Since it was I, and not Councilmember Frank Smith, who encouraged Carolyn Llorente to seek the position of Ward 1 Democratic Party chair, please allow me to respond to your recent reporting concerning the election (Loose Lips, 5/22). Your reporter seems to have been badly misinformed (by Dee Hunter? by Jim Graham?) about Mrs. Llorente’s reasons for seeking the position. For the record, she did not seek it at Frank Smith’s behest or as a participant in some contest of strength between the parties vying for the Democratic nomination for Ward 1 councilmember.
The Ward 1 Democrats are a moribund body, trapped in a left of common-sense ’60s-style ideology, who hold sparsely attended meetings and issue pointless utopian manifestos. To say that the small group of people who attend meetings even remotely reflects the concerns and attitudes of a substantial portion of Democrats residing in Ward 1 would simply be untrueunless, of course, a poll can be produced showing same sex-marriages, free health care for illegal aliens, unlimited funding for various and sundry projects without identifying a revenue source, and social programs that make no demands for individual responsibility are actually reflective of what mainstream D.C. residents desire.
The challenge, then, is to offer new ideas to broaden the active democratic base in the ward. Instead of kooky ideas and tendentious discussions, the task is to find a way to be part of a democratic revival that includes and energizes far greater numbers of registered party members than the tiny coterie that has been involved heretofore. Those are the ideas that led Carolyn Llorente to seek the position of Ward 1 Democrats chair. She wanted to be (and will continue to be) part of an effort to restore a sense of purpose to our party activities in the ward. She didn’t run as some stalking horse for Frank Smith or as someone opposed to Jim Graham. She ran because she cares. It is unfair to characterize her effort as anything else.