Peter Rosenstein, the longtime Dupont Circle gay activist, has broken with his longtime support of Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans, announcing today he’s endorsing challenger Cary Silverman.
In comments to LL, Rosenstein explained that he thinks it’s time for a change. “I endorsed Adrian Fenty for real change in this city. I think that includes new views and new ideas and new ways of doing things on the council.” He also cited the need for a “full-time councilmember,” echoing one of Silverman’s main talking points.
Furthermore, Rosenstein says, “I think 12 years is enough for a person to be on the council….Jack should be thanked for his time there, but it’s time for him to move on.” [Clarification: Evans has been serving since 1991, making this his 17th year in office; Rosenstein was speaking generally.]
The endorsement of Rosenstein, who writes a column for the Washington Blade, also marks a break from other elements of the gay community. The Gertrude Stein Democratic Club gave Evans a strong vote of endorsement in June, and The Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance gave Evans a perfect 10 rating last month (Silverman rated a still high 8.5).
Silverman has picked up several endorsements from the neighborhood activist crowd over recent weeks, primarily from folks upset over Evans at his perceived focus on citywide development over bread-and-butter neighborhood issues. Evans continues to enjoy the support of most local institutions, with endorsements from the labor community, the business community, neighborhood newspapers, not to mention Mayor Adrian M. Fenty and Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray.
UPDATE, 1:39 P.M.: Rosenstein sent a statement, which is after the jump.
Today I am endorsing Cary Silverman for Council in Ward 2. I do so only after having thought about this very carefully.
I understand the potential value of having Jack Evans continue to serve and have his history and expertise on the Council. I can respect much of what he has done over the years. But I have come to the conclusion that it is time for a change and that the issues facing our City need new insight and we need some new blood with new ways of doing things on the Council.
I will vote for Cary Silverman because I think he is more in tune with with the needs and desires of Ward 2 residents and because he is highly qualified and has committed to serving as a full-time Council member with only one boss, the people of Ward 2. I think that Jack Evans has often resolved the conflicts of having two bosses , his law firm and the people, in favor of his law firm. That shouldn’t continue.
I also question after 12 years on the Council how Jack Evans can only take credit for the good years without having to take some responsibility for the collapse of the City which was under his watch as well. In fact, I understand that it was in 2004 that Deborah Nichols first issued a report to the Council raising grave concerns over improper financial practices in the City’s Budget Office and Jack, who had oversight authority of the agency, disregarded those concerns and held no hearings. Could we have stemmed the flow of money out of the City’s coffers at that time had he done so is something we will never know. But he should have tried because that was his responsibility as Chair of the Finance Committee of the Council.
I also support Cary Silverman because that support is consistent with my support of Adrian Fenty. I worked hard to elect Mayor Fenty because I want to see change in the way we govern the District of Columbia. I supported him and continue to support him because I believe we need to move forward and move away from the old ways of doing things.
Jack Evans is an entrenched part of the old guard. It is time to move into the future and bring new eyes and new ideas to the Council which will continue to allow us to raise the bar and make life better for all who live here. I believe that Cary Silverman can help to make the District of Columbia the world class city we all know it can be.