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Chapter Endorses Vince Gray for Mayor in DC Democratic Primary

Vote July 20thThe DC Chapter ExComm voted last week to endorse Vincent Gray for Mayor in the DC Democratic Primary. Gray is the latest of several candidates to be endorsed by the chapter in the critical primary election, which opened Monday, Aug. 30, and closes on Sept. 14.

This was not a difficult decision. Following unanimous endorsement by the chapter's political committee, the Excomm followed suit with an 8-0 vote.

"Chairman Gray is clearly the right choice. We endorsed him in 2006 for the Ward 7 seat, and during his eight years on the Council, he has always been a friend of the Sierra Club and the City’s environmental movement, consistently voting for us on the matters that count." --Gwyn Jones, Chapter Chair

Earlier this year Gray valiantly fended off the proposal of the Fenty Administration to slash next year's budget for energy conservation and tree canopy restoration, as well as basic funding for the Department of the Environment. This unheralded work came at a steep price as other budget priorities had to be sacrificed.

Gray has been an ardent supporter of the chapter's 16-year campaign to prevent the paving of Klingle Valley. In responding to the chapter political committee's recent political questionnaire, he distinguished himself from Mayor Fenty in his commitment to oppose over-the-top development of Poplar Point, in Anacostia National Park. This is currently our top park-defense priority.

The Mayor, in contrast, has consistently frustrated chapter leaders during his term in office, refusing to support us in our campaigns for reducing the city's discharges of street runoff, halting the burning of coal in the Congressional power plant, and enactment of the "grocery bag fee bill."

Chapter's Council Endorsements Give Voters Strong Environmental Choices

Starting with early endorsements in May, the DC Chapter has made endorsements in several races including At-Large, Ward 1, Ward 3, Ward 6, and Council Chairman. Early voting started Aug. 30 and continue until Primary Day on Sept. 14, when polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Following are summaries of each of the candidates.

At-Large Council: Phil Mendleson

Phil Mendelson, a long-time community activist and friend of the Sierra Club, has been a consistent environmental voter for 12 years and a leader on our key issues, such as park protection, clean energy and preservation of our urban forest. The chapter has endorsed him four times.

Of all the council races, this one in particular demands attention. Phil Mendelson is being challenged by an unknown by the name of Michael D. Brown -- NOT the widely-admired Councilmember Michael A. Brown. Confusion over these identities threatens our good friend and environmental ally on Sept. 14. Members are encouraged to actively support Mendelson as we enter the final days of the primary season to help spread the word and dispel the confusion.

City Council Ward 1: Jim Graham

In his four years as chair of the important Public Works Committee, Jim Graham has been an consistent voice for our values. In the area of public transportation he has been the strongest leader in the metro area. Additionally, he has been a powerful voice for water pollution control, lead-in-drinking-water standards, and green building development.

City Council Ward 3: Mary Cheh

Mary Cheh is an environmental visionary. In just four years, she has produced an amazing legislative record in the environmental arena. Among her achievements is passage of the Clean and Affordable Energy Act of 2008, which promises to dramatically cut the City's carbon emissions via the creation of a "Safe Energy Utility."

Cheh authored legislation to set ambitious efficiency standards not only for vehicles but for appliances and outdoor lighting as well. In addition, she masterminded the campaign to save Klingle Valley. By moving legislation in 2008 to create a hiker-biker trail, Cheh reversed the Council's 2003 decision to pave this glorious wild gorge -- which we have fought to defend since 1991.

City Council Ward 6: Tommy Wells

Tommy Wells began his first term pledging to help make DC a "livable, walkable community." He has compiled a sterling record, most notably for supporting the development of streetcar lines. Wells was the author and chief proponent of the 2009 law mandating a 5-cent fee on disposable grocery bags, one of the most progressive laws enacted in Washington in many years.

City Council Chairman: Kwame Brown

In his four years as an At-large Member, Kwame Brown has been on our side on issue after issue, including the Green Schools Amendment Act, the Energy Efficiency Standards Act, and the Recycling Act amendments of 2007. In communications with us, he has committed to support solar energy legislation and Anacostia Park and River matters.

Upcoming Events

Following is a selection of upcoming chapter events. For complete listings and details, visit our calendar 

Sep. 7, Tue., 5:30 p.m. - 7 p.m. DC Mayoral Candidate's Forum on the Environment

Sept. 16, Thu., 7 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. Bans, Fees, and Deposits: Mechanisms for Increasing Recycling and Reducing Litter 

Sep. 25, 9 a.m. - Sep. 26, 5 p.m. Population and Environment Advocacy Training 

Oct. 15, Fri. , 8:30 p.m. - 10 p.m. Planet Washington Show and Fundraiser  

Sat.-Sun., Oct. 23-24 Green Festival - D.C. 

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