The city council’s Committee on Government Operations had an
all-day hearing today on Councilmember Muriel Bowser’s ethics reform
bill. It’s a fast-moving train. According to Bowser, the hearing
record will close by the end of the week, and Bowser intends for the
council to have two votes on the bill during December, before it
recesses for the holidays. The first vote will have to take place next
Tuesday, December 6, followed by a second vote at the council’s next
legislative meeting on December 20. There will be little or no
opportunity for citizens to weigh in on the bill, since councilmembers
do not really want to hear what people think of it — or think of their
It’s a bill designed to fail. The centerpiece of Bowser’s bill is
a newly created Board of Ethics and Government Accountability, which
duplicates the current duties of the Board of Elections and Ethics and
significantly reduces the duties, responsibility, and authority of the
current BOEE. The BOEE has been hurt since the beginning of the Fenty
administration by Fenty’s failure to appoint qualified people to Board
positions, and then by Gray’s dilatory approach to naming appointees.
Now Gray has named three people to fill those positions, and the council
has held confirmation hearings for them. But Bowser’s bill will
cripple the BOEE and reduce its members to glorified clerks, responsible
for nothing more than registering voters and counting their votes. Will
any of Gray’s new nominees want to accept positions that are so much
less significant and important than they were initially offered? And
after having spent so long finding nominees to fill the BOEE positions,
how many more months and years will it take to find nominees to fill the
Board of Ethics and Government Accountability positions?
Bowser’s bill is based on the pretense that changing the name of
the Board of Ethics and naming different people from the people who have
just been named will actually do something to improve the ethics of the
politicians in the District government. That’s nothing more than a
pretense; but the council has never intended to do anything more.
I’m sure you’re tired of reading nothing but ethics rants. There’s
an easy way to fix that. Send something about something else (anything
else) to themail, and the next issue of themail will be about the thing
that you’re interested in. You have the power.
Have a panel of judges appoint the ethics board.
CLASSIFIEDS — EVENTS
Rebecca Roberts on the Congressional Cemetery,
Patricia Bitondo, email@example.com
On Thursday, December 1, come to the Woman’s National Democratic
Club for a luncheon with Rebecca Roberts, speaking on the Historic
Congressional Cemetery. Rebecca Boggs Roberts is a Washington area
native and a wearer of many hats. For many years she was an
award-winning reporter for NPR, PRI, PBS, Glamour magazine and XM
satellite radio, covering everything from science to politics. Now, she
is a guest host for public radio programs both local and national. You
can hear her filling in on such shows as Talk of the Nation, All Things
Considered, and the Kojo Nnamdi Program. The Woman’s National
Democratic Club is at 1526 New Hampshire Avenue, NW. Reservations
required. Call 232-7363 or E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bar opens at 11:30 a.m. Members, $25.00; nonmembers, $30.00; lecture
Currently, Ms. Roberts is the Program Director at Historic
Congressional Cemetery, a 204-year-old graveyard on Capitol Hill. In
that capacity, she researches and writes the histories of the cemetery’s
residents and designs events to celebrate them. She has created a
suffrage tour to commemorate the ninetieth anniversary of the passage of
the 19th amendment, helped kindergartners build and fly kites for el Dio
de los Muertos, and turned the cemetery’s Public Vault into a
speakeasy for a Prohibition Party. Rebecca is a graduate of Princeton
University, where she obtained a degree in Political Science and in her
free time she is a graduate student at George Washington University,
studying for a master’s degree in forensic anthropology.
Rebecca’s grandmother, Lindy Boggs, was elected twice to serve as
president of The Woman’s National Democratic Club. Ms. Roberts will be
introduced by Suzanne A. George of the Albright Stonebridge Group.
DC Public Library to Close for Staff
Development, December 2
George Williams, George.Williams2@dc.gov
On Friday, December 2, all DC Public Library locations will be closed
for staff development. Regular library hours will resume on Saturday,
December 3. Books, CDs, and DVDs due on December 2 can be returned on
December 3 without incurring late fees.
We hope you’ll join the Washington Peace Center at 1500 Harvard
Street, NW, in honoring our honorees and the entire progressive
community at the Activist Awards Grassroots Gala on Thursday, December
8, 6:00-9:00 p.m. Click on http://activistawards2011.eventbrite.com
to buy your tickets today.
B. Steady, native Washingtonian singer/song-writer and hip-pop
dynamo, will open up the festivities for us, and DJ Domo plans to keep
things exciting with a dance-break intermission during the ceremony.
Join in on the fun and buy your tickets for the awards today. And, just
to remind you, the winners are Earline Budd, Transgender Health
Empowerment; Demissie Abebe, Director of Torture Abolition and Survivor
Support Coalition; Jon Liss, Director of VA New Majority, former
Director of Tenants and Workers United; Kristen Kane-Osorto, Luther
Place, Steinbruck Center for Urban Studies; Leslie Saldogo, Howard
County Friends of Latin America; Netfa Freeman, IPS, SALSA, WPFW,
Empower DC; Sylvia Robinson, Emergence Community Arts Collective,
Georgia Avenue Task Force, Diverse City Fund
Vasudha Desikan, former Left Turn and NCOR, active in INCITE and at
Occupy DC; Michael Kemp, Free Minds Book Club and Writing Workshop, the
school to prison pipeline; and the Walter Reed Vigil.
Congratulations and thank you to all our awardees for their wonderful
work for peace and justice. Buy your tickets for the awards. Free food,
cash bar, raffle with exciting prizes, great music, dancing, fun, and
peace. Dust off your tutu and party shoes and we’ll see you there! The
price is $15-150 sliding scale. Fifty dollars and up gets you a full
color poster. One hundred dollars and up gets you the VIP gift basket.
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