Sunday, October 08, 2006

CPCA/FHCA Forum on Saturday, October 7th

The Cleveland Park and Forest Hills Citizens Associations co-sponsored a pre-election forum on October 7th. The forum was split into three segments. The first featured three of the DC School Board President candidates. The second was a smaller forum for the contested for ANC 3C races, and concluded with the candidates for Ward 3 Council.

The event was attended about about 25 unaffiliated residents, and many left after the school board forum.

The ANC portion featured presentations from Dia Black (her opponent in Woodley Park, Ari Shapiro was unable to attend); the second race was the other Woodley Park seat between Gloria Day and Deborah Jane Lindeman. Gloria Day was unable to attend, but she had a friend read a statement. There were no questions for either of these candidates, since questions were limited to only residents of the affected Single Member Districts. The third race was the north part of the ANC in Cleveland Park between incumbent Bruce Beckner and challenger Greg Hair. The distinction between the two seemed to be that Greg Hair is interested in including schools and school communities when considering ALL of the factors in the make-up of an ANC, where Beckner only considers some of the residents in his ANC to be constituents. The final contested race is between Catherine May and Shelley Cohen. Again, there were no questions from participants.

The only questions in this portion were from two Ordway Street residents who tried to get clarification from Greg Hair about his deference for schools. Of course, no one wanted to ask the hard questions of Mr. Beckner, such as, how much did his actions and the actions of the ANC cost DC Taxpayers, when they delayed the construction and completion of the sidewalks and wall along the South side of the 3000 block of Ordway, and who were the constituents that Mr. Beckner represented (and snubbed) in that somewhat unilateral action?

The final portion of the forum was the Ward 3 Council debate between Mary Cheh (d) and Theresa Conroy (r). It became evident early on that this was a very not a balanced discussion, as the level and tone of the questions were very hostile towards one candidate and friendly towards the other.

Theresa Conroy's platform seems to be to delay the comprehensive plan, to keep the zoning parameters in the ward as they are, to focus on Ward 3 not city wide issues, to defer to the ANC's and neighborhood associations on local issues and fill the pot holes.

On contrast, Mary Cheh is in favor of moving forward with the comprehensive plan, to allow flexibility in zoning around Metro Stations, to focus on Ward 3 issues and City Wide issues, and to be involved in areas around the Ward which concern all citizens, and receive input from all citizens, rather than to defer solely to ANCs and Citizens Associations.

It will be interesting to see what happens with all of this in the event that candidate receiving the bias is successful in capturing this seat. The partisanship being shown be these supposed non-partisan, not for profit organizations (CPCA and FHCA) is also surprising and actually could be challenged as illegal.

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