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New York Avenue Presbyterian Church mayoral candidates forum. Youth advocates press the candidates on how they would involve children “at the cabinet level” in the city’s decision-making. “Well, I had not planned to have our youth involved at the cabinet level,” responds Republican mayoral hopeful Carol Schwartz. It gets more complicated as she continues: “The problem is that for too long, no one has been held accountable. We’ve had administrators falling over administrators at the administrative level.”
Dusk in Kingman Park. A woman with red glassy eyes approaches Ward 6 D.C. Council candidate the Rev. George A. Stallings. “Reverend, I’m tired of using drugs….I’m at the end of my rope,” she confesses. Stallings places his hand on her shoulder. “I’m going to help you, sister,” he says. “You’re not at the end of your rope.” The candidate ends the conversation by giving the woman his home phone number. As he proceeds to the next house, Stallings shouts, “Every soul to the poll.”
Martin Luther King Library mayoral debate. From solving all social problems affecting schoolchildren to wiring all classrooms with computers, this year’s mayoral crop has proposed the grandest of overhauls for the city’s public schools. Harold Brazil, though, promises to start with the fundamentals: “I want to make sure every pupil has a pencil and an eraser.”
University of the District of Columbia debate for at-large D.C. Council candidates. All 10 Democratic hopefuls promise the crowd that being a councilmember would be their only job. Later, someone asks the Rev. William H. Bennett how to reconcile his pledge with his gig as pastor of the First Baptist Church of Deanwood. Bennett responds, “I can do all things through Christ.”
Saturday morning at Heller’s Bakery. Harold Brazil is wearing a polo shirt and a glad hand.
But working a room of hung-over brunchers proves a little conversationally challenging. “So,” Brazil says, glancing down at Melissa Farris’ juice and pastry, “you’re just having a little breakfast, huh?”
Outside of John Wesley A.M.E. Zion Church. Jack Evans has heard enough about Anthony Williams. Two days before, the Washington Post published a poll that put front-running Williams over 20 points ahead of Evans’ fourth-place showing. Amid a post-forum crowd dominated by Williams supporters, Evans turns to a reporter and gripes about Williams’ free ride in the media. Before heading to his car, the candidate adds quietly, “We’re going to spend the next four years trying to get him the fuck out.”
North Michigan Park Recreation Center forum for Ward 5 D.C. Council candidates. Longtime Ward 5 resident Virgil Thompson is pitching the audience on his activist record: “My record on the issues that affect this community is beyond approach.”
Sunset at the Dupont Circle Metro stop. Bill Rice is trying to explain to apathetic commuters that he’s running for an at-large seat on the D.C. Council. His audience shows no familiarity with him, or with his nine no-name opponents. After a stream of disses, a woman approaches Rice, clutching one of his fliers. “I have a question for you,” she says. “What makes you think you’re better than Anthony Williams?”