Catania Accuses Bowser of Slim Record on Housing
Fresh off criticizing mayoral rival Muriel Bowser's education record, David Catania is slamming her for something closer to her D.C. Council responsibilities.
Catania's campaign asks supporters to sign a petition demanding that Bowser, whose economic development committee on the Council covers several housing-related agencies, explain her record on the issue. To go with the petition, Catania's campaign produced the Monopoly-style image above, where housing policy embarrassments like the D.C. General homeless shelter take the place of properties like Baltic Avenue.
"It's simply to call attention to the obvious: that she's been derelict in her responsibilities to the Council," Catania says.
Since taking over the economic development portfolio in January 2012, Bowser has only passed one housing-related bill through her committee, a symbolic resolution urging the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority to take affordable housing into account in its development decisions. Bowser has introduced more substantial housing-related legislation into her committee as well in the Council period that started last year, but none of them have passed.
Catania isn't the only one criticizing Bowser's committee tenure. D.C. Tenants' Advocacy Coalition head Jim McGrath tells LL that Bowser's tenure has amounted to a "finger in the eye" for affordable housing advocates. (McGrath's not impressed with Catania's housing record either, although it's worth noting that Catania isn't a member of Bowser's committee.)
Bowser, who didn't respond to LL's requests for comment, is planning a Democratic "unity fundraiser" for May 31. Despite Bowser's attempt to rally Democrats who opposed her in the April primary, Catania claims that his campaign has the momentum.
"The energy surrounding her campaign is in the witness protection program somewhere," Catania says. "Because nobody can find it. "
Bowser campaign manager Bo Shuff declined to respond to that.
(Incidentally, Washington City Paper photographer Darrow Montgomery took the picture used in the Monopoly graphic. After using the photo without seeking the paper's permission, the campaign has agreed to pay for its use.)
Graphic courtesy of the Catania campaign, photo by Darrow Montgomery