- The Washington Times - Friday, July 26, 2002

So far, the headlines this election season have focused on Mayor Tony Williams and his sorry re-election bid as a Democrat. Fortunately for me, I am heading south for vacation, where Washington datelines concern the White House or Capitol Hill not City Hall. Before I leave, though, a few facts and thoughts on serious matters. I certainly hope we have victors come November who will stand for an accountable, efficient and effective government. But I will not hold my breath. Seems the harder we, the people, seek such candidates, the more we get stuck with crackpots and lifers. Anyway, the subject is facts, so here goes. Charles N. Duncan resigned as the mayor's campaign manager. Last week, I said the mayor had "relieved" Mr. Duncan of his duties.

This week, the mayor named a new campaign manager, Theodore Carter. Whether D.C. voters are paying attention is another matter. D.C. voters, like voters elsewhere, are interested in scandals and personalities.

Ohioans used to have James Traficant, and Virginians have James Moran.

Marion Barry used to be our main man. And even though people call Tony Williams names Tony the Tiger, Mr. Bow-tie he just doesn't even come close. I do get a laugh a session, though, from the legislature.

The D.C. Council had me chuckling last week, when I learned lawmakers had voted to exempt themselves from being ticketed for parking illegally. (Ha, ha.)

I laughed when they overturned the term-limits referendum, and I laughed when they redesigned D.C. license plates and mandated that vehicles be adorned with plates that say "taxation without representation."

Perhaps if we stop making ourselves the laughingstock with so-called shadow senators and representatives who do they shadow, anyway? we could get to the serious business at hand. And that, dearest readers, includes the facts concerning the races for the D.C. Council.

Chairman Linda Cropp is up for re-election. But hers is no race at all, considering she has no challengers.

Among the ward races, and there are four, the most interesting will be Ward 5, which includes the anthraxed Brentwood Post Office and New York Avenue corridor.

The most newsworthy, however, will be the two at-large races. One of those races is fixed. The other race, God bless the Democrats, is packed.

In the first race, David Catania, a gay Republican, is a shoo-in, because D.C. law dictates that an independent candidate or a candidate affiliated with a minor party win. Understand, the two top vote-getters win; however, one of those victors cannot be a Democrat. Historically, the races are between Democrats and a Republican, Democrat and an independent, Democrats and a Statehood Party candidate. That set up ensures victory to Mr. Catania.

This year, the field of Democrats include incumbent Phil Mendelson and Beverly Wilbourn. He has the labor unions and the status quo on his side, and she has the establishment and women on hers.

I asked a native Washingtonian, who is a liberal and a Democrat, what she thought of both candidates. "Ms. Wilbourn is refreshing." She said nary a word about Mr. Mendelson. That speaks volumes about the status quo and the potential in the Wilbourn candidacy.

But D.C. folks aren't talking about the council races unless you ask. They're talking about the mayor's race and poking fun at the Williams campaign.

Even my counterpart at The Washington Post, Colbert King, is feeding at the trough. His July 20 column of zingers, "The word on the mayor at Darrell's barbershop," was a string of hoots. "The Williams team is so out of it, they think that a quarterback is a refund … and that Eartha Kitt is a set of garden tools," was attributed to Fatmouth. Lo, though, Fatmouth is a figment of Mr. King's creation.

And, therein lies an outstanding fact. When spinmeisters joked about Marion Barry not-so-way-back-when, folks cried racism, conspiracy and setup. As a matter of fact, a few mere months ago, his supporters were egging Mr. Barry to run saying, "run, Marion, run" in the at-large council race.

Can you hear me now?

The at-large council races are predetermined. The mayor's race might mean a woman named Faith (with no last name) a perennial on the ballot who literally toots her own horn, a trumpet might be the next mayor of the nation's capital. The Republican leadership is pinning its hopes, perhaps, on a Catania mayoral run in 2006.

Understand the humor.

The facts are no laughing matter. Are they?

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