Greater Greater Washington

Politics


We let you down with our political coverage this spring

It looks like Vincent Orange has probably, but not definitely, eked out reelection over Sekou Biddle. A number of commenters are criticizing Greater Greater Washington's election articles this spring, especially our decision to endorse Peter Shapiro.

I believe that we did fall short in our coverage of this election. I proudly voted for Shapiro yesterday and continue to stand by that endorsement, because he outlined a clear progressive platform, while Sekou Biddle did not..

We did not err in our decision to tell you why most of the contributors had decided to vote for Shapiro. Rather, we didn't do enough to help you make up your own minds based on real issues.

Early in the election cycle, we wrote that our election coverage would focus on issues. There are many significant decisions facing the DC government, from how and whether to fund affordable housing, to what kind of transportation infrastructure to build, to where to put development and what kind, to how to improve education.

HogWash made an excellent point in the comments on today's breakfast links: you're not low-information voters. You don't need someone just to tell you for whom to vote without reason. What you need is more information to help you make up your minds. We ought to have delivered that, and we did not.

The candidates did not help. Even now, at the end of the campaign, there is very little information available about how the candidates stand on these issues. For example, I can't identify any issue, save campaign finance, where we know Biddle would reliably vote differently than Orange; even then, both candidates support some reasonable campaign finance reforms.

They both have said they support increasing funding for affordable housing but haven't done much to actually change that. Neither wants to make the tax structure more progressive. Neither supports traffic camera enforcement. Both support better education and Orange actually has more specific suggestions. The list goes on.

Shapiro, meanwhile, impressed us with his thoughtful and detailed ideas for economic development, workforce development, and more. On many areas of policy, including but not limited to transportation, he spoke from experience and a thoughtfully considered point of view.

After the mainstream newspaper endorsements came out and it was clear that the anti-Orange vote was coalescing around Biddle, we discussed whether to jump on the bandwagon, so to speak. For many, the decision not to do so came down to the simple fact that we could not identify a positive, policy-centered reason to be excited about Biddle.

Some editorial writers and residents seem to feel that DC's only real significant issues are whether a candidate is stealing, will keep spending low, and supports the current flavor of education reform. Otherwise, it seems, a candidate need not want to change a thing about the District's policy and can still earn a glowing endorsement.

We should expect more from our leaders. We need vision. The vision need not necessarily match ours on every single issue, but a candidate with vision is open to listening to persuasive arguments about why a particular policy is the best one. A candidate without it will simply take whatever stance gets headlines and pleases the latest group of angry constituents.

We should expect more from our pundits as well. Very little of the news coverage of this race tried to tease apart the candidates on any substantive issues. Most reporters and editorial writers seemingly filled out a 2-question scorecard: Might this candidate be a crook? And is he or she likely to win?

Using that yardstick on all elections is a recipe for very bland politics and a change-averse council. We need better. And we at Greater Greater Washington could have done more to shine a light on candidates' positions.

We don't want to make endorsements based on what will give us the most political influence. Our role is to inform all of you, the readers. The more you know, the better you can advocate for issues you care about or make up your minds for candidates.

We welcome your input on how we could best talk about political races in the future. The experience in this race will help us learn and shape future coverage. And, as always, consider becoming a contributor. We can't write about candidates' positions on issues if we don't know what those positions are. Candidates try not to take controversial stands in primaries, and unless someone can pin them down, there's no information to share.

David Alpert is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Greater Greater Washington and Greater Greater Education. He worked as a Product Manager for Google for six years and has lived in the Boston, San Francisco, and New York metro areas in addition to Washington, DC. He loves the area which is, in many ways, greater than those others, and wants to see it become even greater. 

Comments

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I think the scorecard idea, as raised in comments in another post, are a good idea.

GGW also held chats with candidates in the last cycle, but not in this one. Those were informative and allowed voters to see how candidates responded and enabled the capacity to compare to other questionnaires from organizations.

by William on Apr 4, 2012 2:47 pm • linkreport

Your headline is too harsh.

There isn't an easy way to balance the interests of developing a policy-oriented community and devoping a core of city activist. To white, I saw Ken Archer quoted in the post -- sans GGW -- blanding saying things about Evans.

Just as you did not endorse in the Arlington special election, I think you have to be honest sometimes and say there isn't a candidate that it doing it for GGW issues.

I don't know much about Shapiro, but it reminded me of the Bondi endorsement, where I think you (collectively, not one person) was sucked in by someone doing the talk. There is more to politics than doing the talk, however. Ask any Republican about that and Mitt Rommney.

by charlie on Apr 4, 2012 2:51 pm • linkreport

I really don't think the media is responsible for educating voters. Are we all that lazy now? But, sadly, the answer is yes. I think most people vote for the person who hands them a flyer outside the polling place.

If the voters are so fickle, there's no point in the media doing anything to educate anyone.

by Tom A. on Apr 4, 2012 2:52 pm • linkreport

We did not err in our decision to tell you why most of the contributors had decided to vote for Shapiro. Rather, we didn't do enough to help you make up your own minds based on real issues.

I'd say you erred in NOT telling readers why contributors voted for Shapiro. Maybe I missed it but why did contributors vote for Shapiro instead of voting strategically? Was it because you found no substantive difference between Biddle and Orange on policy or ethics? Was it because you thought a protest vote would be more in line with the long term interest of the city by raising awareness for what needs to be done and you're willing to bear 4 more years of Orange in pursuit of that goal? Was it because you truly thought Shapiro had a reasonable chance to win?

by Falls Church on Apr 4, 2012 3:06 pm • linkreport

I was one of the people who criticized GGW for their coverage of this election but I want to say that I really appreciate everything GGW stands for and what the writers do to make a difference in the DC area. I wanted to vote for Shapiro, I wanted him to win the election and I wanted to start to see the change that we need on the council. I also recognized that he stood a 0% chance of winning the election. His campaign was small and poorly managed. The sidewalk leading to my polling place had 20+ signs for Orange and Biddle but 0 for Shapiro. They were no volunteers discussing issues. His candidacy was a non-starter. I would have preferred if GGW had focus on viable candidates. Perhaps an endorsement of Shapiro with the disclaimer that a vote for him would effectively be a vote for Orange (which it absolutely was) would have helped casual readers make a better decision. To assume that all of your readers are as involved and knowledgeable of the intricacies of DC Council elections is misguided. Next election Biddle will run again, we know he's not going anywhere. We also know he's the only viable candidate to take on Orange. Once Orange is out and Biddle is in then we can start looking at other candidates but as long as Biddle is not elected he will run and ensure no one else can win but he or Orange. One step at a time.

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

I was just reading a previous article prior to the last Biddle vs. Orange race and David said the following:

"I'd love to see Sekou Biddle, Patrick Mara, and Bryan Weaver all get seats on the DC Council. All three are smart and have generally good policy ideas. I'd vote for any of the three over at least half of the incumbents."

And

"Biddle has a great grasp of policy and it's probably unfair that he's been tarnished by his association with Kwame Brown. He got pigeonholed as the insider candidate, but if elected to the Council he would have his own ideas. He understands urbanism and often rides the bus or his bicycle, and knows better than most how to fix education and would make an ideal chair for an education committee."

So, I'm wondering what happened over the last year to make you sour on him so much.

by David C on Apr 4, 2012 3:19 pm • linkreport

link

by David C on Apr 4, 2012 3:20 pm • linkreport

I did the same thing and likely have to write a similar mea culpa. Like you, I don't think the differences in terms of voting wrt Biddle over Orange are significantly different, which is why I didn't support him, although I wonder if I made the wrong choice, and I think I did.

I do disagree with Russell's analysis though, that Biddle is the only person that can beat Orange. I think that all nonincumbents had a real struggle in this campaign because they had about 160 fewer days to campaign, compared to normal years.

I hope that GGW advocates for moving the primaries to early June. While not perfect, it would provide at 60 to 75 more days for campaigning than were available in this particular election cycle.

by Richard Layman on Apr 4, 2012 3:22 pm • linkreport

I wouldn't apologize; you made your endorsement, it didn't work out, it may have set back the goals of this blog, but you learn and move on. Also, let's be honest - how many people actually listen to an endorsement and say: "ah, yes, ok, the Washington Post picked X so now I'm going to go out and vote for X. But before that I was so undecided?!" On Morning Joe a few weeks ago, they were making fun of the whole endorsement racket and said that while it made some sense during the Tammaney Hall days where people voted in "blocks," the idea that it makes any sense today is ludicrous.

I think the first thing to take into consideration is what someone said on the morning post - how will this play in the larger P political scene. Yes, Shapiro may have been a better choice in your eyes than Biddle, but when push comes to shove, anyone here would rather have Biddle than Orange.

And secondly, the scorecard idea is great. List out the top 10 major issues - or even ask the myopic little tweets what the issues of importance are - and then just rate the candidates and leave it at that. Obviously, the endorsement can be inferred from the scores, but it will leave things much less political.

by Shipsa01 on Apr 4, 2012 3:22 pm • linkreport

In my opinion, GGW was overly focused on policy to the point that politics were ignored. Policy-wise, Shapiro may have been a natural choice for you. But, politically, the fact that he has lived for 19 of the last 22 years in Maryland made him unacceptable to a significant number of DC voters. The emphasis in one article published here on Shapiro's alleged fundraising advantage over Biddle ignored Shapiro's loan to his campaign, without which he had no advantage.

Having fallen for Shapiro on policy grounds, you either ignored or papered over the political issues. Biddle supporters, among whom I am one, may be guilty of the same thing in reverse. As you point out, we were probably more willing to give him a pass policy-wise. But, regardless of Biddle's stated policies, I am confident that he would be a better Council Member than Orange. Moreover, I think most of you would agree with me in this regard, at least intuitively.

I think that idealism and an emphasis on policy are great things that should never be left out of politics, but the candidate still has to get elected. So, while electability should not be the primary factor in choosing a candidate, it should not be ignored either.

by Jeff Steele on Apr 4, 2012 3:23 pm • linkreport

Falls Church:

I voted to endorse Peter Shapiro because I thought he was the best person for the job. His legislative experience, his policy stances and his thoughtful approach to governing made him the most attractive candidate to me.

As this post says, we need to expect more from our leaders and we need them to have a vision for our city. I didn't want to vote for Biddle just because I thought he might be able to beat Orange. I wanted to vote for someone that I thought would make the best councilmember. That person was Shapiro.

As many people say, we shouldn't make the perfect the enemy of the good. But I don't want to sacrifice my beliefs to vote for the candidate that's just good enough. In this case that means Orange is likely to continue to be the at-large councilmember. But I think we perpetuate mediocre politics by only playing the strategy game.

It makes me think of the 2004 presidential election. I didn't particularly like John Kerry, but at the time I wanted to support anybody but Bush. But it's hard to excite voters by just saying "I'm not the other guy." That's not the only reason Kerry lost but I do think it didn't move people enough. A candidate that can really excite voters and get them to believe in his/her vision is the one that wins. Maybe Shapiro didn't do that enough, but he did it for me. That's what I voted to endorse him.

by Jamie Scott on Apr 4, 2012 3:23 pm • linkreport

@Russell: Seriously, warmed over rejected leftover Biddle, force fed to us again as dinner? Really?

I mean, how many times can this guy get shoved down our throats and lose before the gang stops?

by John on Apr 4, 2012 3:23 pm • linkreport

@David C: I think it was the budget, mainly. They hadn't had the budget debate before then. Biddle showed a remarkable lack of spine during the budget period.

by David Alpert on Apr 4, 2012 3:24 pm • linkreport

I don't care much about the endorsements, but appreciate the open-minded self-reflection.

by Jasper on Apr 4, 2012 3:28 pm • linkreport

Next election Biddle will run again, we know he's not going anywhere. We also know he's the only viable candidate to take on Orange.

Actually, I'd like to see Wells run against him. If he wins he takes out an opponent and opens the Ward 6 seat to a likely ally, plus positions himself to run for Chair or Mayor without giving up his council seat. If he loses, he's still had a chance to build a district-wide apparatus, gain some name recognition and he keeps his current seat.

by David C on Apr 4, 2012 3:29 pm • linkreport

There were two very close races that you ignored completely: RNC Committeeman and RNC Committeewoman. Both actually had some interesting candidates including one of DC's old GOP hands who also happens to be openly gay, an upstart young activist with ties to the old Herman Cain campaign, and a big shot with the Miss DC pageant who was running on a platform of building the DC GOP through the Latino vote.

In case you missed it, Kabel and Homan won.

Mailboxes and voice mailboxes were full for a week with fliers and robocalls, including one from John McCain and one from National Review editor Rich Lowery (each endorsing different candidates for committeeman).

The DC members of the RNC are the city's lone advocates within the formal structure of the national Republican party and as such are more important to DC then other RNC members are to their home states, or the DNC members are to our city.

by dcrepublican on Apr 4, 2012 3:31 pm • linkreport

If "spine" was suddenly the issue, on just one issue, well: "Shapiro was sometimes criticized by observers and colleagues for being too willing to cooperate with then-County Executive Jack B. Johnson. When Shapiro announced his resignation in 2004, lobbyist Wayne Clarke told the Post that Shapiro 'evolved from a populist who wanted to change the system into a great compromiser. ... And I think he got stuck in the position as the great compromiser.'" http://wapo.st/sh41Ci

by Joel on Apr 4, 2012 3:33 pm • linkreport

Personally, I didn't have an issue with the endorsement. What I found interesting was to look back at Dave Stroup's post of February 1st calling for Biddle to drop out of the race as the only way to defeat Orange, on the main pretense that Shapiro had raised more money than Biddle. As it turns out, it would certainly seem that it was Shapiro's presence on the ballot and not Biddle's that was the defining factor.

A quote: "Peter Shapiro raised more than double the amount as his rival Sekou Biddle. To maximize the chances of beating Orange, Biddle should withdraw from the race and throw his support behind Shapiro."

by Adam on Apr 4, 2012 3:49 pm • linkreport

Admitting a flaw is never easy.

With the support of over 20k residents, it's clear that all DC residents were not sold on the idea that Orange was the demon that every media outlet portrayed him as. It's why I kept saying that I failed to see much of a substantive argument against Orange (or Alexander for that matter). The AMBY's argument against Orange was to tie him to the "system" and it simply proved not that convincing.

I also must agree that I'm a bit confused at(ok not really) how Biddle was great..then not so great. I do believe that his candidacy..then and now..was damaged by the AMBY's position against him because he was supported by Gray and Brown. It doesn't seem as if he's been able to properly recover from that.

But let's not get confused. Shapiro and Biddle were horrrrrrrrrrible candidates. I had suggested before that Shapiro was a grandstander and IMO, his dramatic loss proved that. I am even more convinced that he decided to latch himself onto GGW-friendly issues in an effort to promote himself...and it backfired..big time. Biddle decided (once again) that he didn't need the EOTR vote. No amount of GGW endorsement could have changed that fact.

Face it, voters have always been fickle..we know that. But the candidates should just be better candidates. I was one of the few who voted for Patterson because between Giant and the Cong Heights metro, I saw this man time and time and time and time again asking for my vote. I didn't see anything similar from Biddle, Shapiro, Williams, or Gatson.

Patterson definitely had a footprint. Shapiro and Biddle did not. They just didn't.

by HogWash on Apr 4, 2012 3:50 pm • linkreport

Jamie: A candidate that can really excite voters and get them to believe in his/her vision is the one that wins.

Frankly, I disagree with that. I'm no expert but what I've read seems to indicate that elections with an incumbent are generally referendums on the incumbent. The smaller the election, the more that's true. Of course, there are exceptions, but unless the candidate has a ton of money or a really really good organization on the ground, typical voters simply don't follow local elections closely enough to be excited by any challenger. So, I'd say that waiting for a candidate who really excites you is like waiting for superman.

I understand you expect more from our leaders than what Biddle could provide and by casting a protest vote for Shapiro, you're making that expectation known. The question is whether expressing that expectation is more important than removing Orange from office.

by Falls Church on Apr 4, 2012 3:53 pm • linkreport

Oh and by the way, did I mention that Shapiro spent 50g's on 5000 votes?

by HogWash on Apr 4, 2012 3:53 pm • linkreport

the commenter who said Washingtonians are not going to elect someone who chose to live in Maryland, moves to DC for 2 yrs and decides to run for the DC City Council was not going to get elected knows what he is talking about. I wondered why he ever thought he would could or would get elected to the DC City Council.

Biddle was appointed to the 4 month at large position by members of the City Council who thought they could shove a person down our throats. All of you who support(ed) Biddle because he supports "Rhee's" reforms obviously did not pay attention to why the African American community along generational lines put Fenty out of office.

Holness espoused nothing about how she would change any of the status quo

We certainly have more capable people in this City who can beat Orange than Sekou Biddle,

by Native Washingtonian on Apr 4, 2012 3:57 pm • linkreport

A vote for Shapiro was a vote for Orange. Period. That was true the day you endorsed, and it was true yesterday.

This really was an election about "whether a candidate is stealing", and you helped get the guy who does the stealing reelected. If this was an election about red-light cameras, your endorsement might have made sense, but until the council is cleansed of the folks who steal, we need strong 1-on-1 races to get bad incumbents defeated, and that should be our only goal. Maybe someday DC can actually have an election about real walkability, but that will be when the race is between Biddle and a plausible candidate with Shapiro's issues, but that time is NOT now.

Maybe Shapiro can move to Arlington or Montgomery County next and run another vanity ego-campaign there, where if the incumbent wins it won't actually make the county a worse place.

by P on Apr 4, 2012 3:57 pm • linkreport

There were two very close races that you ignored completely: RNC Committeeman and RNC Committeewoman

While certainly interesting, this race was really orthogonal to GGW's focus and interests.

by JustMe on Apr 4, 2012 3:59 pm • linkreport

typical voters simply don't follow local elections closely enough to be excited by any challenger.

Yes Yes Yes! That's why Biddle and Shapiro were wrong to expect the AMBY vote to propel them into victory. Geez, did anyone learn ANYTHING by Fenty's fall from grace?

One thing to consider moving forward is making sure that GGW has a better sense of what's happening on the ground. That doesn't mean that it should dictate the endorsement. But it could help craft a better argument for/against a candidate. There's no reason GGW should be stuck w/an endorsement of a man who won 5000 out of almost 50g available votes.

by HogWash on Apr 4, 2012 4:01 pm • linkreport

Admitting a flaw is never easy.

From your lips to $deity's ears...

by Geoffrey Hatchard on Apr 4, 2012 4:03 pm • linkreport

@P: What stealing? I'm curious. There has been no allegation of stealing by Orange. A number of people have often said they believe he must be, and I don't know one way or the other, but I'm curious where your conviction comes from. What would make us believe he is stealing and, say, Phil Mendelson is not? Or Muriel Bowser?

by David Alpert on Apr 4, 2012 4:05 pm • linkreport

HogWash: Can you explain what you mean by "AMBY"? You've used it a lot here with no definition.

by Geoffrey Hatchard on Apr 4, 2012 4:13 pm • linkreport

@DAL, you beat me to it. But I think I know the answer.

There are hoards of people who believe that Orange is a thief because of the incessant coverage of the ethical "cloud" hovering over the council. Orange, much like Gray, has been tied to any council scandal whether he was part of it or not. The recent "money order" scam further encourages the misinformation. That's why, I'm always asking people to clarify the attacks they make wrt to the pols. You know like, "did Wells/Gray really say that.

Yes, people will believe that Orange is a thief because it fits the current narrative surrounding the council. It doesn't have to be true. But people only have to believe such.

by HogWash on Apr 4, 2012 4:21 pm • linkreport

Very thoughtful piece and comment suggestions. This discussion should be continued. Thanks

by CB on Apr 4, 2012 4:24 pm • linkreport

GH...HA! Someone just asked me that!

I've consistently jacked up my own acronym. It should be ABY..as in Anybody But You.

My play on NIMBY should make sense. There's no "M" involved.

Sorry

by HogWash on Apr 4, 2012 4:25 pm • linkreport

whew .... I see Evans won comfortably ... I was a little worried there for a while ...

;)

by Lance on Apr 4, 2012 5:05 pm • linkreport

To say that the primary races are a disappointment is the understatement of the first quarter of 2012 here in DC...HOWEVER....it is still not too late to change the outcome of the elections...We need to get interested and qualified people run as Independents in the November general election. More people will be voting in November. Hopefully we can have a decent discussion between the current crop and independents.
Finally...remember, fellow citizens...we also will be voting on ALL the ANC and some new Board of Education members.

by DC John on Apr 4, 2012 5:29 pm • linkreport

Aren't we still missing the underlying structural problem of the electoral process? Time and again we are gets levying candidates with less than 50% of the vote. That does NOT represent the best judgment of voters. Fix the process and you won't have to make these second-best choices.

by Ted on Apr 4, 2012 5:59 pm • linkreport

^^we are electing

by Ted on Apr 4, 2012 6:01 pm • linkreport

"We let you down with our political coverage this spring"

Nah. You let your collective self down. I for one was less disappointed than incredulous and angry.

It would have been more consistent with GGW's cerebral take on the world to eschew the ham-fisted Shapiro promotion in favor of inviting Biddle, Orange, and Shapiro to each explain in detail he would try to do on the Council on specific issues. They could have written what they liked, so long as it met your standards of specificity and coherence. Or each could have been interviewed by your contributors, with follow-up questions for clarity. How can we best increase housing for people of modest means? What set of carrots and sticks would best encourage alternatives to one human in a huge motorized vehicle as a strategy for getting around? How can we connect relatively unskilled unemployed people who live this city with skill-building work on DC construction sites than now goes to people with suburban plates on their trucks?

Inquiring minds would have liked to know how the candidates were thinking about these issues, and no instrument would have been more effective at digging out the truth than GGW

You all would have been much better at that than at attempted king-making, and the electorate might have learned a lot.

By the way, I don't think many people think Orange is stealing, at least in the Harry Thomas mode. It has just become increasingly evident that he accepted illegal campaign contributions. He does have in common with Thomas that he seems determine to brazen it out short of charges being filed.

In case circumstances evolve so that the primary fray has to be functionally re-enacted in the face of an indictment, I trust you will try to be more fact based in explaining your enthusiasms.

by Waaay Chagrined on Apr 4, 2012 6:25 pm • linkreport

Although no one wants to touch the issue, race still plays a part in DC elections. We are not yet a post-racial city. So when two progressives (Shapiro, Biddle) are running, progressive African Americans are going to choose the acceptable, qualified black candidate. The voting population of DC hasn't fully reflected the influx of newer citizens. It's naive not to recognize that.

by mch on Apr 4, 2012 7:54 pm • linkreport

Obviously you should give readers their money back.

But seriously, the answer is electoral reform. Whether it's run-off elections, preference voting, whatever. Anything but first-past-the-post. No spoilers. No guilt voting your heart, then your head.

by TM on Apr 4, 2012 9:52 pm • linkreport

Waaay Chagrined: Not specifically what you allude to, but we did ask all the candidates to submit an introductory post to us. Biddle and Shapiro replied, Orange did not.

by Jaime Fearer on Apr 4, 2012 10:42 pm • linkreport

Like Jamie Scott above, I am reminded of past elections. In 2004, I fell for John Edwards. 3+ years later, I sill liked him and he offered the best set of progressive ideas and priorities of any serious Presidential candidate in my life. Except the question became for me whether he was a serious candidate.

In '04 I did a lot of volunteer work for him, but I sat out the '08 run. I see many parallels. Ya want to support A because he's got the great progressive ideas. C is just more of the same -- we've seen this act before. B isn't saying how he's different, and is not laying out his program. He offers no good reason to pick him except that he would be a welcome change from C. The thing is B could win, but it's clear that A is not going to get the money or votes.

The question is do you work for or even just vote for A, knowing you could help elect B and that your vote for A instead will help C win. That's obvious, right?

What is not obvious is the decision about what GGW will be. Is it just a place for like-minded folks to post about what's going on and to discuss it? Or, will you strive to have more impact than that? If it is the latter, a golden opportunity was squandered because GGW didn't press the real challenger to offer a concrete reason to endorse him. On the other hand, this probably will not be the last opportunity to do that. In fact, GGW may now have more influence, if you are willing to play the game. Otherwise, you have all the influence and impact of Naderites within Democratic politics. The Nader movement turned out to be more about maintaining the purity of their iconoclastic posturing than reaching out to Democrats to get some more progressive policy.

Does GGW want to be an international billboard, or something more. Either answer is fine, but there is this choice to be made.

by Fischy (Ed F.) on Apr 4, 2012 11:07 pm • linkreport

Oops -- "Internet billboard."

by Fischy (Ed F.) on Apr 4, 2012 11:11 pm • linkreport

[This comment has been deleted for violating the comment policy.]

by We've Had Enough on Apr 4, 2012 11:35 pm • linkreport

I didn't particularly like John Kerry, but at the time I wanted to support anybody but Bush. But it's hard to excite voters by just saying "I'm not the other guy."

A friend of mine (who doesn't follow DC politics at all) also made the same comparison of Biddle to Kerry, when we drove past one of his signs, which had the slogan "Sekou Biddle: Better for DC."

Really, that's a terrible slogan. Might as well have been "Sekou Biddle: Less Shitty." He was unable to run on a positive platform, and did absolutely nothing to get voters excited for him. (Hell, like David mentioned, the candidates didn't really even run substantive campaigns in this cycle; it didn't matter when Gray won the election without any platform to speak of, and the council seems to have taken that lesson to heard).

That said, I stand by this blog's endorsement of Shapiro. I don't really think there was any question that Shapiro supports the views of this blog better than Biddle does. Edorsements are not necessarily voting instructions, and I think that an "Issues" blog such as GGW should be able to put politics aside and make endorsements that are consistent with positions on the issues that we support, regardless of political viability.

It brings the current Catch-22 of the Republican primary to mind. Politicians are lining up to endorse Mitt Romney because he's going to win. Except that he hasn't won yet.... he only just half the number of delegates required to clinch the nomination. Even Ron Paul hasn't yet been mathematically eliminated.

by schmod on Apr 4, 2012 11:50 pm • linkreport

there are three reasons African American Washingtonians who voted for Vincent Orange chose to do so. (aside from the fact they vote for who they want to just like white people/"urbanists" can )

They are as follows:

1. Biddle supports Rhees' "educational reforms" and we do not;
2. Schapiro is a carpetbagger who moved from MD to DC 2 yrs ago & for some reason expected people to vote for him
3. Holness offered no alternative. (of course she isn't being discussed by the "Urbanist" white people posting on this blog because for them she doesn't/didn't exist)

overall there were no viable alternative candidate on the ballot.

when you have some white people such as those on this comment string who consistently insult African Americans with innane racist comments such as calling 1/4 of the population of DC (Wards 7 & 8) uneducated, old and poor
you will never get African americans to vote for any person

who "urbanists" support

the fact that the moderator did not strike "Charlie's" post in its entirety speaks volumes about "Greater Greater Washington" and its progeny

the poverty rate in DC is 19%

the black/white divide in this City isn't getting any better and will not get any better as long as comments like these are allowed to be posted on these types of blogs

white is not always right

by native washingtonian on Apr 5, 2012 12:19 am • linkreport

I believe the last two posters make excellent points, but there is a third way. Yes, the natives and newcomer urbanists have different experiences, different priorities, and don't even really speak the same language. That doesn't mean one shouldn't try to bridge some of that gap. Ditto with the endorsement -- endorsements aren't just a restatement of what the editors believe. They ARE recommendations on how to vote. Otherwise, thy'd serve no purpose. In this case, and doubtless in future cases, it's possible to express the editorial judgment that one candidate best represents the vision of the board, but also state recognition that he isn't going to win...and then endorse the candidate you prefer among the candidates who have a chance of winning. People can be libertarians, but if they vote for the LIbertarian candidate, they are saying they don't really want to decide between the real, viable choices. You can make that choice, but in a winner-take-all electoral system, you do bear some responsibility for the really wrong guy winning. The third way is to express your preference, but include some recommendation for the better of the viable candidates. That's a step towards participating...reaching out to the natives.

by Fischy (Ed F.) on Apr 5, 2012 12:28 am • linkreport

@Native Washingtonian: Which comment do you think needs to be struck? The only one by charlie seems to have a typo in using the word 'white' (I think he means 'to wit'), and is otherwise not about Ward 7 and 8 or race one whit.

I rebuked the folks who said that stuff about wards 7 and 8 in the breakfast links and only didn't delete the comment because HogWash and some other EOTR people had already quoted it to refute it by the time I saw the comments.

I take offensive comments seriously but I think it is quite offensive in turn when you say that everyone here has no credibility because a few people are jerks and the moderators don't delete their stuff fast enough, when in fact we are much more aggressive in deleting comments than most forums, and the folks making these comments are not contributors and do not speak for the blog.

Divisive racial language and dog-whistle statements are not welcome here and never have been.

by David Alpert on Apr 5, 2012 12:57 am • linkreport

I would like to know what happened to the petition GGW suggested we support. No one with such a proposition was outside my polling place to collect needed signatures. Elsewhere? What's the status of that effort?

by Lindsley Williams on Apr 5, 2012 7:02 am • linkreport

Your endorsement of Melissa Bondi was [deleted for violating the comment policy.] You are an outsider to arlington (oh I forgot you have one person in Arlington - no, your editorial board is not Arlington and thus having GGW endorse an arlington candidate is just meddling). You endorsed a candidate who has a tax lien. You endorsed a candidate who reportedly kept a car in Arlington for 2 years with out of state tags (thereby avoiding taxes). You endorsed a candidate who excused her non compliance because of family issues [deleted for violating the comment policy] that doesnt excuse non compliance. You endorsed a candidate who was resoundingly rejected by arlington voters.

Here is a thought. STOP endorsing candidates, particularly outside your jurisdiction. Stop sticking your noise where it does not below. Hitching your horse to the wrong wagon gets you identified with that wagon when it dont work.

by Wilbur on Apr 5, 2012 7:59 am • linkreport

Wilbur: You'll notice that that endorsement was written by Michael Perkins, who lives in Arlington. We have about 5 contributors who live in Arlington, and they all participated in discussions about the endorsement. We chose who to endorse based on a consensus of the Arlington contributors, not based on the editors; there is no "editorial board."

by David Alpert on Apr 5, 2012 8:16 am • linkreport

It was perfectly clear that the winner would be either Biddle or Orange. Hence, a vote for Shapiro or Holness would be a vote thrown away. In the end, a vote for Shapiro amounted to a vote for Orange.

Of the four candidates, only Biddle was willing to say that Klingle Road (pardon me, but that's an issue close to my neighborhood) should remain closed to automobile traffic: "we've decided it already," he said. Shapiro and Orange both called for Klingle Road to be reopened. They're both living two decades in the automobile-dominated past. Re GGW, how does that comport with Shapiro being the choice for modern urban transit ideas?

by Jack on Apr 5, 2012 8:49 am • linkreport

In the end, a vote for Shapiro amounted to a vote for Orange.

People keep saying this, but technically it isn't true. From a pure mathematical standpoint, a vote for Shapiro was equal to not voting. Or you could say it was equal to a vote for Orange and a vote for Biddle. But a vote for Orange would require a vote for Biddle to cancel it out, and that isn't what voting for Shapiro does.

by David C on Apr 5, 2012 9:02 am • linkreport

Your coverage is great. But it could be greater.

by Jeff on Apr 5, 2012 9:34 am • linkreport

People keep saying this, but technically it isn't true.

That's not how politics works, however. Politics operates at the margins, especially in our first-past-the-post system. Like it or not, there's a strategic element to all this.

Let me ask: what's the purpose of a GGW endorsement?

Is it to inform?

If it's to raise the issues and try to push an agenda, get candidates to endorse ideas you favor, then why not simply rate all candidates on the issues and present the results, letting the voters decide on the strategic questions? No need to endorse one at all, actually - just offer those that you approve of and those you do not.

Is it to influence?

If it's to pick the candidate most aligned with those ideas in order to help that candidate win, then you need to be prepared to compromise your principles on the basis of electability. To not do so is simple ignorance of how our system (flawed as it might be) works. This current predicament was as predictable as a sunrise.

You can even influence by ranking all candidates. Get the candidates to adjust their positions because they want to earn your endorsement.

Either way, make your reasoning explicit in your endorsement language.

by Strategery on Apr 5, 2012 9:36 am • linkreport

Lindsley Williams: I'm guessing you're asking about Initiative 70? They collected ~10K signatures on Tuesday.

by Jaime Fearer on Apr 5, 2012 10:05 am • linkreport

Edorsements are not necessarily voting instructions, and I think that an "Issues" blog such as GGW should be able to put politics aside and make endorsements that are consistent with positions on the issues that we support, regardless of political viability.

If that's the case, GGW ought to say "we endorse Shapiro because we agree with his stance on the issues but we don't actually recommend that you vote for him because he's not politically viable."

Or, GGW could recommend casting a vote for Shapiro just like supporters of Ron Paul vote for him even though he's not politically viable. You can easily argue that casting protest votes for Ron Paul has made an impact and has been an effective strategy at promoting Paul's world view. On the other hand, I bet most of those Paul supporters hold their nose and end up voting for whomever the Republican candidate is in the general election.

I'd agree that protest votes have a time and place. If I lived in a dictatorship that ran sham elections with two nearly identical candidates, I'd cast a protest vote. I don't think we're quite there yet in DC.

by Falls Church on Apr 5, 2012 10:23 am • linkreport

@Native Washingtonian

"Biddle supports Rhees' "educational reforms" and we do not"

- Fair. Probably the only real policy point you make.

"Schapiro is a carpetbagger who moved from MD to DC 2 yrs

- Something like half of DC residents weren't born here; a lot of people can relate to his perspective and frustration with the existing corrupt DC political scene they found here.

"Holness offered no alternative. (of course she isn't being discussed by the "Urbanist" white people posting on this blog because for them she doesn't/didn't exist)"

- Difficult for you to believe, but you and "Urbanists" probably dismissed Holness for the same reasons: irrelevance. Congratulations - you have something in common.

"the black/white divide in this City isn't getting any better and will not get any better as long as comments like these are allowed to be posted on these types of blogs"

- I assume you're referring to your own post, which is easily the most divisive so far.

by Jeff on Apr 5, 2012 10:23 am • linkreport

@Native Washington, while I think it's quite reasonable to argue we would be less willing to vote for Shapiro because he's a carpetbagger and Holness wasn't a viable alternative, the idea that we didn't vote for Biddle because of Rhee seems to defy human logic. Most DC voters learned about Biddle (in 2011) only after he was chosen to fill Kwame's seat and began his 4month campaign to maintain his seat. I highly doubt that blacks EOTR somehow drew a straight line between him and Rhee. And if they did, they also must have drawn the same line wrt Gray because he appointed the person who was Rhee's right-hand woman and continued many of her policies. So those who believe Biddle shouldn't win because of a Rhee connection are as illogical as those who believed that Gray winning meant DCPS would be in retreat.

I do agree that the racial divide hasn't gotten any better and in some cases worse. I think it has a lot to do w/how the last mayoral administration governed and subsequently campaigned as well as media/blogs whose coverage exacerbated race/class tensions in ways they can't begin to understand.

by HogWash on Apr 5, 2012 10:56 am • linkreport

@Native

New residents, Native DC politics, Ward 8 voters' high education level, etc. all summed up in another delicious Marion Barryism: he's going to "do something about these dirty Asians."

http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/blogs/citydesk/2012/04/04/the-needle-hu-oh-no-edition/

Yup. Urbanism and their stupid focus on education and infrastructure is what's wrong with DC today. What we need is for everyone to be more tolerant. Like Ward 8.

by Gerald on Apr 5, 2012 10:59 am • linkreport

, while I think it's quite reasonable to argue we would be less willing to vote for Shapiro because he's a carpetbagger

Didn't Shapiro grow up in DC?

As a "political player", GGW has been falling down on the ball. I believe that they have to rethink their tactics and beliefs and endorsements if they want to advance their agenda.

If all they want to do is be an ideological sounding board (nothing wrong with that!) then, fine, they can endorse vanity candidates like Shapiro and go-nowhere candidates like Bondi. But in a first-past-the-post system, there's a certain amount of partisan gamesmanship you have to accept.

The first step is to target a few unproductive incumbents. And when you target them, you make political decisions with an eye towards displacing those incumbents, not endorsements and voting as a means of personal self-expression and self-fulfillment.

by JustMe on Apr 5, 2012 11:08 am • linkreport

It's worth mentioning again that Shapiro nor Biddle ran a substantive campaign. Yet, as long as they campaigned hard against Orange, the ABY's (Anybody But You) didn't care. It's also clear that most of the DC "establishment" failed to read the tea leaves properly. It's no way that all the incumbents won after having faced an onslaught of negativity from all sides.

@Falls et. al, I believe DAl wrote that he felt they let us down w/this spring's "political coverage" which is more than just about this endorsement. We're all reinventing the wheel here but I suggest that GGW should do a better job explaining who the candidates are and hosting issues forums...then the endorsements would likely make better sense because it creates sort of a timeline. The forums must go well beyond the pissing match @the Black Cat and GGW should approach all candidates with a better manner of respect.

I didn't realize Orange declined to contribute here but I surely can understand why. Outside of hogwash, this site was extremely hostile to Orange so why would he attempt to engage a community that seems to loathe him? It doesn't encourage dialogue.

by HogWash on Apr 5, 2012 11:14 am • linkreport

@HogWash, Native Washingtonian

You're both right about this blog. GGW is a great (but could be greatergreater) advocate for its particular view of Urbanism, but the policies it supports are not inclusive of everyone in the city and don't pretend to be. That's how blogs like this work. Still, GGW's only real coverage of issues in Wards 7 and 8 are limited to streetcars, bike sharing, bike lanes, and fun pedestrian bridges, and this limited coverage unfortunately reinforces stereotypes in both directions: that people west of the river only care about those things, and that people east of the river somehow need to be civilized and get with the multi-modal mixed-use future, as if there aren't more pressing concerns.

Native doesn't really help the situation with blanket racist accusations of his own vis-a-vis white residents, but it's understandable why he might be frustrated. When everyone's offended, no one wins. Recommendation: Prince of Petworth afternoon animal fix will make everyone feel better.

by Ronald on Apr 5, 2012 11:15 am • linkreport

GGW is, I think, hamstrung by a cultural problem. Namely that their liberal mindset tends to focus on things like consensus-building and power sharing, while the nature of elections and political disputes is a zero-sum game with winner-take-all rules. And that's not really useful when you have a specific partisan agenda and set of goals that you want to push while you're facing a group of politicians who have their own goals and rely on separate constituencies as their main electoral base. The basis for the Shapiro endorsement was that he was essentially non-threatening. Which ironically worked against GGW's political goals, though not its cultural/temperamental mindset.

It might help if GGW got involved in specifically targeting an picking off unproductive ANC members and working from there.

by JustMe on Apr 5, 2012 11:21 am • linkreport

Didn't Shapiro grow up in DC?

Apparently so. That doesn't mean that we can't reasonably debate whether some will consider him a johnnycomelately carpetbagger. Keep in mind that most likely don't know he's from DC.

He also is a man w/the financial means to pay 9bucks per vote. That didn't help his "DC I Am You" campaign. I would also argue that the article urging Biddle to drop out in favor of Shapiro did more damage to Shapiro than it did Biddle.

by HogWash on Apr 5, 2012 11:22 am • linkreport

Still, GGW's only real coverage of issues in Wards 7 and 8 are limited to streetcars, bike sharing, bike lanes, and fun pedestrian bridges...

And how is that different from GGW's coverage of the issues in the rest of the city?

by Strategery on Apr 5, 2012 11:28 am • linkreport

Ronald: Not sure what you mean by "real coverage" - here are some EoTR posts on housing challenges, economic development, quality of life concerns - and there are more throughout the blog.

As far as a focus on multi-modal issues - sure, it's what we tend to cover across the board, and it's fact, not stereotype, that these issues are of great concern to many throughout the city and the region who desire mobility and lack access to automobiles.

As always, it'd be great to have more posts on a broader range of topics, and we welcome contributors who can help us cast a wider net in coverage.

by Jaime Fearer on Apr 5, 2012 11:36 am • linkreport

That doesn't mean that we can't reasonably debate whether some will consider him a johnnycomelately carpetbagger.

Only if you're the sort of person with some huge hangup about that kind of thing. It's not that you can't reasonably debate it, it's that even if you're right, you haven't said anything worth caring about.

I do regard Shapiro's run as a vanity candidacy and he could have done better getting involved and supporting the campaign of someone who had a better chance of picking off Orange, if that was his goal. But even if you can make the case that Shapiro is a "carpetbagger," what kind of argument have you made that is worth taking into account?

(plus, I never understood that unit of American History in high school where they describe the post-Civil-War problem in the south of "carpetbaggers." I mean, why was it such a bad thing people moved to a different state to start a business?)

by JustMe on Apr 5, 2012 11:39 am • linkreport

@Ronald: What would constitute as "real coverage" for W7 and W8, since you've singled them out? The urbanism, planning, and improved transit advocacy that is GGW's bread and butter applies to the whole DC area, even if solutions are different from ward to ward, county to county, etc. I'm just a reader, but I've found the site to have a pretty big tent as in terms of ways to support and advocate its mission statement across the DC area.

by worthing on Apr 5, 2012 12:01 pm • linkreport

@JustMe

While certainly interesting, this race was really orthogonal to GGW's focus and interests

I think if you took the time to look into these candidates you would find that, at least in the cases of Kabel and Homan(and possibly in the others as well although I am not as familiar with them), that they have positions that are often in line with what is posted on this site. Homan wrote a recent piece in the Daily Caller calling cities "the new suburbs" and calling on the GOP to embrace more urban concerns.

Like it or not, Congress has the final say over what happens in DC, not the Council, and in Congress, one of the houses is controlled by the Republican party. Congress could appoint a control board again, and there are rumblings about that happening on Capitol Hill right now, and we all know about the budget "riders." The reality is that a strong pro-DC voice like Kabel or Homan, from their position on the national RNC, will have far more sway over how the GOP leadership views this city then Eleanor Holmes-Norton, the council, the mayor, or the shadow reps ever will.

by dcrepublican on Apr 5, 2012 12:11 pm • linkreport

@dcrepublican: "there are rumblings about that happening on Capitol Hill right now"

I haven't heard any rumblings about that. And let's be honest - the House GOP is not going to listen to any urban DC republican. They're going to do whatever the F they want to do to us for political purposes back home. Just cause Kabel or Homan asks them not to, they're not going to listen.

by Shipsa01 on Apr 5, 2012 12:15 pm • linkreport

@Ronald, I would phrase it a bit differently and not suggest that there isn't "real coverage" of EOTR issue but that there isn't much of an EOTR focus and that likely has to do w/the belief (by some) that GGW isn't an inviting place for EOTR residents. The feeling of "not belonging" is also likely why there aren't any regular GGW EOTR contributors to provide enough "real coverage."

Only if you're the sort of person with some huge hangup about that kind of thing.

We all have our hangups. For many, Biddle being supported by Gray and Brown was their hangup about that kind of thing. Sure, I think it's ridiculous. But I don't think people are wrong to question the motivations of a newcomer they've never heard of. So the idea that "newcomers taking over" is a narrative Shapiro had to naturally deal with. Like the "who supports Biddle" analogy, it doesn't really have to be anything worth taking into account.

Shapiro handled it poorly and his poor showing reflected the fact that people were not sold by his attacks against the council.

by HogWash on Apr 5, 2012 12:24 pm • linkreport

Only if you're the sort of person with some huge hangup about that kind of thing.

We all have our hangups. For many, Biddle being supported by Gray and Brown was their hangup about that kind of thing. Sure, I think it's ridiculous. But I don't think people are wrong to question the motivations of a newcomer they've never heard of. So the idea that "newcomers taking over" is a narrative Shapiro had to naturally deal with. Like the "who supports Biddle" analogy, it doesn't really have to be anything worth taking into account.

Shapiro handled it poorly and his poor showing reflected the fact that people were not sold by his attacks against the council.

by HogWash on Apr 5, 2012 12:26 pm • linkreport

@Shipsa01

There is certainly talk of another control board, perhaps one not as comprehensive as the last. Look for that talk to intensify once Gray is indicted. Trust me, if you think the Republicans in Congress don't care about DC, you should see how little the Dems do. You think Harry Reid is going to invest one ounce of political capital over DC? If the House GOP wants a control board, they will get one.

Of course, the last control board was the best thing to ever happen to DC in its entire home rule history. It saved the city from total insolvency, permanently neutered Marion Barry, and resulted in the only competent mayor in the city's history.

This whole discussion would be laughable if it weren't so pathetic. The best the DC Democratic party apparently can come up with, despite controlling the entire city for generations, is Vincent Orange, Sekou Biddle, and Peter Shapiro.

The GOP is not any better but at least has the excuse of limited members and money. Personally, I would start the party's recruiting drives in Wards 7 and 8, which have suffered the most under one party rule and have been totally marginalized and ignored by the Democratic leadership. Start by asking each person that walks out of the national disgrace that is United Medical Center about how one-party rule is working out for them.

by dcrepublican on Apr 5, 2012 2:19 pm • linkreport

No, the best the democratic party can come up with is Anthony Williams and Tommy Wells.

by David C on Apr 5, 2012 2:42 pm • linkreport

GGW did make a poor choice in endorsing Shapiro. He simply hasn't been around long enough, [deleted for violating the comment policy]. Biddle may not be the most exciting candidate...but he's a good, smart and experienced man who would be a far better representative than either Orange or Shapiro (whoever he really is...) Biddle also pledged to create a transition and system of continued public participation that is sorely needed around here. thanks to Shapiro and GGW we now can be proud to be represented by Vincent Orange.

by Ward1 on Apr 5, 2012 3:03 pm • linkreport

1. I am not a man.

2. I do not live in Wards 7 or 8. I live and work in Ward 1. The statements made by many you about people who live live East of the River are overly broad and don not do anyhting but anger people.

3. I have lived within the borders of the Wash.,DC all of my life except when I went to law school. Shapiro cannot move out and into DC and decide that he should be a member of one of the governing bodies in DC.

4. Mr. Gray's decision to appt. Henderson as Schools Chancellor will contribute to his nonreelection if he ever gets that far.

5. Anyone who actually lives in this City has a vested interest in how the city is run regardless of where they live in the City. There has always been a black/white divide and an east/west of the river divide and comments that are negative towards people who chose to live East of the River will never endear any of the so called "urbanists" progressive white people commenting on this blog to any African American Native Washingtonians.

I voted for Carol Scwartz the last time Marion Barry ran for mayor which eans I crossed party lines beacuse I felt he should no longer be Mayor.

All of you are preoccupied with wishing, hoping and dreaming that Ward 8 residents will put Mr. barry out of office. Once again they are entitled to vote for who each of them wants to vote as are you.

Lastly, it's too bad all of you cannot simply appoint who you collectovely want to serve on the City Council. We are not going back to a time in this City when the affairs of the city were controlled by white Southern congressman on the House District subcommittee.

by Native Washingtonian on Apr 5, 2012 3:25 pm • linkreport

Can we all just stop here? Discussions about race are needed and often pointed, but the number of strawmen that have been set up to be knocked down in the comments are reaching a point where we could re-enact the Wizard of Oz with all characters being played by the Scarecrow. Sheesh.

by Geoffrey Hatchard on Apr 5, 2012 3:32 pm • linkreport

I have lived within the borders of the Wash.,DC all of my life except when I went to law school.

And I like Swiss Cheese. Since we're sharing irrelevant facts.

Shapiro cannot move out and into DC and decide that he should be a member of one of the governing bodies in DC.

Sure he can. But he won't be a member unless he convinces enough voters to vote for him.

I voted for Carol Scwartz...

Shapiro's history in DC is longer than Schwartz's - who didn't move here until she was 22.

they are entitled to vote for who each of them wants to vote as are you.

And we're entitled to wish, hope and dream. Ain't life grand.

Lastly, it's too bad all of you cannot simply appoint who you collectovely want to serve on the City Council.

That's one thing we can agree on.

by David C on Apr 5, 2012 3:32 pm • linkreport

"Discussions about race are needed and often pointed, but the number of strawmen that have been set up to be knocked down in the comments are reaching a point where we could re-enact the Wizard of Oz with all characters being played by the Scarecrow"

I could not agree more.

by Fred on Apr 5, 2012 3:59 pm • linkreport

Skipping over the last third of the comments here (which seem to have drifted slightly afield) and focusing on the premise of this piece, I'd like to commend GGW for the mea culpa. I think a perfect role for this site to play in DC politics would be in helping to clarify the process by which election law can be changed in the district. Far more than endorsements, the closed winner-take-all primary system is to blame for the generally poor candidates and unsatisfactory results. (a close second would be lack of DC registration among large numbers of young professional residents)

by c2b16e on Apr 5, 2012 6:09 pm • linkreport

@c2b16e; sunlight is the best disinfectant.

by charlie on Apr 5, 2012 7:20 pm • linkreport

To me, the obvious problem with Shapiro’s candidacy was that he wasn’t viable. Scant months ago almost no one in town had ever heard of him, except his DC prep school chums from way back. Conceivably (barely), a Post endorsement might have enabled him to pull a rabbit out of the hat. But when that unlikely prospect didn’t materialize, PS was dead as a doornail. His subsequent representations that he would win bordered on lunacy. (Note that in 2004 Ralph Nader wasn’t running to win).

Isn’t viability an proper element of the equation? Or will we support anyone who sketches out a progressive platform, even if they’ve never previously run for dogcatcher in this burg?

Further, I’m not sure what “progressive” means if it applies to a candidate who wants to pave Klingle Valley in 2012. Even Marion Barry and David Catania have evolved from this retrograde stance. His position on Klingle shows that Shapiro is a guy who’s positions are guided by a political, rather than a moral compass.

Henceforth (for example, when we’re facing a “Vince for Mayor” campaign in 2014 (or 2013) thanks to the 2012 result), let’s make endorsements with both feet on the ground.

by jim dougherty on Apr 6, 2012 2:56 am • linkreport


I won't fan the flames anymore on this...but I want to give my two cents.

I was at Shepherd Park Elementary school all day on Tuesday. It is like one of the top 3 precincts in the city...sometimes the biggest turnout in all of DC. Even if you have 3 volunteers, you send at least one there.

Shapiro had ZERO presence at the precinct all day, unless you count two yard signs. Not one person handing out literature, greeting voters, nothing. You simply don't win elections that way in this city.

You can blog and tweet all you want (and I consider myself in the "myopic twit" camp) but never confuse what you see online with what's happening on the ground.

I understand the enthusiasm for Shapiro, but his campaign had to at least meet you half way.

by Mike Panetta on Apr 6, 2012 10:18 am • linkreport

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