themail.gif (3487 bytes)

April 13, 2014

Closed Primaries

Dear Voters:

For decades, Democratic Party activists have chafed under the remote possibility that anyone aside from a Democrat could possibly be elected to any office in the District government. They oppose anything that could prevent total and complete party domination of District politics. The latest ploy to prevent any other political party from having any role in District politics is two bills introduced by Councilmember Jack Evans, the “Omnibus Elections Amendment Act of 2014,” and by Councilmembers Grosso, Catania, Wells, Evans, and Cheh, the “Open Primary Elections Amendment Act of 2014,” Bill 20-717. Evans’ bill would “provide that all candidates for the position, whether affiliated with a party or nonpartisan compete against one another in a single primary that is open to all candidates; and allows voters to cast a ballot in any one party regardless of their political affiliation.” Since the voters in DC are overwhelmingly Democrats, that means that the candidates of all political parties, whether Republican, Statehood-Green, Libertarian, or other, would be selected by Democrats. It also provides that, “There is established a Mayoral Debate Commission that shall consist of 4 members. Two members shall be selected by the Mayor and 2 shall be selected by the Council. The Debate Commission shall establish the debate schedule for the mayoral primary.” That would give the elected Democratic incumbents the power to determine which groups would be allowed to hold candidate forums among the mayoral candidates and when those debates can be held.

The Grosso bill, which is cosponsored by four other councilmembers, would allow voters in a primary to change their political affiliations at any time, up to and including the day of an election. Again, that would ensure that Democratic voters could determine the winners of all political parties’ primary.

The Home Rule Act tried to ensure that there would be at least two lonely minority party voices in DC government by having two at-large councilmembers elected at the same time in every biennial election, and allowing any political party to nominate only one person for those two at-large council seats. We all know that has been a sham, since Democratic candidates have simply taken to pretending to be independents to win those at-large council seats. But at least the requirement that candidates pretend to be independent is better than openly requiring one-party rule, which is what the councilmembers desire.

Gary Imhoff


Contract Reform
Dorothy Brizill,

In the coming weeks and months, the council will consider several bills that could dramatically affect how the District government procures and contracts for good and services. Annually, the DC Office of Contracting and Procurement (COP) processes contracts and more than ten thousand purchase orders totaling more than $1.2 billion. This figure doesn’t include certain DC government agencies that are exempt from the COP’s authority — for example, the DC Water and Sewer Authority, DC Housing Agency, the DC courts, the Not-for-Profit Hospital Association, etc. In 2008, however, the controversy surrounding the awarding of the $228 million lottery contract exposed the dark underbelly of contracting by the District government and the council’s role in reviewing and approving all contracts in excess of one million dollars (

On Tuesday, April 15, at 1:30 p.m., in Hearing Room 412 of 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, the council Committee of the Whole will hold a hearing on four bills that could dramatically change contracting by the District government. According to the hearing notice, “The stated purpose of Bill 20-21 [the Council Contract Review Repeal Act of 2013] is to eliminate Council review of Mayoral contracts by repeal of section 451 of the Home Rule Act. The stated purpose of Bill 20-75 [the District Contracting Price Reasonableness Assurance Amendment Act of 2013] is to amend the Procurement Practices Reform Act of 2011 to clarify the pocess for determining price reasonableness. The stated purpose of Bill 20-477 [the Criteria for Council Review of Contracts Subcontractor Requirement Amendment Act of 2013] is to require that proposed contracts submitted to the Council include summary information regarding any subcontractor contract. The stated purpose of Bill 20-649 [the Contractor Pay-to-Play Elimination Amendment Act of 2014] is to prohibit a person who makes a [political] contribution to a covered recipient from entering into a contract or agreement with the District, receiving title or any other interest in a strexet or alley, receiving a grant or tax abatement, or entering into an agreement for the acquisition, sale, or lease of any land or building until one year after the general election for which the contribution was made. Bill 20-649 also requires a person to provide a sworn statement to the District confirming their eligibility to enter into a contract or agreement with the District for any of the interests or benefits in the act.”



2014 Midterms Campaign Volunteer Opportunities, April 22
Susana Baranano,

Do you need a campaign internship? Do you want to volunteer in a campaign? Learn which campaigns need volunteers and interns. Sign up for campaign internships and volunteer opportunities. Learn how they need you and how you can help. Help Democrats pick up seats in John Boehner's House of Representatives in these upcoming midterm elections. See Kay Hagan and Mary Landrieu reelected and protect our Senate majority.

Join us at the Woman’s National Democratic Club for an evening campaign training and panel discussion with Jonae Wartel, Training Director, Association State Democratic Party Chairs; Dave Mills, former Executive Director, Virginia Democratic Party and current Regional Political Director, DNC; and Kiara Pesante, Southern Regional Press Secretary and National Director, African American Media. DNC. Tuesday, April 22, 6:00-8:00 p.m., 1526 New Hampshire Avenue, NW. $15, members; $20, nonmembers (one complimentary drink).

Reserve by telephone 232-7363, ext. 3003, or online at or


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)


TAG="BODY" startspan -->[FrontPage /footer.htm Component]