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Get ready for Greater Greater politics coverage

Perhaps you've heard: there is a primary in DC on April 1. Over the next few weeks, Greater Greater Washington and Greater Greater Education will be posting a series of video interviews with the candidates for DC mayor and the DC Council Ward 1, Ward 6, and at-large seats.

Photo by Larry Miller on Flickr.

I spoke with almost all of the candidates over the past 2 weeks, and Martin Moulton recorded the conversation on video. We'll divide it into a series of topical posts for each race, looking at what each candidate for a particular contest said about housing, transportation, education, and more.

As we post each portion, this post will include a link to that segment. Below is the list of races, candidates (arbitrarily, in the order they spoke to me), and topics for posts.

Ward 6 council: Charles Allen, Darrel ThompsonWard 1 council: Jim Graham, Brianne NadeauCouncil at large: John Settles, Nate Bennett-Fleming, Pedro Rubio (and see note below)Mayor: Tommy Wells, Jack Evans, Vincent Gray, Muriel Bowser, Andy Shallal (and see note below)All races:How did we select the candidates to speak to? We polled contributors on which candidates they wanted to hear from, and included anyone that contributors nominated.

Mary Cheh is unopposed for re-election in Ward 3. Kenyan McDuffie's Ward 5 re-election contest appears unlikely to be competitive, and contributors did not feel they needed to hear more about that one. There are no competitive primaries for mayor or council outside of the Democratic Party. Finally, we did not include races for Delegate, Shadow Senator or Shadow Representative, or state party.

Besides the candidates listed here, we reached out to Anita Bonds, Vincent Orange, and Andy Shallal. Shallal was scheduled to speak with me on Thursday, February 13, but the interview was canceled due to the snow and we have not yet been able to reschedule we were subsequently able to talk with him.

Orange returned one voicemail and expressed interest in the interview but never followed up from multiple subsequent attempts to reach him. We never received any response from Bonds to any of our inquiries. We would, however, still be happy to speak to any of these candidates before the relevant interviews go live.

We conducted the interviews at the Watha T. Daniel/Shaw library and the Gibson Plaza apartments, a mixed-income market rate and affordable housing building also in the Shaw neighborhood.

David Alpert is the founder of Greater Greater Washington and its board president. He worked as a Product Manager for Google for six years and has lived in the Boston, San Francisco, and New York metro areas in addition to Washington, DC. He now lives with his wife and two children in Dupont Circle. 


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How about Councilwoman Bonds?

by Shipsa01 on Feb 17, 2014 12:54 pm • linkreport

How strange that the contributors did not want to hear from the incumbent seeking re-election in the ar-large council race.

by JS on Feb 17, 2014 2:03 pm • linkreport

Oops, I spaced on listing Bonds on this post. Yes, we also reached out to Bonds and her campaign contact info by email and phone and heard nothing. I have updated the post.

by David Alpert on Feb 17, 2014 4:27 pm • linkreport

If I recall, Bonds was pretty non-responsive in the "Lets Choose DC" effort last spring as well. Glad to see the leopard hasn't changed her spots, and worse, that it probably won't matter.

by William on Feb 17, 2014 6:05 pm • linkreport

The public candidate forums are hogwash and a waste of time; I've only heard soundbites and platitudes from contenders — when the moderators don't dominate the conversations with their personal self-aggrandizing comments. And there's little to no public engagement. Critical issues like education, affordable housing and traffic congestion need serious discussion before we choose the next person to lead us out of the current crises in each of those areas. Individuals and families are going to continue to move (or get driven) out if elected officials don't change course quickly.

by racheldmv on Feb 18, 2014 8:11 am • linkreport

And I would appreciate your captioning the videos. We have large # of deaf/hard of hearing people living and working in Washington, DC.

Suggest you make this as part of GGW Policy. And no embedded videos from any other third sources unless it's captioned. Especially from DC Government (they are required by law and recent settlement).

Thank you.


by Dave on Feb 18, 2014 12:34 pm • linkreport

the long format interviews should separate the wheat from the chaff

it's amazing how few of the public forums have included ASL interpreters or spanish language interpreters

by rick on Feb 18, 2014 12:55 pm • linkreport

Bonds knows she isn't getting any of the progressive vote. Due to circumstances out of her control (vote splitting, and no competitive candidate challenger this time around) she has hung on by winning handily the EOTR vote, as well as doing very well in W4 and W5.

Her time will come. When W7 and W8 only represent 22% of the city in 2018, as opposed to the current near 25%, she will get a strong challenger... Someone like Grosso, and she will be out on her can. I anxiously await that day. Even W4 and W5 are changing way too fast for her to hang on past this term.

Imagine the council we could have if we can get rid of Barry, Bonds, Orange, Graham.

by Kyle-w on Feb 18, 2014 1:18 pm • linkreport

RE: The At-Large Race

The media is not covering this race at ALL. One, the mayor's race is sucking all of the oxygen out of the room and two, what little air is left goes to the "Black vs White" race in Ward 6 and the "Sly Old Fox vs Young Progressive Gentrifier " race in Ward 1.

Apparently, the media is not interested in a race that features 3 black candidates and 0 white candidates. However, lack of media coverage (or for some like Kyle-w --lack of a white candidate) does not mean there isn't an excellent candidate to choose from in the At-Large race.

If you're that politically minded, and you don't like Anita Bonds then research the other candidates and see if there is one you can get behind and support instead of insisting because there is no "Grosso" (code for white candidate) running, Bonds is going to run away with this thing.

by A-Power on Feb 18, 2014 8:33 pm • linkreport

Congrats on making my comment all about race. Bonds isn't bad because she is black, she is bad because she is a horrible politician who has no interest in moving the city forward.

Don't worry, I am an equal opportunity hater. Graham, Evans, Cheh, Bonds, Barry, Orange. We also have some great ones, including McDuffie, Grosso, and even Gray has been pretty good.

My political meter doesn't see color, just good politicians and bad ones. With that said, I will happily vote for the best candidate in the at large, black, brown, green, white or red. I haven't looked into it too much, because Unfortunately, bonds is getting re-elected.

by Kyle-w on Feb 18, 2014 9:47 pm • linkreport

There IS an excellent candidate to choose in the At-Large race. His name is Nate Bennett-Fleming. He does not have the machine behind him, however, and his youth works to his disadvantage in most of the ways that matter.

In 4 years tho... he could be ready, assuming he doesn't burn too many party bridges running against Bonds now. From what I've seen, I don't think he is.

by Dizzy on Feb 18, 2014 10:45 pm • linkreport

In the At-Large race, I really like John Settles. Intelligent. Very genuine. Knows the issues. Experienced. Super likable and-- like me-- has kids in public school. Met him the other day and had a great conversation. Looking forward to watching the videos on this race. If Settles is half as impressive on camera as he is in person, and this GGW series is paid attention to, it could be a game changer.

by JPK on Feb 19, 2014 5:18 am • linkreport

I agreed with you rick -- but I have seen many interpreters at the forum -- they can't do the job -- that's blunt I can tell you -- why? Many of the candidates look for "volunteers" or "low cut rate" interpreters who would not be hired by interpreting companies that have higher standard.

The deaf community tried to improve existing interpreting law (and add license); unfortunately, we tried to meet with DC Council -- I won't say it here why we never met. Also, by the order of the Mayor Office, DC Council didn't take actions. The reason is the Mayor Office doesn't want to pay more for the cost of interpreters. Maryland is now moving on with the interpreting legislation including license. There are already over 35 states with similar law -- as usual, DC will be the last one to pass it (we had long history with City Hall and DC Council -- deaf and hard of hearing people are not priority.

I saw videos of other candidates -- no captioning. I guess GGW will not support communication access to everybody.

by Dave on Feb 19, 2014 2:23 pm • linkreport

And if you want to hear about the nine (so far - and counting) Libertarian candidates running for office you can check out or

Additionally Ward 6 City Council Libertarian candidate Pranav Badhwar is in the Ward 6 forum tonight at Stuart-Hobson school at 410 E Street NE and several Libertarian candidates, including Pranav and myself will be in the D.C. Statehood Committee forum on Monday, March 10 at the MLK Library at 910 G Street NW.

You also still have time to change your party registration to Libertarian so you can vote in the first ever Libertarian primary.

by Bruce Majors, Libertarian for Mayor on Mar 6, 2014 8:18 am • linkreport

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