- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 2, 2010


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.

Therein lies the rub.

The city’s political leaders are trying to out-pander one another, not make this a world-class capital. Differing views are rejected out of hand.

Unions get what they want. Gays get what they want. Canines get doggie parks, while black and white parents vote with their feet.

The liberals’ chief strategy is to pimp their way to City Hall by turning a blind eye to the District’s social ills. The city’s neediest residents won’t even have to venture west of the Anacostia River to be tended to.

They will have their own hospital, their own supermarkets, their own schools, their own recreation facilities and their own drug treatment and probation facilities. That way, City Hall won’t notice whether they have jobs.

Someone needs to rescue this city from itself.

c Deborah Simmons can be reached at dsimmons@washingtontimes.com.

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