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Mayoral Forum Wednesday excludes Libertarians

1 Oct

Apparently DC Votes opposes same day voter registration!

You may have seen this flyer for a mayoral forum tomorrow around town listing me as a participant. I am actually excluded from the forum.

Someone showed it to me Monday night — yesterday —  and I started searching my email for an invitation to a forum for Wednesday October 1 and couldn’t find one.

It turns out the invite was buried in an email with a candidate questionnaire.  I’ve been answering candidate questionnaires all month — from the League of Women Voters, from the DC Youth Alliance, etc. — and I’d glanced at this one and put it off because it was longer and more involved than the others.  The subject line of the September 12 email is “Strengthening Our Local Democracy Candidate Questionnaire” — no mention of an event.  You have to open the email and see the mention of an event in the prologue text, not in the attached questionnaire (which is what I immediately went to).

I sent DC Votes my answers on the morning of September 30th, along with a statement that I regretted the misunderstanding.  I pointed out to them that they were unique in combining a questionnaire and an event invitation in the same email — and not mentioning the event invite in the subject line. They maintain it would be “unfair” to allow anyone in who didn’t reply by September 26th.  After closely questioning a slightly evasive Kimberly Perry on the phone, who first insisted everyone else understood it was an event invitation (and that I was uniquely oblivious), it looks like Muriel Bowser may have replied and is at any rate skipping their event, and Green Party candidate Faith Crannich never replied, so she too may not have realized there was an event.

The two essential questions for this forum are:

1) Does DC Vote oppose same week voter registration?

2) Will the coffee be strong enough if only Schwartz and Catania are there, and don’t contrast their approaches to statehood but devolve into a personal squabble?

I am not sure I am going to find out.  I suppose they won’t actually have tons of security, as American University does, to keep out the uninvited candidates.  But I don’t know if it is worth it to go sit in a room with the same two dozen activists/local political junkies, who show up at every event.

Below are my answers.  Ms. Perry opined that it would be unfair to provide my answers to the public since I would have had a chance to read Schwartz’s or Catania’s answers posted sometime this week on the DC Vote website (I actually went on their website last night to find out about the date and time of the mystery event my supporters were telling me about, and didn’t see any such answers from other candidates.  It’s amusing that she thinks a Libertarian answer would resemble theirs.) She thinks it is more democratic to exclude a candidate and their answers to her questions from her website and her forum because she didn’t get them 5 days ahead of her event than it is to include a candidate when she gets the answers a day ahead of time.

If you are donating to this group perhaps you should find an alternative.  This approach may be why we don’t have Statehood.  Maybe Congress people aren’t opening their emails because they don’t mention the real subject in the subject line.

If only I had corporate PAC money so I could have staff to schedule events and read my sea of email, including those with uninformative subject lines.  My apologies if you attend the event expecting to see me.

Hey Muriel — wanna have coffee tomorrow morning at Corner Bakery?  My treat!  I guess we will be forgoing the 30 DC activists who go to almost every campaign event.


  1. How might you coordinate with DC’s Delegate to Congress and together maximize the city’s productive relationships with the Washington regional congressional delegation to advance the agenda for greater autonomy and representation?

I think in general you need to bypass politicians and appeal directly to their voters and their interests.  In the case of Washington area representatives we would need to present a case that greater DC autonomy would allow DC to be a greater contributor of economic growth for the entire region, making the pie grow as opposed to competing for a slice of a pie not growing.  Somewhere in that project I’d like to commission a study of how allowing DC to get rid of the height limit on buildings would bring more jobs to the area, by allowing more units, both residential and commercial, to be built in the District.

  1. What strategies would you employ to stop riders from being placed on DC appropriation bills?

I think riders are placed on all bills in Congress so it is a much more general problem.  If DC had Senators and Representatives its political class would simply be participating in riders, earmarks etc. that affect it and other states.  Until DC is a state it has little power.  There are strategies it does not seem to have used much, including boycotting purchases from Congressional Districts whose representatives have attached such riders or in other ways been inimical to DC.

  1. If elected mayor and invited to the White House, what would be the top three issues you would raise? Related to this, what plans do you have to reach out to the White House after taking office?

This would depend in part on who is in the White House.  The three issues I would focus on with all federal officials are: (1) how DC needs Statehood, and before that more autonomy, to deal with its own criminal justice issues, so that it could wind down the war on drugs, something I think most DC residents favor; (2) allowing DC residents in federal prisons to be relocated to prisons closer to DC so that their family members could visit them, including potentially having a federal prison in DC; and (3) allowing DC more control of its own economic life, with an end to the height limit, and the transfer of unused federal property to the private economy.

  1. How might you amend DC’s Home Rule charter, within the legal guidelines outlined by Congress, to gain any greater autonomy for our local government?

In general I favor weening DC from the federal payment and instead allowing it to borrow money as freely as any other state.  DC has an influx of highly paid residents who ultimately derive their incomes from federal government employment and related activities like lobbying.  It can instead tax them if it needs money, and they can vote out DC politicians if they think the taxes and spending are unwise.

  1. What types of executive actions could the DC government take to assert greater autonomy without changing the law or asking for approval from Congress?  

DC’s political class is not highly regarded by DC residents and even less so by residents of neighboring states and other states whose Congressional representatives vote about DC matters. Rather than have our political class perpetually bleat about Statehood, which may be widely viewed as a self-interested cause, where they would like new monies and powers in their new roles as Governors or Senators of a new state, I favor a perpetual referendum (or initiative) in every election where the actual opinion of DC voters is measured about whether they would like Statehood, the status quo, or some other arrangement (including exemption from federal taxation as in Puerto Rico).

  1. While organizations like ours are fostering local, national and international partnerships all the time to advance democracy, from your perspective, who are our most strategic allies in the fight for autonomy and representation that we haven’t reached out to yet?

I think rather than doing the same things over and over one should identify new and maverick political factions and find a way of engaging them on the issues.  For example, Senators Rand Paul and Cory Booker have started cooperating on interesting criminal justice reforms (that would incidentally be great for District residents impacted by the criminal justice system).  We should formulate agendas they could be enticed to support.
  1. What specific things would residents of DC see coming out of your mayor’s office that would make it clear that advancing democracy for DC is a high priority?

First do no harm.  The DC government seems to have happily overturned term limits initiatives passed by the voters, and kept campaign finance reform initiatives with thousands of signatures off the ballot, in year past.  This makes it look like Statehood would not be about democracy for DC voters, but making a state for the DC political class where “home rule” would not be greater autonomy, but the political class ruling your home.

  1. The District government ended up divided over the local Budget Autonomy Act. This law was unanimously supported by the council, signed by the Mayor and overwhelmingly approved by voters.  As Mayor, what would you do to make sure DC presents a unified front on initiatives designed to give greater autonomy to the people of the District?

I don’t know that DC voters are or need to be unified on issues or that a mayor should spin to make it look like they are.  All states of course are heavily regulated by the federal government, which witholds federal funds unless they go along with federal policies.  DC simply has this worse than anyone else.

DC could forgoe the federal payment, since he who pays the piper calls the tune.  If that is not feasible DC could seek out state governments suing the federal government on a variety of issues to preserve state and local autonomy, and join them as a plaintiff; and then ask for cooperation on our autonomy in return.  Perhaps this could be part of the mission of the new Attorney General’s office.

  1. In 2001, Congress mandated through the Appropriations Act that the District establish two reserves that could be described as “rainy day” funds.  Although these reserves are funded with local dollars, Congress set very strict rules on when funds could be used and how they would have to be repaid.  What would you do, if anything, to seek greater or full local autonomy over these reserves?

In general I don’t think politicians can be trusted with money, and any such fund will be tapped to buy votes and reward donors.  I would suggest that we alter the city charter to take away control of such funds from Congress, by instead substituting that they can only be spent on projects identified by voters by initiative (and not including by the city council through referendums).

  1. Recently, a federal district judge from New York held that the city’s ban on the carrying of firearms outside the home is unconstitutional. How do you think the city should respond to this ruling?

I think the DC political class should resist its temptation to spend DC taxpayers money in court fighting to see how far they can go in minimizing the Bill of Rights.  Giving the DC political class “autonomy” from the Constitution and Bill of Rights does nothing for the autonomy of DC residents.  Every neighborhood list serve I read talks about intruders in yards, cars, back porches.  Some categories of crime, including rape, have risen in recent years, even if homicide rates have dropped.  Law abiding citizens should be allowed to have a gun at home in DC just as they are in many states.  Even the White House seems to be having a problem with intruders this year, and the police are not always there in time to prevent it.

  1. DC’s charter school board recently sued the city challenging the authority of the Council to alter the student funding formula established by Congress. What would you do as mayor to contest Congressional interference in matters like schools that that are clearly state and local functions?

I favor autonomy for DC residents, not the DC political class.  So I favor equal funding for charter schools,  In part this might allow enough charter schools to be started that the 22,000 students waiting for a space in one could enroll.  It would also save DC taxpayers money being wasted in court by the DC government defunding its unequal and discriminatory funding of students based on where they choose to learn.  Since cahrter schools and traditional public schools have different racial demographics — charter schools are more African American, with Ward 3 having no charter schools – this inequity has a racial inflection.

Congress and the federal Department of Education interfere in local schools in all states and I do in general oppose that.

My exchange with The Washington Post – Update

23 Sep
Update:  After the weekend she did follow through with the reference to pollsters:

From: Gardner, Amy E
Sent: Sunday, September 21, 2014 11:08 AM
To: Craighill, Peyton M; Clement, Scott F
Subject: Fwd: Why was this forum limited to only 3 incumbent
 or formerly incumbent candidates?
You guys have anything to add to this? I told him I’d 
refer him to our polling folks.

Clement, Scott F <>

10:28 AM (22 hours ago)

to meAmy
Mr. Majors
I’m with the Post’s polling team, who helped conduct the poll 
in collaboration with our NBC and Marist College partners.
 Amy asked me to provide a little background on our practices about asking
 pre-election vote questions and why you were not named in this poll.
To clarify, while you were not explicitly named as a candidate 
in the poll, your name was included in the survey’s programming
 in case a respondent volunteered they support you. In other words, there 
was a “code” interviewers could enter if a respondent said
 “I support Bruce Majors;” there were also volunteer codes for Faith (Green) 
and Nestor Djonkam (Ind) – programming for the question is below. 
This allowed the poll capture when a less well known candidate 
has developed significant voter support.
It also seems that people you spoke with who took a poll were 
participating in a different survey, as all respondents in the 
NBC/Post/Marist poll were called by live interviewers; none were 
asked to press a number corresponding with the candidate they 
supported. The methodology for our poll is here.
There is a natural tension between the desire to name all candidates 
on a ballot and ensuring the question is comprehensible to 
respondents. While naming an extended list of candidates better
 mimics the ballot, naming a long list of candidates burdens
 respondents’ in understanding the question which can undermine 
data quality.
With minor-party candidates, we typically wait until a significant 
share of respondents (at least 3 percent) volunteer their name 
before including them as named candidates in a poll. We did not have a 
previous survey to go by in this instance, but given 0.09 percent
 of voters in D.C. are registered as libertarians we did not anticipate
 enough support to explicitly name you as a candidate. The poll 
showed that one percent of voters volunteered support for
 unnamed candidates.
If November’s election for mayor of the District were held today, 
whom would you support if the candidates are:
Muriel Bowser, the Democrat………………………………………………01
David Catania, an Independent …………………………………………..02
Carol Schwartz, an Independent………………………………………….03
GREEN PARTY CANDIDATE……………………………………………..04
DO NOT READ: UNDECIDED…………………………………………….98
DO NOT READ: OTHER…………………………………………………….97
DO NOT READ: REFUSED………………………………………………..99

Bruce Majors <>

Thanks for that info.

Since your reply below betrays that you may be unaware of other facts,
 I will provide them to you:
1) I ran for office as a Libertarian for Congress in 2012 and received 16,500 
votes or 5.9% in a three way race.  As usual with Libertarians, I spent less 
than a dollar per vote, while the major party incumbent spent $5 per vote.
  In the current mayoral race Catania and Bowser have already spent over
 $10 per vote.  I meet people all the time who tell me they voted for me in 2012.
2) The DC Libertarian Party is the fastest growing party in DC, growing at 
10% a month.  I think the only other category growing in DC are people who
 reject party affiliation.  One could only register as a Libertarian in DC for a 
little over a year, since  March 2013.  My race in 2012 is what earned people 
the legal right to finally do that, and the DC government did not print new 
registration forms until March 2013.  Since then the Libertarian registration 
has grown by 10% or more every month, even while the other parties lost 
60,000 registered voters in June-July 2013 (a story I believe no one 
reported, though it is plainly visible on the Board of Elections website) 
presumably as part of cleaning the voters rolls in advance of the April 
2014 primary.


Bruce Majors <>

You invited only the candidates who have held government posts for years, even
though one or perhaps two of them are so,low in the polls they cannot be elected.

And you excluded anyone from a party other than the Democrats.

Sent from my iPad

Gardner, Amy E <>

Sep 20 (2 days ago)

to me
Mr. Majors–

We certainly didn’t exclude non-Democrats. We included two independents
who are former Republicans.

Our decision was based on polling. It is pretty common to exclude candidates
polling below a certain threshold — 5 percent or 10 percent, say. The three
candidates posted 43, 26 and 16 percent in our poll, respectively. All other
choices registered a total of 1 percent combined.

I hope this helps. Thanks for your interest.


Amy Gardner
Local politics editor
The Washington Post

Sent from my iPad

Bruce Majors <>

You did a poll in which you included me?  You actually offered those
polled other names?  That hasn’t been reported.  Everyone I know who
was polled reports not being given any other options.

In polls I see 15% and up are not picking Catania, Bowser or Schwartz,
even after being given tons of free media and having spent over $4 million.
Did you actually see the polling you are speaking about being done?

Gardner, Amy E

9:54 AM (21 hours ago)

to me
​Yes I have seen the poll. And you’re correct that we didn’t offer
your name. That was an editorial decision based on several factors
including fundraising, campaign activity and name recognition. The
fact that just 1 percent of voters said they wanted to vote for
 anyone other than the three top candidates justifies that decision.
I understand your point that there’s an inherent disadvantage in not
being offered as a choice. But, with all due respect, if yours were a
viable candidacy you would have registered beyond
 these results even without your name in the question rotation.

I’m happy to refer you to our pollsters if you’d like to talk more
about our decision.

Bruce Majors <>

According to your own polls Ms. Schwartz and perhaps Mr. Catania are
not viable candidates.

Sure refer me to your pollsters.  It’s interesting to watch the gatekeepers
 explain themselves. It’s actually something a journalist would cover.
You are basically saying incumbents and people who get early corporate,
union and PAC money will be promoted by major media, and citizen
candidates will not, so that things are locked in place in perpetuity.

Gardner, Amy E

10:11 AM (21 hours ago)

to me
Mr. Majors —

26 and 16 percent are real numbers. They’re longshot numbers,
 but they’re real numbers that make them worth our attention. ​
If you don’t think Schwartz and Catania are viable candidates, how
 on earth do you justify coverage of your campaign?​ You didn’t even
 register in the poll — at all.

However, your view that we are here simply to perpetuate the
status quo in untrue. You may recall that your fellow Libertarian
Robert Sarvis registered in the low double digits last year in the
Virginia governor’s race, and we wrote a front-page story about
 him. We’re ready to cover viable campaigns that are making a
difference. Sarvis was a potential spoiler, as is Schwartz this year.
He registered with voters who were looking for something
other than what McAuliffe or Cuccinelli had to offer. We noticed,
and we wrote about it. With all due respect, your campaign has
had no parallel impact on the race this year.

There is no question the system is stacked against minor-party
 candidates. And we have to make editorial decisions every day
about how to deploy our ever-shrinking resources.  In a perfect
world, would we delve into every single campaign and
candidate? Of course.  But we can’t. And frankly, people wouldn’t
 read it all. I’m sorry it’s not the answer you want to hear. No
one’s trying to “explain themselves.” I’m telling you the truth about
 how we make our decisions.

Thanks for your time.

Bruce Majors

But you just told me you didn’t present me as an option in the poll in
your second reply, after implying that I had been presented in it and just
didn’t show up in your first reply, which you now seem to be reverting to
 in your third reply.

And I have been told by people who were polled that they couldn’t vote
for me so they simply pressed a number on their phone that corresponded
 to none of the choices offered.  Perhaps those responses were just tossed?
So for instance you don’t know how many Schwartz voters are simply
voting for someone other than Catania or Bowser (a pretty common
phenomenon in all elections).  From Post reporter Mike Debonis’s discussion
on WMAL radio I understand you asked Schwartz voters whether their
second choice was Catania or Bowser, again, not who there 2nd choice
was or which of all the choices on the ballot are the second choice.  So
 you are really just saying you aren’t in our poll so you didn’t
show up in our poll so we won’t be offering you as an option in forums
 or in our future poll.
It is commendable that in both the case of Schwartz and Sarvis you have
managed to count past two to three.  Your rebuttal with Sarvis is slightly
off topic – I am not accusing you of prejudice against Libertarians.  I’m
suggesting a much more systemic problem than that.

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?


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

DC corporate media censoring news coverage of Libertarian candidates

17 Sep
It does seem like there is going to be a local DC media blackout of the Libertarians, by

WMAL — where most of the on air talent claim to be libertarian-leaning, but never mention any DC or Virginia Libertarian candidates, except to attack them the day after the election, as they did Robert Sarvis when he ran for Governor in 2013.  WMAL seems to have orders from its corporate owners to push Cuccinelli, Gillespie and Catania and never mention or interview Libertarians.  Is it a Republican thing or do they just like Italians?
Washington City Paper – ran a long article when we only had three candidates recruited, perhaps mainly so they could say Libertarians are all nerdy white guys.  Now that we have 9 candidates, including black and brown and gay and female candidates, they don’t cover them much, especially any Libertarian candidate of color;
The Washington Post – where pretty much every reporter except Michael DeBonis reports that there are are only 3 candidates (including my friend Carol Schwartz who has little chance of being elected), and occasionally even mentions the Green Party candidate, but have stopped mentioning Libertarians especially me.
(The gay press, MetroWeekly and the Washington Blade, are covering us.  I believe the Washingtonian is going to as well.)

Of course, most local coverage is essentially sports coverage — who is up, who is down.  Or it’s just about who is white or black or gay or unmarried.  Nothing about ideas or policies.  These are the same people who never exposed any corruption in DC until Tim Day and other private citizens brought it to light.  Who have never looked at who donates hundreds of thousands to all our incumbents from Eleanor Holmes Norton down, and whether it correlates with committees they sit on and votes they take.

So, we have to raise money and bypass them.  We’ve distributed around 6,000 brochures and I just got another 4,000 door knockers on school choice that we will be going door to door with.  Our website goes live this week (if you don’t get a snail mail fundraising letter you can give there when it is up).
We will be campaigning mainly on 5 issue areas (vaguely in order of emphasis) :
1) radically expanded school choice to address DC’s failed schools.  DC currently budgets $29,000 per pupil for public school students, but only $17,000 for charter schools and even less for students who use an opportunity voucher to attend an independent school.  This is the subject of the door knocker we are distributing now.  We want voters to vote Libertarian to signal to the DC political class that they want unequal and discriminatory funding against charter schools to end.
2) refocusing criminal justice on real crime – people are being assaulted for appearing to be gay, for having an Iphone, etc. all over town – a libertarian just last week in NoMa – while DC prosecutes alleged prostitutes and other victimless crimes and sets up ticket trap surveillance cameras.  In addition DC residents who go to federal prison are shipped around the country where their relatives cannot find them (we have no local prison), and we have DC residents who cannot get jobs because of their criminal record for involvement in victimless crimes.
3) pointing out all the ways DC keeps people without law degrees from getting a job, starting a business, or becoming wealthy, by making it illegal for them to start a school, cook and sell food, braid hair, provide day care, etc. etc.
4) encouraging voters to vote for the marijuana legalization initiative, including people who are usually non-voters, and while they are at it voting Libertarian for candidates who would push that issue.
5) calling for an end to DC policies that restrict the supply of housing, driving up rents and causing homelessness, including limiting the height of buildings (so the city is filled up with 10 story buildings to meet our growing housing demand, since no once can build a 40 or 50 story one) and regulating owners of smaller multi-unit buildings with moderately priced apartments so that they sell out to condo and apartment developers and leave the DC market to invest in Virginia.
If we end up getting more donations this month we may do internet and radio ads, as well as more door knockers.  We will also be doing more substantial responses to and alternatives to the welcome platforms some of the other candidates have finally put out.
As always, the dollars per vote spent by Libertarians will be far less and far more efficient than the incumbent candidates.  They’ve already spent $4 million, which means they’ve already spent way over $10 per vote, which is even more than Democrats and Republicans usually spend (often around $3 per vote).  Libertarians typically spend less than $1 per vote, since we don’t receive corporate, union, or PAC donations.

Campaign Gatekeeping 101 in the DC mayoral race – Update

11 Sep
I did a little more investigation of the people behind one of the two larger debates I am being excluded from (I am invited to almost all of the smaller and medium sized ones).

Yesterday I had an odd exchange with one Debra Linick, the outgoing PR person for the debate sponsor, the Jewish Community Relations Council of the DC metro area.  Ms. Linick told me they only invited candidates who had raised at least 10% of the amount raised by the frontrunner, Muriel Bowser.  Boswer, like most Democrats in DC, has raised hundreds of thousands in corporate and union PAC donations.  (For example, DC Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, who sits on Congressional Committees that sell and lease federally owned buildings and parcels in DC, routinely collects $400,000 every election cycle from real estate developers and building trades unions as well as government employee unions, even though she is often running unopposed.  No DC journalists ever investigate this, just as they never noticed any DC corruption until independent citizens like Tim Day brought it to light.)

The problem for Ms. Linick, who tells me she is going to “relook” her math, is that they are inviting (my friend) Carol Schwartz (an independent candidate who is a former Republican city council member).  Ms. Schwartz has raised around $70,000, around 3% of the $2.1 million Bowser has raised.  In looking into who Ms. Linick and various other people running the JCRC were yesterday. I see that she and I were both students at Georgetown University’s MBA program, overlapping, in the early 90s.  GU’s program is very light on math – and very heavy on ethics! – but even the students there know that $65,000 is not 10% of $2.1 million.  I will be curious to see if Ms. Linick is as good as her word, despite her computational deficiencies.

Then I began looking at the board of the JCRC.  Of the few I have looked at so far are seasoned citizens (see below) and often don’t seem to be still gainfully employed or to have much of an internet footprint.  They also seem to be fairly partisan, mainly Democrats (though one has some John Boehner connection).  They seem like a group that would be naturally inclined to protect the Democrat’s one party rule in DC, and certainly a group that would protect the two party monopoly.  (A Jewish libertarian friend, who alerted me to their forum in the first place, says that when he moved here he went to some of their events, and also came away with the impression that they were mainly Democratic party partisans, with few independents or others, and mainly older than people in similar organizations.)  It’s sad that there are virtually no independent organizations in DC (as well as none that represent tax payers, people victimized by the drug war, students unserved by DC’s failed schools, etc.)

Joseph Sandler, of Sandler and Reiff, getting his partisanship on

One of the people I looked at was the chair of the JCRC, Joseph Sandler.  Who is he?  A long term lawyer for the Democratic National Committee. (From his Wiki:  “Joseph Sandler is a Washington, D.C. attorney who served as in-house general counsel for the Democratic National Committee from 1993 to 1998 and continued in this role at his firm Sandler, Reiff & Young through 2009. He now serves as an adviser to prominent Democrats, state parties, and progressive organizations, such as”)

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Linick, Debra
Date: Wednesday, September 10, 2014
Subject: Mayoral forum
To: Bruce Majors

Bruce, thanks for your response. I will need to relook my math on the below. As regards the literature, it can be brought to Sixth & I the day of the event. If someone wishes to drop it off earlier, please let me know so I can provide a heads up to my colleague there, Lisa Yochelson, who would be able to hold onto it until we can display it.

From: Bruce Majors []
Sent: Wednesday, September 10, 2014 3:11 PM
To: Linick, Debra
Subject: Re: Mayoral forum

I do have two questions though:

1) Where should I bring the literature and when?

2) According to the August 12 campaign reports I see online with the Office of Campaign Finance, my friend Carol Schwartz has raised a total of $65,000 which is over 1% but much less than 10% of the over $2 million dollars raised by front runner Muriel Bowser. (Ten percent of $2.1 million would be $210,000.)

So to be able to formulate a rationale by which you exclude me and continue to invite Ms. Schwartz, you will need to tell everyone that your rule is that all candidates must have raised 1% or 2% of the amount raised by the front runner. Is that what you meant to write?

On Wednesday, September 10, 2014, Linick, Debra wrote:

Mr. Majors, thank you for getting in touch with the JCRC about our upcoming forum. The JCRC invites all candidates who have secured at least 10% of the funding of the front runner candidate in a given race in financial reports current at the time of our invitations. Although this does exclude some individuals from speaking roles, we do welcome all candidates to provide written material that we encourage audience members to review and take before or after the program. We allow two separate items per campaign to be displayed. We do not allow soliciting on the premises at Sixth and I, however campaigns have often had a presence on the public sidewalks outside of Sixth and I were our line of attendees forms. I hope that these opportunities might be of interest to you and thank you once again for reaching out to JCRC.

Debra Gold Linick
Director for DC & Northern Virginia
703-893-4007 / 202-552-5355

About the Jewish Community Relations Council
The Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington (JCRC) is the public affairs and community relations arm of the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington representing over 100 Jewish organizations and synagogues throughout DC, Maryland, and Virginia. The JCRC focuses on government relations, Israel advocacy, inter-group relations, and social justice.

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DC Office: 1720 Eye Street, NW Suite 800, Washington, DC 20006│Tel. 202-552-5355

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From: Bruce Majors []
Sent: Tuesday, September 09, 2014 9:58 AM
To: Linick, Debra
Subject: Mayoral forum

I am available should you decide to be ńonpartisan in your debate format.

I spoke last night at the Capitol Hill Arts Center mayoral forum, as I had earlier before the National Capitol Area ACLU and other forums, and I think it was viewed as a positive addition.

Bruce Majors

202 704 6401



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Mayoral candidates multiply – Libertarian Bruce Majors "At least I am no longer the oldest candidate"

10 Jun
Carol Schwartz to run for DC mayor as independent |

Rumors began circulating at the end of May that the DC Republican Party had vetted a mayoral candidate, a well known small l libertarian who is a Justice Department attorney and GOP State Central Committee member who is a friend of Libertarian Party mayoral candidate Bruce Majors.  For some reason he has decided not to announce his candidacy until the end of June.

But before he could do so, the field became more crowded, with former Republican city council member Carol Schwartz announcing on June 9 that she will run as an independent.  (Ms. Schwartz is also a friend/acquaintance of Mr. Majors, who has supported her in previous races and attended her annual Christmas/Holiday party.). That means the mayoral race now has a Libertarian (Bruce Majors), a Green (“Faith”), a Democrat (Muriel Bowser), an unannounced Republican (supposedly Kris Hammond), an independent who was a Republican (David Catania), and another independent who was a Republican (Carol Schwartz).

Ms. Schwartz is identifying herself as a libertarian-lite without using that term, a “socially liberal fiscal hawk” as one reporter described her this week, though some have questioned her bona fides when in office as a fiscal hawk. Update: on June 11 on WMAL’s Mornings on the Mall show she came out for gun control and using more DC taxpayer money to absorb and house homeless people from the DelMarVa region, much like Catania and Bowser. She left DC politics in part because small l libertarianish Republican Patrick Mara fractured her support among independents and the gay community, when he came out for gay marriage in an earlier city council race where Ms. Schwartz did not support gay marriage but instead only supported civil unions.  Ms. Schwartz may well have more personality than Bowser or Catania, as well as deeper DC political roots, though many new voters who have moved to the city since 2008, when she was last in office, may be unaware of her.

Mr. Majors, 55, who is also recruiting some of the other Libertarian candidates and assisting with or managing their campaigns, quipped “At least I am no longer the oldest candidate.”  Libertarians are seeking to build a new party in DC, so voters will not be dependent on the incumbents of one or two parties who had for decades turned a blind eye to the corruption of their colleagues, or to newly independent politicians from the incumbent parties.

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.



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
Subject: New contact form received

You have received a new contact form message.
Name : Bruce Majors, Libertarian for Mayor
Email :
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.