Modest ratings forDemocrats Biddle, Weaver
By LOU CHIBBARO JR.firstname.lastname@example.org
D.C. City Council candidates SekouBiddle and Bryan Weaver, both Demo-crats, each received a rating o +5.5 thisweek rom the Gay and Lesbian ActivistsAlliance, the highest score given by thegroup or the nine Council candidates run-ning in the city’s April 26 special election.GLAA, a non-partisan political group,rates candidates on LGBT and somenon-LGBT issues on a scale o -10 to+10. The group says it bases its ratingson responses given by candidates to aGLAA questionnaire and on their recordon LGBT and AIDS issues.“No candidates in the April 26 specialelection or At-Large D.C. Council mem-ber approached the ‘perect tens’ romthe Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliancethat were earned in recent elections byCouncil members Jack Evans, DavidCatania, Jim Graham, and Phil Mendel-son,” the group said in a statement. Cat-ania and Graham are gay.Republican candidate Patrick Mara andStatehood-Green Party candidate AlanPage each received a +4 rating. DemocratVincent Orange, a ormer Ward 5 Coun-cil member, received a +3.5 rating; andDemocrat Joshua Lopez, an aide to ormerMayor Adrian Fenty, received a +2.5.Democratic candidates Tom Brownand Dorothy Douglas and independentcandidate Arkan Haile each received arating o “0.” GLAA said the three ailedto return the questionnaire and the groupautomatically assigns a 0 rating to suchcandidates unless it can veriy a recordon LGBT-related issues.Each o the candidates that returnedthe questionnaire expressed support orLGBT rights, including support or thecity’s same-sex marriage law.In a statement accompanying the re-lease o its ratings, GLAA acknowledgedthat the candidates indicated in theirquestionnaire responses that they supportGLAA’s positions on nearly each o the 14issues the group raised in its questions.It said most o the candidates lost pointsby not providing sufcient substance totheir responses, which, according to thegroup, would demonstrate a better graspand understanding o the issues.“We just don’t want yes or no an-swers,” said GLAA Vice President RickRosendall. “We want the substance be-hind the answers.”Rosendall said the substantive issuessurrounding each o the questions askedo the candidates are included in a 24-page GLAA “agenda” briefng paper orthe D.C. LGBT community published onthe group’s website. He said the groupsent each candidate a copy o the paperalong with the questionnaire.The subjects covered in the question-naire, among other things, include mar-riage and amily, public health, publicsaety, human rights, youth, and protec-tion or LGBT consumers and businesses– all in connection to how they pertain tothe LGBT community, according GLAA.One question asks what steps thecandidates would take to improve theperormance o the city’s AIDS ofce.Another asks, “Do you support the righto adults in the District to choose adult-oriented entertainment or themselves,and the right o appropriately licensedand zoned businesses to provide it?”All o the candidates answering thequestionnaire responded with a “yes” an-swer to the latter question, although theygave diering explanations o their viewson the subject o adult businesses.Each o the candidates except one —Statehood-Green Party candidate Page —gave a “no” answer to a question askingi they would consider supporting decrimi-nalizing, zoning, taxing, and regulatingprostitution in the District. GLAA noted inits questionnaire that marginalized groupssuch as low-income LGBT and transgen-der youth sometimes turn to prostitution asa means o economic survival and otenare subjected to urther difculties i ar-rested or engaging in the sex trade.Page and the other candidates saidtheir avored solution to the problems oLGBT and trans youth is city-sponsoredjob training, substance abuse counsel-ing, and enorcement o non-discrimina-tion laws that would eliminate the needor marginalized groups to turn to prosti-tution or survival.GLAA said Biddle’s questionnaire was“generally positive but oered limitedsubstance and was oten vague.” TheGertrude Stein Democratic Club, thecity’s largest LGBT political group, en-dorsed Biddle.Mara, a member o the city’s board o ed-ucation rom Ward 1, has expressed strongsupport or LGBT rights, including same-sex marriage. GLAA said he lost points onhis rating, among other things, becausehe lobbied Congress or a ederal schoolvoucher program. The program pays D.C.students’ tuition in private, religious elemen-tary and secondary schools that are exemptrom the city’s human rights law, which bansdiscrimination based on sexual orientationand gender identity.In his questionnaire response, Marasaid he backs the program because itallows students rom low-income amiliesto attend schools considered better aca-demically than city public schools.Mara this week received the endorse-ment o the Log Cabin Republicans oWashington.Copies o the candidates’ responsesto the GLAA questionnaire and a break-down o their ratings by points can beviewed at glaa.org.
2 washingtonblade.com • april 1, 2011
Forum addressesLGBT issues, bullying
By LOU CHIBBARO JR.email@example.com
The Gertrude Stein Democratic ClubTuesday night endorsed gay rights andWard 8 civic activist Phil Pannell or aseat on the D.C. State Board o Educa-tion or Ward 8 in the city’s April 26 spe-cial election.The club made the endorsement ol-lowing a orum in which candidates run-ning or the Ward 8 and Ward 4 schoolboard seats spoke to club members ona wide range o issues, including issuesrelated to LGBT youth.“I’m honored and humbled,” Pannellsaid ollowing the endorsement vote.“This is an endorsement that I reallywanted and that I really need. And I thinkit’s important or people to know in thiscity that there are those o us in the LGBTcommunity who put public education atthe top o our agendas.”Pannell, a longtime member o theStein Club, received 62.5 percent othe votes cast, bringing him over the 60percent vote threshold required or anendorsement under the club’s rules. Hisclosest rival was D.C. civic activist andLGBT rights supporter Eugene Kinlow,who received 34 percent o the vote.Ward 8 candidate Sandra Williamsreceived 3 percent and the remainingthree Ward 8 candidates attending theorum – Tijwanna Phillips, Larry PretlowII, and Cardell Shelton – did not receiveany votes.Three other candidates running in thenine-candidate Ward 8 race – TrayonWhite, R. Joyce Scott, and Anthony Mu-hammad – did not attend the orum.In the Ward 4 race, none o the ourcandidates participating in the SteinClub orum received 60 percent o thevote, preventing the club rom makingan endorsement in that contest. Ward 4educator An Almquist came close, cap-turing 54.5 percent o the vote in a sec-ond ballot runo against Ward 4 activistD. Kamili Anderson, who received 39.3percent o the vote. The other two Ward 4candidates who participated in the orumwere Andrew Moss and Bill Quirk.Adam Tenner, executive director othe local group Metro Teen AIDS, servedas moderator or the orum. Among thequestions he asked was how the can-didates would address the D.C. publicschool system’s high drop-out rate, whichTenner said was believed to be highamong LGBT students. He also askedabout HIV prevention programs, includ-ing condom distribution in the schools.Pannell said school bullying and ha-rassment o LGBT students was a con-tributing actor in students’ decision todrop out o school. He said many stu-dents, including LGBT students, regu-larly ail to attend school, contributingto what he called an unacceptably hightruancy rate in the school system.“So many o our LGBTQ students fndthat the school experience isn’t workingor them,” he said.In addition to improving programsaimed at curtailing bullying, Pannell saidhe would push or allowing students toorm LGBT-related student organizationsand or encouraging them to serve asvolunteers or LGBT-related organiza-tions in the city such as the Whitman-Walker Clinic and Us Helping Us.Each o the other candidates par-ticipating in the orum also promised toprovide support in varying ways to LGBTstudents in the city’s schools.Pannell and the other candidates ex-pressed support or age appropriate HIVprevention and sex education programs.All o the candidates said they would re-strict condom distribution in the schoolsto parental consent.
Stein Club endorses Pannell in school board race
GLAA awarded a +5.5 out o a possible +10 points to Sekou Biddle and Bryan Weaver, who arerunning or Council.
Washington Blade fle photo
GLAA activists grade D.C. City Council hopefuls