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Gay former ANC commissioner seeks Council seat

Garber to challenge Orange in at-large race



David Garber, gay news, Washington Blade
David Garber, gay news, Washington Blade

David Garber (Photo courtesy Twitter)

Gay former advisory neighborhood commissioner David Garber last week announced his candidacy for the at-large D.C. Council seat currently held by Council member Vincent Orange (D-At-Large), saying he will challenge Orange in the city’s 2016 Democratic primary.

In an online video linked to his campaign website, Garber raised eyebrows by going on the attack against Orange. Calling on supporters to join him in the “movement for communities over corruption,” he raised the issue of the city’s ethics board reprimanding Orange for allegedly pressuring a city agency to call off regulatory action against a grocery store.

“While I applaud the incumbent for his long tenure in D.C. government, we simply deserve better,” Garber said in his campaign video. “Council member Orange was the first Council member to ever be publicly reprimanded by the D.C. Board of Ethics and Accountability for using his influence to – get this – to stop a health inspection of an insect and rat infested grocery store owned by one of his largest campaign contributors,” Garber said in the video.

James D. Brown, who serves as chief of staff at Orange’s Council office, released a statement to the Washington Blade taking exception to Garber’s criticism.

“Councilmember Orange has a ‘clean record’ with the D.C. Board of Ethics and Government Accountability (which you may verify),” Brown said. “CM Orange’s actions, that Mr. Garber speaks of, resulted in the health code violations being abated in less than 24 hours, the entity in question passing the D.C. Health Department inspection in less than 24 hours, and the avoidance of forty employees being laid off without pay during the Christmas holiday.”

Brown added in his statement that Orange “looks forward to addressing his insurmountable record of achievement” on a wide range of issues, including transgender rights, during his upcoming re-election campaign.

In his successful 2012 re-election campaign for his Council seat, Orange received support from a number of prominent LGBT activists, including Ward 8 civic activist Phil Pannell and Ward 3 gay ANC commissioner Lee Brian Reba.

If successful in his race for the at-large seat, Garber would become the first gay person to serve on the Council since the Council’s two long-time gay members — David Catania (I-At-Large) and Jim Graham (D-Ward 1) — left the Council in January. Catania gave up his seat in his unsuccessful race for mayor. Graham lost his re-election bid in the city’s 2014 Democratic primary.

Garber, who has named former Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance President Bob Summersgill as his campaign treasurer, surprised some of his former ANC colleagues when he made it known at the time of his campaign announcement last week that he’s gay.

Andy Litsky, one of three out gay members of ANC 6D, where Garber served as a member between 2011 and November 2014, said Garber never self-identified as gay during his tenure on the ANC. Litsky also noted that Garber first won election to ANC 6D when he defeated another gay commissioner, D.C. businessman Bob Siegel, in the November 2010 election.

“Not that it makes any difference,” said Litsky. “Everybody comes out in their own way at their own time. I wish him well as a gay man.”

Pannell, who said he plans to remain neutral in the 2016 Council elections, said running as a gay candidate could be helpful to Garber in the Democratic primary, where voter turnout tends to be low and where a large turnout of LGBT voters could work in his favor.

Summersgill pointed to a statement that Garber posted on his Facebook page in April acknowledging his sexual orientation wasn’t widely known.

“In my public roles around the city, I haven’t typically felt the need or been forced to use a bullhorn to announce all that much about my personal life,” Garber said in his posting, noting that he has preferred to highlight his numerous civic activities.

“I’m gay,” he said. “It’s one thing that defines me and the way I see others and the world. But it becomes an especially important thing for me to be proud of, to fight more personally for, and to raise a flag for when the conversation turns away from more straightforward city matters, to something like equality.”

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  1. Brian's Ions

    August 12, 2015 at 4:38 am

    We need to hear from Garber and Orange about what each is going to do about the institutional racism, sexism and homophobia/transphobia in DC’s police management.

    Everyone in DC is entitled to adequate police protection.

    But MPD’s police bosses cynically view poor or minority people who are victims of violent crimes, rape and anti-LGBT hate crimes victims as weak and less likely to complain of police cover ups.

    Any big city police department can easily have great crime stats if its corrupt leadership has its force hide, coverup, stall or harass violent crime victims and/or withhold evidence (e.g., videos of perps) from the public.

    Those under MPD management’s control can easily help to keep MPD’s crime stats looking ‘good’ for the public.

    f/ 2013…

    f/ 2015 (July)…

    Orange and Garber ought to let us know what they each think on the subject of MPD police bias and crime coverups, LGBTQ public safety and restoring GLLU to its previous mission of LGBT Community Policing.

  2. Bradindc

    August 12, 2015 at 1:00 pm

    Being Gay or straight is not the question. Voters should vote for the best candidate. The real question is whether or not Garber is actually gay. Is he using this to grab the gay vote? As Mr. Litsky mentions, he never identified himself as gay. Why now? What has Garber done that deserves a seat on the council? What ideas has he come up with on his own? What has he followed through on?
    I do not think being a full-time “Tweeter” is a qualification. Why did he really quit the ANC with 2 months to go? Does he own a home in the District? Not that it is a requirement, but it shows roots and the “put your money where your mouth is” type of skin in the game.
    Mr. Garber wants to end corruption? Let us finish his sentence….Let’s work together for communities to end corruption (and replace it with incompetence).
    Let Mr. Garber go up against Mr. Orange and see who wins that debate.

    • Brian's Ions

      August 13, 2015 at 3:38 am

      If Garber and Orange (or surrogates for Orange) want to address legitimate LGBTQ interests during this campaign, that’s a very good thing. Indeed, they ought to get about it– here and now.

      But if Orange, or his surrogates, want to throw personal mud at a gay man who dares to run against Orange’s complete record, then, by all means, let’s see more of that Orange mud-slinging here.

      I have little doubt, hell hath no fury like a community used and abused again.

    • Bill

      August 13, 2015 at 8:34 pm

      As a friend of David for over 10 years and someone whom he told he was gay well before before April, I can only ask that you not be so cynical. He is a thoughtful and committed lover of DC, not a schemer.

      • Bradindc

        August 14, 2015 at 11:00 am

        Bill, Mr. Garber is only friend to Mr. Garber. He loves DC provided in benefits him. Many are committed lovers of DC, which does not qualify them to be on the Counsel.


    August 17, 2015 at 2:28 am

    That’s nice but he’s NOT going to win!

  4. Michael J. Covin

    May 15, 2016 at 7:21 am

    David Garber is Not good for DC!! I am happy to provide a copy of the lease I had when I rented 1514 V Street SE, WDC 20020 from him and emails/text messages demontrating how he forced my family into homelessness by not fixing the property infested with mold and violating the TOPA laws by selling the home during our lease term, while my wife and our 4 daughters, we’re living in a hotel. David Garber is a person who loves social media because it allows him to hide his true colors and simply present who he needs to become to fulfill his agenda. I’m not even getting into the topic of his sexual orientation. I simply want to be heard and will scan and email proof of who is as a person and why he should not be allowed to lead our city. Beware of a potential DC Councilperson who personally creates homelessness, violates laws and then says he is running on a platform to end corruption.

    Michael C

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Comings & Goings

Umana named associate with Gustafson Guthrie Nichol



Wolfgang Umana (Photo courtesy of Umana)

The Comings & Goings column is about sharing the professional successes of our community. We want to recognize those landing new jobs, new clients for their business, joining boards of organizations and other achievements. Please share your successes with us at: [email protected]

Congratulations to Wolfgang Umana on being named an associate with Gustafson Guthrie Nichol (GGN). He has been with them for more than five years and is currently its D.C. studio’s office manager. 

“I am honored to become GGN’s newest Associate,” Umana said.I have the glorious privilege of supporting GGN’s continuing dedication to progress, inclusion, social justice, sustainability, and beautification of the world we live in.”

Umana also works with NBR Computer Consulting as an LLC Computer Technician consultant. He has experience in social media, communications, outreach, and technical services, and provides a dynamic approach to the fast-changing world of technology. NBR Computer Consulting, LLC is a gay-owned business. 

Umana has also served as D.C. Army National Guard Director of Environmental Affairs and with EMS Consultation Services. 

He has his bachelor’s in Environmental Science & Public Policy, Human and Ecosystem Response to Climate Change, from George Mason University. 

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Capital Pride bids for D.C. to host World Pride 2025

International event draws thousands of visitors



Confetti rained down in New York’s Times Square at Stonewall 50 WorldPride New York’s closing ceremony two years ago. D.C. organizers hope to host the event in 2025. (Blade photo by Lou Chibbaro, Jr.)

The Capital Pride Alliance, the group that organizes D.C.’s annual LGBTQ Pride events, announced on Sept. 21 that it has submitted a bid to host 2025 World Pride, the international Pride event that draws thousands of participants from throughout the world to the host city.

The announcement by Capital Pride says its bid to host the event in D.C. notes that the event, among other things, would commemorate the 50th anniversary of D.C.’s first LGBTQ Pride event in 1975, which began as a block party near Dupont Circle.

World Pride is licensed and administered by the international LGBTQ organization InterPride. The World Pride events themselves, which usually take place every other year, are organized by InterPride’s member organizations such as Capital Pride Alliance.

The Capital Pride announcement notes that World Pride “promotes visibility and awareness of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ+) issues on a global level.” The announcement adds, “World Pride events include parades, marches, festivals and other cultural activities often enjoyed at Pride celebrations, along with other components such as a human rights conference and large-scale opening and closing ceremonies.”

The InterPride website says the deadline for submitting a bid for the 2025 World Pride has passed. It says D.C.’s Capital Pride and Kaohsiung Pride, located in the large Taiwan port city of Kaohsiung, are the only two remaining cities in competition for hosting the 2025 World Pride.

Ryan Bos, Capital Pride’s executive director, said InterPride was expected to make its decision on which of the two cities to select sometime in November of this year.

“A recent study conducted by Booz Allen Hamilton revealed that the annual Capital Pride Celebrations, during normal years, result in approximately $371 million in positive economic impacts to the region, a number that may be doubled if the organization is awarded the prestigious event,” the Capital Pride statement says.

The 2021 World Pride took place earlier this year in Copenhagen, Denmark. The 2019 World Pride was held in New York City to commemorate the 50th anniversary of New York’s Stonewall riots, which many activists consider the start of the modern LGBTQ rights movement.

InterPride says the 2023 World Pride will take place in Sydney, Australia.

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Va. county supervisors back resolution against ‘required’ pronoun questions

Unanimous vote in Stafford County allows school defunding



What's Your Pronoun? review, gay news, Washington Blade
(Image courtesy of Liveright Publishing)

The Stafford County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously approved a resolution that gives it the authority to deny funds to schools that require students to give their pronouns and teach the 1619 Project and critical race theory.

The resolution denounces “the teaching of the 1619 Project and critical race theory (CRT) and related principles in Stafford County Public Schools,” and states the board does not support Stafford County Public School students “being required to identify their chosen pronouns.”

The approved document had been updated to change “requested” to give pronouns to “required.”

Republican Supervisor Gary Snellings told the board he brought the resolution forward, which passed by a 6-0 vote margin, in response to communication from parents. One supervisor was not present.

Snellings called critical race theory “racism.” He also called the New York Times’ 1619 Project published on the 400th anniversary of the arrival of enslaved Africans to the Virginia colony a “theory.”

Critical race theory is not taught in Virginia public schools, but a state law passed in 2020 requires local school boards to adopt policies that are more inclusive for transgender and non-binary students that follow, or exceed, guidelines from the state’s Department of Education.

Snellings said the problem with preferred pronouns was in requiring students to give them. He said that was not in the governing Virginia law.

“This (resolution) does not eliminate anything. It just follows state law,” Snellings said.

A Virginia court in July dismissed a lawsuit that challenged the Department of Education’s guidelines for trans and non-binary students. Equality Virginia and the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia were parties to the amicus brief in support of the protections.

“We are deeply disappointed that these adults made such a hateful decision for kids in the community,” tweeted the ACLU of Virginia in response to the board’s vote.

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