Bonds Prepared to Fight for D.C. Council Seat
Interim D.C. Council member Anita Bonds submitted her petitions to the D.C. Board of Elections in Northwest on Jan. 23 and is poised to take on any challengers to permanently fill Phil Mendelson's at-large seat.
"When I am out in the city, people are telling me that I am the right candidate for the job," said Bonds, 67. "The people that I've talked to, want me to win."
Bonds and seven other candidates turned in petitions to get on the April 23 ballot on Jan. 23: former D.C. Council member Michael Brown (D), former journalist Elissa Silverman (D), Statehood Green Party member Perry Redd, John Settles II (D), Paul Zukerberg (D), Mathew Frumin (D) and Republican Patrick Mara. Bonds said that she realizes that the voter turnout may be low, but says that she will be the victor.
"Getting people out to vote is tantamount to winning," she said. "I will work hard to get voters interested in my candidacy."
Bonds became the interim D.C. Council member by easily defeating two candidates in a vote taken by the D.C. Democratic State Committee in early December 2012. This isn't her first elected office: she served several terms as an advisory neighborhood commissioner in Ward 5.
Bonds, who's known in District political circles as a seasoned negotiator, has worked on the school board and the mayoral campaign of Marion Barry. She also worked with Kwame Brown when he served as an at-large D.C. Council member.
Currently, she's sits on committees that deal with economic development, health, human services and the judiciary along with public safety. Bonds, and D.C. Council member David Grosso (I-At Large), do not chair a committee due to their new status on the legislative body.
She's confident that a number of political leaders will back her bid.
"I have known a lot of people in this city for a long time and most of them say they will support me," Bonds said. "Marion Barry is one of them but he is one of many, including the newer residents," the Northeast resident said.
Zukerberg Wants Reform in the District
Paul Zukerberg, an attorney based in the Adams Morgan section of Ward 1 in Northwest, intends to be known as the candidate of reform. He said that he wants to restructure the way in which the John A.Wilson Building in Northwest works, and he has a plan to change certain laws.
Zukerberg, 55, filed petitions to be on the April 23 special election ballot to permanently replace Phil Mendelson as the at-large D.C. Council member. He said that those who govern the District are failing residents.
"I want to bring real reform to the [D.C.] Council," Zukerberg said. "I want a council that works for the citizens and not for themselves. We need to get rid of all of the lobbyists, professional politicians and those who only seek the perks of being in elected office."
One of Zukerberg's most controversial positions pertains to the decriminalizing of marijuana. However, he makes it crystal clear that he doesn't want to legalize cannabis.
"That would be in conflict with federal law," he said. "Decriminalizing marijuana means that someone who possesses it and is caught would pay a civil penalty and not have a criminal misdemeanor on their record. Instead, of arresting people, they would just pay a fine."
Zukerberg said that 18 states and cities such as Philadelphia, New York, Boston and Chicago have decriminalized marijuana "with positive results." He said that District police officers can focus on fighting "real crime" and citizens who are caught with marijuana "will not have their lives disrupted."
Zukerberg realizes that his proposal is non-negotiable for some city leaders.
"D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson told me that he will not even consider it," he said.
Zukerberg said that, if elected, he "will be a hard-working council member for the citizens of the District of Columbia."