Greater Greater Washington

Posts about 2013 Special Election

Politics


Election results maps show persistent geographic divide

Keith Ivey has created an interactive map of DC's April 23 special election results. The maps seem to back up the notion that there are ongoing geographic and racial divisions in our politics, though except for east of the Anacostia (which is a big "except"), Elissa Silverman's appeal was far broader, geographically, than citywide candidates in other recent elections.


Vote share for Anita Bonds (left), Elissa Silverman (center), Patrick Mara (right).

Ivey also maps which candidate won the most votes in each precinct.


Left: Plurality votes on April 23, 2013. Bonds=cyan, Silverman=red, Mara=blue, Frumin=green. Right: Plurality votes on April 26, 2011. Orange=orange, Biddle=red, Mara=blue, Weaver=green. Images by Keith Ivey.

Ivey also notes that looking at the overall amount of ink for each candidate doesn't necessarily reflect reality. The peripheral areas where Bonds was strongest, for instance, are also less densely-populated areas of the city. He says,

The map can be misleading in the same way typical U.S. presidential election maps are, since the area of a precinct is not proportional to the number of voters there. A candidate who wins in densely populated, high-turnout areas will often look worse on the map than a candidate who wins in less dense or low-turnout areas.
One observation is that you can't really detect Rock Creek Park on the Silverman map. Rock Creek forms a bright line on the other maps, but not Silverman's. On the other hand, the Anacostia River is a bright line on everyone's map.

Politics


At-large "pot poll" was actually very accurate

When the results of the Dr. Bronner/DCMJ/PPP poll of Tuesday's at-large DC council race came out, supporters of candidates with weaker showings went to work discrediting the poll.


Photo by nchoz on Flickr.

Were Republican voters under-sampled? Would exclusion of cell phones skew results away from a candidate favored by younger voters? Do we actually expect 69% of registered voters to show up?

These are interesting questions and valid criticisms. But in the end, the poll turned out to be very accurate, almost eerily so.

Let's first compare the election night results with the poll results:

ElectionPoll
Bonds32.19%19%
Silverman27.55%13%
Mara22.79%13%
Frumin11.42%8%
Zuckerberg1.97%2%
Redd1.88%2%
Brown1.40%
Undecided43%

First off, note that the poll gets Perry Redd's and Paul Zuckerberg's election results exactly right, and Michael Brown's small showing justifies his exclusion from the poll. Essentially none of the undecided voters went for Redd, Zuckerberg, or Brown.

Another common criticism of the poll results was that 43% were undecided: with that many undecided, any candidate would seem to have a chance. But a more likely result is that the undecided voters will, in the end, follow the pattern of the already-decided voters. For the four major candidates, we look at this by comparing the election night results to the percent of the decided voters each candidate got in the poll:

ElectionDecided
Bonds32.19%33%
Silverman27.55%23%
Mara22.79%23%
Frumin11.42%14%

Here we see that the results for both Patrick Mara and Anita Bonds nearly exactly match. This tells us that the undecided voters, in the end, broke for Mara and Bonds in exactly the same proportion as the decided voters in the poll had.

On the other hand, when compared with their shares of the decided voters, Matthew Frumin under-performed on election night and Elissa Silverman over-performed. They were, of course, the two most closely-matched candidates, so we can add their totals together to see how the polling predicted their combined performance:

ElectionDecided
Frumin + Silverman38.97%37%

Their combined share of the decided voters in the polling was within two percentage points of their combined election night totals. The close matches for Mara, Bonds, and Frumin-Silverman show that it's reasonable to presume that the undecideds, even at 43%, will not deviate too strongly from the decideds.

Silverman did get more of the undecided voters than Frumin did, which is evidence of some degree of coalescence. Many would have been happy with either Frumin or Silverman, and perhaps were wavering between the two. When the poll (and other indicators) showed that Silverman was finishing stronger, they gave her their support. From the perspective of the Silverman campaign, though, this was too little and too late.

The first take-away from the numbers is that polling, even in a low-turnout special election in DC, can be very accurate. The second take-away is that polling data which shows one candidate to be stronger than another can lead to support consolidating behind the stronger candidate.

As Patrick Mara reminded us, Tuesday's election was the third one in recent memory in which multiple reform-minded self-styled progressive candidates have split the vote, giving a win to the establishment candidate. (Though others dispute whether Mara can claim the label of "progressive.") Many have wished for a progressive coalition which would rally around a single candidate.

One other thing that this poll has shown is that polling itself does not need to be the exclusive province of the traditional media and the campaigns. If Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps can support a poll, anyone can. We should all thank Adam Eidingerthe longtime radical DC political activist and Dr. Bronner's employee who organized the pollfor showing us that.

There's no reason a group of like-minded activists couldn't commission it's own timely and transparent polls, and to use their results to consolidate support for the strongest favored candidate.

Politics


Silverman-Frumin talks should come as no surprise

A lot of people are shockedshockedthat Ken Archer, volunteer campaign treasurer for Elissa Silverman, met with Matt Frumin and tried to persuade him to drop out of the race.


Photo by rauchdickson on Flickr.

You know who else had a secret meeting with a candidate about dropping out? Whichever Anita Bonds supporters and backers Whoever persuaded Michael Brown to drop out of the race. You know what didn't happen? Michael Brown's disappointed supporters did not talk about it to the press. Surrogates for his and other campaigns did not profess outrage on Twitter at "backroom deals" and "hypocrisy."

After the poll came out showing Silverman far ahead of Frumin, I heard a lot of people say that "someone" should try to push him to drop out. When Silverman first ran, some people volunteering for her told me that if it turned out near the end that her campaign stood little or no chance, they would push her to drop out to avoid vote-splitting.

Heck, I thought about asking Frumin to drop out, too. I wondered whether I could offer to help Frumin in some way in the future as an incentive. I would like to see both Frumin and Silverman on the council; I told him that I really wished there were 2 seats open.

I certainly wouldn't have offered to support him against Mary Cheh, because Mary Cheh has done a good job, but it certainly sprung to my mind as an obvious possible bargaining chip if Frumin's plan were to run in Ward 3 later on, as many people I talked to at the start of the campaign suspected.

(And before the comment thread gets hijacked to be about Ken Archer and the GGW endorsement: He did not vote in our contributor poll. Our endorsements derive from a poll of regular contributors. In this case, that poll came out decisively for Silverman.)

Look at substance, not campaign operations

Clearly, there's also a lot of cynical politicking in some of the protestations of outrage on Twitter and comments. Some of that is coming from the most back-room, non-transparent political operatives who just see this as an opportunity to take an opponent down a peg and distract potential voters.

Don't be distracted. You can disagree with Elissa Silverman on substance. I agree with her on a lot of things and disagree on others. The same goes for most other candidates. Martin Austermuhle, Dan Silverman, and I tried to elucidate the candidates' views using Let's Choose DC. Disappointingly, the information we gleaned about candidate positions didn't get much attention in the press.

No candidate will be perfect on every policy. If there's a candidate you agree with 100% of the time, chances are you're just about the only one and the candidate is polling in the low single digits. The most successful politicians just manage to avoid taking a stance on anything, so every voter can come to believe they're in agreement with the candidate, especially if they aren't paying a lot of attention.

If anything, one of ways Elissa Silverman shows her lack of candidate experience is by being honest about what she thinks. She's been more forthright in many forums about views that might be unpopular. When I have called her to ask about a policy statement, she has told me straight out what she's thinking right then about that policy. Sometimes, I don't agree. We've argued about it. She could simply listen and try to emphasize points of agreement and hide her disagreement, but she doesn't. It can make me frustrated, but I also respect it a lot.

Do you want the slickest candidates?

Papering over disagreements is something that comes with long experience in electoral politics. People gain that experience by repeatedly running for office or make politics a career, working for elected officials and getting positions in the party machine.

Some of those are great people who do excellent work, but there are a lot in it for personal gain and ambition above all. Many don't really hold such strong values on their vision for the city; they just think it would be better if they ran things.

A lot of people want candidates who are "outsiders" and who are running because they believe in change rather than just want to be in charge. Most of the so-called "outsiders" who successfully run for federal offices nationwide are actually insiders who pretend to be outsiders to fool low-information voters.

If you want genuine outsiders, you're not going to get slick political operations. There are ways outsiders can do more to make their operations more professional, like hiring actual professionals, but that's a lot easier for candidates with a lot of moneywhich usually comes from shady sources.

How can vote-splitting stop?

People running as "reformers" and "progressives" have split the vote in the last 2 at-large elections and probably will tomorrow as well. There are 3 ways to stop this from happening:

  1. Let some people with a lot of money and/or political muscle push people out of the race. Then people have to not be shocked and dismayed when someone tries to do that. (Example: Michael Brown; counterexample: Matt Frumin)
  2. Devise some primary-like system that's more open and participatory, but which comes to a single conclusion, and other candidates agree that they're not going to keep running if they don't win, and almost certainly support the winner. (Example: Hillary Clinton; counterexample: Joe Lieberman)
  3. Reform the election laws to some system where the top 2 candidates go to a runoff, or there's some kind of multiple-voting system. (Examples: runoff election in New York City, instant-runoff voting in San Francisco)

Do you want candidates who are good at pushing people out of a race without their fingerprints on it? People who can successfully win while taking few or no positions at all? People with large staffs of highly-paid expert campaign operatives funded with piles of lobbyist money?

If so, by all means be outraged that Ken talked to Matt Frumin about dropping out. Otherwise, make up your mind tomorrow based on actual positions and the available polls, not on this.

Update: Anita Bonds' campaign says in a statement that they had nothing to do with Michael Brown dropping out. I did not say that Bonds' campaign pressured Brown to drop out, as many people are backing her who don't coordinate with the campaign. It seems extremely likely that some people with influence over Brown recognized the likely vote splitting and pushed Brown to get out. However, this is indeed conjecture, so I've reworded the intro to not sound like it is claiming any knowledge or facts that don't exist.

Government


Which candidates did your neighbors donate to?

The Sunlight Foundation has put together a great interactive map of contributions for the April 23 DC Council at-large special election.


Map by the Sunlight Foundation. Contribution data from the April 15 release
by the DC Office of Campaign Finance.

Their article by Ryan Sibley also shows many other interesting statistics, such as who got money from outside the region, the balance of corporate and individual contributions (Anita Bonds and Michael Brown got only about half individual contributions, while it's nearly 100% for Silverman), and more.

Sibley also notes that while DC's Office of Campaign Finance releases computer-readable data files with contribution information, some data is not in those files, like which candidate goes with a campaign committee. That's in PDFs, but PDF data isn't usable in mash-ups without human work.

What do you notice?

Government


Vote for the budget autonomy referendum on April 23

Besides the race for DC Council at large on April 23, DC residents will have the opportunity to vote on a charter amendment that would free the District from having to submit its budget to Congress and wait for approval before being able to spend local tax money raised right here in DC. We hope residents vote yes on this amendment.


Photo by l'ennui d'ennui on Flickr.

It would free the District from members of Congress attaching riders to score political points back home while trampling on DC residents' right to self-government in local affairs. It would free the District from the threat of having to shut down basic public services if the federal government shuts down.

In the comments on a guest post we ran in February by DC Appleseed's Walter Smith, several readers expressed a belief that a referendum would just be advisory, that Congress would not follow our request, and it's a waste of time. This is incorrect. The referendum is not advisory at all.

If it passes, DC will have amended its own charter, which it has the power to do. It will no longer have wait for Congress to approve its budget before spending local tax dollars. Congress could block the amendment from taking effect, but to do that, both houses of Congress would have to act.

Congress can also always pass laws forcing DC to do things in the future, or taking away DC's autonomy, but again, it would require an affirmative act of Congress (and the President could veto such changes).

Besides, there are both Democrats and Republicans who support this. They can't get a clean bill through Congress to give us the right, but by this method, they don't have to; all they have to do is get Congress not to interfere. That's not so hard.

Why does DC have this power?

The Home Rule Act, which Congress passed in 1973, has several sections. Title IV, the main part, sets up the DC locally-elected government and its powers and structure.

Title III section 303 says that DC can amend any part of Title IV with three exceptions:

  • 401(a), which says "There is established a Council of the District of Columbia; and the members of the Council shall be elected by the registered qualified electors of the District";
  • 421(a), "There is established the Office of Mayor of the District of Columbia; and the Mayor shall be elected by the registered qualified electors of the District";
  • all of section C, which relates to the judiciary.
The budget process, which DC wants to change, is in section D. That's not on the list. Therefore, lawyers supporting the referendum conclude, DC is within its rights to try to amend that part of the charter.

Congress also made a specific list of things DC can't do without Congressional approval, such as changing the height limit, imposing a commuter tax, exercising any power over the zoo, or changing the way the judiciary operates. Another section of the law prohibits charter amendments from giving DC power over these things. The budget process is not on this list either.

(Congress was really quite nervous about what DC would do with power over the criminal laws; another provision blocks the DC Council from changing the criminal laws for the first 4 years of Home Rule.)

There is one provision which makes some lawyers doubt whether the referendum is legal. That's section 603, which says in part,

(a) Nothing in this act shall be construed as making any change in existing law, regulation, or basic procedure and practice relating to the respective roles of the Congress, the President, the federal Office of Management and Budget, and the Comptroller General of the United States in the preparation, review, submission, examination, authorization, and appropriation of the total budget of the District of Columbia government.
Wait, doesn't that mean nothing can change with the budget process?

But what is "this act"? That's the 1973 Home Rule Act. This provision doesn't say that DC can't change the budget process by amendment, but rather than in 1973, when the act passed, Congress didn't intend to revamp the budget process at the time.

As DC Vote chairman John Bouker said in his testimony to the DC Council,

Section 603(a) is not framed as a "limitation" on the Council's authority, as is the case with some of the other provisions in Section 603. Instead, it is a rule of construction which clarifies that, at the time of passage in 1973, "[n]othing in the Act shall be construed" to change then-existing law regarding the District's budget process.
Supportive lawyers note that Congress went to great lengths to enumerate the parts of the charter DC couldn't change, like all of section C on the judiciary, so if they wanted to keep the budget process sacrosanct, why wouldn't they have listed section D as well? It doesn't make a lot of sense to be extremely clear about which parts DC can't amend and then have a subtle additional part with language that sounds like it refers to 1973.

Some others don't see it this way. But ultimately it's in Congress' hands. The DC government believes it's legal and, if the referendum passes, will operate on that basis. If Congress wants DC to still have to submit its budget, both houses can pass a resolution to say so. Since there are leaders on both sides of the political aisle who do support the idea, Congress will most likely not step in.

Even if some lawyers and judges disagree, the courts won't intervene, because Congress is probably the only body with standing to sue, explained Smith. You have to be harmed by something to sue to stop it, and only Congress' power over the budget will change. But Congress won't sue because it doesn't have to; it could just pass a resolution to stop the change. Which it won't do.

Essentially, this referendum shifts the burden from one where Congress has to act (very hard to achieve) to one where it simply has to not act (far easier). DC voters can take this step knowing that Congress almost certainly won't act, and by voting for this amendment, they will gain an important element of self-government.

Politics


Candidates want affordable housing, balk at more housing

One of the most significant ways to ensure some affordable housing is to provide more housing. It's not the only way and not sufficient on its own, but the clear connection between housing supply and price appears lost on multiple candidates for the April 23 DC Council at-large special election.


Photo by james.thompson on Flickr.

At a Chevy Chase Community Association meeting last week, many candidates affirmed support for affordable housing, according to a report on the Chevy Chase listserv, but then wavered or even outright opposed allowing people to rent out basements, garages, or parts of their homes to create new housing opportunities.

Lorrie Scally wrote:

Patrick Mara said "No" to the rentals because he feared they would result in an overflow of students into already crowded schools.

Meanwhile, according to Scally, "Matthew Frumin expressed his support for ADU rentals in all residential neighborhoods," while Elissa Silverman said she wants to ensure they don't impact neighbors much (similar to what she said on Let's Choose DC).

Yet, Scally said, "The candidates' presentations gave support to DC education issues and affordable housing for residents." Mara has endorsed affordable housing spending in the past; on one of the Let's Choose questions he actually answered, he said, "I'm certain we can find the millions need to fund libraries and affordable housing initiatives." He told the DC realtors, "The cultural diversity of DC is at risk if we do not protect and build affordable housing."

Anita Bonds did not attend the forum.

Adding housing must be a part of the housing strategy

About 1,000 more people move into the District each month than the number who leave. Moreover, the demand to come into DC is even greater than this.

Absent enough new housing, many people who want to come here will rent or buy units in gentrifying neighborhoods where prices are still lower than elsewhere. That raises housing prices in those neighborhoods, hastening the problem of some longtime residents being or feeling priced out, and others deciding to take a windfall and sell their houses at a big profit.

If we want longtime residents to stay, an important element of the equation is to find somewhere else for the people to live who want to come into DC. Basement and garage apartments are one important potential source. We already have large single-family houses with one or two retirees who aren't actually using the whole house. Letting them rent the space is a win-win for everyone except for those who want to keep the neighborhood exclusive and underpopulated relative to its 1950 size.

A lot of people in Ward 3 would rather the population growth go somewhere else. A lot of people vote in Ward 3, and several candidates are clearly seeking their votes. But letting a whole section of the city opt out of growth is not the right policy. It harms poorer neighborhoods by diverting more housing pressure to other areas, hastening gentrification.

How do the candidates stack up?

Four years ago, when I endorsed Patrick Mara, I perhaps assumed too readily that because he lives in a denser neighborhood and bicycles, he also supports a growing city. He might, but he came out strongly against a new matter-of-right building in Chevy Chase, opposes accessory dwellings, and refused to answer either of the two Let's Choose questions on growth. That's disappointing and a little surprising for someone who claims to want less government regulation.

I'm also disappointed Elissa Silverman has not been stronger on smart growth. She has less reason to try to pander for votes in Ward 3, when Ward 6 has become the highest-voting ward. Many of Ward 3's supposedly-liberal residents and newspapers nonetheless seem to go for whomever will lower their own taxes. As a supporter of affordable housing and equity for all neighborhoods, she also shouldn't tolerate some residents west of Rock Creek trying to redline growth and change solely to the east.

Unfortunately, while Matthew Frumin has been willing to stand up for (reasonable) growth more vocally than others, this morning's poll seems to confirm that he is most likely to play a "spoiler" role. Our readers, contributors, and I myself have often wrestled with how to think through the game theory of a race, and decide how much to weigh various policy positions or trade off candidate strengths versus electability.

This post is not an endorsement; our policy is to decide endorsements by a poll of recent, active contributors, which came out clearly for Silverman. On balance, I'm still going to vote for her, too. Besides, zoning isn't the only issue that matters, and she has some definite strengths on workforce development, oversight of city agencies, and more.

But just because we've endorsed should not prevent us from helping inform readers about candidates' positions, whether or not they comport with our endorsement (in this case, it's mostly a neutral effect), or holding candidates responsible for staking out good positions.

Politics


For DC Council: Elissa Silverman

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


Image from the candidate's website.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Politics


Frumin, Silverman again top Let's Choose on zoning

The results are now up on Let's Choose DC for the 9th question, on the zoning update. For the 7th question in a row on Let's Choose DC, Matthew Frumin and Elissa Silverman shared the number one and two spots.

The question was about the zoning update, an issue we've discussed here perhaps more than any other. Both Frumin and Silverman expressed support for at least many elements of the proposals, but also insisted that they want to be sure to protect established residents' interests in some ways as well.

There's nothing wrong with striking a balance, but the question ultimately boils down to who will stand up strongly for a growing and inclusive city when the really tough votes arise on the Council.

It's clear Michael Brown won't. He wrote in his response, "I have frequently taken the side of the surrounding neighborhoods and stood with the residents to oppose certain aspects of the growth plans." And he said at a Ward 8 forum, "And my beliefs are trying to make sure, as a third generation Washingtonian, making sure this city stays the way I remember it."

We don't really know about Mara or Bonds. Neither has replied to requests to take a stand, and Mara gave a very vague answer on the issue when I asked him about the issue at a meeting.

What can we conclude?

On a Greater Greater Washington note and not a Let's Choose note, for urbanists trying to pick a candidate to vote for on April 23, it seems you have fairly clearly spoken that the choice lies between these two.

When I envisioned Let's Choose DC, my hope (but not necessarily that of Martin at DCist and Dan at PoPville) was that a completely neutral, non-endorsing process might help people coalesce around one candidate on their own. As it's turned out, that coalescing did happen, but thus far around two candidates rather than one.

Patrick Mara (who I endorsed 4 years ago) stopped participating several weeks back, and missed several previous questions as well. Plus, when he did participate, his ratings in the voting were never very strong (placing 8th on question 2 and 4th and 3rd on the others where he responded).

Paul Zukerberg and Perry Redd have reliably kept participating, and while they racked up lower totals, they took advantage of an opportunity to help more residents understand their views. Anita Bonds only sent in a response once time, and scored low. Michael Brown has participated a few times, but to almost universally low marks.

Is our community split down the middle between Frumin and Silverman, or do most of us simply like both of them? Who If you're undecided between Frumin and Silverman, what would help you make up your mind?

Update: The original version of this post mixed some of my own commentary with Let's Choose information in a way that could have been confusing or mislead people about the political intent of the site. I've rearranged it to split the two.

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