themail.gif (3487 bytes)

January 23, 2013


Dear Popsicles:

All right, it’s the depth of winter, and we’re ready for cold weather meals. What’s warming, internally and externally? A good bowl of chili, obviously. Soups and stews? Send in your warming recipes.


Dinaw Mengustu, a novelist of Ethiopian origin, now lives in DC, having moved here from Paris with his French-origin wife. He had previously lived in DC as a college student, and Washington was the setting for one of his novels. Several members of his family live in the Washington suburbs. But he had a hard time convincing his wife and his French in-laws of the charms of the city. He took his father- and mother-in-law on a tour to convince them of the charms of the city, and he succeeded, as he recounts in a charming essay in the New York Times,


Sasha Volokh, in the Volokh Conspiracy, resurrected an op-ed of his from 1997 in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr., day. "Martin Luther King and Automobility." "History Shows Freedom Drives a Car: The private car is unpopular these days. When it isn’t blamed for congestion, it’s blamed for pollution. And, invariably, the proposed solutions are restrictions on driving, increased taxes for public transit and other punitive programs or regulations. But the trouble with seeing driving as the enemy is that it’s too easy to lose sight of its benefits. Driving is a liberating technology, and we ought to recognize this, especially as we approach Martin Luther King, Jr.’s, birthday,"


Jonetta Rose Barras writes in the Washington Examiner, "DC Council Chairman Phil Mendelson must be suffering amnesia. Why else would he agree to appoint Jim Graham to the board of the nonprofit Children’s Youth Investment Trust Corp.? Given Graham’s history of questionable behavior, he shouldn’t be appointed to anything — particularly not an organization recovering from abuse and theft perpetrated by another politician,"

Gary Imhoff


Chaos at the Democratic State Committee
Dorothy Brizill,

A few weeks ago (themail, January 9) I wrote that the legal status of the DC Democratic State Committee could be in serious jeopardy because the organization had failed to hold elections to fill the forty-eight seats on the DSC, even though the terms of the committee members expired in September 2012. To remedy the situation, "On December 18, at the council’s last legislative session for Council Period 20, Bill 19-1105, the District of Columbia Democratic State Committee Elections Emergency Amendment Act of 2012, was unanimously adopted. The seemingly innocuous bill was introduced by At-Large Councilmember Vincent Orange. It would require the DC Board of Elections (BOE) to ‘schedule the District of Columbia Democratic State Committee elections . . . during the April 23 special election to fill the at-large seat.’ In short, the legislation seeks to have District taxpayers foot the bill for the Democratic State Committee’s election to fill forty-eight committee seats (two men and two women from each of the eight wards, six men and six women as at-large members of the DSC, and a Democratic national committeeman and committee woman.) Meanwhile, questions have been raised regarding the cost of holding the party’s election and how it would be funded."

However, on January 16, Mayor Gray returned Bill 19-1105 to the council unsigned, thus effectively vetoing the legislation. In his letter to Council Chairman Mendelson, Gray wrote, "According to the December 18, 2012, Fiscal Impact Statement accompanying this legislation, funds are not sufficient in the proposed Fiscal Year 2013 budget and financial plan to implement the election. Based on input received from the BOE [Board of Elections], the scheduling and administration of the proposed elections would not be significant. Expenses may include the costs of additional ballots, poll workers, and ballot machines. It was proposed that the Democratic State Committee would assume any additional costs. However, the Council of the District of Columbia’s Budget Director determined that documentation received from the DCDSC, regarding potential repayment, to be insufficient in satisfying the requirements of the District Anti-Deficiency Act of 2002. In addition to the funding concerns are the enormous administrative challenges this legislation would create were it implemented. Furthermore, enactment at this late date would place the BOE under an unrealistic deadline to comply with all necessary safeguards and requirements associated with an additional election. Also, this legislation creates an undue burden on potential candidates to obtain the citywide petition signatures necessary to have their names placed on the ballot."

As of now, it is unclear whether Councilmember Vincent Orange, who is a member of the DSC as the District’s National Committeeman, and Councilmember Anita Bonds, who currently serves as chair of the DSC, will try to reintroduce Bill 19-1105 at the council’s legislative session on February 5, and garner the necessary nine votes to overturn the mayor’s veto. The only other remaining alternative is for the party to hold a caucus in the spring or to wait until 2014 and place the DSC election on the Democratic primary ballot.


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

All postings should be submitted to, 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 each mailing.


Send mail with questions or comments to
Web site copyright ©DCWatch (ISSN 1546-4296)