Jaffe: Sick council needs fresh blood -- vote for Grosso

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Local,DC,Harry Jaffe

The chattering classes and political insiders will tell you we are stuck with at-large council member Michael Brown. Despite his ethically challenged record of absent tax payments, suspended driver's licenses and missing money in his current campaign accounts, the pros are telling us that Brown is headed for victory in the Nov. 6 election. They add up his high name recognition, his daddy's legacy, his strong connection to D.C.'s African-American electorate and the crowded field that opposes him, and they predict a win.

Allow me to offer a different outcome. Challenger David Grosso has been raising money, working the streets and the phones, and running a very smart campaign. He's the best candidate in a field of seven. If Washingtonians of all colors and incomes want the government to work better for them, they have to cut ties to the past, look forward and vote for Grosso.

White voters in Ward 3 have to put aside their liberal guilt and vote for the best candidate, who happens to be Caucasian. African-American voters can use this election to vote with their heads rather than their hearts. We all have relatives or friends who skip tax payments and have trouble staying abreast of mortgage loans; but do we trust those folks to run our bank accounts? Then why let Michael Brown have any say over the District's $10 billion budget?

Perhaps this was on the minds of the businessmen who run the D.C. Chamber of Commerce political action committee. Despite the fact that Brown chairs the economic development committee and is the council's president pro tem, the chamber declined to endorse him. Brown was miffed. Unfortunately, the chamber wasn't brave enough to endorse Grosso and chose no one.

Grosso, 42, is a wonky dude. He's packed his website with detailed policy proposals for your edification. Here are five easy reasons to punch his ticket:

-- Grosso is a native Washingtonian who left home to work and get educated but returned to enter public service, as a top aide and attorney for former council member Sharon Ambrose, then Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, which proves his dedication to D.C.

-- He's promised to quit his job for health care company CareFirst and treat the council as a full-time job.

-- Education first! Grosso's top priority is to advocate for continued reform and improvements to public schools.

-- Along with Kenyan McDuffie, he would represent the next generation of political leaders who come with ethical purity, high ideals and zeal for campaign reform.

-- Best reason: David Grosso can win. He's identified his base voters and knows how to get them to the polls; he's concentrating his energy in the final days on the streets of Ward 4, where he can mine black middle-class votes; he's got $50,000 in the bank and intends to use it in the last three weeks for mailers, ads and Election Day get out the vote efforts.

So vote -- for David Grosso.

Harry Jaffe's column appears on Wednesday. He can be contacted at hjaffe@washingtonian.com.

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