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From the Publisher's Desk...

OUR ENDORSEMENTS FOR THE NOVEMBER 6th DC ELECTION

Although Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans is facing no opposition for re-election, we urge Ward 2 voters to send a signal that the taxpayers of the ward are counting on him to be their strong advocate for fiscal responsibility through his long-standing chairmanship of the council’s all-important tax and revenue committee. Further, by his stewardship of that committee he has been able and to continue his strong opposition to the efforts of some council members who blithely advocate increasing taxes in this time of continuing financial uncertainty.

Thanks to his depth of knowledge and thorough understanding of District finances and tax policy, Evans has been successful in ensuring that the District’s reserve fund –- nearly depleted by the past spend, spend, spend mindset of the former mayor — has begun to be built up toward a sustainable level in anticipation of disruption in federal funding that will result from the “fiscal cliff” fallout along with an expected still dominated Republican House of Representatives (not to say anything should there be a Romney presidency) that is bent on slashing domestic spending, including the substantial sums that currently flow into the District’s coffers.

By working to ensure that the millions of dollars of so-called “found” revenue –- including the latest $130-plus million — and this year’s unexpected tax receipts be held in reserve until the effects of the long recession have run their course and revenues have increased to a healthy level to allow for not only continuing to reduce the District’s outstanding bond indebtedness but to also resume full funding of needed programs and services, DC is on track to weather the anticipated decline in federal funding and the negative impact of overall federal government downsizing and program reductions and outright eliminations.

A final thought: In enthusiastically endorsing the elevation of Acting Council Chairman Phil Mendelson fully to the chairmanship to fill out the term of the former, disgraced chairman, we share with our readers how impressed we have been with how, during his just few months as acting chairman, Mendelson has demonstrated the balanced leadership and competence that we were confident he would bring to the position. We have no doubt that he will be an outstanding leader of the council during this difficult period while a cloud continues to hang over certain members –- there is no question he deserves our votes of confidence.

In addition to the Ward 2 race, there is the important at-large seat, presently occupied by Michael Brown. He must not be returned to the council; there are so many legal and ethical black marks against him and we do not need to list them since our readers know all about these thanks to extensive reporting by the Washington Post. Suffice it to say that while he continues to be a member of the council his presence there is not only a huge embarrassment to that body but to the District as a whole.

So, who should be elected to replace him? Our answer is Mary Brooks Beatty.

With her deep understanding of the dynamics of state government legislative and policy dynamics through many years of state governmental affairs work and then as the president and chief executive officer of Women in Government, the national non-partisan organization of women state legislators, she can bring to our own city council a perspective that is sorely needed to inject new thinking about how to solve problems that so often seem to be beyond comprehension.

Add to her nationally focused work with state legislators, her three terms as an activist Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner in Ward 6 between 2004 and 2010, culminating as the ANC’s vice-chair in 2010, convinces us that she can bring to council deliberations a fresh approach to policy solutions. Among her other accomplishments at the neighborhood level was how, as chair of the ANC’s alcohol beverage licensing committee during those six years she was a commissioner, she led the efforts to redevelop the H Street, NE corridor — an impressive achievement indeed which could only have been accomplished by one who understands compromise and the realities of how DC’s bureaucracy functions and how to fully engage the public in decision-making. These are qualities that will add value to city council deliberations and will help further to rebuild public trust of our local legislature, and for these reasons and those we mention above we strongly urge her election.