Let’s Not Forget Where We Came From
I’ve had more than a few people ask me why I am supporting Peter Shapiro rather than Sekou Biddle. I’ve been asked why I don’t fall in line and get behind the so-called more electable candidate. As election day nears, I think it’s important for people to remember just what we’re fighting for and why it’s important to take a stand.
Last year, I helped launch Bryan Weaver’s campaign for at-large D.C. Council. I did so because myself and others believed there was something missing from the crop of candidates. We wanted a candidate who would take a stand on the issues that are important, and not be bogged down by the cronyism that is so rampant in D.C. politics.
In January of 2011, I attended the meeting of the D.C. Democratic State Committee where Sekou Biddle was appointed to temporarily fill the at-large seat on the Council. Like many others, I felt the selection process was absurd. We had a very small group of insiders voting for who would represent hundreds of thousands of D.C. residents. It was a race between two main candidates — Vincent Orange and Sekou Biddle (sounds familiar, right?).
It started off a close vote. On the second round of voting it was a tie between Biddle and Orange. Before the third round, I saw everything that is wrong with D.C. politics. I watched as Council Chair Kwame Brown, Councilmember Marion Barry, former Councilmember Harry Thomas, Jr. and others all twist arms and persuade people to get behind Biddle.
The voting was supposed to be public — but the tallies of who voted for who was never released. On the third round, Biddle won and was appointed to the seat.
Over the next few months, we’d see the Council, the Mayor, and everyone else rally around Biddle to defeat Orange. The money rolled in, but come election day, Biddle came in third behind Orange and Pat Mara, a Republican.
Let bygones be bygones, right? Well, not so fast. How do we make a clean break from the past if we stick with people so tied to those we want to defeat?
It’s been amazing to see so many people forget that any of this happened. Biddle and his campaign want to make this seem like ancient history — but it’s not. It’s barely history at all.
People say don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Well, I’d rather fight for the perfect than settle with the status quo.
I support Peter Shapiro because he’s not indebted to the current establishment. He has relevant experience that would immediately help the District. He knows how to deliver results. He’s a true progressive — who doesn’t need to run from his record.
The city got a trial run with Sekou Biddle last time, and we opted not to renew. Vincent Orange has admitted to accepting questionable and suspicious funds from a man who is under federal investigation. It’s time for something different. It’s time for some fresh air.
We need to restore trust in the Council. To do that, we need someone new fighting the good fight. We can’t keep trying the same old things hoping somehow for a different result. That hasn’t worked, and it’s not going to.
Peter Shapiro is the best choice for rebooting this Council and making our government one that works for the people — not the insiders.