Dear Independent Thinkers:
In 1995, the actor Hugh Grant was arrested for soliciting a
prostitute. It was a major scandal in the press, but Grant made no
public appearances or statements for a few weeks. Then he was a guest on
The Tonight Show. The show’s host, Jay Leno, introduced Grant and was
silent as Grant rather sheepishly walked on stage and took his chair.
After a pause that was perfectly timed to emphasize the awkwardness of
the moment, Leno’s first words were, "What the hell were you
Somebody ask Adrian Fenty that question. In the midst of his humility
tour, meant to convince voters that in the future he would be friendly
and collaborative, his campaign committee filed a petition with the DC
Board of Elections and Ethics asking it to allow independent voters,
those registered as "No Party," to change their party
registrations and vote in party primaries even as late as the same day
of the election (http://www.dcwatch.com/election2010/100820.htm).
The committee’s lawyers, from Perkins and Coie, as well as the Fenty
2010 chairman, William Lightfoot, dressed up Fenty’s request as
"enfranchising" independents, but it was obvious that Fenty
was simply shopping for votes among independents, that he thought he
could get the votes of independents more easily than the votes of
Democrats. The committee’s request falsely said that that in the past
independents could vote in DC party primaries and that federal law
required allowing independents to vote in party primaries.
This morning, the DC Board of Elections and Ethics held an emergency
meeting and disposed of the Fenty petition rather quickly, in under two
Not only did Fenty’s political maneuver fail, it embarrassed him
Admitting independent voters to party primaries is a major step
toward open primaries. Primaries are simply one means by which parties
choose their candidates in political races; parties can also hold
caucuses and conventions, but the point of all of them is that members
of parties, those who identify with and affiliate with those parties,
choose the candidates. Some states have open primaries, in which their
primary elections are open to members of other, rival parties; most have
closed primaries, open only to members of their respective parties.
After the current election, it may be worthwhile to have a debate over
whether DC wants to have open primaries. Generally, the public supports
open primaries when they think political parties have grown too powerful
and thwart the public will, and they want to weaken the parties.
Fenty’s petition, if there were any legal rationale to support it,
would have given him a chance of gaining him some independent votes in
this year’s Democratic primary, but it would inflict damage on all the
political parties in this town, in all their future primaries. That’s
why the DC Democratic and Statehood-Green parties testified in
opposition to it this morning, along with many other citizens. Fenty,
like his political mentor, New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, may think
he is bigger and more important than any political party, but his
disregard for and insult to his fellow party members is unlikely to help
him in the Democratic primary. So if you see him, ask him, "What
the hell were you thinking?" If you get an answer, send it to
themail, we’d all like to know.
Today, August 25, the DC Board of Elections and Ethics hold an
emergency hearing to consider a formal request from the Fenty 2010
Committee to amend BOEE regulations so that voters could change their
party affiliation status at an early voting center or at the polls on
September 14. This change, if it had been approved by the approved by
the BOEE, would have allowed individuals who are not currently
registered as Democrats to participate and vote in the upcoming
Democratic primary. Citizens, candidates, parties, and civic
organizations packed the BOEE hearing room and the second floor hallway
outside it to insist that the Board not change the District’s election
law just prior to the start of early voting on August 30. After the
hearing, William Lightfoot, chair of the Fenty 2010 Committee, tried to
argue that the real issue before the BOEE was one of civil rights, equal
rights, and increasing voter participation.
Despite this pronouncement from the Fenty campaign, however, it was
very clear that Fenty was trying to tap into the pool of 72,435
individuals currently registered as "no party" in the
District. Moreover, it should also be noted that Mayor Fenty vetoed the
Corrupt Election Practices bill the city council had adopted in July
because, he argued, no changes in the District’s election laws and
procedures should be made so close to a pending election.
The BOEE’s memorandum opinion and order, issued at the conclusion
of the hearing, denied the request of the Fenty 2010 Committee. It is
available at http://www.dcwatch.com/election2010/100825.htm.
Vote for a Candidate and the Candidate’s
Alvin Frost, email@example.com
This mayoral election is contest of both candidates and ideas.
Unfortunately, most candidates, voters, and, especially, the media seems
to consider the candidate and their ideas as a package. I am suggesting
that DC voters should consider the ideas that each candidate presents in
the context of what’s best for Washington, DC. By doing this, the
voter is making a decision on what the future direction of the city
should be that is independent of the candidate who presented the idea.
This process would then proceed to which candidate is best prepared and
experienced to achieve that vision and mission. The end result of such a
process would allow for each voter to say to whoever wins the election
that: "I voted for you, not because I agree with everything that
you campaigned on, but because I believe that you are most likely to
meet the needs and achieve the best results for the entire city."
Most campaigns and elections are all-or-nothing, winner-takes-all
contests. As a result, a lot of votes are against the other candidate,
and their ideas and preparation, as opposed to for a candidate, and
their ideas and preparation. The Grand Jury standard to indict an
individual is "probable cause" and the standard to convict a
defendant in Court is "beyond a reasonable doubt."
Unfortunately, "probable cause" is as close to discovering
which candidate is "most likely" to be the best, or better,
person to vote for. One thing that the electorate should not do, is to
think that their civic duty is done when they cast their ballots. It is
at that time that they must step up their efforts and make sure that the
nominees are constantly reminded of their campaign promises and the
reasons that most voters selected them. The last thing that most voters
expect are election victors who misrepresent both themselves and their
opponents, in addition to their plans and intentions for their
In Maryland, taping a child’s mouth is a felony with no statute of
limitation. Ask the Catholic Church. When someone admits to a crime, is
it punished if the person committing it is Rhee, Fenty, or Kenneth
Johnson? The Turque article on "Michelle Rhee, First-Year
shows her true colors, abusing African American children.
CLASSIFIEDS — EVENTS
Outreach for Bruce-Monroe Campaign, August 28
Parisa B. Norouzi, firstname.lastname@example.org
Join the People’s Property Campaign for outreach to build support
for the campaign to rebuild Bruce-Monroe. Saturday, August 28. There
will be two shifts, from 10:00 a.m. To noon and from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m.
Meet at the Bruce-Monroe site, Georgia and Irving Streets, NW. RSVP to Parisa@empowerdc.org,
234-9119, and let me know what shift you plan to join!
Celebrate the New Watha T. Daniel/Shaw
Neighborhood Library, Saturday, August 28
George Williams, George.Williams2@dc.gov
This Saturday, August 28, come to the new Watha T. Daniel/Shaw
Neighborhood Library’s grand opening party for a fun-filled day.
Activities will include jazzy drawings for kids; face painting; a yoga
demonstration for adults, a poetry slam, a Mac photo workshop for teens,
and a water-balloon battle. Refreshments will be served throughout the
day. The Watha T. Daniel/Shaw Neighborhood Library is located at 1630
7th Street, NW, across the street from the Shaw/Howard University Metro
Ward 4 Democrats Events, August 28, September
Deborah M. Royster, President, Ward 4 Democrats, email@example.com
I am writing to advise you of two upcoming community events sponsored
by the Ward 4 Democrats. First, on Saturday, August 28, we will hold the
third annual backyard barbecue from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. at 1850 Redwood
Terrace, NW. Please join us for Democratic fellowship, picnic fare,
swimming, and fun, and to learn more about the new voting procedures for
the September 14 Democratic primary election. (In the event of inclement
weather on August 28, this event will be held on Sunday, August 29, from
1:00 to 4:00 p.m.) All registered Democratic candidates have been
invited to this event; however, no campaigning will be permitted on the
premises, as this is a Ward 4 Democrats fundraising event, the proceeds
of which will be used to support our voter education and outreach
activities. Tickets are $25.00 per person and may be purchased by
E-mailing Ms. Marlena Edwards, Program Chair, at firstname.lastname@example.org or by
calling Mrs. Evon Ervin, 882-1122. Due to space limitations, a maximum
of two hundred tickets will be available for purchase.
Second, the next monthly meeting of the Ward 4 Democrats will be held
on Wednesday, September 1, at 7:00 p.m. at Emery Recreation Center, 5701
Georgia Avenue, NW. Representatives of the DC Board of Elections and
Ethics will be present to discuss early voting and to demonstrate the
new voting equipment. The meeting will begin promptly at 7:00 p.m.
Please mark your calendars and plan to join us on Wednesday, September
1. If you would like to receive regular notice of monthly meetings,
please join the Ward 4 Democrats listserv at email@example.com.
City Council Chairman Candidates Forum, August
Robin Diener, firstname.lastname@example.org
Please join the Dupont Circle ANC, the Dupont Circle Citizens
Association, the Foggy Bottom Association, and the Ward 2 Democrats for
a community forum for council chairman Democratic candidates the
Honorable Kwame Brown and the Honorable Vincent Orange. Tuesday, August
31. Doors open at 6:00 p.m., forum begins promptly at 6:30 p.m., at the
Academy for Educational Development, Idea Exchange, Connecticut Avenue
and T Street, NW. Light refreshments will be provided. Written questions
from the audience will be accepted in advance at the forum, or online in
advance at http://2010ward2councilchairforum.blogspot.com
Candidates Forum on Statehood and Democracy,
Bill Mosley, email@example.com
The Stand Up! For Democracy in DC Coalition (Free DC) will present a
forum for candidates for the offices of mayor, council chair, and US
representative on Tuesday, September 7, at the Martin Luther King, Jr.,
Memorial Public Library, 9th and G Streets, NW (Gallery Place Metro),
beginning at 6:00 p.m. in the Great Hall.
The purpose of the forum is to educate the voting public about the
candidates’ positions on and plans regarding statehood for the
District of Columbia, as well as about democracy, civic duties, and
responsibilities, and other relevant issues in a changing America. The
forum will feature three segments, one for each office, with invitations
extended to all candidates listed by the DC Board of Elections and
Ethics on the 2010 Primary Election ballot for the three offices. They
will be seated by party and given equal time to answer questions.
Audience participation will also be encouraged. The moderator will be
Jerry Phillips, a legend in local radio and television. Contact: Anise
Jenkins, 361-9739 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The DC Public Library is presenting this debate as a nonpartisan
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