Loose Lips

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

  • Ronaldo

    Team Bowser sucks eggs. Catania is going to win hands down.

  • Wrack

    Please, go to the DC Tenants' Advocacy Coalition's website and decide for yourself whether they are a legit organization, or if, instead, they are a bunch of incoherent ranting crazy people.

  • DC Guy

    Didn't Bowser force a development on top of the Takoma metro to lose a floor of housing units? She also opposes the ADU proposals in the zoning rewrite.

    But yet, she is somehow for more affordable housing.

    Can someone explain this?

  • DC John

    If we think Ms Bowser's empty chair/empty suit housing results leaves a lot to be desired, just wait until people start to ask her about her performance as one of the District of Columbia's seat on METRO's Board of Directors...questionable contract practices, construction fiascoes, raising fares, security around the system and more!

  • Northwesterneer

    I no longer believe that the DC Government has a role to play in providing housing of any kind. I believe that every effort that has been done has been a serious failure. I recently learned of two infant deaths at DC General in 2009 and 2010 prior to the Relisha Rudd disappearance. The DC government is not competent to influence the housing market, to require that there be affordable housing or any housing-related product.

    Catania should NOT make proposals for continuing to spend our tax dollars on broken real estate schemes that will never work. Bowser should NOT make proposals for continuing to spend our tax dollars on broken real estate schemes that will never work.

    There is no political solution to affordable housing other than:
    1. Make neighborhoods safer/safest to attract tenants to existing housing stock which is considered undesirable due to current crime. See: How did H ST NE get fixed
    2. Improve education and student loan money for DC residents persuing graduate degrees so that they can be competitive in the DC job market
    3. For residents without undergrad degrees required to live in DC- a firm handshake and a metro pass to the cheaper suburbs.

    I don't want to be mean, but can I afford to live in downtown Manhattan? No? Then how can someone expect affordable housing in the Manhattan of this area- DC?

  • DCShadyBoots

    5 Democrats for Catania signs appeared on my block almost overnight. His campaign is making ground.

  • drez

    Catania is the new Wells- he has a small core group of passionate supporters, will not expand his base beyond them, and so will lose.
    Wells for OP Director. Catania for DME.
    Muriel would do well to hire each in these positions.


    I dispise both Muriel Bowser and David Catania. However, Catania is smarter than Bowser.


    Northwesterneer not only do you sound mean, you sound like an idiot.

  • John

    I wish Catania would run his campaign saying what he is for and what he would do if elected. The republican thing of tearing down your opponent does not make you stand out as better. Let us hear what you would do if elected and how you wish to improve the city instead of this constant negative campaign.

  • Theo

    Building more strictly low income housing projects in NOT the answer. We need to focus on building well-rounded mixed income housing. The low income housing in the city is a hot bed for criminal activity. However, when there are building with high end options as well as affordable housing, they seem to work the best.

  • Typical DC BS

    Sorry, Northwesterneer is making sense. "Affordable Housing" initiatives are a joke. Tell us why certain people should have their housing subsidized unless they have physical or mental handicaps? If you can't afford to live in this area, you need to move. There is no RIGHT to live in a neighborhood you can't afford to live in, no matter what liberal policies Democrats try to promote in direct opposition to common sense.
    When the inevitable response of "who will do all the low paying service jobs in the high priced areas" arises, the answer is wages will have to rise in order to attract employees or employees will find a way to commute to keep that job.

  • SayWhat

    David Catania is not even a legal contender for Mayor, he hasn't turned in one petition. Muriel keep treating him like a knat at a barbeque. He will be saying the same thing long after Muriel Bowser cleans his clock.

  • ZC

    It is wrong to say that Catania is not a "legal" contender. Nomination papers for this fall's general election will not be available until mid-summer and due when complete in August.

    Catania is raising money, has a website, has made it crystal clear that he is running, has declared that he is a candidate, has had campaign events.

    I get that Bowser's strategy is to avoid debating him in the meantime and probably will not do well in debates against him. She knows that. He knows that. It's risk avoidance on her part.

    Catania is as "legal" a candidate as any independent candidate could be at this point.

  • DCShadyBoots

    To opine that Catania isn't gaining ground on Bowser is to relish personal ignorance.

  • SayWhat

    ZC,I appreciate your comment, but at anytime before July 7, 2014, David can switch and run for his At-Large seat which makes him not a true contender for Mayor. Right now Muriel is the only contender for Mayor.


    Catania is running for Mayor and will probably make history in DC!

    His biggest obstacle is overcoming the idea that long time Democrats in DC have to vote for the party's nominee. Side by side, there is no comparison between the two. Catania beats her in every category.

    This election is about competency. Is Bowser competent? What you say Ward 4?

    The Democratic party in DC is fractured and broken. Gray's folks are NOT voting for Bowser. They either will sit out or vote Catania. Wells and Alexander are pondering changing their affiliation to Independent and running for At-Large seats. Again, the Dems machine in DC is broken!

    If Catania can get 30% of the Dems to vote for him..... It will be a "tight" race! With her personality and the disdain that folks have for her, 30% is attainable.

    SHE IS NOT LIKED!! She lost her own precinct in the primary!! If your neighbors do NOT want you to be Mayor then why should the rest of the city want you? She did NOT get 50% of the votes in her ward. YOU are the Ward 4 council member for 7 years and cannot get 50% from you "home ward" for a city wide race??........ there is a PROBLEM with her as a candidate!! After running for Mayor for 1 year, she gets 35,000 votes in the lowest turnout election in DC in 40 years!!

    How sorry is her campaign? And the only reason she won the primary, is because the US Attorney delivered an unethical, smear attack on Mayor Gray! Outrageous! After a 100 year "shadow campaign" investigation, we still have no conclusion, no charges, no indictments, etc. Nothing! "But I (Bowser) believe the US Attorney"....her and him can leave town, oh thats right he doesn't live in DC anyway. Ok she can leave too.

    Why would anybody vote for her? Her record....dismal! LOOK AT WARD 4!! How are the schools doing in Ward 4? Georgia Ave? Kennedy Street? Ok, she is on Metro's board, how is that going? Exactly. NOTHING! NOTHING! The Queen of Platitudes is the worse!

    My decision is between Catania or "NO" vote at all. Sad, it will be the first time in my DC voting life that I might not participate in a DC Mayoral Election.

    Life Long Democrat...... For REAL!

  • DCShadyBoots

    Catania IS gonna remain in this Mayoral race. He has campaign contributors from across the nation and the District of Columbia. He is the brightest person run and has the competence and demeanor to hold city leaders accountable.

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