i know of a surefire way for the 15 ward 5 contestants to stand out among the crowd (“Slate Is Enough,” 7/14). Ward 5 is one of the areas of D.C. with the highest rate of childhood-lead-poisoning incidents. Let’s see who’s willing to promote the delivery of free lead poisoning prevention and asthma management services in Ward 5, among other areas of the city. I recently met some campaign workers and candidates at the HSC June Fair on June 17. The first camp to approach me refused to accept my organization’s registration form for our DC Lead/Asthma Safe Babies’ shower, because I informed the workers that I couldn’t distribute their campaign literature. The first candidate to personally approach me also tried to get me to distribute campaign literature; when I gave him the same response that I gave the first camp, he told me that I could take a postcard to my sister, a Ward 5 resident and registered voter, and then he signed up to participate in our DC Lead/Asthma Safe Babies’ shower. Two other candidates approached me with the same results. So, three Ward 5 council candidates registered to participate in our shower on Saturday, June 24—but none of them came. I have since left messages for those particular candidates indicating my anticipation of their confirmation to attend the next DC Lead/Asthma Safe Babies’ shower on Saturday, July 29. In the meantime, I am in the process of extending the same invitation to all of the Ward 5 council candidates.
So far, I’m getting mixed results. One candidate told me, “If it’s outside of my campaign, I can’t be involved.” I really don’t understand how childhood lead poisoning, a citywide problem and a serious health issue for Ward 5, could be outside of any Ward 5 candidate’s campaign, but that’s the response I got when I told the candidate that my organization couldn’t distribute any candidate’s campaign literature door-to-door in Ward 5 (although I was hoping that this candidate would help to open up his constituent base to my organization). Another candidate was aware of the problems that lead poisoning prevents, its impact in and out of Ward 5, and the need for the free services that my organization is offering; this candidate also offered to promote these free services through business associates and campaign supporters, even sharing an immediate, promotional opportunity with me, without requiring my organization to promote the candidate’s campaign. I’m hoping to get more responses of the latter type as I go down the list. In my estimation, these experiences are definitely a demonstration of each candidate’s agenda for the Ward 5 council seat and his or her commitment to Ward 5.