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Did Gray know?: Jeffrey Thompson pled guilty to campaign finance violations and claimed that Mayor Vince Gray personally knew about the illegal "shadow campaign" funds in the 2010 election. The mayor says the allegations are "lies." (Post)

Catania's in: In the wake of the revelations, David Catania plans to run for mayor in November's general election as an independent. (NBC4)

Good times for transit ridership: Public transit use in the US reached the highest levels since 1956, accounting for 10.7 billion mass transit trips in 2013. The growth was nationwide, with commuter rail gaining the most momentum. DC saw the biggest jump in bus ridership nationally. (NYT, Atlantic Cities)

Is the FBI building hackable?: One architecture firm has a fairly radical concept for reusing most of the Brutalist FBI building on Pennsylvania Avenue. This is part of an emerging idea some call "hackable buildings." (Post)

Demolish or renovate?: Chevy Chase, DC residents are pleading with a developer not to tear down a classic house in the neighborhood. Neighbors overwhelmingly voted to turn down a historic district a few years ago that would have prevented it. (WTOP)

Fence quarrel: The Chevy Chase homeowner who built a fence in the Purple Line right of way argues that contributor Wayne Phyllaier, who reported it to the county, "has no legitimate interest" in the fence issue and calls Phyllaier's report a "personal attack." (BethesdaNow)

Is “rails to trails” history?: In an 8 to 1 decision, the Supreme Court ruled that abandoned train easements cannot be reclaimed for the purposes of building a bike path. This could put the "rails to trails" program in jeopardy. (USA Today)

To remain separate?: At the National Women's Bike Forum, one day prior to the National Bike Summit, participants considered whether a separate event for female bike advocates empowered or segregated them. (Streetsblog)

And...: An Arlington teen built a 12-foot snow fort. Is it out of scale with the neighbor­hood? (ArlNow) ... More new housing in the United States is multifamily rentals than in over 40 years. In our region, it's 33.4%, but could reach 37% by 2032. (UrbanTurf)

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Chad Maddox grew up in Atlanta, Georgia where living a car-free lifestyle is almost impossible. In 2010, he moved to the Washington area and currently lives in the vibrant DC neighborhood of NoMa.  

Comments

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"No legitimate interest" in commenting on the Purple Line fence thing? Is this guy trying to censor the world?

by DaveG on Mar 11, 2014 8:44 am • linkreport

The rental market is a bit a switch; 32% of DC's housing is currently multifamily; in the future 37% of the regions housing may be multifamily.

In terms of the press conference, if the US Attorney had any evidence besides Thompson, they would have brought an indictment against the Mayor already.

It is pretty damning stuff and very suspicious timing a few weeks before the primary. I don't think they have much and are playing smear the mayor instead of bringing it up in Court.

by charlie on Mar 11, 2014 8:47 am • linkreport

Of course Gray knew. As for the FBI building...
"hacking" sounds llike another branding effort. Re-using buildings is the oldest play in the book, before we used to build for 2- or 50 year life cycles. In the FBI case, built like a fort, it's persence on the street that's so forboading. Maybe there's a good fit functionally, but considering how idiosyncratic it looks, I doubt it.

by Thayer-D on Mar 11, 2014 8:53 am • linkreport

Hm, it's not clear to me if it's really 32% DC and 37% region in the future, or if the UrbanTurf article is using DC and region interchangeably. Those numbers are close enough, and it sounds like David Versel used them in a sentence together, which makes it seem like Versel was comparing apples to (future) apples, but the UrbanTurf sentence makes it seem like he's talking about DC versus the region.

by David Alpert on Mar 11, 2014 8:55 am • linkreport

@DavidAlpert; quite correct, I suspect this is the underlying document:

http://cra.gmu.edu/pdfs/studies_reports_presentations/Multifamily%20Housing%20in%20the%20DC%20Region_Final.pdf

by charlie on Mar 11, 2014 9:00 am • linkreport

I particularly liked the article about the house in Chevy Chase. These gems in particular:

"He has the power to take it down, but is it the right thing to do when 125 people in the area are asking him not to do so?"

Well, its his property, and he is allowed to, so it doesn't much matter if its the "right thing"

"I'm a firm believer that people's property is theirs," she says, adding they can renovate as they wish.

That's ironic.

"We're not looking for guys to come in here and demolish all our houses. That's not why we're here," says Kim Parr.

Good news is, they aren't demolishing your house, they are demolishing THEIR house.

by Kyle-w on Mar 11, 2014 9:03 am • linkreport

@Charlie

I don't see this being political. I see this as the US AG wanted to charge Thompson (per his oath of office) and didn't much care about the timing for the Mayors race.

Ultimately, releasing these charges anytime between now and November would be damning, so may as well get it over with. This should help Catania a lot. Presuming Bowser manages to lose by a couple of thousand (keeping my fingers crossed) this fall will be VERY interesting.

by Kyle-w on Mar 11, 2014 9:07 am • linkreport

The rail trails news is troubling. Its easier to see how the problem can be prevented in the future (gov't just needs to be explicit about keeping a corridor for transportation use regardless of mode). But things are apparently going to get real messy especially out west.

Mr. Bhatt made it personal when he built a spite fence in the way of the purple line.

"Hackable" is just code for "let's get crazy with this renovation!".

I chuckled at hearing Gray tell reports that this corruption thing happened a whole four years ago and can we please just move on already?

by drumz on Mar 11, 2014 9:07 am • linkreport

@Kyle-w; no, the US attorney has been very political about all of this. You can't avoid it in a public corruption case, but it has been a series of leaks for 3 years.

Your argument would make more sense if it was "Thompson has been refusing to cooperate, we made him a final offer with a 24 hour deadline, he took it, we got one interview in and going to the grand jury now". And maybe that has been the case.

But from the outside, it looks more like the US attorney deliberately trying to influcence voters in the primary by sending a singal to elect Browser.

by charlie on Mar 11, 2014 9:12 am • linkreport

The WTOP article is hilarious ... To paraphrase them: We don't want anyone to tell us how to renovate our house, but 125 of us want to tell this guy how to renovate his house!

by Thad on Mar 11, 2014 9:19 am • linkreport

tear downs, taking down old houses that often do add character to a neighborhood, and replacing them with mcmansions can be harmful to a neighborhood (and BTW, they do not add density unless and until the mcmansions are subdivided/turned into group homes, which has happened in some very weak RE markets, but never in our region, AFAIK)

However there IS a way communities can deal with that, and thats by becoming historic districts, which the folks in CC turned down. They must live with the consequences of their own choice.

"(gov't just needs to be explicit about keeping a corridor for transportation use regardless of mode"

We are talking about mostly 19th century railroad easements that are impacted I think. However thats virtually all railroad lines, as few new RR lines were built in the USA after 1900 or so. I think most streets/highways/transit lines today are not built on easements - rather after condemntation the govt purchases the property for fair market value, and the govt owns it fee simple. Anyone know if thats correct?

I suspect the Mayor is toast, and GGW should begin to develop a strategy for a Bowser admin.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Mar 11, 2014 9:25 am • linkreport

@AWITC

Like move to Maryland?

by William on Mar 11, 2014 9:33 am • linkreport

Arlington has been dealing with the tear down issue for a long time now as well (commenting via that way because I'm more familiar with it.)

I can kind of understand people unhappy with the teardowns because the houses can be much bigger and take up much more of the lot than the previous house. Sometimes a builder will find a way to sneak the opportunity for the house to be subdivided as well and that is underhanded even I personally think the neighborhood is better off with that type of housing.

BUT, I don't think that's a strong enough case for those neighbors. The problem has to be fixed at its source. Either through a historic district or zoning. It's too late for that house but if the neighbors want to prevent it from happening again then they need to organize and understand the causes of the problem rather than attacking the effects.

by drumz on Mar 11, 2014 9:43 am • linkreport

I was going to say a strategy other than focus on the urbanization trends in the suburbs.

I dont want to speak to this too much, as I am not a District resident. I expect GGW's DC contributors will be very tempted to endorse Wells. It might be better for GGW to endorse no one, and work on building bridges to what I suspect is an inevitable Bowser admin. Gray was not expected to be pro-urbanist, IIUC, and yet under his admin the street car plan proceeded, new cycle tracks proceeded, and a revised zoning code was advanced. Once in office, a politician faces realities. Bowser may back off on some of the zoning code changes, and will certainly not push for a change in the height limit (but thats dead for now anyway). She may not be a good advocate for certain dedicated bus lanes. She will almost certainly move the street car plan and bike plan ahead, and will stay out of the way of new development in Navy Yard, NoMa, SW waterfront and elsewhere. The DC electorate will be different in 2018, and if Bowser has not already become more progressive on the kinds of issues of concern to GGW, she will likely face a viable challenger.

Play the long game.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Mar 11, 2014 9:44 am • linkreport

However there IS a way communities can deal with that, and thats by becoming historic districts, which the folks in CC turned down. They must live with the consequences of their own choice.

I have little sympathy for neighborhoods caught in this apparently recurring predicament.

That said, I wonder if there could be something created that is short of an historic district designation, but provides some level of protection or prevention of demolition of old houses and replacement with the proverbial McMansions.

Historic districts come with a lot of regulatory overlay, which understandably people fear and want little part of.

I'm not sure what the alternative would consist of, but perhaps greater flexibility for changes and renovations but with tighter limits on razes.

by ah on Mar 11, 2014 9:46 am • linkreport

The developer who wants to tear down the house in Chevy Chase has apparently received several offers to buy the house at a price at or above where he said he would sell the property. However, he has refused all of the offers. It seems like he's on an ego power trip, rather than trying to bring this to a satisfactory conclusion, where he is more than made whole and the house is renovated/not torn down.

by Jasper2 on Mar 11, 2014 9:48 am • linkreport

@ AWalkerInTheCity; the difference is that Gray, despite what a majority of GGWr readers felt, was (and is) a pretty effective poltiican.

It isn't having the right ideas. It is the ability to listen to everyone and make some decisions.

Browser, from all evidence so far, is a complete empty suit. bad ideas and bad execution.

That being said, I don't see how Gray can win the primary now. If Brower wins, she would beat Cantania in the general.

by charlie on Mar 11, 2014 9:51 am • linkreport

Simple answer for rail-trail land acquisition. Eminent domain condemnation.

by DaveG on Mar 11, 2014 9:53 am • linkreport

Of course there's the question of why a landowner that never owned the old rail line land in question suddenly gets it reverted to them and not the US government which originally owned the land until it was granted to the railroad.

by DaveG on Mar 11, 2014 10:11 am • linkreport

The US Supreme Court case does not really threaten rail to trails anywhere other than in certain western states where the US government provided railroads with easements. It has no impact on the eastern states, where land was privately owned before the railroads were built. And no impact where the land was given outright to the railroads.

For those states that are affected, rail-trail projects may have to rely on the federal railbanking statute, like everybody else.

by JimT on Mar 11, 2014 10:12 am • linkreport

@DaveG; it is called an easment.

@JImT; I always though the bulk of the railroad land was given to the railroads and not done through eastments. And does this apply when the state gave land?

by charlie on Mar 11, 2014 10:17 am • linkreport

@jasper2 - Satisfactory conclusion? I'm sure the owner will be quite satisfied. It's only an issue because the overprivileged are frothing at the mouth over property they don't own. Should have taken the historic district designation when they had a chance.

by Distantantennas on Mar 11, 2014 10:35 am • linkreport

1. DaveG - the land may have been sold or granted to privated owners by the US govt (and in the east it was often never owned by the US Govt). The land is owned by a private owner, and when the RR was built an easement (not the land itself) was grantd to the RR via condemnation, for use as a RR - and with compensation. when a RR simply abandons such a line, the land does revert to the private owner. The RailstoTrails concept, IIUC, is that it was a transportation easement, and so as long as its used for that, regardless of mode, the land does not revert. The other side claims that use for a trail is a new use, and so additional compensation is required. Condemning again would not help - the issue is all about money.

2. JimT - while eastern RRs did buy land fee simple, in cases where recalcitrant landowners refused to sell, condemnation was often used, and at least in some states only easements were condemned. I have worked professionally on (eastern) RR abandonment issues, and we had to look carefully at where the RR owned the land, and where it only had an easement, to properly estimate how much the RR could gain from land sales after abandonment.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Mar 11, 2014 10:38 am • linkreport

The developer who wants to tear down the house in Chevy Chase has apparently received several offers to buy the house at a price at or above where he said he would sell the property. However, he has refused all of the offers. It seems like he's on an ego power trip, rather than trying to bring this to a satisfactory conclusion, where he is more than made whole and the house is renovated/not torn down.

Since he owns the property, I would think a satisfactory conclusion for him would be getting to do whatever he wants with it, as allowed by law. That's about as far from a "power trip" as one could possibly conceive.

by worthing on Mar 11, 2014 10:38 am • linkreport

the difference with rail banking, is that there is a plan to reuse the land as a RR, so arguably the RR use still applies.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Mar 11, 2014 10:39 am • linkreport

@charlie: This case is purely property law, construing a set of federal grants all issued under the same statute.

Many railroads got a checkerboard pattern of one-square mile land grants, but later on, they were only given a right of way. What kind of right-of-wy? The federal grants were not clear on that point, but about 75 years ago the US Government persuaded the Supreme Court that it had not given away the land, just an easement (in a case where the US government wanted its land back after the railroad was abandonned.)

In this case, the Supreme Court basically said that it had already decided the matter, and the fact that the US government is on the opposite side of the question does not change the law.

by JimT on Mar 11, 2014 10:44 am • linkreport

The developer who wants to tear down the house in Chevy Chase has apparently received several offers to buy the house at a price at or above where he said he would sell the property. However, he has refused all of the offers. It seems like he's on an ego power trip, rather than trying to bring this to a satisfactory conclusion, where he is more than made whole and the house is renovated/not torn down.

1) He's under no obligation to sell at all. If the offers to buy have been rebuffed so far, that sounds like a opportunity for negotiation.

2) How is this an 'ego power trip?' Let's say this was just a regular homeowner who wanted to tear down and redevelop their house. The owner really liked the property/location and didn't want to sell. Would you call that an ego power trip?

How is that different from the current situation? I would argue that is isn't different at all.

by Alex B. on Mar 11, 2014 10:48 am • linkreport

@Walker in the City: What you say is mostly so, but it has no bearing in this case. The US Supreme Court was merely construing the meaning of a particular set of federal grants issued under a specific federal law.

The Supreme Court has no say over the meaning of land conveyances between private parties. But for a local case that raises these issues, see a previous GGW article on the WB&A Trail and the related Washcycle land records analysis

by JimT on Mar 11, 2014 10:52 am • linkreport

I agree there ought to be a historic district lite category where by more places with character could be saved without subjecting the residents to the overly onerous regulations of a standard historic district. Afterall, as nice as Chevy Chase is, it's no Georgetown.

Another avenue might be to enact a version of form based codes that are used in some New Urbanist neighborhoods where regulations dictate styles or at the least, the physical characteristics of newer homes. This would prevent the worst offenses of McMansions like garages in front of the house and no more than 4 gables allowed.

by Thayer-D on Mar 11, 2014 10:53 am • linkreport

And more generally, the rails to trails concept refers to the preservation of rail corridors for trails (and possible resurrection of a rail line). There are many tools for preserving those corridors. Relatively few rest on the premise of defeating the investment-backed expectations of adjacent property owners.

Railbanking does indeed change the character of a rail line from railroad to trail. The justification for federal power over a local matter (trails) was that the rail lines might come back. But that is not a justification for defeating the reversion of an easement or a possibility of reverter. Whether the underlying landowner likes it or not, they don't get their land back when railbanking is invoked. Whether the government likes it or now, it has to pay those owners if they demand just compensation (but often they don't because the underlying land is owned by the heirs of the heirs of the heirs of the heirs of whoever granted that easement, and they have no idea.

by JimT on Mar 11, 2014 11:00 am • linkreport

There are provisions for conservation districts, which would be a historic district lite...I don't know if that is part of the zoning revision or if it is a separate proposal.

It is rather ironic that Chevy Chase voted down a historic district but fights for this house and against 5333 Connecticut Avenue.

by William on Mar 11, 2014 11:02 am • linkreport

JimT

thank you for your clarifications.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Mar 11, 2014 11:04 am • linkreport

Regarding the Chevy Chase house, the offers to buy the home are contingent on the potential buyers (the band of preservationists who are protesting) being able to inspect the home and determine if it is able to be saved. Holman refuses to let them take a look.

Now, you may say that he is in the wrong for not giving them access. But it is far more damning on the preservationists who are INSISTING that the house be kept, no matter what. apparently, "no matter what" really means "only if we determine that the home can be saved." So this really puts them in exactly the same position as the developer - they will only preserve if they adjudge it to be economically feasible. Holman already has decided it it not feasible.

So it boils down to them saying, a home can only be torn down when we decide it cannot be saved. Sorry, not your call.

BTW: most of those signing this petition were in favor of the historic district.

by fongfong on Mar 11, 2014 11:08 am • linkreport

Re: A separate event for women cyclists

Having a separate meeting for a group that has been historically marginalized is not a bad thing. Maybe if women were already represented equally and treated equally in the cycling world it wouldn't be necessary, but the fact is, we're not. If a separate group for women empowers us to get out and bike more and contribute to advocacy (like the WABA Women and Bicycles group), then I don't see what's wrong with that. It's not like these two events are mutually exclusive. Maybe the reason most of the attendees at the National Bike Summit were white men is because that group has traditionally dominated the cycling world. I highly doubt that with two large cycling events on the same weekend in the same city that no women were available to be keynote speakers.

by MetMet on Mar 11, 2014 11:37 am • linkreport

It seems to me the Supreme Court held that reversionary easements mean what they say. In this case the federal government granted the reversionary easement to a railroad that was subsequently abandoned, and then the feds sold the land to a private owner. Rail lines could be built on fee simple property, under a perpetual, unrestricted easement or a reversionary easement. Reversionary easements were often the path of least resistance, especially with recalcitrant land owners. Under the reversionary easement, once the railroad is abandoned, the area granted by the easement reverts to the property owner. That could have wider applicability. Of course it doesn't mean you can't use eminent domain condemnation to build a rail-trail across right-of-way subject to a reversionary easement. (It would also depend on the language of the easement as it was recorded.) It just means you can't do it without compensating the property owner. It bears mentioning the court did not go that far, but it might in a future case, if it views Rail-Trails as unconstitutional takings.

by Paul on Mar 11, 2014 12:21 pm • linkreport

RE: Selling it for fair market price:

This is bogus, he has a calculation, and would surely be willing to sell for a fair price. The fair price is:

End value of nice lot with mcmansion on it ($2,500,000 perhaps) less costs to tear down old home, and build new home ($600,000 perhaps) so 1,900,000. I think they are likely offering him the current value of the horrible falling down house (perhaps $1,200,000.) If they offered him 1,900,000, or whatever the right number is, he would surely accept.

by Kyle-w on Mar 11, 2014 12:38 pm • linkreport

Serious question: turns out I will be a DC voter for this election after all (my parents finally fessed up to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts that I'd moved out years ago). But of course, now I'm wondering: in terms of policy I'm certainly most aligned with Wells. But in terms of keeping Muriel Bowser out of the Wilson Building - who's the best shot?

by LowHeadways on Mar 11, 2014 12:41 pm • linkreport

@Charlie

Thats fair. You have likely been following this case closer than I, so if you say it is political, I can't really say it HASN'T been.

I do think Gray still has a shot to win the primary. There were plenty of people voting for Gray no matter what (the hundreds of canvassers this past Saturday morning in Brightwood speak to that) and short of an indictment, this isn't really new information.

Best case scenario in my mind. Gray wins primary, gets indicted on April 15th, and Catania is pretty much a shoo-in.

by Kyle-w on Mar 11, 2014 12:42 pm • linkreport

@Kyle-w ; or someone nominates Ronald Machen to run as independent after April.

by charlie on Mar 11, 2014 12:47 pm • linkreport

@Lowheadways

Currently, without a doubt Gray. Three weeks from now, Gray (unless indicted) than all bets are off, and Bowser likely coasts as the only viable black candidate.

@Charlie

I don't really like Catania, so I would consider a vote for Machen to be honest...

by Kyle-w on Mar 11, 2014 1:25 pm • linkreport

I am so glad that my neighbors and their predecessors had the foresight to put an historic district into Cleveland Park 20 years ago. It has proven its value many times to stop tear downs and McMansionization.

by Amy on Mar 11, 2014 2:31 pm • linkreport

It is pretty damning stuff and very suspicious timing a few weeks before the primary.

And it would be just as suspicious a few weeks after the primary. He was ready to indict Thompson, so he did. Waiting until after the primary would have been playing politics.

If you have evidence that he intentionally did it now, for political purposes, (something more than just timing) we'd all like to see that.

by David C on Mar 11, 2014 3:17 pm • linkreport

if the US Attorney had any evidence besides Thompson, they would have brought an indictment against the Mayor already.

I am 99% certain that this claim will prove to be wrong.

by David C on Mar 11, 2014 3:18 pm • linkreport

Well, its his property, and he is allowed to, so it doesn't much matter if its the "right thing"

I believe in property rights too, but there is nothing wrong with talking to someone about their plans and asking them to do something else. And it always matters if something is the right thing. We can disagree with what is right, but are you really taking the position that it's OK to behave badly.

Let me give you an example. Let's say someone bought a very important work of art or piece of history. And then they took it home and burned it in their fireplace. They would probably be legally allowed to do that, but it wouldn't be the right thing to do and I'd think that such behavior would matter.

by David C on Mar 11, 2014 3:23 pm • linkreport

It might be better for GGW to endorse no one, and work on building bridges to what I suspect is an inevitable Bowser admin.

I'd take that bet, Bowser is less than 100% likely to win the primary and probably only 50-50 versus Catania.

by David C on Mar 11, 2014 3:26 pm • linkreport

while eastern RRs did buy land fee simple, in cases where recalcitrant landowners refused to sell, condemnation was often used, and at least in some states only easements were condemned.

I seem to recall that one of the reason the Anacostia streetcar is not on the unused Blue Plains railline is that CSX doesn't own much (any?) of the land, only easements. So if DC wanted to convert that to a trail, it might have to buy all the land from the underlying owners.

This Supreme Court case is tricky. One thing about it is that this landowner bought the land that surrounds the rail line from the feds very recently and the deed only mentioned the rail line, not that the feds maintained ownership of the underlying land. So it's unclear to me how often that happens. There were a lot of cases where, to encourage homesteading, the feds gave the land under the railroads to adjacent landowners, but then they stopped doing that 5-10 years later. So it may only apply to land that was sold during that window or that was sold more recently by govt lawyers who didn't think about what would happened if the rail line is abandoned. That won't happen any more.

by David C on Mar 11, 2014 3:34 pm • linkreport

I should have said almost inevitable, as nothing is ever 100% percent. I can make up scenarios that would sink Bowser, or save Gray, though I think none of them are likely.

As for Catania, I don't know. A two person race between an african american with D next to her name, against a white independent who (AFAICT) is less well known across the district than Jack Evans (but I pay more attention to development and transit issues in DC than to education) - I think there would have to be more dislike of Bowser across the District, and esp among African americans, than there is.

But if you are correct, I think it still argues for no endorsement in the primary. Wait and see for the general.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Mar 11, 2014 3:36 pm • linkreport

but about 75 years ago the US Government persuaded the Supreme Court that it had not given away the land, just an easement

Actually they said it was "like an easement". Therein lied the wiggle room. This case was all about what "like an easement" means. The govt, Rails-to-trails and Sotomayor argued that it meant something different than an easement but similar to it and that the difference is that the government had reversionary rights to it and that that is why Congress kept passing laws based on those rights. The majority in the decision said that "like an easement" = "easement".

by David C on Mar 11, 2014 3:38 pm • linkreport

in terms of policy I'm certainly most aligned with Wells. But in terms of keeping Muriel Bowser out of the Wilson Building - who's the best shot?

Here's my thinking. Wells is my top choice. There is no point in considering anyone polling below him. So that leaves Gray, Bowser and Catania at this point. Catania isn't a candidate in the primary so he's out. After yesterday, I can not vote for Gray. He didn't just run a shadow campaign and give a job to a woefully unqualified person in exchange for being their attack dog, but he seems to have made a deal with Thompson, using city funds, that was not in the best interest of the city. And he appears to be lying about it. That makes him worse than Bowser. So it becomes a choice between Bowser and Wells. I'm voting Wells. And if Bowser wins, I'll hold my nose and vote for Catania.

Of course, future polls could change my calculus.

by David C on Mar 11, 2014 3:52 pm • linkreport

I saw this from AP today about the mayor's race:

"""Many observers believe the winner of the district's mayoral primary could get around 40,000 votes, or less than 40 percent of the ballots cast. That works out to support from 12 percent of the district's registered Democrats, 9 percent of its 444,000 registered voters and just 6 percent of its 646,000 residents."""

We really need to switch to a non-partisan open election like Chicago and San Francisco have recently. And we certainly need runoffs.

I'm not looking forward to a 7-month long campaign between Gray and Catania. Seven months of mailings, phone calls, polling, meet-and-greets, solicitations, bickering and posturing. Really?

by Tom Coumaris on Mar 11, 2014 4:18 pm • linkreport

I'll be voting for Gray in the primary, even though I think he deserves to be in jail. Why? Because if Gray wins the primary, he's very likely to lose to Catania in the general election. And Catania is much better than Bowser.

Why not vote for Wells? I don't think he has any chance to win the primary.

by Rob on Mar 11, 2014 5:45 pm • linkreport

I think Gray will squeak out a win but the field is so split it will be close. I'd definitely be surprised if anyone pulled more than 40% unless there are a string of dropouts and endorsements.

by BTA on Mar 11, 2014 6:51 pm • linkreport

Fox 5 just said or implied Machen indicated Gray would almost surely be indicted. Only place I've heard this.

by Tom Coumaris on Mar 11, 2014 10:43 pm • linkreport

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