Council member Kwame R. Brown (D-At large), who is expected to coast to a win Tuesday in the race for council chairman, took over one of the city's newest hot spots Wednesday night to celebrate his 40th birthday.
Supporters, council members and a handful of officials from the administration of outgoing Mayor Adrian M. Fenty packed Cuba Libre for music and mojitos.
Council member Yvette M. Alexander (D-Ward 7) purred "Happy Birthday," giving her best impression of Marilyn Monroe. "Happy birthday, Mr. Council Chairman," she sang to laughter and applause.
Council member David A. Catania (I-At large), who is seeking re-election Tuesday, gave Brown a gift of a pair of boxing gloves to prepare him for the fight ahead. Catania told the crowd that he also gave Brown a card containing a famous quote from President Theodore Roosevelt's speech at the Sorbonne, in Paris, on April 23, 1910:
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
After being introduced by his children, Brown offered emotional thank-yous to his colleagues, friends and family. As the Democratic nominee in an overwhelmingly Democratic city, the youthful-looking council member is poised to capture the second-most powerful post in the city--just six years after winning his first election. His only opponent Tuesday is D.C. Statehood/Green Party candidate Ann C. Wilcox.
Brown told the crowd to "vote Democrats and David Catania."
Other council members in attendance were: Phil Mendelson (D-At Large), Jim Graham (D-Ward 1) and Harry Thomas Jr. (D-Ward 5). Presumptive Mayor Vincent C. Gray, the current council chairman, was expected to show up after a Town Hall in Ward 6 but did not arrive while the D.C. Wire was there.
Well-wishers also included Gabe Klein, director of the Department of Transportation; Linda Argo, director of the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs; and Chip Richardson, Fenty's general counsel.
Former Council member Vincent Orange, who lost to Brown in the Democratic primary, also showed up. Orange has continued to draw attention to an investigation into Brown's campaign funds that is being conducted by the Office of Campaign Finance. Orange is also pursuing a special Democratic appointment to the at-large seat Brown is vacating.