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D.C. Democratic Party contradictions – what I learned at the Mayoral forums

28 Feb
I’ve attended three mayoral forums so far, the DC for Democracy and the Board of Trade Democrats only forums as an audience member, and the ACLU forum as a candidate.

One funny thing about the forums is that if the group has money most candidates show up, and if it doesn’t only half the candidates do.  Mayor Gray skipped the ACLU, Andy Shallal skipped the ACLU and the Board of Trade (someone told me he had a family emergency),  Muriel Bowser skipped the ACLU and DC for Democracy, Jack Evans skipped DC for Democracy, Carlos Allen skipped the Board of Trade, where there was a seat and name card waiting for him, but I think he may not have known he was invited.

Upcoming forums that include me are the March 10 DC Statehood Committee forum at Martin Luther King library and the neighborhood forum for Takoma Park, DC and surrounding neighborhoods.

Here are the five contradictions I’ve noticed repeated by most of the Democrats:

DC Democratic Party contradiction 1 – Virginia and Maryland suburbanites come to DC and take our good jobs, and we can’t tax their incomes – so we are going to use DC taxpayer dollars to subsidize their metro fares so they can get here easier.

DC Democratic Party contradiction 2 (Tommy Wells edition) – we want urban planning where DC is a walkable city and everyone can walk within 5 minutes to school or work, AND we want more tax dollars spent on metro so employers can all relocate to Georgetown while workers are segregated in Anacostia, with the taxpayer footing the transportation bill.

DC Democratic Party contradiction 3 – We want to make DC tax rates on commercial property, business income, etc etc competitive with Virginia to keep jobs here, AND we can’t name a single program or agency we would cut or eliminate.

DC Democratic Party contradiction 4 (everybody but Tommy Wells edition) – we want to decriminalize pot, in part to end the huge racial disparity in arrests (8 times as likely for black pot users – weirdly twice the national average disparity of 3.7 times as likely!), but we want to keep it a crime or have a high fine for smoking on the street or in public, as black youth are more likely to do than whites.

DC Democratic Party contradiction 5 – the number of homeless living on the streets in DC is rising rapidly, with hypothermia for the homeless, nuisance and crime for everyone else, and hygiene issues for both, AND our Democratic solution to this is to build more and nicer taxpayer funded housing for homeless people who come to DC, without collaboration with Maryland or Virginia, so we can import all the homeless from Richmond to Baltimore and beyond.

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.

Does DC need a whistleblower shield law?

22 Nov
Mayor Gray has fired the DC health exchange employee who has criticized this failing program, and Jack Evans (whose first campaign I did volunteer work for in the Jurassic Age, when I was a twenty something), says this was a mistake.  They are both wrong; Evans doesn’t go nearly far enough.

DC attacks on whistleblowers and critics is nothing new. Seema Bhat was fired by the DC water authority when she reported very high lead levels ten years ago. And how many people could have told us about corruption and embezzlement by DC officials much earlier than we learned, but were afraid they would be fired from the jobs that pay their rent and feed their kids?

DC needs a whistleblower shield law that makes it impossible to fire a whistleblower unless and until your prove, in some extremely public forum with extremely transparent procedures, that they were maliciously lying or grossly incompetent.

I think I and a number of other Libertarian candidates in DC will be proposing that between now and the next election.

Washington City Paper reports:

For a guy who could ended up running against Vince Gray, mayoral hopeful Jack Evans has had trouble finding anything bad to say about the incumbent. Thanks to local righty talker WMAL, though, Evans has finally found something to disagree with the mayor about.

In an appearance yesterday on WMAL’s Morning on the Mall, Evans says Gray’s administration was wrong to fire D.C. insurance commissioner William White for not getting approval for a press release critical of President Barack Obama. “I think that was a big mistake on the mayor’s part,” Evans says.


In an Evans administration, White would’ve received a punishment short of dismissal.  “My understanding is that the mayor and his people were annoyed that Mr. White criticized the president without prior approval from the mayor,” Evans says. “And that may have been a mistake on Mr. White’s part, but I don’t believe it was a firing offense. That was more of a reprimand offense.”
These WMAL candidate interviews, incidentally, have become one of the best parts of the early mayoral campaign. Witness, later in the interview, Evans trying to gently explain to the host that he doesn’t support building giant parking garages in downtown. In October, Tommy Wells had to defend his marijuana decriminalization bill against hosts’ concerns that it would let federal workers smoke pot all the time.
Why candidates in a Democratic primary think they have to reach out to WMAL’s dittohead audience remains a mystery to LL, but it’s refreshing to see the candidates exposed to some old-fashioned exurban conservatism.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery