So in the last issue of themail I called for endorsements for
candidates in the upcoming primary, and I nearly shut down
correspondence to themail completely. This is the shortest issue of
themail in years. Does no one have a preference in the mayor’s race,
the city council chairman’s race, the at-large councilmember races, or
the four ward councilmember races? Are you simply bored with politics,
and do you want to talk about the heat wave and Restaurant Week instead?
If so, please do — themail is about all aspects of living in
Washington, and you shape it yourselves by what you write.
In any case, I’m stubborn, at least stubborn enough to try again.
Please teach us to understand your favorite (or least favorite)
candidate the way you do. Influence the race that means the most to you.
Eleanor Holmes Norton is not a leader of the DC statehood movement.
Accordingly, several statehood advocates have extolled Mrs. Norton’s
promise, published in her July 25 op-ed in the Washington Post,
to submit a statehood bill at some time in the future as a victory of
sorts. But like the Trojan horse, the article itself bears closer
In the first instance, Mrs. Norton begins with a twisted history of
the failure of her most recent attempt to submit the DC Voting Rights
bill — a bill that would give her a seat in Congress balanced by an
additional seat for the sovereign state of Utah. Joined by DC Vote and
the Leadership Council on Civil Rights (LCCR), Mrs. Norton was urged, in
the words of Wade Henderson, Executive Director of LCCR, to “just take
the deal.” The “deal” was the surrender by the District of
Columbia of its prerogatives to regulate gun sales, portability, and
registration. An amendment to this effect was proposed by the National
Rifle Association (NRA) and its vassals in Congress who are reluctant to
appear soft on Second Amendment rights to bear arms, constitutional
Mrs. Norton, DC Vote and LCCR agreed to the compromise with NRA and
its minions within 24 hours after she had appeared at an event to
commiserate with the communities and families directly affected by the
murderous mayhem that occurred on March 30 in far southeast DC in which
four youth were killed and at least nine others were injured. A
firestorm erupted. Roots, Inc., a leading organizer of the anti-gun
violence effort in the city, shifted into emergency mode and called upon
all the families and communities who would preserve the District’s
right to legislate gun ownership and safety to resoundingly reject the
Norton-led compromise. Even DC for Democracy, the Brady gun control
group, Stop Gun Violence, and the League of Women Voters abandoned the
effort. Several DC councilmembers, with great chagrin, also had to
retract their support for the compromise.
Shamelessly, on the day following the storm of rejection, Mrs. Norton
announced that she had withdrawn the bill in response to the attempt to
add the “gun amendments.” First, the great compromiser, she would
now cast herself as the champion of DC’s restrictive gun laws,
although her own sympathies lay with the withdrawn bill. With this
turnabout, Mrs. Norton demonstrated another more disturbing tenet of her
political method, say whatever the situation requires.
It is this troubling penchant to say “whatever,” that proves Mrs.
Norton’s absence from the leadership of the statehood movement. In all
of her campaigns for Delegate to the House of Representatives since the
House vote on DC statehood in 1993, Mrs. Norton has only pursued
alternatives to statehood including the Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.) inspired
“one vote for me and one vote for Utah” scheme. Mrs. Norton has
never since 1993 published a statement announcing her intention to
submit a statehood bill. But then never in her campaigns for Delegate
has Mrs. Norton feared the loss of the support of Ward 3 voters. That is
the game-changer. Ward 3 is her most coveted voting block.
A few weeks ago, Mrs. Norton polled second to Doug Sloan in a Ward 3
Democratic Primary straw poll. Mr. Sloan garnered 63 percent of the
votes cast to Mrs. Norton’s 30 percent. The article in the Washington
Post followed posthaste — with its slack regard for truth and
principle. In it, Delegate Norton promises to submit a statehood bill at
some point in the future while continuing to pursue the one vote bill.
Statehood advocates would do well to remind themselves that Mrs. Norton
has always promised to submit a statehood bill, but only when she
decides it is timely.
Her article makes no acknowledgement of the untapped demand for
complete local autonomy the anti-gun amendments firestorm revealed. The
statement includes DC CFO Natwar Gandhi’s unsupported declaration that
statehood would cost $1.2 billion in lost federal resources. Yet, the
article does not cite the more than $1.8 billion due the District from
the commuters who work in the District, but live elsewhere. Nor does it
demand a fair federal payment for the services rendered to the federal
government by the District without reimbursement. These revenue sources
amount to a net gain from statehood in the hundreds of millions. The
Norton article makes no attempt to cite any other source of political
legitimacy but her subjective discretion. This is not leadership. It is
unadulterated self interest.
In order to keep statehood advocates and a growing constituency that
rejects the one vote bill at bay, Mrs. Norton also resorts to unethical
sleight of hand. She writes, “As we move forward, it is important to
remember that today all approaches would need to overcome the gun
provision, even statehood; gun proponents would oppose statehood bill
altogether because the District would enact strong gun safety laws. . .
The sleight of hand or dishonesty is regrettably shallow. A “gun
provision” cannot be added to a statehood bill. Statehood confers
sovereignty. All states enter the union on equal footing, thereby
invalidating any attempt to saddle a state with restrictions on its
power to legislate its own laws otherwise compliant with the
Constitution of the United States. Therefore, there is no gun provision
that could halt or encumber a statehood bill. While it may be true there
will be opponents to statehood for the District, the NRA and its
henchmen will not be able to introduce a gun amendment as a condition of
passage of a statehood bill. Mrs. Norton has not only said what she
thinks will appease Ward 3 Dems who chose Mr. Sloan, but she has
deceived statehood supporters into thinking that a statehood bill may
also be held hostage by the NRA.
Statehood for the District of Columbia is a matter of full equality
for District residents with all others who pay federal taxes. It is not
an opportunistic sound bite to be used when the political winds don’t
fill one’s sails. The Norton article in the Washington Post is
but her own spin on the Vince Lombardi rule, “winning is everything”
— but we knew Vince was just playing a game.
What DC Residents Can Do During Storm Related
Melanie Deggins, email@example.com
As of 8:00 a.m., Monday, July 26, Pepco is reporting approximately
246,500 customers out system wide, including 22,500 customers in the
District of Columbia. The company is estimating a, “multi-day
restoration effort.” First, make sure your outage has been reported.
Do not assume that Pepco is aware of an outage or a neighbor has called
to report an outage. Pepco needs to hear from every affected customer to
help locate problem areas. Call Pepco’s 24-hour outage report line,
1-877-PEPCO-62 (1-877-737-2662). If you cannot use your home phone, it
is still important to call and follow the prompts. Make sure Pepco has a
working phone number where you can be reached about service restoration.
Second, check on elderly and at-risk friends and family to make sure
they have access to plenty of water, a telephone and food. Third, do
your part to help keep the power on. Electricity customers can take
simple electricity conservation steps: 1) close curtains and blinds to
keep out the sun and retain cooler air inside; 2) postpone using major
electric household appliances such as stoves, dishwashers, and clothes
dryers until the cooler evening hours; 3) if health permits, set air
conditioner thermostats higher than usual; and turn off electric
appliances and equipment that you do not need or are not using.
Keep the following numbers handy: Pepco Safety Emergency 872-3432 —
to report wires down; Pepco Claims Office 872-2455 — to request a form
for electric service related damages; DC Homeland Security and Emergency
Management Agency Hotline 727-6161 — to request assistance with
emergency shelter or report a hazardous condition; OPC 727-3071 — to
request any information or assistance
CLASSIFIEDS — EVENTS
Candidates Debate at UDC
Geralda Jean, firstname.lastname@example.org
I’m pleased to invite you to an in-depth discussion on the major
issues facing Washington, DC, with the top candidates for mayor of the
District of Columbia and the chairman of the DC City Council. The DC
Open Government Coalition is cosponsoring this special conversation with
the candidates with several of our local partners. Whether it’s
securing full democracy for District of Columbia residents, improving
HIV/AIDS services, revamping the child support system, or cleaning up
the Anacostia River, the mayor and city council chair have an impact on
almost every aspect of daily life in the nation’s capital.
Here are the event details: Thursday, July 29, 6:30 p.m.-8:00 p.m.
Doors will open at 6:00 p.m. At the University of the District of
Columbia’s Auditorium, 4200 Connecticut Avenue, NW (Building 46E). The
closest Metro stop is Van Ness/UDC on the red line, and paid parking is
available in UDC garage. Candidates: Mayor Adrian Fenty (invited),
Chairman Vincent C. Gray (confirmed), At-large Councilmember Kwame Brown
(confirmed), and former Councilmember Vincent Orange (confirmed).
Moderated by Bruce Depuyt from News Channel 8 and former DC City
Councilmember Kathy Patterson. The event is free and open to the public,
but please RSVP by E-mailing email@example.com so we will have an
accurate head count.
Sponsors for the evening also include DC Vote, DC Appleseed, UDC
David A. Clarke School of Law, ACLU of the National Capital Area, Access
to Justice Commission, Consortium of Universities, DC Branch NAACP, DC
Consortium of Legal Services Providers, Defeat Poverty DC, District of
Columbia Affairs Section of the District of Columbia Bar and the
University of the District of Columbia.
Brutalism, July 31
Johanna Weber, firstname.lastname@example.org
Susan Piedmont-Palladino, National Building Museum curator and
architecture professor at Virginia Tech’s Washington Alexandria
Architecture Center, explores Brutalism, the form of architecture that
many love to hate. $12 Members; $12 Students; $20 Nonmembers. Prepaid
registration required. Walk-in registration based on availability. July
31, 1:00-2:30 p.m., at the National Building Museum, 401 F Street, NW,
Judiciary Square Metro station. Register for this event at http://go.nbm.org/site/Calendar/1210017840?view=Detail&id=109544.
Lamond-Riggs Citizens Association Mayoral and
Council Chair Debate, August 3
Crystal Proctor, email@example.com
The Lamond-Riggs Citizens Association would like to invite the public
to attend their Mayoral and Council Chair Debate. The event will take
place on August 3 at Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ,
5301 North Capitol Street, NE. The event will begin at 6:30 with a brief
meet and greet. The forum is scheduled to end at 9:00 p.m.
themail@dcwatch is an E-mail discussion forum that is published every
Wednesday and Sunday. To change the E-mail address for your subscription
to themail, use the Update Profile/Email address link below in the
E-mail edition. To unsubscribe, use the Safe Unsubscribe link in the
E-mail edition. An archive of all past issues is available at http://www.dcwatch.com/themail.
All postings should be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org, and should
be about life, government, or politics in the District of Columbia in
one way or another. All postings must be signed in order to be printed,
and messages should be reasonably short — one or two brief paragraphs
would be ideal — so that as many messages as possible can be put into