I promised a grading system of the candidates in my last post and I am here to deliver. First off I still encourage you all to attend the next unforum that the law school is holding, but I do find it kind of funny that now we (as in UDC undergrads) are getting email blasts and invitations to the events. Second, I want to let you know that these grades are mainly (and just a little at their form of outreach to the community) based on the reaction that I received trying to get the mayoral candidates to attend a forum here at UDC, and are only partially based on the candidates themselves, so take it all with a grain of salt. Let the fun begin.
Carlos Allen: F
First of all, I really didn’t think this was a serious campaign. I mean, to his credit, his issues page seems really thought out and full of well intentions, but I received zero response from Mr. Allen or anyone in his camp. The lack of response caught me off guard since you would think the majority of the long shot candidates would be dying for any sort of outreach. You would especially think that the one candidate who has the cajones to park giant tourbus with “no limit” font decals all over it outside of Park at 14th nightclub would be especially focused on the youth vote. Nothing. Nada. No answer. I still really don’t believe that it’s a real campaign, so I would be inclined to just drop him from my grading system, but he is still siphoning off votes that could possible go to a real candidate all just for instagram likes and campaign coffer shine, so yea F for wasting all of our time.
Reta Lewis: A
What can I say. I like Reta Lewis. Her team always held a direct line of contact with me, kept me update if they needed to reschedule a visit, overall they seem very well coordinated and happy to reach out to anyone who wants to listen to her issues, which aren’t that bad. Reta was also the only candidate who appeared at a very well attended a forum for the needs of disabled persons, which as a father of an autistic child, rings near and dear to me. The bad news is, this was never going to be Reta Lewis’ race to win. Perhaps if she ran for the at-large councilmember position this race or maybe looks into being the next Ward 6 councilmember (I believe that is her home ward), then maybe she could get the needed exposure that he team was so willing to get. She has a solid resume and I really hope that if she is passionate about local politics, that she give a lower race a try next time.
Jack Evans: D-
What can I say about the #candidate that hasn’t been said about Crimea in the last few days. Unlike with Carlos Allen, I had more than just an info@candidate to go to, and an actual phone number, but I got no response from him or his team. They seem to be content to just plaster red signs all over wards 1,2,3,4, and parts of 6 (ok and a little birdy told me there is one near the Brentwood Giant), and not actually reaching out to the public. Maybe if his team was having less nerd-frat pizza parties at the 14th st NW office coming up with a new thing to put in a hashtag on their signs, (come on, I know you’ve seen the #jobs #ethics #etc signs all over that offer little in the way of information), and actually did some leg work I would view him as more than a “serious-ish” candidate. He was also really boring to watch at the second installation of the UnForum. Giving more of a sum of his work towards the LGBT community and his business first approach (which doesn’t turn me off, but give me some more substance especially in a forum that’s supposed to be about inequality). Mr Evans never even mentioned the University he was visiting the Law School of even bringing up a plan for higher education. As a side note, he was also just a really dry speaker. I try to let issues speak for themselves when deciding who I should vote for, and let things like demeanor and entertainment value play second to substance, but even after a rockstar I found myself falling asleep during his portion of the unforum. I do know that he was also on the list of Jeffery Thompson cash recipients and don’t know how that bodes for #ethics, but it doesn’t help him to shed the image of a Mayor Quimby all business no matter the cost type. The only reason he didn’t get an F is because he showed up to the event at the law school, attracted enough grey hairs to not make the room empty, and I’m told is actually trying to get the job.
I was actually really impressed by Councilmember Orange when he came to the unforum. Easily the most entertaining of all the candidates I’ve met in person, Mr. Orange is very good at staying on message, and runs a well-oiled machine. He gets points taken off for making me jump through a few hoops in order to get in touch with his people, and for making it easier to find the parody of his web page than the actual thing (though this has been corrected recently with a new google ad). Even after they mentioned that they would not be able to attend the function that I was planning, they still kept in contact to try to come up with a different time to have him stop by and speak to our students. Also, by “well-oiled machine” I mean anywhere Mr. Orange goes, so does his entourage of signs, sign handlers, camera men, and community members to vouch. Dude knows the game, just needs a little help with a web presence. He kept the boring moderator on task and was quick to move any questioning about Jeffery Thompson’s money (to be fair VO is easily the second highest receiver of this funds, behind the Mayor), and rope-a-dope back to the topic at hand of inequality. He really is beyond eloquent, but can still speak the language of the people, a communication skill that I feel is necessary in order to be a serious politician. He earns his biggest points for actually being the first candidate to chastise publicly what is going on at UDC. Orange was upset with the Mayor for not finding the funding for our athletic scholarships amidst a budget surplus, but even more angry about the programs being cut at the university. At first I assumed that it was all political lip service to the right crowd, but a quick look at his own website shows that it really is a key component of his platform. A brief look at his resume shows that he was once an auditor at UDC (you’ll have to settle for this citation because fuck a pay wall, Henderson, Nell (August 5, 1992). “D.C. Fuel Supplier Is Accused: Official Says Firm Got $1 Million for Phantom Deliveries”. The Washington Post. p. A1.) , found corruption, and was subsequently fired. Like myself, Mr. Orange understands that one of the best methods of becoming upwardly mobile, is to have access to affordable education, which is the mission of UDC. I just personally have reservations about Mr. Orange with the current corruption issues going on, although he was quick to point out that currently his record is clean and that he isn’t guilty of playing any game that most of the other candidates are playing. To hear him spin it yourself is like a graduate program in PR in one conversation, and now I do wonder if the media has been fair with him, I just can’t see myself voting for him in this race though. I would definitely consider another shot at at-large though or maybe in the future when the clouds of corruption clear.
Muriel Bowser: D, with the possibility of moving to a C or an F based on performance this Sunday.
Yo dawg I heard you like blogs, so I put a blog in your blog inside of a blog. Honestly I still stand by what I wrote, which in short means I still have no clue what she stands for. She seems like any other politician, who is only interested in gaining power and has no real passion or substance. Maybe I will be dazzled if she comes to the UnForum with her A game, but I just don’t see it. Hopefully having a (allegedly) loud lackey that attends the school will clue her into the problems that UDC is facing, but when asked if she would attend an event here, she personally mentioned to me the event this Sunday but never responded to anything else. I got so fed up with the non-response that at the suggestion of peer, just texted the number for her campaign manager. I did get a response to that, but it was “we’ll contact you”, they never did. So not only do I view her as catering to her own interests, but I don’t even view her as doing that well.
Andy Shallal: C-
Yea for most of my opinion on him you really can just read my past posts. Although with the recent breaks with the Thompson plea, there is a sense of his campaign thinking “oh shit what if I actually win this.” Personally I agree with a lot of his stances on certain issues, I just still don’t see him as a real candidate. Maybe it’s because his campaign manager talks to parody twitter accounts, or maybe its how she also stopped me from speaking to him and then didn’t respond when she said she would, but you can tell a lot about a person by the people they choose to have around them. I had recently decided that I wouldn’t go to his restaurant in order to not fund his campaign by proxy, but a very convincing person worked their magic on me to get me there. I was surprised to find the candidate’s mouth piece said he was too busy on the day I had for my event holding a small staff meeting on that same night. So not only did he not mention the school, his people tried to brush us off, and then flat out lied about being able to attend. Thanks. You have to respect his business acumen, as the place was decent if that’s your scene, and maybe some sort of business consultant position in the administration of any mayor would be better suited for him, but I don’t see this as his race either.
I really wish I had more time to write about him. I admire him for standing up to the federal government during the shutdown, and running a very tight campaign that he is still by all means leading. I also think that Chuck Thies is a pretty skilled tactician, although his response to the Mayor losing the Northwest Current‘s endorsement was a little weak. The city has been ran efficiently to say the least, and how much of that was due to previous administrations is up for discussion, but I can’t ignore the fact that the cuts at UDC are happening under his watch. I give him credit for even responding to me via a twitter DM, and then pointing me in the right direction until I could reach Chuck, who was very helpful in scheduling suggestions when it was clear that the Mayor couldn’t make it. I can’t fault a sitting Mayor for being too busy too much, but the point still stands that he has to earn our votes, not just expect them. I also believe that given the District’s legal status, we need a mayor who can seem flawless in the eyes of an opposition Congress and the rest of the federal government, and the current line of allegations against the Mayor do not help my confidence in him. I also don’t like the idea of having another costly special election should he get indicted after winning. If the allegations are true, I think it would be in the best interest of DC if he just steps aside gracefully. Don’t get me wrong, I like the idea that he has drive and would do anything to accomplish his goals, a key trait in effective executive leadership, but given how until statehood is reached that we have to rely on the federal government, I think the appearance of clean leadership is important. Maybe he can sway my opinion of him on Sunday, but I just don’t know if another term is right for the city.
Tommy Wells: A-
To be fair, I went into this race supporting Mr. Wells. Having lived in Trinidad for nearly 4 years and seeing the progress in the ward just to my south while frequenting many of the businesses of H st, I was an early believer in the “Liveable/Walkable City” that Tommy has planned for the future of DC. He also seems to the most progressive of the candidates, even with Andy in the race. With the level of corruption allegations surfacing, it’s nice to know that there is a candidate who made not taking corporate contributions a hallmark of his campaign. Being able to get the endorsement of both the DC Police Union AND the non-profit seeking to legalize marijuana takes the right kind of politician, and the endorsements keep coming during this time where there is clearly a new life within his campaign. My only complaints with his race is how it’s been ran. Quick to get the support of the twitterati and those that have an interest in city politics or live within his ward, the staff almost seem to concede land that I believe they could build more support in. Anyone that lives or walks around wards 1,2, and 3 will see 20x as many Evans posters than Wells ones. When I asked those in Ward 3 about Mr. Wells, a good portion of them had never even heard his name. Maybe some Gray-like teeth would help to drum up more support and non-internet based outreach would help. His staff were quick to respond and keep updated as to if they would be able to attend any event that we were having, and that was appreciated, even if Mark Segraves didn’t give him the opportunity to discuss the university more during his trip to the law school. I hope they can get the right level of support before April 1st.
There you have it. My grades for a grade. Take it as you will, but just be sure to vote.