Posts Tagged ‘Patrick Mara’

Interview w/Patrick Mara, GOP Candidate for DC Council

Sunday, April 10th, 2011

?There is a special election coming up in DC April 26th to fill Kwame “Fully-Loaded” Brown’s council seat and much is at stake. Aside from ordering two pimped out/fully loaded Lincoln Navigators for the city to lease at $4,000 a month (paid for by taxpayers), Brown finds himself in a heap of other mess. The DC Campaign Finance Office found Brown’s 2008 re-election campaign “was not in substantial compliance with the District of Columbia Campaign Finance Reform and Conflict of Interest Act.”

Brown brushes this off as an administrative blunder but as the Chairman of the DC Council this looks very, very bad. The audit conducted by the DC Campaign Finance Office found Brown’s campaign didn’t account for hundreds of thousands of dollars and funneled over $200,000 to his brother Che Brown do campaign work. Of course Brown isn’t the only councilmember embroiled in controversy but his questionable behavior is worth noting for two reasons.

One, he is chair of the District’s legislative body and tasked with minding the District’s budget and these actions don’t demonstrate a fiscally responsible lawmaker. Second, Brown was one of the first Councilmembers to endorse Sekou Biddle to fill his seat. An endorsement Mr. Biddle fully embraced. It is important for DC voters to take note of the company Biddle keeps. He was also endorsed by Mayor Vincent Gray who is also embroiled in controversy around several people he hired to work in his administration.

With allegations of cronyism, corruption, and nepotism swirling around DC politicians, it is imperative for DC voters to consider a reform minded candidate with an ethics compass for the at-large council seat like Patrick Mara. To borrow a phrase coined by another blogger , Mara is “unbought and unbossed” by any DC politician. Having not been endorsed by any Councilmember, he can be agent for reform, something much needed in our ailing District government. If DC residents are tired of business as usual, wasteful spending, inefficient and unaccountable government and elected officials mired in ethics lapses; they need to get serious at the ballot AND think of launching some recall campaigns.

I asked Patrick a few questions about his campaign and here’s what he said.?

????With all the controversy of late surrounding the mayor and many Councilmembers including, Kwame “Fully-Loaded” Brown, Marion Barry’s unpaid traffic tickets and unregistered vehicle, Yvette Alexander’s allegations of fundraising violations, Michael Brown’s unpaid property and income taxes, and Tommy Thomas subject of DC Campaign Finance investigation, if you were elected to the Council, what would you do to help restore voter confidence in the legislative body?

As a member of the Council I will be the only truly independent voice. I will not look the other way when my colleagues continue the old ways of machine politics, capital cronyism, and outright corruption. This city desperately needs diversity of thought and a watchdog on the Council who will counter the clubby nature of DC government. I am proud to say that I am not endorsed by any Councilmembers and therefore will not beholden to anyone other than the voters. Acting as a voice of fiscal and ethical responsibility will help restore voter confidence in the DC Council.

Describe the three major platforms of your campaign? What are you going to do if elected to improve DC for all residents?

My campaign is focused on fiscal responsibility, continued education reform, and government accountability.

With a $320 million deficit the city needs to drastically cut spending; over the past decade the budget has grown by 78% and that is simply unsustainable. For too long, the Council and Mayor have spent money with no regard for the businesses and families who underwrite their profligate spending habits.

As a staunch education reform advocate and member of the DC State Board of Education, improving DC schools will play a key role in my agenda as Councilmember. I strongly support the Education reforms enacted by former Mayor Fenty and Chancellor Rhee. I support fully funding DC Public Charter Schools and the Opportunity Scholarship program – these reforms have markedly improved education outcomes, particularly for children of low income families, and must not be reduced until we have quality schools in every DC neighborhood.

Finally, it is no secret to any informed DC voter that the ethical standard displayed by the current administration and Council is disgraceful. If elected, I will have no endorsements to repay, and I will be in the pocket of no special interests. I pledge to serve as the voters’ watchdog on the council and proudly publicize instances where my colleagues violate the public trust. We must put an end to the corruption rife in DC government now before we lose complete control of ethical standards.

For those residents, who aren’t Republican, why should they vote for you?

I am the only candidate running that can truly be an independent voice on the council. I am the last person that Kwame “Fully Loaded” Brown, Mayor Gray, and other members of the Council want elected. I will put an end to the business as usual on the council. If DC residents are sick and tired of the same old wasteful spending and constant ethics violations then they should vote for me, a truly independent voice.

What is something most voters don’t know about Patrick Mara?

I am an avid mountain climber.

What part of town do you live in and what’s your favorite thing about living in DC?

I own a house in Columbia Heights and have watched that neighborhood grow and develop. It has been wonderful to see a neighborhood that at one time was under major economic and social distress and is now a flourishing and vibrant area.

Tell me a little bit about your current job?

I am the owner of The Dolan Group LLC., a consulting firm here in DC. I spend most of my time as the representative for Ward 1 on the State Board of Education. Education is very important to me and I spend my time making sure DC schools are continually improving.

Why do you have such a passion for volunteering with young people and what kind of volunteer work have you done over the years?

Over the years I have tutored 9 underprivileged boys in DC. I have watching 8 of them grow up and become the first generation in their families to go to college. I am still working with the 9th and hope he will one day attend college too. DC’s youth are the future of this city, and we need to give them the opportunities they deserve. I truly enjoy working with these students and helping in whatever modest way I can.

In the next five years, what do you feel are the biggest challenges to DC and how would you tackle these issues?

I believe our biggest challenge is tackling the massive deficit. Wasteful and irrational spending over the years has led to unsustainable spending levels. The city cannot continue to spend at this level without an economic disaster. I will work on the Council to bring spending back down to a level that reflects population growth. This will be accomplished by thorough review of all city contracts, an increase in transparency, and a comprehensive tax restructuring to make DC a more attractive place start a business, create jobs, and raise a family.

To find out more about Patrick Mara, and his positions on other topics, you can go to http://patrickmara.com/

The Case for Patrick Mara, GOP DC Council Candidate

Tuesday, March 15th, 2011

DC government is so out of control! I don’t know where to start, except by saying the time has come for DC Voters to have a more diverse, qualified pool of mayoral candidates to choose fromand elect more Republicans like Patrick Mara to the city’s council. Mara is running for the at-large council seat vacated by Council Chairman Kwame Brown. In addition to running on the usual platform of improving schools, making neighborhoods safe, Mara wants to make DC government more effective, and efficient. Something most residents desperately want: to purge the cronyism and unethical behavior from DC government.

As a black person and resident of the nation’s capital, it’s embarrassing to continue to see DC black elected officials continually get involved in shady dealings.

Our newly elected Mayor Gray looks like he’s going to bring back the “daze” of former Mayor Marion Barry where government was large on inefficiency and heavy on corruption. Gray’s second in command Kwame Brown reminds more of a D list celebrity than Chairman of the DC Council. And don’t forget about Gray’s transition team director Reuben Charles who owed over $500,000 in combined back taxes and debt.

We probably saw this train wreck coming last year but the facts speak loudly for themselves. Gray has hired big guns lawyer Robert Bennett (of defending President Bill Clinton in the Monica Lewinsky affair claim to fame) to presumably help him fend off allegations made by Sulaimon Brown. Sulaimon alleges Gray paid him and promised him a job in exchange making attacks against Fenty during the mayoral campaign. Sulaimon was given the job of special assistant in the Department of Health Care Finance at plump salary of $110,000 a year.

Looks like, sounds like quid pro quo to me. He has since been dismissed from the position because of media reports on his unsavory past. It was also revealed Sulaimon had six run-ins with the law, including an attempted murder charge, but was hired nevertheless.

Sulaimon also alleges Lorraine Green, Gray’s campaign chairwoman and Howard Brooks were also involved in facilitating his work for the campaign. Apparently the FBI has been asking questions and Washington Post columnist Colbert King artfully wrote how this complicates things for all involved. Where All This and the fact Brooks’ son was given a job within the administration doesn’t look like the Gray is off to a good start. It makes one wonder if Mayor Gray is on a course to take DC back to the Control Board days. Moreover, Congressional Republican opponents of DC home rule must be laughing about now.

If news on Gray wasn’t bad enough to dash a resident’s confidence in DC government, Kwame Brown, our new DC Council Chairman, thought his most important job once he took office was to order two pimped out Lincoln Navigators to the taxpayer tune of nearly $4,000 a month. Did I mention DC faces a $400 million budget deficit? Then Kwame was outraged when one car arrived without a black interior because he specified he wanted a black on black Navigator. Does this behavior sound like a leader or someone trying to abuse the system? Of course, after Kwame was exposed in the press, he suddenly found his behavior “unacceptable.” Something tells me Mara, who owns a government relations consulting business, isn’t looking to game the system at the expense of DC taxpayers.

But it gets better; the Washington Post reported this week Kwame Brown may have oops forgotten to report over $250,000 in contribution from his 2008 campaign and then used the money to fund his 2010 campaign. Sadly, in my opinion, this is what many people have come to expect from our black councilmembers either some kind of shady dealings or below average performance.

My councilmember Muriel Bowser sent me a petulant series of email responses to questions I had about her lack of follow up with our power utility PEPCO on our neighborhood’s inordinate number of power outages on blue sky days not just storms. She acts like she’s doing me a favor to get back to me and I’ve come to expect very little from her.

Finally, one question begs to be answered. Why is it, on average, we don’t see these type of shenanigans aka Gray and Kwame exhibited by white councilmembers like Jack Evans, Tommy Wells and Mary Cheh?

Which brings me to Patrick Mara and why we need more Republicans on the DC council and greater diversity. Patrick Mara is the Republican running for the at-large council seat vacated by the illustrious Kwame Brown. He is currently a Republican member of the DC State Board of Education. His challenger is Sekou Biddle, who has the support of Kwame and Gray. This should make you pause, if you haven’t already. Biddle is trying to kick Mara off the ballot alleging some signatures on his nominating petitions were forged. Last week, the DC Board of Elections and Ethics issued a preliminary decision Mara’s petitions were valid.

A hearing was supposed to be scheduled March 10 was delayed to March 15. Suddenly, the board reversed course last Friday, March 11th and told Mara’s campaign some signatures appear forged. Questions abound but a Washington Post op-ed summed up the problems with DC’s one party rule, closed primary system and the tainted appearance it takes on: “It’s disturbing that a totally Democratic body will decide whether a Republican can stand for election. Despite a legal requirement for minority representation on the three-member elections board, which supervises voting, it’s been more than a year since the board has had a Republican. (Two members are Democrats and the third minority seat slated for a Republican has been unfilled for a year.) The April election will be the third with only Democrats calling the shots.”

So much for democracy in the District of Columbia but do we ever expect more? I vote Mara.