Michael D. Brown, the real one, stands up

The so-called "Michael Brown effect" apparently is having an impact on a D.C. Council race. Michael D. Brown is running for an at-large seat against incumbent Phil Mendelson and others. But there's another Brown -- Michael A. Brown -- who is already on the council, and Mendelson claims his challenger is capitalizing on the confusion.
By Mike DeBonis
Friday, September 3, 2010

Michael Donald Brown, shadow senator and candidate for Democratic at-large council member, is not Michael Arrington Brown, the current independent at-large council member.

But so what? A Washington Post poll published Tuesday shows the lesser-known Brown with a 12-percentage-point lead over incumbent and once-assumed front runner Phil Mendelson.

It is assumed that that lead is due to name confusion, and Mendelson has embarked on a crash campaign to let the world know that the Michaels Brown are not in fact one in the same. But, with a week and a half to go before Election Day, who knows if it will work?

Many Mendelson supporters would feel pretty lousy if Brown got elected without knowing where the guy actually stands on the issues. Herewith, Michael D. Brown:

Why he's running: "Because of all the media coverage I've gotten, I'm one of the most popular guys in D.C. . . . I work really hard at being the statehood senator . . . but I wasn't getting any support, and I realized that statehood was something that needed the support of the city council and not just the rhetoric of the city council."

On his potential colleagues: "I think [David A. Catania (I-At Large)] does a good job. I think that, umm, uhh, I like, uhh, Mary Cheh (D-Ward 3). I think she's true to her core values. I've seen her take some tough positions, but she stands up for constituents. There's so many personalities I like. . . . But, umm, uhh, I like Yvette Alexander (D-Ward 7)."

On his mayoral preference: "You know what? I don't know. It's such a tough thing for me. It's a personal thing. Fenty has stood in my way since I've been elected. He makes sure we don't get any money. He really doesn't support us. . . . I know what Vince did [endorsing Mendelson] was a political move on his part."

On Michelle Rhee: "It's been a mixed bag. . . . I think she's made some bold moves. I think the teachers' contract is brilliant. . . . If it were up to me, I would extend her contract, but I wouldn't make it long term. I think if she's going to judge the teachers on their performance, we have every right to judge her on her performance. And if it lags, we use the IMPACT tool on her."

On job training: "You've got Phelps [Vocational High School], but it's underutilized. So we need to get the unions in there. We need to work with unions. [Mendelson] talks about how the unions endorse him. Let's get the unions to endorse our education system. . . . Let's get Phelps running full-tilt boogie."

On the budget: "I think our whole financial crisis is a little overblown. If you look at us compared to other cities, we're in pretty good shape. . . . I think some of the things that you have to cut . . . you start with the frills. . . . You cut money from nonessential services, recreation."

On gay marriage: "I don't think it's going to last because I think Congress will overturn it at some point. But I believe as a human being, I believe everybody's created equal. . . . As a matter of public policy, I think when you have the highest rate of AIDS cases in America that it's irresponsible not to promote monogamy. . . . Gay marriage is a way to do it."

On curfews: "I think curfews are great. I have three kids. They understand that the curfew is 11 o'clock. My daughter had three friends picked up and taken to the police station. Good kids, and that was the first and last time they broke curfew, because their mom had to get out of bed and drive down . . . and bring 'em home."

On the bag tax: "It's almost amusing to see people in my neighborhood coming out of the grocery store to get into their BMW with their key clicker in their mouth because they're carrying their groceries because they don't want to pay the 5 cents. . . . I do think it's working. . . . It's like brushing your teeth. I don't like doing it, but I think you need to do it."

On bike lanes: "I'm for bike lanes. I'm a biker. I ride a bicycle and a Harley-Davidson. So I'm for getting cars off the street because, you know, my epitaph someday, I'm sure it's going to be 'she was on a cellphone in her minivan and she really didn't mean to kill him.' "

On Metro: "I'm for trying to figure out how to get the Metro system running properly. I mean, God bless Michael [A.] Brown, but show up for a Metro board meeting. You know? . . . Can we refer to him as the bald guy? Then they'd confuse him with Phil. We can't have any more confusion."

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