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Mayor wannabe Arnold Daniels Jr. throws down some gang signs.

Independent mayoral candidate Arnold Daniels Jr. is following the herd in one respect: Like Mayor Anthony A. Williams, At-Large D.C. Councilmember Carol Schwartz, and the Rev. Willie F. Wilson, he set out to win the office through a write-in campaign. But Daniels diverges from the pack when it comes to his campaign message. On fliers specifically aimed at teenagers, he exhorts District youth to be “KEEPIN’ IT GANGSTA!”

“This nation is truly the world’s gangsta!” his campaign literature exclaims, urging kids to join the Navy SEALs, the U.S. Marine Corps, the Army Rangers, the CIA, the FBI, and the not-yet-hiring Department of Homeland Security. Those organizations, he says, are the real gangstas. The Washington City Paper invited Daniels to explain further:

When did you get this idea?

“I taught in P.G. County at Bladensburg High School. The students would say to me, ‘We’re keepin’ it gangsta.’ It meant stealing from the 7-Eleven on their way to school. It meant organizing shoplifting trips to P.G. Plaza and Landover Mall. I knew that that also meant a certain behavior toward females.”

Why are the Navy SEALs gangsta?

“These are some of the career choices that you make that will sanction your tough-guy mentality, view of the world. We are a tough nation.”

What has been the reaction to your message?

“Young black men that I give this flier to understand what I’m saying. It’s not intended for you. I would never, if I’m walking down the street, give this to you.”

If elected mayor, how will you implement your gangsta policy?

“Guidance counselors in the schools are doing their jobs. We might encourage them to present these options to these students.”

If not elected mayor, how will you implement your gangsta policy?

“I’m really not a believer in volunteer work. It’s only one person in my family, and somebody has to work.”

Do you think it’s true that the Crips killed Tupac?

“I’m not in that discussion. I have no comment about that.” CP