Busboys & Poets & Potential Mayoral Candidates
Andy Shallal, the restaurateur behind Busboys & Poets, is thinking about becoming the sixth candidate in the mayor's race—maybe.
"If you don't consider this lightly, then you're stupid," Shallal tells LL.
On Wednesday, Shallal organized a group of supporters to help him consider whether he should run. He got the idea several months ago, when he was struck by how the mayoral candidates were being described along racial lines, he says.
"They're not identified by what they stand for or what they're bringing," Shallal says. "It's the black candidate and the white candidate."
To educate potential voters, LL quizzed him on a couple of city issues. He's for the D.C. United stadium proposal and marijuana decriminalization, but against the living wage bill, which he thinks targets Walmart too closely. And he has a proposal of his own: devoting 1 percent of each city agency's budget to art."If you're doing some road construction, you need art," Shallal says.
Mayor Vince Gray's first term also has Shallal's support. If Gray does try to hold on to his seat and has been cleared of any campaign wrongdoing, Shallal says he'll have to reconsider whether he himself should be in the race—assuming he's in the race.
At this point, Shallal says the only other thing holding him back is going through the "meat grinder" of attacks. "Somebody came to eat and didn't like the food," Shall says. "Somebody didn't get good service."
Update, 6:35: Living wage bill supporters Respect D.C. questioned LL's description of Shallal's position on the Large Retailer Accountability Act on Twitter. Reached this evening, Shallal confirms to LL that he doesn't support the current version of the bill, and wants it to be amended to increase the minimum wage city-wide. "It's a nice attempt, but it needs to be amended," Shallal tells LL.
Shallal also commented on LL's post below.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery