Greater Greater Washington

Robinson's wedge politics destructive for DC

While Vince Gray is running under a mantra of "one city" and claims to want to bring all residents together, Kelvin Robinson is working hard to drive them apart. His campaign strategy revolves around inflaming divisions within Ward 6, a shameful strategy that doesn't belong in DC.


Photo by Erwyn van der Meer on Flickr.

As Mike DeBonis first reported, Robinson is challenging Tommy Wells' "livable and walkable" mantra, claiming it doesn't encompass all residents and that Wells is neglecting crime issues.

There is certainly nothing wrong with debating what Wells has or hasn't done about juvenile crime on Capitol Hill. But Robinson is choosing to cast the issues facing Ward 6 as an either/or situation. Either DC builds a streetcar, or there are more police on the streets. Either bags cost 5 cents, or there is a curfew. Either chickens become legal, or DYRS becomes more effective.

It's a false choice.

This isn't a matter of budget priorities. The 5¢ bag fee doesn't cost anything. In fact, it raises money, though that is properly delegated to keeping the Anacostia River trash-free, which certainly benefits residents of the RFK Stadium area. Allowing chickens doesn't take money away from anyone.

There have been plenty of DC Council debates where Wells was visibly and audibly exasperated with his colleagues for not passing legislation like the Mayor's recent crime bill. In fact, Wells has pushed strongly for some of the anti-crime legislation which I, along with many Councilmembers, worried might run roughshod over civil liberties.

In many areas, people are suspicious of bike lanes. Sometimes it's just an aversion to change. Sometimes it's a car-centric view. Sometimes people fear it's going to accelerate gentrification. We can't respond by deriding those who fear these innovations; we must educate and persuade. Wells has been a patient ambassador of this vision in often hostile forums.

Meanwhile, Robinson seems to have few actual concrete objections to any of Wells' initiatives. On the Kojo show, he said he supports the streetcar. Reader Bradley Soule, who attended a recent Ward 6 debate, said Wells had a detailed explanation for his transportation ideas, from the streetcar to Southwest Waterfront road capacity, but Robinson passed on the question.

Their biggest concrete policy difference between the two, across all issues, is whether to maintain the Shuttle-Bug bus. Soule wrote,

Kelvin Robinson claimed that after speaking with residents of the affected neighborhood, he felt the free service should be funded by the DC government in perpetuity because of issues with crime around the new Waterfront Station development at 4th and M SW.

Tommy Wells defended his position that the need for the shuttle, the closure of 4th Street between M & I during construction of Waterfront Station, had been resolved. He also voiced concern that if DC funded this special program, other neighborhoods would hold it up as an example for why they should get a similar service that the city could not afford.

But wait, Robinson says that Wells' transit initiatives are taking resources away from crime fighting, even initiatives like the bags and chickens that don't take any resources. But then he wants more transit in another area as a crimefighting tool. Maybe "livable, walkable" is actually making the ward safer.

A few commenters have criticized my brief characterization of Robinson's argument as using "vague racial innuendo." I agree that it may have been too facile to call it that, though I can't help but see subtle catcalls in his use of the extremely non-diverse Andy Griffith Show in this ad, or his refusal to clearly reject racial divides in response to Tom Sherwood's questions on the subject.

There is a divide in terms of who is excited about walkable neighborhoods and who is not, though that is more of an age and income level divide, and in DC it just so happens that at the moment, most younger, newer, and/or wealthier residents are white. But everyone needs to get to work, school or shopping, and bicycles, trains and buses are no faster or better depending on the color of your skin, or how long you've lived in DC.

The reason to vote against Kelvin Robinson has nothing to do with race, his, yours, the ward's, or anyone else's. It has everything to do with the fact that he's trying to set one improvement for the neighborhood against another, and in so doing set one side of the neighborhood against the other.

He's criticizing Wells for making improvements to the neighborhood, but when challenged, won't criticize the acutal improvements themselves. He could be talking about making the neighborhood more walkable and also doing more on crime. Instead, he's trying to convince some residents that walkability is their enemy.

Former Mayor Anthony Williams endorsed Robinson yesterday, presumably because Robinson was his chief of staff. But when Williams says he can "bring together divergent perspectives to advance the common goals of our Ward and our City," he must be looking only at Robinson's "United for a Stronger DC" slogan rather than the actual candidate who is putting a long-shot, divisive political strategy over common goals.

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David Alpert is the founder and editor-in-chief of Greater Greater Washington. 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 daughter in Dupont Circle. 

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Hear hear. I'm not a Ward 6 resident and I have no dog in the fight, but I found Robinson's comments in the debates and in his ads disquieting and divisive without good reason. I would give him the benefit of the doubt, but he's been given these opportunities to respond and point to what he's talking about, but he's shirked off every single one. When you do that, you no longer get the benefit of any my doubts. They are gone.

by Steve on Sep 8, 2010 1:59 pm • linkreport

Well put, David. I'm a Ward 6 voter who lives within spitting distance of RFK and welcome another term for Tommy Wells. He's been incredibly responsive when I've had issues with juvenile crime.

Ironically, Kelvin Robenson's mailing called for stronger curfews. Tommy has introduced those several years running only to get watered down by the council. Perhaps he should have stuck with an at-large race if that's a signature issue of his.

by TimK on Sep 8, 2010 2:09 pm • linkreport

I'm not a Ward 6 resident, so I don't have a vote on the matter.

But isn't Robenson just tapping - albeit far more blatantly - into the same vein of discontent as Gray? Concerns about how "some" parts of the city are being treated better? Concerns about how "some" groups aren't fairly represented among the mayor's cabinet and appointees? Concerns that "some" people don't have any real say in decisions affecting their lives? Concerns that "some" people aren't getting any benefits out of new policies?

In my mind - and maybe it's b/c I haven't gotten any of the Ward 6 mailers or followed any debates - it seems like Robenson is simply trying to reach many of the same voters that don't like Fenty b/c they believe he's catering to gentrifiers and ignoring the long-time, black residents. He's just going about it in a far less subtle and genteel manner than Gray.

by Fritz on Sep 8, 2010 2:20 pm • linkreport

I couldn't agree more strongly about Robinson. What he's doing is shameful.

But the first paragraph's implication that Gray's campaign is different is simply wrong. Gray is doing the same thing that Robinson is doing -- he's just being more subtle about it.

by Rob on Sep 8, 2010 2:22 pm • linkreport

I think the framing is everything. Gray and Robinson are both trying to tap into discontented voters. But Gray is doing so by saying, "I'll make sure your needs are met AND keep up what's working well," while Robinson is saying, "I'll take away from those other things to meet your needs."

Both are claiming they'll increase the attention to certain issues, but one is doing so in a divisive way that turns people against each other, while the other is doing it under a unifying umbrella.

by David Alpert on Sep 8, 2010 2:29 pm • linkreport

That's just window dressing, David. It's like the difference between being anti-gay and being "pro family values." They mean exactly the same thing, and they're both divisive, but one is more honest about it.

by Rob on Sep 8, 2010 2:38 pm • linkreport

I think there is something to be said that Gray is trying to tap into the same sense of discontent. I don't think anything is wrong with that. Addressing discontented voters is what we expect of our elected leaders.

But the responsible thing to do is to not only acknowledge the anger, but to lay out your plan to address it. This is where I feel Gray has done a much better job (although I'd still like to see more specifics from him).

Maybe some Kelvin Robinson voters can help me out here. What initiatives does he plan, what legislation is he supporting, etc. to solve some of the issues he mentioned?

by TimK on Sep 8, 2010 2:39 pm • linkreport

Rob: I think the difference is between saying "There are these problems, and I'll make it better" and "There are these problems, and those other people are to blame." When a political figure points the finger at other people or other projects, it fosters a feeling of rivalry between the two groups, and makes people in one group more likely to dislike the other. That's bad. And that's the problem, not the policy ideas.

by David Alpert on Sep 8, 2010 2:55 pm • linkreport

David -- Your acknowledging that "vague racial innuendo" was a mistake is appreciated. But don't overplay your hand here; some of us Ward 6 residents may vote against Wells because you are pushing him so strongly.

by goldfish on Sep 8, 2010 4:05 pm • linkreport

I'm a Ward 6 Voter and live in Rosedale. The racial tensions in the areas surrounding Capitol Hill are very real. Its very clear that Robinson's only strategy in this election is to divide the vote along racial lines. Unfortunately there are plenty of people willing to go along with it. Its sad that people like Robinson seek to divide rather than unite.

by BillT on Sep 8, 2010 4:19 pm • linkreport

@DavidAlpert - But then it's really two sides of the same coin - both Gray and Robenson are making appeals to black voters who feel left out of the process and are afraid/anxious about gentrification.

The main difference is that Gray puts a very nice facade on the issue, whereas Robenson makes more of a base appeal to people's fears. And Gray has himself made some divisive, race/class-based statements, such as his equivocation that building dog parks in Ward 3 is somehow resulting in no recreation fields in Ward 8. Generally his talking points are about inclusion, listening to everyone, advisory panels, etc. But, one a few occasions before some audiences, he slips up and appeals to people's not-so-lofty motivations.

by Fritz on Sep 8, 2010 4:27 pm • linkreport

David alpert has crossed the line again. This is ridiculous. I am sorry that you only care about these full belly issues, but there are plenty of problems in ward 6 that Tommy Wells is ill equipped to handle, as he has proven. It is David Alpert who is trying make race an issue. The division that Robinson is talking about is one of class. The people that are content with Tommy Wells are wealthier and they are passionate about issues such as bike lanes and backyard chicken farms. Truth is there are working class families who live in ward 6 in and out of capitol hill who are getting shafted. They can't walk five minutes to get everything they need and they have to deal with a very real possibility that they will be attacked or robbed or worse each day. Shame on you David Alpert. Alpert will probably delete this post, since he so dislikes opinions that do not echo his own wacky opinions. Here is a link to a new Kelvin Robinson campaign video. David will tell you its about race, it is not. David is just obsessed with the issue. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DKR0sVeVBoI

by keith on Sep 8, 2010 4:57 pm • linkreport

@ David Alpert Here's a quote from the Examiner's Fenty endorsement:

When he met with the Examiner editorial board, Gray raised the specter of a city that builds “dog parks” for yuppies at the expense of playgrounds for black children. He offered this explanation for Fenty supposedly favoring the white parts of town: “Politically, I think he sees his base as over there, and he wants to maintain his base.” He added, “That is not to suggest anyone’s a racist,” which struck us as a good way of putting that image into people’s minds. Gray dismissed the ongoing development and progress in the east of town by noting that “all that stuff was in the pipeline when he started” -- as though Fenty should increase construction even more in Wards 7 and 8 just because he wasn’t the one to think up the already-substantial city investments going there.

In what way is that substantively different than the the things Robinson says? How is that not fostering a feeling of rivalry between two groups?

by jcm on Sep 8, 2010 5:39 pm • linkreport

@jcm Right on. except I think that Gray is saying these things and Robinson is not. Robinson is not discussing race. People like David Alpert are putting words in Robinson's mouth. Alpert's line of attack on this is suspect.

by keith on Sep 8, 2010 5:43 pm • linkreport

@keith,

It would be helpful if you talked specifics. Your post just reinforces exactly what David said: bunch of demogoguing on bike lanes and backyard chicken farms, and some vague references to "problems Tommy Wells is ill equipped to handle". How about making an argument rather than banging on the table.

What problems is Wells ill-equipped to handle, and why? How has he proven this? How *exactly* *are "working class families in ward 6 getting shafted" by Wells' policies?

I happen to agree most of this demogoguery and appeals to basic resentments are class-based rather than racial. But I find it a little off-putting the argument that poorer folks don't care about supporting more simple, healthier ways of living.

You seem to think all this stuff is self-evident. Some of us require an acutal argument.

by oboe on Sep 8, 2010 5:46 pm • linkreport

@ oboe

Sorry, I have mentioned more specifics in previous posts on this subject. An example of things Wells can't handle is that though his supporters claim he has tried to make some more aggressive curfew changes, it was the council who watered it down. So what this says to me is that Tommy Wells can get legislation passed when it pertains to his favorite cultural issues such as dog parks and bag taxes, but he gets stymied by "the council" when he tries to take on crime and more pressing issues. Wells chairs the human services committee. In that role he has oversight over groups like peaceoholics (he failed to call for any oversight hearings, and we see how that group has made out) he oversees the DYRS(division of youth rehab services) Not only has he failed in that position, but in his own ward 6 juvenile crime has gone up not down. Tommy Wells is just not the right kind of dude to do this job. He wants DC to be something that we all want it to be, he just fails to realize that his policies are serving only those affluent people in the ward and leaving behind working class families who need their own councilmember. Kelvin Robinson will be a councilmember who can represent everyone in the ward.

by keith on Sep 8, 2010 5:56 pm • linkreport

Doesn't crime negatively affect everyone in the neighborhood?

I can't imagine someone saying to Wells, "i care a great deal about getting a bikelane but that mugging/break-in that happened last night half a block down from where I live doesn't concern me".

by Bianchi on Sep 8, 2010 6:10 pm • linkreport

The notion of having a curfew in a city with one of the fastest declining crime rates in the nation is utterly preposterous

by Dave Murphy on Sep 8, 2010 6:51 pm • linkreport

@Dave Murphy

While overall crime is declining, violent juvenile crime is way up in ward 6. In the summers of 2007 and 2008 juvenile crime arrests increased more in ward 6 than in any other ward. In 2009 there were 550 juvenile arrests for rapes, assaults and robberies in ward 6. So not only is Tommy failing his ward, but as chairman of the human services committee with oversight of the dept of youth rehabilitation services, his overall failure is staggering.

by keith on Sep 8, 2010 6:59 pm • linkreport

@keith,

What, specifically, will Kelvin Robinson do that Tommy Wells has/does not regarding juvi crime? I've gone through his literature, his website, watched the various you tube videos, etc., but I can't find anything but platitudes. Lot of stuff on how Tommy Wells cares more about chickens then crime, but absolutely nothing to back that up.

Incidentally, when I was the victim of juvenile crime, Tommy Wells and his office worked with me at great length to help resolve it. I couldn't have asked for a more engaged, hands on Councilmember on this specific issue.

And I voted against him in the last go around.

by TimK on Sep 8, 2010 7:14 pm • linkreport

He is going to create better after school programs, move the curfew to 9:30pm and increase police bike and foot patrols. These are not platitudes, these are priorities. Tommy Wells has had the wrong priorities, I am happy that his office helped you after your incident. The problem is one of priorities. While juvenile crime was rising in his back yard, Tommy Wells focused on ridiculous issues.

by keith on Sep 8, 2010 7:17 pm • linkreport

He can't move the curfew. Other members of the council block it every time. I strongly doubt Robinson would have any better luck than Wells has had.

What better after school programs? Where's the funding coming from? Does he have Council support?

Increase bike and foot patrols? Isn't that a function of the police, not the City Council. Are you saying Kelvin Robinson will propose increasing MPD's budget to support this? That sounds like something I'd be taking up with the police chief, not my city council-member. Unless, of course, the police chief was being unresponsive, which I strongly doubt is the case with Chief Lanier.

I'm also sorry you feel the issue that are important to me are ridiculous. None of this is to say that any of us, including Tommy Wells, should think enough has been done on crime, especially the juvenile variety.

by TimK on Sep 8, 2010 7:55 pm • linkreport

The fact is that Tommy hasn't tried hard enough to do anything about crime meanwhile he is focusing on ridiculous issues like bike lanes and dog parks and backyard chicken farms. This is the kind of stuff you focus on when your city is already safe as can be.

by keith on Sep 8, 2010 8:00 pm • linkreport

Well, he has moved quite a bit of legislation on crime, improving accountability between various city agencies regarding juvenile issues, increasing reporting requirements, etc. I wrote it up a little while ago, if you're interested:

http://www.thehillishome.com/2010/07/juvenille-violence-oh-yeah-whatever-happened-with-that/

Now, we can (and should) argue if this is "enough", but to say he hasn't tried hard enough is just not true. I don't think it's enough, by the way, but it's a good start.

Why can't we have a safe city, bike lanes, and dog parks? God forbid we have a Councilmember who can walk and chew gum at the same time.

And please, can we give the chicken farms a rest? Tommy isn't focused on it, his opponents are. It's a cheap and easy shot, and saves people the need to say "white people". Which is what they mean.

by TimK on Sep 8, 2010 8:14 pm • linkreport

@timk

I am white and I have lived in ward 6 for 3 years. When I talk about backyard chicken farms, I am not talking about white people. I am talking about Out-of-touch people. I am talking about the kind of people who care about these full belly issues. All I hear from the folks who like this kind of hair-brained crunchy neo-hippy/yuppie stuff is "vague racial innuendo" and "demagogue language" ad nauseum. the truth is, I don't have a problem with back yard chicken farms or bike lanes etc. I have a problem with these utopian lyrics amidst a juvenile crime wave. You can say Tommy Wells is focusing on crime all you want. It doesn't make it true.

by keith on Sep 8, 2010 10:13 pm • linkreport

David, congratulations! You know you have arrived when, just like the big ol' Washington Post editorial board, you keep endorsing and endorsing your candidate, because you can never get it quite right, you can never quite make the sale.

You may renounce your choice of the hateful words "vague racial innuendo," but you have not given up the analytical approach that leads you to those words. That's true from the very start of this failed second try to the very last paragraph.

That last paragraph. Sheesh. Mayor Tony Williams--is he a dope? Is he a buffoon? You make him out to be one when you say he "presumably" endorsed Robinson over Wells because Robinson was his chief of staff. I doubt it. I think Williams is very serious and very careful about what he says, and I bet he really thought this out before endorsing Williams.

You make Mayor Williams out to be a ninny when you state unequivocably that Williams' endorsement is based on Robinson's campaign slogan. I bet Williams has followed this race very closely, more closely, for example, than you have. You are almost certainly wrong if you think Tony Williams knows nothing about this candidate, Kelvin Robinson, or Robinson's political strategy. Williams endorsement of Robinson over Wells is an endorsement of the man, the candidate and the message.

I think the weakness in your analytical approach comes when you assume you know what another person is thinking, and put words in their mouths, when you have no background or experience to make those kinds of assertions about other peoples' beliefs and motivations.

A few examples where your analysis is faulty because it is based on your failed clairvoyance:

* "But Robinson is choosing to cast the issues facing Ward 6 as an either/or situation. Either DC builds a streetcar, or there are more police on the streets." ANC-6A Chairman Kelvin Robinson is for the streetcar, dummy. The streetcar runs through his ANC. Duh. The potential for the failure of the H Street NE line hangs like a sword of Damoclese over his ANC.

* "In many areas, people are suspicious of bike lanes. Sometimes it's just an aversion to change. Sometimes it's a car-centric view. Sometimes people fear it's going to accelerate gentrification." I can only speak to what my fellow Ward 6 residents say to me. What you say people think about CM Wells's focus on bike lanes? Never heard it before, not once, not from anybody. Maybe those suspicions and fears rest mostly in your head, inventions of yours as to what you think others may be thinking. Rather than speculating, you ought to just ask people what they are thinking, right out in the open, and listen to their answers with an open mind.

* "[Robinson]'s trying to set one improvement for the neighborhood against another, and in so doing set one side of the neighborhood against the other. He's criticizing Wells for making improvements to the neighborhood, but when challenged, won't criticize the acutal [sic] improvements themselves. He could be talking about making the neighborhood more walkable and also doing more on crime. Instead, he's trying to convince some residents that walkability is their enemy." This is an example of you putting words in Robinson's mouth.

I have attended or listened to three debates, chatted with Robinson (whom I never met before this campaign), and I have never, ever, not even once heard him set one improvement against another, or(as you say) "criticize Wells for making improvements to the neighborhood," whatever those may be.

You say Robinson is actually trying to "trying to convince some residents that walkability is their enemy." That is a whopping lie. Like the bikelaneophobia episode above, that kind of exchange between Robinson and voters has never happened anywhere in the universe except between your big ears.

I have heard Robinson say things like, "These are issues that don't deal with the day-to-day lives of individuals who are struggling to make ends meet," and "I have said at my ANC Commission meetings that I chair in 6A that the racial tension is palpable" and "we ought to be forthright in having a real conversation about the change that's undergoing in the ward."

To me, that sounds like Robinson is the adult in this conversation. Robinson's efforts to bring this conversation about policy priorities out into the open, on his ANC and, he promises, Ward-wide when he is CM--that's a superior policy approach than your approach of guessing what fears and suspicions you think others harbor.

It is more important to me to know whether a Ward 6 political leader will make an effort to bring opposing groups together to discuss their differences and conflicting priorities, than to know whether Robinson is as enthusiastic as Wells in embracing the streetcar.

And that ability to really hear what other people are saying, rather than pigeonholing them based on your own preconceptions, is, regrettably, not CM Wells' strong suit. Or yours.

Weirdly enough, that's the point of the exchange your reader, Mr. Soule, reports from a candidate's forum in the long italicized excerpt in your post--4th Street SW residents came to CM Wells and said they need the Shuttle Bug because of on-going crime problems in the neighborhood.

Wells hears "Shuttle Bug," and determines that's transportation and that's related to Waterfront Station construction, and it's not in the budget, so the residents cannot have the Shuttle Bug. Don't those residents understand? Maybe if Wells were just patient and educated them, they'd get it.

Residents tell Robinson the exact same story and he says, "That's a crime issue, and we're not going to tolerate it. You get the Shuttle Bug for now, for safety reasons..." and then the rest of Robinson's presentation, more or less, is about how he's going to tackle this issue of juvenile crime and neighborhood violence (two things that definitely affect liveability and walkability for everyone in Ward 6) with more enthusiasm than CM Wells has brought to those issues.

That is not wedge politics. It is the opposite. So now we are back to the beginning of this failed endorsement of CM Wells over his challenger, ANC-6A Commission Chairperson Kelvin Robinson.

Why in the Sam Hill did you choose such a divisive and explosive headline as "Robinson's wedge politics destructive for DC," when you do not have the goods to prove either that Robinson engages in wedge politics or that if he did, that would destroy the whole city? Your ambitions for this post, as indicated in your headline, far exceed you ability to, you know, prove it without making sh*t up.

We Ward 6 Democrats are trying to have a serious, mature debate here about the direction of the Ward and when I look around, the only one I see injecting "vague racial innuendo" into the debate is you.

by Trulee Pist on Sep 8, 2010 11:29 pm • linkreport

Trulee Pist is trying to have a serious, mature debate? That's high comedy. If you all you do is harp and snark from an anonymous handle, it's hard to take you very seriously.

by FrankieG on Sep 8, 2010 11:44 pm • linkreport

Robinson is challenging Tommy Wells' "livable and walkable" mantra, claiming it doesn't encompass all residents and that Wells is neglecting crime issues.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maslow's_hierarchy_of_needs

I can see why from his viewpoint Wells is focusing on the wrong items. I mean when you have people in your neighborhood who are literally lying around on the sidewalks ... who really cares if there are some stray grocery bags there too.

by Lance on Sep 8, 2010 11:46 pm • linkreport

*I can see why from his (i.e. from ROBINSON's) viewpoint Wells is focusing on the wrong items

by Lance on Sep 8, 2010 11:47 pm • linkreport

Well, thanks for the serious, mature debate, Trulee.

Even if I take everything you say about Robinson at your word, that doesn't change the fact that I'll be voting for Wells.

He's the incumbent, I like the job he's done, and Robinson hasn't said a single thing that's convinced me to not only vote for him, but also vote against Wells.

by Jean Claude Van Damme on Sep 8, 2010 11:50 pm • linkreport

@trulee

I couldn't have said it better myself. It is Alpert who is making this about race. Like I have said before, it is not bad at all, it is maybe even good sometimes, to be talking about bike lanes and dog parks and it is certainly good to try to get rid of the plastic bag litter. The problem is that Wells and people like Alpert live in a bubble and they have the wrong priorities. The problem is that while Wells is getting bag taxes passed and talking about dog parks etc, ward 6 is riddled with crazy juvenile crime of the violent variety and ward 6 is recieving the second least school funding in the city. Wells has failed to hold any oversight hearings on peaceoholics (he even abstained when voting for their most recent funding). Tommy wells has the wrong priorities and many residents in ward 6 lose because they need good representation and someone who will fight for them. watch this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DKR0sVeVBoI

by keith on Sep 9, 2010 1:09 am • linkreport

@ keith

I like this one better.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t9f7PIvsHAI&feature=related

by Trulee Pist on Sep 9, 2010 2:24 am • linkreport

He can't move the curfew. Other members of the council block it every time. I strongly doubt Robinson would have any better luck than Wells has had.

And that's the bottom line.

The Ward 6 councilmember can push for various changes to the laws. He doesn't rule by fiat. So what we have is Robinson essentially saying he'll push for the same policies Wells has, but that he'll somehow be super-effective at it. Does he have incriminating photos of Mendelson, or what?

This is why I don't buy Robinson's schtick: he makes a big deal about how he's going to attack all these meta-level problems that don't lend themselves to solution at the City Council level, all the while slagging off on the hard, day-to-day achievable goals that make life in this city better.

"Tommy Wells wants to make walking and cycling safer so children can walk to school without getting run over--but whose children??? Meanwhile, Kelvin Robinson is going to make sure every single DC resident draws a six-figure salary, and will eliminate crime by impoverished, unsupervised young men."

Good luck with that.

by oboe on Sep 9, 2010 9:39 am • linkreport

Why in the Sam Hill did you choose such a divisive and explosive headline as "Robinson's wedge politics destructive for DC," when you do not have the goods to prove either that Robinson engages in wedge politics or that if he did, that would destroy the whole city?

Yes, I agree: unless the city will *literally* be reduced to a heap of smoking rubble, David's calling Robinson out on his toxic and divisive comments is the real scandal here.

[captcha: "shourg pleniradiata" -- seriously?]

by oboe on Sep 9, 2010 9:42 am • linkreport

Oh, one last thing: I love the radically cut footage of Wells on juvenile crime. Par for the course: even with the malicious editing, you can tell that Wells has a grasp of the subject, as he addresses the biggest issue we face when dealing with juvenile crime: getting real data.

Probably the single thing that will have the greatest effect in dealing with juvenile crime is the data sharing on individual juveniles that will now be possible between DYRS, the courts, MPD, and DCPS. Such sharing used to be illegal out of some misplaced sense of protecting the "anonymity of youth offenders." Tommy Wells actually was the main driver of getting that law changed.

That's *exactly* the sort of smart, effective legislation that will make a huge difference in dealing with juvenile crime. Certainly more so than tired old ideas like lowering the curfew to 9:30pm.

What's next? Lower it to 7:30? Sundown?

by oboe on Sep 9, 2010 9:56 am • linkreport

@Oboe-- the DC curfew is set at 10 PM and applies to children under 17. As a parent, kids that get up for school should be in bed.

by goldfish on Sep 9, 2010 11:45 am • linkreport

The link did not work. Try
http://mpdc.dc.gov/mpdc/cwp/view,a,1237,q,547375,mpdcNav_GID,1549,mpdcNav,|.asp

by goldfish on Sep 9, 2010 11:48 am • linkreport

http://mpdc.dc.gov/mpdc/cwp/view,a,1237,q,547375,mpdcNav_GID,1549,mpdcNav,%7C.asp

Does that fix it, goldfish?

by Trulee Pist on Sep 9, 2010 11:59 am • linkreport

@goldfish:

@Oboe-- the DC curfew is set at 10 PM and applies to children under 17. As a parent, kids that get up for school should be in bed.

One Robinson supporter commented upthread that one of Robinson's proposals for addressing juvenile crime would be to lower the curfew to 9:30pm. I would submit that such a move would be completely ineffectual, and is indicative of a cobbled-together agenda the that doesn't exactly bolster confidence in Robinson's understanding of the issues--or in his capacity to develop effective solutions.

by oboe on Sep 9, 2010 12:26 pm • linkreport

@Trulee -- thanks for fixing it. Cut-and-paste did not work.
@oboe -- True, making the curfew at half-hour earlier probably won't do much. But making it 8:30 probably would. And why should any school-age kid be out that late?

by goldfish on Sep 9, 2010 1:34 pm • linkreport

@ oboe

You put quotation marks around the first part of this statement:

"Tommy Wells wants to make walking and cycling safer so children can walk to school without getting run over--but whose children??? Meanwhile, Kelvin Robinson is going to make sure every single DC resident draws a six-figure salary, and will eliminate crime by impoverished, unsupervised young men."

Good luck with that.

Can you tell me exactly whom you are quoting? Or are you just "quoting" the voices in your head?

by Trulee Pist on Sep 9, 2010 1:39 pm • linkreport

"True, making the curfew at half-hour earlier probably won't do much. But making it 8:30 probably would. And why should any school-age kid be out that late?"

Perhaps they have a job at one of the many establishments in the city that close at 9PM? Or they were participating in an after-school program or sports practice? Or they were staying with a friend or other family member until their parents returned from the late shift? Yes, I know there are usually exceptions in the curfew law for all of these, but all of these kids would still end up being harassed by police for no good reason.

by Phil on Sep 9, 2010 4:04 pm • linkreport

@Phil -- Read the link. The weeknight curfew is 11 PM (correction from above) and applies to unaccompanied minors under 17. I still say no school-age kid should be out alone after 8:30 during weeknights beyond the exceptions provided in the law.

by goldfish on Sep 9, 2010 4:46 pm • linkreport

Can you tell me exactly whom you are quoting? Or are you just "quoting" the voices in your head?

Hey, I can't help it if, when stripped of the dog-whistle appeals, Robinson's platform isn't coherent. The central focus of his campaign is to stop paying attention to quality of life issues, so that he can single-handedly eliminate juvenile crime through things like tweaking the curfew laws.

That and balance the District budget with all the savings we'll see from eliminating backyard chickens.

by oboe on Sep 9, 2010 4:54 pm • linkreport

@ oboe

You seem to say Robinson's platform consists of dog-whistle appeals. I am interested in your analogy. Who, exactly, are you referring to as dogs?

You denigrate the political decisionmaking abilities of Ward 6 voters with your analogy, and you shouldn't do that.

by Trulee Pist on Sep 9, 2010 5:01 pm • linkreport

@Peaceaholics- Tommy Wells:
I have deleted your most recent comment. It was a verbatim duplicate of one you made in a different thread.

I have warned you in the past that posting exact copies of comments in multiple threads is inappropriate. Doing this in the future will not be tolerated. This time, I deleted only the second comment. If you do this in the future, I will delete the original and the duplicate(s).

by Matt Johnson, Assistant Editor on Sep 9, 2010 7:56 pm • linkreport

Who, exactly, are you referring to as dogs?

New low for you, buddy. Would've said I thought that was beneath you, but unfortunately that'd be a lie.

Pathetic.

For anyone out there who might be inclined to arguing above-board, the origin of the term is here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dog-whistle_politics

by oboe on Sep 13, 2010 3:36 pm • linkreport

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