By Nancy Jane Moore
The District of Columbia primary election is Tuesday, September 12. It's the key election -- whoever wins the Democratic primary will be elected in November. Here are my endorsements:
For Mayor: Adrian Fenty. I've already praised Fenty's stand against the meaningless "crime emergency" bill and deplored his main opponent's descent into name-calling. I also like Fenty's energy and openness to new ideas. And I've also seen a definite improvement in city services in Ward 4 -- where I live -- since he took over as our council member.
Fenty has also been endorsed by The Washington Post, the City Paper, the Examiner, the Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington Action Fund (I got an email from them), and former Mayor Marion Barry, along with a number of other organizations. That's a pretty wide base of support.
For Chair of the City Council: Kathy Patterson. What has really impressed me about Patterson has been her willingness to take strong stands, particularly in dealing with the police. She was particularly critical of police excesses dealing with political demonstrations -- an important issue, since DC gets major demonstrations on a regular basis. She's good on environmental issues as well. She didn't get The Post endorsement, but the City Paper and Examiner both support her.
For At-Large Council Member: Phil Mendelson. Mendelson's noted for his lack of charisma, but he's also one of those people who always asks hard questions and fights for good services for citizens, particularly those basic things we all need, such as firefighting and ambulance service. We need his voice on the council. He's collected endorsements from the City Paper and the Examiner and -- weakly -- from The Post.
For nonvoting Delegate to Congress: Eleanor Holmes Norton. Norton does a good job of representing DC in an impossible job. She has an opponent, but this race is unlikely to be close.
I shall pass on endorsements in the open council seats in the different wards, except to observe that Ward 1 Council Member Jim Graham deserves to be reelected. I don't know enough about the candidates in the other wards -- none are incumbents -- to express an opinion. However, the City Paper endorsements by Loose Lips columnist Jim Jones provide a good guide.
Since the "shadow" U.S. senator and representative positions are a joke, I don't intend to waste my time voting in those races. We need real activists fighting for our right to a vote in Congress, not sham elections for people who just want to get their names in the paper.
By the way, there will be two at-large seats on the ballot in the general election. Due to an odd DC law, one of those seats must go to someone who is not a member of the majority political party. That would open the door for candidates from the Republicans or the Statehood-Green Party, except for one thing: The incumbent, David Catania, is running as an independent, and he'll be a shoo-in, along with whoever gets the Democratic nomination, in November.
Catania used to be a Republican -- an openly gay, pretty liberal Republican -- but he gave up on the party after a few years of G.W. Bush. He's another one of our attack-dog council members.
So if you're registered as a Democrat, get out and vote in the primary. That's when all the key races will be decided. It doesn't matter much whether you vote in the other parties' primaries -- their candidates aren't in play this year.