Staffer of the Week: Matthew De Silva


Once a week, The Hoya recognizes one or two staffers who have done a particularly awesome job — now you can get to know about them, too. Here’s our interview with Staffer of the Week, Matthew De Silva:


Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
School: SFS
Year: 2016
Major: International Economics
Position on The Hoya: Director of Technology
Why did you earn Staffer of the Week?
At the Yale Daily News Annual Conference on College Newspapers, I met Vincent Bzdek, the news editor at The Washington Post. I was inspired by his passion for digital media, so when I returned to Georgetown, I reached out to him to coordinate a staff visit to the Washington Post’s offices. This past Monday, Mr. Bzdek led fifteen of our staffers on a tour. We also had the opportunity to sit in on the morning news meeting. It was so cool hearing the editors debate the stories of the day – what should make the front page? When should they break each headline? It was fascinating to hear the flow of their conversation and see “how news is made.”

If you could be a vegetable, which would you be and why?
Sweet potato… with caramelized marshmallows. Because it’s delicious.
Why did you decide to join The Hoya, and how has it contributed to your college experience?
I love being current with the news and understanding the world around me. I joined The Hoya to contribute to the dialogue that shapes the Georgetown community. For me, this means finding the best ways to deliver the news and constantly improving our website. Through The Hoya I met one of my roommates and discovered a potential career path. I have loved my time with the newspaper.
What’s a song you can’t stop listening to right now?
“Cut to Black” by Lemaitre
Photos: Matthew De Silva/The Hoya, The Hoya

5 Reasons to Care About the D.C. Mayoral Election

dc electionOn April 1, D.C. voters will nominate a Democratic candidate for November’s general election for mayor in a city that has never — never — elected anyone other than a Democrat as its leader. Here are five reasons why you should pay attention, even if you aren’t voting in next week’s primary or November’s general elections.

1. Scandal

Mayor Vincent Gray, former chairman of the D.C. Council and seasoned political veteran, is mired in an ethics scandal stemming from his 2010 campaign, in which he unseated previous Mayor Adrian Fenty in the Democratic primary. Long story short, Gray is accused of taking $660,000 in illegal campaign contributions from wealthy businessman Jeffrey Thompson in order to fund a similarly illegal “shadow campaign,” undermining other candidates in the 2010 race.

On March 10, Thompson pled guilty to the conspiracy in federal court, and prosecutors like U.S. Attorney Ronald Machen, who is heading the investigation into Gray, have pledged to “hold accountable all of those who conspired . . . to withhold the truth from the public” and have urged Thompson’s collaborators to “come forward and own up to your conduct.”

For his part, Gray has steadfastly maintained his innocence, saying of the charges, “Lies. These are lies.” Some, like Colbert King of the Washington Post, have questioned Machen’s tactics, saying that Gray is being tried unfairly and without all the facts. While the investigation is ongoing, the scandal has been at the center of the campaign, much to the pleasure of Gray’s primary challengers, which brings me to the next reason the race is exciting.

2. It’s competitive.

Two polls this week, one from The Washington Post and one from NBC4, have the race tied, with Gray slightly trailing D.C. Councilmember Muriel Bowser (D-Ward 4). Bowser, a confidant and ally of Fenty, has surged to become Gray’s main challenger in just the past six weeks, previously muddled in a field of candidates that includes three of her colleagues on the Council.

At 41, Bowser is one of the youngest candidates running, and while her opponents and detractors knock her as inexperienced, it seems her message of a fresh start in the District is resonating with those weary of Gray and the political establishment. Endorsed by the Washington Post (and The Hoya’s editorial board), Bowser has mounted a serious challenge to Gray, making the race truly a toss-up heading into primary day. However, contrary to previous mayoral elections, this one will be far from over after April 1, which brings me to my next and equally thrilling reason to pay attention to this race.

3. History

D.C. has never elected a white mayor. D.C. has also never elected an openly gay mayor. D.C. has also never elected a political independent as mayor. Councilmember David Catania (I-At Large) (SFS ’90, LAW ’94) is seeking to kill three birds with one stone. A former Republican who fundraised for George W. Bush, Catania announced his candidacy earlier this month to run on the November ballot as an independent.

Much like Bowser and other mayoral contender Councilmember Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6), Catania is a staunch critic of Gray, especially on the issue of education, as Catania serves as chair of the Council’s education committee. As the first openly gay member of the D.C. Council, Catania played a major role in the legalization of same-sex marriage in the District back in 2009.

The tone of the race would change drastically if it were the much younger Bowser facing Catania in the general instead of Gray, but the chance of an historic election still looms as Catania continues to shape his campaign leading up to November.

4. Music Videos for Diss Tracks

This one is pretty self-explanatory after you watch this music video featuring a Gray lookalike accepting illegal campaign contributions from one “Uncle Earl,” the name believed to be used by Thompson during their meetings before the Gray’s 2010 victory.

5. The issues in the race matter to Georgetown students

It’s a tall task convincing my friends or any of my fellow classmates that they should pay attention to this race, but there are a few issues that pertain directly to us.

One is the potential for future changes to the D.C. transportation system, including the construction of a streetcar line connecting Georgetown to downtown, and farther in the future, the possibility of a Metro stop in Georgetown. Whoever is mayor will heavily influence the direction the city will take concerning improvements to its transportation system, and since complaining about the difficulty of getting into the rest of the city is essentially a sport at Georgetown, this is an issue that all students should care about.

Another concerns Georgetown’s future. The next campus plan agreement, which promises to shape the development of the university into the future, while negotiated through the local Advisory Neighborhood Commission, will certainly draw the input of whoever occupies the mayor’s office. If students can’t even name the current mayor, they have no chance of having their input taken seriously by the city government when it comes to the Georgetown’s future.

Lastly, this city is undergoing an influx of young professionals flocking to high-paying jobs that only D.C. can offer, and all of us who want to continue to call the District our home after graduation should know where any mayor stands on issues like taxes, economic development and education. Yes, we can only spend four years on the Hilltop as students, but things like buying a car, finding a home and raising a family creep up on us before we know it, and many of us will probably be doing those things in D.C. Don’t wait until then to pay attention to who is shaping this city’s public policy.

Check back for 4E’s post on how to register for the election and where to vote Tuesday.

An Interview with Jack DeGioia

Today, the Washington Post ran a special interview with Georgetown President Jack DeGioia, who talked about his style of leadership, the challenges the Hilltop currently faces and his goals for the university’s future. Here’s a peek at what President DeGioia had to say:

09.06.11news-flickr-degioia-editThere is no substitute for face-to-face encounters. This year, I will deliver about 230 speeches to a mostly Georgetown audience of one size or another. Probably most important for me are a regular series of town halls were I report out on the issues, challenges and progress to date and take questions from the members of our community. We’ve also tried to use social media in a way that enables us to reach a broader audience. We have found Facebook to be particularly effective to share some of the activities that I am personally engaged in and that characterize what the university is doing.

 For the full interview and more, click here, and be sure to share your thoughts and reactions with us in the comments section below.


Springtime Weather Woes: The REAL Madness of March

Springtime weather

Oh the weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful. In case, you’ve no place to go… HOLD ON! It’s springtime, right?!

If you think the weather has been a bit weird lately, you aren’t alone. According to the Capital Weather Gang at The Washington Post, March 2013 was (on average) 13 degrees cooler than March 2012. In fact, it was the 59th coldest March in DC on record since 1871 and the second coldest March since 2000.

Throughout the month, scientists recorded an average temperature anomaly of three degrees Fahrenheit on the cold side. The month was so cold that the highest temperature of the month was only 63 degrees– the first time March did not have a high temperature of 70 degrees or higher since 2001.

Although last March was also one of the driest March months on record, when it did precipitate, the cold temperatures were especially conducive to snow. Dulles Airport set two separate snow records (3.3 and 3.2 inches on March 6 and 25, respectively) and Reagan Airport bolstered the highest snowfall measurements since 1990.

According to WaPo meteorologists, the weird March weather was caused by “a powerful atmospheric ‘blocking’ pattern that formed over northern latitudes over the course of the month. As a result, cold air was released into typically warmer areas, including North America and Europe.

However, the blocking pattern is no reason to get your knickers in a bunch. As of right now, the blocking pattern is currently breaking, and as a result, the National Weather Service has predicted a warmer-than usual April. And you know what that means, Hoyas.


Is The Guards Closing For Good?

Could this be the end of an era for The Guards? The Washington Post’s All We Can Eat blog posted yesterday that the restaurant and bar might be closing permanently.

While Georgetown students know it more as a bar, The Guards is one of the oldest restaurants in the area. It opened back in 1966, and their website boasts that they have “one of the most attractive bars in Georgetown today.”

They closed last night after dinner service, but their future is uncertain. Apparently owner Hossein Shirvani is renegotiating the lease with the landlord, and the closure may be a bit more than temporary. According to the Post, if the restaurant does reopen it will be after some renovations.

Since I’ve never actually eaten a meal at The Guards, I took a peek at their menu to see what all the fuss was about. It can be weird to think about our bars as the restaurants they are during the day time—I ate lunch at Thirds once, and sitting at a table where I saw people booty poppin’ the night before was a strange experience. But now I’m sad that I’ve only ever been to The Guards for the beer and late night dancing, because it looks like a real, legitimately good restaurant.

Fingers crossed that The Guards won’t be closing its doors forever, because that English-cut Prime Rib. Besides, where else are freshmen going to go out in the fall?

Photo: Flickr user Richie in London

Valentine’s Day — D.C. Style

by Martin Hussey

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Can’t wait to express your love this Valentine’s Day? Can’t find the right words for the love in your life? The Washington Post has you covered this year, with D.C.-themed cheesy valentines that are so sappy they belong on a box of Capitol-themed Sweethearts. We collected our favorite valentines, but the rest of them can be found here.

The Post accepted reader submissions for the best valentines inspired by the District. Regardless of your relationship status this Valentine’s Day, the political humor and jabs at D.C.’s quirkiness are sure to make even the most lonely heart smile.

Raccoon Walk

by Beth Garbitelli

According to the Washington Post Going Out Guide (usually quite a reliable resource in the wasteland of the Internets), this Saturday, children from around the area are invited to “a look at the world of these mysterious masked mammals as they roam the neighborhood.” 

Is it just me or does this sound like the most unsafe activity for children….like, ever? Raccoons are mean and they carry Rabies. We’re talking vicious, snarly wild animals (see above) not biscuit-chomping Meeko of Pocahontas.