- The Washington Times - Friday, September 8, 2000

As quiet as it's been kept, D.C. voters have primary elections on Sept. 12. So if you're among the uninformed, and some D.C. Council incumbents hope there are tens of thousands of you out there, pay close attention.

There are six D.C. Council members up for reelection. This is the last time out for all six, courtesy of the term-limits laws that took effect in 1996. Now if you suspect they are merely biding their time until the 2002 mayoral and council chairman races or, for that matter, D.C. delegate, rest assured some of them are.

At-large member Harold Brazil, while unopposed in the Democratic primary, will face his toughest challenge in November from Arturo Griffiths, the D.C. Statehood Green Party candidate. Ordinarily, a Democratic victory in the primary is tantamount to a victory in the general election. Mr. Brazil, however, is no shoo-in. On the other hand, at-large council member Carol Schwartz is and deservedly so. Uncontested in the Republican primary, popular and hard-working, Mrs. Schwartz is an even-handed critic of the executive branch. She has oversight of public works and the environment. If there were waste, fraud, abuse or incompetence within her purview, Mrs. Schwartz helped expose it. The Times is pleased to endorse Carol Schwartz in the at-large race.

Ward 2 council member Jack Evans' ward stretches from Georgetown into the Southwest Waterfront and is at once eclectic and depressed. More than any legislator, he looked out for the city's financial interests, successfully challenging the mayor's anti-tax-cut stand and demanding fiscal accountability. These days, as D.C. tries to close the books on years of financial uncertainties, we do indeed need Jack Evans. The Times is pleased to endorse Jack Evans.

Not all council members, though, have lived up to their end of the bargain. Pock marks of despair remain a blight on the city. The D.C. Council's housing and economic development policies, under the leadership of Charlene Drew Jarvis, failed to deliver. True, the MCI Center, convention center and business improvement districts downtown are "results of her legislative handiwork," as The Washington Post said the other day. But what about the other neighborhoods? As Adrian Fenty, Mrs. Jarvis' challenger, has said, "No city, and certainly none as estimable as the nation's capital, can sustain itself without safe neighborhoods where people can shop, eat and raise their families." In community meeting after community meeting Mrs. Jarvis has heard the same thing over and over. Moreover, Mrs. Jarvis has yet to do something about it. Twenty-one years she has been on the City Council. That's a lifetime in the ghetto. Adrian Fenty was a dilligent council aide on the education committee and has pledged to work hard for D.C. residents on economic development, neighborhoods and schools. He deserves a chance to serve. The Times is pleased to endorse Adrian Fenty.

Wards 7 and 8 have a lot in common and are often lumped together, as in "East of the River." While each ward has its share of nice residential neighborhoods, they have downsides, too. Mostly, their problems are related to crime, poor health, poor schooling and unemployment, and voters remind Kevin Chavous and Sandy Allen at every opportunity that their wards have potholes, rats and filthy streets as well. Miss Allen was admittedly in over her head as chairman of human services, which oversees all aspects of health and welfare, but the council has agreed to restructure its committee system, which should give her an opportunity to exercise her compassion and understanding of what her constituents need. She remains the best hope for Ward 8. Mr. Chavous, however, has been missing in action. As chairman of the committee that oversees education, libraries and recreation, families can ill afford to waste their votes on such a mercurial "leader." The Times is pleased to endorse Sandy Allen.

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