My DC baptism by baby bottle

Two and a half years ago I was a sufferer of “mayoral race envy.” Last month, I moved to DC, in time to vote, via same-day registration, in today’s Democratic Mayoral Primary. (Alas, in registering, of course, I lost my right to vote in a real live, once-in-a-lifetime open mayoral election in Chicago. For discussion of the fun unfolding there, keep an eye on Dan O’Neil’s blog. {Update: this is the type of post I had in mind.})

As I burn the midnight oil waiting for Vince Gray and watching windows explode at Adrian Fenty headquarters, some observations and questions on the day.

The highlight for me, at the risk of sounding like something from 1776, was taking our child to the polls for the first time. I’m happy to say that she charmed the poll workers. Our 1 year-old was particularly taken with the young man with braids and a long crucifix who was helping us to do same-day registration (which is awesome). Halfway home, in front of the Chinatown bus stop on H St., we realized that we’d left the baby’s bottle in the voting booth. I went back to the poll, in the Chinatown Community Center, and the poll workers couldn’t find the bottle couldn’t be found. I hung around, puzzled that anyone would snatch baby bottle, before receiving a call from my wife. The earlier object of our baby’s attention, the young man with the braids and crucifix, had spotted the bottled, hopped on his bike, and rode around until he found my wife. Chicago has a reputation for engaged precinct workers, but that gesture made me feel like a real Washingtonian today.

Other thoughts:

  • DC doesn’t do strong mayors. The post-game analysis is focussed on figuring out just how Fenty could lose. TV reporter Sam Ford said that though Fenty “has done so much in this city in terms of bricks and mortar” but failed to be responsive to citizens. He noted that in one neighborhood Fenty built a new library despite residents’ preference for the old library. (Ford also noted that Fenty “didn’t go to Black churches.”)
  • Michelle Rhee. Maybe its my newfound parenthood, but I’ve never seen an election where a schools chancellor played such a central role. Fenty ran roughshod over the City Council in appointing Rhee and she apparently bucked budget directives from the Council. She may also be impolitic and a tough manager. The question becomes, is Fenty’s defeat a defeat of the dramatic school reform movement of which Rhee has been the symbol?
  • Mayor Fenty is perceived to be a jerk. Coming from Chicago, I find that hilarious.
  • Local elections on Twiter is awesome, as is the TV/Internet hybrid

One thought on “My DC baptism by baby bottle

  1. DC poll workers are clearly superior. Jonah’s was only a few weeks old when we toted him into the election booth with us, sporting his Obama onesie.

    He was almost ejected for improper electioneering. In Uptown! Puh-leeez…

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