I will vote for Patrick Mara

Photo by Patrick Mara
At-large D.C. Council candidate Patrick Mara
At-large D.C. Council candidate Patrick Mara

Daily dramas involving cupcake wars and royal wedding dresses notwithstanding, some truths persist. Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts -- you know the line.

Recently, the District government has been rocked by scandal, ranging from "fully-loaded" SUVs paid for by taxpayers, to test score tampering, to troubling conflict-of-interest issues on boards and commissions that make critical decisions affecting our communities. This follows a previous mayoral administration defined by action laced with arrogance, an almost criminal disregard of community voices, and troubling misconduct reaching to the Attorney General's office and above.

The District government is in desperate need of fresh thinking. While all the major candidates for the D.C. Council at-large election to be decided Tuesday are qualified, gracious, and equipped for leadership positions in local government, only one candidate has the independence to offer a counterweight to the District's crippling one-party state.

Statehood? No taxation without representation? Seriously, folks. How about reaching for respectability.

Former Mayor Anthony Williams articulated it well, quoting his father. It does little good to demand respect, he said. We must command it. That starts with vigorous oversight, serious self-policing of wrongdoing, and a commitment to honest debate and checks and balances.

Therefore, in a departure from the editorial board of The Georgetown Dish, which will not make an official endorsement, I will vote -- and urge readers to get to the polls -- for Republican Patrick Mara.

As noted by The Washington Post, which endorsed him, Mara is not an extreme right-winger. He supports same-sex marriage and D.C. voting rights. Perhaps of equal importance, Mara understands that we need to advocate more effectively on behalf of the District in the offices of Republicans who will continue to play a significant role in national politics, influencing our local affairs.

There is no getting around it. We simply must speak rationally and reasonably to members of Congress in a language they understand. To continue the current stand-off -- no matter how flaky our Congressional overseers might be -- is deeply self-destructive. Patrick Mara can make important progress in this area.

But the District needs a strong counterbalance to the dominant ideology for more fundamental reasons. As noble as Democratic ideals are, too much of a good thing is toxic. In the case of the District, our one-party rule has led to de facto cronyism, fiscal irresponsibility at times, and an atrophied set of ideas that isn't adequate to meet the complex challenges we face.

Councilmember David Catania set the precedent of principled Republicanism that has played a critical role in oversight, accountability, and fairness at City Hall. While he has drifted from his GOP roots, Catania has raised the standard of our government and the quality of our city. We need more of this.

Mara knows the District, he has worked as a tutor in our public schools and served on the State Board of Education. No stranger to Capitol Hill, he started his career as a U.S. Senate staffer. Mara lives in Columbia Heights, far enough east to understand the hardships many District residents face.

But taking on the dominant political party is an uphill climb. All the more reason -- for more accountability in our government, for a better balance of ideas and solutions to our challenges, and to raise the quality of our ongoing relationship with Congress -- vote for Patrick Mara Tuesday.

0 Comments For This Article

Anonymous

I couldn't agree more with your position. It is right on point. As a long time resident of the District I have to laugh at the notion of Statehood. While I believe ultimately it is the right thing, what have we done to earn that right. We continuously embarrass ourselves. The recent election of Mayor Grey is a throwback to the Marion Barry days. We again are being laughed at by outsiders. Mara seems like a step forward.

Peter Rosenstein

In typical fashion of those who try to justify Patrick Mara as an Independent voice Beth Solomon conveniently forgets that Mara is a Republican who has endorsed his party's candidates and continues to do so. That is not Independent. That is an endorsement of the party that opposes marriage-equality, opposes choice, took away the DC Delegates voice and vote in the Committee of the Whole and in general wants to interfere in every way in the District's business.

Solomon says David Catania drifted from his party. No, David Catania repudiated his Party- that is Independence.

The statement that, "There is no getting around it. We simply must speak rationally and reasonably to members of Congress in a language they understand. To continue the current stand-off -- no matter how flaky our Congressional overseers might be -- is deeply self-destructive. Patrick Mara can make important progress in this area" is nonsense. Patrick Mara has no more influence on those in the leadership of the Republican Party than anyone else in the District at the moment. He actually supports them.

What is deeply self-destructive is not speaking up in anyway that can get us heard around the nation by constituents in other states who we hope can influence their elected leaders. That is why civil-disobedience has been used for centuries. It is effective in getting people to listen and see you. It is why it was effective for Dan Choi to handcuff himself to the White House gate in the fight to repeal DADT and why it was effective for the civil rights movement and the fight for independence in Egypt. Talking nicely to those who want to oppress you doesn't do it and the more people recognize that the better off we will be. We elected a Republican, Carol Schwartz who for years told us she was changing the party and it was a good reason to elect her. Well she had zero influence on the Party. We elected David Catania as a Republican and to his credit he realized he had no influence on his Party and left it.

Whatever reason you may have for electing Mara please don't fool yourself that he will have one iota of influence on the leadership of the Republican Party.

Vote and make your choices on the basis of the history of what the candidates have done in their lives, for the District and its people and their platforms and proposals for the future.

John A. Boffa

I commend The Georgetown Dish for endorsing Patrick Mara. It's unfortunate that some who write here have such toxic feelings toward Republicans. It is the Republicans who have had the courage to recognize how deeply serious our $14 trillion national debt is. And they are leading the effort to reduce the debt. Read The Washington Post today. A front page story headlined "The dollar, no longer almighty" details how much weaker the dollar has become largely because of the mammouth debt we are carrying. Even Warren Buffett is betting against the dollar.

I believe, on the local level, Patrick Mara would like to see fiscal discipline restored to city government. The current city council, all Democrats, do not understand fiscal discipline. They have been on a spending spree that hurts all taxpayers.

Mr. Mara understands that many district voters are more liberal, particularly in their views on social issues. And on those issues, he has demonstrated he can think independently.

I will vote for Patrick Mara without hesitation.

Eric Woods

Pretty good argument you make, Beth, for your vote for Mara. This election comes down to two people -- Weaver or Mara -- who have the best chance to shake the Council out of its comfort zone and its funk. I wish we could throw out the entire Council and get fresh insights and deeper thinking at the elected official level. You said it well with: "In the case of the District, our one-party rule has led to de facto cronyism, fiscal irresponsibility at times, and an atrophied set of ideas that isn't adequate to meet the complex challenges we face." At times, only Weaver and Mara have appeared believable as to whether they could withstand the pressure to conform to Council methods.

It is unfortunate that the District's system of government possesses merely one legislative body. Voters here are not afforded the opportunity in a second body to decide if someone is truly independent in both words and actions or has the backbone to remain true to his/her word. Dual legislative chambers are what DC citizens ought to be fighting for to bring balance, sanity, fiscal responsibility, oversight, different perspectives, and 21st century vision to the legislative role for raising the quality of life for all residents. Not statehood at this moment. But one At-large Councilmember is a beginning.

Tacki Maralago

I find it funny Pete avoids any critique of DC Democrats on City Council or The State Committee who delivered Sekou Biddle after telling Vincent Orange to take a hike. One party rule stinks like a rotten cesspool which is what the Democratic Party has created at the Wilson Building. Just look at the character of the Council Chairman and the Mayor: The Democrats are lucky there is currently no DC Attorney General. The Chairman of DC Boards and Commissions needs his head examined.

I'm almost embarrassed to tell people at work I live in The District of Columbia.

Beth Solomon

Dear neighbor Eric, thanks for writing. Let's make sure our friends and neighbors vote Tuesday. That is the only way, as you know, to make the change we need. Love to all the Woods'. Those little ones need us to vote more than anyone.