Dear Kind Readers:
Readers of themail are the nicest people in town. I know that’s
true because I made a stupid error in the last issue of themail. I wrote
about the DC Voting Rights Act, and I said that the bill had a
nonseverability clause, which would invalidate the entire bill if any
part of it were found to be unconstitutional. Well, there is such a
clause, but it doesn’t apply to the bill as a whole. Section 212, in
Title II of the bill, had a separate severability provision. This meant
that if the first Title of the bill, which gave the DC delegate to
Congress a floor vote in the House of Representatives, were to be found
unconstitutional, the second Title would still restore full Second
Amendment rights to citizens of the District who were being denied them
by their local government. What makes themail’s readers so nice is
that not one of the people who corrected me on this issue called me
stupid or ignorant, or any other derogatory name. To give them credit,
they were Timothy Cooper, firstname.lastname@example.org;
Elizabeth Weiner, email@example.com;
David Vzvenyach, firstname.lastname@example.org;
and Martin Austermuhle, email@example.com.
To the many other people who must have been aware of my mistake and were
too kind even to bring it to my attention, my thanks also.
In any case, in the last week, the prospect of DC citizens’ rights
being guaranteed by the Bill of Rights and the constitution so enraged
District elected officials that they demanded that the bill as a whole
be withdrawn. Nearly all councilmembers issued statements stressing
their fear of how dangerous the residents of DC would be if they were
allowed to have the same rights as other Americans.
Councilmember Mary Cheh introduced the “National Popular Vote
Interstate Agreement Act” (http://tinyurl.com/26khe5x)
yesterday, and already has the majority of the city council as sponsors
and cosponsors. The purpose of the bill is to undermine the electoral
college by creating an interstate agreement under which states will
agree to cast their electoral votes for the candidate who wins the
national popular vote for president, rather than for the candidates who
win the popular votes in their individual states. States are passing
bills individually, and the bills are all supposed to go into effect
when states that have a total of 270 electoral votes have passed them. I
actually hope this bill passes, because I can’t wait for the next time
that a Republican president is elected, and Cheh and her other
cosponsors have to explain to the public why DC is casting its electoral
votes for a Republican rather than for the Democratic candidate who will
undoubtedly have won 90 percent of the DC vote.
Now that Councilmember Michael Brown has oversight authority of the
Taxicab Commission, it is time that he does something with it. He can
start by withdrawing the Ward stickers allowing taxicabs to park in your
neighborhood. Then these cabs be relegated to what they are actually
are, commercial vehicles for hire and not vehicles for personnel use.
This would stop taxicabs from being motor pooled in your neighborhood by
fly-by-night cab companies and by individual owners and would establish
a true line of control by the Taxicab Commission without interference by
DCFPI Releases FY 2011 Budget Toolkit
Ed Lazere, DC Fiscal Policy Institute, firstname.lastname@example.org
Mayor Fenty released his Fiscal Year 2011 budget proposal earlier
this month — and now the DC Fiscal Policy Institute helps you
interpret the documents with the release of our FY 2011 budget toolkit, http://www.dcfpi.org/fy11-budget-toolkit.
Want to understand how Mayor Fenty proposes to close the $500 million
budget gap? Curious where the major cuts are in each agency? Interested
in how the city’s safety net is impacted, and whether there are cuts
to programs such as child care or affordable housing? Find answers to
those questions in the DCFPI FY2011 budget toolkit.
Our budget toolkit is a handy guide to the proposed FY2011 budget:
what has been cut, what has been enhanced, and how you can be involved
in the budget process. The toolkit includes analyses of key budget and
tax issues from DCFPI and links to important budget-related documents,
including the schedule of DC council budget hearings. A spreadsheet
showing year-to-year funding changes for DC agencies will be added soon.
We’ll continue to update our analyses as we move through the budget
DC Vote Supports DC VRA Withdrawal
Alexandra Ludmer, email@example.com
On April 20, Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) decided that she
no longer plans to bring the DC House Voting Rights Act to the floor of
the House of Representatives this Thursday. We support Del. Norton in
her decision. For more than a decade, DC Vote has united organizations
and DC citizens in the pursuit of Congressional voting rights in the
nation’s capital. This was the most promising opportunity in a
generation to achieve our goal. Del. Norton worked tirelessly to reach a
compromise with the National Rifle Association, but this week not only
did the NRA not compromise, they pushed too far and demanded that
numerous additions be made to the Ensign Amendment that would be
attached to the DC VRA. These additions are beyond the pale and would
also make eventual passage of the bill in the Senate nearly impossible.
President Obama, Mayor Fenty, a majority of the DC city council, DC
Vote and numerous members of our coalition agreed when Del. Norton made
the choice to move forward with the DC VRA. Nonetheless, we were all
concerned about divisions in the District and within our coalition
around the gun amendment. We hope we will be unified once again in
opposition to the gun amendment when it comes up for a vote. DC Vote
believes the gun amendment is a prime example of why we need voting
rights in DC — to prevent intrusions such as this. Just last week, we
led the fight against the gun amendment by lobbying House Democrats and
urging a “no” vote on the gun amendment and “yes” vote on the DC
VRA. Unfortunately, the NRA has blocked us from attaining what District
residents so greatly deserve.
DC Vote will continue to look for opportunities to pass the DC VRA.
We are geared up to fight against the NRA and other pro-gun advocates
who continue to try to strip the District of its gun laws. DC residents
will not back down. We will persist in our mission to realize voting
rights, local autonomy, and statehood for DC.
CLASSIFIEDS — EVENTS
A Perfect Mother’s Day Gift, April 24-25
Debby Hanrahan, firstname.lastname@example.org
Do you need a great gift for Mother’s Day — one that will also
benefit the library and reading enrichment programs at Ross Elementary
School in Dupont Circle? You select a book from teachers’ wish lists
of needed volumes, and in time for Mother’s Day we will send a letter
to your mother telling her of the gift to the school in her honor. In
the book you select, we will memorialize your donation by placing a
bookplate with your name and your mother’s name (or the name of
another loved one). Come to our booth this weekend (April 24-25) to
select a book: on Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., outside the
Safeway, 17th and Corcoran Streets, NW, and on Sunday, the Dupont Circle
Farmer’s Market, 20th and Q Streets, NW. Suggested donation is $25.
All contributions to this seventh annual book-dedication event are 100
percent tax deductible and all proceeds go to purchase books. Cash or
checks are accepted, with checks payable to Ross Elementary School PTA.
For more information, please call 462-2054.
National Building Museum Events, April 28-29
Johanna Weber, email@example.com
April 28, 6:30-8:00 p.m., Modernist Suburbia. Architect John Burns,
FAIA, and landscape architect Dennis Carmichael, FASLA, discuss the
history, growth, and influence of Hollin Hills, a Modernist suburban
development in Northern Virginia built in the middle of the last
century. National Building Museum curator Chrysanthe Broikos moderates.
This program presented in collaboration with the Civic Association of
Hollin Hills in celebration of the Hollin Hills House and Garden Tour on
May 1. Visit http://www.hollinhills.org
for more information on the tour. $12 for museum or Civic Association of
Hollin Hills members, $12 for students, $20 for nonmembers. Prepaid
registration required. Walk-in registration based on availability.
April 29, 6:30-8:00 p.m., For the Greener Good: Sustainable Schools.
Schools house the nation’s most precious resource, yet many expose
children to off-gassing toxins, are built in far-flung locations, and
lack sunlight, potentially contributing to vitamin D deficiencies.
Discover why greener schools mean a brighter future for us all. $12 for
members, free for students, $20 for nonmembers. Prepaid registration
required. Walk-in registration based on availability. Both events at the
National Building Museum, 401 F Street, NW, Judiciary Square Metro
station. Register for events at http://www.nbm.org.
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