Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Read It, Enjoy It. Pass on It

The temporary Mount Pleasant Library is very attractive. Excellent color scheme, comfortable and adds some new vibrancy to the area. The book selection is small; just a fraction of the original collection. But I've used the DC public library’s online reserve system to great success.

You can find many stories on the library's shelves.

Tonight, I was checking out the library's new book section and to my right on a library shelf was the smiling face of Jim Graham, councilman for Ward One. Imagine. The picture is on some library promotion material. Graham, in case you have missed the red signs he had installed throughout Ward One, is running for re-election.

Reading informs which is exactly what Graham didn’t do at the debate in Adams Morgan last week for the Ward One candidates.

Graham is running against Jeff Smith, an ex-school board member and Bryan Weaver, who is a four term ANC commissioner. Weaver headed the local commission until he was replaced by a Graham staff member who is also a commissioner.

The debate eventually turned to the question of Ted Loza, Graham’s chief of staff who was indicted for bribery.

The case involves the taxi cab industry, which Graham was overseeing at the time as chair of an oversight committee. Graham has not been implicated in the bribery case.

But on the question of Loza and why there was even a plan to consolidate the taxi cab industry, Graham delivered a great non answer:

“I believe in the Bill in Rights. I believe in the Constitution. And like any of us, I think someone who is charged with a crime is entitled to his or her day in court and Mr. Loza has pled not guilty. He is going have his day in court. Until he is found guilty, he must be under our laws, presumed innocent, that’s what the law provides. And it’s one of those critical protections that we have in this nation which separates us from many, many countries across the world. So I want to be very sensitive to this. Let Ted Loza have his day in court. Let’s see what’ happens to Ted Loza once he presents his case for his innocence.”
I’m certain Graham would have mentioned the Magna Carta and the Star Trek Prime Directive if he had more time.

Graham went on about Loza and his shock, etc., but added nothing of consequence; meanwhile, I couldn't help wonder whether this constitutionally guaranteed day-in-court will arrive before or after the election.

Smith is an ex-school board member. He is showing potential for running an in-your-face campaign against Graham. He had pictures and charts at the debate and leveled charges against Graham about his attendance record. I would like to see Smith post what he has on his Web site because otherwise his story is going to end up in the fiction section.

The question for Weaver is straight from Simon Cowell of American Idol: Do you really want to win?

Weaver is thoughtful, deliberative and strikes me as being very deep on some issues. But to fight Graham is to go against a practiced machine and he needs to hit harder.

Weaver, for instance, can talk about how the ANC worked “to the smallest detail” with businesses on the 18th Street reconstruction planning, but Graham spoke about a $5 million “small business survival relief fund.” Weaver is indie press; Graham has Random House. But indie presses can still produce best sellers.

It promises to be a good election if Weaver and Smith can get equal time in the public library.

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