Clark Ray in his challenge to 12-year incumbent Phil Mendelson.
Why Clark Ray? I've known Clark since his time as a service coordinator for Mayor Anthony Williams. He continued on to head Mayor Adrian Fenty's Office of Community Relations and then the Department of Parks and Recreation. I've interacted with him at each of these levels and found him responsive and action-oriented, whether it is fixing street lights or building parks. His experience as a reserve police officer and training as a teacher add to his credentials.
Mendelson is, in my view, one of the most honest and down-to-earth members of the Council. He's generally doesn't put on political shows or appear to have aspirations for some higher office. He's raised questions where questions need to be raised.
But while Mendelson's deliberative nature may be a strength in some areas, it's a dangerous fault for us when it comes to dealing with crime. Mendelson, who chairs the Committee on Public Safety and the Judiciary, has never met a strong crime bill that he's liked. Such bills repeatedly stall before his committee. Promises to "look into" anti-gang measures amount to naught. The obvious, serious problems with our juvenile justice system, including the lack of capacity and revolving door for juvenile offenders, occurred on his watch.
Mendelson also does not seem to have much drive left -- after a lackluster campaign, he's losing to a "shadow" - Michael D. Brown - the District's Shadow Senator, who many have confused with current at-large Councilmember Michael A. Brown. Polls show that name confusion has given Mike D., who has raised no money and done little campaigning, a significant lead over both Mendelson and Ray. Should Brown get elected, he will have indeed fulfilled his campaign promise to bring the District's lack of voting representation to the forefront -- and perhaps dealt it its greatest setback as DC becomes the laughing stock of the nation.
Council positions were not meant to be lifetime appointments. New blood and energy would serve us well. Clark Ray is qualified, responsive, and ready to go to work.