Tuesday, September 14, 2010

mailed my absentee ballot today

Today's the primary election, and if you've been reading JUTP over the past few months, you've noticed that there hasn't been nearly as much coverage as there was in the 2006 election, during the 2008 or 2009 special elections, or even during my housecalls to County Councilmembers in 2007. Part of that is because

a) I worked for a County Councilmember;

b) the ongoing business of moving to a place that is not Montgomery County, and starting school again;

and c) wondering how significant this year's elections were to the issues I really care about.

For all of the nastiness of the past four years, I feel like the primaries in my districts have been generally quiet. Councilmembers Nancy Navarro and Valerie Ervin are running unopposed, as is County Executive Ike Leggett; Congresswoman Donna Edwards has no real challengers; I haven't heard anything out of District 20; the District 14 Delegate race, for all its contenders, has been fairly drama-free, though the race for Senate has gotten nasty as of late.

(Of course, the At-Large County Council race has been pretty rough. I thought for a long time about whether I would like to write about it at all, but decided against it.)

brian murphy
Were I a Republican, I'd vote for Brian Murphy and his delicious, nine-layer cakes.

One of the races I've been following anxiously has been for Governor. You probably know that I am a registered Democrat, but I remain a big fan of Smith Island Baking Co. founder Brian Murphy. If there's anything Sarah Palin and I can agree on, it's that Brian Murphy's cakes are really fucking good.

But, seriously: those who care about the Purple Line - and Baltimore's Red Line - should be very afraid of Bob Ehrlich winning come November, as he's said he would kill the project once and for all. Whether or not you like Governor O'Malley, you should push for candidates willing to fund public transit. If Ehrlich really cared about job creation in Maryland, he'd stop scooping ice cream (Oh, former employer, how could you betray me!?) and support projects that actually get people to where the jobs are.

I've also been following the D.C. mayoral race, which is basically decided tomorrow. I've never lived in the District, but most of my family does, and I can't help but be disappointed by how bitter the contest has been. There are people in D.C. who remember much, much better than I do when Chinatown and U Street were boarded-up and empty. I remember walking past abandoned buildings to my aunt's apartment in Columbia Heights five years ago.

Yet somehow, these same people will vote for a candidate who'd use all these positive changes for race-baiting, because black people are allergic to good schools and safer neighborhoods and never ride bikes or streetcars. It's true. Just ask anyone in Portland.

Yellow Streetcar, Portland State
Non-black people board a streetcar in Portland.

I was especially disappointed by David Alpert's endorsement of Vincent Gray on Greater Greater Washington (is he not a beneficiary of all these positive changes, and yet so quick to ignore them for a candidate who has no such track record to speak of?) but I'm sadder still that my friends at GGW were painted as a group of dorky white guys by the City Paper.

Sometimes, one person can create change. I could've been the token half-Black, half-Indian guy in the City Paper story. And you can make some of your own change today at your local polling place. Swing by the Board of Elections' website for more information.


pagodat said...

The bike thing is so weird. I see black and Hispanic people doing bike-on-rail on the Metro all the time, and plenty of them don't strike me as yuppies -- a lot of teenagers, or people in grungy manual-labor work clothes and boots (of course, I've learned that teenagers don't count as human). It seems like the Sarah Palin-style cultural resentment touchstones about LIBERAL ELITISTS have made their way out to people other than rural/exurban conservatives? It's a shame.

Casey A said...

Dan, I agree with you re: GGW and the DC mayor's race. I think David Alpert has done a great service to the entire DC area with his blogging, but he is naive to think that a Gray administration will move forward with the positive aspects of the Fenty era minus the imperiousness of Fenty's personality. Those of us who live in Montgomery County have a lot at stake in seeing DC continue to thrive, and I hope we are not about to experience three or four steps back after one or two steps forward.

Terry in Silver Spring said...

"There are people in D.C. who remember much, much better than I do when Chinatown and U Street were boarded-up and empty. "

In amid the boarded up places in Chinatown were some really good restaurants and little groceries. I still miss the dim sum at Golden Palace and the wedding banquets there were AMAZING. There was a little place, down below grade, that sold wonderful chow fun...all kinds of chow fun and pretty much nothin' but chow fun. I remember a couple of shops with ducks hanging in the window and you could get roast duck or that wonderful pork that's been rubbed with Five Spices chopped and wrapped in white paper so you could walk along and eat it with your fingers.

The groceries, you had to know which ones to go to. Some had prices that were a bit too capricious, depending on the mood of the person checking you out or who/what you were. Da Hua used to be there by the Arch and always was honest about their prices. They also had a great second floor that was a frickin fire trap but where you could get good deals on dishes and gifts.

I also remember the pigeon sales. There used to be a guy in a paneled station wagon with Penna plates who would pull up with cages of pigeons in the back and grannies would could hustling out to buy them quickly before the cops came by. Once, a street person had a great idea and started buying Special K and feeding the pigeons. He had quite a flock and when one of the grannies wanted one, he'd catch one and wring it's neck and sell it to the granny. Quite enterprising. His downfall was that he started eating pigeons and just dumping the carasses in the gutter. Got messy and sort of looked like a pigeon horror movie. The cops had to do something.

Even further back, there used to be a great Chinese restaurant called the Nanking not far from 9th and New York Ave, NW. It was torn down years ago, of course. When I was little, after the riots, we'd go down to the Nanking for dinner. I never understood why there was a large man in a cook's outfit sitting at the table in the front window, drinking tea, with a big cleaver by his hand. At some point years later, it dawned on me that he wasn't just resting between cooking orders.

Yeah, DC's Chinatown used to be run down, had some closed up places, but there were also jewels there. Great restaurants, nice and interesting people. I'm only in my late 40's, but when I go to the Gallery Place area, I see and appreciate the new development but in my minds eye there's an overlay on top of the new stuff. I see the Golden Place, the pigeon rancher, ducks hanging in windows, and Da Hua.