Meanwhile, I consider myself a "progressive", but got the impression that Weaver was essentially "Phil Mendelson times 1000". In other words, a well-meaning guy who thinks that given enough funding, midnight basketball will solve all of DC's deeply entrenched social ills. (Adam Eidinger's endorsement didn't help.)

I supported Biddle because Wells essentially made an informal endorsment of him (via Twitter). I'm voting Mara next year in the hopes he'll depose Orange.

by oboe on Apr 27, 2011 9:43 am • linkreport

@gogurt, it's the same guy developing all of them. He's working on other systems that have real time API.

This is why API is wonderful. Also, if we could have a data specification like GTFS for real-time data, that would help. Getting everyone to agree what real-time data should look like would be great.

by Michael Perkins on Apr 27, 2011 9:45 am • linkreport

@daviddj - so you are for raising taxes? I guess it doesn't matter now. We will continue to let Ward 7 and Ward 8 determine the political makeup of the DC Council. Because we all know how well run Wards 7 and 8 are run themselves - might as well let them run the rest of DC. Orange "walks and talks" like them and that is why he won. But maybe next time GGW will learn to compromise and play politics to win. Next election, GGW should think that "smarter growth" (Mara) is not as good as the "smartest growth" (Weaver) but it is better than "dumb growth" (Orange).

by Almost on Apr 27, 2011 9:51 am • linkreport

@oboe: too bad next time Mara might not stand a chance to win. During the special election, just as the smart growth folks split the vote between Weaver and Mara. The "keep things the same" party split the vote between Biddle and Orange. This is the why Mara actually even had a chance. In the next race, where Mara is against a unified "keep things the same" front - he won't stand a chance. Oh well, I will keep ducking bullets, watching development stymie, and watch the street cars stall for another decade until the "old guard" moves out of DC and people who want change move in.

by Almost on Apr 27, 2011 9:58 am • linkreport

@oboe, yeah, I think organizing around a particular candidate is a mistake. Candidates come and go, but good-government and quality-of-life issues are here to stay. We need to focus on the issues, and force the candidates to address those issues in their campaigns and then hold their feet to the fire once elected.

If nothing else, we need to advocate strongly for some sort of electoral reforms so a candidate can't be elected with 28% of the vote.

by Matt W on Apr 27, 2011 10:02 am • linkreport

Wasn't there a rumor a while ago about a "party car" on the MARC trains? Sounds like something I would've read on DCist.

Also: Blargh. Well, at least the local press has been rather quick to expose a myriad of ethical problems in our particularly ethically-challenged officials, so if Orange slips up enough between now and next year, he'll probably be out.

by OctaviusIII on Apr 27, 2011 10:02 am • linkreport

@Michael
Take a look at SIRI; it's an open standard for real-time transit data. Adoption has been slow, but MTA NYCT has a bus AVL pilot with a SIRI-like endpoint.

by Kurt Raschke on Apr 27, 2011 10:03 am • linkreport

@Almost, you're forgetting that nobody really had good information about where the candidates were likely to finish. I remember hearing lots of people saying Weaver couldn't win and his supporters should vote for a less-congenial candidate who could stop Vincent Orange -- Sekou Biddle.

And, come to think, Biddle and Weaver combined for more votes than Orange. People are saying that splitting the west-side vote kept Mara off the Council because he's the one who came in second, but with one fewer major candidate in the race we could easily be writing about Biddle's opportunity to drop the word "interim" from his title.

by cminus on Apr 27, 2011 10:12 am • linkreport

@Michael Perkins - Thanks, that's good to know. Maybe I'll start paying attention to the PIDS again!

by OX4 on Apr 27, 2011 10:13 am • linkreport

I love Mara and would have liked to see him win, but let's be real here. He didn't lose because too many people voted for Weaver. He lost because not enough people voted for him.

by Jared on Apr 27, 2011 10:17 am • linkreport

If nothing else, we need to advocate strongly for some sort of electoral reforms so a candidate can't be elected with 28% of the vote.

Absolutely.

Anyone have an idea how we can get this ball rolling? You'd think some of the more progressive council-members would be amenable to this. Wells maybe?

by oboe on Apr 27, 2011 10:18 am • linkreport

cminus wrote: "...you're forgetting that nobody really had good information about where the candidates were likely to finish."

I'm very sorry to say this, and with all due respect and fondness for Bryan Weaver, the above statement denies an enduring reality of politics: it takes money to run a sizable campaign operation.

Bryan Weaver never raised anywhere near the minimum respectable amount required for a citywide operation.

And this was constantly discussed among a large number of DC political activists with whom I spoke over the life of this election cycle--incl. many people I know who always intended to vote for him, and who maintained that commitment yesterday.

by Joel on Apr 27, 2011 10:24 am • linkreport

Wow. 12216 out of 601723 people (DC population according to the 2010 census) voted for a candidate and he got elected. That's 2.03% of the DC population. Long live democracy.

I proposed recently to get rid of special elections because they corrode the principles of democracy. Some people argued that not having special elections would lead to disenfranchisement.

Anybody willing to make the argument that anything resembling democracy happened yesterday? Might as well have a lottery and appoint a random citizen to the council.

by Jasper on Apr 27, 2011 10:27 am • linkreport

Good news about AASHTO! I wonder how easy it will be to get exemptions for bike-ped accomodations in a project.

by Tina on Apr 27, 2011 10:41 am • linkreport

"Anybody willing to make the argument that anything resembling democracy happened yesterday? "

Still more democratic than Arlington County, which is the closest we have to the Politburo. And that is from someone who campaigned for three of them.....

by charlie on Apr 27, 2011 10:45 am • linkreport

@Almost, yes you do give GGW too much credit. Way too much. IMO, not supporting Weaver would have had no noticeable change in the outcome of the election. I live in Ward 8 and can't recall seeing campaigns of Mara, Weaver, nor Biddle. I assume this is likely the same for most of us. We already know that name recognition is what has historically garnered the most votes. This is true in SE DC, Greenwich, CT, Dallas Texas and Cheyenne Wyoming.

But I thank you for giving us credit for choosing the makeup of our council - even though it's not welldeserved. But to that point, I assume that had your Ward thrown the election in Mara's favor, then you would be ok with a "ward" choosing the makeup of the council? Of course you would.

Now if I said that the only reason you and others (nonblacks) supported Mara and Weaver is because they were white, someone would take issue with that.

You should channel your frustration by running in the next election.

Oboe, I agree that being linked to Brown and Gray hurt Biddle a lot. I also believe that the same group of people who would have been his base or Biddle friendly..are also the ones sharing responsibility for the Gray/Brown attachment being there in the first place.

BTW, is there a limit to the number of times a newspaper can support the losing candidate and not lose its credibility?

by HogWash on Apr 27, 2011 11:36 am • linkreport

@Joel, that's certainly (and sadly) true, but I was arguing that lots of very smart people thought Biddle, who did have a respectable budget to work with, would finish ahead of Mara, and should therefore be the recipient of strategic votes. And, even though Biddle ultimately didn't beat Mara, he came close enough to have about as much of a claim as Mara does to being the candidate who would have won if Weaver and/or Lopez had dropped out.

by cminus on Apr 27, 2011 11:52 am • linkreport

I respectfully and strongly disagree, cminus. Sekou was only briefly considered to be in a leading position. Some would say this time period was anytime before the ethics scandals erupted. Others have suggested the time period was only tightly around the time of his appointment by the DCDSC. Either way, it was clear that--while Sekou himself is a very decent and ethical person--allies burdened him. Furthermore, he failed to use his interim Council seat to take clear, let alone bold, action on the biggest issue on the voting public's minds: ethics. Words and commitments at various forums were never translated into something in the hopper at the JAWB. As a result of all this, I would argue that Sekou's support began to erode long before it ever had the opportunity to actually build.

by Joel on Apr 27, 2011 12:02 pm • linkreport

I voted for Weaver, and i would again. And he won his ward... which would be great, next time he runs against photo-op Graham. Those that didn't win didn't win. Mara is a republican, and can go suck oranges. Biddle ... sorry i do believe he is the DC old school politics play-by-player (and gasp that white wife!) Whether he is Kwame's man or Gray's.. I don't believe he is his own.

the fakester citrus dude was gonna walk in a special election, this is DC, we like charming snakeoil salesman far more than we like anything else. And now we get to watch the Kwame vs. Brown tv show. Thats entertainment.

I would love to get rid of special elections. Easiest way is to alter the elections to have council chair and mayor on alternating years, instead of the same vote. And, force sitting council members to give up their seat when they RUN for the chair, not when they win it.

There is no reason to spend money for 20,000 votes. Wasteful.. but "democratic" in some definition.

by greent on Apr 27, 2011 12:07 pm • linkreport

Ward 3 had some 8K votes while Ward 8 had about 2.5K.

Ward 3 often has about 20% of the total votes.

by Tom Coumaris on Apr 27, 2011 12:13 pm • linkreport

< duh, meant orange v. brown tv show.

goodness the captcha words are stupidly long

by greent on Apr 27, 2011 12:14 pm • linkreport

GGW, thanks for splitting the vote with your backing of Weaver.

Couldn't you blame CityPaper and the Post for splitting the vote. They could have supported Weaver. It takes two to go different directions.

by David C on Apr 27, 2011 12:47 pm • linkreport

@charlie: Still more democratic than Arlington County, which is the closest we have to the Politburo. And that is from someone who campaigned for three of them.....

Arlington being worse does not make DC democratic. On the other hand, is there a DC GOP? At least we heard some silliness from the Arlington GOP yesterday...

But aside from that: any (non-proportional) election where the winning candidate has a mere 2% of the population supporting him is abysmal. It is a failure of all politicians to accept such a low turn out.

by Jasper on Apr 27, 2011 12:49 pm • linkreport

@HogWash:

BTW, is there a limit to the number of times a newspaper can support the losing candidate and not lose its credibility?

If Fred Hiatt's Traveling Clown Show hasn't lost its credibility yet (after the debacle of the Bush years), there's nothing that can touch it.

by oboe on Apr 27, 2011 1:00 pm • linkreport

criminus: Yes, I agree. It's unfortunate the DC establishment players forced Biddle down our throats, thgus splitting Bryan and Mara's vote.

Two can play that dumb meme.

by John on Apr 27, 2011 1:05 pm • linkreport

Jasper- ""On the other hand, is there a DC GOP?""

The DC GOP turns out in impressive numbers. Carol Swartz and David Catania were both repeatedly elected at large as Republicans with large majorities.

That's why I said a few days ago here I saw Weaver as more of a spoiler and was going with Mara because I knew he'd have a big GOP base to start with. Had he won he probably would have been re-elected easily as Swartz and Catania always were.

Unfortunately for Mara in typical elections the Democratic primary is tantamount to election and I'm sure that will be the case next time for this seat.

by Tom Coumaris on Apr 27, 2011 1:52 pm • linkreport

@ Tom Coumaris: Didn't know that. Thanks for the info. But where is the DC GOP now?

BTW, @ charlie: Arlington maybe a one party county as well, but a least those democrats show some competence. As opposed to DC democrats.

by Jasper on Apr 27, 2011 2:27 pm • linkreport

David Catania dropped his affiliation with the GOP after they un-invited him as a DC GOP delegate to the 2004 presidential election convention because someone found out he's openly gay and they couldn't have someone like him dirting up the place as a voting delegate. He's been Independent ever since. Carol Schwartz supported him at the time by boycotting the convention herself as a voting delegate, or something else.

by Tina on Apr 27, 2011 5:29 pm • linkreport

I remembered the details wrong. But he's been 'I' since 2004. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Catania

by Tina on Apr 27, 2011 5:31 pm • linkreport

Tina- David was elected as a Republican at-large council member in a 1997 special election (which had just 7% turnout- worse than yesterday). But then he was re-elected as a Republican in both the 1998 and 2002 general elections and as an "independent" in 2006 and 2010.

Carol Schwartz was a Republican at-large member before that and was also handily re-elected several times as a Republican.

David was continually mentioned as a future mayor (and should have been- certainly smartest person on the council). Being a Republican held him back from that much more than being white or openly gay.

Ah, what could and should have been.

by Tom Coumaris on Apr 27, 2011 6:57 pm • linkreport

Of course it was Mara who "took down" Schwartz in 2008, calling her not Republican and conservative enough:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carol_Schwartz

by Tom Coumaris on Apr 27, 2011 7:42 pm • linkreport

Gee, who knew that a vote for Weaver was a wasted vote?

Oh, wait, we all knew that.

by David desJardins on Apr 28, 2011 2:13 am • linkreport

Tom Coumaris' characterization of Pat's 2008 race is both inaccurate and unfair.

By way of personal example, I as a progressive Democrat became aware of Pat in the first place via his campaigning in the LGBT community (and among allies) on his very high-profile policy difference with Carol: marriage equality.

Carol Schwartz opposed extending marriage rights to same-sex couples, while Pat was vocal and energetic in support of full marriage equality-- he campaigned on this issue at Pride, in gay bars, at numerous LGBT organization's receptions and other events.

Yes, Pat had other differences with Carol, but he made full marriage equality a spotlight issue, and garnered the loyalty of many, many otherwise progressive Dems. In fact, when he was running for school board last year, my husband and I were taking a friend to Nellie's one early evening, and there was Pat.

If that's what you can narrowly, bluntly and solely characterize as "not Republican and conservative enough," then we simply have a different set of eyes altogether.

by Joel on Apr 28, 2011 8:28 am • linkreport

Joel- Mara's own words in the 2008 Republican primary were that Schwartz was not a "true" Republican and voted too much like a liberal Democrat. He was heavily financed by the Chamber of Commerce, the Board of Trade, parking interests, and construction companies. While Catania left the GOP over gay issues, Mara was an alternate convention delegate for John McCain.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/09/01/AR2008090102670.html

Schwartz was wrong in thinking gay marriage would be repealed or create a backlash. Mara was right on that issue.

As I said, I voted for Mara even though my political sentiments are probably closer to Weaver or Biddle. I knew with the GOP base he would be Orange's strongest rival and would probably develop well in the job.

by Tom Coumaris on Apr 28, 2011 7:26 pm • linkreport

Tom: If one wishes to reference an individual's "own words," as you suggest we do, I fail to understand the need to then paraphrase--with great license, a second time, and for good measure changed in meaning after a previous paraphrasing.

Your first posting offered a link, which contained a direct quote from Pat. Pat stated, in the very link you provided, that he believed Carol was "not representative of core urban Republican values."

Pat did not state, nor did his policy positions reflect, your suggestion he'd claimed Carol was not "conservative enough."

While I do not agree with Pat on everything, I would suggest his personal view of "core URBAN Republican values" appears to include full marriage equality, an obviously *less* "conservative" value--in contrast to the statement you created for him.

by Joel on Apr 29, 2011 11:13 am • linkreport

I am happy that the candidate with the following credentials won:

Experience: served two terms on council

Accomplishments: Brought Home Depot to DC, Brought McKinley Tech back, Supported local businesses for contracting opportunities and brought reform to the Summer jobs program,
Didnot raise taxes but served on a Council that left the city with a 1.6 billion surplus.

Education: Four degrees

Last, but not least, a person of integrity who understands the meaning of not betraying the public trust for personal greed. A track record that would make any parents or grandparents proud.
Ain't it great to be in this great country.

by Bill on May 1, 2011 8:47 am • linkreport

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