Greater Greater Washington

Posts about Patrick Mara

Bicycling


Bonds, Mara wouldn't sacrifice parking for a bike lane

Tim Craig, Mike DeBonis, and Emma Brown asked the at-large candidates about a number of different issues that matter to DC residents, from testing in schools to police to bike lanes.


Photo by Elvert Barnes on Flickr.

A question on bike lanes revealed some interesting differences of opinion. Patrick Mara (and Anita Bonds and Perry Redd) seem to prioritize not removing any parking over bike lanes, while Elissa Silverman was the strongest supporter:

"Would you support a new bicycle lane on Connecticut Avenue NW, even if it resulted in fewer on-street parking spots or altered traffic patterns?"

Matt Frumin and Paul Zukerberg would need more information about the lane's design before giving an opinion. Bonds, Redd and Mara are inclined to oppose it, worried about a loss of on-street parking. Silverman is inclined to support it. "If we are to promote cycling, we need to promote cycling on our major thoroughfares," she said.

Accommodating bicycling on Connecticut Avenue is a good idea, though I'm not aware of concrete plans to put a bike lane there right now or whether it would cost parking. Some bicycle infrastructure does supplant a small amount of parking, like on L and M Streets downtown, so the general thrust of the question is helpful.

Mara also did not provide any responses to the Let's Choose DC question on bicycling. Bonds did, but people who voted on the questions were generally unimpressed with her answer.

On the Post interview, all candidates agreed on relaxing the height limit in a few places outside the core. Everyone but Zukerberg thinks there should be more restaurants east of the Anacostia. Mara and Bonds appear the least supportive of legalizing marijuana.

On a possible NFL stadium on the RFK site, the Post asked if candidates would support a stadium if Dan Snyder would pay for it but wouldn't change his team's name. All but Mara opposed the idea:

Redd, Zukerberg, Bonds and Frumin all said no. Silverman would oppose it, saying the focus should be on redeveloping the area around RFK Stadium with new housing and retail. Mara hopes the Redskins change their name, but the matter would not dissuade him from supporting a new team-funded stadium.
On top of that, a stadium proposal very likely would not actually mean Snyder paid all of the cost; at the very least, DC would have to fund considerable infrastructure and site work. It'd be helpful to know if Mara (or any of them) would spend city dollars for a stadium, and how much.

These are just a few of the issues that matter to residents. Read the whole article.

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, Settles, Silverman rise to the top on public safety

It's a photo finish for the at-large DC Council candidates' visions for how to address crime. The voting at Let's Choose DC ended in a near-tie between Matt Frumin and John Settles, with Elissa Silverman a very close third.


Results for question 2, on education. Click for full infographic.

DC voters rated the responses of nine candidates to this question:

Chief Lanier and Mayor Gray have made a lot of the drop in homicides, but other crimesassaults, robberiesremain stubbornly high. How should DC police deal with those challenges, and do you have an opinion on how many officers MPD needs?
Let's Choose DC is presented by Greater Greater Washington, DCist, and PoPville and is open to all DC residents. Nine candidates provided responses. Five are still eligible for the April 23 ballot, while four have either dropped out of the race or did not file petitions by the deadline yesterday.

Mr. Frumin, Mr. Settles, and Ms. Silverman all had over 60% of participating voters rate their responses as persuasive or very persuasive. Mr. Frumin and Mr. Settles were almost perfectly tied; 65.43% of voters gave Mr. Frumin's response a positive rating, while 65.38% did so for Mr. Settles (62.63% did for Ms. Silverman).

Mr. Frumin also barely edged out Mr. Settles in percentage of voters rating his response "very persuasive," 20.2% to 19.9%. Ms. Silverman, meanwhile, got the highest proportion of votes for "very persuasive," 22.1%.

Three other candidatesAnita Bonds, Michael Brown, and Perry Redddid file petitions to appear on the ballot, but did not give us answers to the crime question.

Mr. Redd has, however, joined in starting with question 3, on education, and you can read his response and those of the other 5 participating candidates still in the race. That includes the answer from Paul Zukerberg, which we did not have when the answers went live on Tuesday because, frankly, I messed up; I accidentally mis-copied and pasted the candidates' email addresses, and never sent Mr. Zukerberg the question.

He kindly rushed an answer to us, so even if you have already voted, please consider reading and rating his answer so we can fairly weigh his answer in the results for that question, which will come out next week.

If you haven't yet voted on the education question, please start voting today! You can vote until midnight Monday, at which point we'll have responses to question 4, on the District's growth.

Politics


Standard voting creates strategic quandary for at-large race

I'd love to see Sekou Biddle, Patrick Mara, and Bryan Weaver all get seats on the DC Council. All three are smart and have generally good policy ideas. I'd vote for any of the three over at least half of the incumbents.


Photo by luisgomezphotos on Flickr.

Unfortunately, only one can win on April 26. Or, very possibly, none of these will. For the many residents who'd prefer one of several candidates over Vincent Orange, this election is going to either force some deep strategic voting, or result in a winner who's low on the ranked list for many voters.

Biddle was endorsed by 8 members of the DC Council, environmental and progressive groups, and a few of the better unions. Orange has most of the unions including the teachers. Weaver is strong in youth groups and students, and Mara has the police, the Washington Post and, of course, the DC GOP.

Biddle (chat transcript) has a great grasp of policy and it's probably unfair that he's been tarnished by his association with Kwame Brown. He got pigeonholed as the insider candidate, but if elected to the Council he would have his own ideas. He understands urbanism and often rides the bus or his bicycle, and knows better than most how to fix education and would make an ideal chair for an education committee.

Mara (chat transcript) has been absolutely clear on his beliefs from the start, which is commendable. I strongly agree with some of them, like transit and bicycling, and disagree with others, like taxes. He would absolutely push against corruption in the Council and the DC government, as David Catania does. As for being a Republican, if he simply pretended to be an independent or Democrat, as so many do, he wouldn't seem out of place at all; since both oppose a tax increase, there aren't really many policy differences between Mara and Biddle, for instance.

Weaver (chat transcript) gets relatively little attention because most of the press thinks he's probably not going to win, which becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. That's too bad. He had by far the most insightful answers to questions on our chat and masterfully analyzes and describes issues around youth, crime, gentrification and much more. He also has the best video ads. If he doesn't win I hope he'll write lots more articles for Greater Greater Washington and other outlets conveying his wisdom. And he's for the tax increase, which the Post hates but I think it the right policy.

Orange (chat transcript) doesn't seem to stand for much. He's aggressively pushed big box development but insists he's a big supporter of local retail corridors. He said he's for increasing the height limit but has given strong support to groups neighbors fighting any growth at campuses. He was against marriage equality before he was for it. He won't support a tax increase in the budget, but he hasn't endorsed any cuts.

Basically, Orange has avoided explaining how he would make any tradeoffs at all, which has made it hard for anyone to concretely explain why they oppose him but isn't a good sign that he'd be a principled councilmember. Many of his colleagues have slipped out of some of the same policy tradeoffs; several oppose taxes but haven't detailed cuts to compensate, and most were somewhat equivocal on campus plans. Orange, though, has tried to play both sides of virtually every issue much more than any of the others.

Lopez (chat transcript) has a lot of promise, which is what everyone says. He needs more experience with the issues before being on the Council, but this race is only the beginning for Lopez.

Alan Page, Dorothy Douglas, Tom Brown and Arkan Haile don't deserve to be totally ignored, but that's what's happening nonetheless.

Whom to vote for? A recent poll showed Orange with strong leads among registered voters, though in a special election most registered voters don't vote. Whoever can turn out the biggest base will win, and it's not clear who that could be. Orange is already busing seniors to early voting, so he's a strong contender.

For those of us who would put any of the top-tier candidates above Orange, it's a quandary. Basically, if Orange really is going to probably be one of the top two vote-getters, I want to vote for whomever is the other one of the top two. But it's not clear whom that is.

Either Instant Runoff Voting, where people rank choices, or Approval Voting, where people simply can vote for more than one, would work well in this case. If we had Approval Voting, I'd vote for Biddle, Mara and Weaver; if IRV, I'd probably rank Weaver first, then the other two, followed by Lopez and maybe some of the other ignored candidates.

Unfortunately, that's not the system we have. Ironically, the current Council has been uninterested in voting reform largely because of fears it might weaken the Democratic Party's dominance; in this case, the current system could well mean that the one man they least want to work with could end up becoming their colleague.

Who do you want to see elected? Take the IRV-based poll below by ranking one or more of your choices, from your favorite candidate 1st down to as many as you want. Here's more about how it works.

Politics


Live chat with Patrick Mara

Welcome to our live chat with Patrick Mara, a DC-style Republican and candidate for the at-large Council seat in the special election April 26th.

 Live chat with Patrick Mara(02/02/2011) 
12:57
David Alpert: 
Welcome to our live chat. Pat Mara will be with us in just a few minutes.
Wednesday February 2, 2011 12:57 David Alpert
12:57
David Alpert: 
In the meantime, please submit your questions. We'll try to ask as many as we can, and questions entered early have an advantage!
Wednesday February 2, 2011 12:57 David Alpert
1:03
David Alpert: 
Pat has now joined us. Welcome!
Wednesday February 2, 2011 1:03 David Alpert
1:04
Patrick Mara: 
Thanks David! Hello everyone. I'm looking forward to this.
Wednesday February 2, 2011 1:04 Patrick Mara
1:04
David Alpert: 
A number of people are curious about your membership in the Republican Party, given that it's relatively rare in DC. Why are you a Republican, and on the flip side, how are your views different than the typical Congressional Republican?
Wednesday February 2, 2011 1:04 David Alpert
1:06
Patrick Mara: 
I'm the first Republican in my family, so I did not become a Republican because of my parents or a relative.
Wednesday February 2, 2011 1:06 Patrick Mara
1:06
Patrick Mara: 
Rhode Island is overwehlmingly Democratic. Of course DC is 75% registered Dem.
Wednesday February 2, 2011 1:06 Patrick Mara
1:07
Patrick Mara: 
I realized at a young age the benefits of divided government. Rhode Island only had six GOP members of the state legislature. This caused a serious case of group think. It is often compared to Louisianna in terms of corruption and transparency.
Wednesday February 2, 2011 1:07 Patrick Mara
1:09
Patrick Mara: 
I also prefer to incentivize good behavior rather than penalize. For example, I prefer tax credits to tax increases. Take the solar program that's really taken off in Mt. Pleasant and other areas. I'd rather encourage good behavior.
Wednesday February 2, 2011 1:09 Patrick Mara
1:09
Patrick Mara: 
I'm also a big believer in Federalism. So, when I go up to the Hill to tell Republicans to leave us alone, it actually means something.
Wednesday February 2, 2011 1:09 Patrick Mara
1:10
Patrick Mara: 
I got my start in DC working for Senator Chafee on the Environment and Public Works Committee. I'm a fiscally responsible, socially progressive Republican.
Wednesday February 2, 2011 1:10 Patrick Mara
1:11
Patrick Mara: 
DC is a very unique place to live and the people of DC should be able to govern themselves the way they see fit.
Wednesday February 2, 2011 1:11 Patrick Mara
1:12
Patrick Mara: 
For example, I'm a big supporter of Marriage Equality for District residents.
Wednesday February 2, 2011 1:12 Patrick Mara
1:13
Patrick Mara: 
I will always do what is in the best interest of the people of DC. I believe Marriage Equality is in the best interest of all District residents. In 2009 there were two days of hearings on Marriage Equality. Over 200 people testified either for or against.
Wednesday February 2, 2011 1:13 Patrick Mara
1:13
Patrick Mara: 
I testified before the DC Council as an unequivocal supporter of marriage equality in the District. Oddly, and I checked, not one of my 15+ opponents took the time to testify.
Wednesday February 2, 2011 1:13 Patrick Mara
1:14
Patrick Mara: 
Going back a year, I came out in favor of marriage equality in a Republican primary against Mrs. Schwartz who was on record as saying she would not vote for it. Honestly, it was a pretty big risk, but I prevailed.
Wednesday February 2, 2011 1:14 Patrick Mara
1:14
Patrick Mara: 
Most importantly, last year I met with over a dozen Republican Members of Congress and Senators with a basic message: Leave us alone. I did this as a citizen, not as an elected official.
Wednesday February 2, 2011 1:14 Patrick Mara
1:15
Patrick Mara: 
I met with the most conservative to the most progressive Republicans.
Wednesday February 2, 2011 1:15 Patrick Mara
1:16
David Alpert: 
Speaking of that topic, Jeff was interested in the possibility of a local Republican dealing with Congressional Republicans:
Wednesday February 2, 2011 1:16 David Alpert
1:16
[Comment From JeffJeff: ] 
Do you think having a Republican back on the DC Council could stave off some of the attacks against Home Rule that we are now facing from Republican members of Congress? If elected, local Republicans would certainly have more clout. What can DC residents expect from the local party chapter in defensive of our sovereignty?
Wednesday February 2, 2011 1:16 Jeff
1:17
Patrick Mara: 
Great question Jeff. As I mentioned, I'm the only one who has been meeting with Republicans. We simply do not engage Republicans on the Hill.
Wednesday February 2, 2011 1:17 Patrick Mara
1:17
Patrick Mara: 
If I am an elected member of the Council, I will engage Republican members of Congress like we've never engaged them before. Our local strategy is reactionary. We engage Republicans it seems only when something goes wrong.
Wednesday February 2, 2011 1:17 Patrick Mara
1:18
Patrick Mara: 
As an elected member of the DC Council, I will commit to meet with, on average, one Republican member of congress or Senator each week for the remainder of my term.
Wednesday February 2, 2011 1:18 Patrick Mara
1:18
Patrick Mara: 
That is a minimum of 86 GOP members by the end of 2012. Think about it.
Wednesday February 2, 2011 1:18 Patrick Mara
1:19
Patrick Mara: 
Right now nobody can show me a spreadsheet that depicts where each GOP member of Congress/Senator stands on just about any of our local issues.
Wednesday February 2, 2011 1:19 Patrick Mara
1:20
Patrick Mara: 
Where does each member stand on Statehood, full representation, a vote in the House, amendment to the constitution, retrocession, territorial status or modifying our federal tax status? Autonomy? Nobody knows.
Wednesday February 2, 2011 1:20 Patrick Mara
1:20
Patrick Mara: 
We haven't asked many of them. Further, we need to ask for GAO studies on each of these areas.
Wednesday February 2, 2011 1:20 Patrick Mara
1:21
Patrick Mara: 
Credible intellectual ammunition from the GAO goes a long way with members and Senators.
Wednesday February 2, 2011 1:21 Patrick Mara
1:22
Patrick Mara: 
Some would argue, why are we asking for studies on an action we might not want? Well, we need to know the arguments for and against each option. If we don't want retrocession, what happens if GAO prepares a report tomorrow - at the request of a member - and we remain unprepared?
Wednesday February 2, 2011 1:22 Patrick Mara
1:22
Patrick Mara: 
So, let's get ourselves some credible intellectual ammunition and, if elected, I will meet with at least 86 GOP members and produce transparent results as to where at least 86 Republicans stand on our local issues.
Wednesday February 2, 2011 1:22 Patrick Mara
1:23
Patrick Mara: 
We definitely need to do more than make great speeches. The Federalism argument and engagement will put us in a far better position than where we are in today.
Wednesday February 2, 2011 1:23 Patrick Mara
1:27
David Alpert: 
Thanks. Let's talk about a few other issues. First, Martin asked Sekou Biddle, your former colleague on the State Board of Education, about "the IMPACT teacher assessment tool ... Good, bad, worth keeping, worth improving upon?" What do you think?
Wednesday February 2, 2011 1:27 David Alpert
1:28
Patrick Mara: 
IMPACT is a cornerstone of the Rhee Legacy. I'm concerned with any talk of rolling back IMPACT.
Wednesday February 2, 2011 1:28 Patrick Mara
1:28
Patrick Mara: 
Where we need to improve IMPACT primarily lies with professional development and how we provide teachers with structured plans for improvement.
Wednesday February 2, 2011 1:28 Patrick Mara
1:29
Patrick Mara: 
I've spoken with hundreds of teachers about IMPACT in a very concentrated period of time and the greatest concerns among teachers lie with those who are deemed "Minimally Effective" and "Effective."
Wednesday February 2, 2011 1:29 Patrick Mara
1:30
Patrick Mara: 
Let me step back.
Wednesday February 2, 2011 1:30 Patrick Mara
1:30
Patrick Mara: 
IMPACT breaks teachers down into four categories: Highly Effective, Effective, Minimally Effective and Ineffective.
Wednesday February 2, 2011 1:30 Patrick Mara
1:31
Patrick Mara: 
HE's are granted $3K to $25K bonuses. IE's are asked to leave, but can be hired at other schools.
Wednesday February 2, 2011 1:31 Patrick Mara
1:31
Patrick Mara: 
Most teachers and all principals I've spoken with will tell you that IE's should be asked to leave.
Wednesday February 2, 2011 1:31 Patrick Mara
1:32
Patrick Mara: 
Studies have shown that two years in a row of a bad teacher is a very bad thing.
Wednesday February 2, 2011 1:32 Patrick Mara
1:34
Patrick Mara: 
You will be truant, you will drop out, you will get pregnant, you will go to jail. Each or all of those is more likely to happen to a student if they have two years of bad teaching. Ineffectives (IE's): we don't need.
Wednesday February 2, 2011 1:34 Patrick Mara
1:35
Patrick Mara: 
We must remove bad teachers. The greatest concern for teachers should lie in the three other categories.
Wednesday February 2, 2011 1:35 Patrick Mara
1:35
Patrick Mara: 
Right now it is clear that teachers need more direction as to how they can improve their performance.
Wednesday February 2, 2011 1:35 Patrick Mara
1:36
Patrick Mara: 
We need to figure out how principals or another administrator can provide teachers with structured plans for improvement.
Wednesday February 2, 2011 1:36 Patrick Mara
1:37
Patrick Mara: 
You can't do better if nobody tells you what they are looking for.
Wednesday February 2, 2011 1:37 Patrick Mara
1:37
Patrick Mara: 
Master Educators and Principals do this, but teachers need a better plan and help with improving.
Wednesday February 2, 2011 1:37 Patrick Mara
1:38
Patrick Mara: 
Certainly, professional development is another area DCPS can improve on as well.
Wednesday February 2, 2011 1:38 Patrick Mara
1:39
Patrick Mara: 
As DCPS gets better, PD will likely need to be among the most entrepreneurial segments of the DCPS central office.
Wednesday February 2, 2011 1:39 Patrick Mara
1:39
Patrick Mara: 
This is one of the many areas where good data is obviously important.
Wednesday February 2, 2011 1:39 Patrick Mara
1:42
[Comment From EricEric: ] 
Is DC economically competitive with surrounding jurisdictions? If not, what would you do to change that?
Wednesday February 2, 2011 1:42 Eric
1:44
Patrick Mara: 
No we are not. For starters, most indexes and small business comparisons put us below or way below Maryland and Virginia.
Wednesday February 2, 2011 1:44 Patrick Mara
1:45
Patrick Mara: 
Obviously, we can loop much of this back to education. We need more workforce development programs like the ones I see at Carlos Rosario Public Charter School.
Wednesday February 2, 2011 1:45 Patrick Mara
1:46
Patrick Mara: 
Carlos Rosario worked with the employer community to determine necessary skill sets in the next 2, 5 and 10 years.
Wednesday February 2, 2011 1:46 Patrick Mara
1:47
Patrick Mara: 
They have three workforce development programs: computer technician, culinary and nursing. They have a virtually 100% employment rate.
Wednesday February 2, 2011 1:47 Patrick Mara
1:48
Patrick Mara: 
I would like to say lots more, but there are several other education pieces. Also, a tax comparison chart of DC with MD and VA is eye opening. We arebeating some folks in real estate and property, but not other areas.
Wednesday February 2, 2011 1:48 Patrick Mara
1:49
Patrick Mara: 
Everyone here knows, the importance of smart growth too. There are many reasons that I don't have time to list as to why Tysons is our population center.
Wednesday February 2, 2011 1:49 Patrick Mara
1:49
[Comment From GuestGuest: ] 
What's your position on TANF expiration (ie. Barry's '5-year' proposal)?
Wednesday February 2, 2011 1:49 Guest
1:50
Patrick Mara: 
In DC we create some pretty major dependencies. I look no further than Bill Clinton and Cory Booker for guidance on this.
Wednesday February 2, 2011 1:50 Patrick Mara
1:51
Patrick Mara: 
Yes, I agree with the expiration.
Wednesday February 2, 2011 1:51 Patrick Mara
1:52
[Comment From DouglasDouglas: ] 
Are you an advocate for more public transportation in the city and do you personally use mass transit?
Wednesday February 2, 2011 1:52 Douglas
1:53
Patrick Mara: 
That was a softball.
Wednesday February 2, 2011 1:53 Patrick Mara
1:53
Patrick Mara: 
I live on 11th Street between Kenyon and Lamont . There's been quite a transformation to my Columbia Heights neighborhood over the last seven years.
Wednesday February 2, 2011 1:53 Patrick Mara
1:54
Patrick Mara: 
I've got the 64 bus right outside my window, the CH metro and circulator a few blocks away, some great bike lanes, Bikeshare at 11th and Kenyon as well as 11th and park, and no car worries.
Wednesday February 2, 2011 1:54 Patrick Mara
1:54
Patrick Mara: 
I do not own a car, so for me, the work of GGW is a way of life. Other neighborhoods in the city, particularly those with higher population densities, deserve similar options.
Wednesday February 2, 2011 1:54 Patrick Mara
1:55
Patrick Mara: 
When something isn't working in metro, bus, circulator, etc., I feel the pain. I've got no other options.
Wednesday February 2, 2011 1:55 Patrick Mara
1:56
[Comment From BrandonBrandon: ] 
Three questions: What infrastructure investments do you see as the most important in D.C. right now? What are your views on the contentious Height Act? What are your thoughts on increasing taxes on vacant property owners?
Wednesday February 2, 2011 1:56 Brandon
1:56
David Alpert: 
Maybe a quick answer on each of the 3?
Wednesday February 2, 2011 1:56 David Alpert
1:56
Patrick Mara: 
OK
Wednesday February 2, 2011 1:56 Patrick Mara
1:56
Patrick Mara: 
Speed round
Wednesday February 2, 2011 1:56 Patrick Mara
1:56
David Alpert: 
Exactly :)
Wednesday February 2, 2011 1:56 David Alpert
1:57
Patrick Mara: 
I support streetcars :)
Wednesday February 2, 2011 1:57 Patrick Mara
1:58
Patrick Mara: 
Uncertain on Height Act. I certainly understand the need for increasing population density.
Wednesday February 2, 2011 1:58 Patrick Mara
1:59
Patrick Mara: 
I lived next to 11 Heroine addicts squating in a vacant property next to me for 2 years. This was a major problem for me and my neighbors.
Wednesday February 2, 2011 1:59 Patrick Mara
2:00
Patrick Mara: 
I will draw a clear line on not raising taxes. Raising any tax condones the reckless spending of the past. Everybody on the Council knew these tough economic times were around the corner but we continued on with bloated budgets.
Wednesday February 2, 2011 2:00 Patrick Mara
2:00
Patrick Mara: 
I prefer fines.
Wednesday February 2, 2011 2:00 Patrick Mara
2:01
[Comment From GuestGuest: ] 
In your mind, how does DC reconcile the fact that the majority of workers in DC don't pay taxes to DC, but rather to VA or MD? Or do we just live with it and move on?
Wednesday February 2, 2011 2:01 Guest
2:01
Patrick Mara: 
It bothers me. Some of this loops back to our relationship with Congress as well as the Home Rule Charter.
Wednesday February 2, 2011 2:01 Patrick Mara
2:02
Patrick Mara: 
I do believe we should consider reducing the District Government workforce.
Wednesday February 2, 2011 2:02 Patrick Mara
2:03
Patrick Mara: 
Also, due to budget constraints - massive budget constraints, everyone making over 100K should take a 10% cut. This includes Council Members and their staffs.
Wednesday February 2, 2011 2:03 Patrick Mara
2:03
[Comment From David GarberDavid Garber: ] 
What are your feelings on DC Statehood? As long as well keep a federal district around congress, the mall, and the white house, this seems like the most sustainable way to give DC a voice.
Wednesday February 2, 2011 2:03 David Garber
2:06
Patrick Mara: 
I support Statehood, but it's pretty hard to do when two Dem Senators from MD and two Dem Senators from Virginia would oppose us. We need to get serious on engaging Republicans on anything. As I mentioned before, we need to see where we really stand with GOP members. Dems oppose us on Statehood...it never even came up in Mayor Gray's conversation with President Obama. Let's see what we can do to actually advance the ball. As I said before, I'll meet with 86 GOP members that we've never even said hi to.
Wednesday February 2, 2011 2:06 Patrick Mara
2:06
[Comment From JeffJeff: ] 
Besides continuing education reform, what is driving you to enter the race? Where else do you hope to have the biggest impact on our city? What Council Committees do you hope to serve on and why?
Wednesday February 2, 2011 2:06 Jeff
2:07
Patrick Mara: 
The three big areas: education reform
Wednesday February 2, 2011 2:07 Patrick Mara
2:07
Patrick Mara: 
Fiscal - I will dedicate one staffer to focus solely on spending, taxes and, probably most importantly, transparency.
Wednesday February 2, 2011 2:07 Patrick Mara
2:09
Patrick Mara: 
The third is: I'm not a member of the club. I never will be. I will be able to buck the tide when needed. I went against the Republican Party previously when I ran against Mrs. Schwartz and in a sense I'm running against the local Democratic Party now.
Wednesday February 2, 2011 2:09 Patrick Mara
2:09
Patrick Mara: 
No one party should have a monopoly on ideas and solutions.
Wednesday February 2, 2011 2:09 Patrick Mara
2:10
David Alpert: 
Thanks. One final question about the mechanics of the election:
Wednesday February 2, 2011 2:10 David Alpert
2:10
Patrick Mara: 
Washington, DC, has a serious case of group think and it's not working for us.
Wednesday February 2, 2011 2:10 Patrick Mara
2:10
[Comment From GuestGuest: ] 
Pat, if you win, you will force the city to hold another special election--at about $250K. How does that fit with your notion of being fiscally conservative?
Wednesday February 2, 2011 2:10 Guest
2:10
Patrick Mara: 
This election is a very special circumstance.
Wednesday February 2, 2011 2:10 Patrick Mara
2:11
Patrick Mara: 
I decided to run for the SBOE in November 2008. I recognized SBOE was my best shot to maximize my abilities to help with one of DC's two biggest challenges (education).
Wednesday February 2, 2011 2:11 Patrick Mara
2:12
Patrick Mara: 
Now I've got a laundry list of things I would reduce.
Wednesday February 2, 2011 2:12 Patrick Mara
2:12
Patrick Mara: 
We cannot go on spending the way we do. I will go well beyond 250K in any reductions I advocate for.
Wednesday February 2, 2011 2:12 Patrick Mara
2:13
Patrick Mara: 
Further, this never came up in the past. As I mentioned in an email publication, Gray, Fenty and Kwame Brown all created special elections.
Wednesday February 2, 2011 2:13 Patrick Mara
2:14
Patrick Mara: 
Democracy should not have a price.
Wednesday February 2, 2011 2:14 Patrick Mara
2:17
David Alpert: 
We're over our time, so thanks so much for joining us! There was so much interesting material and many great questions.
Wednesday February 2, 2011 2:17 David Alpert
2:18
Patrick Mara: 
Thank you David and everyone at GGW for this opportunity. I hope you consider voting for me on April 26th. If you have additional questions, I can be reached directly at patrick@patrickmara.com. I will have a comprehensive issues overview at www.PatrickMara.com , but am currently in the process of redoing the site. My phone number is 202-986-3735, but email is best - especially when riding the 64. Thanks again, Patrick
Wednesday February 2, 2011 2:18 Patrick Mara
2:19
David Alpert: 
Thanks so much. And you can hear more from Patrick tomorrow evening at the candidate forum, 6:30 pm (doors at 6) at 441 4th Street (One Judiciary Square), room 1107.
Wednesday February 2, 2011 2:19 David Alpert
2:20
David Alpert: 
We'll also have more live chats including one with Joshua Lopez next week. Stay tuned for details.
Wednesday February 2, 2011 2:20 David Alpert
2:20
David Alpert: 
Finally, please continue the conversation in the comments. What did you think of Patrick's opinions? What would you like to know more about? Did this make you more or less likely to vote for him?
Wednesday February 2, 2011 2:20 David Alpert
2:20
 

 
 
 

Politics


At-large forum Thursday, plus Weaver and Mara live chats

The DC for Democracy, Greater Greater Washington, and DC Environmental Network at-large candidate forum has been rescheduled for this Thursday. Meanwhile, Bryan Weaver and Patrick Mara will join us for live chats Tuesday and Wednesday.


Patrick Mara and Bryan Weaver after a cupcake-eating contest. Photo by squidpants on Flickr.

The forum is February 3, again at 441 4th Street (One Judiciary Square), south lobby, room 1107. Doors open at 6:00 and the event will start at 6:30.

Several candidates wouldn't have been able to attend for the original date, such as Patrick Mara who understandable had to attend the State Board of Education monthly meeting. This time, all invited candidates are confirmed: Sekou Biddle
Joshua Lopez, Patrick Mara, Stanley Mayes, Vincent Orange, Alan Page, Jacque Patterson, and Bryan Weaver.

Bryan Weaver will join us tomorrow at 1 pm for a live chat, and then we'll host Mara on Wednesday, again at 1 pm. Please leave questions you'd like to ask in the comments. Are there questions from our chat with Sekou Biddle that you also want to hear answered by Weaver or Mara?

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