Loose Lips

A Deputy Mayor for East of the River? No Thanks, Say Some.


Muriel Bowser's proposal for a deputy mayor for east of the river issues sounds like the kind of good-government policy no one could disagree with. (Personally, LL will vote for whoever promises to appoint a Deputy Mayor for LL Affairs.) But the deputy mayor position is turning out to be surprisingly controversial.

Bowser's plan took attacks from three candidates at Saturday's Ward 8 Democrats forum, including rapper Carlos Allen and At-Large Councilmember Vincent Orange. "You don’t need no deputy mayor of anybody to come and help you out," Orange told the crowd. "What you need is leadership to get it done."

Mayor Vince Gray, who's started calling Wards 7 and 8 "the East End," used Bowser's proposal to pivot into an applause line. "You don’t need a Deputy Mayor for East of the River Strategy," Gray said. "You need a mayor who’s going to be focused on East of the River, and by the way, I live east of the river.”

Of course, that didn't stop Bowser from getting more votes than anyone else after the Ward 8 forum.

LL's waiting to hear back from Bowser on her opponents' attacks, but in the meantime, reaction in those wards is mixed.

Ward 8 activist and former At-Large D.C. Council candidate Sandra Seegars worries that the deputy mayor position would allow a mayor to shrug off responsibility for two of the city's wards onto the deputy. "It’d be like two cities," Seegars says.

Ward 8 Democrats president Natalie Williams isn't so opposed. Maybe the two wards with the highest unemployment rates in the city and new development could do with some special attention.

"There’s a lot that’s going to be happening here, and if it requires under her leadership to have someone totally focused on Ward 8, then I'm all for that," Williams says.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

  • schoolman


    You are Welcomed! I am with you. There is an ongoing debate - is public administration a art or a science? I believe that it can be both. I also believe that there are actions that can be taken that will actually spur economic growth in Wards 7 and 8.

    Her plan will have to be both creative and technical.

  • tony

    On a serious note.


    “After we have made our requests known to Him, our language should be, “Thy will be done.” I would a thousand times rather that Gods’ will should be done than my own.”
    -D. L. Moody

  • SEis4ME

    @Marvin Adams, East End DC is no different than any other part of the country. That is, poor, undereducated, whites in southern states still vote Republican. Poor, undereducated, blacks in major cities like DC, NYC, Chi-town continue to vote Democrat. You can easily make the argument that things won't get better for them until they vote for a different partycrop of people. But that would leave out all the little nuances that make humans...human.

    Until there is a viable candidate to oust both Alexander and Barry (who might not finish out his term..and let the race begin) both will continue to win. This isn't some new, isolated, phenom. It happens all the time. We reelected George Bush. Nuance always matters.

    What I've never been clear about is what exactly has Marion Barry done to purposely deter significant development in our Ward. I use "significant" because I moved to East End in 2002 and can't remember a CM other than him. I bear witness to the draaaastic changes I've seen during that time.

    In no way am I suggesting there isn't a LOT more to do nor judging to what extent Barry is/n't responsible. But what legislation, development, partnership etc has he encouraged that has had deleterious effect on Ward 8?

    Always wanted to know that.

  • SEis4ME

    @Schoolman, Yes I absolutely believe East End can benefit from increased economic development.

    Where I believe we disagree is on a more basic level of governance. From a governing perspective, I do not believe a city should create an entity who would be held responsible for overseeing economic development in specific parts of the city. As a principle, I think this is a great example of gov't waste.

    Through the Office of the Mayor and various agencies, ANC's, and CM's we already have systems in place to address the economic development in W8.

    I would like some of my fellow neighbors conflicted between Gray and Bowser to ask realize that these "arguments" were made against Williams AND Fenty. So now Bowser is attempting to muddy the waters once again...capitalizing on concerned sentiments of W8 voters who sincerely want to see more opportunities in our Ward voters...and turn Gray into what many of us who supported him voted against...Adrian "Her Mentor" Fenty.

    This is where the term poverty pimp comes in....

  • schoolman


    I'm am no Bowser fan and I don't think we should limit ourselves to considering either Gray or Bowser.

    As for her proposal regarding the Deputy, you are only considering the possible costs of establishing a new position solely dedicated to addressing EOTR economic issues. But you have failed to consider how the benefits would offset the costs if the Deputy is effective.

    The potential benefits (i.e. increased revenue, lower unemployment rates, lower Gov. dependency)to the District would far out weight the costs of the new position if the Deputy proved effective.

    Also, based upon your comments it appears that you don't believe that it is possible for anyone to spur economic growth EOTR under any circumstances. I do not agree with that position. I do believe that integrating the Deputy into the current structure would be extremely complex. I'm simply saying, let Bowser come forth with specifics.

    Although there is currently a Deputy Mayor for Economic Development, I am sure there are challenges he faces that we may not be aware of.

    If Bowser's proposal is viable and the Deputy proves effective, then the District could consider eliminating the current position of Deputy Mayor for Economic Development, and assign a Deputy to each quadrant of the city.

    Again, if the Deputy proves effective, the benefits could far outweigh the costs! Let's wait and consider her specifics when she presents them.

    If her proposal is viable, that does not obligate us to vote for her. Her viable proposal could be adopted by whatever candidate we decide to support.

  • SEis4ME


    The "gov't" can't create jobs to lower the unemployment rate. The "gov't" can't lower gov't dependency. You're asking me to consider something that I believe is completely irrational. The mayor does not determine these things.

    Also, I never said that it's impossible to spur development EOTR because I have actually SEEN development in W8 alone. What I have pointed out here is that "our problems" are unlike those WOTR and many of them require a "community intervention" rather than gov't. That's the issue which is usually put on the backburner when assessing our needs.

    But I said much earlier than we have fundamental disagreement about the role of and reach of gov't. I do not think it's prudent to eliminate ONE position (with staff) and create FOUR new ones (which staff).

    The election is only months away. She should have kept the proposal under wraps if she wasn't ready to answer questions about it. That way, it would look like she's done her due diligence and not put her finger to wind and see which way it blows.

  • Ward 7 Voter

    If we need a Deputy Mayor for EOTR, what is the purpose of having Ward 7 & 8 Councilmembers? Just shows me that Muriel doesn't have what it takes to lead the ENTIRE CITY. I don't see her suggesting a Deputy Mayor for WOTR.

    Thanks for the suggestion Muriel, I now know who I WILL NOT be voting for come April 1, 2014!

  • DCShadyBoots

    Muriel is already trying to delegate mayoral responsibilities. No thank you.

  • schoolman


    Although I respect your opinion, I disagree with your assertion that the government can't lower the unemployment rate or reduce government dependency.

    If a Deputy can encourage development in EOTR, buildings will be either refurbished or built - this will create jobs (lower the rate of unemployment) and those employed to construct the buildings, if only for a short period, will no longer be dependent upon the government for sustenance during the period of employment. The businesses will hire employees thereby lowering the unemployment rate and reducing government dependency.

    Our community is excited about the upcoming Skyland project. D.C. Government officials were instrumental in encouraging developers to develop the area by offering incentives, etc. Citizens will be hired to assist in the construction and hundreds of jobs will be available once the businesses occupy the development. This will impact upon the rate of unemployment and those hired will likely no longer be dependent upon the government for sustenance.

    Development and businesses equal jobs. The availability of jobs lower unemployment rates and reduce government dependency.

    I understand that these descriptions are rough, but I think you get the point.

    By its own admission, one of the primary goals of the District Government is to reduce the unemployment rate thereby reducing government dependency. For example, there are many programs offered by the District's Department of Employment Services (DOES) specifically designed for that purpose.

    Although you are a very articulate commentator, I don't understand your point.

    There is no doubt that the availability of jobs EOTR would reduce the rate of unemployment and government dependency. These are also the primary purposes and goals of the Deputy Mayor for Economic Development. The questions before us are: 1) Why hasn't the current Mayor for Economic Development been more effective? 2) What will Bowser's Deputy do, that has not already been done, that will spur economic development EOTR? 3) What duties and authorities will be vested to this Deputy that will enable him to spur development EOTR?

    Why can't we just reserve judgment until she has presented details?

  • schoolman


    Furthermore, there is one thing of which I am absolutely certain. The current mechanisms have proven ineffective.

  • 16th Street Heights Ward 4

    Muriel Bowser will not win the mayoral race because she's an immature individual lacking people skills. Ward 4 Councilmember Muriel Bowser and her staff have been non responsive to me and others regarding constituent services. Constituent services in the Ward 4 Councilmember's office is abysmal. If you piss Muriel off, she will ignore you and write you off. This is dumb on Muriel's part because I'm a registered active voter and you don't write voters off. A good politician wouldn't write off voters regardless. Muriel is immature and this young woman need to grow up.

    Active D.C. Ward 4 Voter

  • Ward3er

    So is Councilwoman Bowser saying that Ward 7 & 8 have such deficits in leadership that a special nanny mayor needs to be appointed. While in 3 I've worked in Ward 8 for decades and know there are many people trying to make it better; However, there seems to be some kind of ceiling as to good things happening there hmmm wonder why?

  • SEis4ME

    @School, I think you might not fully understand what you're saying here. Your premise is that we should at least "consider" a Deputy Mayor position who would be responsible for overseeing the economic development (lack of), unemployment and gov't dependency crisis EOTR.

    My point to you is that if the gov't was successful creating jobs and providing an economic boom to depressed areas like EOTR, there would be a successful example to follow. In fact, there would be NO unemployment NOR poverty because the gov't would've solved that problem already.

    The gov't can provide incentives for businesses to invest in areas EOTR but it can not FORCE them to move there. It can work in concert w/private businesses to improve economic development. However, businesses are not just going to relocate EOTR w/o taking into account the same considerations they do when relocating to any other place.

    Did the Yes Organic Market fail because we didn't have an EOTR Deputy? Does every employee there now and any other business establishment EOTR live EOTR? Will WalMart hire only EOTR residents? Will the construction companies hire only EOTR residents? When the Giant on Alabama Ave opened (the largest in the city) did it hire on EOTR residents which helped to decrease unemployment EOTR? How would a Deputy Mayor for EOTR have changed the trajectory of any of that?

    While certainly providing some much needed tax revenue to the immediate area, those jobs will help DC as a whole and will not, despite your assumptions otherwise, provide relief to the serious challenges you mentioned above. And I must say, neither will having a dedicated Deputy for EOTR.

  • SEis4ME

    The reason we don't have to wait for her to come out w/details is because SHE made the decision to present and barebones allowing all of us to form solid opinions that likely won't change. She's given us the opportunity to think the worse based on the rather clumsy way she rolled it out.

  • Schoolman


    For the sake of conversation, lets agree that she rolled it out in a clumsy manner. Is that sufficient for us to conclude that the details of her plan, if she has any, are unworthy of consideration?

  • SEis4ME

    Thanks..we'll agree there.

    And yes, the fact that she didn't present any plans, you wondering "if" she has any details at all, along w/my rationale for why a Deputy should not exist does led me to believe her plan is unworthy of consideration.

  • stick2yourguns

    thank you schoolman why limit it to just a black vote we have had nothing but black mayors maybe we need to go with who is best which sure isn't bowser for sure.

  • Used2B

    So, which Mayoral proposal has drawn this much commentary? Certainly, the devil is in the details of any proposal. However, generating passion and dialogue is a plus for the EoTR Deputy.

  • free

    Mostly idiot comments on this board.
    Typical crap. Statements about politicians with few to no examples. White people claiming that The entire east side if the river exists and is in its state- because "they " voted for Marion Barry. More whites commenting that nothing will improve Wards 7 and 8 except "new demographic" (i.e white people). And whites who just moved to Ward 8 mentioning "blaming da white man" and Al Sharpton (?!!!).
    The internet is full of craziness.

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