Housing Complex

Jim Graham Striking Out With Businessfolk

Probably still on top though.

Probably still on top though.

City Desk reported yesterday that the D.C. Chamber of Commerce's PAC put its thumb on the scale for Ward One Council candidate Jeff Smith, making a pointed statement against Councilmember Jim Graham's continued service in the Wilson Building. I share Jason's surprise–it's not often that an organization will take such a risk on someone who was last seen polling around 15 eight percent. The Washington D.C. Association of Realtors, for example, just chose to quietly not endorse Graham instead of throwing their weight behind a challenger. "We haven't endorsed him before," WDCAR President Elizabeth Blakeslee told Housing Complex. "That's not unusual."

The Chamber, though, has some specific grievances with Graham's record. Contra Chuck Thies' charge that the Chamber "represents downtown business interests," a Chamber spokeswoman sent over a statement:

"Perhaps Mr. Thies fails to understand that the DC Chamber itself represents more than 1700 businesses, most of them being small businesses. It is the Chamber’s mission to balance the need for sound and progressive public policy with the need to protect small business owners from being overwhelmed by new and expensive governmentally imposed mandates, regulations and costs. Our PAC took note of Mr. Graham’s consistent opposition to that principal, particularly on the Accrued Sick and Safe legislation and the Human Rights for Ex-Offenders bill–in both cases he showed no concern for the needs of struggling small business owners, particularly in these challenging economic times.”

Mmm. Challenging economic times. You can probably imagine Thies' response to the Chamber's response: The 2008 Accrued Sick and Safe legislation required businesses to offer employees paid days off for medical reasons, which most employees could probably get on board with. And the 2009 Human Rights for Ex-Offenders bill prohibited discrimination in employment, housing, and education based on a previous arrest record (with certain exceptions). Understandable that a business organization would oppose them, but not difficult for Graham to defend.

I've heard complaints in the business community about Graham's stewardship of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Administration, specifically his willingness to entertain a liquor license moratorium on U Street. On the other hand, there are quite a few JIM GRAHAM signs in little shop fronts in Columbia Heights, and the Councilmember makes quite a show of handing out money for facade upgrades and compensation for construction bothers. Obviously, to say businesses are united either way would be a stretch.

The Chamber will also endorse in the contested races of wards 5 and 6.

Photo by flickr user dbking.

  • Rick Mangus

    People of Ward ONE, Please, Please, PLease get rid of the Queen of All Media, Please!

  • Mister Goat

    I just went to the Ward 1 candidate forum, where I was highly turned off by Graham and impressed by Smith and Bryan Weaver.

    But if the Chamber is backing Smith, that makes me nervous. Would Smith have opposed the Accrued Sick and Safe and Human Rights for Ex-Offenders bills? If so, I think I'll go with Weaver.

  • Northwesterner

    Who do you all bet on to win the superbowl? The band or the cheerleaders?

  • Brian

    She is killing me with those glasses. Not cute

  • dcvoterboy

    Correction needed above on the polling number, Jeff Smith was not polling at 15%. That was the combination of Jeff Smith and Bryan Weaver.

    "The survey of 300 Democrats in Ward 1 found Graham drawing 68 percent of the vote, while challengers Bryan Weaver and Jeff Smith split 15 percent of the vote. The poll, conducted by Celina Lake's firm Lake Research Partners, showed that 17 percent of Ward 1 votes remain undecided."

  • Rosa

    What you don't know is that Smith's wife shepherded the Sick and Safe bill through the Council as the lead staff member on the bill. Because of her work, both sides of the issue were able to come together. I think that says a lot in terms of a couple who know how to bring people together on important issues.

  • http://ABF ABF

    Jeff Smith is a great guy...wish I lived in ward 1 to vote for him!

  • Wifey

    @ Rosa...Jeff Smith's wife is not on the ballot (she'd actually be a better candidate) so what she did/didn't do is irrelevant.

  • Rosa

    Wifey, I think it shows the kind of people they are. If you don't think that's relevant, then that's sad.

  • FedUpwithDC

    The poll is a sham. First of all, it was paid for by Graham. Then, why was there only one stat released from the results? Was it only one question asked, or were the other questions not favorable to Graham? Then, a sample of 300 people - what is that 0.5% of voters?

    The press needs to be more objective in their reporting. Doesn't anyone ask the question WHY any more???? Readers, think about it, when was the last time we saw a credible poll where the full results weren't released???

    Don't let graham and his slimey team pull the wool over your eyes.

    It's ridiculous!!!!

  • Wifey

    @ Rosa...and Weaver's wife is a nationally known Latina activist and Democratic strategist, but she's not on the ballot either!

    Both Smith's wife and Weaver's wife are amazing people and I've been fortunate enough to meet both however ultimately it's about the candidate and what they have done and will do, not what their wives have been able to do based on the job they hold.

    Heck, I think Laura Bush was a pretty amazing person and did some good things, but that doesn't mean I was going to vote for her husband.

  • http://distcurm.blogspot.com/ IMGoph

    can you at least tell the flak who wrote that press release that there is a difference between "principal" and "principle," and they need to learn it?

  • Ghost of Daniel Shorr

    Dear City Paper,

    When did Housing Colmplex become the mouth piece of Jim Graham? Isn't the hook here that Jeff Smith won the CoC endorsement? Isn't Housing Complex Washington City Paper's blog about DC real estate? And not Lydia DePillis attempt to become press secretary for Jim Graham.

    PS Weaver seems to have signs up in several businesses too....but he didn't win endorsement either.