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What you said about what we said last week
Can Carol Schwartz’s charm assault put her in contention for the mayoralty? It doesn’t look likely, but her campaign, profiled in last week’s Loose Lips column, is at least livening up the race. Not for At-Large Councilmember and mayoral hopeful David Catania, though. “Schwartz and Catania must have a hell of a beef for her to re-emerge on the scene after all these years,” commented Mt. Pleasant Peasant. “Catania might have had a (slim-to-fair) change had Schwartz stayed out, but he has absolutely no chance at this point.”
Pointing to a recent Washington Post poll, reader Elizabeth Simmons pushed back against the conventional wisdom that Schwartz will only siphon votes away from Catania, the race’s other independent (and former Republican). “The fact is without Schwartz in race, Catania would be behind [Muriel] Bowser with the exact same spread count that exists now.” “It may feel good for his supporters to blame Schwartz for the fact that he may not win, but it’s plainly inaccurate…LL should retract that.”
The harshest reaction to the piece came from Khalid Pitts, who owns a 14th Street NW wine bar and is running for an at-large D.C. Council seat. Pitts appears in the profile, asking Schwartz to take a picture with him. She balks—she has a policy, she later clarified, to not take pictures with other candidates.
Pitts didn’t read the Loose Lips version of the encounter that way. In a press release from his campaign asking us to retract the piece and apologize, he said, “The City Paper’s reporting crossed a clear line, implying either I wasn’t trustworthy or that Ms. Schwartz had discomfort simply being pictured with me…What is perhaps more troubling, and I think not lost on the City Paper’s readers is that Ms. Schwartz is white and I am African-American. Their lack of objectivity and connotation of racial insensitivity here was clearly inappropriate.”
Reader Michelle Grifka offered further admonishment: “You had an opportunity to fill a needed void on coverage of local races and you chose to focus on who would or would not take a picture with whom? I know you can do better.”
Others weren’t sold on Pitts’ criticism, which Peter J. Orvetti called “a real stretch. It looks like he’s grasping for any way to get attention (and I can’t blame him, really).” And on Twitter, @gawain wrote, “Hey Khalid, Carol Schwartz refused to take a photo with me, too. It was weird. I’m a voter. Don’t take it personally.”
Rocky Rhode Island
In Woodridge near the Maryland line, the limping commercial strip along Rhode Island Avenue NE may not be able to support a slick, slow-pour coffee shop, but it can support one with a wholesale coffee roaster in the back. Last week’s Housing Complex column concerned one developer’s embrace of “transitional retail” in Woodridge—businesses that add to the area’s street life but aren’t entirely reliant on walk-in traffic. One reader saw a more straightforward way to spur growth in the area. “Tearing down and redeveloping Rhode Island Shopping Center is the necessary first step to improving RIA NE,” wrote Ward 5. “Until then, everything else will continue to be struggling outliers.”
Department of Corrections
Due to a reporting error, an essay on the D.C. Commission of the Arts and Humanities’ 5×5 exhibition misspelled the last name of Lance Fung, one of the show’s artists.