Loose Lips

Catania Publishes Book-Sized Platform, Slams Bowser Over Her Own Plans

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Mayoral hopeful David Catania released a hefty policy platform this morning, then called on frontrunner opponent Muriel Bowser to follow suit.

"After 18 months of running for mayor, this is the sum total of what my opponent is offering in terms of vision," Catania said, waving a few printed pages from Bowser's website next to a stack of his 126-page platform booklet.

To be fair to Bowser, a lot of those Catania pages are photographs. But there's a lot of other stuff in there, as well: from backing guaranteed parental leave and funding it with a payroll tax, to signing on to the Bill DeBlasio-style "Vision Zero" effort to reduce traffic fatalities. (LL has embedded Catania's platform booklet below).

Flanked by high-profile supporters at his Dupont Circle campaign office, including former Ward 6 Councilmember Sharon Ambrose and former D.C. Chamber of Commerce head Barbara Lang, Catania accused his opponent of relying on the Democratic nomination and dodging him and opponent Carol Schwartz by limiting the number of debates.

Read more Catania Publishes Book-Sized Platform, Slams Bowser Over Her Own Plans

Morning Links

Large David Catania policy document backs Vince Gray's streetcar plan, plus guaranteed paid parental leave. [Post]

Muriel Bowser commits to only four mayoral debates. [LLPost, WAMU]

Mayoral Power Rankings are back. [LL]

Vince GrayPhil Mendelson on the witness list for Monday afternoon statehood hearing in the Senate. [Times]

But the statehood bill still isn't going anywhere. [Post]

Voters unmoved by mayoral options. [Post]

Read more Morning Links

Mayoral Power Rankings, General Election: Week 1

What season comes after summer? Mayoral Power Rankingsof course. 

Again, the Rankings are not about who is most likely to win, but who has momentum. Check back every Friday until Election Day to see the three lead candidates rise and fall, with occasional bonus attorney general and D.C. Council at-large race Power Rankings.

1. Muriel Bowser

What: Bowser landed an endorsement from the firefighters' union and reached out to wards 7 and 8, with varying degrees of success.

Why: Bowser's supposed rationale for her newfound opposition to a busy forum schedule won't fool anyone, but it's hard not to look like the leading candidate when she can afford to pick and choose her debates.

Power Rankings Momentum: Tenuous. Read more Mayoral Power Rankings, General Election: Week 1

Bowser Commits to Only Four Mayoral Debates

Muriel Bowser throttled Mayor Vince Gray in the Democratic primary. Along the way, she managed to pick up at least one trick from her former foe: avoiding as many debates as possible.

After refusing to debate rivals David Catania and Carol Schwartz until weeks after the mayoral ballot was set, Bowser followed up this afternoon with a campaign press release that limits the number of debates she'll participate in. Despite going to countless debates and forums during the Democratic primary, Bowser now says she'll only commit to going to four "conveniently located or widely broadcasted" events before the general election. (A Washington City Paper-sponsored debate at the Black Cat on Oct. 8 is not on her list.)

"People can see right through her shenanigans to avoid debates," says Catania campaign manager Ben Young.

Bowser spokesman Joaquin McPeek declined to comment on the release, while Schwartz didn't respond to an immediate request for comment.

If you're looking to catch Bowser at one of her appearances, the campaign-approved debates and forums are:

  • Sept. 18, the American University Forum at American University's Abramson Hall. 7 p.m. – 9 p.m.
  • Oct. 2, the WAMU 88.5 Debate. NPR Headquarters. 7 p.m. – 9 p.m.
  • Oct. 15, the NBC 4/Washington Post Debate. Streamed online. 12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
  • Oc. 16, the Ward 8 Collaborative Forum. Anacostia High School. 7 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Read more Bowser Commits to Only Four Mayoral Debates

Morning Links

At-large candidates trash the D.C. United soccer stadium deal. [LL]

McKinley Middle School teacher apologizes for asking students to compare George W. BushAdolf Hitler. [City DeskPost, WAMUTimesTimes]

Art critic Marion Barry vows to get to the bottom of unpopular Anacostia art. [Arts Desk]

Here's some Anacostia public art that will probably be better received. [Housing Complex]

D.C. Working Families endorses Graylan HaglerElissa Silverman in the at-large race. [Post]

Post ed board backs traffic cameras after critical inspector general report. [Post]

Silverman goes on WPFW's D.C. Politics Hour. [WPFW]

Gym says it didn't open on H Street NE because of the "yoga tax." [City Desk]

Police chief criticizes cop's hassling of man filming arrest. [Post]

Read more Morning Links

At-Large Candidates Bash Soccer Stadium Deal

Elissa Silverman

Securing a D.C. United soccer stadium deal in 2015 looked a lot harder after last night's D.C. Council at-large forum. Like kids clustering around a soccer ball, several of the candidates fell over one another trying to bash Mayor Vince Gray's plan to swap 14th Street NW's Reeves Center for D.C. United soccer stadium land.

Elissa Silverman said Gray's plan amounted to a "giveway," while Rev. Graylan Hagler said the deal "stinks to high hell." Statehood Green Eugene Puryear declared that developer Akridge's negotiations to swap the Reeves Center for stadium land amount to a "terroristic attitude."

Even Eric Jones, a former construction industry lobbyist, said the stadium amounted to a failed "campaign ploy" for Gray. Courtney Snowden proposed selling the Reeves Center and putting the money into human services.

"Oh, I don't know," Snowden said. "Maybe you've heard of D.C. General."

Read more At-Large Candidates Bash Soccer Stadium Deal

Morning Links

David Catania polling memo obtained by LL shows mayor's race nearly tied. [LL]

Although Carol Schwartz makes fun of the mystery poll. [LL]

Would-be operators want to take over scandal-plagued charter school. [Post]

The case against Vince Gray, explained. [LL]

Firefighters endorse Muriel Bowser for mayor. [LL]

Kishan Putta keeps his spot on the at-large ballot. [LL]

Another public-art flap flares up in Anacostia. [Arts Desk]

Olympic bid organizers make their pitch to local governments. [WBJ, WAMU]

Read more Morning Links

The Case Against Vince Gray, Explained

Can’t Vince Gray go on a trip without everything going to hell? The District’s lame-duck mayor was only a few days into his visit to China last week when U.S. Attorney Ron Machen popped up to spoil his lo mein.

Machen’s latest method for needling his longtime target: Mark Long, Gray’s former campaign driver, and now the most recent Gray associate to confess to crimes he committed to help get Gray elected in 2010.

Gray can’t be too put out, though. For three years now, pleas and cooperation deals from the mayor’s pals and alleged benefactors have been a regular feature of District politics. Every couple of months, prosecutors have a new Gray crony ready to admit to crimes.

Still, it’s been 30 months since federal agents raided businessman Jeff Thompson’s office, and a whopping 42 months since 2010 candidate Sulaimon Brown narc’ed on Gray’s campaign staff, setting this whole thing off. Six people who helped Gray’s campaign have pleaded guilty to various charges; in case you’ve lost track, LL figured it was time to take another look at where we are in the investigation.

Who was at the center of the scheme?
The federal investigation has stretched from Thompson’s illicit campaign to help Hillary Clinton in the 2008 Texas Democratic presidential primary to illegal contributions in the U.S. Virgin Islands. In the District, though, it’s all about Thompson and Gray.

Read more The Case Against Vince Gray, Explained

Firefighters Back Muriel Bowser in Mayor’s Race

What's a public safety-minded voter to do in November? While the District's police union backed mayoral hopeful David Catania in August, the union that represents D.C. Fire and EMS personnel announced today that it will endorse Ward 4 Councilmember Muriel Bowser for mayor.

Ed Smith, who heads the local chapter of the International Association of Firefighters, says the union was won over by Bowser's support for giving the union a role in picking the new chief for the troubled fire department.

"She believes there should be a national search for a fire chief, and we should be part of that process," Smith says.

The union hasn't always been so fond of Bowser. During the Democratic primary, the fire union backed Ward 6 Councilmember Tommy Wells against her. But Wells' own support for Bowser helped convince the firefighters to join him.

Read more Firefighters Back Muriel Bowser in Mayor’s Race

Catania Polling Memo Claims to Show Dramatically Tightened Mayor’s Race

LL has obtained a copy of a summary of the hotly contested David Catania campaign-sponsored poll, and it's a doozy. While much is still unclear about the poll, including the questions and the demographics of the respondents, the numbers suggest a far more competitive mayor's race has developed since Ward 4 Councilmember Muriel Bowser won April's Democratic primary.

The Sept. 6 memo, addressed to Catania campaign manager Ben Young, summarizes the results of a poll conducted by pollsters at Clarity Campaign Labs, a Democratic firm based in D.C.

“Our survey finds that Councilmembers Muriel Bowser and David Catania are locked in a statistical dead heat," Clarity partner Tom Bonier writes in the memo, embedded at the bottom of this post.

With a +/-3.05 percent margin of error, the poll purports to have Bowser at 28 percent in the poll of 1,052 voters. Catania follows Bowser within the margin of error with 25 percent, while former Councilmember Carol Schwartz received 14 percent.

The candidates' numbers leave a significant 33 percent undecided in the memo, which describes the electorate as "still unsettled."

Read more Catania Polling Memo Claims to Show Dramatically Tightened Mayor’s Race