Greater Greater Washington

For DC Council: Elissa Silverman

DC voters will choose an at-large member of the DC Council in a special election on April 23. While there has been fairly little coverage of the race or candidates' positions, the choice voters make in this likely low-turnout election will have a major impact on many important issues to District residents. We believe that Elissa Silverman is the best choice.


Image from the candidate's website.

We believe that our leaders should devote much of our city's monetary prosperity to two goals: economic growth that furthers that prosperity, and efforts to truly help those most in financial need to ensure they are not left behind. Ms. Silverman has a very strong track record in this area.

DC has unfortunately had a recent string of elected officials who have instead funneled money to people with connections to those in power in the city government. Their influence ultimately enriches those in power. Ms. Silverman has a clear commitment to reforming government ethics from her work advancing DC's Initiative 70, the recent proposed ballot initiative.

Ms. Silverman embraces transit, mixed-use zoning, and the need especially to safeguard pedestrians now that the city is more walkable every year. She emphasizes the need to encourage more housing units for families as many of the young people who have moved to the District begin families and want to remain in the District's walkable, bikeable and transit-oriented neighborhoods.

Thanks to her journalism background, Ms. Silverman has demonstrated that she can ask very penetrating questions on policy details. When talking with editors about issues such as the zoning update, for instance, she probed much more deeply into the effects and tradeoffs than other candidates or even many advocates.

She has said that she wants to turn this skill toward oversight of District agencies such as DCRA; this would be an invaluable asset to residents who find agencies often papering over inefficiency. She has advocated reforming DCRA to make it easier for District residents to open businesses as well.

Matthew Frumin scored very well on Let's Choose DC, most often slightly ahead of Ms. Silverman and sometimes slightly behind. Mr. Frumin has made very valuable contributions to the District through his civic efforts, such as building coalitions on the Tenleytown ANC. However, we feel he still faces significant challenges to connecting with voters outside of upper Northwest. This will not only be a prerequisite to win but a necessary component to being an at-large councilmember.

Mr. Frumin also has less detailed knowledge of the District government's operations and major policies outside of a few areas of strength such as education. While being an expert is not mandatory for a new council candidate, with Ms. Silverman in the race, her greater expertise is a strong asset. The winner of this race will have to instantly start participating in budget negotiations and then continue to operate on the council while almost immediately running for re-election in the April 2014 primary.

We hope Mr. Frumin will continue participating on the citywide stage in other ways following the campaign, and has strong potential to be a top-tier candidate in a future at-large race once he has built more connections and experience working with neighborhood leaders citywide.

Patrick Mara has garnered some significant support in DC based on his recent races and repeated endorsements from the Washington Post. David Alpert also endorsed Mr. Mara in his previous race (against Michael Brown, who is running again this year). However, he has not shown the depth that one would expect from a repeated candidate, and did not answer several Let's Choose DC questions.

The Washington Post's endorsement last week largely centered around his views on cutting taxes and school reform. We don't disagree with charter schools or school reform by any means, but feel that education in the District needs more analysis into what actually works instead of blind ideology. Mr. Mara has made education a centerpiece of his campaign, but when pressed, hasn't been able to actually put forth compelling insights on the matter.

Michael Brown has a strong commitment to helping the less fortunate, such as his stalwart defense of affordable housing which was very welcome on the council. However, Mr. Brown has repeatedly made clear that he is skeptical of a growing city and is very quick to side with the residents most afraid of change, such as with his response on the DC zoning update at Let's Choose DC or his letter of "concern" almost a year ago.

Mr. Brown was the only candidate to oppose several avenues of ethics reform on that question on Let's Choose. Financial mismanagement problems such as unpaid rent continue to dog Mr. Brown, as did malfeasance by his previous campaign treasurer, even though there has not been any evidence that he himself violated campaign finance laws.

Anita Bonds has not chosen to engage with our community by only responding to one Let's Choose DC question. While we didn't want to prejudge her longtime ties to much of DC's machine power structure, she has not availed herself of opportunities to demonstrate her independence from that machine or policy reasons to support her. She also initially promised to serve as a full-time councilmember, but has since backed off that commitment.

Perry Redd and Paul Zukerberg have valuable perspectives to contribute, and we also agree with Mr. Zukerberg's core message that excessive prosecution of minor drug offenses creates a dangerous environment with too many young people having criminal records at huge expense to taxpayers. We hope both will continue to participate in civic discourse and that the DC Council will take up marijuana decriminalization soon.

Voters considering themselves "urbanists," "progressives," or just "reformers" have seen their votes split in several recent elections, including the last two for at-large council. A number of civic and business leaders have lined up behind Ms. Silverman, including respected top Fenty administration officials like Neil Albert and Victor Reinoso, and we hope that all residents will do the same and elect her to the DC Council on April 23.

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

Disclosures: Elissa Silverman also submitted 4 guest articles to Greater Greater Washington in 2011 and 2012. We had also specifically invited Patrick Mara (after previous campaigns) and Matthew Frumin (before the current campaign) to submit guest posts, in keeping with our general policy of encouraging guest posts from many people active in local affairs. Also, Ken Archer, who serves as Silverman's treasurer, is a Greater Greater Washington editor. He did not vote in the internal poll or write any of this endorsement.

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I agree.

I hope she wins. Progressives, please rally around Elissa.

by Washingtonian on Mar 27, 2013 3:04 pm • linkreport

Ms. Silverman has a clear commitment to reforming government ethics from her work advancing DC's Initiative 70, the recent proposed ballot initiative.

I guess I remain flabbergasted at the free ride that Elissa Silverman gets for her role in the Initiative 70 debacle. Where is the criticism of this failure of Silverman's leadership from GGW, WaPo, City Paper and others? It is as if she is a favored soul, exempt from media criticism. Why?

A lot of people worked hard to collect signatures and delivered a strong number of signatures. At that point, all the leadership had to do was take their time, cross check against the voter list and count how many bulletproof signatures they had, resolve address discrepancies, get a few more signatures in selected Wards if necessary--in short, do their job the way all successful campaigns always do in getting on the ballot.

Instead, Silverman rushed ahead, bungled the review, and was denied a place on the ballot. All the effort of all those volunteers went down the tube.

Amazing that Silverman still counts her "leadership" on Initiative 70 as a positive. To me, it is a strong critique suggesting she lacks the follow-through and devotion to detail an elected officials must demonstrate.

by Trulee Pist on Mar 27, 2013 3:08 pm • linkreport

Trulee: Speaking only for myself, the review is a group effort, but more salient is the desire to do it in the first place. Further, mistakes get made, but she has a much longer career one can look at to examine diligence. Lastly, I know the DC FPI; they don't suffer careless people. I trust their judgement about her attention to detail.

Meanwhile, who's better? She's a journalist, and a policy analyst at a highly respected think tank. Beyond feeling disappointed after I-70, do you have reason to think anyone else has demonstrated more competence?

by Rahul Mereand-Sinha. on Mar 27, 2013 3:25 pm • linkreport

After Orange-beats-Biddle-and-Shapiro, especially, I believe it is paramount for progressive urbanists to unite around a candidate, and I agree that Silverman is the one to support.

But I really wish there had been some polling to see whether statements such as "we feel he still faces significant challenges to connecting with voters outside of upper Northwest" about Frumin could be quantified.

FWIW, in Brookland, the only yard signs I've seen are for Frumin (although n=2) and the only door-knocking campaigner to come to our door has been with the Frumin campaign. Michael Brown's folks were handing out flyers at the Metro one morning, and he also seems to have put up the most signs on telephone poles and in other public places.

by thm on Mar 27, 2013 3:25 pm • linkreport

@ Rahul Mereand-Sinha, I'll learn more tonight at the Eastern HS candidates' forum. Right now, I don't know know enough to make a useful response to your question, think anyone else has demonstrated more competence?.

However, I'd rank Frumin, Mara and maybe Zuckerberg as worth exploring in greater depth, and I'd eliminate Silverman from consideration because the mistakes made and bad judgment shown in her Initiative 70 work were just that egregious, IMHO

by Trulee Pist on Mar 27, 2013 3:41 pm • linkreport

+1 to thm. Unite around a candidate.

If we had some hard data we could know which candidate to rally around (Silverman or Frumin) but based on Let's Choose, which is hte most solid info I have on the candidates' positions, I am for Elissa, so I'm glad to see this editorial.

Agree with Rahul. It's just as important to have endorsed someone than who gets the endorsement. I like that the candidates' own articulation of policy positions is the most influential factor.

by Ward 1 Guy on Mar 27, 2013 3:49 pm • linkreport

I just want to know who can beat Brown, Bonds and Mara. I think both Frumin and Silverman would do a tremendous job.

Sounds like Silverman has the more realistic chance of winning, so thats where my vote will go.

by Kyle-W on Mar 27, 2013 4:22 pm • linkreport

Here's a prediction of the order of finish on election day -- Mara, Brown, Bond, Frumin, Silverman. Given her past bungling of a leadership responsibility, what many consider some flawed analyses (more advocacy than fact) from DCFPI, and her limited appeal outside a small group of supporters, Ms. Silverman isn't going to get a second thought from me. My concern is whether to support someone i don't care for (Mara) to try and help ensure that people i really want OUT OF OFFICE (Brown, Bond) aren't punching the ticket back. You all can "unite" but once again you'll demonstrate the limits of the "constituency" you think you speak for.

by Tom M on Mar 27, 2013 4:25 pm • linkreport

Disappointed to see GGW split what could be a progressive reformer coalition in D.C.

GGW and the Silverman folks are acting just like the time they refused to drop Peter Shapiro after he lost the Washington Post endorsement to Sekou Biddle.

As I told Ken Archer the first time we met, you GGW guys are helping to hand this seat to forces that will take D.C. backwards. Nothing progressive or reform-oriented about that no matter how good it might make you all feel in this particular moment of pique.

by Christopher Siddall on Mar 27, 2013 4:31 pm • linkreport

@Tom: Who comprise "many people"? I think of DCFPI as being sort of the gold standard in analysis focused on city policy.

@Christopher Siddall: Pique? Over what? We like Frumin fine; he's our number two choice. He's just, you know, number two; we have to pick one, as do you all.

by Rahul Mereand-Sinha. on Mar 27, 2013 4:37 pm • linkreport

It is indeed time to rally around a progressive candidate. Here's hoping that Frumin will not be the Peter Shapiro of this race. If he did the gracious thing and endorsed Silverman, she would have a superb chance of winning. As it is, she has a far better chance than him, and if he can't be gracious, he should be realistic.

by Growthy on Mar 27, 2013 4:40 pm • linkreport

I'm confused as to why some people believe the entire blame for Initiative 70 not getting on the ballot lies at Silverman's feet. There were plenty of other people also at the top of the leadership structure. I don't know the ins and outs of that group--I do know as a volunteer signature collector, it was my responsibilty to explain the rules of signing to folks and try and weed out as many potential bad signatures as possible. Even then, I got a lot of "I think that's the address I used last time I voted, but I'm not sure." And despite my pleas for legible handwritting, there was still a lot of chicken scratch on my forms. (To say nothing of the ineptitude of the BOEE. My husband's signature was thrown out because BOEE has transposed two letters in his last name when he registered to vote.)

We were constantly implored to get out and keep collecting signatures, even if a ward threshold had been met. It's not like we hit the required number of signatures and stopped.

Finally, there wasn't an oppurtunity to "take the time" to check every single signature. We're talking 30,000+ signatures, and as I recall we were getting signatures up to the last minute. All of it was volunteer work, including by the leadership. If every single signature could have been checked and double checked and then send someone out to contact each person with a questionable signature, it would have been done. But with the time and resource restraints, it just wasn't realistic.

And before I am accused of being a Silverman apologist, I have not decided who I am voting for, and can honestly say none of the candidate particularly "wow" me.

by Birdie on Mar 27, 2013 4:40 pm • linkreport

Sounds good to me. In a vacuum I'd probably choose Frumin. But there's not enough difference for it to matter. Go Silverman.

by oboe on Mar 27, 2013 4:41 pm • linkreport

@Christopher Siddall--

I'm not sure I understand what you're objecting to here--the continued arguments on this thread in favor of Frumin, or the fact that Silverman was chosen to begin with. Do you think Frumin (or Mara) has a better chance? Do you have evidence of this?

What I recall during Orange-Biddle-Shapiro was that Shapiro's campaign came out strong early, flyering at Metro stations and placing lots of signs. It seemed to me at the time he was the one with his campaign together. Apparently he or his campaign organization faded, and I was surprised at how low his final vote tally was. I do believe that if there had been some polling in the final weeks before the election which would have reflected his low standing, Biddle could have picked up enough support to beat Orange.

by thm on Mar 27, 2013 4:46 pm • linkreport

Who comprise "many people"? I think of DCFPI as being sort of the gold standard in analysis focused on city policy.

I'm ambivalent about some of the DCFPI's work. For example, their ridiculous piece comparing the projected yearly savings from school consolidation versus the one-year cost of closing the schools:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/report-says-dc-school-closures-unlikely-to-save-much-money-in-2013-14/2013/01/14/abdebcbc-5e5f-11e2-9940-6fc488f3fecd_story.html

While they make an effective advocate for the city's poor, I think they also have a tendency to advocate policies that amount to "crank up District welfare spending until either a) DC has unilaterally eliminated poverty in the middle-Atlantic region, or b) DC is bankrupt, whichever comes first"

by oboe on Mar 27, 2013 4:58 pm • linkreport

I'm waiting for a CP poll like they did in the last race to see who the contenders are. My feeling is it's a Brown vs. Mara race.

by Tom Coumaris on Mar 27, 2013 5:14 pm • linkreport

This is surprising as I assumed that the person w/the most votes in the political exercise would get the endorsement since it was a reflection of what those who voted actually wanted. Ok, I was wrong. :(

But to this notion that Frumin might not connect to voters outside of NW, where is the evidence that Silverman does? Because she's said so?

I-70, isn't high on my list. However, if Silverman uses it as justification for why she should win, then its entirely fair to hold her accountable for its failure.

Although I know it can seem impressive, I just do not think most people gauge a candidate based on their "ability to ask probing" questions and it becomes even less convincing what that ability is "mentioned" but never seen. Great, she went in depth to GGW. But we never saw it.

Nothing about this endorsement nor Elissa's own offering suggests to me that she is the best candidate for the seat. I don't know how sincere her concern is wrt to any of these pet issues but do realize that she remains yet unimpressive...like watching paint dry.

Here's to hoping she is trounced and resurfaces in 10 or so years.

by HogWash on Mar 27, 2013 5:14 pm • linkreport

I can't comment on the merits of Silverman v Frumin, but I agree that GGW seems to be a little flippant on the issue of ticket splitting.

by SJE on Mar 27, 2013 5:51 pm • linkreport

Agreeing with others, Silverman seems to be getting a free pass on both I70 and DCFPI (not all of their analysis is spot on,imo) and being able to ask questions is not the same as crafting legislation. Working well with others also seems to be important - not something that Silverman has demonstrated through this process (see Settle, john).

With that I will still support Frumin. He has taken the hard positions that GGW seems to support - Babes and AU Law in Tenleytown are core examples. His reach seems to be well beyond Ward 3, despite the admonitions of the Mara and Silverman camps who continue to suggest otherwise.

by William on Mar 27, 2013 5:55 pm • linkreport

"I-70, isn't high on my list. However, if Silverman uses it as justification for why she should win, then its entirely fair to hold her accountable for its failure."

Because she was an organizer that helped get signatures, she's accountable for its failure? I volunteered and collected signatures, you may as well hold me accountable.

by Chatham on Mar 27, 2013 6:04 pm • linkreport

Elissa knows the DC budget better than any of the other candidates. She's got experience getting at the truth from those who want to hide it. Good choice GGW.

by Joe on Mar 27, 2013 6:26 pm • linkreport

DCFPI isn't a think tank, it is an advocacy group. They want more money to go to poor people. What is Ms. Silverman's plans if she wins -- will she quit the job? Because it would seem a major conflict of interest to have a staff member of an advocacy group sitting on the DC council? That isn't a win for ethics.

I would not say DCFPI is a "gold standard" in any way. They produce a lot of stuff and most of it isn't very good. Better than what else is out there, but with some very weak analysis. Even if you like their work, their hiring of her isn't any evidence one way or the other or her competence. I do think her work as a journalist is evidence that she knows her way around, but being a politician is very different than being a journalist.

If you're using ethics as way of talking about your experience, then yes, the amateurism of the i70 campaign is entirely fair game. Granted, a reform effort isn't going to attract political professionals and there may be voter ID issues. However, that is why you go over your signatures with a comb. I'm sorry, I've had to do that and it isn't fun or easy. Tony Williams failing to do his signatures was a sign of a sloppy second term. Has there been an apology or explanation -- or just blaming the DCBOE?

Finally, it seems as if this endorsement hinges on voter appeal, which is important.
But it strikes me that Frumin and Silverman are both very weak on that front. Yes, I've seen more of her signs, and I saw volunteers at two events. I've seen Mara in person about 8 times in the past few years. Does that mean he has more street appeal?

I think this process has been very useful for highlighting a few issues, but falls very short of informing me of who to vote for.

by charlie on Mar 27, 2013 6:39 pm • linkreport

Because she was an organizer that helped get signatures, she's accountable for its failure?

I thought I addressed this in the actual post. But to your question, why is she (and GGW) able to use her work on I-70 as justification for why she's a qualified candidate. Yet, people shouldn't use this same work's failure as justification for why she's not the best candidate? That doesn't seem illogical? But thanks for at least providing us an glimpse into the role (which now you've pointed out as insignificant) she played in the entire exercise.

I might add that her "budget expertise" wrt to a functioning and productive council is only a bright and shiny object since I don't think even its worse critics mention "budget chops" as something that council lacks.

by HogWash on Mar 27, 2013 6:53 pm • linkreport

The Sierra Club just endorsed Mara.

by Tom Coumaris on Mar 27, 2013 7:05 pm • linkreport

@ Hogwash got it right. Silverman's folks hammered home the idea that she has wide support, with little actual evidence. David and the blog folks bought it. Give her credit, she was on message.

The problem is this sets a terrible precedent for smart growth supporters. Frumin stuck his neck out against the NIMBYs on Babes and AU Law in an area that was stridently non-growth. This counts for something for a blog that is all, okay mostly, about that issue.

What makes matters worse is that Silverman continues to pander to these same NIMBYs with the "wait and see" statements she has made about the zoning rewrite as it relates to DDOT's parking efforts. This is the worst type of politics because methinks she does not mean it. I'm sorry to say that I actually like to believe what my candidate says is something close to the truth. And if she does mean the zoning rewrite should be coupled to the parking rewrite, that is something David publicly has disavowed.

In sum, I just don't really trust Silverman as really being in tune with a smart growth agenda.

by fongfong on Mar 27, 2013 7:08 pm • linkreport

Frumin stuck his neck out? You mean, he took a position that, oh, I don't know, Beverly Sklover wouldn't take on Babe's and AU? Oh yeah, right. Of course, Frumin supports the zoning rewrite as proposed, so. . . oh right, he's got his own NIMBY-centric waffle position that allows him to court the NIMBY crowd.

by Bluto on Mar 27, 2013 7:18 pm • linkreport

@ Chatham

Silverman made an enormous misjudgment in rushing to get Initiative 70 onto last November's general election ballot, instead of taking all the time the law allowed to continue getting signatures and checking signatures in order to qualify for this year's April 23 ballot.

There was no reason to rush--the Obama general election electorate was not going to be that much more pro-I70 than the upcoming April 23 electorate will be, but that was Silverman's "too clever by half" reason for the self-imposed deadline. She could have gotten more signatures in Wards 2, 5, 7 and 8 (where she came up short by the campaign's own admission).

As a councilmember, would she be prone to make the same kind of fatal misjudment on larger issues?

Another smaller I70 shortcoming, but still a telling failure, I think: When 10% of Initiative 70's signatures were ruled invalid due to address mismatches, Silverman confessed she had not anticipated that outcome and lacked the drive and imagination to do something about it: Initiative backers, organized as D.C. Public Trust, are left wondering why there are so many address mismatches when city law makes it simple to automatically change your voter registration address when you change your driver’s license address....“It’s hard to believe the more than 3,000 D.C. registered voters disqualified on Initiative 70 petitions due to address mismatch declined to have DMV address updates go to the Board of Elections,” said Elissa Silverman, an initiative organizer and former Washington Post reporter.
WaPo Oct 18, 2012

A man she is running against this month, Paul Zuckerberg, did so much better defending his signatures when Silverman's own campaign (ironically!) challenged them. Zuckerberg did something that Silverman at Initiative 70 could have done but failed to do, according to WaPo: Zukerberg...hired investigators to scour voter registration rolls to prove his signatures came from registered District voters....In the process, Zukerberg said he discovered that the Board of Elections has not been properly updating its rolls, including failing to process 66,000 change-of-address forms.

I've seen how Zuckerberg responds to a challenge and succeeds. I saw no such resiliance in Silverman's performance in the only major leadership role she has held.

by Trulee Pist on Mar 27, 2013 7:44 pm • linkreport

@ Bluto

Not sure what your beef is. Being a politician means being able to compromise in the face of opposition. I believe that is a trait Frumin has. I'm not so sure Silverman has that same ability.

by fongfong on Mar 27, 2013 8:05 pm • linkreport

But to your question, why is she (and GGW) able to use her work on I-70 as justification for why she's a qualified candidate. Yet, people shouldn't use this same work's failure as justification for why she's not the best candidate? That doesn't seem illogical?

Not unless you failed logic. By your logic, if you do a great job as the IT person at a company that goes bankrupt, then that should be a negative mark against you. Silverman did good work on I-70, but that's to be held against her because you're upset about what other people on the campaign did? How does that even begin to make sense?

But thanks for at least providing us an glimpse into the role (which now you've pointed out as insignificant) she played in the entire exercise.

And thanks for insulting all Initiative 70 volunteers.

Silverman made an enormous misjudgment in rushing to get Initiative 70 onto last November's general election ballot, instead of taking all the time the law allowed to continue getting signatures and checking signatures in order to qualify for this year's April 23 ballot.

Except she didn't. She wasn't the one that made that call. She, like many other progressive organizers, worked hard to collect signatures and organize volunteers around the city. You know, the kind of hard work that Hogwash calls "insignificant".

It's not related to Silverman, but let me say that the leaders in Initiative 70, like the volunteers, took it upon themselves to take months out of their busy lives for the thankless task of trying to make this city better. All the people I knew in leadership positions were on the street themselves collecting signatures, usually more than anyone else, and then going home and working on the legwork needed.

Yes, it was decided that when we reached 30,000 signatures there were enough to meet the 23,000 signature requirement. Apparently, that was incorrect, but if any of you had known that at the time - well, your help would have been much appreciated. As it was, we had to learn a lot as we went, and had precious few people willing to help.

by Chatham on Mar 27, 2013 8:40 pm • linkreport

For me, Silverman's work on behalf of Initiative 70 is a reason to support her. I don't see it as fair to fault her for the initiative not getting on the ballot - where were the other candidates when signatures were being collected for the initiative? Collecting signatures? Did they even sign themselves?
I get the impression that Frumin is supportive, but I don't see anything on his website calling for a ban on corporate contributions, let alone what he did to advance that effort. From what I've read, Patrick Mara's attitude toward this seems to be that he is powerless to stop corporate involvement, and so it's not worth trying. Neither Bonds nor Brown seem committed to stop corporate influence over Council decision making, judging from the lack of mention it gets on their websites, not to mention their accepting outside income while on the council.
If others candidates were equally vocal and engaged in behalf of banning corporate contributions than that might justify criticism of Silverman's efforts on its behalf. However, as it stands, she's the only one deserving of credit on that front.

by DCster on Mar 27, 2013 9:32 pm • linkreport

The major problem with using DCFPI as a positive standard is that it a only solution to all of what ails DC is 'more money'. Having lived in this city for 30 years under 30 years of people who threw money around hoping poverty would magically disappear, if throwing money around was going to be a solution, it would have worked by now.

The only people that appeals to is aging baby boomers and wet eared Ivey league policy analysts. No one who watched the BS go down here in the 90s thinks more money is addressing poverty.

by Name on Mar 27, 2013 9:53 pm • linkreport

I just have to throw in with Chatham in response to Trulee Pist's ([deleted for violating the comment policy]) comments regarding Initiative 70. It was not Elissa's decision to move forward on the submission of signatures to be on the November ballot. That was a choice made by a vote of a huge group of core volunteers on that project, of which I was one. We got together as a group, discussed it for an hour, and took a vote.

We're free to pick over the carcass of that project and discuss whether it was ultimately a failure (I'd say no, since it decisively moved the discussion in the direction we wanted - no politician with city-wide ambition dares oppose the general outline of what we set out to do), but to say that it failed specifically because of something done by Elissa Silverman in the way he did demonstrates a lack of knowledge about the way things happened last year.

by Geoffrey Hatchard on Mar 27, 2013 10:05 pm • linkreport

People are over-simplifying the work of DCFPI. The fact is, we need more organizations willing to do research. Yeah, DCFPI has an agenda and they tend to always favor more program dollars for poor people, but their data analysis is still pretty decent. Elissa's work there is a major plus for me.

When I think of the important issues for my life in DC -- transportation, taxes, city services -- I don't think it will make a big difference which candidate wins, but I go back to the Let's Choose responses. Elissa and Matt just seem more thoughtful and responsive than the other candidates. I think they, especially Elissa, would listen to me after elected if I had an issue to raise.

by Ward 1 Guy on Mar 27, 2013 10:07 pm • linkreport

I am very excited to support Elissa next month, because I have found that her policy positions match my values, and in getting to know her a little bit have found her to be a very smart, capable, and truly nice and honest person.

I had never been involved in DC politics before this summer, when inspired by a short speech made by Elissa at a community meeting, I began volunteering as an Initiative 70 signature collector. I don't think of the Initiative 70 process as a total failure. I think it raised a lot of awareness about the issue about DC residents that can be built upon in the future.

Personally, I think the work of DCFPI is right on target, but also Elissa is not running on behalf of the organization or its positions. She has already taken an unpaid leave of absence from DCFPI during the campaign.

by Dena on Mar 27, 2013 10:28 pm • linkreport

Why is nobody polling on this race (I'm looking at you, WaPo)?

Given that Silverman and Frumin basically tied on the original criteria (technically I think Frumin won on points, but it was very close), I think the decision should have been based on a real discussion of electability, not a tie-breaker based on restating that she's good on the issues (we already knew that), and a vague criticism of his non-Northwest electability that probably applies to her too.

He's raised a lot of money (twice as much as second place) and anecdotally has a well-run campaign. She's had one very visible failure in electoral politics with Init 70 (November deadline, not turning in double the signature requirement are both basic rookie mistakes). How will he use his money advantage to "connect with voters outside of upper Northwest?" What did she learn from Init 70? In short, how would each of them justify being the "one" to get the endorsement and the theoretical support of the sorts of people who already are inclined to support both of them. How are they going to get votes from people who aren't the sort who read GGW?

Not strongly disagreeing with the endorsement, but think you should have held off until somebody releases a poll or we have some other metric for picking which of them is the most viable. Otherwise, this feels a little like another "from the heart" endorsement, not a politically strategic one designed to maximize the chance of Brown or Bonds being on the council this summer.

by Paul on Mar 27, 2013 10:44 pm • linkreport

Ward 1 Guy, I think you're overestimating the value of "analysis" conducted by an advocacy group. If the analysis is not objective, it's mostly useless to me, and DCFPI reports consistently fall into that category. And bungling Initiative 70 does nothing to redeem her in my book. This progressive will vote for Mara, despite the R next to his name.

by Dno on Mar 27, 2013 11:46 pm • linkreport

I disagree with the endorsement. Ms. Silverman has not been at all strong on smart growth issues such as the Zoning Rewrite, but rather has been indulging the prejudices of NIMBYs. I fear for the progressive polciies being pursued by OP were seh to become member-at-large. I am supporting Matt Frumin who has a much stronger track record on such issues.

by Steven Beller on Mar 28, 2013 12:13 am • linkreport


I am curious as to what smart growth issues Silverman has been a part of, in the trenches to merit this endorsement. As that is the focus of this blog, it seems to me that the endorsement should have that perspective.

As best I can tell, Frumin scored better on the LetsChooseDC issues most germane here, and yet most of the GGW contributors are core Silverman supporters. There is nothing wrong with that, but it should at least be noted in the endorsement that the same people making this decision had already contributed and/or volunteered to her campaign and were otherwise committed.

by Just So on Mar 28, 2013 6:25 am • linkreport

I'm starting to conclude that Silverman's "support" across the city is former i-70 volunteers.

Real chance to make history here, folks. Don't cock it up.

by charlie on Mar 28, 2013 7:53 am • linkreport

From last night's straw poll at the DC Federation of Civic Associations Forum:

Tthe Federation of Civic Associations is primarily active on the eastern side of the city; the Federation of Citizens' Associations is more active on the western side.

by Rahul Mereand-Sinha. on Mar 28, 2013 8:09 am • linkreport

@charlie

You asked if Silverman will quit DCFPI if elected. She's publicly said that she will: http://letschoosedc.com/response/silverman/7

by DM on Mar 28, 2013 8:26 am • linkreport

@DM, thanks. That is a brave stance, and I applaud her.

"Tthe Federation of Civic Associations is primarily active on the eastern side of the city; the Federation of Citizens' Associations is more active on the western side."

Awkward wording. Can't we just admit this is a hangover from segregation?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/dc-politics/in-one-city-two-dc-civic-federations/2013/03/03/a7b23be6-8213-11e2-a350-49866afab584_story.html

by charlie on Mar 28, 2013 8:39 am • linkreport

So @Rahul is touting the Civic Association straw poll. Combined with Community Associations, aren't these the groups generally opposed to progressive transportation solutions, the zoning rewrite, ADU's elimination of parking minimums etc?

I think this just strengthens the argument that Silverman should not be he choice for the GGW endorsement.

by William on Mar 28, 2013 8:42 am • linkreport

re: straw poll, the results go to electability.

I'm not sure we can assume _all_ community associates are NIMBY. Notice Logan/U St's opposition to moratoria, and the pro-development perspective of the Southwest one.

Finally, I'd just point out it's possible to suggest any candidate might be secretly NIMBY, or lose the Forces of Darkness. The best evidence we have is that Northeast-dwelling Silverman has more citywide appeal than Ward 3-residing Frumin, and that both are roughly equally progressive.

by Rahul Mereand-Sinha. on Mar 28, 2013 8:48 am • linkreport

er, lose _to_ the Forces of Darkness, etc.

by Rahul Mereand-Sinha. on Mar 28, 2013 8:57 am • linkreport

Isn't Sliverman getting the GGW endorsement sorta like a candidate getting endorsed by their parents? Yawn.

by DC Voter on Mar 28, 2013 9:15 am • linkreport

Not unless you failed logic. By your logic, if you do a great job as the IT person at a company that goes bankrupt, then that should be a negative mark against you.

Not at all. It might be that you are so wedded to the idea of supporting her that reason becomes secondary. I usually try to fully explain things so I won't have to repeat it but I'll go again. It is a fact that Silverman has touted her work w/I-70 as reason why she should win. It is a fact that this very website used the same rationale for why she should win. However, you don't believe spreading the blame for its failure should fall at her feet. So she gets the props but not the criticism. Yes, that is illogical. And in your scenario, the IT person isn't campaigning on the magnificent job he performed. The media isn't talking about the great work he'd done. Yet, Silverman IS. Don't get what's hard to understand there.

And thanks for insulting all Initiative 70 volunteers.

It's unfortunate if that's what you believe. You, not me, said that Elissa's work was as "essential" as your own (simply collecting signatures) and if she should be blamed for its failure...so should you. I read that as you not believing she played an important enough role to warrant any blame assigned to her. Maybe you meant something else? Like, she did play an important role?

WRT the initiative itself, can we be honest here? Was Bowser's ethics reform package more tangible to DC voters...writing into law many of the things (save corporate bundling) we found disgusting over the years, or was I-70? I say no and argue that I-70 was a nice idea that surely had the support (in theory) of most DC residents but certainly wasn't as crucial a component than the ethics reform. I can't say much about it because as I've mentioned here before, I NEVER saw anyone in my n'hood w/the petition.

by HogWash on Mar 28, 2013 9:17 am • linkreport

Silverman seriously got under my skin when I came home to one of her campaign signs on my lawn. No one ever asked me if it was OK to put there. But, I guess the fact that I live on a busier street makes the front of my house fair game to her campaign.

It makes me think that if she can't control her staff now, then she's going to have similar troubles in office. Also, I think putting your sign in front of someone's house without permission is very presumptuous and downright rude.

by Anony on Mar 28, 2013 9:18 am • linkreport

Anony: Where do you live? I will come and remove that sign for you. I am one of the volunteers in charge of yard sign distribution, and I have been placing signs in wards 1, 2, 4, 5, and 6. If you live in one of those wards, I may have been the person who put the sign there. I have been operating off of a master list of addresses of people who requested signs through the website or email. Perhaps there was a transcription error (these things happen).

If you'd like to get in touch, we'll gladly rectify this problem for you.

by Geoffrey Hatchard on Mar 28, 2013 9:24 am • linkreport

Since this Let's Choose exercise is over, it would be helpful for those of us who consistently participated to understand the results. As mentioned, based on their own words, more people favored Frumin. Yet, the endorsement mentions that he has little appeal outside of upper northwest..and Silverman does. Is there something tangible we could view which supports that? How did you arrive at that? Were most of the votes he received from upper NW?

It's 100% true for me and likely somewhat for others but I've learned about their knowledge of DC politics and policies from here...nowhere else but here. So how then do we reconcile what was said here..against what was not. That is, it seems wrong to ask us to participate and then base the endorsement on something none of the participants were able to see or hear? "Trust us" doesn't seem like the best way to conclude the exercise when it was our participation that has made it successful.

I have a problem w/that.

The best evidence we have is that Northeast-dwelling Silverman has more citywide appeal than Ward 3-residing Frumin, and that both are roughly equally progressive.

And how have you gauged this sentiment?

by HogWash on Mar 28, 2013 9:25 am • linkreport

"Perhaps there was a transcription error (these things happen)."

Yep, just like i-70 all over again.

by charlie on Mar 28, 2013 9:27 am • linkreport

. I am one of the volunteers in charge of yard sign distribution, and I have been placing signs in wards 1, 2, 4, 5, and 6.

This? This might answer all I need to know about her city-wide appeal.

by HogWash on Mar 28, 2013 9:28 am • linkreport

HogWash: Those are the wards I'm working in. Others are helping me, and others are working on wards 3, 7, and 8.

It doesn't answer all you need to know about anything. It just answers what a guy who lives in Trinidad can do with limited transportation options based on proximity.

You like to attack others for what you perceive as slipshod logic, but you need to pull the log out of your own eye before discussing the speck in mine here.

by Geoffrey Hatchard on Mar 28, 2013 9:31 am • linkreport

Hogwash: you really need to calm down.

a) Let's Choose DC was a joint project between GGW, DCist, and Prince of Petworth. I remind you that Silverman and Frumin essentially tied, far above the other candidates. However, GGW's endorsement is its own, and is the opinion of a supermajority of its contributors-it doesn't have to be a summation of Let's Choose, and doesn't purport to be.

b) I'm basing my comment on Frumin's limited appeal on the recent straw poll results. Yes, straw polls have issues, but that's the best data I have.

by Rahul Mereand-Sinha. on Mar 28, 2013 9:36 am • linkreport

You like to attack others for what you perceive as slipshod logic, but you need to pull the log out of your own eye before discussing the speck in mine here.

I'm lost. Did you write the endorsement? This endorsement suggests she has city-wide appeal. I've stated countless times that my only knowledge of her is what I've seen here. I've also stated that she (and frumin for that matter) has no EOTR presence. I also stated the same about the work of those involved in I-70. Maybe you read my comment as a slight against you. It's not, it's a slight against the campaign on which you are currently working. Your campaign has no EOTR (well at least W8) and as a resident, I have every right to point that out. It's a fact that shouldn't be taking personally. It just is.

you really need to calm down. GGW's endorsement is its own, and is the opinion of a supermajority of its contributors-it doesn't have to be a summation of Let's Choose, and doesn't purport to be.

I have every right to ask "probing" questions about a solicited exercise in which I participated. In my first comment, I stated that I had different expectations and was clearly wrong. But for you to come back and thump your chest essentially telling me that it was a "GGW Contributors Choose" and not those of us who participated...is just wrong.

Since this is the approach the contributors have taken against those who might have "probing questions," I can assure you that this is not an exercise I will ever participate again because what I've said here clearly isn't appreciated.

Point taken and case closed.

by HogWash on Mar 28, 2013 9:56 am • linkreport

I assumed letschoosedc would have published the results of the preferences and perhaps cross-referenced those with ward of domicile at some point, particularly before any endorsements were made. I am with hogwash on this.

by William on Mar 28, 2013 10:14 am • linkreport

I enjoy this blog but I remember that GGW also endorsed Vince Gray over Adrian Fenty in 2010. Some history and persepctive helps.

by Glover Parker on Mar 28, 2013 10:18 am • linkreport

Actually it had no "official" endorsement, but rather printed the personal endorsements of three of the contributors. They ran 2-1 for Fenty.

by Rahul Mereand-Sinha. on Mar 28, 2013 10:22 am • linkreport

I assumed letschoosedc would have published the results of the preferences and perhaps cross-referenced those with ward of domicile at some point, particularly before any endorsements were made. I am with hogwash on this.

This is a GGW endorsement. What does it have to do with letschoosedc?

by MLD on Mar 28, 2013 10:26 am • linkreport

No, Rahul, David Alpert endorsed Vince Gray in 2010. This seems pretty close to an 'official' endorsement to me.

Have faith in our ideas and vote Gray

by David Alpert • September 13, 2010 12:47 pm
http://greatergreaterwashington.org/post/7103/have-faith-in-our-ideas-and-vote-gray/

by Glover Parker on Mar 28, 2013 10:30 am • linkreport

@Glover Parker

Reading comprehension?
"This is the third of three personal endorsements on Fenty-Gray. See Dan's and Ken's."

Personal endorsements.

by MLD on Mar 28, 2013 10:34 am • linkreport

@Glover Parker: And Ken Archer and Dan Malouff endorsed Fenty, each in linked articles. There was no consensus, so GGW ran multiple views. The Silverman endorsement was a vote (albeit one from which Ken abstained due to a conflict) that proved lop-sided enough to support a single endorsement.

by Rahul Mereand-Sinha. on Mar 28, 2013 10:36 am • linkreport

And in your scenario, the IT person isn't campaigning on the magnificent job he performed. The media isn't talking about the great work he'd done. Yet, Silverman IS. Don't get what's hard to understand there.
Actually, he would be. Sorry, but if you think that a great IT guy shouldn’t be hired because his previous company went bankrupt, well, I don’t know what to tell you. Maybe he’s cursed or something, but I think most people agree that people should be judged for their actions, not whether or not they have some kind of Midas aura that creates success simply by being nearby.
You seem to be unable to answer a simple question – what, exactly, did Silverman do with regards to Initiative 70 that you find so objectionable? And again, it’s not like she made the decision to turn in the signatures when they did (even if one thinks that was an awful call – again, at the time collecting 30k when we needed 23k seemed pretty safe).
You, not me, said that Elissa's work was as "essential" as your own (simply collecting signatures) and if she should be blamed for its failure...so should you.
If you put something in quotation marks and attribute it to someone, you might first want to make sure that that person actually said it. I never said that Elissa’s work was as “essential’ as my own – my comments still there if you forgot what it said.
I read that as you not believing she played an important enough role to warrant any blame assigned to her.
Again, a failure of logic. There’s a huge gap between playing an important role and making every decision for an organization. For some reason, you seem to think that she either was the one that made the choice to turn in the signatures, or she played an insignificant role. If you think that the only significant role someone could have in a campaign that collected 30,000 signatures was making the decision about when to turn them in, well, I disagree.

by Chatham on Mar 28, 2013 10:39 am • linkreport

Trulee Pist: I've seen how Zuckerberg responds to a challenge and succeeds. I saw no such resiliance in Silverman's performance in the only major leadership role she has held.

I-70 volunteers, including Elissa, spent countless hours responding to the BOE's invalidation of signatures, finding that thousands of those the BOE claimed were invalid were perfectly valid signatures of people registered at the address they put on the petition. They then went further and took the matter to court. In the end, they felt short, but they certainly fought.

The BOE's rules for petitions for candidates are different from those for petitions for ballot initiatives in several ways, and one of those ways is that candidates have the opportunity to submit changes of address for signers after turning in their petitions, while initiative supporters do not. Zukerberg's situation is not comparable to I-70's.

by Keith Ivey on Mar 28, 2013 10:51 am • linkreport

"My concern is whether to support someone i don't care for (Mara) to try and help ensure that people i really want OUT OF OFFICE (Brown, Bond) aren't punching the ticket back."

@Tom M

What policy proposals of Mara's are more compelling than actual legislation voted for, sponsored, or co-sponsored by Brown? Brown is a known quantity. He has ethics issues, but he also has a voting record. Mara is a guy who talks a lot about what he'll do and how he knows Republicans on the Hill, without any real results to show for it. What single issue has he lobbied Republicans on the Hill regarding that resulting in a vote in favor of the interests of District residents? I think Mara is just a ladder climber. He ran for an open At Large seat in 2011 before he had really accomplished much on the SBOE. I can't think of a thing Mara has done that would make someone prefer him over Brown, even despite his ethics issues (the rent allegations).

I support Elissa because I think her policy positions are stronger than Brown, but I can't think of a single policy reason to support Mara. I mean, he says he's for statehood, but has he brought any Republican on the Hill on board regarding even that? Not that I can tell. He's an empty suit.

by Washingtonian on Mar 28, 2013 10:54 am • linkreport

Everyone attacking DCFPI is going to need to provide links to these studies they claim have "weak analysis" and break down the logic/findings therein. Conclusory arguments aren't very good arguments at all.

by Washingtonian on Mar 28, 2013 10:57 am • linkreport

@oboe

You linked to a Washington Post story on the report, not the report itself and you never explained what was ridiculous about it. Make an actual argument before you use loaded terms like "ridiculous".

by Washingtonian on Mar 28, 2013 10:59 am • linkreport

@William

I think this just goes to electibility. Silverman is certainly not as good as Frumin imo. However, both are MILES ahead of Brown/Bonds. If Silverman pulls 31 votes while Frumin gets 15 in a civic association east of the city, (despite being a tiny sample size) that says that Silverman has a bit more appeal city-wide, which is what it will take to knock of Bonds.

As I was bumping and dodging potholes heading north on 16th today, it struck me just how absurd it is that we have a CM who is a VP at Ft Myers, the construction company that wins the lions share of DC road contracts.

by Kyle-W on Mar 28, 2013 11:01 am • linkreport

@HogWash

I agree that it can be tricky to gauge the geography of a candidate's support, especially without polling. I'm not sure how worthwhile it would be to collect geographical info from LCDC voters, as that group is so self-selecting.

I think the best publicly available data on this are probably the campaign contribution records, which can be downloaded from the DC OCF website. A quick look at these shows that Frumin's financial support base is overwhelmingly located in Upper NW (or outside the DMV completely), while Silverman's contributions have come from a much more diverse group of neighborhoods across the city..

by DM on Mar 28, 2013 11:02 am • linkreport

*sigh*

How would you evaluate the IT guy's ability to get the job done? By his track record right? How do we (the participants) evaluate Elissa's preparedness for office wrt to the endorsement which was based, in part, on her involvement w/a failed initiative? None of the questions addressed that. This endorsement doesn't. I haven't read anything from her detailing her role. Because her work has been repeatedly mentioned, it seems logical to assume she played a crucial role. If she didn't, then its unreasonable to use it as a rationale behind an endorsement. Appreciate her work? Certainly. Build a campaign/endorsement? No.

Thanks! But I know the proper way to use quoatation marks. In this case, I put "essential" in quotes to point out I was paraphrasing what you said...which was that she didn't serve an important enough role to warrant blame. Hence, the word "essential."

WRT what I find objectional, I don't know anything about her role beyond her using it as a campaign marker and now this endorsement. I've "volunteered" on political campaigns. I put that on my resume. And unless I played a crucial role, I wouldn't cite that experience as reason why I am fit for political office. Do you know of a candidate who has used his/her" less than significant" experience as a campaign political justification?

by HogWash on Mar 28, 2013 11:28 am • linkreport

I believe Geoffrey Hatchard when he lays blame for I-170 failures on a collective decision-making process, with many participant voters perhaps very naive.

Sounds like the group could have used some leadership from someone in that room.

And we're electing a Councilmember here.

Please connect the dots, folks. Both to Elissa's leadership qualities, which were absent in I-70, but we're supposed to believe will blossom in a Council and city system filled with snakes.

And we're supposed to doubly trust that ballot decision because another naive collective has voted on her, here.

No thanks. Frumin or Mara are the real options I think. Both are experienced and seasoned in politics, and haven't pulled amateur pettiness in this campaign. Let's not forget Silverman's campaign went after other people's ballots for the same things I-70 failed on, she went after them with arguments I-70 just a little while earlier had rebutted as unfair.

by Shark Tank on Mar 28, 2013 12:03 pm • linkreport

"They then went further and took the matter to court. In the end, they felt short, but they certainly fought."

My take was they got an extension back in September, but it was too late to get on the ballot. And nothing since then. That isn't trying very hard.

Again, as I said at the time, the entire petition campaign was pure amateur hour. Citing it as "leadership" is silly. It goes to show that you're interested in campaign finance, and that you should be able to show that you learned something.

(Silverman quashing a few other campaigns on voter IDs is evidence of learning, BTW, not hypocrisy)

And if she was really smart*, she would run a voter supression campaign by challening voters EOTR. Granted this will be a low turnout election but 500-1000 votes could make a difference.

* I'd also suggest a Nixon style GOTV campaign of a phone call to Bonds voters at 3 AM from "Homosexuals for Bonds" thanking them for their support. Again, maybe 500 votes.

Three very weak candidates vs. Anita Bonds.

by charlie on Mar 28, 2013 12:30 pm • linkreport

Washingtonian, you just wrote everything about Mara that I've been thinking. What has he done? Other than endlessly run for any and every office he can find. Some people believe in a cause and thus seek office to further that. Others believe in themselves and seek office for validation. Mara is of the latter group, IMO. He's been on the school board for 3 years. What has he accomplished? Let's face it, he's a former student body president, senatorial staffer who's run for office 3 times now because he believes....that he should be in office.

Still, that pretty much describes Brown too. So in a choice between them I'm torn.

Silverman, Furmin and Zuckerberg all seem to want office for the right reason, but I worry about their viability. Also, I have a professional acquaintance with Zuckerberg and he comes off as emotionally unsteady and unfit for office in my opinion.

I am desperately hoping for some real polling data prior to the election (I would even pitch in some cash on it GGW, if you want to do a crowd-sourcing effort) so that I can choose among viable options. I too would like to know why GGW things Silverman has broader support.

If I ranked them now, it would be

Furmin
Silverman
Bonds
Brown
Mara
Redd
Zuckerberg

And barring any new data, that's what I'll go with.

by David C on Mar 28, 2013 1:05 pm • linkreport

I think it would be incredibly hard to poll this kind of race. Turnout is what 10-15%?

by Alan B. on Mar 28, 2013 2:51 pm • linkreport

City Paper did it last special election.

by David C on Mar 28, 2013 3:15 pm • linkreport

I think Mara has commissioned a poll that's in the field now, but I doubt he'd release the results, as he probably benefits from having Frumin and Silverman in the race.

My list is not exactly ranked the same as David C's, but I agree that progressives should coalesce behind either Frumin or Silverman if one of them polls better.

by DCster on Mar 28, 2013 7:20 pm • linkreport

To Washingtonian: I said that given the way the race is going to come down, i have the option of supporting someone i don't realy care for MARA to block somepeople i really do NOT want to see in office BOND OR BROWN. I live in the real world and cannot value "position purity" one smidgen. I spent years working my butt off and donating for candidates i agreed with. I was an almost perfect counter indicator -- at the federal, state, and local levels my candidates consistently LOST. Losing helps no one and forwards no cause or issue. I'm awaiting polling data but if that doesn't materialize, I'm casting a vote for Mara because in my calculation, he's the ONLY one with even a chance of keeping BROWN OR BOND from occupying the seat. On top of that Mara will have every incentive to go after each and every corrupt or inept Dem member of the city council. Right now, in my mind that includes ALL OF THE DEM MEMBERS OF THE CITY COUNCIL. I am a lifelong democrat and am APPALLED by what the party produces here. Time for a broom to sweep them all OUT THE DOOR>

by Tom M on Mar 29, 2013 12:07 pm • linkreport

"...respected top Fenty administration officials like Neil Albert and Victor Reinoso."

What? Respected? You're kidding, right?

The same Neil Albert that mis-managed the Parks and Rec Department, headed up the Office of so-called Planning and Economic Development during numerous real estate contracting scandals and is now working for uber real estate development firm, Holland & Knight (as his former DMPED colleagues are busy shredding documents on the West End/Eastbanc deal)?

And the same Victor Reinoso who cribbed DC's education plan from Charlotte, NC not so many years ago?

by Citizen Fact Checker on Mar 31, 2013 3:44 pm • linkreport

Only a totally irrational and/or illiterate city would fail to elect Mara. The one thing DC Council does *not* need is one more liberal, progressive member. For diversity of opinion and an increased level of debate there needs to be more centrist and right-leaning members, not fewer. Pat Mara has proben himself in the BOE to be a dedicated, selfless citizen who also happens to have some smarts. To get the endorsement of the DC Chamber and the Sierra Club is pretty amazing, and let's also add the Washington Post.

by George210 on Apr 2, 2013 12:24 pm • linkreport

Only a totally irrational and/or illiterate city would fail to elect Mara.

Well, that puts it in pretty stark terms, doesn't it.

For diversity of opinion and an increased level of debate

That's already built into the system, with non-majority party set-asides and ward representation.

Pat Mara has proben himself in the BOE to be a dedicated, selfless citizen

by doing....?

by David C on Apr 2, 2013 12:33 pm • linkreport

One-Party Rule, Ethics, and Transparency: Issues to be considered for April 23

Six candidates are running in the Special Election on April 23, four Democrats, one Republican, and one Statehood Green — Perry Redd. Here is the critical question that I hope our electorate considers before voting: is one-party rule conducive to democracy and justice? Consider that all of the ten Democrats (and of course the Republican who poses as an Independent, David Catania) on our City Council have over and over voted for Republican-like policies with respect to our budget, cutting hundreds of millions of dollars from our low income programs, thereby increasing the misery index during our recession which translates into a depression for our low-income residents. We heard recently that homeless youth were turned away by shelters because of the lack of funding, in a city where DC millionaires have the lowest DC tax rate (ITEP, Who Pays?), with families earning over $500,000 per year having a taxable income of $5 billion (most recent IRS data).

We do not yet have much of a record for the recently elected Democrat (a.k.a. Independent) David Grosso or for the recently appointed and now candidate Democrat Anita Bonds, except for the fact that Bonds voted for the Re-Entry Facilitation Amendment Act of 2012 (B19-889), Council Chair Mendelson’s very weak substitute for a much stronger bill for returning citizens rights introduced by Councilmember Barry. Philip Fornaci called B19-889 "toothless" and "illogical." Fornaci said at a council hearing "Any returning citizen should be considered to be ‘in good standing’ after completion of his or her term of incarceration." Of course Perry Redd agrees with Fornaci’s position.

There are two alternatives to challenge our ethically-challenged one-party elected government in this election. Patrick Mara, a self-labeled moderate Republican, who donated to Mitt Romney’s campaign, takes corporate contributions, and supports policies that have contributed to the growing gap between the wealthy and the rest of us. He stands for a failed so-called school reform program that privatizes public education, fires experienced teachers, and closes neighborhood schools. But his positions on these issues are generally shared by everyone else already on the council as well as the mayor. For example, Mara’s views on taxes are very similar to the Democrat, Jack Evans.

In this election, Perry Redd, the DC Statehood Green candidate, is the only progressive alternative to one-party rule. He is committed to reducing our very high income inequality, eliminating poverty, starting with our children, and real school reform that serves all our neighborhoods, which means keeping the fifteen neighborhood public schools open. If you think one-party rule is not healthy for democracy this is the choice you should consider making in this election.

And for those progressive voters who now support Elissa Silverman, in large part because of her impressive research and advocacy record on behalf of the DC Fiscal Policy Institute and the Campaign Finance Reform Initiative 70, please consider the following:

1) her campaign was behind the effort to remove two other Democrats from the ballot, namely Paul Zukerberg and John Settles. According to Paul Zukerberg, "Point man on Silverman’s legal team was Thorn Pozen, a full partner at Stinson Morrison and Hecker, and an election law maven. Pozen was formerly Special Counsel for the District of Columbia and its chief ethics lawyer. He’s the go-to guy in DC for all things electable. Mike Tacelosky was crunching Silverman’s voter data. Tacelosky, a computer wiz, created proprietary software to instantly flag any defect on a candidate’s petitions — including the candidate killer — address mismatch — software the beleaguered and underfunded BOE can only dream about." (http://zukerbergatlarge.nationbuilder.com/settles_steamrolled_by_silverman_machine). After a hard fought battle with the DC BOEE, Zukerberg maintained ballot status. But Elissa’s OCF filings make no mention of Thorn Pozen or Mike Tacelosky. At the recent TENAC Forum and yesterday on Channel 8, Elissa finally admitted her campaign was behind this but she refused to say how much was spent in this effort. Since this K Street law firm was donating their time and money on behalf of her campaign, thethen in-kind contributions should be at least be made public on Elissa's website! Where is Elissa’s commitment to "integrity and accountability," so prominent in her campaign rhetoric?

Zukerberg is making an outstanding contribution to this race in his highlighting with great credibility the issue of the harm of the drug war, in supporting the decriminalization of small amounts of marijuana possession, a position that Perry Redd endorses. The drug war has been mainly focused on the black community, filling our jails with its victims, resulting in what Michelle Alexander has called "The New Jim Crow." Yet, since Elissa wanted to reduce the competition among the Democrats she tried to get Zukerberg kicked off the ballot. In that effort even homeless voters were targeted by her campaign (see

http://socialspeaks.wordpress.com/2013/03/06/blinded-by-the-right/). In contrast, Perry is the champion of the dispossessed, the returning citizens, and low-income community. The voters deserve more choice, not less.

2) Elissa has refused to condemn the threatened closing of fifteen more neighborhood public schools, triangulating on this issue, asserting that some have to be closed. Daniel del Pielago, Empower DC, is leading a fight to keep these schools in the black community open, with Johnny Barnes heading a legal team challenging this in court. This is a crucial issue in the fightback against further school privatization. Of all six candidates, only Perry Redd has opposed the closure of these schools without any equivocation.

3) If you contribute money to Elissa’s campaign you will join this crowd making significant donations (go to OCF and see for yourself), notables such as Robert Ebel, Neil Albert, and Victor Reinoso, key players in DC’s structural adjustment program, starting with Ebel’s role chairing the first Tax Revision Commission giving birth to the Tax Parity Act, favoring tax cuts for the wealthy, and so-called school reform. In addition, a $250 donation came from Sinclair Skinner, the big developer identified for shady practices in the Trout Report. Ok, it was from an individual and not a LLC, but what is the big difference when Elissa claims she doesn't take corporate donations? The only candidate in the race who refuses to take corporate donations is Perry Redd.

And lets not forget the contributor of $1000, Daniel Solomon, DC Vote, the lobby with corporate entities such as Coca Cola, Barclays, Washington DC Association of REALTORS and Patton Boggs on their Board, the long term promoter of tokenism-always-coming-first before putting DC Statehood front and center (Yes, I do support a yes vote for Proposition 8, which if finally implemented by Congress would give us temporary budgetary autonomy; only DC Statehood will give us permanent legislative and budgetary autonomy. DC Vote should focus its resources on building support around our nation for the DC Statehood bills introduced in both the Senate and House).

Vote for Perry Redd on April 23, vote for a real progressive, vote for diversity on our City Council!

David Schwartzman, Perry Redd for City Council Campaign, Tax & Budget Coordinator DC Statehood Green Party

dschwartzman@gmail.com

by David Schwartzman on Apr 14, 2013 10:09 pm • linkreport

Mr. Schwartzman raises an interesting point about the Silverman campaign involvement in the OCF matter with Settles and Zukerberg. Normally, this should be a footnote issue. However, since Silverman has made ethics and accountability the cornerstone of her campaign, she should be disclosing this information on her financial filings. Failure to do so simply makes her another in a long line of politically hypocritical candidates. As GGW has endorsed her campaign, it would be consistent for the GGW community to ask for this information. The GGW endorsement notes:

Ms. Silverman has a clear commitment to reforming government ethics from her work advancing DC's Initiative 70, the recent proposed ballot initiative.

So, will the GGW Community stand up for good government and demand Ms. Silverman make this information public?

by William on Apr 15, 2013 6:35 am • linkreport

Just to close the record on Elissa Silverman's responsibility to signature gatherers whose hopes were dashed and efforts lost when Silverman failed to win ballot access for I-70:

I received a weird email entitled "DC ELECTIONS CONFUSE YOU?" this afternoon from Adam Green of BoldProgressives.org. In it, he starts of by saying, "Friend,
On most DC Election Days, I email my friend David Alpert -- a really smart DC blogger -- and ask, 'Quick. Who are the progressive DC candidates?' This time is different. The progressive choice is obvious. The race is close. Your help is needed.
I hope you join me in voting for Elissa Silverman in the special election for DC City Council on Tuesday, April 23."

Which I found confusing, even intentionally misleading, since David Alpert has *not* endorsed Elissa Silverman.

This Adam Green, whom I do not know from Adam, does clear one thing up, however, when he writes, quoting a petition-gatherer for Silverman:

"Elissa led the campaign to get the the corporate donation ban on the ballot."

So she did lead the campaign, and in the spirit of her campaign slogan, accountability, progressives and I-70 volunteers deserve an explanation of WTF, why did you submit the signatures early and without properly checking them first? Or she did *not* lead the campaign and she should *not* be held accountable for the leadership failure on I-70, for which she likes to take credit.

Not sure which it is, since Elissa does not choose to clear up the confusion.

by Trulee Pist on Apr 17, 2013 1:47 pm • linkreport

Not sure which it is, since Elissa does not choose to clear up the confusion.

And neither will anyone who supports her. She's campaigned using this as a plus in her column. OTOH, she nor her supporters feel as if she bears any responsibility for its failure. I can understand why her campaign wants to receive credit for the idea but not the implementation. It doesn't look good.

by HogWash on Apr 17, 2013 2:19 pm • linkreport

It's too bad the endorsement team from GreaterGreaterWashington and other organizations don't seem or want to grasp this.

by William on Apr 17, 2013 2:33 pm • linkreport

What's not to grasp? They collected signatures, it was tight, but they missed the cutoff due to address mismatches. Some of which were due to the fact that the list the BOE was using to compare was out of date.

What I fail to see is where the big fucking conspiracy or massive incompetence is in all of this that people seem to think is being swept under the rug. I'm sure any of you could just go out tomorrow and snatch up 25,000 signatures and make sure you get 5% of the voters in each ward, and then of course you'll have time after lunch to double-check each one against the voter rolls!

good grief.

by MLD on Apr 17, 2013 2:43 pm • linkreport

What I fail to see is where the big fucking conspiracy or massive incompetence is in all of this that people seem to think is being swept under the rug.

In other words, "Ok, so the major reform initiative she ran on failed, why is that such a big deal? It's not like we should use her own campaign against her!"

For my money, if you can't stand the heat...stay out of Curacao during the summer. If it was too overwhelming for her, she should've passed the banner on to someone else who could've gotten it right.

by HogWash on Apr 17, 2013 2:56 pm • linkreport

Are there places where she or anyone involved with the campaign have said that she deserves credit for leading but no blame whatsoever for its failures? This "can't stand the heat" language is bull - who exactly is "not standing the heat?

The idea that supporters have created a dichotomy of "she led it but had nothing to do with the failure" is a complete fabrication and the usual bush-league politicking in DC. No explanation as to why that's a good or a bad thing or what it tells us about the candidate - just that they're dishonest and clearly a failure!

Personally I would rather have someone who's out there doing something to make politics better, even if they fall short, rather than the crop who seem to run for office for the connections and graft possibilities for employers (Bonds) or those who see running repeatedly for various offices as their entire job (Mara).

by MLD on Apr 17, 2013 3:07 pm • linkreport

I'll probably vote for Silverman. I give her credit for being right on the issue of corporate donations and for putting her back into it, but sure, I'll ding her for getting the bureaucratic details wrongs. She's still better than Bonds or Mara.

by David C on Apr 17, 2013 3:17 pm • linkreport

@ MLD, The idea that supporters have created a dichotomy of "she led it but had nothing to do with the failure" is a complete fabrication and the usual bush-league politicking in DC., you don't have to even leave this page to see it is not a fabrication.

Check out comments in this threat (by Birdie on Mar 27, 2013 4:40 pm and by Chatham on Mar 27, 2013 6:04 pm and 8:40 pm, and my favorite: by Geoffrey Hatchard on Mar 27, 2013 10:05 pm. Those comments are exactly what I am talking about.

Some champion her as leader of the I-70 effort. Others excuse her from blame because she was just a volunteer collecting signatures. Which is it?

Accountability. Integrity. Yada yada.

by Trulee Pist on Apr 17, 2013 3:50 pm • linkreport

Chatham's comment seems uninformed (she was not just a volunteer), the others seem to balance just fine. You seem to want to just hang the "failure" around her neck. I feel like I understand the reasons why the the initiative failed (there was a decision, made by the many, to move forward rapidly to meet the November deadline), and that while she was a leader of the project that decision was not hers alone and so the failure is also not hers alone.

What exactly does this tell you about her, and what do you think it is supposed to tell other people about her abilities vs those of the other candidates?

It certainly doesn't inform me much about her integrity or accountability since it's 3rd parties making these claims, not her or her campaign. Can you not tell the difference?

by MLD on Apr 17, 2013 4:10 pm • linkreport

@MLD, yeah I'm shocked (ok not really) that you didn't know the commentary you seek was actually HERE on GGW's own!

What exactly does this tell you about her, and what do you think it is supposed to tell other people about her abilities vs those of the other candidates?

That her one accomplishment of note...was a failure. People can interpret that anyway they like...and they will. If you don't know anything about her (which most don't) then you have to go on what you know. Since she doesn't highlight any other relevant experience, then this does become the anvil around her neck. This website didn't mention any other experience and neither has she. So let's stop pretending otherwise. She's marginally qualified candidate who seems totally uninterested in having city-wide appeal.

by HogWash on Apr 17, 2013 4:50 pm • linkreport

yeah I'm shocked (ok not really) that you didn't know the commentary you seek was actually HERE on GGW's own!
Wrong, I asked for:
"Are there places where she or anyone involved with the campaign have said that she deserves credit for leading but no blame whatsoever for its failures?"

That her one accomplishment of note...was a failure.
I mean if you ignore everything this article and every other article out there says about her then I guess she just sat around twiddling her thumbs until I-70. Or we could look at reality:
- Her work as a local journalist
- Her work at DCFPI
- Her actual positions

Beyond that, is there another candidate you think people should be voting for? Because I don't see you or any of the other haters on here suggesting anyone more qualified or accomplished. Again, reading comprehension: her abilities VERSUS THE OTHER CANDIDATES. I'm here to be convinced but I don't see anyone countering with facts about the other candidates.

by MLD on Apr 17, 2013 5:19 pm • linkreport

MLD: It's clear that you're not getting anywhere "debating" with this guy. Just let him talk to himself.

by Geoffrey Hatchard on Apr 17, 2013 5:20 pm • linkreport

@Geoffrey Hatchard
http://blog.themistrading.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/lucy.jpg

by MLD on Apr 17, 2013 5:22 pm • linkreport

Beyond that, is there another candidate you think people should be voting for?

Sure, Frumin! I've said before that he has my vote. Not sure how you missed it. We all vote for whom we have the best feeling. Some like Mara, some Bonds, some Frumin and some Silverman. Of the whole group, I have the worst feelings about Silverman even though the one I know most about is Mara and I would lean his way if Frumin wasn't in the race..followed by Bonds.

MLD: It's clear that you're not getting anywhere "debating" with this guy. Just let him talk to himself.

What's clear is that since none of the back and forth involved anything in which Geoffrey Hatchard thought a good idea to participate....Geoffrey Hatchard should've left his own commentary to himself. Yes?

by HogWash on Apr 17, 2013 6:24 pm • linkreport

@MLD: It certainly doesn't inform me much about her integrity or accountability since it's 3rd parties making these claims, not her or her campaign. Can you not tell the difference?

Really? Again, no need to leave the cozy confines of GWW. Here's her very own answer on ethics in the Let's Choose DC exercise: "I will push to make into law Initiative 70.... I was a leader of this effort."

So she was a leader, not just a volunteer, but no one should hold her, ummm, accountable for blowing all the hard work of the I-70 volunteers by handing in a hot mess of signatures too early and insufficiently vetted, and which did not pass muster? Getting on the ballot is Step One of every political campaign. Even Zuckerberg was able to overcome an effort to challenge his signatures. Silverberg apparently neither paid for nor reported as a contribution to her campaign that challenge, but acknowledges it as something her campaign did. Could that be an integrity issue there that she ought to address before Tuesday?

I'm gonna hold her accountable for opening I-70 to a failed application to get on the ballot. I'm gonna challenge her to show some integrity by faithfully reporting how her failed challenge to Zuckerberg's signatures was paid for.

You do what you need to do.

by Trulee Pist on Apr 17, 2013 11:23 pm • linkreport

BTW, how do you know Some of [the I-70 address mismatches] were due to the fact that the list the BOE was using to compare was out of date

I'll tell you how you learned that: Zuckerberg!

Why didn't the I-70 campaign leadership ask the tough questions and find out the information Zuckerberg learned in turning back Silverman's failed effort to toss him off the ballot? I thought that was Silverman's specialty.

by Trulee Pist on Apr 17, 2013 11:32 pm • linkreport

The endorsement that keeps on giving for the smart growth crowd - from today's themail:

Why I Will Vote for Elissa Silverman for Council
Teddy Grahams

Gary, you saw, far before I did, the strength of the conviction of DC’s Planning Office, and the DC government as a whole, to be antithetical to residents who own cars. The idea is to make DC a very green city, which means less greenhouse gases, which means less cars and driving, as I now understand it. I try to be a live-and-let-live kind of person, so I didn’t see it when you did. I was OK with the inconvenience of bike lanes to drivers (I still am, bikers should have a safe lane), and I didn’t understand the full import of the massive fines for being over the speed limit. Now I think of these two things as part of a larger package.

It wasn’t until new young residents, commenting on a local blog in favor of the city’s new zoning proposal to eliminate the need for developers to provide parking spaces in new residential buildings within half a mile of a Metro stop, that I got it. These people told me that if have trouble parking my car, perhaps I should consider leaving DC and moving to a more car friendly environment. They told me I was mistaken if I said I needed my car. Only then did I understand the depth of the city’s apparent attitude that cars really are a problem, as opposed to a necessity if you want to continue your own life style, rather than switch to one which emphasizes biking and walking (which I in fact love to do) in place of driving. No more seeing friends in the suburbs. No longer playing bridge in the suburbs (where the only good games are). No more walking on the C&O Canal towpath. You can’t get to any of these with public transit, and if you could it would take far longer in any case. Switching your lifestyle on someone else’s behest is especially difficult as we get older, of course.

This is why I will vote for Elissa. She understands the issue from the viewpoint of long time residents. Here is a snippet of a longer E-mail she wrote in response to my questions: "My concern about eliminating parking minimums. . . : [They don’] address concerns of neighbors, in that where are condo/apartment residents going to park? Even near Metro, as in my case, households still may choose to own a car. Street parking is finite, and if there’s no underground parking for condo residents they will compete for spots on the street. . . ." I’ve taken a few words out to make it shorter, but haven’t altered the meaning. Hopefully, if elected, Elissa can start to put some common sense into what the city is doing. Vote for Elissa Silverman for council.

Could Elissa Silverman actually be a trojan horse candidate?

by Aldo Kelrast on Apr 18, 2013 11:01 pm • linkreport

Someone has some 'splaining to do. This is incredibly disheartening.

by William on Apr 19, 2013 7:26 am • linkreport

Not explaining herself. REINVENTING herself. Today's WaPo:

In an interview, Silverman said she should not be held accountable for all the views held by her employer.
“I was a reporter, and I reinvented myself, and I’ll reinvent myself again on the council,” said Silverman.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/dc-politics/dc-council-at-large-race-enters-final-weekend/2013/04/18/1ed1ade8-a82e-11e2-8302-3c7e0ea97057_story.html

Accountability. Integrity. Whatever it takes to get over.

by Trulee Pist on Apr 19, 2013 10:54 am • linkreport

And this is the person attracting the progressive vote?

C'mon people, pull it together and vote for a real candidate, not this mess.

by William on Apr 19, 2013 11:03 am • linkreport

They all have their issues, (Frumin on charters, etc), but right now according to the most recent poll, Silverman is the highest-polling candidate who isn't a corrupt race-baiting machine politician or Republican—and not all that moderate of one, actually. (Really, Mara needs to stop talking about equal marriage—we have it already! Explain shilling for Romney, or discuss forward-looking policies. His campaign acts like we should give him credit for supporting the 1964 Civil Rights Act...)

If you don't vote for Silverman, you are in effect voting for Mara or Bonds. That's the math of the situation.

by Rahul Mereand-Sinha. on Apr 19, 2013 12:08 pm • linkreport

Rahul - GGW is ostensibly about smart growth and good urbanism and we are not debating the Washington Post endorsement here - we are debating the GGW endorsement of a candidate who has said all sorts of things that suggest she understands neither smart growth nor good urbanism.

In an earlier post in this thread you actually stated that the vote on this endorsement was not even close - would you care to clarify whether such a vote on an endorsement would still not be close if it were taken today?

Or whether there is any degree of bad policy statements that would cause GGW to admit that it made a big mistake on this one?

by TomQ on Apr 19, 2013 12:50 pm • linkreport

@Rahul, I'm not sure I understand what "issue" Frumin has on charters. His position is that we should use the upcoming period of growth in school-age population in DC to aim for a target of 1/3 of kids in charter schools and 2/3 in neighborhood public schools. I like that position! Not an issue for me at all.

by Trulee Pist on Apr 19, 2013 12:55 pm • linkreport

Considering DCPS' declining enrollment, the extent to which most charters are oversubscribed, the pace of new charter openings, and % of the student body already in charter schools (42%, right?)... Frumin would have to freeze charter school licensure, perhaps shrink or revoke some charters, and hold the line for quite some time, to get the proportions you describe.

by Rahul Mereand-Sinha. on Apr 19, 2013 2:50 pm • linkreport

The endorsement that keeps on giving for the smart growth crowd - from today's themail:

@Aldo Kelrast,

Ken Archer here, Elissa's treasurer. Elissa's position on minimum parking requirements is the same as she communicated in response to Let's Choose DC's question on the topic:

So in our most transit-accessible areas, I support the removal of parking minimums on the condition that developers create permanent, truly affordable housing in return.

The email convo was selectively quoted in TheMail. Elissa believes that, despite these hardships, the longer walk to find parking is worth it in return for more affordable housing.

by Ken Archer on Apr 19, 2013 2:50 pm • linkreport

The poll cited above has no statistical significance and has been debunked by supporters of almost all of the candidates. The bottom line is that there are a number of undecides and almost no tangible way to determine a front runner or serious challenger.

However, I am continuing to be incredibly disappointed with this endorsement by GGW for the reasons TomQ cited.

That she is quoted and stating she will reinvent herself on the Council gives this voter absolutely no comfort whatsoever that this will be a council member friendly to the values embraced by the bloggers who endorsed her. Her ambiguity demonstrates her ability to pander in an ambiguous manner so as to confuse voters as to what her real or core values are. I know that may come as a shock to many who drink the Initiative 70 Kool-Aid, but there are more voters in this city than the closed circle of people who seemed to be involved with that effort and are supporting her.

It is an example of the short-sightedness or maybe political newbieness.

by William on Apr 19, 2013 10:02 pm • linkreport

I attended most of the candidates forums and found that Elissa triangulated many issues and shifted positions depending on where the forum was held. In contrast, Perry Redd is the real progressive in this election.

Here is Perry Redd on Green Justice: Perry advocates for apprenticeship programs for employment opportunities in high schools and the community, especially in high poverty wards. Perry supports the growth of electric car recharging stations; concerted tax incentives for Washingtonians who purchase electric and hybrid cars.

But what about the so-called “war on cars” issue? At campaign forums Perry pointed out that the reliance on regressive speeding fines was penalizing low income residents, since fines, commonly over $100, are not based on ability to pay (Finland has precisely this approach).

Camera aided speeding fines are generated for travel above 10 mph above the posted limit. Here is my personal experience: by using DMV photos and actual measurement of the white stripes on the road I was able to demonstrate my car was traveling less than 10 miles per hour above the posted limit and got my fine reduced by $50 in traffic court. Further, this case proved the speeding camera was improperly calibrated. How many motorists have been victimized in generating revenue that should have been obtained by progressive taxation, restructuring our presently regressive DC tax structure ?

Here are some suggested objectives for a green justice approach to transportation in DC:
1) A shift from cars to mass transit use, that prioritizes equity, fully respecting the historic legacy of our African American residents and does not penalize low income and working class residents, hence subsidies must be implemented for these residents, especially for the elderly and disabled. Transportation costs to places of employment, health, food, cultural and educational services must not undermine income security of any resident.
2) Improving the health of our residents, all of whom are impacted by air pollution, particularly our children (asthma epidemic), women and elderly.
3) Reduction of carbon emissions linked to cars and other fossil fuel-burning vehicles. The threat of climate catastrophe must be addressed locally by a prevention program.
4) Exercise by walking, jogging and bicycle use.
5) Economic development promoting small businesses, farmers markets, urban farming geared to provide services to neighborhoods that minimize travel time and car use.
6) A Planning Process, requiring thorough grassroots community participation. This process was clearly lacking in the installation of bike lanes, favoring the gentrified areas of DC with the particular neglect of east of the river.
7) Finally, consideration of a DC Congestion Charge; see my testimony to WMATA, March 6, 2012 at http://www.dcstatehoodgreen.org/testimony/wmata_march2012.
A selection: “If London and many other cities around the world can reduce air pollution and traffic with congestion charging, why can’t the District do the same? Again if action is not immediately taken to implement regional congestion charging, the DC Statehood Green Party proposes that the District government begin planning for a DC congestion charge, which would reduce air pollution and congestion in our city's core while providing revenue to subsidize and expand mass transit. We call for legislation for a Task Force (with government and community representation) to plan for such a charge to commuters driving to the downtown business center of the District.”

In addition, consideration of a rebate program for trading in old low mileage cars for hybrids and plugin electric cars especially for taxis. This rebate program could be potentially paid for by congestion charging with a differential rate tied to MPG efficiency.

by David Schwartzman on Apr 22, 2013 12:36 am • linkreport

After reading the Post story which William provided I continue to be amazed at the self-labeling in this race, Mara's assertion he is "very very moderate Republican" while donating $999 to the Romney campaign, and Elissa asserting she is the only "progressive reformer". A "progressive reformer" standing for transparency and ethics, refusing to take corporate contributions, claims belied by her campaign's role in attacking the ballot status of Zukerberg and Settles and accepting $$ from Sinclair Skinner, as well as known operatives of urban structural adjustment implemented by Fenty? And now she is again acting to reduce the choices of voters, showing profound disrespect for our electorate, a revealing "show and tell" performance. How about telling us how much Thorn Pozen's K Street law firm spent on Elissa's behalf in the petition challenges? A "progressive" who like all the other candidates, EXCEPT Perry Redd, is comfortable with no tax hike on DC millionaires who now have the lowest DC tax rate (ITEP, Who Pays?), while low income programs in DC's budget remain gutted? At the Chevy Chase Forum I heard Elissa say that if the Tax Revision Commission, headed by Tony Williams (our prime architect of balancing the budget on the backs of the poor) called for no tax hikes she would not object. Readers by now should know that homeless youth are being turned away from the one shelter providing youth services because of lack of funding. Shame on the Mayor and our City Council for this human rights violation, one among many directed against DC's children and poor.

by David Schwartzman on Apr 22, 2013 8:20 am • linkreport

I am so disappointed in GGW. [Deleted for violating the comment policy.] Frumin has a track record on smart growth in the area of parking minimums (his brokering a smart growth outcome in the very contentious Babe's development), protecting school choice by strengthening neighborhood schools (Wilson modernization) so charters are an alternative, not the only, choice; mass transit (Circulator expansion).

Silverman on the other hand acknowledges lack of experience and/or middle-of-the-road views on all these issues. How can she possibly lead in anything other than blinkered budget focus, a focus not necessarily aligned with the spending on new (unproven) infrastructure to spur non-auto transportation.

GGW should have taken a balanced look at the candidates. [Deleted.]

This is all so unfortunate. Despite the hopelessness of the situation I will vote, and vote my conscience, not for the progressive who [deleted] has a better chance.

by LouDC on Apr 22, 2013 8:37 am • linkreport

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

by LouDC on Apr 22, 2013 8:53 am • linkreport

@MLD

Here is another endorsement of Silverman that cites her as being one of the "leaders" of the Initiative 70 effort:

http://www.glaaforum.org/glaa_forum/2013/04/elissa-silverman-is-the-only-pick-for-ethical-leadership-on-the-council.html

by William on Apr 22, 2013 9:06 am • linkreport

Re-posting edited comment (tho I'm not sure what exactly was problematic.)

As a follow-up to the education part of the smart-growth equation, Silverman's view seems to be that charters should be required to have neighborhood preference. How is this smart growth OR school choice? A robust school situation would be if charters addressed special-focus (such as language immersion, early advancement, STEM, etc), and neighborhood schools were a strong draw for general education, including those who must leave a charter that didn't work out.

Instead, we have a situation where parents outside of wards 2 and 3 apply to every single charter regardless of its focus, because neighborhood schools are not a viable choice. Charter focus already suffers, and pushing charters toward neighborhood preference further dilutes their ability to be focused, while also weakening the neighborhood schools that are meant to serve all who need to be served.

by LouDC on Apr 22, 2013 9:20 am • linkreport

Perry Redd is the only candidate who has consistently spoken out in opposition to the planned closing of 15 more neighborhood public schools, calling for a moratorium on new charter schools. Now Anita Bonds is calling for a moratorium on school closings, when earlier in the campaign she supported them. If elected she will no doubt go along with the rest on the Council in facilitating these unwarranted closures. This represents the continuation of so-called school reform, i.e., the progressive privatization of public education,firings of experienced teachers, a policy promoted by the Washington Post/Kaplan and the right wing Walton family who are bringing Walmarts to DC. Thanks to Empower DC and Johnny Barnes, there is now a vigorous fightback movement challenging this policy, defending the interests of parents and children who are facing transfer to charter schools with higher student/teacher ratios. Charter schools commonly dump students back to the traditional system while keeping their funding for a year. Please note the widening cheating scandal on tests purported to show educational improvements. All the candidates EXCEPT Perry Redd have triangulated on these issues. If they triangulate now, what will they do if elected, backed by the corporate sector?

by David Schwartzman on Apr 22, 2013 10:05 am • linkreport

http://greatergreaterwashington.org/post/18592/bonds-mara-wouldnt-sacrifice-parking-for-a-bike-lane/

Silverman is more progressive than many in this thread are giving her credit for.

by Rahul Mereand-Sinha. on Apr 22, 2013 10:07 am • linkreport

I am pretty sure by "reinvent" herself, she was talking about skill sets - going from reporter to think tank employee to council member - responding to the argument that a reporter can't be a good CM, because they aren't focused on compromise and passing legislation - not implying that she would change her positions. I think harping on that quote is unfair.

There are a lot of us at GGW who favor ending parking minimums, period. But ending parking minimums in exchange for affordable units is hardly anti-urbanist, and given her concerns on social justice, poverty, and affordable housing, its hardly surprising that she would prioritize them over maximizing production of market rate units.

As for a congestion charge, I'm not sure DC is even legally empowered to do that. It would certainly create a rather intense political brouhaha.

"A "progressive" who like all the other candidates, EXCEPT Perry Redd, is comfortable with no tax hike on DC millionaires "

so she is being fought from the right - WaPo endorsing and reendorsing Mara, in large part because of his stand against taxes - and also from the left, because she opposes a particular tax increase at this time? DC millionaires can afford to pay more - but they can also move easily. That has to be considered in determining DC tax policy.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Apr 22, 2013 10:25 am • linkreport

Two short responses to AWalkerInTheCity:
First, go to the link to my testimony to WMATA and you will find out that congestion charging in the business district downtown IS consistent with Home Rule since it would apply to both resident and non-resident commuters, mostly the latter. Second, a modest hike in the DC tax rate of DC millionaires (now paying 6.3% of their income) would not have any significant impact on our tax base. Virginia has long had a lower tax rate for these families than DC, yet more and more wealthy folk have moved into the District. Ironically, Elissa was the author of one study (DC Fiscal Policy Institute) to rebut your argument, so commonly and misleadingly peddled by Jack Evans and his Republican clone Patrick Mara!Go to www.dcctj.org and find out more.

by David Schwartzman on Apr 22, 2013 2:52 pm • linkreport

Results are in. Silverman had been our best chance to elect a progressive, and this endorsement didn't split the vote.

by Rahul Mereand-Sinha on Apr 23, 2013 11:44 pm • linkreport

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