LL can remember all the way back to the first week of April when Ward 4 Councilmember Brandon Todd seemed to express his willingness, his inclination even, to debate his primary opponent, Janeese Lewis George.
“I’m always interested in talking about the issues that matter most to Ward 4 residents,” Todd said not three weeks ago when asked if he would participate in a debate.
Is that a yes? LL had to clarify. Todd was a no-show at a candidate forum in mid-March and didn’t respond to Greater Greater Washington’s endorsement questionnaire regarding transportation, housing, and land use topics.
“I’m always interested in talking about the issues that matter most to Ward 4 residents,” Todd repeated.
Foolishly, LL took the Ward 4 councilmember’s words as confirmation, but he has since learned that Todd will not be participating in this evening’s virtual candidate forum put on by the ACLU of D.C. Suzanne Ito, an ACLU spokesperson, says she reached out to each candidate in January but never received a response from Todd or his team. Ito emailed again last week asking if Todd could attend the Zoom forum, and a staffer told her that the councilmember had a “competing commitment.”
LL wonders what could be more important than what is essentially a job interview about a topic that is of particular interest to a good number of Todd’s constituents, particularly during a time when there is literally nothing to do but stay home.
But that will have to remain a mystery. In a text, Todd confirmed that he has a scheduling conflict, but did not respond to a follow-up asking what it is.
George, however, did respond: “It’s a loss to the voters of Ward 4 because we don’t get to have these deeper conversations,” she says. “Brandon has a record of not answering calls or addressing the concerns of the residents he represents. I’m not surprised he doesn’t want to debate. To speak for the community, we must be willing to speak with the community, two things he doesn’t do.”
Ito says the show will go on. George and the third candidate, Marlena Edwards, have confirmed their participation.
The Ward 4 forum begins at 7 p.m., immediately following a forum for Ward 2 primary candidates, all eight of whom will said they will attend. The Post’s Fenit Nirappil is moderating.