DC Voter's Guide: At-Large Council, Budget Autonomy Charter Amendment

10:45 AM, Apr 22, 2013   |    comments
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WASHINGTON, DC (WUSA9)-On Tuesday, April 23 residents of the District of Columbia will be voting for an At-Large Council seat and a DC Charter Amendment on budget autonomy.

The polls will be open 7am-8pm.

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The 6 candidates vying for the At-Large seat are trying to fill the seat vacated when Phil Mendelson (democratic) became council chairman.

Please note, there used to be 7 candidates, but Michael Brown withdrew from the race on April 2nd; however, his name still remains on the ballot.


Matthew Frumin (Democratic)
He is an international trade attorney and is a Ward 3 Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner and longtime education activist. In the 1990's he was a fundraiser for former president Bill Clinton. He also served as Special Assistant to the Undersecretary of State for Global Affairs during the Clinton administration from 1998-2000. Frumin was active in the Wilson High School modernization project and serves on Mayor Gray's task force studying whether city power lines should be buried. He says his primary reason for entering the race was his concern over education issues in the city--primarily the differing educations young people are getting throughout the city.

Website: http://www.matthewfrumin.com/


Perry Redd (Statehood Green)
He is a native Washingtonian from Southwest, D.C.  According to the bio on his webpage Redd is an author and community activist.  Quoting from his website, after a stint in the U.S. Army he, "....Floundered for some years between unemployment and low-wage jobs. Finding little prospect for upward mobility, Perry migrated to the south in 1990.

"Landing in Knoxville, Tennessee, Perry undertook a number of pursuits, from radio DJ personality, TV show host, Pentacostal church pastor to fortune 500 employee, including his life's vocation as a warehouseman. Perry's journey also included battles with substance abuse and eventually, two years of incarceration from 1996 to 1998." 

Subsequently, Redd says he co-founded the Sincere Seven, a workers' rights advocacy group.

Website: http://redd4council.nationbuilder.com/


Elissa Silverman (Democratic)

She is a Ward 6 resident and a former Washington Post and Washington City Paper reporter where she focused on DC government and politics. This is her first run at political office.  Currently she is on leave from the Fiscal Policy Institute--a liberal think tank group--where she has been a budget analyst focused on DC's budget since 2009. She analyzed the DC Budget. Former Ward 6 council member Sharon Ambrose has endorsed Silverman.

Website: http://www.elissa2013.com/



Patrick Mara (Republican)
He has been a school board member since 2010 for Ward 1.   This is Mara's third attempt at a council seat. He got his start in District politics back in 2008 when he defeated longtime incumbent, Carol Schwartz, in the republican primary for DC's At-Large seat. He later lost in the general election to Kwame Brown and Michael Brown. This go-around he has been endorsed by the the DC Chamber of Commerce, the local Sierra Club and The Washington Post. He is a former Capitol Hill staffer and lobbyist. He is now a business development consultant and does volunteer work mentoring young people. Originally from Rhode Island, he lives in Columbia Heights.

Website: http://www.patrickmara.com/



Anita Bonds (Democratic)
She is the interim At-Large Council member. In December, the DC Democratic State Committee selected Bonds--the committee's chairwoman since 2006--to temporarily fill Phil Mendelson's seat pending the special election. She has been a community organizer and an aide to several former DC mayors in the 1980's and 1990's. She has the support of Democratic council members Jack Evans (Ward 2), Muriel Bowser (Ward 4), Vincent Orange (At-Large), and Marion Barry (Ward 8). Bonds has also worked at Georgetown University where she coordinated a mentoring program for young people.

Website: http://www.anitabonds.com/



Michael Brown (Democratic/Withdrew)
Citing "very important personal and family matters" Brown withdrew from the at-large race in early April. However his name remains on the ballot. Brown is a former at-large member (independent) who lost his re-election bid for the other at-large seat in November 2012.

Paul Zuckerberg (Democratic)

He has been a criminal defense attorney for 28 years and calls Adams Morgan home. He has made marijuana decriminalization a cornerstone of his campaign--he believes possession should be a civil violation, not a criminal one. In terms of his affordable housing plan, Zuckerberg calls for a public-private cooperation, including the easing of height restrictions in certain areas of the city in exchange for more affordable housing.

Website: http://zukerbergatlarge.nationbuilder.com/


Budget Autonomy Charter Amendment
DC Charter Amendment 8


Currently, the Home Rule Act requires affirmative Congressional action with respect to the entire District budget (both federal and local funds).


This Charter Amendment, if approved, enacted and upheld, would permit the Council to adopt the annual local budget for the District of Columbia government; would permit the District to spend local funds in accordance with each Council approved budget act; and would permit the Council to establish the District's fiscal year.

If passed, this charter amendment would allow the city government to spend local tax dollars without Congressional approval.

If passed this question allows the fiscal year for the city to start in July v. October. Supporters say this will help the Public Schools so they will  know their budget before the opening of schools in the fall.

According to the DC League of Women Voters website, "Under the provisions of this amendment, Congress retains the right to review and modify the DC budget. Charter Amendment 8 simply sets a reasonable time limit for making changes: 30 legislative days. After 30 legislative days, if no action is taken by Congress, the DC budget would be allowed to go into effect."

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