Monday, 31 January 2011

dc voting rights

this whole discussion about dc being a "federal city" makes me nuts!

can you imagine if, when we were "rebuilding" iraq, we had said iraq needs to have a country-wide elections, but baghdad can't vote b/c it is the seat of government. no one in the international or american community would stand for that. that is how it is for us living in dc.

this is from wiki:
Because the United States Constitution places the District of Columbia under the sole control of Congress, all acts of the [district city] council are subject to congressional override, and thus the council has less power than most city councils in the United States. However, because the District is not part of any state, Congress has devolved many powers normally exercised by state governments to the District's government; thus, the council considers many matters that would fall to county and state legislatures elsewhere in the United States.

this means the ability of dc to make laws that provide safety (gun ban) and freedom (gay marriage) for ourselves is impossible. even if a law is passed by referendum in dc with overwhelming support of the citizens of DC, congress can change the law. which they recently did when they said that our ban on guns was unconstitutional.

essentially, people from hawaii to massachusetts, who aren't even living temporarily in DC, determine what laws are ok and how our taxes should be spent. WHAT?!

the people that make decisions about our "state" are the following, please note that elenor holmes, the only person elected from DC, and living in DC, doesn't have the right to vote. she can argue, but cannot vote. here is the make up of the committees:

Member NameDC PhoneDC FAX
Trey Gowdy (R-SC) [Chairman]202-225-6030202-226-1177
Paul A. Gosar (R-AZ)202-225-2315202-226-9739
Dan Burton (R-IN)202-225-2276202-225-0016
John L. Mica (R-FL)202-225-4035202-226-0821
Patrick McHenry (R-NC)202-225-2576202-225-0316
Scott DesJarlais (R-TN)202-225-6831202-226-5172
Joe Walsh (R-IL)202-225-3711202-225-7830
Minority Members (Democrats)
Member NameDC PhoneDC FAX
Danny K. Davis (D-IL) [Ranking Member]202-225-5006202-225-5641
Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC)202-225-8050202-225-3002
William Lacy Clay, Jr. (D-MO)202-225-2406202-226-3717
Chris Murphy (D-CT)202-225-4476202-225-5933

on the senate side:

Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management, the Federal Workforce, and the District of Columbia



Daniel K. Akaka Chairman (D-HI)George V. Voinovich Ranking Member (R-OH)
Carl Levin (D-MI)Scott Brown (R-MA)
Mary L. Landrieu (D-LA)Lindsey Graham (R-SC)
Roland Burris (D-IL)
Christopher A. Coons (D-DE)

for a city that historically votes quite democrat, it is amazing to see some of THE most conservative junior members of congress on the house committee.

currently they are waging a battle to resend the district council's decision to allow gay marriage and apparently the speaker of the house has high hopes for making the district school system better through the stroke of his almighty (and huge) gavel . . . below michael steele defends bohner's decision. it is a good discussion between steele and maddow about DC's ability to govern itself . . . and some stuff on the resurrection of the culture wars.

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isn't it time that dc get to start running itself? i mean it is a bit scary, we continue to elect marion barry to be a councilmember BUT isn't that what democracy is about? shouldn't we be able to elect a fool if we so desire? america elected dubba, and though i hated it (and felt really the supreme court kinda decided that for us) i respect the democratic process and our right to execute it.

i can't imagine that the people of the united states would support the idea that any other country's capitol city's citizens should not be able to vote. paris, no vote for you. london, sorry! or what if all the sudden china decided to have an elected government, but sorry bejing, NO VOTE FOR YOU! . . . we would call FOUL!

the framers of the constitution set things up this way because at the time the city was full of people who worked on the hill, in the white house, or as servants to those that did. obviously, that is not what the district is today. the district is full of people who work in all sectors of society and we should be able to both rule our own state AND have representation in congress.

the head of the committee is from a small town outside of greenville, sc. and for all my arizona peeps, the second guy is from flagstaff. none of the republicans live in the district (even as temporary residents during their term in office).

can someone explain what a guy from flagstaff can understand about the violence, drugs, and culture of this city. also, what is their motivation for doing right by the people of DC? it is true that my "state" tax dollars are often "earmarked" for roads and schools in california, south carolina, and probably flagstaff.

so while we suffer with horrible schools and crappy roads here, the people of flagstaff get my taxes (not federal but my state taxes) to improve their schools and roads to make some congressman look like he can deliver for his constituents.

wanna talk about a tea party! wasn't the tea party about being taxed without representation? i have one of the highest tax rates an american can have, and because my state can't control its own budget AND because we have no voice in congress, our dollars are stolen from us and put to use all over the US.

so, no wonder we can't end the violence, fix the decrypted schools, repair the pot hole ladened roads, clean up the atrociously unkempt parks, etc . . . our hands are tied behind our backs. DC is not a good representation of the people who live. we are a progressive lot. we want safety, good schools, access to healthy food, and despite all this effed up government we share a strong sense of community. this city is a victim and clear demonstration of selfish behavior in congress. pure and simple. unless you can help me understand why this arcane rule is still in place, i will believe the problems of DC as one of the bright and shinny symptoms of congressional greed.

i'm sick of it. it is stupid, un-American, and mean. its all politics. my guess is most people agree that i should have representation in congress. but then people start to think it through and realize that DC usually votes democratic, so then suddenly partisan politics have to come into play.

though, i tip my che hat to orrin hatch and joe lieberman. they proposed a totally decent idea. utah would get an additional house seat in exchange for DC getting one vote in congress. it's kinda silly, but it was a middle ground. that way DC doesn't disrupt the balance of power. but even that didn't fly. the senate passed it 61-37 then john ensign decided he could add a line about us having to let weapons rule our streets (so much for being able to control your own destiny) and it pass 62-36 (i'm guessing he changed his vote) but the house went no where with it . . . do i have to nancy to blame for this?

i can't imagine what my home district (AZ-6) would do if some folks from DC decided that we were going to over-rule some of the laws that they had struggled to pass, AND we decided that we were going to take some of your state, county, and city taxes because our city has to pay to get the snow removed so that the federal government can function so, shouldn't every community getting federal dollars pay for the snow removal? seems bit crazy, but make WAY more sense than some dude in flagstaff deciding that schools in flag should be paid for by my taxes. as much as i care about the kids in flag, my feeling is the people living in that community should pay for their schools, not me.

i could go on an on. if you wouldn't mind posting a comment to help me understand what the rest of america thinks of this, i'd be most grateful.

or if you want to do something that might have more impact (though i think a discussion here might help flesh out ideas):


A great way to help raise awareness of DC's plight is to write letters-to-the-editor of your hometown, local, and national newspapers. You can be creative about where you send letters by reaching out to magazines, alumni newsletters, community newsletters, e-mail lists and blogs too.

Click here for sample text or background on DC voting rights so that you can send a letter or write an e-mail supporting equality for the residents of the District of Columbia.

Your hometown newspaper is a good place to begin or, if you would like suggestions of where to send letters to the editor, contact us!

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