Friday Question of the Day – Have You Thought About Who You’re Voting For Mayor Yet?

Photo by PoPville flickr user afagen

“Dear PoPville,

Who are you voting for and why? I’d love to hear people’s thoughts on Muriel Bowser v. David Catania. I’ve found it really difficult to determine their ‘platforms,’ and what issues they’ll make priorities if elected.”

I’d add – what are the biggest issues for you in deciding who’ll you vote for?

181 Comment

  • Muriel, not Mural?

  • If there’s a write-in option for Kermit the Frog…I refuse to pick between the lesser of two evils. No good option.

  • I’m going to vote for Catania because competence is important to me. And I don’t like corruption. Bowser just feels like old school pay to play.

  • Why are only half the candidates in this poll?

    • While one of em maybe be your close aunt or uncle, they really don’t matter in the grand scheme of things.

      • +1 If anything, Schwartz shouldn’t be included either. She’s got no prayer of winning, and her only role is as spoiler.

      • Actually your vote for Schwartz, Catania, or Bowser doesn’t matter — at all.

        If you vote for Bowser you are throwing away your vote, because she is almost certain to win.

        If you vote for Catania, he will lose, your vote will not build a new party, and he will take a private sector job and be gone.

        If you vote for Schwartz, she will lose, she will retire to Rehoboth Beach, and you will not move DC away from its one party rule.

        If you vote for me, you keep DC’s fastest growing political party, the Libertarian Party, on the ballot. And you signal that you want issues discussed that the other three are silent on — like why a charter school child only counts as 3/5ths of a person in DC, budgeted $17,000 per pupil while the traditional public school is budgeted $29,000 per pupil (money someone is obviously skimming away for something other than educating kids).

  • I simply cannot vote for Bowser. Her legislative record is pitiful – the centerpiesc, “Ethics Reform” is so toothless it would make former Va Governor McDonnell salivate. She speaks in empty slogans and platitudes – “Alice Deal for All” is one of the most meaningless, insulting and shallow “initiatives” I’ve ever heard. And her campaign strategy seems to be continue to speak in those platitudes, try not to piss anyone off, and rely on the fact that she’s the only serious African American candiudate in the race. She’s terrible.
    Plus, I kinda like Catania. I’m less bothered than some by his Republican roots – in municipal elections, I don’t think it matters too much.

    • 100% agree with your sentiments. I’m definitely voting Catania.

    • Agreed re: “Alice Deal for all,” but Catania hasn’t really wowed me, either. He strikes me as a bit of an opportunist, looking for places to best Bowser without necessarily having his own strong vision. I’ll probably vote for Catania, but think our options all are pretty awful. I’m still bummed out that Tommy Wells didn’t have a better showing in the primary.

      • Exactly how I feel too. Catania is less bad, but I’m not about to go out and volunteer for him. Wish Wells had a better showing.

  • I’m pretty much decided on the Mayor. But I need to do some research on the Council candidates. I’ve been seeing signs up around town and realizing that I’ve never heard of the people running for the at-large seats. So that will be my project in the upcoming weeks.

    • Vote for Elissa Silverman. She has a great mind for policy and has been actively involved in making DC better while Khalid Pitts and Eugene Puryear have never actually voted in a DC election before..

    • This is a super good point — the city council candidate choices are as important as the choice of mayor. I also need to do more research on those, and agree that Elissa Silverman seems very impressive.

  • We are voting for Catania. We live in Crestwood and Muriel Bowswer has done nothing for us. Every request for assistance falls on deaf ears. She has no record of legislative achievements or leadership despite more than a decade on the Council. If She is elected this City will go further down hill. Gray has left us with collapsing infrastructure, increased long term debt commitments for expenses that do not benefit taxpayers (such as public housing projects), no true improvement in schools, and most of all NO improvement in City services or response rates…..Bowswer will take us closer to Honduras. She is a turnip!

    • I’m hoping she wins, so Ward 4 can get a new councilmember.

      • I think she’d lose her council seat if she lost, no?

        • No — I think she’s only two years into her current term. (I think the councilmembers’ terms are all four years, but they’re staggered so that they’re not all up for election at the same time.)
          Tommy Wells would have been up for re-election this year as a councilmember, but he ran for mayor instead and lost. So he’s losing his seat, but Muriel Bowser will still be a councilmember even if she loses the mayoral race.

    • John,
      While I agree with you about Muriel, your comments about Gray are clueless. For all the back and forth about corruption, the City has actually been well managed. As for your comment on infrastructure, you are totally disconnected from reality. Just come over to Bloomingdale where he proposed and then executed on a plan to end our flooding issues once and for all. Look at the South Cap street bridge project. Look at the SE/SW freeway bridges. Look at all the new wonderful school buildings, Cardozo is a palace to education.

    • Renovated and new schools, renovated playgrounds , even bike lanes, clearly benefit many citizens — public projects under the Gray administration. Don’t know how you feel about the abounding charter school options, but many would view this — along with the renovations and new construction — as “true improvements” in schools. (Not that I’m suggesting that these are the only improvements in schools — but they might be the easiest for John to acknowledge.) Your comment suggests that you don’t view public housing as a benefit. Keep in mind that citizens is a large group — and the value of each citizen goes far and beyond their ability to pay taxes. If you scoff at this, look at the face of a child or an elder that you love and respect for a few moments. So while the improvements that I’ve noted may not have personally benefited you, if you genuinely feel that the Gray administration made few “improvements” then you’re not looking very hard.

  • Catania of course…

    Bowser is just such an intellectual lightweight its galling she is even allowed to run for the office. Her legislative record is non-existant and her positions read like a 4th graders campaign platform for class president.

    But I have to admit, it is entertaining to watch her try to beat on Catania’s record on educational reform in DC when she voted for EVERY SINGLE ONE of his more than a dozen bills. How many has she created? Zero.

  • Without a doubt, Catania.

  • I’m voting for Bowser. She’s probably our last chance at native Black Washingtonian representation in the Mayor’s office for a while.

    • Why is that more important than someone competent? And why do you think that there aren’t any other competent native Black Washingtonians in DC’s future?

      • Why should race be a factor? How about the best person who can do the job? And I am a minority…. not that that should matter… again!

      • I don’t think Bowser is incompetent. “Competence” for leadership and policy agenda setting roles is relative and subjective. In the business world I am in, White men get access to opportunities all the time not for their tactical “competence” or knowledge but for the intangibles they like to think they bring to the table– like “relationship building” and such. Intangibles often rooted in their white maleness. And when they get thrust into those roles the get access to gain tactical experience. In a changing Washington, I’m hoping her background will help her represent my interests and if my vote can help her gain that access, then so be it.

        • Ok, besides winning an election, what evidence do you have that she is competent?

          • Bowser is my councilwoman and she and her staff have repeatedly responded to requests from my household and my neighbors for attention to matters both large and small. I certainly haven’t had any complaints.

            I think “competence” is highly subjective and somewhat problematic to measure. Moreover as a woman I have repeatedly seen the phenomenon of men automatically being perceived as “more competent” than women, so in the particular situation of a woman v man I find the repeated return to that word as a differentiator to be…anthropologically interesting if nothing else 🙂

            I don’t really have a horse in this fight because I’m undecided and typically a minutia-driven issues voter. I just find it interesting.

          • Well, that’s interesting. You’re the first person on popville that seems to have complimented her office for constituent services.

        • I understand that people are consciously or unconsciously biased in exactly the ways you described. But have you heard him get into an issue? Have you heard her get into an issue? I think he is actually more competent, not just whiter and maler.

        • +1000 MarkQ

    • My understanding is that she is largely in favor of driving the poor out of DC proper as much (if not more so) than Catania. She seems to support building low-income housing outside of the city core (largely EOTR).

    • What an awful reason to vote for someone.

    • …and this is why Bowser will win. A majority will elect her simply b/c of her looks and her looks alone. Kind of like the poor Republicans in the south. They love Romney b/c he’s one of them, although he’s nothing like them.

      • Yup, and they’re the same people who don’t realize they’re actually voting for a candidate who will be detrimental to their economic bracket specifically. Fun times.

      • This sentiment is condescending to me (a Black urban “liberal”) and poor whites in the South. It’s why so-called progressives can’t compete in either environment.

        • how is it condescending when you described your own motivation being based on Bowser’s race

          • well, the comment seems to assumes to know what my “economic bracket” is and to know what my self interests are and that I am either too dumb, too emotional or too misinformed to act upon them “correctly.”

        • Mark, you said, “She’s probably our last chance at native Black Washingtonian representation in the Mayor’s office for a while.”
          And Los said, “A majority will elect her simply b/c of her looks and her looks alone.”
          It’s not condecension, it’s just repeating your own words back to you.

          • Um, those are not the same statements at all. One is an individual stating their personal voting preference. The other is someone using that statement as basis for making an unfounded, blanket statement about the voting preferences of an entire group of people.

        • PDleftMtP

          You said you were voting for her because she was a Black native Washingtonian. No one put those words in your mouth, and that was your whole reason.

      • What, exactly, are we basing this on? Is it just the comment above, or was there a poll where people have said they are voting for her because she is a black woman? How do you know they are not voting for her because they are Democrats? Because they are liberal? Because they think (wrongly imo) that she will make a good mayor?

      • I think poor southern republicans will vote red because many only vote on social issues, and are very religious and socially conservative. In the deep south there are racist undertones in many communities as well which likely played a part in the races vs Obama. Many socially conservative republicans are always just going to vote R, regardless of the candidates. I don’t know that you could say they necessarily loved Romney, they just voted not-Obama.

    • If you’re using race as your sole reason for voting for someone, you really shouldn’t be voting in the election. I’d never vote for someone simply because they were the “white” candidate.

      • But I’m sure that you’re aware that many people have and will. Or maybe you haven’t been looking at the fallout from the Obama elections very closely.

  • I was voting for Bowser, but am concerned that she is soft on crime. Petworth and Columbia Heights have seen a significant uptick lately and I haven’t heard her talk about increasing enforcement or developing a more proactive strategy. What’s happening now, isn’t working.

    • No she has a detailed plan for crime, as do Catania and Schwartz, which they clearly stated in their debate at American University, where they were in unison.. They plan to spend millions of DC tax dollars on legal fees making sure you absolutely do not have a gun, even if you are being stalked, have been gay bashed, have been raped, etc. etc., no matter what any court says, by continually disarming citizens with freshly rewritten defense prohibition regulations, each and every time the courts strike them down.

      This will greatly reduce the number of violent criminals being shot and wounded, or even just scared or deterred. Hence reducing crime against them.

      • Nice try trolling pretending to be the libertarian wacko. I give you bonus points for creativity, but take them away for picking on the guy who is under the underdog.

        • I’d be tempted to belittle you for cowardice and the fact that all you can do to further your dog in the race is engage in name calling. But I worry that you are actually one of the many victims of DC’s failed public schools, and not only have reading comprehension problems, you no longer even remember your own name.

          • Instead you’ll take the high road and… aww, that ship already sailed, huh?

            Good one about me not remembering my own name… that’s well… hmm. Hey, after your failed career in “politics”, maybe you can move on to a failed career in stand up comedy?

          • go to sleep Bruce Majors

  • While I too am curious about folks opinions on here, I can’t imagine that they’re representative of DC as a whole. To be honest, I think that as long as Bowser keeps her mouth shut on just about every single issue she’s probably going to win. Her campaign manager seems to agree, as she hasn’t come out with anything substantive, uhmm, ever?

    • binpetworth

      Sadly, I think you’re right. People like Bowser because she’s non-controversial. Catania’s aggressiveness turns some folks off who don’t realize that that’s how you get sh** done in this town. I am voting for Catania, but am feeling like Bowser is going to win. The only silver lining is that as a Ward 4 resident, we have a chance a getting a new (and possibly more effective) Council member if she does.

    • I am leaning Catania, largely based on my perception that Bowser does not seem very bright/smart/thoughtful.

      The criticisms that she is more of the same are lost on me really. I understand the perception and some evidence Vincent Gray is corrupt. But in terms of his time as Mayor, I’m not entirely sure I’ve seen anything I didn’t like or at least was neutral about. The city continues to see large scale development come in that is literally changing the face of it. Some I like, some I don’t. But I still think the net effect is positive for the city.

      At the end of the day, I do not see Bowser or Catania being remarkably different in that regard. I just think Catania seems more…effective. And I don’t think his Republican history, however much that might bother me in any other situation, is that big of a deal here. The City Council will always be heavily democratic. I’m not sure I care much otherwise.

      I’m still open to being convinced otherwise, but I’m not sure I can cast a vote for Bowser out of principle. She just seems a bit…weak, empty…something. I don’t know.

      • But should Gray get credit for that development? Or is it just the result of economic and demographic factors far outside his control?
        I moved to DC right about the time Gray took office, and to be honest I have a better picture of Fenty’s vision for the city than of Gray’s.

        • Well, I think one could argue he didn’t derail or stand in the way of, or hinder economic forces that were at work. Look, I liked Fenty for all his faults and hoped he would beat Gray. He didn’t and I hated Gray for it. And I think he’s probably corrupt. But there has not, in my view, been a lot of evidence his corruption has inhibited growth in DC.

          Whether one should or should not get credit for development, he certainly gets credit for not standing in its way. I’ve lived in DC since the 90s. I assure you, he might not get credit for all the good in this city, but there have been those before him who have done much to stall it. He hasn’t.

          That all said, my point was 1. I don’t think Gray was all that bad so the linking Bowser to Gray doesn’t impact my views on her and 2. I don’t really think she’d even as effective as Gray was, so again, the comparisons seem inapt.

          At the end of the day, she does not strike me as someone smart enough to figure out how to do anything important. Maybe with a good team around her, she could manage it, but no one has said, look at this thing she did that shows me she has leadership skills, intelligence, a plan, etc.

    • And hence either voting for her, or voting for Catania or Schwartz, who aren’t building an alternative institution to criticize our one party system, is just throwing away your vote, and is the most politically meaningless and impotent thing you can do.

  • Catania. I voted for Tommy Wells in the primary. I’ve wanted to like Bowser but she hasn’t done much to impress me. Meanwhile, I’ve looked into Catania’s record and have been impressed. I also got a chance to meet him at a neighborhood event where he thoughtfully and competently addressed some pretty tough questions.

  • Bowser has no record to speak of, and no real ideas for where she wants to take the city. Catania has a vision that I generally agree with.

    • A vision maybe, but no path toward making it happen. For example, he wants DC to be a tech hub… great. MD’s 270 corridor and Reston VA have spent more money on tech infrastructure than Silicon Valley. How is Catania going to get the money to make that happen????

      • Continue the tax incentives that Gray started? All you need is to make it friendly for start ups and businesses to flourish. Tech companies grow, and some of those in the suburbs would love the tax incentives and you college graduates DC can offer. Reston spent money building up, cause the whole city pretty much didn’t exist.

      • While I am skeptical of DC becoming any kind of tech hub, I don’t think money for that infrastructure is the problem. The District isn’t lacking in funds…

        And Cantania has a long list of policy ideas, while Bowswer has what? Anything of substance?

        • Well, I am a CIO and Catania is selling a pipe dream. By law, regulated industries cannot store redundant data in the district due to the patriot act. This alone deters tech companies from coming to the district. DC tech infrastructure needs major upgrading the way Reston has invested. Sure, we have fiber lines but they are only fiber from the street to the next hop termination point, meaning data speeds drastically reduce. Reston and MD’s 270 corridor eliminated this problem. He needs to have a plan, not just an idea.

      • Most of Catania’s 126 page booklet — the part that wasn’t 30 pages of photos or 40 pages of bullet points about laws he sponsored (with no metrics on whether they achieved any results) — was just promises to do things without any accounting of where he would get the money to fund them.

        I believe he believes most of what he says. I also believe he thinks he can finally be the central planner for DC who can make all its exploding agencies and failed programs work, because he is so much smarter and more sincere than his predecessors. I’m sure this conceit resonates with lots of DC peeps.

        Getting out of the way and letting “ordinary people” start their own schools or businesses without your direction, and using their own decentralized, on-the-ground, information, isn’t in their vision.

        We should equalize charter and public school (and voucher) funding so people can make their own choices. We should remove excessive professional and occupational licensure and give Wards 7 and 8 (at least) enterprise style tax free zones to create non-government/lobbying/lawyer jobs for the double digit unemployed east of the river.

  • While I love the fact that Catania is the winning in this poll, I think we can all agree it is not representative of how the remainder of DC will actually vote. Bowser is just going to be more of the same. The fact that she has so much support yet can’t seem to take a stance on anything is mind boggling. I’m really pulling for Catania but it is going to take a miracle to make up the ground.

  • I have personal experience with Bowser and she is not too bright. She only came out with her own “vision” document because she knew Catania was making her look bad when he actually took a stand on issues.

  • Washington HAS to get away from the old school pay to play politicians. The fact that the old machine is running someone as weak as Bowser shows that it’s in its last gasp. Doesn’t mean the people pining for the bad old days of high crime and no jobs won’t grasp at that straw, though.
    I just don’t understand why people so consistently vote against their own interests. You see it all over the country– people who rely on medicaid and food stamps voting for the candidate who vows to reduce funding for public assistance. And here in DC… a population with an unusually high unemployment rate will vote against the guy who might improve their kids’ chances at a marketable education and an eventual livelihood.

    • Because a lot of people seem to vote with their emotions, not their brains. That candidate who wants to cut public assistance? Well he’s a god-fearing family man, so I’m going to vote for him because he’s just like me (and I haven’t bothered to listen to all the other stuff he says). In DC, a black woman vs a white man? Please. It’s no contest simply because more people emotionally relate to Bowser even if is she is a complete dolt (and it’s my opinion she is).

    • The old machine was running Vince gray.

      I’m voting for Catania

    • Wow, a lot of the rhetoric in these comments is pretty offensive to potential Bowser voters of all races and income levels.

      We’re not all black btw, nor are we poor. And I’m certainly not pining for the days of high crime and no jobs. Having lived here for nearly 2 decades I know very well just how good things have gotten. Please tell me how voting for Bowser is against my own interests as a childless, high income white woman in Ward 4.

      • For you? Crime. Bowser is demonstrably uninterested in protecting the public from the criminal element, as seen in her inaction in the matter of the group home for violent youth near an elementary school, and in her stated opposition to criminal background checks for public employees. As a high income white woman, you stand out. As others have pointed out, her record is meager. But what’s there shows that you cannot count on Bowser to be interested in your safety.

        • In 15 years in DC I’ve never been the victim of a violent crime and I now feel substantially safer than I did even 5-6 years ago. I say that to demonstrate why crime isn’t a big “my personal interest” voting issue, though obviously I want crime to continue its downward trajectory because I do have neighbors (mostly young and black btw) who have been victims of violent crime and I don’t want that to happen to anyone even if it never happens to me.

          So if crime WERE my voting issue (and it doesn’t even make my top 10), I’m not sure I’d buy your argument. I’ve found her to be plenty concerned about crime in my neighborhood and responsive to the concerns of residents.

          • Neither have I (been a victim of crime), in 12 years here. And I want to keep it that way. Given how many of our neighbors are victimized, though, I don’t understand how crime in DC can be left off of a top ten list. Even top five. I can’t think of more than five mayoral voting issues, period. And you can come up with ten than are MORE important than crime?

          • “So if crime WERE my voting issue (and it doesn’t even make my top 10)”
            This is fascinating to me. If crime isn’t in your top 10 issues, can you tell me what those top 10 are?

          • To echo what dcd said, I’m not sure I could even list 10 voting issues at all, but certainly not 10 that don’t include crime. I’d be very interested to see that list as well.

          • Personally, I see crime as an issue that is better addressed by focusing on issues like education, affordable housing (that doesn’t amount to concentrating poverty in certain areas), decent-paying jobs, etc. Dealing with crime in isolation has never been a very effective strategy. Also, MPD isn’t perfect, but I don’t think any of the mayoral candidates will address those imperfections in very different ways.

        • “Bowser is demonstrably uninterested in protecting the public from the criminal element, as seen in her inaction in the matter of the group home for violent youth near an elementary school, and in her stated opposition to criminal background checks for public employees.”
          So basically you’re voting against her because you’re a NIMBY and don’t want to troubled children rehabilitated near other children in a thriving neighborhood? You’d rather banish them to a “ghetto” where you don’t have to look at them. You’re giving Catania voters a bad name and feeding into every stereotype that “Old DC” has of us newcomers, IMHO.

        • As far as I know, Bowser isn’t “opposed to criminal background checks for public employees”. She has, however, called for making the policies more flexible. Your generalization makes it sound like she opposes background checks across the board — rather than wanting to maintain employment opportunities for those with relatively minor felonies, unrelated to the job, that occurred in the past, for which penalties were paid. That’s what rehabilitation is all about.
          Keep in mind as well, that supportive interventions vs correctional ones could be doled out for the same behaviors — in ways that systematically differ for members of different demographic groups.

      • No one sais you’re all black, or all poor. Just misguided.

        • Since you asked for my top ten issues:

          1. Schools (really this could be like 1-3 if I were to break down constituent issues!)
          2. Transportation/transit
          3. Corruption/ethics
          4. poverty
          5. economic development
          6. modernized regulatory structure (DCRA effectiveness and reform), small business issues related to this specifically
          7. public space (parks, rec centers etc.)
          8. environment/infrastructure (Anacostia River, aging sewer system etc).
          9. housing (particularly as it relates to mental health, chronic illness, the elderly)
          10. youth services/opportunities/justice, it’s all messed up.

          Crime would probably be #11 or 12 (relationship with the Federal government has to come in there somewhere too!). I’d place it higher if I felt things weren’t moving in the right direction, but I think my bias of being a relatively “long-term” DC resident keeps me from ranking it any higher. I think those of us who lived through significantly worse eras vis a vis crime here may just come at it from a fundamentally different place than relative “newcomers.” I put those terms in quotes because I hate them, we are all DC residents after all! Obviously crime is linked to some of the issues I’ve ranked in the top ten–both in terms of increasingly vulnerability of already vulnerable populations and in terms of drivers of criminality.

    • Bad old days? Murder is down in DC. But is rape? Car theft? Gay bashing? Vandalism? Cell phone snatching? Bike theft?

      I think not.

  • I’m voting for Catania because he has a long, substantive record, and I generally agree with him on the issues. I’m not bothered by his reputation as a hot head because DC government could probably use someone who is not afraid to bust some heads. Bowser strikes me as a lightweight. This impression was not changed when she knocked on my door a few weeks ago, and as she listened to my concerns, she just kept nodding and repeating, “I get it.” Exactly what she was getting was not clear to me. She had the eye contact thing down though, I’ll give her that.
    This poll just shows how unrepresentative Popville is. I’m sorry to say that Bowser will probably win.

  • hispanicandproud

    Go Muriel!

    • What do you like about her?

      • Answer the question — or else be labeled a puppet!

        • hispanicandproud

          Lots. For starters she has worked to help improve the safety of metro, created protections for those who were about to lose their homes, is helping to stop bullying in schools, helping schools and can at least name a book that she likes unlike one of her opponents.

          And Shaw Guy, you don’t know me, so no need to label me. Stop the bullying.

          • You supplied a sincere answer — I totally respect you.

            (My point was trying to get at anybody who blindly supports without knowing why they support. They makes them a puppet — referring to campaign ad from yesterday).

  • I don’t want to be a person who doesn’t vote, but none of the candidates in this election are appealing to me. I’m so tired of the lesser of 2 evils choices we are given. As a nation we need a major overhaul of the electoral system with instant runoffs and proportional representation.

  • I’m dying to hear from the Schwartz supporters: what’s going through those heads of yours?

  • I am really surprised as to the number of undecided there are. Anyone that spends even a minimal amount of time reading / watching the news of their hometown over the past few years has to have a pretty clear view as to what kind of candidate these folks are. What possibly could you need to know that 30 minutes of reading some past news articles on them couldn’t tell y ou?

    • It’s likely that the “undecideds” are unhappy with both/ all of the candidates — but also committed to participating in the voting process — and hoping that something, preferably something positive — helps them decide how to use their votes. As to what they/we could possibly need to know — there are many who would have been happy with Gray’s policies, but learned something or feared something that made him an untenable candidate. So they’re left to choose between a lightweight and a hot head — who’s policies don’t seem to represent them well. It’s easy to be undecided when you’re stuck with choosing between the lesser or two or three less than compelling options.

      • +1 I pay very, very close attention to DC politics and marked myself “undecided” because I think all of the candidates are terrible. I’ll probably end up voting for Catania, but begrudgingly, knowing that whoever I pick will be a great disappointment.

      • +1
        I actually selected “won’t vote.” I’m definitely voting for the at-large seats, but I’m seriously considering just leaving the mayoral field blank. To say that I’m disappointed with the choices there is an understatement.

    • I think some folks just spend more time making decisions is all. As an undecided voter, it has nothing to do with not reading articles or not watching local news. I’ve spent time at the debates and am very much keeping up with this election. It’s awesome that you are set in your vote, and I very much wish that I was. It’s always great to have a strong desire to vote for someone. I just do not. Unfortunately, neither candidate is able to speak to me so strongly to make this decision easy. Am I leaning one way? Sure. Do I expect the candidates to drastically change and win my vote over the next few months? No, but that doesn’t mean I’m not going to spend as much time as possible weighing each option, each choice, and every issue that matters to me (which neither candidate has had successes in). For me, it’s not about needing to know more per say, it’s about settling and then being confident in my choice.

    • I’m in the undecided category, and this is the issue with which I’m honestly still grappling: Considered purely on his own merits, I think Catania is the better candidate. Smart and decisive with a solid record. But I think he’s a terrible politician. “Smarter than you and knows it” typically doesn’t win friends or elections. So I worry that he would be a redo of Fenty: starts strong, quickly develops a reputation for being autocratic and dismissive of parts of the electorate, indirectly leads to a backslide in the next mayoral election.

      Bowser strikes me as the epitome of inoffensiveness. As has been mentioned elsewhere in this thread, she’s great at appearances and messaging and can likely coast into office by playing it safe/quiet. Because there isn’t a great deal of disagreement on the issues, I can’t help but wonder if she would be more effective overall — fewer bold moves than a Catania mayoralty, but more actual accomplishment on smaller projects.

      I wouldn’t feel great about voting for Bowser based on that logic, but I really do wish that Catania was a little less smug.

      • Thanks for putting that so well. I feel like Catania is more of a loose cannon who might let his personal feelings interfere with his ability to make god choices or to respond when he doesn’t get what he wants. But Bowser just does not impress me as someone who can be a leader.
        I suppose the good news is that whoever is elected will benefit from the reflected glow from the influx of people and money into the district and will be able to take credit for many things that would have happened anyway if the city was just put on autopilot for the next 4 years. But I’d rather have had a choice of a candidate who could take charge and implement smart policy and growth.

      • PDleftMtP

        That’s fair, but I don’t see Bowser doing anything to upset the DC government machine. I think that’s probably worse, but I get that that’s not slam-dunk obvious.

  • I cannot vote for Bowser. Instead I plan on writing in Mario Bros.

  • Formerly Broken Jaw

    Catania. I think he has displayed more competence than Bowser on the City Council.

  • I think an equally important question is “Are you actually voting in November?” I think turnout for the primary was something like 22%, which is especially upsetting given that (at least historically) the primary basically -is- the mayoral election.

    • YES. Turnout is definitely important. I was very disappointed in a few of my friends who didn’t vote in the primary. Come on people!! It’s so easy to vote in the District too with early polling booths scattered throughout DC.

      • Well, as with the “undecideds”, with the primary, many people likely felt lukewarm, at best, about all of the candidates. Not that this is the only reason for poor turnout, but it’s likely a significant one. If people don’t feel strongly about having a candidate that reflects their interests, it’s easy to see why some wouldn’t bother. This hardly represents my personal viewpoint, but standing in line to vote for the best of what I might regard as a bad lot is pretty disheartening. And I say this as someone who fully recognizes the sacrifices and struggles that many went through to secure my right to vote.

        • FWIW, I’m voting even though I consider all of the candidates to be mediocre. But voting isn’t where my participation in this discussion starts or ends. It’s just one (important) piece of the process.

          Also, voting in this city is SO EASY. The polling places are all near homes, they open early and close late, and I’ve never waited in line more than 20 minutes. People, please vote!

        • Unfortunately in the case of my friends, it was just not paying attention to the election and being cluless about local politics. Pretty sad considering nearly all of them work in government (albeit at the federal level). If they had told me, “Yeah, I just don’t like any of the candidates” I would have been a little more understanding.

          • Meh. Most of the young people working for the federal government are transplants who know they won’t be here in 10 years. DC is a way point in the Game of Life.

      • Are all of your non-primary-voting friends registered Democrats?

    • I didn’t vote in the primary because I’m not a registered democrat. I wish DC had open primaries.

  • If the enthusiasm gap is as large as it seems (i.e., Catania folks are fervent, Bowser folks are luke warm), then Catania has a real shot if he has the operation to get out the vote.

  • ThunderCheese

    Faith 4 Mayor

  • Vote Puryear for the council!

  • I’ve never voted Republican, and even former Republicans give me pause. And I always appreciate a chance to support female politicians. But I don’t give my support blindly, either, and the more I hear about Bowser, the less impressed I am. Catania definitely strikes me as the better candidate.

    • PDleftMtP

      It’s important to distinguish local Republicans from the national party, especially in areas like this. I’ve never voted for a Republican for Senator or President. I’ve voted for local Republicans and ex-Republicans a number of times, but in places like Minnesota, Connecticut, Ann Arbor, and DC, not Alabama and Idaho. The truly moderate, socially liberal Republican may be nearly extinct nationally, but not locally, and it’s not just good for increasing local choice but good nationally if reasonable people continue to recognize that when it’s true.

      • Excellent points! I’ve wondered what happened to intelligent, educated, competent, reasonable, principled politicians on both sides — but particularly Republicans — where opposing candidates agreed pretty much on the issues and problems, but had different approaches to solving them. Thanks for making the point that locally, the moderate, socially liberal, fiscally conservative politicians are out there — albeit on a local level.

      • Completely agree. Moderate republicans make good politicians. It’s just impossible to be a moderate on the national stage.

  • It’s a shame that saying a lot of words that don’t mean anything will probably win over saying a few choice words that get directly to the point.

    I’ve worked for both types of bosses. The hot head got things done. Sure, we didn’t hang out after work, but we worked hard while we were there and I felt great about what I accomplished during my tenure. The boss who sat on his a– and didn’t get anything done, frustrated me to no end and I ending up quitting because I no longer wanted to be a part of his team.

    If you want someone who will make a difference, please vote Catania.

  • #AnybodyButBowser

  • Georgia Ave Street car has turned me into a single issue voter.

  • My primary concern is who will do the most to slow the growth of housing costs. Doesn’t matter how many great things a candidate promises to do for the city if I can’t afford to live here by the time their term is through.

    • So who do you think would do that?

    • +100

      So, based on that, who do you think is the better candidate?

      • Haven’t figured that out yet.

        • For what it’s worth, most people who know the local economy and housing market well are predicting that rents will not keep going up the way they have the past few years. In fact, they may even go down a bit. Tons of units are coming on the market, and the pace of people moving to D.C. has slackened a bit with improvement of the U.S. economy as whole. If I were struggling with cost of living issues, I would be more worried about food prices than anything.

          • The problem with all the new units coming online is that none of them target the working poor (okay, maybe a miniscule percentage). So sure, increased supply may decrease the rate of rent inflation, but it’s not likely to do much to help those making <60% of AMI. To be fair, I don't see either Catania or Bowser doing much about this problem.

          • Older smaller multi-units along with group houses provided some of the more affordable rentals, because they often have laundry rooms, no central air, and are missing other amenities that mean they have to offer discounts. I lived in such a small mult-unit my first year in DC and a group house my second.

            Rent control has led many of their owners to sell them to condo developers. And the financial pressure caused by the height limit leads them to be most valuable as tear downs to be replaced by 10 story buildings, since you need to consume 5 times as many of them as you would if someone could simply build a 50 story building instead.

  • Voting Catania because he is the most competent of the two. I do think, however, that Bowser will surround herself with competent people and the city will do just fine no matter who wins. That’s good because she’s almost a lock to win.

  • For some reason, I can’t help but picture Catania as Littlefinger from GoT.

  • I will vote, but will probably just leave the Mayor portion of the ballot blank. Both of the credible candidates are awful, depressing choices.
    Bowser is a total empty suit. I don’t think she has the leadership qualities to be mayor, and I really don’t like the way she responds to tough questions: by shutting down, making vague blanket statements (“we’re going to do all of the things that make all of the problems better!”), and sometimes even by giving off a “how dare you question me?” vibe. I’m not buying the “she’ll surround herself with competent people” argument. Not after George W. Bush. And not after riding Metro.
    I cannot vote for Catania based on the education issue alone. Authorizing an unlimited number of charter schools and allowing them to dump lower-performing students back into DCPS is not going to result in a strong system of free schools in this city. Not happy with Bowser’s non-committal approach to education either, but even the status quo would be better than what would likely happen under Catania.

  • I want to learn something about the AG candidates. I feel woefully unprepared to vote in that race.

    Anyone have any good resources or thoughts? Will there be an AG debate?

    • I believe there will be an AG forum on October 7th, but I don’t have the details. Also, the City Paper is sponsoring a forum at the Rock and Roll Hotel on Monday, September 29th. I’m not sure how I’ll vote, but I think Lorie Masters and Edward “Smitty” Smith are strong candidates who would be good. I want to hear from them at a forum.

    • There is an AG debate and a mayoral debate, both with all candidates on the ballot, at the Sixth and I Synagogue Sunday September 28th at noon, probably already sold out.

  • I’ll vote for Catania because he’ll move the DC gov away from it’s current status as corrupt, inefficient, and third-world. Bowser represents the status quo that we need to leave behind. Who cares that he’s an Independent. Substance matters, not party. Bowser is banking on mindless sheep who vote Democrat even if the Democratic candidate is inferior.

  • A vote for Schwartz is a vote for Bowser.

    Her candidacy would be a joke if it weren’t so revealing how deeply spiteful and narcissistic she is.

  • I’m going to vote for Bowser. I’ve found her to be smart and engaged. I don;t live in her ward, but I’ve received prompt replies to the two emails I’ve sent to her office. I think she’ll be a fine mayor.

    On the other hand, I can’t get past the fact that Catania thought it was acceptable to work as a $240K a year vice president of corporate strategy for one of DC’s largest contractors while also serving as a councilman. That shows either a lack of judgement or a lack of ethics to me, and either one is disqualifying. Apparently he agrees with me that the optics are unsettling, because he quit right before he started to run for mayor. Nice timing. The fact that he was a major fundraiser for George W Bush, right up until the point that Bush supported the gay marriage amendment is unsettling as well.

    Also, the people talking about Bowser as more of the same, or a continuation of Vince Gray are simply uninformed. Bowser was Fenty’s protégé. She and Gray despise each other. Whether you like her or not, trying to link her to Gray is laughable.

    • The problem when people find her smart is that she’s really not. I’m serious. I’m not trying to be rude or judgmental. I’ve been to our Ward meetings when she’s (finally) shown up.. She defers the “hard” questions. She speaks in circles. She has one standard answer that she believes covers all subjects. I’ve literally never heard a structured plan or idea come out of her mouth.
      The Bowser the other wards know is the rehearsed Bowser. The one prepared with blanket platitudes. The one ready for the quote. Also, anyone who feels she’ll bring “smart” people with her into office, clearly hasn’t ever dealt with her current staff of circus clowns who can’t even juggle. But they sure can pack themselves into that car.

  • For me it comes down to smart planning. The economic development in DC is going to continue regardless of who is elected, and for reasons that they have no control over.
    So who is going to best manage that growth? Who will hire people like Harriet Tregoning and Gabe Klein to manage planning for the city? Who’s going to make difficult decisions that will improve the quality of our schools (hint: this is mostly not about money spent directly on the schools). Who’s going to make MPD stop wringing their hands about not being able to do anything in crime hotspots? That’s who I’d like to vote for, and unfortunately I don’t see anyone like that on the ballot.

    • Great comment. And I think it suggests that the mayor is only one of several races to follow. As @Maire pointed out above, the city council candidates are also work researching. The ANC reps too, if yours is up for reelection and actual has a viable challengers.

  • Muriel has political paralysis. Her office is one of the worst in the city. They do not respond to emails and fail to address serious concerns for safety in her own Ward. She pushes out her chest with a sense of pride because she is a multigenerational Washingtonian. However, that is nothing to brag about. Any politician that makes that claim automatically loses my support. That is racial code speech for, “I am one of you”.

    • Have you ever considered the possibility that it’s non- racial code speak for ” I have deep roots and a commitment to the city … Unlike the folks who grew up in other places and came to DC for power and cash”?

  • I’ve heard that Catania wants to send authority back to the DC School Board versus keep it in the Mayor’s Office. Anyone know more or if that’s true?

    If so, I won’t be able to vote for him. As much as I don’t like Bowser… the DC School Board is the definition of “mess” and schools and crime are my only issues as the mom of two little ones. I really really really want to stay in DC forever!!!

  • Wait – I’m from a Purple State. There’s no way I’m amending my driver’s license until after the Nov election. My homeland needs me! I’m trusting all of you to vote wisely for the rest of us…. Thanks!

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