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From the Publisher's Desk...

Why We Are Endorsing Catania for Mayor

From the time we first endorsed then Republican (of the now nearly non-existent “progressive” wing of the Party) in a special election to fill out a vacated at-large City Council seat in 1997, David A. Catania has remained true to everything positive we saw in him then when we endorsed him for public office. (We were gratified when David, during the Bush years, left the Party to become an Independent.)

We have not changed our views one iota; he has clearly and consistently stayed the course that we so admired back then and we continue to do so today. Unlike so many other politicians, he has not wavered from his deep-seated mission to make government accountable to its citizens and to ensure that competence be valued and rewarded. These values are rare and should be valued by the voters when deciding who to elect as our next mayor; these are qualities that should without question underpin a mayor’s core being, qualities which, sadly, have long been lacking.

A successful mayor can only be one who will come into the position having already demonstrated the ability to accomplish important initiatives, thoughtfully designed and executed. As far back as 2002, David was the council member most responsible for the then ballot referendum by which the voters were to call for a local Law enforcement official to take over from the Presidentially appointed and Congressionally confirmed United States Attorney for DC.

He fully understood the need for an independent local prosecutor’s office that would have a mandate to focus beyond run-of-the-mill crimes and to delve into matters of municipal corruption, consumer protection, nonprofit institutions and their proper charitable responsibilities, and lots more. The result of his efforts, as we know, brought us the office of DC Attorney General which will be fully realized next month when we for the first time will vote for the person who will occupy that position.

David’s service on the City Council has included the important chairmanships of, first, the health committee and more recently (and currently) the education committee. In both these positions he pursued his responsibilities with great diligence and deep understanding of the importance of vigorous oversight. He has without question demonstrated that he can dig as far as needed to bring to light all relevant facts and issues affecting public services and programs that are being financed by our hard-earned tax dollars. This is an essential quality for a mayor who is charged with ensuring the optimum management of resources and an eye to discerning when matters are not working as they should –- and then having the will to examine and effectively see to it that problems are corrected.

But there was yet more that we have admired about David’s service on the Council. As far back as 2005 when he assumed the chairmanship of the health committee he accomplished much by way of using his committee oversight and budget authority to bring about major advances and improvements in the delivery of health care throughout the city; he devoted enormous energy to ensuring that those who need help the most were not to be left uncared for because they lacked funds or the savvy to receive quality health services.

Without David’s intense focus and creative energy regarding health issues, there would be today no public hospital east of the river; nor would the HIV-AIDS curse have received the attention it has, resulting in a significant diminution across varied populations. He knows much more needs to be done on these fronts and with him as mayor we are certain that the delivery of and access to public health services will be much further improved.

Along with health issues as one of the District’s great priorities is education. And, in that connection, having accomplished so much, David turned his attention to the the failing schools producing failing students whose chances for happy and productive lives have been disregarded, much to the detriment of DC’s economy and social health.

We were fortunate that he undertook these challenges by assuming the chairmanship of the City Council’s education committee in 2013. Just a couple of days before we sat down to write these comments his hard work was acknowledged by his council colleagues when they unanimously passed his committee’s three bills designed to bring about needed reforms in the way the public schools will operate. One of those bills in particular, has thoughtfully set standards designed to ensure that students from the earliest grades receive the best educational opportunities possible; these bills have set in motion the needed reforms and give us confidence that the schools will succeed in their mission.

None of this came about carelessly; with characteristic thoroughness David consulted with dozens of PTAs across DC and met with educators from some 145 schools. This approach to problem solving is characteristic of his highly disciplined and thorough gathering of facts that has proved its worth not only in formulating policy solutions but also in holding department and agency officials to high standards of competence as well as honest and transparent dealings as public servants.

With dogged determination, David Catania has aggressively looked out for the interests of all citizens, not just those who pay lots of taxes and feel they are not receiving much back, but also for the less well-off and often ignored; he has been a champion truly striving to bring about a better city for all. Exactly what we need from our Mayor.