Wells Will Not Speculate on Future
D.C. Council member Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6) is considered by some political observers to be a credible candidate for mayor of the District in 2014, if not sooner. Wells, who has served in the city's legislature since 2007, said that his immediate focus isn't on moving up the political ladder.
"I do not think that is an appropriate discussion," he said on Tue., June 5. "I am looking at the situation that the city is in now."
Wells, 55, has been known on the D.C. Council as one of its most ethically-minded members. He condemns corporate bundling in campaigns and is a foe of council members' having constituent service funds.
Wells criticized former D.C. Council Chairman Kwame Brown when he ordered a luxury SUV on the District's tab in 2011. Later that year, Wells was reassigned by Brown as head of the powerful Committee on Public Works and Transportation to the chair of the Committee on Libraries, Parks, Recreation and Planning.
Wells said that he wants to focus on representing Ward 6 residents.
"I am paying attention to the needs of the citizens," he said. "I am also paying attention to the challenges of leadership. We need to repair the problem of the city's image and home rule."
ANC Elections Coming Up
The elections for the 296 advisory neighborhood commissioners will take place in the general election on Nov. 6. Gottlieb Simon, the executive director of the Advisory Neighborhood Commissions, said that nominating petitions can be picked up at the District of Columbia Board of Elections and Ethics office in Northwest.
"In order to get your name on the ballot, one would need 25 signatures from registered voters in the single-member district that they wish to represent," Simon said. "One has to pick up the petitions in person at the board of elections on July 9 and they have to be brought back in person by Aug. 8."
As a result of the 2010 U.S. Census Bureau count, there will be 10 more commissioners in 2013, as opposed to the present 286. Wards 5 and 6 will gain two and one commission, respectively.
D.C. Council members Phil Mendelson (D-At-Large), Jack Evans (D-Ward 2), Muriel Bowser (D-Ward 4), and Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6) have all served as advisory neighborhood commissioners. Former D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty also served as an advisory neighborhood commissioner before being elected to the D.C. Council to represent Ward 4 in 2000.
Simon said that write-in candidates are welcome "but it really helps to have your name on the ballot."
Barry Criticizes Muhammad
D.C. Council member Marion Barry (D-Ward 8) appeared visibly annoyed on Tue., June 5 when one of his constituents, Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Anthony Muhammad (8A01), was confirmed by the D.C. Council to the District of Columbia Taxicab Commission.
"This is not personal," said Barry, 76. "I am talking about this nomination process-wise."
The former four-term mayor said that it's been the tradition that when a candidate for a board is selected, the mayor or the staff reaches out to the D.C. council member where the nominee lives. In the past, the practice has been to get the blessing of the council member before the nomination proceeds to a vote in committee and the legislative body as a whole.
The commission will deal with a wide range of issues such as the new rule that credit cards can be used to pay for fares and the ongoing debate regarding medallions.
Barry's problems with Muhammad have to do primarily with his support of Sandra Seegars in the Tue., April 3 Democratic primary in Ward 8. He also said that Muhammad, a Muslim, would vote against liquor licenses in his advisory neighborhood commission based solely on his religion.
Barry was out voted by his colleagues, 12-1 for the confirmation. When Muhammad was asked about the rift between Barry and himself, he said "this too shall pass."