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Native Intelligence
Evans wants to be 'in the mix'
(Published March 7, 2005)

By DIANA WINTHROP

Anyone who even casually watches local politics probably was not surprised to learn that Ward 2 Councilman Jack Evans is running, yet again, for the Democratic nomination for mayor in 2006. Evans made the public announcement because he says reporters were not paying attention and he wanted to be considered "in the mix."

Evans says he will not create an exploratory committee to "test the waters" for his candidacy, as four of his potential challengers have, because he has already made up his mind to run. He said he considers any discussion of the race now to be silly because the election is 20 months away.

It's interesting, at this juncture, to recall that Evans said in March 1998 that then-chief financial officer Anthony Williams wasn't even on the radar screen as a candidate for mayor and that then-councilman Harold Brazil was the frontrunner for the post.

Evans insists he doesn't have to file a formal declaration of his candidacy with the Office of Campaign Finance until he begins to raise money. Others contacted say Evans has five days after announcing his candidacy to file. The law is, according to some political observers, "murky" and needs to be clarified.

Evans' desire to be mayor has been clear almost since he arrived in D.C. 15 years ago. He claims he is the only elected official, other than Mayor Williams or D.C. City Council Chairman Linda Cropp, who knows how to run a city. He also is quick to attack his four potential opponents Councilmen Adrian Fenty and Vincent Orange, Michael Brown and A. Scott Bolden as green and untested.

Evans has a reputation as a "bulldog" and his lack of patience has been a problem for him with some of his constituents. But his ability to raise special interest money from the business community is well documented. For now, Evans wants to be mentioned when the mayor's race is discussed even if the reference to him isn't flattering.

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Raymond Bryant, assistant superintendent for special education, has announced he is leaving D.C. Public Schools April 1 to become superintendent of the Elmira, N.Y., public schools.

Bryant, a former schools administrator in Montgomery County, was one of a group of educators former DCPS superintendent Paul Vance brought with him from suburban Maryland. Bryant has always expressed an interest in running a school system, so his announced departure did not surprise many local advocates of public education.

The community review of Bryant has been mixed. He has held the most difficult job in the school system for three years. Some education activists say he was terrific at his job as he sought to solve one of the most difficult and costly problems in the system. There are others who advocate for special needs children who have complained Bryant was "arrogant" especially with the parents of these children.

Michael Snipes will be acting administrator for special education until Superintendent Clifford Janey finds someone to replace Bryant. Janey needs to find someone with a thick skin, who can handle all of the criticism and numerous parent complaints that Bryant withstood during his tenure.

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Diana Winthrop is a native Washingtonian. Contact her at diana@thecommondenominator.com.

Copyright 2005 The Common Denominator