Greater Greater Washington

Posts about Paul Zukerberg

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.

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