Anti-Ping-Pong Commissioner To Run Unopposed?
With 72 hours to go before nominating petitions are due at the D.C. Board of Elections, despite all manner of uproar over the Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner who acts as video vigilante to protect his corner of northwest Washington from the horror of sidewalk ping-pong tables, benches and other signs of urban life, no one is running against Frank Winstead.
Winstead is the commissioner whose video oeuvre has helped press D.C. bureaucrats into cracking down on table tennis games outside the Comet Ping Pong pizza place and brought to public attention such grievous ills as UPS trucks left unattended on a public street and a Budweiser delivery truck double-parked on Wisconsin Avenue (that video featured conclusive proof that the delivery guy was, and I quote from the commissioner's own caption, "eating chips.")
At the height of the community backlash against Winstead, who has led a seemingly unpopular fight against pedestrian amenities along Connecticut Avenue NW, voices all around that part of Ward 3 swore that voters in ANC 3F04 would be given an alternative to Winstead on this November's ballot.
But the latest list of names of people who have picked up petitions to run for neighborhood commissioner shows Winstead to be the only one who cared enough to seek that seat.
The lack of opposition points out a persistent problem with the District's micro-local form of government: The only people who care about ANC elections tend to be those who, for whatever reason, feel the need to run for the unpaid office and subject themselves to endless development battles, and the small packs of neighborhood warriors who appoint themselves to protect their environs from any change.
So an odd bird such as Winstead, who has consistently refused my entreaties to explain his actions (he even fended off a visit at his apartment door from a video-wielding City Paper reporter), can stay in office seemingly permanently.
This is obviously very good for the city's corps of news reporters, who will eagerly await the next installment of Winstead's video diary, but not necessarily the greatest development for those who actually live in the commissioner's neighborhood. But, as politicians so often remind us, we get the democracy we deserve. Or we go to war with the army we have. Or we are the ones we've been waiting for. Or all politics is local. One of those.
By Marc Fisher |
September 2, 2008; 3:28 PM ET
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