SIMMONS: Who will sound wake-up alarm?

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OPINION/ANALYSIS:

Washington, D.C., is killing itself. Record jobless rates. High illiteracy and homeless rates. Substance abuse is fueling crime and vice versa. Liberalism is strangling families. Most large urban areas have these problems, too. But when you add astronomical HIV/AIDS and poverty rates, the picture becomes grimmer.

America’s capital hasn’t a chance of becoming a world-class capital. This year’s elections underscore the problem. While Republicans and Democrats nationwide try to stave off an anti-incumbent mood, the votes won’t be hitting the fan in the D.C. primaries Sept. 14.

Even though candidates are panting, the results will be more of the same. (Incumbent Mayor Adrian M. Fenty is running as fast as he can but can’t seem to get ahead of challenger Vincent Gray.) So thank goodness for third-place holder Leo Alexander, a Democrat.

The press doesn’t talk or write much about Mr. Alexander, a TV-reporter-turned-businessman who talks about parents being responsible for their children, children being mindful of adults and blacks taking charge of their lives.

In this liberal-loving city, differing voices are drowned out. So it’s refreshing to know Mr. Alexander speaks out against illegal immigration and speaks up about morality and other touchy subjects.

He has been doing that since he entered the mayoral fray last fall. Occasionally he makes some special interests take notice. Like last week, when he made a comment that forced the gay media to take notice. All the man said was that he would put his HIV status on his driver’s license and he encouraged others to be like-minded.

“We have to treat this as an epidemic and do what’s necessary to address it,” Mr. Alexander said at a recent Capitol Hill forum.

His remarks “startled some attendees,” Lou Chibbaro Jr. said in the Washington Blade.

Frankly, folks need to be startled. The city’s HIV/AIDS rates are startling (one in 20 residents), and the liberal candidates are acting a little too nonchalant about it.

Sure, they are queried about the issue in forums and on questionnaires. The Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance asked candidates whether they would oppose D.C. and federal funding that promotes “abstinence only until marriage.”

That’s a trick question. Cut down on promiscuity, and the HIV rates will decrease.

Republicans and conservatives can’t seem to crack the partisan nut. Even this year, when Republicans pulled together a ticket for four ward seats, the party is guaranteed victories in the primary, but afterward, when the race for the general election starts, they will set their mark in the loser lane.

That’s because conservatives registered to vote in the District have given up on the District.

Conservative business leaders lobby and encourage liberals. Conservative voters put on their blindfolds and play eeny, meeny, miny moe before casting their ballots. Conservative clergy and organizations, including Catholics, roll up their welcome mats and take their charitable ways elsewhere.

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About the Author
Deborah Simmons

Deborah Simmons

Award-winning opinion writer Deborah Simmons is a senior correspondent who reports on City Hall and writes about education, culture, sports and family-related topics. Mrs. Simmons has worked at several newspapers, and since joining The Washington Times in 1985, has served as editorial-page editor and features editor and on the metro desk. She has taught copy editing at the University of ...

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