Greater Greater Washington

Breakfast links: Too close to call


Photo by voteprime on Flickr.
At-large up in the air: While most incumbents on the DC Council won easily, the at-large race is too close to call and may come down to absentee ballots, though Vincent Orange holds a slight lead over Sekou Biddle. Meanwhile, John Delaney defeated Rob Garagiola in the Maryland 6th Congressional District's Democratic primary. (Examiner, City Paper, Post)

How long should Dupont take?: Though other transit agencies from Montreal to Moscow expressed doubt that escalator replacement should take 8 months, the extremely complicated work required for the Dupont escalators may just call for that much time. (Post, charlie)

Tangherlini in at GSA: In the wake of a spending scandal that forced resignations, former DDOT and WMATA chief and former DC city administrator Dan Tangherlini will head the GSA at least temporarily. (City Paper)

Anti-harassment campaign kicks off: Metro launched its anti-sexual harassment campaign on Monday. In addition to a website and email address for easier reporting and special training for employees, the campaign features advertisements from Boston's MBTA that the agency is licensing free of cost to WMATA. (DCist)

CSG tries to make PG better: The Coalition for Smarter Growth will hold a forum on what it will take to make Prince George's County better for walking and biking. The event is April 11 and RSVP is required.

Why can't we be friends?: In a surprising move, Georgetown University and neighbors jointly requested more time in the hopes of working out differences with the university's campus plan. (Patch)

Biking could save billions: More than one third of Copenhagen's population commutes to work by bike. If American's commuted in the same rates it would save $17 billion, mainly in health care costs. (Business Insider)

Social network urban planning: A service in New Orleans called Neighborland allows neighbors to plan collectively and have their voices heard by elected officials. The service is now expanding to other cities. (Grist)

And...: The new security barrier at the Department of Commerce Headquarters will have pedestrian seating. (City Paper) ... Towson University's free bike sharing program is a hit. (Examiner.com) ... There are very few condos available in central DC. (Post) ... Tracy Morgan doors a cyclist, then blames the cyclist's dark clothes. (NY Post)

Have a tip for the links? Submit it here.
Steven Yates grew up in Indiana before moving to DC in 2002 to attend college at American University. He currently lives in Southwest DC.  

Comments

Add a comment »

What's NOT too close to call is that Shapiro split the vote and made what would have been an easy victory by Biddle into a "too close to call" situation with the odds favoring Orange. A similar thing happened with the W7 anti-alexander vote getting split betwern Brown and Chavous.

by Falls Church on Apr 4, 2012 8:45 am • linkreport

Did a single GGW endorsed candidiate win? Did the corporate money thing make it?

DA gets a lots of heat for endorsing Gray; I still maintain it was the right thing to do (albeit too late) as it was clear Fenty was going to lose. However, since then GGWs track record has been horrible (Bondi, Shapiro). The new endorsment process is welcome and far better than having individual contributors write something.

by charlie on Apr 4, 2012 8:58 am • linkreport

Are you seriously comparing Copenhangen to the entirety of the United States?

by sam on Apr 4, 2012 8:58 am • linkreport

charlie: Out of curiosity, why is endorsing the winner the goal? One could always endorse the person who's most likely to win, and then you'll have a high win-loss percentage, but what does that accomplish? Access for the endorser? Our goal is not to make me or other writers more politically connected, but to try to help readers think through the issues on the campaign.

by David Alpert on Apr 4, 2012 9:00 am • linkreport

I agree guys, you have a lot of readers here, and moving forward, think you need to not sacrifice the good (Biddle)when the alternative is just so horrible.

My wife and I went Biddle, after realizing Shapiro couldn't win, but just think had you endorsed Biddle instead, potentially could have swung more votes.

by Kyle W on Apr 4, 2012 9:03 am • linkreport

@DaveAlpert; hey, I'm sticking up for you on the Gray thing.

Perhaps there is a better way of putting it; but Fenty was going down. Anybody would read the tea-leaves could see the energetic young man who charmed the city had turned into a tone deaf dictator. Again, right idea (urbaism is bigger than one politicans ) and largely true.

But by getting into the endorsement game, you as have now, means you are in the poltiical game. As biddle says -- are in to win, or to lose?

by charlie on Apr 4, 2012 9:05 am • linkreport

I tend to think that the GGW endorsement didn't matter in the Biddle/Shapiro race. The problem was Shapiro running at all.

If Biddle manages to pull it out with absentee ballots, then he will have done us all a huge favor, no thanks to Shapiro and our broken system local elections. If VO wins, it will be hard for me to get over blaming Shapiro.

by Ward 1 Guy on Apr 4, 2012 9:13 am • linkreport

It might have helped DC voters think through the issues if GGW had indicated Biddle had 4 X's as much support as Shapiro, and if any progressive was nervous about vote splitting tipping the balance to Orange by 523 votes, it would be prudent to vote Biddle, not Shapiro.

The Shapiro endorsement was a tactical mistake GGW should not have made, and which its hero, CM Wells did not make.

by Trulee Pist on Apr 4, 2012 9:15 am • linkreport

Alpert....it's pretty wishy-washy to throw an endorsement out there and then say that the results are irrelevant after your people lose.

If endorsements don't matter, then why did you make them in the first place? It's not like you're the Washington Post, where people expect you to make an endorsement.

by D0C282D0C28E on Apr 4, 2012 9:18 am • linkreport

While endorsing the winner is not the goal, having the person you endorse win should be the goal (subtle but important distinction).

I agree thta GGW's endorsement should help readers think through the most important issues. In the Orange race, the most important issue was whether lor not to vote strategically. As I recall, your endorsement spent exactly one sentence on that issue and it was to say that voters should not vote strategically without any kind of discussion or rationale. That's not a very good job of addressing what ended up being the biggest issue.

Perhaps topics like game theory and poli sci are out of scope for GGW. In that case, I suggest simply discussing the issues and refraining from the more complex decision of endorsing a particular candidate since that requires analyzing a bigger picture that includes out of scope topics.

by Falls Church on Apr 4, 2012 9:20 am • linkreport

A vote for Shapiro, and by extension an endorsement of Shapiro, was effectively a vote/endorsement of Orange.

Have people learned nothing from Nader, still? Vote for the best candidate that has a chance of winning, and then once the really bad candidates stop getting elected (Orange) three's time to focus on trying to make better canddiates more electable; if Orange pulls this thing out it will be the worst possible result for the goals of GGW, an entirely predictable result of Shapiro siphoning votes away. That's what the endorsement process should have been focused on, not some "we're better than politics, vote for the best candidate" crap.

by P on Apr 4, 2012 9:21 am • linkreport

I don't particularly have trouble with the Shapiro endorsment, but I do have trouble with when it was made. If it was made much sooner perhaps it could have been used to build momentum and done something useful. Made so late in the process with him having very little chance, as previosu people noted it served to benefit Orange.

by nathaniel on Apr 4, 2012 9:38 am • linkreport

While I wouldn't absolve Tracy Morgan of all blame in dooring a cyclist, bikers have to take responsibility for their own safety. For heaven's sake, don't ride in the door zone and buy a freakin light. Here's a link to highly rated headlight and tail lights you can purchase for less than $20 total in under 5 minutes:

http://www.amazon.com/Planet-Bike-Blinky-3-Led-Bicycle/dp/B000RYAKHC/ref=pd_sim_sg_3

http://www.amazon.com/Bell-Dawn-Patrol-LED-Headlight/dp/B002Y1IO7E/ref=pd_sbs_sg_8

by Falls Church on Apr 4, 2012 9:45 am • linkreport

Sigh. The point of the GGW endorsements is not to get someone to win or not. The point is to become a factor in local politics so that - in a few years - politicians might advertise with 'endorsed by GGW' or at least seek the endorsement and think about urban issues.

by Jasper on Apr 4, 2012 9:46 am • linkreport

The point of the GGW endorsements is not to get someone to win or not.

No one is going to seek a GGW endorsement unless they think it will help them win. Politicians will take endorsements from just about anyone but they only seek out those endorsements that they think will help them win. If a GGW endorsement isn't going to help you win, it's as irrelevant as my endorsement.

by Falls Church on Apr 4, 2012 9:54 am • linkreport

Jasper, that's a nice thought, but parachuting in with an endorsement of an unviable candidate days before the election, potentially throwing the election to the person no progressive or urbanist wants to see elected, is not how GGW is going to "become a factor in local politics." And David's ex post facto disclaimer that the point of the endorsement was to "help readers think through the issues on the campaign" is totally belied by the facts and the content of the endorsement itself.

by Boomer on Apr 4, 2012 9:55 am • linkreport

GGW has been a force for bad when it comes to campaigning, helping stoke the flames to oust Fenty because he didn't coddle voters and "feel the editors' pain" and now with the at-large race, making the perfect the enemy of the good. Keep it up and soon we'll end up with "GG Wells" as a reality.

by Michael on Apr 4, 2012 10:09 am • linkreport

@ David Alpert

"Out of curiosity, why is endorsing the winner the goal?"

Endorsing the winner is not the goal. The goal is to advance the cause of progressive urbanism. The endorsement calculation must take this goal into account first and foremost. In an Orange victory, this goal is set back substantially.

I maintain that even if you liked Shapiro more than Biddle, that endorsing Biddle would have been the right thing to do here. Politics (and gamesmanship) matter. You have let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

by David G. on Apr 4, 2012 10:11 am • linkreport

Most organizations that do endorsements do take electability into account; any candidate seeking an endorsement has the burden of proof to demonstrate that such endorsement can help them win. The issues that any organization is interested in don't get settled on election day and if they're involved in actual policy discussions then they're going to have to deal with the winners.

I am surprised at how poor a showing Shapiro had. Did he have polling that showed more strength? Did he share polling data with the GGW endorsement committee?

The early phase of his campaign appeared much stronger than Biddle's. The campaign team was out in force, e.g. at Metro stops during rush hour, and several of my neighbors had lawn signs. But over the past few weeks, it does seem as if several of them were taken down, and after endorsements by the Post, Wells, the Sierra Club, and others it became clear to me that Biddle was actually in a far stronger position.

I think @nathaniel has a salient point about the timing. Do it early and you can build momentum and enthusiasm, especially if such endorsement can also bring with it campaign workers to go door-to-door, to hand out flyers at Metro stops, to phonebank, and to do all of the other things that campaigns need to do to increase visibility and win votes. Late in the game, the only question, no matter how like-minded the candidate, is "show us that we can help you win."

How much does it cost to run a poll in DC? Given that we're not likely to see even regular runoff elections, much less the exotic replacements, I wish the progressive candidates could agree to a pact in which two weeks out, a poll is conducted, and only the one with the best shot at winning stays in, while the others drop out, endorse, let their supporters know, and pull their signs.

by thm on Apr 4, 2012 10:13 am • linkreport

If you want to push ideas, then endorse the ideas. Grade all candidates on the issues and say who's acceptable (yes/no) like other special interest groups do.

If you want to play strategic politics, then do that. You can't wobble between the two, however.

There's a whole string of GGW forays into politics that come off as extraordinarily naive and idealistic. Advocating for ideas is fine. If you want to implement, you need to learn to play the game. If you don't want to play the game, then say so straight up, [Deleted for violating the comment policy.]

On the national stage, people complain all the time that there's not a third party to suit their needs without ever seeking to understand why we have a two-party system. You don't have to like the system we have, but you need to understand it.

by Strategery on Apr 4, 2012 10:18 am • linkreport

Oh good grief! I would be surprised if, considering the "experiences" people here bring, anyone significant number of them were swayed by a GGW endorsement. We aren't low information voters so why would it take GGW to convince us for whom to cast our vote? That's not to suggest that GGW can't provide a forum to discuss the issues but come on.

This, much like the Anti/Amby's position on the Gray endorsement is an I believed you were my friend..that we were really on the same team sort of thing. Yes, GGW has a rather shoddy record with endorsements and should likely shy away from doing them in the future. However, GGW is not to blame for Shapiro being a spoiler. That blame goes to Shapiro and those who voted for him.

Biddle still has a chance to win but even if he doesn't, the world will NOT come to end. The best that to happen is that Orange can "hear" what the AMBY's are saying and make adjustments to the extent he can. The worst thing is that the AMBY's can make like so difficult for Orange (Gray/Obama) that it makes governing more difficult than it need be.

by HogWash on Apr 4, 2012 10:24 am • linkreport

We're blaming GGW for the (likely) election of Vincent Orange because it endorsed a candidate that "split the vote?

How about blaming the 20k+ voters who voted for Vincent Orange?

Or a primary system that effectively excludes all non-registered-Democrat voters from having any meaningful say in the election?

by ah on Apr 4, 2012 10:26 am • linkreport

Many of the statistics about bike riding in Copenhagen are very impressive. Eight of every ten people cycle regularly. More than half (55%) use a bicycle to get to/from work.
However, a deeper dive makes some of those numbers less impressive. The average distance cycled per day is on 0.8 miles - 1.2 miles. Given such a short commute distance, why not just walk? It would be cheaper than using a bicycle and not really much slower...(abt 10 minutes to ride versus abt 30 minutes to walk) I suspect even a good number of American would choose to walk IF (big if there) their commutes were that short. Indeed in many downtown areas Americans have to walk that far to/from the parking garages...Another interesting point in the article was the following quote from the Copenhagen Mayor's Office, "Many of us have experienced long queues on the cycle track waiting for the traffic light to change." Further the average speed on those tracks appears to be 10 mph, pretty slow for essentially flat terrain. Sounds like those cycle tracks aren't the wonders of transportation efficiency that some claim.

by Tom M on Apr 4, 2012 10:30 am • linkreport

@ah

There's plenty of blame to go around.

by Falls Church on Apr 4, 2012 10:31 am • linkreport

I would add a couple of comments.

1) I understand Shapiro told everyone he could, early on, that if it looked like he was going to splinter the vote, he would drop out. That didn't happen. Tim Craig referenced this in Twitter this morning, but it is very important in terms of who Peter Shapiro is.

2) The endorsement in GGW was based primarily on traffic cameras and how they pertain to pedestrian safety. Traffic Cameras are a complex issue that need more than a few sentences to explain and digest. The treatment Biddle was given in the endorsement write-up was, at best weak and un-nuanced.

I could go on, but good luck to the GGW community in trying to get that 7th vote on the Council needed for its agenda. It would have been a lot easier with Biddle, since he is fundamentally aligned with most of the GGW spirit.

by William on Apr 4, 2012 10:32 am • linkreport

A vote for Shapiro, and by extension an endorsement of Shapiro, was effectively a vote/endorsement of Orange.

Have people learned nothing from Nader, still? Vote for the best candidate that has a chance of winning, and then once the really bad candidates stop getting elected (Orange) three's time to focus on trying to make better canddiates more electable; if Orange pulls this thing out it will be the worst possible result for the goals of GGW, an entirely predictable result of Shapiro siphoning votes away. That's what the endorsement process should have been focused on, not some "we're better than politics, vote for the best candidate" crap.

That is one interpretation of the situation. Another would be that there is unlikely to be any meaningful change so long as candidates know that they can lock up the progressive vote due to political expediency merely by coming as as marginally less corrupt than the other guy. Political calculus like this is what leads to situations like the Ward 4 race or the most recent council chair race or even, to some extent, the Gray/Fenty showdown, where voting for any candidate requires a degree of nose-holding. It's one thing when the candidate you're voting for doesn't entirely line up with your own views - that's natural. It's another when you have no candidate to choose from whom you don't consider to be significantly corrupted and liable to abuse the office.

Biddle had to clear a relatively low bar of two points with those looking for an alternative to Orange:

1. Make a convincing case that he is not part of the corrupt business as usual, pay-to-play, political machine (specifically, that he is not a wholly owned subsidiary of M. Brown & Sons Urban Political Solutions, LLC).
2. Offer a reasonably coherent and compelling vision for addressing the city's challenges.

That he failed to do either among 10% of the electorate says more about him and the way he chose to run his campaign than any spoiler role Shapiro played. That Biddle seems to feel that he was entitled to every non-Orange vote only cements my dislike of his attitude and approach.

If we're lucky, Ron Machen has a big ol' case file on Vinny Citrus that is just crying for grand jury attention. I'd almost rather take my chances with an increasingly radioactive Orange than with an indeterminately shady and beholden Biddle.

by Dizzy on Apr 4, 2012 10:33 am • linkreport

William: Traffic cameras had nothing to do with the endorsement. We voted on the endorsement and posted it well before the Gray budget came out. None of the candidates had talked about cameras before that point. There was an article on Monday about the positions on cameras, but that was the first time I even knew what the candidates' positions were on the issue.

by David Alpert on Apr 4, 2012 10:40 am • linkreport

David:

http://greatergreaterwashington.org/post/14283/at-large-candidates-except-shapiro-pander-to-speeders/

I know that's not the endorsement, but this was a thin analysis that did nothing more than help justify or reaffirm the endorsement.

by William on Apr 4, 2012 10:55 am • linkreport

BTW, Shapiro spent roughly $9/vote. Since it's clear that he has a zero chance to win, maybe it's a lesson for all of us to get out of our boxes. Reading the commentary here did have me believing that there would be more of an actual split between Shapiro and Biddle. It wasn't even close and i do wonder how so many here seemed to have been so out of touch w/what the rest of DC wanted.

One thing we can pat ourselves on the back over is that fact that turnout wasn't too shabby. Oh and the 40% margins of Orange and Biddle suggest that a significant number of residents preferred one or the other. The people will have spoken.

by HogWash on Apr 4, 2012 10:57 am • linkreport

@ Tom M:The average distance cycled per day is on 0.8 miles - 1.2 miles. Given such a short commute distance, why not just walk? It would be cheaper than using a bicycle and not really much slower...(abt 10 minutes to ride versus abt 30 minutes to walk)

Because it's faster. The Dutch reflexively bike when a distance is more than a minute or two walking. Just like Americans take the car from one store in strip-mall to the next across the street. I assume Danes are not much different.

Biking twice 10 minutes is a 20 minute commute, walking twice 30 minutes is an hour commute. How many people do you know that accept a voluntary tripling of their commute? Also remember that weather in Denmark (and Holland) is often gloomy, windy and drizzly. Not as inviting as DC weather.

by Jasper on Apr 4, 2012 11:11 am • linkreport

Shapiro could have done a lot more good for the city campaigning and raising money for a pro-urbanist, progressive candidate. That he chose not to do that and instead ran himself in a race that he had no chance of winning strikes me as pretty narcissistic. That GGW got suckered into endorsing someone who is effectively a vanity candidate is pretty disappointing.

by JustMe on Apr 4, 2012 11:13 am • linkreport

Thanks for four more years of Orange! What were you thinking when you endorsed Shapiro when it was clear that would just split the anti-Orange vote?

by Michael on Apr 4, 2012 11:16 am • linkreport

Cars are required to use lights in the dark, both so they can see other things, AND so they can be seen (e.g., taillights). Pedestrians and cyclists who are in the roadway in the dark also need to be seen, and should dress or accessorize accordingly. Also, when you are parking and getting out of your car, you can sometimes only see so far down the road in back of you. If you have not previously seen the cyclist on the road and are already anticipating them, you're limited to what you can see. If you can't see them because of limited range or their lack of a light, or their dark clothing, you might just open your door. A cyclist approaching a car that has someone in it should exercise caution and drive slower. There are a lot of factors to explore before "blame."

by Patty B on Apr 4, 2012 11:24 am • linkreport

Here is the other puzzler.

I'd give Biddle a 25% chance of pulling off absentee/provisional vote. It is going to be recounted, and well, Orange's voter are not well educated and tend to make mistakes. Also, again, biddle voters move and might vote in the wrong place.

However, I think Council member Biddle is going to remember all this.

Don't play in the pigpen unless you want to get dirty.

by charlie on Apr 4, 2012 11:36 am • linkreport

speaking of which, how did John Delaney's misdeeds not come to light. I know him from law school, and he is probably one of the worst human beings I have ever met. His wife his nice, cute kids -- somewhat redeeming, but a major asshole.

Major illegal domestic help problem.

Fun tidbit: John wanted to move to Phoenix about 10 years ago. he said businesspeople where not respected in this town. This is when he was living in Georgetown, and before he got politics.

by charlie on Apr 4, 2012 11:38 am • linkreport

The Delaney victory is an interesting phenomenon. It's a pretty strong statement that the DC suburbs are kind of disgusted with the Democratic Party machine politics that gave us the likes of Glendening and Kathleen Kennedy Townshend. And that there's a lot of warm sentiment toward Bill Clinton.

by Crickey7 on Apr 4, 2012 11:38 am • linkreport

Although Orange/Shapiro was the only city-wide race, it's worth mentioning that Tom Brown and Chavous were trounced by Alexander. This was another race that, based on what I was reading, suggested it would have been much much closer. It wasn't and I wonder how her detractors judged voter sentiment so very wrong.

WRT to W8, even though the combined totals of all his opponents would not have forced Barry from office, we also had our own vote splitting..sorta. I must say that I am surprised by how poorly my man Patterson performed. Dude just can't catch a break. I'm not surprised by Natalie Williams' loss..she could have used her "I'm a woman just like you" pitch to help Jacques.

Oh, did I mention that Shapiro paid 9 bucks per vote? This man had 50g's to spend on an election he won w/just 5k votes? The writings were on the wall about this guy and fortunately he'll likely never have to worry about being considered for political office in the near future. He certainly has no friends on the council..and apparently throughout the city.

@Charlie, Orange's voter are not well educated and tend to make mistakes

Yesterday the election was being compared to Jim Crow-age voter suppression. Today, people like me aren't well-educated and don't possess enough intellectual capacity to know how to properly fill out an absentee/provisional ballot. *sigh*

by HogWash on Apr 4, 2012 11:58 am • linkreport

[Deleted for violating the comment policy.]

As I said, the provisional votes are more of an issue in this election than a recount.

by charlie on Apr 4, 2012 12:04 pm • linkreport

@charlie - It is going to be recounted, and well, Orange's voter are not well educated and tend to make mistakes.

Stay classy dude.

by Thaps on Apr 4, 2012 12:08 pm • linkreport

Is it bash David Alpert day? Sorry, I did not receive the memo.

by Fred on Apr 4, 2012 12:24 pm • linkreport

A vote for Shapiro, and by extension an endorsement of Shapiro, was effectively a vote/endorsement of Orange.

Not really. It is more like not voting, or not endorsing, at all. But there is a signalling effect. If you want the progressive vote, you have to earn it. You aren't going to get it by being a smidge closer than your opponent.

But, I agree that one should vote strategically and GGW should limit themselves to viable candidates. They would have been better off saying they like Shapiro, but endorsing no one. Still, GGW is not to "blame" here. If you want to "blame" people, here's a list to consider:

1. Biddle, it's his job to win
2. People who voted for Orange (though, you can't really blame people for voting for who they support)
3. People who didn't vote
4. DC for having closed primaries
5. DC for not having a run-off system
6. Shapiro for not quitting and endorsing Biddle. He could have earned some good will as well.

by David C on Apr 4, 2012 12:29 pm • linkreport

I don't blame people who voted for Shapiro but I made my choice of Biddle based on the fact that GGW was the ONLY place I had heard anything about Shapiro and it didn't seem like he had much traction. Either of them were way better choices than VO who just seems to be as unthinking as the rest of the council.

Though if you're holding out for really stellar politicians in DC I don't see it happening - being a councilmember isn't a stepping stone to anything more important than Mayor of DC.

by MLD on Apr 4, 2012 12:34 pm • linkreport

@HogWash; given that VO took Ward 7 and 8, and people there are 1) old 2) not educated and 3) unemployed; yes, it is fair to say that are more likely to be voter errors.

Do you have anything documenting the history of voter errors in Wd's 7&8? Further, it's important to note there's a distinction between the overall resident demographic and the voter demographic. So outside of being sensational, it makes little sense to suggest that most of the voters in W7/8 are old, uneducated and unemployed..and therefore we don't know how to fill out a provisional ballot.

by HogWash on Apr 4, 2012 12:37 pm • linkreport

I can't delete comments at this point since the offensive ones have gotten responses, but let me say that calling the people of Wards 7 and 8 uneducated, old, unemployed or anything else as a blanket matter is absolutely inappropriate. Lumping all residents of any part of the city together and disparaging them is a recipe for divisiveness and not welcome here. I will delete further comments that make such statements.

by David Alpert on Apr 4, 2012 12:44 pm • linkreport

@ HogWash; umm, two seperate issues, as I have tried to explain.

Voter error (in recount) is not going to be a big issue. The damage is already done -- people who forget to vote for VO in W7+8. You have a point about general demographics vs actual voters, but how many college educated voters are there in w7&8? (with modern touchscreens, voter error is almost zero but you can find tabulation errors)

Provisional voting is when you show up at the wrong precient and voting location. Now that is an issue with highly mobile people who move around a lot. NOt the case with W7&8 voters. Very much a case for new voters, or more affulent condo hoppers. So I suspect Biddle will rack up a lot more of the provisional ballots. I have not seen a report on how many are out there.

To sum: provisonal votes will likely favor Biddle. the recount will be mostly netural or hurt VO. As I said, I've give Biddle at least a 25% chance of pulling this out.

That is assuming, of course, the money order to Shaprio is never found.

by charlie on Apr 4, 2012 12:47 pm • linkreport

@DC, of those, the only one I agree with is that which places the blame on Biddle since yes, he was the candidate. You can't really blame nonvoters because what if they actually voted for Orange? You can't blame DC for not having open primaries nor IRV. It wasn't a problem when Fenty was elected..nor Williams.

I do agree that Shapiro could have earned some good will by throwing his support behind Biddle. I imagine that his career is over since people won't forget and blame him for keeping (possibly) the big bad Orange in office.

by HogWash on Apr 4, 2012 12:49 pm • linkreport

You can't really blame nonvoters because what if they actually voted for Orange?

Sure I can. In fact, I just did. My point is not that the outcome would have been different with 100% turn out, but that there were plenty of votes out there to get any candidate over the hump. They just didn't show up.

You can't blame DC for not having open primaries nor IRV. It wasn't a problem when Fenty was elected..nor Williams.

It was broken then, and it is broken now. Even a broken clock is right two times a day. I hate the electoral college too, even though candidates I've supported win the presidency from time to time. Just because Obama won in 2008, it doesn't mean the system is good.

by David C on Apr 4, 2012 12:55 pm • linkreport

It was broken then, and it is broken now. Even a broken clock is right two times a day. I hate the electoral college too, even though candidates I've supported win the presidency from time to time. Just because Obama won in 2008, it doesn't mean the system is good.

It'd be hard for me to find a comment on GGW - or anywhere - I agree with more than this. Well said.

by dcd on Apr 4, 2012 1:02 pm • linkreport

You can't blame DC for not having open primaries nor IRV

Yes, I can. It is a shortcoming of DC's system. I personally think we should do what Louisiana does: everyone faces off in an open election, and then you have a runoff with the top 2 vote-getters if no one gets more than 50%.

by JustMe on Apr 4, 2012 1:04 pm • linkreport

What's the process by which the primary type is determined? What I mean is how would one go about trying to implement the suggestion by JustMe for example? Is it ballot referendum?

by c2b16e on Apr 4, 2012 1:33 pm • linkreport

Lumping all residents of any part of the city together and disparaging them is a recipe for divisiveness and not welcome here.

Thanks David. But I will admit to not thinking that charlie believed any word of what he posited here.

My point is not that the outcome would have been different with 100% turn out, but that there were plenty of votes out there to get any candidate over the hump.

The key is "plenty votes out there to get." Unlike in the 2008 election, Barack Obama actively sought votes. Biddle and Shapiro did not...at least in my ward. To Biddle's credit, I at least saw his signs at all of the three polling places I saw. Shapiro? Not even one. I just happen to think that blaming the people who didn't vote is way, way too simplistic. It's not my the fault of W8 voters that neither Biddle nor Shapiro didn't have even the smallest of footprints in the ward.

WRT to IRV/open primaries, DC follows other states like MD, NY, PA, NJ et. al. I'm sure there are voters who complain in those states. But it doesn't mean that the system is so unfair and broken. It just is.

by HogWash on Apr 4, 2012 2:06 pm • linkreport

t's not my the fault of W8 voters that neither Biddle nor Shapiro didn't have even the smallest of footprints in the ward.

No, but it is your fault if you need a footprint to vote for someone. Counting the signs near polling places is not a particularly good method for deciding who to vote for. There are ways to find out who is running and what they stand for.

I'm sure there are voters who complain in those states. But it doesn't mean that the system is so unfair and broken.

No it doesn't. But that isn't the reason I'm giving for why it's unfair or broken. The reason it is unfair and broken is that it disenfranchises some voters, disillusions others and does a poor job of determining voter preference; which in my opinion should be the point of an election.

by David C on Apr 4, 2012 2:14 pm • linkreport

I think the council controls how the primaries work (I don't think it's part of the Home Rule Act). So I think the council could pass legislation for a blanket primary (all candidates and all voters on one ballot for each position). Then the general election would be the top two candidates facing off. This makes sense in DC since basically we pick the election winner during the primary anyway, and it would be far more simple than IRV or any changed voting system. This way voters would be able to choose twice between a whole slate of candidates and the two most popular out of those.

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

Though since the current councilmembers have a vetted interest in staying in office it seems unlikely to me that they would want to change things!

by MLD on Apr 4, 2012 2:18 pm • linkreport

Though since the current councilmembers have a vetted interest in staying in office it seems unlikely to me that they would want to change things!

Bingo.

by David C on Apr 4, 2012 2:21 pm • linkreport

No, but it is your fault if you need a footprint to vote for someone. Counting the signs near polling places is not a particularly good method for deciding who to vote for. There are ways to find out who is running and what they stand for.

Clearly you're muddying the waters here. My "footprint" comment was in response to my (and your own) suggestion that the "candidate" shares the blame for not rallying his vote. So I'm not sure who suggested that voters should rely on the candidates "footprint." But we also shouldn't dismiss that point because the footprint does provide voters/watchers w/a sense of how active a campaign is w/in their wards. So not seeing ANY Shapiro campaign signers nor supporters does reasonably explain why he fared so poorly in W8.

disenfranchises some voters, disillusions others and does a poor job of determining voter preference; which in my opinion should be the point of an election.

Well yeah, I guess an independent or a republican could consider the idea that they can't vote in a largely democratic primary as an example of disenfranchisement. I just happen to disagree.

by HogWash on Apr 4, 2012 2:34 pm • linkreport

"No, but it is your fault if you need a footprint to vote for someone. Counting the signs near polling places is not a particularly good method for deciding who to vote for. There are ways to find out who is running and what they stand for."

not that this really applied to Orange voters in W8, but counting signs is a perfectly reasonable (if imperfect) thing to do in a race with 3 candidates, strategic voting, and no published opinion polls.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Apr 4, 2012 2:39 pm • linkreport

LOL at the people complaining about the voting system after their candidate lost. You'll probably be complaining about the electoral college and how it "unfairly" favors rural stats after Mitt mops the floor with Barry.

by sitting on the fence on Apr 4, 2012 2:59 pm • linkreport

My "footprint" comment was in response to my (and your own) suggestion that the "candidate" shares the blame for not rallying his vote.

Well, I think you muddied the waters, because you were actually responding to my explanation as to why those who don't vote are to blame for unpopular outcomes. So, that's where I got confused.

by David C on Apr 4, 2012 2:59 pm • linkreport

ou'll probably be complaining about the electoral college and how it "unfairly" favors rural stats after Mitt mops the floor with Barry.

No, I'm complaining about it right now, when Obama is in office based on the system that I don't like.

Also, I think you're going to have a very disappointing November if you're betting on Mitt "I like to fire people" Romney.

by David C on Apr 4, 2012 3:01 pm • linkreport

LOL at the people complaining about the voting system after their candidate lost.

Also, GGW has long been opposed to the current voting system.

by David C on Apr 4, 2012 3:13 pm • linkreport

Doesn't the electoral college system also "unfairly" favor DC, by giving a small "state" 3 votes when it would likely have only 1 or perhaps 2 members of the House?

by dcdriver on Apr 4, 2012 3:37 pm • linkreport

Doesn't the electoral college system also "unfairly" favor DC

Yes. Unfairly in my favor is still unfair. And unfairness isn't even the only flaw.

by David C on Apr 4, 2012 3:41 pm • linkreport

Comments like Charlie's and the fact that no GGW supported candidate won indicate that the "GGW perspective" is flawed and out of touch with a great number of people in the city. I get being progressive, but it seems the progressive attitude is one that is very derisive and condescending to a lot of residents of the city. Perhaps if the agenda were a more holistic one that truly wanted change in all parts of the city, and respected the assets of the community--as opposed to just focusing on deficits and approaching solutions with a holier than though attitude, it would easier for people to sign on.

by CL on Apr 4, 2012 3:54 pm • linkreport

he fact that no GGW supported candidate won indicate that the "GGW perspective" is flawed and out of touch with a great number of people in the city.

Out of touch with many people in the city - maybe. Flawed - not based on the election. It just means GGW is in the minority, especially in Wards 4, 7 and 8. It also means that it's tough to pick against incumbents.

by David C on Apr 4, 2012 4:00 pm • linkreport

@dcdriver

I think any unfairness headed our way is more than offset by the lack of two senators and one house member.

As far as the EOTR argument. I think it is fair to say, that in the same two wards that reelected a crackhead, and a ridiculously weak mouthpiece for Gray, that they also take the lions share of blame for reelecting Orange.

Bravo W7&W8. You really stuck it to the rest of DC.

by Kyle W on Apr 4, 2012 4:14 pm • linkreport

all this theoretical poli sci discussion

have you forgotten 54% of DC residents are African Americans? a lot of them have BAs, JDs, MDs and PHDs

Are some of you people who comment on this blog the very same people who put a 30 yr old up to running against an incumbent who has been on the DC City Council for more than 20 yrs. and she dropped out of the Ward 2 race in less than a week because, surprise surprise, Evans knows how to win an election?

by Native Washingtonian on Apr 4, 2012 4:16 pm • linkreport

Doesn't the electoral college system also "unfairly" favor DC, by giving a small "state" 3 votes when it would likely have only 1 or perhaps 2 members of the House?

No, because each state's Electoral College vote equals their house representation plus their two Senators. In other words, three is the minimum that any state has.

by Political Scientist on Apr 4, 2012 4:18 pm • linkreport

CL,

"Perhaps if the agenda were a more holistic one that truly wanted change in all parts of the city, and respected the assets of the community--as opposed to just focusing on deficits and approaching solutions with a holier than though attitude, it would easier for people to sign on"

What does that mean?

by Canaan on Apr 4, 2012 4:19 pm • linkreport

Oh and the 40% margins of Orange and Biddle suggest that a significant number of residents preferred one or the other. The people will have spoken.

I don't think you can say that at all. 10% of registered voters aren't Democrats, and a lot of people aren't registered to vote. Only 15.5% of DC Democrats voted. And of those that voted, only 38.8% of them preferred the eventual winner. That's hardly a significant number.

Looking at the data - there were 3x more people who submitted ballots without a choice for the at-large seat (under votes), than the number by which Orange won.

by David C on Apr 4, 2012 5:15 pm • linkreport

Bravo W7&W8. You really stuck it to the rest of DC.

Bravo Kate. For suggesting that our vote is only well-regarded when we vote the way others prefer. Like our overwhelming support for Fenty was ok because most WOTR preferred him. It's when we vote against the wishes of our WOTR neighbors that our votes becomes "questionable."

Way to go Kate. Way to go indeed.

by HogWash on Apr 4, 2012 5:26 pm • linkreport

@David, I didn't think it necessary to explicitly state that I am referring to the "significant" number of those who voted..since they are who decided the election. It makes little sense to talk about the preferences of nonvoters.

by HogWash on Apr 4, 2012 5:28 pm • linkreport

Doesn't the electoral college system also "unfairly" favor DC, by giving a small "state" 3 votes when it would likely have only 1 or perhaps 2 members of the House?

No more so than small states with 3 electoral votes, which results from the "unfairness" of each state's having 2 senators regardless of size. Which, of course, was a compromise necessary to form the United States in the first place.

by ah on Apr 4, 2012 5:37 pm • linkreport

Charlie:

[Deleted for violating the comment policy.] There is not going to be a recount. I spoke with the BOEE this afternoon. That office indiacated none of the races are final until April 13, 2012. They count all votes that were cast whether were regular, absentee or provisional ballots. On April 13, 2012 the official winner of all the races will be posted and there will not be a recount in any race. Your 25% analysis is wishful thinking.

by Native Washingtonian on Apr 4, 2012 5:49 pm • linkreport

@Hogwash

No, your vote is questionable when you vote for terrible candidates, ala Barry, Alexander, and Orange, and then the city as a whole is forced to deal with these [deleted for violating the comment policy] for the next 4 years.

by Kyle W on Apr 4, 2012 5:49 pm • linkreport

@Kyle, I get the "sentiment" behind what you imply. But your opinion on whether Orange, Barry and Alexander were "terrible" is simply that..your opinion which has no bearing on someone else's vote. I live in w8 and didn't vote for Barry. Despite how I might dislike the fact he won, I will stick with my neighbors and reject the notion that we "stuck it" to the rest of DC (encouraging an antagonistic relationship) or that our vote is only worthy of acknowledgement if it meets WOTR approval.

This is really the blind spot some of you fail to understand. It's great when we vote overwhelmingly to help elect (primaries) Williams and Fenty. No harm no foul. But it's when we exercise the same "judgment" in favor of Gray/Orange that our contribution to the city is questioned. It's a bit insulting. Ok, it is really, really insulting.

Sure, we can argue whether there's a greater number of low information voters in poorer areas of the city. That said, how exactly do you expect them to learn about Peter Shapiro or Sekou Biddle? They aren't reading blogs/news sources nor performing Westlaw/Hein Online research. So by what sort of voodoo magic do you expect them to just say, "Oh! Never heard of/haven't seen Biddle nor this Shapiro guy, guess I should vote for 'em though."

C'mon son moe...

BTW, I think it's quite a Parsh'sana stretch for people to suggest that the city has fared much worse w/Orange as the member. Doesn't mean that people can't have their sights on whomever they think is the better choice. But this city is not in retreat my friends.

by HogWash on Apr 4, 2012 7:43 pm • linkreport

wrong stretch

by HogWash on Apr 4, 2012 7:48 pm • linkreport

Add a Comment

Name: (will be displayed on the comments page)

Email: (must be your real address, but will be kept private)

URL: (optional, will be displayed)

Your comment:

By submitting a comment, you agree to abide by our comment policy.
Notify me of followup comments via email. (You can also subscribe without commenting.)
Save my name and email address on this computer so I don't have to enter it next time, and so I don't have to answer the anti-spam map challenge question in the future.

or