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AU’s Potemkin Village Debate

19 Sep
American University sponsored a kind of Potemkin village debate among only three mayoral candidates.  The audience were only political hacks and campaign staff, mainly Bowser’s, who were bused in before tickets were given out and got all the tickets for the main hall (the event was cosponsored by Palisades and Ward 3 groups, but neighborhood people who showed up were shunted across the building to an overflow room),  the three candidates squabbled among themselves in a slightly childish fashion, and their supporters shouted and were rude.  Both the candidates and their cheerleaders were admonished to behave a number of times by moderator Tom Sherwood.

We also learned that all three candidates favor disarming DC citizens and all three favor increased spending on a variety of programs.  We also learned that all of them think the other two were incompetent and unproductive in the past while on the city council, and that they are less than truthful about their records.  Perhaps we should trust their assessments of their opponents?

Needless to say none of the candidates identified ANY metrics showing that their past legislation has had any positive effects, in a city they all admit has double digit unemployment in Wards 7 and 8, and among the highest dropout and truancy rates in the country (calling Dr. Freud: Carol Schwartz said the book she would require DC students to read would be “A Tale of Two Cities”). And Catania did not tell us what his many many proposed programs would cost, nor where he would extract the loot for them from the taxpayer. 
 
I am a little surprised AU didn’t invite David Pitts and Richard Berendzen to officiate.


  1. For Catania, Schwartz and Bowser:  $29,000 is budgeted per pupil for students attending traditional public schools, but only $17,000 for charter students and even less ($12,000) for students using a DC Opportunity Voucher to attend an independent school.  Will you end this discriminatory and unequal funding, and allow all students the same resources, no matter where they choose to learn?

  1.  For Catania: You propose to spend more on programs for failing schools, trees, immigrant healthcare, the homeless, college scholarships, daycare, paid family leave, affordable housing, and many other programs, and have suggested raising taxes to pay for this.  You also say you want to bring more and diverse businesses and jobs to DC.  How will you get business to move to DC when you raise their taxes for your new programs?  Follow up:  How much is the total budget for your new programs?

  1. For Catania, Schwartz and Bowser:  In 1996 the DC voters voted for a term limit referendum by a 2/3rds majority; it passed by a majority in every Ward.  The City Council then overturned it.  How is the DC government legitimate if it nullified a basic constituitive principle passed by the voters?  How would you vote today?  For Schwartz:  How did you vote?

  1. For Bowser, Catania and Schwartz:  It is widely discussed by the public that officials in the Metropolitan police department may have covered up domestic abuse in the past by DC politicians.  Would you investigate these stories?

  1. For Schwartz:  You have said charter schools should be more closely regulated because some have misused funds.  But the traditional public schools spend $29,000 per pupil to produce at best equal results to those of charters, which receive only $17,000 per pupil.  How would you investigate the misuse of funds by the DC public schools?  Where is the money going?

  1. For Catania:  You have called for subsidies for day care.  But independent providers of K-6 education and after school care in DC are regulated by different agencies from those that regulate public and charter schools, and are required to have more staff, more bathroom facilities, etc. per the same number of students, as well as other more costly amenities (e.g., cots off the floor instead of mats).  What have you done in the past to address this?

  1. For Catania, Schwartz, and Bowser:  Mr. Catania’s 126 page booklet details how he has steered hundreds of millions of dollars to programs he favored, Ms. Schwartz’s 15 page paper details her history working on education issues, and Ms. Bowser has served on the city council for several years.  Yet as Mr. Catania’s booklet shows in various graphs, Wards 7 and 8 have double digit unemployment, and DC schools have higher truancy and drop out rates than anywhere in the United States, while spending more per pupil.  What metrics show that your past activities and expenditures have produced results?

  1. For Catania:  You propose to expand facilities for the homeless in DC.  How will you ensure that DC does not end up absorbing the homeless from the entire region from Baltimore to Richmond, at taxpayer expense?

  1. For Schwartz, Catania, and Bowser:  DC residents convicted of federal crimes are dispersed through prisons around the country, so that their relatives cannot easily visit them, which may frustrate their reintegration into society.  What plans do you have to address this and have them housed closer to DC?

  1. For Catania, Schwartz, and Bowser:  DC has reduced its homicide rate, but has regular car and home theft and vandalism, as well as muggings, gay bashings etc.  Yet police resources are used on ticket traps and victimless crimes.  What have you done in the past to address the misallocation of police resources?

m4msmaller.jpg

Bruce Majors, Libertarian for Mayor, 1200 23rd Street NW, Washington DC 20037

Libertarian candidates forum schedule

1 Feb

Libertarians have, as usual, been excluded from a number of forums with increasingly legalistic and more complicated rationalizations, now that we have permanent ballot access and a primary with 7 ballot qualified candidates on the April primary ballot.

In the past gatekeepers and censors protecting DC’s one party monopoly would just say “no one allowed unless they are already on the ballot by April or are in a recognized party.”

This year one Georgetown mayoral forum at Dumbarton Oaks moderated by Current newspapers publisher Davis Kennedy was held with so little advance notice in early January that Libertarians didn’t even really have time to complain about the false advertising – that it was actually a partisan Democrats’ only forum, heavy with Democrats who were polling at 1% and skipped by some of the major Democratic candidates.

Then a coalition of groups led by DC for Democracy held a forum at the 6th and I synagogue (video previously posted here below). The DC4Ders claimed when asked if Libertarians were invited that only candidates in primaries that were contested would be invited. But they were caught in a fib – they in fact only invited Democrats, and two Green Party candidates who were challenging each other in a Green Party primary showed up and claimed a right to speak. And once again the DC4Ders forum was attended by the incumbent mayor and a bunch of Democrats polling at 1% or 2%. Major challengers Jack Evans and Muriel Bowser skipped it.

Similarly the allegedly non-partisan or bi-partisan Kennedy Political Union at American University is holding a mayoral forum in February, and spending the AU corporate dollar advertising it to surrounding neighborhoods. But they only invited Democrats; it’s a partisan forum for the Democratic primary falsely advertised as a mayoral candidates forum. When I contacted them to ask if other parties would be invited, AU public relations director Andrew Huff said “only ballot qualified candidates are invited, so I guess it is in that sense a Democratic forum.”. When I pointed out that I AM a ballot qualified candidate on the April primary ballot he wrote back “oh, I guess it is just for Democrats” and agreed to advertise it more truthfully in the future. One wonders if once again major Democratic candidates will just skip the KPU forum, mainly before students who are not DC voters, but enjoy the advertising money AU spends publicizing their names in advertising to surrounding neighborhoods – a nice gift to grateful incumbents?

Libertarians will be in a growing number of forums in February and March including:

Pranav Badhwar, Ward 6 city council debate, February 20, Capitol Hill Presbyterian Church, 201 4th Street SE, 7 pm

Bruce Majors, Takoma Park/Brightwood/Shepherd Park neighborhood forum by Neighbors Inc. in February and before the ACLU in March (check back for locations and dates).

Some "ballot qualified" candidates are more equal that others…

22 Jan
Mr. Huff responded later saying they would now advertise their Mayoral Forum as a Democrats Only Mayoral Forum.

Of course, of the 8 Democrats who are “ballot qualified” some are polling in the 1-2% region far below the 6-7% DC area Libertarian candidates have been earning the past two years in actual elections.

At least we are on a first name basis!

————————————————————————————————————————-


Good morning, Bruce.

KPU forwarded me your email, as my office has been assisting them in planning the upcoming DC Mayoral debate on campus.

The 2/12 debate is open to all candidates who qualified for the April 1 ballot, of which there are now 8. In a sense, I suppose that this makes it a Democratic primary debate.

Hope this helps.

Thanks,

Andrew

Andrew Huff | Director of Community Relations
The American University | Washington, DC 20016
p: 202.885.2167 | f: 202.885.3278

From: “Chandler D. Thornton”
To: Andrew Huff ,
Date: 01/18/2014 04:12 PM
Subject: Fwd: New contact form received

Begin forwarded message:

From: “Bruce Majors, Libertarian for Mayo”
Date: January 18, 2014 at 3:43:16 PM EST
To: kpu@ausg.org
To: kpu@ausg.org
Subject: New contact form received

You have received a new contact form message.
Name : Bruce Majors, Libertarian for Mayor
Email : Majors.bruce@gmail.com
Message : Is the February forum a mayoral candidates forum or. Democratic primary mayoral candidates forum?

It is being advertised as the former.

Thanks for any clarification.

*****************************************************
Here is my response:

I am on the April ballot.

The Libertarians have a primary on the ballot on April 1.

The DC Libertarian Party has had permanent ballot status since 2012, when I ran for Congress and received 17,000 votes.

Our Ward 6 Libertarian candidate is participating in the Ward 6 candidate forum February 20.

I would ask that if your candidate forum is open only to Democrats you advertise it as a forum for Democratic candidates, not for candidates or for ballot qualified candidates, since I (and others) are both of the latter.

Else I will have to point out when people ask me about it that your advertising is fraudulent, even if out of ignorance.

Thank you.

——————————————————————————————————————So American Unversity is excluding me, so far, from it’s mayoral forum, which it has been advertising as a “mayoral forum” not a “Democratic Party forum.”. Their PR person said it is only open to ballot qualified candidates. When I pointed out I am ballot qualified, on the April primary ballot, he responded that “oops, it is just for Democrats.”. He promised that in the thousands of dollars worth of advertising theyare spending in the Current newspapers they will now try to label them as a Democratic candidates forum. Two interesting facts: 1) several of the 8 Democrats are at 1 or 2% in the polls, far below the 6% I got in an actual election in DC in 2012 or the 7% Sarvis got last year in VA and 2) the 8 candidates AU is spending thousands promoting in ads for this forum include the incumbent mayor and at least three incumbent city council members running for mayor – and AU gets a variety of benefits from the DC government.