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|Nowhere is the dead hand of
one-party local government control more obvious than in the District of
Columbia. It’s time to make D.C. more than a one-party town. And the
party best equipped to do that is the progressive, issue-oriented D.C.
Statehood Green Party (DCSGP), not the moribund Republican Party (whose
most-publicized issue in recent years has been the reopening of
Pennsylvania Avenue to vehicular traffic).
A true opposition party is especially vital in D.C. because recidivist ethics violator Mayor Anthony Williams and most Democratic Council members are actually Republicrats, who seem to feel that what’s good for the Federal City Council and the Board of Trade is good for all citizens (e.g., taxpayer subsidized downtown development schemes) and that all of the important decisions are best made without consulting the public in advance. With perhaps one exception (a Council member not up for election this year), there are no Paul Wellstone Democrats on the Council or in the Mayor’s office.
Formed in 1999 by a merger of the well-established D.C. Statehood Party and the fledgling Green Party, the DCSGP – despite having less than 2% of the city’s registered voters (compared to the Democrats’ 76%, independents 14% and Republicans 8%) – has in three years become the city’s most active political party: constantly lobbying and testifying before the D.C. Council; leading fights to preserve neighborhoods; holding statehood banner drops, and getting arrested in Congress in pro-D.C. democracy protests. And the DCSGP has more candidates (eight) on the November 5 general election ballot than the nominal second-party Republicans (five). These DCSGP candidates are:
The DCSGP stands for:
To rank and file Democrats, I ask: Do you recall when local Democratic office holders fought for many of these same things the DCSGP stands for? Do you detect any passionate vision among most elected D.C. Democrats for ordinary people and their daily struggles – or do you see that they instead have a passion for downtown development interests and gentrification (endless rounds of city-backed financing for a convention center, Spy Museum, proposed music museum, hotels, and universities – while, as recently reported, the city’s poverty rate has increased so that one in five D.C. residents and one in three children live in poverty, and there still is no supermarket in Anacostia)?
Remember, it was Mayor Williams who closed down D.C. General Hospital. It was the Mayor and Democratic Council that in late September cut tens of millions of dollars for schools, low-income housing, the disabled and other critical social programs without seriously exploring new revenue sources.
As we have seen over the last four years, the Council under Democratic Chair Linda Cropp has achieved public “harmony,” but at the expense of true government oversight, open discussion, an informed citizenry and real citizen input on such high-cost, high-impact issues as the Olympic bid (no public hearing); the Mayor’s $200 million pledge for a baseball stadium (no public hearing), and the closed-door $323 million emergency budget cuts in September (for which the Mayor and Council first decided on the cuts and then the Council held a hearing). The message to citizens is: You don’t matter. Decisions first, public hearings later (if at all).
Your vote for the DCSGP candidates makes sense -- not only to send a message that you won’t vote for candidates just because they call themselves Democrats, and not take into account those candidates’ political philosophies and their actions while in office – but because our candidates are excellent and our philosophy and positions on issues are more in tune with many, if not most, D.C. voters. (You can learn a lot more about our candidates by consulting voters guides in the October 23 Northwest Current/Dupont Current and in the October 28 Common Denominator, as well as various organizations’ web sites, including those of the League of Women Voters – www.dcnet.org, DC Watch – www.dcwatch.com and DCSGP – www.dcstatehoodgreen.org).
For those who think the Democratic primary is all there is in D.C. politics and that the election is all over after the primary, I urge you to take a closer look and vote for the D.C. Statehood Green Party candidates on November 5.
Despite the disadvantageous registration figures, campaigns run on pennies and an almost total blackout by the major news media, the DCSGP’s four candidates in the 2000 general elections all far exceeded party registration, scoring in double-digit percentages. In the Shadow Representative race, DCSGP candidate Martin Thomas outpolled the Republican by 5,600 votes to come in second in the balloting with 13% of the vote; in the Ward 2 race, DCSGP candidate Tom Briggs captured 20% against fell-financed Democratic incumbent Jack Evans; in the at-large Council race, Arturo Griffiths won 11% of the vote, and in Ward 4 Renee Bowser took 11% of the vote.
Making do with little and accepting no corporate contributions, the DCSGP is especially equipped to challenge the ill effects of one-party government that have become particularly pronounced under Mayor Williams and Council Chair Cropp.
Regardless of the November 5 outcome, the DCSGP will remain in the forefront of activism in the city. We will continue to fight for progressive issues and against corporate giveaways. And we will continue to lay claim to our rightful role as the city’s watchdog party presenting a true opposition voice.
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