Loose Lips

Andy Shallal Kicks Off Mayoral Campaign

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So far this cycle, D.C.'s would-be mayors have leaned on Top 40 songs for their campaign kick-off music. Busboys & Poets owner Andy Shallal launched his bid a little differently, in the back room of Ben's Chili Bowl this morning: The event started with a bongo drums entrance (including some beats from Shallal himself), then a call-and-response rap from poet Bomani D. Armah.

"Make some noise for Andy Shallal," Bomani rapped. "And make D.C. a city for all."

Shallal tossed out a number of policy ideas, from weeks-long programs to improve students' social skills to lowering the voting age to 17. He struck broader tones too, saying the District needs to work for residents pushed out by gentrification.

While he backed an effort this year to limit D.C. campaign contributions to $100, Shallal said he will accept corporate contributions to his campaign, unlike mayoral rival Tommy Wells

Boxing promoter-turned-radio host Rock Newman spent much of his introduction for Shallal reading an email he sent to Shallal after hearing he was considering his mayoral run. While noting that, at the very least, his candidacy would, Newman warned him to make sure he wanted the job. "Be sure you are not a lady who wants a great wedding," Newman read, "but really doesn't desire all the responsibility of being married."

Newman promised the crowd in his introduction that Shallal would be free of the "cesspool" of District politics. That's despite Shallal's chairmanship of now-convicted ex-councilmember Michael A. Brown's 2012 re-election campaign (Shallal says he didn't know Brown was corrupt while chairing the campaign).

Shallal, who supports Vince Gray enough that he previously suggested he'd be willing to drop out of the race if the mayor ran, nevertheless took some digs at Gray in his speech. Among them: Gray's passion for announcing in speeches the increasing number of construction cranes in the city. "I believe we not only need to count the number of cranes we have, but ask whether those cranes do anything for the people," Shallal says.

Photo by Will Sommer

  • RealDC

    Alrighty, now we can get this mayoral race popping!

    I went to Ben's this morning to get my usual greasy Tuesday breakfast and low and behold, another candidate for mayor. Not sure if he is for real or just trying to feed his ego. We'll see.

    Does Rock Newman live in DC? Not from but live and vote. Open question for all.

  • Chris hauser

    Rock lives on foxhall rd nw, I thinks.

    Chairman of mike brown's campaign? 17 year olds voting?

    3.5%, max.

    I take under. Bet's one dollar, I'll take all bets.

  • Retired Cop 70

    He's right on about gentrification in this city all the prime locations are being taken with 600 thousand dollar condos. What government worker or middle class person with a GS7 or blue collar wage could afford to live in this city, NONE! The other candidates are all city council persons whom seem to be afraid of the "G" word and will never mention it in public. Shallal is saying the right thing but we have heard this before. We the people of DC need affordable homes in the city center now not in 2017. Even the prime locations in Southeast are changing FAST. In my 70 plus years I never though I'd see the day when only the rich will live in the District.

  • SEis4ME

    DC needs to work for those "pushed out" by gentrification? This says the owner of BusBoy's and Eatonville which I'm assuming did nothing to "gentrify" their respective n'hoods?

    Not sure I get why the need to lower the voting age. A better option would be to have weekend voting. D'uh.

    Just because construction is happening all around the city doesn't mean that it does anything to help the people? Ok, let's take a stab at that. What phantom entity benefits from construction if not, well, PEOPLE?

    I know this is Will's summary but sheesh!

  • Pingback: The more, the merrier

  • Foodie

    So how exactly does running restaurants that are trendoid meccas but have not collectively, in how many years, managed to produce a single decent meal or contribute anything to the food culture prepare one to be CEO of a complex system such as a city. I mean, have you eaten at Eatonville?

    Irony seems lost on Shallal generally beyond decrying "gentrification" from the "back room" at Ben's in the heart of the ever expanding Ali empire (which the family deserves having sustained their businesses during the building of the infrastructures which form the basis from which the renaissance has flourished). This from an interloper whose entire fortune is rooted entirely in the gentrification he now decries and who is championed by the likes of Rock "I'll park my Rolls anywhere I darn please peon" Newman.

    Shallal might want to look around at the prosperous, educated, multi-racial, intellectual types in his own neighborhood and then offer a more nuanced definition of this gentrification canard.

    He seems roughly on par with Muriel Bowser in the preparedness and smarts
    departments which I guess at least puts him a few laps ahead of Wells.

  • noodlez

    OHH SHIT!!!!!

  • http://www.ToddCWiggins.com Todd

    Todd C. Wiggins shared a link.
    2 minutes ago near Washington, DC · Edited
    Why is Andy Shallal running for Mayors Office ?
    (Here's what he said just over 2 years ago)

    Me: Would you consider running for office?
    Andy: "No no, I have absolutely no interest in running for office. I love what I do. I think people who run for office have a certain way about them. I don't have those skills. I can't lie really well."

    Andy Shallal in 2011 says