WE ARE PLEASED to offer endorsements of four incumbent District officials, four new faces to the political scene and, in one ward race, no endorsement. Without question, D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D), Council member Carol Schwartz (R-At Large), Council member Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) and Council member Adrian M. Fenty (D-Ward 4) deserve reelection. Each has contributed to the city's well-being and, as District legislators, they represent the best of their calling.
In addition to those officeholders, we also endorse Kwame R. Brown (D) for an at-large council seat. (Voters may cast ballots for two at-large council candidates.) In our view, Mr. Brown lacked a record of community service and substantive knowledge of the problems confronting the city, and we said so during the Democratic primary. Mr. Brown, however, proved himself to be a smart and energetic campaigner and the kind of candidate who can intelligently engage voters on key issues. If he lives up to his promise, Mr. Brown will be an important addition to the council. We are happy to express the same sentiments about Vincent Gray, who emerged victorious in the Ward 7 Democratic primary. Mr. Gray, a former D.C. human services cabinet officer, knows the city and its pressing social problems quite well. He brings knowledge and experience to the job and a dedication to public service that Ward 7 voters are hungry to find in their representative. Both Mr. Brown and Mr. Gray unseated incumbent council members in last month's primary. Voters should give these newcomers another victory next week.
Residents of Wards 1, 2, 3 and 4 will have an opportunity to elect new members to the Board of Education. In District 1, which encompasses Wards 1 and 2, we endorse Keenan Keller, a parent, senior congressional staffer and local school activist who has made valuable contributions to the D.C. public school system at the elementary school and superintendent levels. District 2, which includes Wards 3 and 4, similarly benefits from the presence of an outstanding school board candidate on the ballot: Victor Reinoso. Mr. Reinoso, also a parent, has a well-earned reputation for rendering years of outstanding service to the school system and the city's most vulnerable youth in a professional and voluntary capacity. Unfortunately, Mr. Reinoso is running in a crowded field of candidates that includes a poorly performing incumbent who has a loyal following. District 2 voters, however, should put children first by putting Mr. Reinoso on the school board.
The Ward 8 council contest pits Democrat Marion Barry against lightly regarded Republican Cardell Shelton. Former mayor Barry will win this race going away without any non-Ward 8 assistance. On a good day, Mr. Barry can be a positive force. Those days, however, have been rare, especially in recent years. For Ward 8 and the city's sake, we hope there are a few more better days to come.