My housemate Zoe was at the DC City Council meetings for most of the day. In her most recent post she gives grades to each of the council members:
The Councilmembers As I Saw Them
1. Phil Mendelson (D-At Large): My housemate Jill likes Mendelson because she learned that he once brought some rolled up catnip into Council Chambers, claiming that they were similar to marijuana joints. I guess that’s kind of funny. But yesterday Mendelson wasn’t nearly as courageous. Sure, he voted with the anti-publicly funded baseball stadium side, on nearly all (if not all) of the amendments…but he wasn’t in the Chambers often enough considering that he had voted “present” on the preliminary approval. I guess he made up his mind to join the good side and stuck with it. Mendelson gets a B for making the right choice.
2. Adrian Fenty (D-Ward 4): Stellar work from the future Mayor of the District of Columbia. Fenty truly has a flair for making dramatic statements tinged with some facts and/or some lists. He smiled, he laughed, he was clearly enjoying the opportunity to mention the progressive issues that he cares about. No other Councilmember spent as much time detailing DC’s problems–falling apart schools, libraries, etc.–as Fenty. I know that a lot of people were really thrilled with his performance, telling me at various times that they would be happy to work on his campaign. Don’t worry, I don’t have any intention of doing that. I have a natural skepticism of people who clearly want higher political office. I give Fenty a B+ for performance.
3. Jim Graham (D-Ward 1): Graham seems to have listened to all the emails sent to him by his constituents. He was a strong, vocal opponent to the publicly funded baseball stadium, chiming in when necessary with extremely articulate and intelligent thoughts. Today, I am proud that he represents me on the Council. Jimmy G gets an A- for putting DC residents first.
4. Sharon Ambrose (D-Ward 6): According to many earlier reports, Ambrose is very sick. She certainly didn’t look well at the hearing yesterday. She’s a lot more pale and skinny than ever before. She also seems to have lost focus–her statements were rambling, her questions were absurd and she rarely addressed the fact that she has constituents with real, pressing concerns. She voted with the lame duck coalition nearly the whole time. I remember being shocked when her vote differered from theirs. Although I don’t live in Ward 6, she seems to be just as much of a lame duck as Brazil, Chavous and Allen. I’d be surprised if she runs again. Ambrose gets a D.
5. Kathy Patterson (D-Ward 3): I wrote above about Patterson’s wishy-washy voting and her reaction to our signs. Above all the Councilmembers, Patterson seemed conflicted and/or extremely caffeinated. While I was there, she drank several Starbucks coffees and a few Diet Cokes. That’s admirable. I drink a lot of caffeinated beverages also. She gets a B-/C+.
6. Harold Brazil (D-At Large): Simply put, Brazil is the worst Councilmember. I wrote above about his antics and the fact that DC residents have already shown him the door, but no one on the Council demonstrated more stupidity than Brazil yesterday. He is a corporate whore like no other Councilmember–even asking “Do we have a sense on how the baseball officials in the room think about this?” after Cropp introduced her 11th Hour Amendment. He deserves a grade lower than an F. Even an F- doesn’t do him justice.
7. Linda Cropp (Chairperson of the Council): While I appreciate her 11th Hour Amendment that shocked Mayor Williams shitless and her tolerable facilitation of the meeting (her incessant interuption of Councilmember David Catania and her “No Demonstrations Please” comments were annoying though), Cropp seemed overwhelmed by the discussion at points. She kept turning to Councilmember Jack Evans and the DC Council’s General Counsel for advice–as if she was confused on what to do. Not good. Cropp, nonetheless, deserves a C for effort.
8. Jack Evans (D-Ward 2): Oh I so miss the explosive Jack Evans. He’s so entertaining when he gets angry, turns red, and shouts expletives that have no place in Council Chambers! But, no, we didn’t get much of that yesterday. Evans was usually calm, except when waving around a book while Catania was talking and gasping loudly. Nevertheless, he is not a good representative of the people of DC–even criticizing Catania’s solid interpretation of the potential eminent domain problems this stadium proposal faces. Evans gets a D.
9. Kevin Chavous (D-Ward 7): Hello? Chavous? Where were you? Watching Channel 13 somewhere else in the Wilson Building? All I know is that you weren’t in Council Chambers unless you had to vote. Even Councilmember Elect Kwame Brown (D-At Large) was there more than you. Thankfully the people of Ward 7 have already decided they need someone better. Chavous gets an F for no effort.
10. Carol Schwartz (R-At Large): Long time readers know how much I adore Carol. But other DC residents should adore her also for paying close attention to the debate, chiming in with thoughtful and dramatic statements, and chastising the Mayor and MLB for a really raw deal. Her comments on compensatory damages were enough to show that she is a vital Councilmember. She easily gets an A.
11. Sandy Allen (D-Ward 8): Another lame duck contributing nothing to the debate. I think Allen spoke one or two times–once to say that she had nothing to say. Allen gets somewhere between an I for incomplete and an F.
12. David Catania (I-At Large): OMG! David Catania is the most awesome Councilmember. He is so smart. He is so articulate. He is so courageous. He referenced Aretha Franklin, his cat, stiletto heels and other such things while discussing at-length eminent domain. The best part was when he mouthed “he is such an asshole” about Jack Evans when Jack was bullshitting around Catania’s question. It’s a shame that Linda Cropp rarely allowed him to speak at the beginning because he had so many great things to say. Thank you, thank you, thank you David Catania for being the voice of reason. Catania gets an A+.
13. Vincent Orange (D-Ward 5): Orange’s big ol’ “5” lapel pin says nothing about him. He doesn’t represent Ward 5. He doesn’t represent anyone, except perhaps, the Mayor. Orange can’t construct thoughtful sentences and made jokes about being the Council’s legal counsel. (Hello? There is a General Counsel already. And I don’t think Orange is qualified to hold the position.) His ties to the shady well dressed white men make him as shady as Brazil, but Orange thinks he can be Mayor. Plus, he’s an uberpanderer. What does he think, introducing amendments to spend more $$ on social programs with money that will probably never exist? Are the people of DC really going to commend him for that measly effort? I hope not. I hope they give him the same grade as me–a D- for being an absolute waste of space.
Finally, I’d like to write a little about the Mayor, who sat in the front row periodically. OMG he is a joy to watch. His little scrunchy faces at Linda Cropp when she did things he didn’t like, his dramatic entrances and exits, his entourage of well dressed white men and security all made for endless entertainment. I’m not going to grade the Mayor since he didn’t actually vote on anything, but know that I don’t think highly of Mayor Anthony Williams.
After reading all this, I am very happy that Zoe was there to record her observations and post them on-line :-)
Now why didn’t you guys take the lemons I had left by the door?
Monday night I purchased 8 lemons for Zoe & crew to bring to the city hall. They were supposed to reference “Its a sour deal,” but alas when I got home they were still sitting in front of the door! Oh well, I’m going to make lemonade when I get home.
No one told me to take the lemons. Plus, audience members are not allowed to bring food into Council Chambers.
Comment by Zoe — 12/21/2004 @ 6:12 pm
I know :-( I posited the idea to Jill and I thought she’d take them. I even wrote a lil note on the bag. I didn’t know about the no food policy though. Oh well, no biggy.
Comment by Nikolas Â® Schiller — 12/21/2004 @ 6:24 pm