Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A Perspective on the Ward 8 City Council Election

ART of WAR Concept: Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win. _________________________________________________________________________________

I wanted to take a moment to discuss my thoughts on this election season in Ward 8. Sitting on the sidelines and being an observer has allowed me to see some things that I probably would have missed if I was involved as a candidate.

Every election is different. There are different issues, different candidates, different voters and even the timing of the election season is different. An additional change I have noticed since 2008 is that candidates are now actively using social media, blogging and neighborhood listservs to get their message across to voters. All have become effective tools for candidates to reach voters. With the election starting in the winter months these have been heavily utilized.

I’ve also noticed that there are more people who are taking an active interest in who is running and their platform to improve the quality of life in the Ward. It is always a good thing when there is heavy participation the in community. It forces candidates to be their best which in turn helps the community.

And like every election, there is always talk about getting several candidates to drop out of the race with the expectation that they will all support another in an effort to beat the incumbent. This is noble thinking, but these are the types of conversations that need to take place two years in advance. When a person commits to picking up their petitions and spending their time, money and effort just to get on the ballot, rest assured that they are going to run to complete the race.

Yet still, this conversation has to happen - not for the purpose of eliminating competition, but instead with the goal of combining resources and talent. I for one believe that it takes more than one person in leadership to bring about the type of change needed to really improve the quality of life in our Ward 8 neighborhoods.  It is evident that each candidate has unique talents that include public policy, fundraising, public relations, and community organization. Unfortunately, over the year's, these talents have worked independently of each other. When you can bring all those talents together we will be able to push a candidate forward. Not doing so will create the same frustrations 4 years from now during the next election.

If the conversation happens I think we would learn that not everyone really wants to be the Ward 8 Councilmember, instead they just want to be involved in the process of improving Ward 8. This is a good problem. All potential candidates have to have an honest conversation with each other to determine who has the desire, patience, ability and resources to hold this office. Then the person chosen, has to have the heart and “vision” to position the others to be in charge of other initiatives.

These initiatives can even be an At-Large City Councilmember.  I believe that in a couple of years, Ward 8 can actually have two At-Large Councilmembers if people are willing to work with and help each other succeed. In addition to the City Council, the person has to have the vision to position others to chair District Boards & Commissions and even the DC Democratic State Committee. We are going to need residents who are in key positions that have influence over zoning, housing, utilities and the large District political initiatives. You see we need a team effort where we will all be able to shine to implement a shared vision for improving our community. Remember we are all fighting for the same thing(s).

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