The 2014 Mayor’s Race Improper Question and Several Endorsements

Before I begin my analysis and express my personal endorsement in the D.C. mayoral race, I have to take care of some other matters. At the recent WAMU mayoral debate, hosted with typical charm and elegant restraint by Kojo Nnamdi, one of the panelists seriously marred the event by a question that was totally irrelevant, improper and alien to the political discourse we cherish in America.

Panelist Tom Sherwood addressed his comment to all three mayoral candidates. He remarked that he had noticed that none of them had listed where they attended religious services. (This is a paraphrase.) Maybe Sherwood needs to be reminded that in this country we have separation of church and state.

In 1960, John F. Kennedy memorably said that no one who runs for president should be judged by their religion. To bring up this subject is absolutely outrageous and poisonous to the political process. The three candidates should have refused to answer the question.

Moving on to other topics: there are several contests for political office, which D.C. voters will have to make a choice.

For the first time, D.C. will have an elected attorney general. This election itself would not have taken place at all, if it were not for one individual. That individual is Paul Zuckerberg. He enhanced Home Rule by taking on the District Council and the entire political establishment by personally going to court and making sure that voters would get a vote on this office. Zuckerberg is experienced, feisty and funny. But most of all he is qualified.

We have two positions to vote on for At-Large Councilmember. One of them should go to Elissa Silverman. She is smart and sassy. Extremely well informed and a fighter for those who usually don’t have a champion, she is truly independent, un-bought and un-bossed.

Now, let’s turn to the main event.
Carol Schwartz is well known and well liked. She has served the city dutifully in the past, but I do not see the rationale for her candidacy. Many people have said that she’s doing this because she craves the attention. Her campaign talks about what she’s done, not what she is going to do.

Let me not mince words. The election of David Catania would be a catastrophe. His entire career is motivated by ego. His overriding concern is his own political advancement — devoid of principle. His temperament alone disqualifies him for this high office. There are countless examples of his behavior being ugly and abusive (even from former staff members — read the Oct. 13 Washington Post profile of him).

Being mayor requires working with people you disagree with and finding common ground. Catania is only interested in scoring points, not making progress. He is not progressive in any sense, and when he doesn’t get his way he becomes petulant and toxic. Is this what we want for our next mayor?

I sincerely wish I could summon up some degree of enthusiasm for Muriel Bowser. But I will be voting for her under the “do-no-harm” concept. She is knowledgeable and interested in the operation of government (unlike her former mentor Adrian Fenty). She is a Democrat and is of this place. Muriel Bowser was nominated because she was not Vince Gray. She will be elected because she is not David Catania. I sincerely hope she can grow in office and has the capacity to pick good and able people to serve with her.

This is Mark Plotkin’s final column about the mayor’s race for the Georgetowner. He is a political analyst and contributor to BBC on American politics.

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