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THOUGHTS ABOUT THE SEPTEMBER 9th DC CITY COUNCIL WARD 2 PRIMARY ELECTION CONTEST

During the four terms that incumbent Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans has served he has not, to our recollection, faced a challenger of the same intelligence and commitment for public service as his present challenger, Cary Silverman. We think it is a healthy sign that our city council’s growth in stature over the past few years is being recognized not only by voters but also by talented individuals who believe that service on the city council is a worthy calling.

Of all the wards in the city, Ward 2 is the most complex in terms of demographic and economic diversity; no other council member serving a single ward is confronted with as varied an array of competing interests as in Ward 2. This is especially the case with respect to the extraordinarily difficult balancing of interests and needs between the purely downtown commercial areas and the away from downtown residential and mixed-use neighborhoods where virtually all ward residents actually live.

It has seemed to us, at least to this point, that the pros and cons of both candidates have been entirely articulated as if there is no major downtown economic engine about which the ward’s council member must also be fully engaged. The overall economic health of the city requires this attention, along with attention to the traditional areas of involvement, in order to ensure continuation of the hugely beneficial impact on the fiscal health of the city as a result of the revenues generated, both through taxes and employment, that our city’s strong commercial center has been making possible. Ward 2, as a whole, accounts for about 40 percent of the city’s total revenues and the revenues attributed to the commercial portion amount to at least half that.

It is for this reason that we believe it to be of paramount importance that the Ward 2 council member be substantially involved with the myriad issues pertaining to the area south of M Street and from Rock Creek to roughly about 5th Street, NW. The continuation of the city’s fiscal health, especially in this period of worsening economic conditions (as to which our city has been fortunate to weather better than most because of it being the nation’s capital) is absolutely essential and is the best guarantee that cherished and urgent city programs and services will not have to be sliced and diced as they are in so many other cities around the country.

Who better, then, than the incumbent who is also the long-serving chairman of the council’s Committee on Finance and Revenue. We believe that right now is the wrong time to introduce uncertainty into the municipal fiscal picture. Like it or not, Councilmember Evans is one of the two or three city leaders that has Wall Street’s confidence, and while many voters truly despise what Wall Street stands for, that is irrelevant; we need that confidence which has had much to do with DC now having its extraordinarily high bond rating.

But, there’s more to the importance of keeping Evans on as the ward’s council member and also as chairman of the council’s most powerful committee: he is in the absolutely unique position of ensuring that the ward and its residents are not left at the bottom of the list, as it were. And, it’s not just his powerful committee chairmanship, but also his seniority — he is the council’s vice-chair — that also benefits the ward; all this is simply the real-world way that politics in our society works and the ward’s voters should not lightly cast their good position aside.

There are many other aspects of Jack Evans’ service on the council we also admire. For example, we have been hugely gratified by his enormously effective championing the rights of labor union members resulting in the guarantee of union construction jobs for city residents and further job training and assurance of continued meaningful work. These agreements, along with other direct interventions ensuring workers’ rights to organize without reprisals, earned Evans the endorsement of the AFL-CIO Washington Metro Council and other unions. For us, this is another very important reason to enthusiastically endorse Jack Evans for re-election to another term.