Meet the Next Mayor of DC

meetthemayorYesterday Muriel Bowser was elected mayor of Washington, D.C., defeating independents David Catania (SFS ’90, LAW ’94) and Carol Schwartz. Let us introduce her to you.

Bowser is currently a D.C. Councilmember representing Ward 4.

councilShe grew up in D.C. and got her masters in public policy at American University.

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Bowser won the Democratic primary over incumbent Vincent Gray in April of this year after announcing her candidacy in March 2013.

Washington D.C. city council member and Democratic mayoral candidate Bowser rallies supporters before voting in WashingtonIn 2011, she was arrested with other councilmembers and Mayor Vincent Gray while protesting after Congress agreed to impose controversial riders on D.C. spending. One stipulation was that D.C. could not spend its own money on abortions for low-income women. That’s pretty badass.

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Muriel Bowser was endorsed for mayor by President Barack Obama as well as The Washington Post.

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Bowser plans to close D.C. General Homeless shelter and improve upon the “rapid rehousing” strategy to deal with the increasing problem of homelessness in D.C. this winter.

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Bowser used the slogan #All8Wards to promote her plan of representing D.C. as one, unified city. That means you! And you! And you!

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Bowser also likes to dance. This is very important to the 4E staff. We’re not about to deal with any “Footloose” nonsense.
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Congrats, Muriel Bowser! And Godspeed.

Check out thehoya.com for continued coverage of Bowser’s win.

Photos: static.squarespace.com, washingtoncitypaper.com, youtube.com, thegeorgetowndish.com, murielformayor.com, welovehiphopmusic.com, thegrio.com, images.politico.com

Info: Washington Post, The Hoya, In The Capital

Get Pumped for Protest: Yoga Style

yoga protestToday, June 3, yoga masters and gym rats from all over D.C. are gathering to protest what is now being called the “yoga tax.” According to Washington City Paper, the D.C. Council is close to passing a bill that will add a 5.75% sales tax to tanning salons, gyms, barber shops, car washes,  and other services like yoga studios. Basically the city will start taxing the things that make us so gosh darn attractive.

At noon today, yogis plan to create a human wall and do burps together in protest, surrounding the Wilson Building in downtown D.C. (The building houses the offices of the D.C. mayor and councilmembers.) Imagine this, times many angry demonstrators.

If you are planning on joining in on this protest, 4E is here to help. On the morning of any act of civil disobedience you need to get PUMPED! MLK said that once. Now the perfect way to get just as sassy and jacked up as you’ll need to be is to do some yoga. We’ve complied the best yoga positions to really get you charged for a day of burpees and exercising your god-given rights.

1. Mountain Pose Stand in place. Yeah! Stick it to the man!

2. Downward Dog This is the namesake of every Georgetown girl’s favorite yoga studio. Do it for your house! Don’t let them mess with your people!

3. Tree Pose Put your right foot on the inside of your left leg thigh. Then switch. You are now one with nature and about to kick some bureaucratic butt.

4. Take a Deeeep Breathe That was a breathe of JUSTICE!

5. Corpse Pose Lay down, on your back. Maybe grab a pillow. Play a little “Rockabye baby.” Get your binkie. And take a cat nap. ARE YOU READY TO RUMBLE?!?

Now that you’re the most pumped up you’ve ever been in your life, turn on “Here Comes the Boom” by Nelly, slap the top of your door on the way out and run to Capitol Hill screaming “U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A.!”

Disclaimer: I may have undercut the complexity of these poses. A lot.

5 Reasons to Care About the D.C. Mayoral Election

dc electionOn April 1, D.C. voters will nominate a Democratic candidate for November’s general election for mayor in a city that has never — never — elected anyone other than a Democrat as its leader. Here are five reasons why you should pay attention, even if you aren’t voting in next week’s primary or November’s general elections.

1. Scandal

Mayor Vincent Gray, former chairman of the D.C. Council and seasoned political veteran, is mired in an ethics scandal stemming from his 2010 campaign, in which he unseated previous Mayor Adrian Fenty in the Democratic primary. Long story short, Gray is accused of taking $660,000 in illegal campaign contributions from wealthy businessman Jeffrey Thompson in order to fund a similarly illegal “shadow campaign,” undermining other candidates in the 2010 race.

On March 10, Thompson pled guilty to the conspiracy in federal court, and prosecutors like U.S. Attorney Ronald Machen, who is heading the investigation into Gray, have pledged to “hold accountable all of those who conspired . . . to withhold the truth from the public” and have urged Thompson’s collaborators to “come forward and own up to your conduct.”

For his part, Gray has steadfastly maintained his innocence, saying of the charges, “Lies. These are lies.” Some, like Colbert King of the Washington Post, have questioned Machen’s tactics, saying that Gray is being tried unfairly and without all the facts. While the investigation is ongoing, the scandal has been at the center of the campaign, much to the pleasure of Gray’s primary challengers, which brings me to the next reason the race is exciting.

2. It’s competitive.

Two polls this week, one from The Washington Post and one from NBC4, have the race tied, with Gray slightly trailing D.C. Councilmember Muriel Bowser (D-Ward 4). Bowser, a confidant and ally of Fenty, has surged to become Gray’s main challenger in just the past six weeks, previously muddled in a field of candidates that includes three of her colleagues on the Council.

At 41, Bowser is one of the youngest candidates running, and while her opponents and detractors knock her as inexperienced, it seems her message of a fresh start in the District is resonating with those weary of Gray and the political establishment. Endorsed by the Washington Post (and The Hoya’s editorial board), Bowser has mounted a serious challenge to Gray, making the race truly a toss-up heading into primary day. However, contrary to previous mayoral elections, this one will be far from over after April 1, which brings me to my next and equally thrilling reason to pay attention to this race.

3. History

D.C. has never elected a white mayor. D.C. has also never elected an openly gay mayor. D.C. has also never elected a political independent as mayor. Councilmember David Catania (I-At Large) (SFS ’90, LAW ’94) is seeking to kill three birds with one stone. A former Republican who fundraised for George W. Bush, Catania announced his candidacy earlier this month to run on the November ballot as an independent.

Much like Bowser and other mayoral contender Councilmember Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6), Catania is a staunch critic of Gray, especially on the issue of education, as Catania serves as chair of the Council’s education committee. As the first openly gay member of the D.C. Council, Catania played a major role in the legalization of same-sex marriage in the District back in 2009.

The tone of the race would change drastically if it were the much younger Bowser facing Catania in the general instead of Gray, but the chance of an historic election still looms as Catania continues to shape his campaign leading up to November.

4. Music Videos for Diss Tracks

This one is pretty self-explanatory after you watch this music video featuring a Gray lookalike accepting illegal campaign contributions from one “Uncle Earl,” the name believed to be used by Thompson during their meetings before the Gray’s 2010 victory.

5. The issues in the race matter to Georgetown students

It’s a tall task convincing my friends or any of my fellow classmates that they should pay attention to this race, but there are a few issues that pertain directly to us.

One is the potential for future changes to the D.C. transportation system, including the construction of a streetcar line connecting Georgetown to downtown, and farther in the future, the possibility of a Metro stop in Georgetown. Whoever is mayor will heavily influence the direction the city will take concerning improvements to its transportation system, and since complaining about the difficulty of getting into the rest of the city is essentially a sport at Georgetown, this is an issue that all students should care about.

Another concerns Georgetown’s future. The next campus plan agreement, which promises to shape the development of the university into the future, while negotiated through the local Advisory Neighborhood Commission, will certainly draw the input of whoever occupies the mayor’s office. If students can’t even name the current mayor, they have no chance of having their input taken seriously by the city government when it comes to the Georgetown’s future.

Lastly, this city is undergoing an influx of young professionals flocking to high-paying jobs that only D.C. can offer, and all of us who want to continue to call the District our home after graduation should know where any mayor stands on issues like taxes, economic development and education. Yes, we can only spend four years on the Hilltop as students, but things like buying a car, finding a home and raising a family creep up on us before we know it, and many of us will probably be doing those things in D.C. Don’t wait until then to pay attention to who is shaping this city’s public policy.

Check back for 4E’s post on how to register for the election and where to vote Tuesday.

Fifteen Shades of Gray

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With only one month remaining until the candidate submission deadline, Vincent Gray has announced his entry into the upcoming D.C. mayoral race. Gray, who is currently serving as mayor of D.C., will seek re-election against several prominent candidates – including Jack Evans, Muriel Bowser and Tommy Wells – in the Democratic primaries. To get to know the candidate a bit better, here are our factual “Fifteen Shades” of Gray:

1. This is Vincent Gray. He is 71 years old.

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2. Gray is a graduate of The George Washington University.

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3. In 2004, Gray defeated incumbent candidate Kevin Chavous to become a member of the D.C. City Council, representing Ward 7.

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4. In 2010, he was elected mayor of D.C. His campaign slogan was “One city. Leadership we need.”

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5. Since taking office, Gray has had several major accomplishments for the city. In order to save the District $19 million in 2011, Gray proposed a plan that would furlough a majority of D.C. workers. (The D.C. Council later passed it.)

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6. As a result, the District has one of its first balanced budgets in years – with no new taxes.

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7. During his tenure, Gray has expanded the Metropolitan Police Department.

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8. During Gray’s time in office, Washington has seen its lowest number of homicides in 50 years.

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9. Since being elected mayor, Gray has implemented numerous reforms in technology and education. Unemployment has fallen almost 3 percent since he took office in 2011.

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10. That being said, Gray’s tenure has also been plagued by scandal.

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11. In what has been termed the “Sulaimon Brown controversy,” Gray has been accused of cronyism and making backroom deals to form his administration.

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12. Accusations of nepotism and unethical hiring processes ran abound. Some of Gray’s political appointees received salaries that were higher than those permitted by District law.

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13. Moreover, several of Gray’s campaign officers pled guilty to illegally diverting campaign funds, in addition to other corruption charges.

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14. Gray has denied any involvement with the campaign scandals. However, numerous D.C. Council members have called for his resignation.

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15. Thus, despite his successes, it looks like Gray faces a rocky road ahead in the 2014 mayoral race. For all of our campaign coverage and more, head over to The Hoya.

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Photos: The Grio, ABC News