Race to April 3 Primary
Ward 7 and 8 Election Forum
The Gertrude Stein Democratic Club hosted a Ward 7 and Ward 8 council member candidate's forum Thursday, Feb. 23. Denise Rolark Barnes, publisher of The Washington Informer, moderated the event. The Stein Club endorsed Tom Brown for Ward 7 and returned a "no vote" for the Ward 8 endorsement. In order to receive endorsement from the club, a candidate has to have at least 60 percent of the club's vote. Each candidate addressed the audience and shared ideas for improving relations with the LGBT community.
Ward 8 Council member Marion Barry was chastised for saying he was a LGBT supporter before it became popular. Several club members called Barry "a liar" and one man played a YouTube recording showing Barry speaking against gay marriage.
Allen Leads Barry Re-election
Former Ward 8 D.C. Council member Sandy Allen is serving as the campaign manager for D.C. Council member Marion Barry's re-election effort. Barry is seeking re-election against four other opponents on April 3 in the Democratic Party primary.
Allen lost her bid for re-election in 2004 against Barry, so why does she support a former political opponent?
"Why would I not support Mr. Barry," Allen, who is the second vice president of the Ward 8 Democratic Committee, said. "He is the candidate of my choice and I think he is the best person running to represent the ward on the city council. While he has been in public office, he has always delivered."
Allen served on the D.C. Council from 1996 to 2005. She is a longtime Barry supporter and confidant, but the two broke ranks when he supported Eydie Whittington to replace his seat on the D.C. Council when Barry was elected mayor for his fourth term in 1994.
Whittington won the special election on May 5, 1995, defeating Allen by one vote, but Allen won the full term in the 1996 Democratic primary. Allen was re-elected to the D.C. Council in 2000.
Allen was known on the D.C. Council as a strong supporter of economic development east of the Anacostia River and for strong social services, with her work as chairwoman of the Committee on Human Services. She also has served as president of the Ward 8 Democrats.
Barry launched his re-election effort on Feb. 18 at the Thurgood Marshall Academy. The turnout was estimated to be 100 supporters, but Allen said that was fine.
"It is about bringing the ward together and that is what Mr. Barry is about," she said. "He is running to serve the residents, not trying to make a name for himself."
Barry headquarters is located at 3109 Martin Luther King Ave., S.E. and Allen said the campaign website is "in the works."
Jahi Challenges Bowser...Again
Bartui Jahi ran against D.C. Council member Muriel Bowser (D-Ward 4) in 2008, but was defeated in the Democratic primary by the incumbent. Fueled by anti-Walmart sentiment and a sense of non-responsiveness by Bowser, Jahi is challenging her again.
"Ward 4 needs a leader," Jahi said. "We need someone who represents the best interests of the people."
Jahi is one of five contenders challenging Bowser in the April 3 Democratic primary. He is the former president of the Shepherd Park Citizens Association and holds a doctoral degree in political science from Howard University. Jahi said Bowser has shown little leadership on crime and economic development.
"In our ward, we have had a 44 percent increase in homicides, 23 percent increase in thefts and six percent increase in sexual assaults," he said. "Yet, we have the lowest amount of foot patrols of any ward in the city."
Jahi said that as a member of the D.C. Council, he will work to increase foot patrols, especially in the Petworth-Georgia Avenue corridor. Speaking of Georgia Avenue, Jahi thinks that the street could be better promoted economically.
"Georgia Avenue lacks development," he said. "Look at what has happened to H Street, N.E. and that can happen on Georgia Avenue. However, my opponent is focused on building two Walmarts in the ward and one of her top supporters is David Wilmot, the lobbyist for Walmart."
Jahi asks rhetorically "is that ethical?" Jahi said he will never forget his real mission if elected to the D.C. Council.
"I will be a public servant," he said. "I will work for the people and represent their wishes on the D.C. Council."
Johnson Wants Better for Ward 7
Monica Johnson is one of several candidates seeking to replace D.C. Council member Yvette Alexander (D-Ward 7) on the Tuesday, April 3. She said she can provide the ward's needed leadership.
"The ward lacks the kind of leadership it needs to progress," Johnson, a resident of Kenilworth, said. "We need improvements in health services and wellness programs for our seniors and a council member that is responsive to the people."
Johnson said 49 percent of the District's pregnancies come out of Ward 7 and that is a problem.
"If we can address those types of problems, we can benefit other areas," she said. "We also need to have a strategy for returning citizens who want to work but lack the skills to be gainfully employed."
Johnson holds a bachelor's degree from William and Mary College in Williamsburg, Va., and a master degree in science from the University of the District of Columbia and a master degree in Christian Education from Faith Christian University. She works for the D.C. public schools.
Johnson said she would be an advocate for early childhood education and workers' rights.