Archive for the 'race' Category
While there are 60,000 returning citizens in D.C. who have pressing concerns and are politically motivated, only three of the eight mayoral candidates showed up at a recent candidates’ forum to hear and address those concerns.
D.C. Council members Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6) and Vincent Orange (D-At Large) joined District entrepreneur Andy Shallal as the Democratic mayoral candidates who participated in the Returning Citizens United forum at the Greater Mt. Calvary Holy Church in Northeast on Friday.
Considering that the vast majority of returning citizens are black, it really stinks that only one of the three black candidates, Vincent Orange, could be bothered to show up. Considering how lop sided the arrests are for drug offenses, it really shows what a failure the current leadership is. Shame on Muriel Bowser and Mayor Gray for not even showing up. Shame on them.
Tags: DC City Council
Bonds’ victory will likely lead to plenty of hand-wringing among self-style progressive and/or reform voters, who often tend to be white and relatively new to the city and have seen their votes split among several of their chosen candidates in the last three at-large elections. Bonds’ victory follow similarly patterned wins by Councilmember Vincent Orange in 2011 and 2012. Orange eked into office with 29 percent of the vote in the 2011 special election and won 40 percent of the vote in last year’s Democratic primary, beating Sekou Biddle by only 1,746 votes.
There’s a clear appetite among the majority of the city’s voters for fresh blood on the Council. (Orange had previously been a Ward 5 councilmember and, like Bonds, has been a fixture of the local Democratic Party.) Yet no candidate has been able to bring together the disparate groups of voters looking for change in a strong majority or even a simple plurality. That might be because the reform-oriented candidates just haven’t been that impressive, but it’s more likely because “reform” means different things to different people; there’s no organized effort or group powerful enough to make or break any candidate who wants to claim the reform mantle. It’s an open casting call, and the people who answer it are often convinced of the rightness of their crusade.
In 2006 Adrian Fenty carried every precinct in the city running on reform. 4 years later Fenty was dumped in the Democratic primary because black people thought that reform was just code for push all the black people out of the city. I could be wrong, but I think the word reform is toxic in the black community.
Now the policies of gentrification have been put in place by Democratic and predominately black city councils and mayors. Electing black Democrats does not seem a solution. But it does not surprise me that white candidates running on a reform platform are not finding much support in the black community.
Zukerberg has staked his campaign on one main issue: decriminalizing marijuana. (A large share of Zukerberg’s legal practice is representing accused pot smokers.) The Wilson Building has been in no rush to even ponder relaxing the laws on pot, and no one’s talked much about it in other recent local races. Decriminalization is different than legalization; Zukerberg says the city should assess civil fines to people caught with small amounts of pot, not criminal penalties. He says the only reason the idea hasn’t gotten much attention is because D.C. politicians are afraid to talk about the toll unfair drug laws have on District residents.
“It’s the largest civil rights issue we have in the District of Columbia,” Zukerberg says during a recent interview. He cites statistics showing that D.C. leads the country in per capita marijuana arrests and the fact that black residents are eight times more likely to be arrested for lighting up than white residents. “We’re saddling a lot of African Americans, mostly young black males, with criminal records.”
I don’t know if I will vote for Zuckerberg or not. I will certainly not vote for any incumbent. And Zuckerberg is certainly correct about the racist nature of our current enforcement of drug laws.
these are links to useful articles:
This Harpers article “my concealed weapon and me” discusses gun ownership and social class