Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance of Washington, DC
P.O. Box 75265, Washington, DC 20013
August 17, 2008 (revised August 28)
Contact: Rick Rosendall, Political Vice President
Evans, Schwartz and Silverman
Dominate GLAA’s Candidate Ratings
Three candidates dominated the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance of Washington, D.C. (GLAA) candidate ratings for the September 9 primaries. Ward 2 Democratic Councilmember Jack Evans earned a perfect score of +10. At-Large Republican Councilmember Carol Schwartz earned +9. Ward 2 Democratic challenger Cary Silverman earned +8.5.
The following are explanations of the individual ratings.
At-Large Republican incumbent Carol Schwartz (+9) submitted a perfect questionnaire response, including supporting civil marriage equality and agreeing with GLAA's careful strategy for achieving it. Her lengthy pro-gay record includes helping to end anti-gay discrimination in the hiring of teachers when she served on the Board of Education in the 1970s; volunteering for 17 years at Whitman-Walker Clinic, including serving as Vice President of its board; lobbying for removal of the congressional rider banning gay and lesbian adoptions; helping to establish the PreventionWorks needle-exhange program and lobbying Congress to end its ban on local funding for needle exchange; providing additional funding for the Office of Human Rights (OHR); and resigning as a delegate to the Republican National Convention in 2004 after President Bush endorsed the anti-gay Federal Marriage Amendment. She recently wrote to Mayor Adrian Fenty in her capacity as chair of the committee with oversight of OHR, urging him to withdraw a proposed rulemaking that would effectively roll back transgender protections under the D.C. Human Rights Act.
At-Large Democratic incumbent Kwame Brown (+6.5), who is unopposed, answered the questionnaire positively and with a good amount of substance. His record includes supporting GLAA's position on all legislation except Councilmember Graham's 2007 bill to permit the relocation of clubs displaced by the ballpark; moving in the right direction on same-sex marriage; pressing the Washington Nationals to redraft their vendor procurement program's non-discrimination policy to include GLBT protections; but failing to follow through with a clear statement in his newsletter against discrimination by the Boy Scouts of America after touting his support for them.
At-Large Statehood-Green candidate David Schwartzman (+6) answered the questions postively and provided some good substance. He also documented four decades of pro-gay activism.
At-Large Republican challenger Patrick Mara (+2) answered most of the questions postively but provided little substance, and has a scant record on GLBT issues.
Ward 2 Democratic incumbent Jack Evans (+10) submitted a perfect questionnaire response demonstrating an impressive grasp of the issues. His extensive pro-gay record includes early and consistent championing of equal civil marriage rights; leading the reform of the District's sodomy laws in 1993; creation and expansion of the domestic partnership program; leading on HIV/AIDS issues from condom availability and clean needle exchange to confidentiality protections and improved funding and oversight; supporting public safety issues including reestablishment of the Office of Police Complaints and creation of the MPD Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit (GLLU); and expansion of the D.C. Human Rights Act to include protections for gender identity and expression, reinforced by his recent letter to OHR objecting to a proposed rulemaking that would roll back transgender protections.
Evans earned GLAA's hard-to-get championship point by writing the legislation that allowed domestic partners to file taxes jointly. It was done carefully so that the problems encountered in California did not arise here. When the Mayor failed to include $25,000 in the budget needed to implement the changes (redesign of forms, rewrite of instructions, etc.), Evans' staff caught the error and found the funds to make it happen. Additionally, major sections of the "Omnibus Domestic Partnership Equality Amendment Act of 2008" dealing with taxes and joint property ownership were written by Evans in a separate bill that was folded into the omnibus bill. Evans also firmly defended maintaining the centralized core of the GLLU after a plan by Police Chief Cathy Lanier to decentralize the unit was revealed in June 2007.
Ward 2 Democratic challenger Cary Silverman (+8.5) also returned a perfect questionnaire, unusual for a non-incumbent. His record includes numerous pro-gay efforts as a Logan Circle Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner and as president of the Logan Circle Community Association, including helping gay-oriented businesses navigate the permit and licensing bureaucracy and supporting fair policies for businesses. As a member of the Shaw Main Streets board and president of the Mount Vernon Square Neighborhood Association, he supported approval of alcoholic beverage licenses for BeBar and other establishments and alerted voters "to the ANC Commissioners who voted to protest those license applications for all the wrong reasons."
Ward 4 Democratic incumbent Muriel Bowser (+5.5) gave mostly positive responses on her questionnaire and provided a good deal of substance. She disagreed with GLAA's concerns about recent infringements of civil liberties by the Metropolitan Police Department, and disagreed with GLAA's opposition to school vouchers. Her record includes support for gay families, gay youth and the GLLU, but also her opposition to the club relocation bill.
Ward 4 Democratic challenger Baruti Jahi (+2.5) provided positive answers to GLAA's questionnaire but little substance. He has no known record on gay issues other than his response to GLAA's 1998 candidate questionnaire in which he opposed marriage equality and gave an off-point and moralistically phrased response on adoption.
Ward 4 Democratic challenger Malik F. Mendenhall-Johnson (-1) did not return a questionnaire, but The Current reported on August 27, after interviewing the Ward 4 Council candidates, that Mendenhall-Johnson "is opposed to requiring companies and organizations with health plans to cover domestic partners if they cover spouses," and "would oppose legislation making same-sex marriages legal in the District.”
Ward 7 Democratic incumbent Yvette Alexander (+3) submitted her questionnaire response on August 13, the day after GLAA's long-scheduled ratings meeting. GLAA President Barrett Brick welcomed the news, saying, "Better late than never. We are always eager to inform our community and build constructive relationships with our public officials." GLAA has subsequently reviewed her response and revised her initial rating upward.
Councilmember Alexander was mostly positive in her questionnaire answers, but gave an evasive answer on civil marriage equality, which is consistent with her previously stated opposition. Concerning people's right to choose adult entertainment for themselves, Alexander suggested it should depend upon approval by the community at large; GLAA's advocacy on this subject was necessitated precisely by bluenoses who object to their neighbors being permitted to choose entertainment of which they disapprove. Alexander also continues to mischaracterize the club relocation bill, which she insists "impacted one particular ward," despite the fact that the bill as passed included a limit of two nude dancing licenses per ward, thus preventing the mass relocation to Ward 5 that she joined Councilmember Harry Thomas Jr. in opposing.
Ms. Alexander's record is mixed. On the positive side, she voted yes on domestic partnership and hate crime legislation; supported the AIDS service organization Us Helping Us; promoted health insurance benefits for domestic partners through CareFirst BCBS; and supported funding for the Ward 7 HIV/AIDS initiative, the Effie Barry AIDS Initiative for $1.2 million in FY09. On the negative side, she voted against the club relocation bill and continues to mischaracterize it; she made a big fuss against the removal of HIV marriage-license testing from the Safe Marriage Act (which removal GLAA supported), though she ultimately took no action on it; she was adamant that Councilmember Catania's Human Papillomavirus bill (“HPV Vaccination and Reporting Act of 2007”) was a medical experiment on black girls, an uncalled-for charge reminiscent of claims by some Ward 7 residents a few years ago that the District's needle-exchange program was motivated by racial bias; and in a meeting with gay activists, she called one of them a liar and presumed to tell them what was and was not a gay issue.
Ward 7 Democratic challenger Robin Hammond Marlin (+1.5) submitted a generally positive questionnaire but with no substance, and had no known record on GLBT issues.
Ward 8 Democratic incumbent Marion Barry (+3.5) agreed with GLAA on most questions, but reversed his previously-stated support for marriage equality (support he had expressed at a meeting of the Gertrude Stein Democratic Club) and told GLAA, "No. I support civil unions and domestic partnerships." He offered no substance in his questionnaire response. Concerning Barry's record, GLAA President Barrett Brick writes, "While we recognize Marion Barry's years of support for us on the issues, we also recognise that his (and others') mismanagement led to Congressional intererence with home rule and our ability to implement and promote our agenda." During Barry's final term as mayor in the 1990s, this included notoriously slowness in channeling federal funds to local AIDS service providers; permitting the growth of a huge backlog of discrimination complaints; and appointing Steven Jumper as head of the D.C. Department of Human Rights & Minority Business Development despite Mr. Jumper's candid admission that he lacked the appropriate background in human rights law. These problems were balanced on the positive side by his early and strong support for an array of GLBT issues going back to his first term as mayor thirty years ago. In his recent years on the Council, he has supported GLAA on legislation, including voting for the controversial club relocation bill in addition to unanimously-passed domestic partnership legislation.
Ward 8 Democratic challenger Charles Wilson (+0.5), while he did not respond to GLAA's questionnaire, earned 1/2 point on record for his impressive pro-gay presentation at a Gertrude Stein Democratic Club candidates forum.
GLAA rates candidates on a scale of -10 to +10, based on their answers to our questionnaire and their record on behalf of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community. The questionnaire addresses a variety of issues including same-sex marriage, sensitivity training for firefighters, opposition to legislation which violates the civil rights of transgender people, support of legislation to strengthen HIV privacy protections, increased funding for the Office of Human Rights, and protection for GLBT consumers and businesses. The GLAA agenda, questionnaire, and complete candidate responses are available online at www.glaa.org.
All candidates were provided with a copy of “Agenda: 2008,” GLAA’s comprehensive guide to GLBT issues in Washington, D.C.
Ratings should not be interpreted as endorsements. GLAA does not endorse candidates in partisan elections.
GLAA has rated candidates for office in every D.C. primary and general election since 1971. Independent council candidates and school board candidates will be rated prior to the general election.
The Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance of Washington, D.C., founded in 1971, is a local, all-volunteer, non-partisan, non-profit political organization devoted to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender civil rights in Washington, DC. We are the nation's oldest continuously active GLBT civil rights organization.
To see the full text of a candidate's questionnaire responses, click on his or her name below.
At-Large DC Councilmember
Ward 2 DC Councilmember
Ward 4 DC Councilmember
Ward 7 DC Councilmember
Ward 8 DC Councilmember
Note: Ratings marked with an asterisk (*) indicate a candidate who did not return a questionnaire
and was therefore rated solely on his or her known record on GLAA’s issues.
Breakdown of available ratings points
|Questionnaire: yes/no||+/- 2 points|
|Questionnaire: substantive grasp of issues||+/- 4 points|
|Record:||+/- 3 points|
|Championship: taking the lead on an issue|
of concern to gay men and lesbians
|+/- 1 point
|Total available:||+/- 10 points|
The Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance of Washington, DC is a local, all-volunteer, non-partisan, non-profit political organization, founded in 1971 to advance the equal rights of gay men and lesbians in Washington, DC. We are the nation’s oldest continuously active gay and lesbian civil rights organization.