City Paper is not for tourists
Your piece on mayoral candidate Kevin Chavous (“Kevin Can Wait,” 8/28) ends by quoting a former Chavous chief of staff: “I don’t think Kevin has earned the right to be mayor.”
Like sophisticated truth-seekers Washington City Paper and Jonetta Rose Barras, any D.C. councilmember or mayoral candidate who finds himself 1) in opposition to big-money interests and 2) outnumbered by fellow councilmembers in the latters’ debt knows, I think, that Kevin Chavous has forwarded the interests of working and wanting-to-work citizens more than any other elected official in the current race.
At a mayoral rate of pay, plus mayoral resources, Mayor Chavous would have no compulsion to divide his working hours between the city’s needs and family goals, all too understandable. More, Mayor Chavous, having won on the basis of citizen-centered service, would be infinitely more committed to and backed by the people than would Brothers (in ‘hood parlance, Mothers?)-Under-the Skin Williams and Evans.
The germane question, then (though answerable only by the angels) is not which candidate most deserves to be mayor, but which the citizens of this buggered but still juiceable jurisdiction dare elect at all. For a sure decision, I invite the mysterious undecideds to view the mere surface lavishness of campaigns mounted on behalf of Evans and Williams by promoters of economic fantasy developments and the like (the latest, a 25-screen movie complex at 614 H St. NW).
From the Evans camp to date: a cornucopia of White House-caliber buffets, red-and-white shirts/buttons/Top Dawg utility pole posters, white-on-white Family & Hound illustrated slick-paper pamphlets. For Bean Eater Williams, six campaign offices (the headquarters staffed from 8:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.) stocked with a bewildering range of handouts to match the moods and predilections of one and all.
Imagine, now, the cost in terms of human energy, and not impossibly of blood, of ever digging either of the above out of the D.C. mayor’s office, once in, and then force-feeding any degree of economic justice back into the D.C. body impolitic.
Listen in vain at candidates forums (still too quiet, still overcourteous) for an explanation of how the genies of the financial “control” establishmentin the face of its own huge expenditure for consultants, consultants-to-consultants, etc.”surprised” each other and us with a $350,000 budget surplus. Listenlong!for proposals by Evans and Williams to restore at this rich and tempting hour the funds ripped from the University of the District of Columbia, public and trade schools, D.C. General, clinics, and essential welfare for adults without dependent children. (Not all in need have had the foresight to produce and retain dependent kids within legal distance of the hearth.) Line up in the aisles of forum-host churches, libraries, etc. Ask candidates for a pledge of budget surplus funds to stem AIDS, respiratory diseases, etc., partly chargeable to progressively polluted water, air, soil, and to restore the reliability of these elements.
Question candidates’ commitment, not on the bare-bones issue of rent control, but on making payment of rent contingent on repairs, upkeep, and security. Or on reinforcement of local streets before exposure to convention center excavation/construction. Listen to the temporizing from most parts of the platform; watch boredom fall along its line.
Consider: if successful campaigns like those fronted by Evans and Williams require incalculable payback. The bill is close to being in the mail. The mail is ours.
The most rudimentary sense of self-preservation or fairness must say: “Vote Chavous for mayor as your best bet.” When through your saving grace he wins, lend him your talents. Forgive him his shortcomings. Thank whatever stars there be.