This weekend, D.C. Students Speak, YouthPAC, and the DC Federation of College Democrats hosted a forum for the candidates running for at-large D.C. council seat.
Vying for the open are Sekou Biddle (D), Tom Brown (D), Dorothy Douglas (D), Arkan Haile (I), Joshua Lopez (D), Patrick Mara (R), Vincent Orange (D), Alan Page (Statehood Green), and Bryan Weaver (D). All of the candidates, minus Haile and Orange, were present for the forum at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Library.
Scott Stirrett (SFS ’13) of D.C. Students Speak asked the candidates for their opinion about the recently amended noise law. Biddle and Lopez opposed the idea of arresting students for excessive noise, while Weaver explained that the original intent of the law was to prevent protests by union and religious groups in residential areas and that he was opposed to both the original intent and current effect of the law. Mara noted that, as a former student body and fraternity president, he was well aware of the student perspective, but he also argued that universities placed an insufficient emphasis on on-campus housing. Mara, Brown, and Douglas felt that the issue boiled down to a lack of communication between students and neighborhood residents. Page said that he had not read the law, but he understood the need to prevent the “criminalization of student behavior.”
The next question pertained to the gerrymandering of the ANC single-member districts in the neighborhoods surrounding universities. All the candidates agreed that students should have a say in the ANC redistricting process, with Weaver musing, “There are two things that you don’t want to watch while they’re being done: sausage-making and ANC redistricting.”