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For Ward 4 Council: Max Skolnik

In Ward 4, Councilmember Muriel Bowser is facing five challengers in the April 3 Democratic primary. For his strong leadership on ethics and positive vision for the ward, we support Max Skolnik.

Photo by gisellebill on Flickr.

The DC Council is currently at a standstill, mired by scandal. Earlier this month, we learned of federal investigations into the prolific campaign money man Jeff Thompson. 12 out of 13 members of the Council took contributions from Thompson, including Bowser. In order to restore trust and effectiveness to the council, strong reforms are vitally important.

Skolnik, a former ANC commissioner, has shaped his campaign around ethics and campaign finance reform. He has a strong background in education and brings concrete and proven proposals for education in Ward 4. Skolnik would also bring a positive voice on development and smart growth to the council.

Skolnik is a strong advocate for real, meaningful campaign finance reform. He fully supports Initiative 70, the ballot measure that would ban direct corporate contributions to candidates. Skolnik has signed on to Independent at-large candidate David Grosso's transparency challenge, agreeing to fully disclose the sources of any and all campaign contributions. Additionally, Skolnik supports ending all outside employment for councilmembers and abolishing constituent services funds.

Skolnik also brings to the table a long record of experience in education and working with youth. Since 2002, Skolnik has run the non-profit Kid Power, which provides a full array of service-learning opportunities District youth. Skolnik understands that education involves far more than simply what happens in the classroom. This experience gives him a broad view on education that is presently lacking on the Council.

Specifically, Skolnik outlines detailed action items on education, including expanding the Promise Neighborhood initiative to Ward 4 and beyond. This program, which has seen huge success in Ward 7, understands that education is a "cradle to career" issue. Skolnik understands that the best way to lower unemployment, decrease crime, and increase achievement is to reform all areas of youth services.

Skolnik also importance of building communities that work for all residents, that foster small and local business, rather than relying on big-box retailers. Skolnik would be a strong and effective advocate for smart transportation and growth policies.

Bowser has not set herself apart as a strong leader with a vision for DC While she has talked about ethics and reform, her piecemeal approach to reform has been uninspiring. She is more reactive than proactive, with her ethics reform package being a prime example of this. Bowser missed a huge opportunity to distinguish herself as a champion for good government and transparency. She has also failed to provide effective oversight or strong leadership on the WMATA board.

We believe that Max Skolnik is the best choice in this race and encourage Ward 4 voters to give him their vote on April 3.

This is the official endorsement of Greater Greater Washington, written by one or more contributors. Active contributors and editors voted on endorsements, and any endorsement reflects a strong majority or greater in favor of endorsing the candidate.


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This endorsement might be overhasty. Bowser supports streetcars and performance parking. She has taken risks for development (read: Walmart), and her remarks on that issue showed pragmatic balance between NIMBYism and sensitivity to neighborhood concerns. She is more inclined to support DCPS than public charter schools than I am, but she has been fair and forthright to both camps. She probably has a good read on the best ethics reform bill that can pass the Council, which is probably not the bill that Skolnik would write (and the Council would vote down). Letting the ethics issue define her candidacy is probably a mistake anyway -- I have had very good interactions with her at ANC meetings, and very helpful constituent service from her office in dealing with DCRA and even the dreaded OTR, and that should count right up there with progressive urbanist policies in making DC more livable for its citizens.

I am just a regular medium-information unaffiliated Ward 4 resident, and most of what I know about Skolnik I learned from a longish conversation with his canvasser. I don't know why he is worthy of a consensus GGW endorsement, as he is not a runaway slam-dunk to be more effective in leading DC. I have a very favorable impression of Bowser, I think and think she should win.

by John King on Mar 23, 2012 2:48 pm • linkreport

The biggest issue with Bowser (she will win, I am confident of it, but still) is that she really hasn't done a very good job driving development in W4. Skolnick hammered her on it at the Domku forum, we in W4 have had by FAR the least amount spent on school renovation and streetscape projects relative to other wards.

Keeping in mind that those are two of the most noticable ways a CM can drive development, she seemingly has failed us on those two respects.

I do appreciate the Walmart coming in, and know I (and my neighbors) will love the low prices we get on food there, and stop gettin shafted by the Piney Branch/stinky Safeway.

by Kyle W on Mar 23, 2012 3:40 pm • linkreport

I just realized that Max is the same person who upset a few GGW'rs when he touted the fact that he's married w/kids.

I'm actually surprised GGW isn't backing Bowser.

by HogWash on Mar 23, 2012 4:06 pm • linkreport

Glad to see that not everyone is not buying CM Bowser's rap. Go GGW.

by RobinMinter on Mar 23, 2012 6:05 pm • linkreport

Bowser's steadfast support for Shepard Park residents at the expense of 14th Street residents where the potential WMATA bus garage relocation is concerned is enough for me to support anyone but Bowser.

by Wlliam on Mar 23, 2012 7:31 pm • linkreport

Is it true that Max Skolnik opposes Henderson/Rhee initiated DCPS reforms? And opposes the current IMPACT evaluation system?

DC for Democracy asked candidates the folowing question:

""Do you think reform in the DC public schools is headed in
the right direction?"

Max Skolnik replied:

"No, despite several years of so-called reform, DC youth are facing mounting challenges... Teachers operate under a punitive and highly politicized IMPACT evaluation system."

I would like to hear more on this from Mr. Skolnik (or those that endorsed him here).

by DCPrecinct50 on Mar 24, 2012 9:09 pm • linkreport

Here is Muriel Bowser's response to the same question:

"I think that school reform is headed in the right direction. I would like to see that reform move at a faster pace."

A stark difference on a major issue.

by DCPrecinct50 on Mar 24, 2012 9:56 pm • linkreport

I'm really surprised to hear that someone here has had a good experience with Bowser's office regarding constituent services. My experiences in that respect have been poor. And I'm in agreement Wlliam that she has done nothing for 14th street residents - not when discussing relocation of the bus barn, and not when we had to deal with all of the WMATA employees parking on the side streets when their garage was condemned. She was totally MIA in that process.

by dchs on Mar 26, 2012 10:58 am • linkreport

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