Greater Greater Washington

Politics


DC's staggered elections give a random half of politicians an edge for higher office. That's a problem.

The system of elections in the District of Columbia gives a big advantage to councilmembers who represent half of the wards over those elected from the other half. This discourages good councilmembers from running for mayor or council chair.


Staggered lane number image from Shutterstock.

Half the council seats, for wards 1, 3, 5, and 6 and two of the at-large seats, come up for election in the same years as the mayor and council chair (such as this year). The other half, wards 2, 4, 7, and 8 and the other two at-large seats, run in the even-numbered years in between (such as 2012 and 2016).

This means councilmembers holding one of the mayoral/chair election cycle seats must choose between running for re-election or trying for higher office. Meanwhile, their counterparts in the other half of the seats can avoid taking risks and run for chair or mayor without giving up their seats.

Since half of all councilmembers must vacate their seats to run for mayor or council chair, the mayoral system dissuades some of the city's most experienced and productive leaders from running for DC's top government posts. The data show that this is indeed happening.

Since DC home rule was enacted in 1973, those in off-mayoral/chair seats have run for council chair 4 times and for mayor 17 times. Conversely, those in mayoral/chair election cycle seats have run for council chair 3 times and for mayor 6 times (and 4 of which were incumbent council chairs).

If this continues then one can expect more candidatesand more mayorsfrom Wards 2, 4, 7 and 8, thus giving an undue advantage to councilmembers and their constituents from those wards. Indeed, all three DC mayors elected with prior council experience (four if you count Marion Barry twice) came from one of those wards, and only Arrington Dixon and Linda Cropp have ascended from off-cycle seats to chair. Even Cropp is a particular exception as she won during a special election, and thus her council seat wasn't at risk.

What can be done?

DC could extend council seats to 6-year terms and have councilmembers alternate running between mayoral and non-mayoral elections. Or, there could be separate primaries for chair and mayor, similar to what we do for presidential elections.

Even better, we can follow the federal model and let people stand for two offices at once, as Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan did during the 2012 election while running for vice president. Or, perhaps DC rearranges the election calendar so all council seats come up for election in council-only elections, while the chair and mayor have their own elections.

DC should explore all options to ensure its election calendar and political circumstance doesn't discourage quality candidates. The current system is unfair to half the city. Of all places, the nation's capital needs a system that encourages its political talent to seek higher office and is fair to all its voters.

David Cranor is an operations engineer. A former Peace Corps Volunteer and former Texan (where he wrote for the Daily Texan), he's lived in the DC area since 1997. David is a cycling advocate who serves on the Bicycle Advisory Committee for DC.  

Comments

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Sort of tangential to this but relevant nonetheless is that DC needs more wards. Smaller ones, with a larger total council. This would make CMs that much more respondent to their constitutencies, better reflect the vast range of neighborhoods across the District (e.g. what do Hillandale, 14th St., and Kalorama have in common? How is it smart to have all of them in the same ward?), and dilute the power of each individual CM, potentially lessening opportunities and/or desires for corruption.

Extending the terms of councilmembers would be a nonstarter. Can you imagine VO in office unchallenged for the better part of a decade? The mind recoils in horror.

by LowHeadways on Apr 3, 2014 2:47 pm • linkreport

I've sometimes wondered whether it wouldn't be better to extend the Mayor's term to six years, so that each set of four wards would alternate the inside track.

I doubt this will happen, though.

by cminus on Apr 3, 2014 2:54 pm • linkreport

Yes, make it so that you can run for two offices at the same time.

And increase the size of the council while we are at it - at least two times the current number of CMs, maybe three.

by MLD on Apr 3, 2014 3:03 pm • linkreport

MLD I was just thinking that the other day.

Why am I in the same ward as half of shaw?

Why does Jack Evans represent Dupont/Logan Circle and Georgetown?

Do LeDroit Park and Columbia Heights have anything in common except Jim Graham.

I really don't think the Ward system at is can prove representative.

by PotomacAveres on Apr 3, 2014 3:25 pm • linkreport

For those who aren't familiar with the history: until fairly recently, it was possible to run for more than one office at a time in DC. However, a series of cascading special elections led Vincent Orange (then the chair of the Committee on Government Operations) to propose ending the practice.

To this day it remains Orange's most significant contribution to DC law, although ironically he became the law's second victim when he passed on seeking re-election as Ward 5 Councilmember in order to get stomped in the 2006 Mayoral election. (I give the status of first victim to Kathy Patterson, who passed on re-election as Ward 3 Councilmember in order to lose the race for Chairman to Vincent Gray; Patterson announced her plans days before Orange did.)

by cminus on Apr 3, 2014 3:43 pm • linkreport

For the sake of accuracy, I'll note that the numbers above don't include Catania, since he can still back out. But if he runs then the sentence becomes "those in mayoral/chair election cycle seats have run for council chair 3 times and for mayor 7 times."

by David C on Apr 3, 2014 3:45 pm • linkreport

"rom running for DC's top government posts. The data show that this is indeed happening"

What data? Please link to it.

by Logan Circle on Apr 3, 2014 4:00 pm • linkreport

Logan Circle: The data in the subsequent two paragraphs.

by David Alpert on Apr 3, 2014 4:19 pm • linkreport

Logan Circle, the data is right there in the post in the paragraph that starts "Since DC home rule was enacted in 1973....

There's nothing to link to.

cminus, do you have any other information on Orange's law? It seems odd that none of the effected people who ran for higher office before that were able to hold on to (or even ran for) their current office.

by David C on Apr 3, 2014 4:21 pm • linkreport

The statement is this
"the mayoral system dissuades some of the city's most experienced and productive leaders from running for DC's top government posts"

There is no data in this post that supports that statement. Who are the "experienced and productive" leaders that were dissuaded from running because of this system. Who are their names and where is the data that supports this assertion?

by Logan Circle on Apr 3, 2014 4:23 pm • linkreport

Data:

"Since DC home rule was enacted in 1973, those in off-mayoral/chair seats have run for council chair 4 times and for mayor 17 times. Conversely, those in mayoral/chair election cycle seats have run for council chair 3 times and for mayor 6 times (and 4 of which were incumbent council chairs)."

Names:

Everyone who has served as rep from Wards 1,3,5 and 6 (except I suppose Wells and Orange) as well as the following At large members:

D. Moore
Kane
Cropp
Dixon
Catania
Hobson
Mason
Mendelson
Bonds

Of them, Cropp and Mendelson ran for higher office in special elections and D. Moore ran for Mayor and lost.

by David C on Apr 3, 2014 4:29 pm • linkreport

See, that wasn't difficult now was it? I would however, not put some of those in that list among DC's "most experienced and productive leaders"

by Logan Circle on Apr 3, 2014 4:40 pm • linkreport

Methinks someone is just upset that their guy, Wells…took himself out of his Council job, and out of running for Mayor for what…atleast a decade?

I don’t know what data Wells was using when he assembled the data that led him to think that he had a fighting chance of becoming Mayor of DC in the year 2014 but I think he was reading it with highly tinted rose colored glasses. His loss was as predictable as it gets. The guy who has spent the past ~4 years under highly embarrassing and intense federal scrutiny, the man that brought us the debacle that was Sulimon Brown, still got ~250% more votes than Wells did. He would have done a little better if either Bowser, or Gray wasn’t running, but it still would have been another landslide loss.

Demographically, and racially…DC was never going to vote for the white democrat, not yet. Had he had patience, and fleshed out his Council resume for one more term he “might” have stood a chance next go around if DC continued to gentrify at its current rate. But he is a guy who has made his entire political career around feel good “crunchy” politics that simply don’t strike a chord with most of DC’s registered voters. Only Mary Cheh would have made a worse choice.

And now Wells has taken himself out of mayoral politics for at least ~ 8 years. The only way to the DC Mayor’s office is through the Council. No person, not currently serving as Council member has ever come within 10 miles of the mayoral office.

So, Wells will have to get himself back on the Council for at least one term. His replacement isn’t likely to be vacating anytime soon but I guess he can run for an at-large position but again, this isn’t going to happen overnight.

What’s more embarrassing is how few of the so called “new generation” of DC, the 82,000 new residents since the last election who get so much press, bothered to vote. They may be young, childless and have lots of disposable income, and love their small plates restaurants, but they certainly don’t give a damn about city politics.

by Cleveland Park on Apr 3, 2014 4:43 pm • linkreport

atleast a decade?
LOL

What’s more embarrassing is how few of the so called “new generation” of DC, the 82,000 new residents since the last election who get so much press, bothered to vote.

Do you have some secret information about who exactly turned out to vote?

by MLD on Apr 3, 2014 4:48 pm • linkreport

Wells could run for Catania's seat right now.

by William on Apr 3, 2014 4:59 pm • linkreport

"No person, not currently serving as Council member has ever come within 10 miles of the mayoral office."

Anthony Williams

by AWalkerInTheCity on Apr 3, 2014 5:14 pm • linkreport

I wonder how many of these 82,000 are unaffiliated with a party and, as Alan (I think) mentioned earlier in a different post, did not find out that the deadline to affiliate for this election until after it passed from the election guide sent out after said deadline.

It takes time for everyone new to learn that the election method is bogus.

First past the post in a closed Primary...that'll lead to the best candidate /s.

by John on Apr 3, 2014 5:15 pm • linkreport

I mean after Walter Washington, and excluding Williams, how many mayors has DC had?

Barry, PrattKelly, Fenty, Grey (and now presumbaly either Boswer or Catania

thats a total of five - not a huge sample.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Apr 3, 2014 5:17 pm • linkreport

I think the Ward system as it is, is fine however possibly 2 year terms would be better. It's good enough for the house of representatives. On the other hand, do we want people campaigning every other year? Perhaps they should just offset the mayoral election by a year so that there isnt jostling for position.

by BTA on Apr 3, 2014 5:18 pm • linkreport

wait, Pratt Kelly wasnt a CM either, I think.

So actually you have WAlter washington, Williams, and PRattKelly, vs Barry/Fenty/Grey/Bowser

3 non CMs to 4 CMS - and thats counting the yet unelected Bowser or Catania. Hmmmm.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Apr 3, 2014 5:19 pm • linkreport

Of only three CMs who have actually been mayor of DC, two have gotten into trouble with the law.

Perhaps thats NOT the ideal path to office.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Apr 3, 2014 5:20 pm • linkreport

The most extreme case of a perpetual candidate trying to trade up to higher office is Vincent Orange. Never has so much paper been affixed to so many DC light poles for so little. (Clearly, though, this former PEPCO lobbyist has affinity for utility poles.)

After his anticipated indictment on corruption charges, he will be known as Vincent Orange Jumpsuit.

by Jasper2 on Apr 3, 2014 5:32 pm • linkreport

"What’s more embarrassing is how few of the so called “new generation” of DC, the 82,000 new residents since the last election who get so much press, bothered to vote. They may be young, childless and have lots of disposable income, and love their small plates restaurants, but they certainly don’t give a damn about city politics."

Myopic little (non-voting) twits.

by Jasper2 on Apr 3, 2014 5:36 pm • linkreport

I dont know how many of the 82K new residents voted, but there were only about 80K votes cast in the primary total. We know how any were cast and in what ward so the numbers of recent arrivals who voted looks pretty slim.

And sure, Wells coulld run for Catania's seat, but we already know Wells citywide draw, and it ain't much. It would ofcourse all depend on who else runs for the at-large seat but his chances of winnig the seat ar only slightly better than his chances were for mayor.

There is no way around the fact that Wells only has support among the smallest of demographics, most of which likely real GGW, but thats clearly not enought

by crayon on Apr 3, 2014 5:52 pm • linkreport

Everyone should be of the same cycle and should not be able to run for more than one position at a time. This would help end the endless cycle of low turnout special elections. Also we should move to an open primary like they use in where everyone runs together in one primary and the top two regardless of party runoff in November.

And if NY can have a September primary why can't we?

by Mikeindc on Apr 3, 2014 6:34 pm • linkreport

Maybe stagger council chair and mayor? The elected attorney general post might also change that dynamic by providing another route to the mayor's office.

by JimT on Apr 3, 2014 8:15 pm • linkreport

See, that wasn't difficult now was it?

It was harder than it needed to be.

Methinks someone is just upset that their guy, Wells…took himself out of his Council job

No. To his credit he wasn't discouraged from running. He was the rare person willing to walk away from easy re-election to try for a position that would let him make a bigger contribution. The problem is that not everyone has his courage. I doubt Jack Evans would have ran if losing meant losing his current seat.

I don’t know what data Wells was using when he assembled the data that led him to think that he had a fighting chance of becoming Mayor of DC in the year 2014 but I think he was reading it with highly tinted rose colored glasses. His loss was as predictable as it gets.

Well, it was probably the internal polling from the summer showing him in 2nd place, or the Bowser polling in January showing him to be only 1 point behind her or the Post polling from the same time showing the same thing.

My reading of the election is this. Evans, Bowser and Wells were all deadlocked for 2nd, which would make them the alternative to Gray. The Post endorsed Bowser at the same time that a major poll was taken and Bowser separated herself from the others, thus becoming the alternative. When Gray was implicated in the Thompson plea, people in the Anyone But Gray camp turned to the Alternative, which was Bowser. But I suspect that if that Marist poll in Februray had showed Wells at 20% and Bowser at 12% then Wells would be our nominee.

When people told me they were voting for Bowser, 9 out 10 times it was because "she was the only person who could beat Gray." Even when her supporters showed up in the comments here it was the reason they gave to support her. Her mandate is to not be Gray, just as Gray's will be to not be Fenty and just as Carlos Allen's will be to not be Bowser in 2018.

the man that brought us the debacle that was Sulimon Brown, still got ~250% more votes than Wells did.

Strategic voting.

Demographically, and racially…DC was never going to vote for the white democrat, not yet.

They already did. Fenty is a white Democrat.

The most extreme case of a perpetual candidate trying to trade up to higher office is Vincent Orange.

Orange has done it twice. I think both Carol Schwartz and John Ray have him beat.

And sure, Wells coulld(sic) run for Catania's seat, but we already know Wells citywide draw, and it ain't much.

The thing I think that people are missing is that the election results aren't really an answer to the question "Who do you want to be Mayor?" even if that is what it is supposed to be. It's more an answer to the question "How can your vote best achieve your political goals based on what you know about how others will vote." Anyone who has ever watched Survivor (especially the first season, which should really be required viewing for anyone thinking about strategic voting) will know what I'm talking about. I know of and have heard of many people who claimed to vote for Gray or Bowser, not because they like them but, to keep the other out of office. In other words a lot of votes out there are Against Bowser or Against Gray. Some of which would likely have been For Wells if Wells had been polling better.

I don't know what Wells support is like city-wide. I do know that ~13% of people wanted him to be mayor enough to vote for him when his chances of winning were about 1 in one million. If his chances has been better, his share of the vote would have gone up. No one strategically voted for him, but there are people who voted for Gray and Bowser who preferred Wells. So, logically, his base of support is larger than 13%. Which is pretty good. Vince Orange would love those kinds of numbers.

There is no way around the fact that Wells only has support among the smallest of demographics, most of which likely real GGW, but thats(sic) clearly not enough

But 13% is not the smallest of demographics. Let's put it this way, he beat Vincent Orange like a drum and Orange won a city-wide race 2 years ago.

Everyone should be of the same cycle and should not be able to run for more than one position at a time. This would help end the endless cycle of low turnout special elections.

It would. And it would be more fair. But the price is discouraging experienced people from running. There are better ways to end special elections (Coming in a future post!!)

Though I do suspect that there are cases where people run not to win but to act as spoilers or to help one candidate over another. So if everyone had to risk their seat it would end that practice at least.

by David C on Apr 3, 2014 8:50 pm • linkreport

Fenty is white?

Has anyone told him yet?

by Fenty on Apr 3, 2014 11:10 pm • linkreport

I'm pretty sure that his Italian mother has.

by David C on Apr 3, 2014 11:22 pm • linkreport

Yet another GGW looney idea. All this because Tommy Wells came in 3rd. Oh and the "more experienced" candidates just happen to be white

by RealDC4 on Apr 3, 2014 11:56 pm • linkreport

Wells could run for Catania's seat right now as a independent (not a stretch for a democrat), he has gone from single Ward exposure to city-wide exposure and will have more name recognition than any other contenders. It's more likely that the city will embrace a independent/democrat that a republican at this point.

He definitely didn't count himself out in recent interviews.

by @ShawingtonTimes on Apr 4, 2014 8:01 am • linkreport

Are you being glib, or are you serious?

Fenty campaigned for both Council and Mayor as a "black" man. Are you saying that to be considered black, BOTH parents have to be?

Not to mention, from a skin color point of view, Vince Gray is positively Scandanavian in comparison to Fenty, or are you calling Gray a white guy too?

by Van Ness on Apr 4, 2014 8:22 am • linkreport

Fenty campaigned for both Council and Mayor as a "black" man. Are you saying that to be considered black, BOTH parents have to be?

No, much like our president shows us, someone who is mixed race can identify as both. Or they can choose emphasize one over the other. That way, it's about their heritage not their skin tone.

So it's not about having both parents be black to "count" its about refuting the notion that a white person can't win a position as mayor of DC.

by drumz on Apr 4, 2014 8:46 am • linkreport

wrt lowheadways' comment, I have made similar and other suggestions.

- more wards
- two councilmembers per ward
- part time job
- elected public advocate to replace auditor general and IG

etc.

http://urbanplacesandspaces.blogspot.com/2013/07/incremental-piecemeal-fixes-to-dc.html

I don't see a problem with people "having to give up their jobs."

There should be term limits anyway. The people passed them, Council overturned the referendum.

by Richard Layman on Apr 4, 2014 9:20 am • linkreport

@drumz,

But he didn't run as a white guy now did he?. No, he pushed his black cred in both his council and mayoral races.

by Van Ness on Apr 4, 2014 9:22 am • linkreport

Sure, but the point is that there wasn't any sort of scandal over his being mixed race either. And from what I recall, race was never implicitly or explicitly a big issue in this year's campaign. Not from the candidates or the media at least from what I saw.

Therefore, the conventional wisdom that says you have to be black to win as mayor in DC maybe isn't that correct or solid.

by drumz on Apr 4, 2014 9:37 am • linkreport

and generally, someone can identify however they want to identify. It's when others assign indentities for you that it becomes problematic. If Fenty likes and embraces his African-American heritage, great!

If people decide that he is either too black or not black enough (for a variety of factors) then that's a problem.

But again, it's not about what Fenty did or didn't do. It's about who has the right to determine identity. I spoke up because when someone pointed out a fact about someone's heritage all these comments came up about his "real" heritage.

by drumz on Apr 4, 2014 9:46 am • linkreport

Are you saying that to be considered black, BOTH parents have to be?

No. Are you saying that to be considered white, BOTH parents have to be?

Clearly Fenty identifies with both his black heritage and his Italian heritage. He's both black and white.

by David C on Apr 4, 2014 9:49 am • linkreport

but the point is that there wasn't any sort of scandal over his being mixed race either.

OK; seems like that probably should have been said in a more tactful way. Isn't race a self-identity thing, not whatever label we decide to thrust on people?

by MLD on Apr 4, 2014 9:51 am • linkreport

Let me backtrack maybe.

If you have multiple heritages, it's fine and totally appropriate to emphasize one part at various times. It's not as ok when others do it for you.

Non DC example: Obama went to Ireland and talked about his ancestral home there. That's great! Obama has Irish roots. What wasn't so cool was later gotchas by people trying to say "but I thought he was the first black president?!".

If that wasn't clear before I apologize.

by drumz on Apr 4, 2014 10:02 am • linkreport

The fact with Wells is that he's not the best politician and he still hasn't presented himself as mayoral material.

Adrian Fenty has never referred to himself as a white man. It's no more appropriate to refer to him as a white man than it would be referring to a transgender woman as a male candidate. We really shouldn't have to debate this one.

Most people I know who voted for Gray did so because they liked him. Most I know who voted Bowser did so because she wasn't Gray. Most I know who voted for Wells did so because they...well I actually don't know anyone who did.

by HogWash on Apr 4, 2014 10:07 am • linkreport

1. of course the media and candidates did not talk race. That does not mean some voters did not think about it
2. Fenty did have a black parent, and identified publicly as black. Ergo, his election does not prove that a candidate with two white parents, who identifies as white, could win a race for mayor - or, if they won, would not find their race to be an issue while governing
3. OTOH none of that proves a white couldnt win - especially a white with very close ties to the black community - ties much stronger than either Evans or Wells have had (AFAIK)
4. If some blacks did vote for Bowser over Wells because of race as well as because she seemed to have a better chance of beating Gray, thats hardly a mark against Wells, who was pushing up hill for both reasons
5. The more dramatic thing is the loss by Evans, long a power in the city. Whatever one says about Wells goes a fortiori for Evans. He not only clearly has no based citywide, you have to wonder if he isn't ripe for a serious challenge in Ward 2.
6. Ditto Vince Orange, more or less.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Apr 4, 2014 10:13 am • linkreport

"Isn't race a self-identity thing, not whatever label we decide to thrust on people?"

Whats politically relevant is how that subset of voters who take race into account identify a pol - and they may take into account anything from self identification to parentage to complexion to cultural traits like speech patterns. No one knows for sure how many such voters there really are in DC, and I do not have any idea how those voters considered Fenty.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Apr 4, 2014 10:16 am • linkreport

Re: your first point. Yes, but there's maybe evidence that number is shrinking or was never that big to begin with. There's not much in the way of clear evidence in either direction. I agree with the rest as well.

by drumz on Apr 4, 2014 10:27 am • linkreport

"Yes, but there's maybe evidence that number is shrinking or was never that big to begin with"

back in the 90s then Mayor Barry used racial rhetoric from time to time, IIUC. Whatever else one says about him, I think he had a better sense of what appealed to black voters in the city than I or anyone here does. So my working assumption, absent polling data (is there any?) or other empirical evidence, is that the number was significant, at least then. It may be trivial now. As you state, there is no clear evidence.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Apr 4, 2014 10:32 am • linkreport

Speaking of the thread on Fenty, I haven't read this article yet, I just came across it. Should be interesting. It has open access:

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/02614367.2013.855940#.Uz7Fi_ldXTo

It's by a professor at GMU.

by Richard Layman on Apr 4, 2014 10:45 am • linkreport

I would like the term changed to five years so other council members get the chance to loose their seats as well if they attempt to run. This is interesting in DC election system. The city wide exposure is excellent way to checking the pulse of these candidates. Good topic.

by Jibril Adam on Apr 4, 2014 10:49 am • linkreport

I think an econ student could write a thesis on this. The system has created what I think is a pretty elegant experiment. The only difference between the two sets of offices is that one has to sacrifice their seat to run and the other doesn't. And the data - while admittedly limited - shows that it has a pretty dramatic effect. I can't think of any other place where such an arrangement exists. The presence of the at-large seat makes it all that much better by limiting the impact of geography. It would be hard to design an experiment that better tested the risk aversion of politicians, so I guess that's the upside of this.

by David C on Apr 4, 2014 10:54 am • linkreport

@Richard, I see you're cited in that paper twice. Nicely done.

by David C on Apr 4, 2014 11:06 am • linkreport

Ranked voting.

Without it, this is all a farce disguising it self as "majority-rule democracy." The complacency with which this is accepted is only second to how DCVote is taken seriously by ANYONE.

by MikeR on Apr 4, 2014 11:07 am • linkreport

@HogWash:

Oh, come on, you're friends with all of us here! Clearly you know people who voted for Wells.

by LowHeadways on Apr 4, 2014 12:58 pm • linkreport

@LowHead..HA!

This is true. I'll clarify and say that I don't "personally" know anyone who voted for Wells. I had people in the Gray, Bowser, and (ironically) Evans camp.

by HogWash on Apr 4, 2014 3:03 pm • linkreport

wow, I haven't even opened it up yet. I didn't know.

by Richard Layman on Apr 4, 2014 4:48 pm • linkreport

"...back in the 90s then Mayor Barry used racial rhetoric from time to time, IIUC."

I arrived in DC in November 1978 with no idea that DC would become my permanent home. Two years later, I voted for Barry in the general election, since I was a lifelong Independent. By the 1984 election, Barry's anti-white rhetoric had become so offensive that, for the first time in my adult life, I became a registered Democrat so I could vote against Barry in the primary.

"Whatever else one says about him, I think he had a better sense of what appealed to black voters in the city than I or anyone here does."

Yes, Barry appealed to the worst instincts in his "base" (no pun intended), but the results of this election seem to indicate that maybe, just maybe, his base is wising up and moving on.
----------------
An excerpt from "What's so Funny About Washington?"
By Wayne King; Wayne King is a roving correspondent for The New York Times in New Jersey.
Published: August 5, 1990

''Kolumbia,'' of course, was Pat Oliphant's Washington: a ''small, corrupt African state'' presided over by an Idi Amin-ish absolute ruler who regularly sent his chauffeur out for ''tea.'' This was at least a year before Barry was charged with smoking crack, and his drug use was nothing more than rumor. And the ''King'' said things like, ''Screw the black folks, all I gotta do is tell 'em how I'm stickin' it to honky.'' The offending cartoon had Jesse Jackson picking up the King and taking him to church on a morning after too much ''tea.''

http://www.nytimes.com/1990/08/05/magazine/what-s-so-funny-about-washington.html

by LongTimeRez on Apr 5, 2014 7:25 pm • linkreport

Oh, and here's a thought:

Wells--who beat Gray and nearly tied with Bowser in Ward 6-- could endorse Catania, who might need a good transpo person in his cabinet.

by LongTimeRez on Apr 5, 2014 7:45 pm • linkreport

Late to this but a question - what do any other places do? Is the entire Montgomery or PG Council up for election every cycle? Fairfax......

by David on Apr 9, 2014 9:01 am • linkreport

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