Georgetown caught in Council candidate crossfire

Photo by The Georgetown Dish
Vincent Orange addresses Georgetowners at the home of Jim Wilcox
Vincent Orange addresses Georgetowners at the home of Jim Wilcox

Georgetown is humming with politics as the hotly-contested at-large candidate race counts down to decision day -- next Tuesday's election on April 26. At the Georgetown Business Association's launch of a new social media channel Wednesday at L2, candidates Josh Lopez, Patrick Mara and Vincent Orange took the stage in front of 200 residents and business owners, making their case to the energized, pro-business crowd.

GBA Board Member Kathy Darling with At-large candidate Josh Lopez (Photo by: The Georgetown Dish) GBA Board Member Kathy Darling with At-large candidate Josh Lopez
Mara spoke out against widespread ethics problems as well as new taxes on businesses. The crowd responded with warmth and cheers for the candidate endorsed by The Washington Post.

On P Street the night before, Orange sat in the living room of supporter and GBA Board Member Jim Wilcox, announcing to neighbors that he would join residents in fighting the Georgetown University Campus Plan by testifying before the D.C. Zoning Commission. Orange would join Councilmember Mary Cheh at the witness table in that community-supporting role.

Ward 6 Councilmember Tommy Wells greets the standing-room-only crowd at the forum (Photo by: The Georgetown Dish) Ward 6 Councilmember Tommy Wells greets the standing-room-only crowd at the forum
At a candidate forum in Ward 6 a few nights earlier, Bryan Weaver said he would support the creation of an Ethics Commission headed by Alice Rivlin to tackle the District's widespread ethics problems. "I'm 100 percent for that," said the up-and-coming city leader.

Sekou Biddle gathered with supporters including Cheh at the home of filmmaker Aviva Kempner off Connecticut Ave. Saturday. "My postman said, whoever's sign is in my yard, that's who will win," said the award-winning documentarian who produced the unforgettable "The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg" and "Yoo hoo, Mrs. Goldberg."

One doesn't bet against Aviva lightly. But the race, by all accounts, is still very much in up in the air.

Sekou Biddle and Bryan Weaver toast each other at Tunnicliff's after the last forum (Photo by: The Georgetown Dish) Sekou Biddle and Bryan Weaver toast each other at Tunnicliff's after the last forum

Filmmaker Aviva Kempner with Beth Solomon and Sekou Biddle (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Filmmaker Aviva Kempner with Beth Solomon and Sekou Biddle

 

 

0 Comments For This Article

Peter Rosenstein

I know all politics is local and often personal. There are personal beliefs and tenets that we vote on and a line in the sand that many of us draw.

And it that personal part which makes it difficult for me to understand why any progressive person would vote for Vincent Orange who only a few years ago said in essence that no gay person should be able to run any part of City government. I know he has since changed his tune but I can't help but believe those views aren't really changed but rather changed for political expediency. He has lost his last elections so badly that he figured he would try to appeal to a broader audience.

And my problem with supporting Republican Patrick Mara this time around, although I have supported him in the past, is that one there is a better candidate this time, and second he still supports the Republican leadership in Congress and the platform of his party which is anti-gay and anti-District of Columbia. I know Patrick personally isn't either of those things but maybe someday he will realize as others have that the leadership of the party he belongs too doesn't support us and he will speak out against them and their platform. Should Patrick win I will continue to do what I have in the past and that is try to convince him to leave a party that is now so regressive that it would take away the right of poor women in the District to choose, take away marriage-equality in the District if it could, take away the right of the District to govern itself and give $100 million to parochial schools as the voucher program they just foisted on us does.

A voucher program that in essence is a transfer of funds to religious institutions whether it was set up to do it or not. 90% of the children in the voucher program go to religous schools who are exempt, as they should be, from the City's Human Rights Act. That is what separation of church and state is about. It is why this voucher program is so incidious.

No candidate is perfect. No candidate will believe in everything you do or support every program or policy you support. But I think that the progressive people of the District will find, as I have, that the person closest to the set of principles that they support is Sekou Biddle. Sekou is a Democrat who supported Adrian Fenty and Michelle Rhee. He is a passionate school reformer who will make sure that we don't slide backwards in that area. He has served on the school board since 2007 and has a public record there. He ran a non-profit organzation and understands budgeting and more than that understands involving people in the decision making process. He has the support of most of the Councilmembers including Mary Cheh not because they owe him anything but because they know he will be an independent voice on the Council for ethics reform and will work to keep the Council honest and working for the people of the District not just their friends.

This will be a close election and mostly because the turnout will be so small. As an activist in the District I will work with whoever is elected. I have the chance to do that as I have no clients who get District funds and the non-profit I run has no connection to the District. I am not looking for a job in Government. I did that in my youth. So my political activism is based on wanting to see people elected who will serve honestly and openly and in all of our best interests. Like all of us I have been dissappointed before, but like so many of us,I consider voting a committment that we take seriously. So I look forward to the results on Tuesday and my real hope is that as many people as possible will take the time to vote in this important election.

Anonymous

Peter,

I read your comments with great interest. I must admit that I haven't been able to come to a conclusion on just who I would vote for, although I most certainly WILL vote.

It is troubling to read the comments you attribute to Vince Orange to the effect that no gay person should be able to run any part of city government. That is something I had not heard before and would appreciate it much if you could steer me to a source to document that comment. Like you, I figure any such change in position reflects less a change of heart than a realization of political realities.

Mara has some appeal, but as you state, he professes an allegiance to the Republican Party which has repeatedly trod on the rights of DC citizens. David Catania had the guts to walk away from the party because of their positions and it hasn't hurt him in the slightest.

I join you in encouraging all citizens to vote in this election.