Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Voting tomorrow in DC

Since I am traveling, I voted last week. There aren't many contested seats in DC elections, except for the at-large councilmember race, where two people are elected. DC has a rule that major parties can only have one seat in each at large election (every two years). Some people seem to think this is anti-democratic, such as "Cover Story: End Republican Welfare!" from the Washington City Paper, but I think it's fine, a bit closer (albeit barely) to parliamentary voting systems (i.e., Europe, Canada, Israel) which protect and provide for minority party representation, instead of the U.S.'s winner-take-all minority be damned system. (I don't have the time to write extensively about proportional voting systems, which typify parlimentary systems in Europe, but it's quite interesting.)

I don't like to divulge who I vote for, since I testify before various committees, and implore Councilmembers to do various things, and it's helpful for them to think that I voted for them, anyway, there were three people I wanted to vote for, and I could only vote for two. I voted for David Schwartzman, not because I agree so much with his agenda (I am now a more conservative progressive I suppose, it's a long story for another blog entry, but see the book The Future Once Happened Here for some insight into my thinking) but because we need alternative viewpoints on a Council that has a very constrained world-view and way of thinking about the world.

The other vote was between Patrick Mara, the Republican nominee, and Carol Schwartz, the sitting Republican Councilmember who Mara whupped. She's running a write-in campaign. I wanted to vote for Patrick because he's smart, and we need more smart people on Council (talk to some of them and you'll see why the addition of intelligence to the body is a good thing) but he is solidly behind the Mayor on the school improvement agenda, and since I don't think the regime really understands what the problem is with the school system and what to do, I don't think that's a good thing. And I don't agree with Carol Schwartz on a number of issues, but she has fought for better government over the decades in a city that doesn't respect or care very much about having good government. And she has put forth legislation to better address how the city deals with property matters, and since it is a very flawed process currently, that's a good thing, and deserving of our support in terms of a write-in vote.

Kwame Brown is likely to win anyway. And candidates Michael Brown and Mark Long are Democrats in independent clothing, running for election as a way to get on Council despite being Democrats.

In any case, vote.
A customer walks by the word 'Vote' as it's being painted onto ...
A customer walks by the word 'Vote' as it's being painted onto the window at Frager's Hardware, in Washington on Sunday, Nov. 2, 2008. Voter turnout for Tuesday's election is expected to reach record levels. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

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