New Columbia Statehood Commission convenes Constitutional Convention, 6/18/16
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New Columbia Statehood Commission convenes Constitutional Convention, 6/18/16

October 8, 2019


>>THE CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION
IS CALLED TO ORDER. LET ME RUN THROUGH A FEW THINGS
AND THEN WE WILL HAVE THE HONOR GUARD COME IN. I’M ASSUMING, YES.
WE ARE GOING TO TRY TO BE OUT OF HERE BY 1:00. FOLKS WHO WANTED TO SPEAK HAVE
TO SIGN UP AND AT SOME POINT THAT LIST IS GOING TO CLOSE. SO IF YOU HAVEN’T SIGNED UP AND
YOU REALLY WANT TO SPEAK MAKE SURE YOU ARE ON THE LIST NOW AND
I BELIEVE THAT LIST IS OUT IN THE FRONT. WE’RE GOING TO BEGIN EVEN THOUGH
THE MAYOR IS NOT HERE YET, SHE CALLED AND SAID SHE IS ON HER
WAY AND WE SHOULD BEGIN AND THERE WILL BE A COUPLE OF
CHANGES WHICH I GUESS I WILL EXPLAIN AT THE —
AFTER WE HAVE THE HONOR GUARD AND THE PLEDGE
OF ALLEGIANCE. SO IF YOU WOULD ALL RISE FOR THE
HONOR GUARD. [MUSIC]
[MUSIC] [MUSIC]
[MUSIC] [MUSIC]
[MUSIC] [MUSIC]
[MUSIC] [MUSIC]>>I PLEDGE ALLEGIANCE TO THE
FLAG OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. AND TO THE REPUBLIC, FOR WHICH
IT STANDS, ONE NATION, UNDER GOD, INDIVISIBLE, WITH LIBERTY
AND JUSTICE FOR ALL.>>CHAIR: PLEASE BE SEATED.
BEFORE I TURN TO MY COLLEAGUES HERE, I JUST WANT TO MENTION A
COUPLE OF THINGS. COMMENTS CLOSE TONIGHT AT
MIDNIGHT. TESTIMONY CAN BE SUBMITTED
ONLINE UNTIL THEN AND THE ONLINE ADDRESS IS IN THE MATERIALS THAT
HAVE BEEN HANDED OUT. THE PARLIAMENTARIAN TODAY IS
FRED COOK. THE SEATS NEXT TO THE MICROPHONES ARE THOSE WHO ARE
NEXT TO TESTIFY. WHAT WE HAVE IS I’M GOING TO
TURN TO MY COLLEAGUES IN A MOMENT AND THEN MR. COOK WILL COME FORWARD TO EXPLAIN THE
RULES OF ENGAGEMENT AND THEN WE WILL HEAR FROM SEVERAL SPEAKERS
INCLUDING KARL RACINE, OUR ATTORNEY GENERAL, WALTER SMITH,
KEITH PERRY, LUIS TORRES, KIM KEENAN, AND ALSO COUNCILMEMBER
NADEAU. AND I DON’T THINK I SAID THAT IN
THE ORDER THAT EVERYBODY WILL BE RECOGNIZED.
I THINK COUNCILMEMBER NADEAU WILL BE AFTER THE ATTORNEY
GENERAL. AND THEN WE WILL HAVE
OPPORTUNITY FOR RESIDENT TESTIMONY AND DISCUSSION AND THE
MICROPHONE WILL BE THERE. THOSE WHO ARE SPEAKING, THE
NAMES I JUST READ, WILL COME UP HERE AND BUT THEN THERE IS A
MICROPHONE OVER THERE AND I BELIEVE SENATOR STRAUSS IS GOING
TO TAKE OVER IN A MINUTE BECAUSE WE’RE TRYING TO SHARE THE
RESPONSIBILITIES HERE, AND SO HE WILL BE CALLING FOLKS FORWARD.
WITH THAT, LET ME TURN TO MY COLLEAGUES AND ASK IF THEY HAVE
ANY OPENING REMARKS. SENATOR STRAUSS?>>THANK YOU, MR. CHAIRMAN.
IT IS AGAIN AN HONOR AND A PRIVILEGE TO BE HERE AS WE
CONVENE THIS THIRD AND FINAL SESSION OF OUR CONSTITUTIONAL
CONVENTION. I WANT TO KEEP MY REMARKS BRIEF
TODAY BECAUSE THIS IS REALLY ABOUT HEARING FROM YOU, THE
DELEGATES, TO THIS CONVENTION, THE CITIZENS OF THE DISTRICT OF
COLUMBIA. WE APPRECIATE YOU BEING HERE.
WE APPRECIATE THOSE WHO STAYED LATE WITH US LAST NIGHT.
WE APPRECIATE THOSE WHO ARE HERE EARLY WITH US THIS SATURDAY
MORNING. AND THANK YOU FOR SHARING THIS
HISTORIC PROCESS WITH US.>>SENATOR BROWN?>>THANK YOU, MR. CHAIRMAN.
WE ARE HERE TODAY TO HEAR TESTIMONY ABOUT THE
CONSTITUTION. WE HAVE BEEN AT THIS NOW FOR A
LITTLE OVER TWO MONTHS. WE’VE HEARD A LOT OF COMMENTS.
SOME PEOPLE HAVE A LITTLE BIT OF A PROBLEM WITH THE PROCESS.
WE HEAR EVERYTHING YOU ARE SAYING, AND I MYSELF HAVE BEEN
CRITICAL OF SOME OF THE THINGS THAT HAVE GONE ON HERE BUT WE’VE
GOT TO REMEMBER THAT THIS IS NOT A PERFECT PROCESS. WE CAN’T KILL THE GOOD IN SEARCH
OF THE PERFECT. WE NEED TO GET THIS ON THE
BALLOT. WE HAVE OVER 300 COMMENTS HERE
FROM PEOPLE. THERE HAS BEEN MORE ENTHUSIASM
ABOUT THIS INITIATIVE THAN ANYTHING I’VE BEEN INVOLVED IN
SINCE I’VE BEEN INVOLVED IN THE STATEHOOD MOVEMENT AND THAT’S
BEEN TEN YEARS NOW. SO I ENCOURAGE EVERYBODY TO STEP
UP TO THE MICROPHONE, LET US KNOW HOW YOU FEEL, LET US TAKE
YOUR COMMENTS INTO CONSIDERATION AND LET’S MOVE FORWARD WITH
THIS, BECAUSE THIS IS OUR TIME. WE HAVE GOT A PRESIDENT THAT
SAYS I’M FOR IT. WE’VE GOT TWO DEMOCRATIC
CANDIDATES WHO ONE IS A COSPONSOR OF OUR BILL IN THE
HOUSE AND THE SENATE AND ONE HAS SAID MY CANDIDATE, HILLARY
CLINTON, SAID SHE IS GOING TO FIGHT FOR THIS WHEN SHE BECOMES
PRESIDENT SO NOW IS OUR TIME AND LET’S MAKE SURE THAT WE GET THIS DONE AND WE GET IT ON THE
BALLOT. THANK YOU VERY MUCH.>>ALL RIGHT.
THANK YOU SO MUCH. GOOD MORNING, EVERYBODY.
LAST NIGHT WE HAD A VERY LARGE TURN OUT.
WE HAD THIS PLACE HALF FULL AND WE’RE HOPING THAT TODAY WE HAVE
A SIMILAR TURN OUT. I WANTED TO RECOGNIZE ROBERT
WHITE, WHO IS AN INCREDIBLE ADVOCATE FOR STATEHOOD AND I
JUST WANTED THE — WON THE DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY.
THANK YOU SO MUCH. [ APPLAUSE ]
>>I ALSO WANT TO THANK THE TECHNICIANS WHO ARE PUTTING THIS TOGETHER SO THAT WE CAN HAVE THE
COMFORT OF THE WONDERFUL SOUND AND WE CAN GO ONLINE AND WATCH
THIS HEARING OVER AND OVER THANK YOU FOR DOING SUCH A GREAT
JOB AND LASTLY WE ALSO WANT TO THANK ALL OF THE INTERNS THAT WE
HAVE IN OUR OFFICE WHO ARE ALSO DOING — MAKING SURE THAT ALL OF
THIS GETS IN THE RIGHT PLACE SO THANK YOU SO MUCH AND VERY
EXCITED TO BE HERE AS WE COME TO THE END OF THIS I GUESS THE
CITIZENRY PARTICIPATORY PROCESS. WE’RE LOOKING FORWARD TO SEEING
ALL OF THE COMMENTS AND PUTTING THEM IN A WAY THAT CAN BE
ADDRESSED TO MAKE SOME CHANGES TO THE DRAFT CONSTITUTION SO
THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THE OPPORTUNITY.>>AND THANK YOU, MR. CHAIRMAN.
UNDER THE RULES OF OUR COMMISSION, AS THE RANKING
MEMBER I GENERALLY ONLY PRESIDE IN THE ABSENCE OF EITHER THE
MAYOR OR THE CHAIR, BUT I APPRECIATE YOU YIELDING TO ME
AND ALLOWING THIS RESPONSIBILITY AND OPPORTUNITY PARTICIPATE IN
THIS COMMUNICATION AND MEMBERS OF THE DELEGATION.
LET ME BRING UP OUR PARLIAMENTARIAN MR. FRED COOK
WHO WILL ADDRESS THE RULES OF THE DAY. MR. COOK, YOU COULD ENTER THE
STAGE FROM EITHER STAIR. THANK YOU FOR BEING HERE WITH US
THIS MORNING, COUNSEL.>>GOOD MORNING.
AND THANK YOU, COMMISSION MEMBERS, FOR AFFORDING ME THIS
OPPORTUNITY. I JUST WANT TO SAY THAT I’M
HAPPY TO BE HERE AS A LIFELONG RESIDENT OF THE DISTRICT OF
COLUMBIA AND A PERSON WHO HAS BEEN INVOLVED IN THE EFFORT FOR
STATEHOOD FOR A WHILE. I’M HAPPY TO SEE THIS EFFORT
ONGOING AND AM OPTIMISTIC THAT THESE EFFORTS WILL BEAR FRUIT.
AS SOME OF YOU, MOST OF YOU HOPEFULLY KNOW, WE ARE EMBARKED
ON A STATEHOOD EFFORT FOLLOWING WHAT IS FREQUENTLY REFERRED TO
AS THE TENNESSEE PLAN. THAT IS TO SAY THE PLAN BY WHICH
TENNESSEE WAS ADMITTED TO THE UNION IN 1796, AND THAT EFFORT
FUNDAMENTALLY REQUIRES THAT THE CITIZENS OF AN AREA THAT WISH TO
BECOME A STATE DO FOUR THINGS. THEY EVIDENCE THEIR DESIRE TO
BECOME A STATE THROUGH SOME SORT OF VOTE BY THE PEOPLE.
THEY ADOPT A CONSTITUTION THAT IS — THAT HAS A REPRESENTATIVE
FORM OF GOVERNMENT. THEY HAVE LEGAL BOUNDARIES THAT
THEY’VE ESTABLISHED AND WE’VE HAD A PRESENTATION FROM THE
OFFICE OF PLANNING THAT HAS A BOUNDS DESCRIPTION OF THE NEW
STATE THAT WILL BE FOUNDED. AND THE CITIZENS AGAIN VOTE AND
THIS WHOLE THING IS DESIGNED TO PRODUCE A VOTE AMONGST THE
CITIZENS OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA AND THAT PACKAGE WILL
BE SENT ON TO THE CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES FOR ACTION BY
THE CONGRESS. IT IS IMPORTANT THROUGH THIS
PROCESS THAT CITIZENS PARTICIPATE AND PROVIDE INPUT
INTO THAT DOCUMENT WHICH WILL BE THE CONSTITUTION FOR THE NEW
STATE, AND WE ARE GOING TO TALK A LITTLE BIT NOW ABOUT WHAT SOME
OF THE GUIDING PRINCIPLES THAT WE HAVE BEEN USING TO SHAPE OUR
CONSTITUTION. AS YOU KNOW, THERE WAS A
CONSTITUTION RATIFIED BY THE CITIZENS OF THE DISTRICT OF
COLUMBIA IN 1982. THERE WAS A SECOND RATIFIED BY
THE COUNCIL BUT NOT BY THE CITIZENS IN 1987. SINCE 1987, THERE HAVE BEEN A
NUMBER OF STRUCTURAL CHANGES IN THE GOVERNMENT OF THE DISTRICT
OF COLUMBIA MOST NOTABLY THE CREATION BY THE CITIZENS OF THE
OFFICE OF AN ELECTED ATTORNEY GENERAL. THERE HAS BEEN THE IMPOSITION OF
A CONTROL BOARD WHICH IS NOT DONE BY THE CITIZENS OF THE
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, PROPERLY DONE TO THE CITIZENS OF THE
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA BUT IN ANY EVENT THAT POSITION OF THE
OFFICE OF THE CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER WAS CREATED IN OUR
GOVERNMENT SO A NUMBER OF US WHO WERE ADVISING THE STATEHOOD
COMMISSION ADVISED THAT WE NEEDED TO UPDATE OUR
CONSTITUTION TO ACCOMMODATE THESE CHANGES THAT HAD HAPPENED
SINCE 1987 AT LEAST. AND SO WE HAVE TRIED TO DO THAT
AND WE’VE BEEN GUIDED BY A NUMBER OF PRINCIPLES IN CREATING
OR MODIFYING THE 1987 VERSION OF THE CONSTITUTION WE HAVE TRIED
TO IMPLEMENT CHANGES WITH THE BASIC CURRENT GOVERNING
STRUCTURE AND WE WANT TO BUILD UPON THE WORK OF STATEHOOD
EFFORTS IN THE 1980’S BUT SIMPLIFY AND MODERNIZE THE
CONSTITUTION. WE WANT TO ESTABLISH THE
STRUCTURES NECESSARY FOR GOOD GOVERNMENT. WE WANT TO EMPOWER THE
LEGISLATURE AND EXECUTIVE TO GOVERNOR IN THE INTEREST OF THE PEOPLE WHO ELECT THEM.
WE WANT TO PRODUCE ORDERLY AND RESPONSIBLE GOVERNANCE.
WE WANT TO REFLECT THE VALUES AND DISTRICT RESIDENTS AND WE
WANT TO DEMONSTRATE THAT THE DISTRICT MERITS CONGRESSIONAL
ADMISSION AS A STATE BECAUSE AT THE END OF THE DAY THIS PROCESS
REQUIRES APPROVAL BY THE CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES.
THE HOUSE AND THE SENATE. SO WITH THAT WE’VE EMBARKED ON
THIS PROCESS AND THIS WEEK HAVE HAD A SERIES OF CONSTITUTIONAL
CONVENTIONS AND TODAY AS YOU WERE TOLD EARLIER IS THE LAST OF
THOSE THREE AND FOR PURPOSES OF THIS CONVENTION WE HAVE A SERIES
OF RULES OF ENGAGEMENT. THIS IS NONPARTISAN. NOT ABOUT A DEMOCRAT OR A
REPUBLICAN OR A GREEN THING THIS IS A NONPARTISAN CONVENTION AND
WE WOULD EXPECT THAT ATTENDEES WOULD RESPECT ALL OF THE VIEWS
EXPRESSED BY PERSONS OF WHATEVER POLITICAL PERSUASION THEY MIGHT
BE. THE COMMISSIONERS OF THE NEW
COLUMBIA STATEHOOD COMMISSION WILL CHAIR ALL OF THE SESSIONS
AS THEY ARE DOING THIS ONE. EACH SESSION HAS A TOPIC
ASSIGNED AND THIS TOPIC FOR THIS EVENT IS ARTICLE 3 OF THE
CONSTITUTION, THE JUDICIAL BRANCH ARTICLE 7, WHICH IS
MISCELLANEOUS, AND ARTICLE 8 ARE THE TRANSFERS OF OFFICES FROM
THE CURRENT GOVERNMENT TO THE STATE GOVERNMENT.
THE THIRD RULE FOR THIS CONVENTION IS THAT ALL RESIDENTS
OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA ARE DEEMED TO BE DELEGATES.
ALL OF YOU ARE DELEGATES OF THE CONVENTION. ALL OF YOU HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY
TO PROVIDE INPUT. ALL OF YOU HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY
TO PROVIDE COMMENT. TESTIMONY WILL FOLLOW THE RULES
ESTABLISHED IN THE PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT PROCESS ADOPTED BY
THE NEW COLUMBIA STATEHOOD COMMISSION WHICH IS TO SAY
INDIVIDUAL SPEAKERS WILL HAVE THREE MINUTES TO TESTIFY AND
ORGANIZATIONS WILL HAVE FIVE MINUTES. DELEGATES MAY ALSO SUBMIT
WRITTEN TESTIMONY UP TO THREE PAGES FOR INDIVIDUALS AND FIVE
PAGES FOR ORGANIZATIONS. AN INDIVIDUAL CAN ONLY TESTIFY
ONCE DURING EACH SESSION. ALL COMMENTS WILL BE GIVEN EQUAL
WEIGHT FOR REVIEW BY THE NEW COLUMBIA STATEHOOD COMMISSION. I WOULD LIKE TO REEMPHASIZE THAT
THAT ALL COMMENTS, WHETHER THEY ARE MADE HERE TODAY ORALLY,
WHETHER COMMENTS ARE SUBMITTED IN WRITING, WHETHER COMMENTS ARE
SUBMITTED VIA E-MAIL, WHETHER YOU STOP ONE OF THE
COMMISSIONERS IN THE GROCERY STORE AND TELL HIM OR HER WHAT
YOU WANT ALL COMMENTS WILL BE CONSIDERED, ALL COMMENTS HAVE
THE SAME WEIGHT. THERE IS NO PRIORITIZATION IN
THAT REGARD. ONLINE TESTIMONY WILL BE GIVEN EQUAL WEIGHT TO IN-PERSON
TESTIMONY. THE ULTIMATE DECISION OF ALL
AMENDMENTS AND COMMENTS WILL BE THAT OF THE NEW COLUMBIA
STATEHOOD COMMISSION BY A MAJORITY VOTE. AND FINAL APPROVAL OF THE
CONSTITUTION WILL BE DETERMINED BY THE VOTERS ON THE NOVEMBER 8
ELECTION. SO THOSE ARE THE RULES BY WHICH
WE HOPE TO MOVE THIS PROCESS FORWARD TODAY, AND HOPEFULLY WE
WILL AT A POINT IN THE FUTURE PRODUCE A CONSTITUTION THAT YOU
AND OTHER CITIZENS CAN VOTE ON AS MR. MENDELSON SAID THE
COMMENT PERIOD WILL BE CLOSED AT A DATE THAT IS YET TO BE
DETERMINED.>>TONIGHT.>>OKAY, TONIGHT.
THE COMMENT PERIOD IT CLOSES THE COMMENT PERIOD.
>>MIDNIGHT.>>MIDNIGHT.
SO IF YOU HAVE COMMENTS OF WHATEVER TYPE THEY NEED TO BE IN
BY MIDNIGHT TONIGHT. ANYTHING ANYBODY HAS ANY
QUESTIONS, I THINK I CONFUSED EVERYBODY.>>THANK YOU, COUNSELOR.
WELL DONE. [ APPLAUSE ]>>OUR NEXT SPEAKER IS THE FIRST
ELECTED ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.
LET ME JUST SAY AS MR. KARL RACINE COMES UP, I REMEMBER WHEN
WE WERE VOTING ON WHETHER TO AMEND OUR CHARTER.
I WAS PART OF THAT CHARTER COMMITTEE AND ONE OF THE THINGS
THAT WE FELT WAS SO IMPORTANT NOT JUST TO HAVE AN INDEPENDENT
ATTORNEY GENERAL BUT A LOT OF US FELT THAT THIS WAS ONE STEP
CLOSER TO STATEHOOD AND INDEED IT HAS PROVEN TO BE JUST THAT.
THANK YOU FOR BEING HERE. THANK YOU FOR SERVING AS OUR
FIRST ELECTED ATTORNEY GENERAL. MR. KARL RACINE.
[ APPLAUSE ]>>THANK YOU VERY MUCH, FIRST
AND FOREMOST RESIDENTS OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.
THE COMMISSION AND MR. CHAIRMAN, REPRESENTATIVES AND THE SENATORS
AND OF COURSE MAYOR BOWSER’S TEAM. IN PARTICULAR, I WANT TO REALLY
GIVE A SHOUT OUT BEFORE I GET STARTED TO THE MAYOR’S SENIOR
COUNSEL, BEVERLY PERRY WHO HAS BEEN INFATIGUABLE IN THIS
EFFORT. [ APPLAUSE ]>>AND LIKE ALL EXCELLENT STAFF
AS YOU KNOW THE INTERNS, YOU DO YOUR WORK SOMETIMES WITHOUT ANY
PUBLIC ACCLAIM THOUGH OF COURSE YOU WILL GET CRITICIZED FOR IT.
SO THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR LEADING US THROUGHOUT THIS, MISS
PERRY. GOOD MORNING, DISTRICT OF
COLUMBIA. MY NAME IS KARL RACINE AND I
HAVE THE PRIVILEGE OF SERVING AS THE DISTRICT’S FIRST ELECTED
ATTORNEY GENERAL. IT IS A GREAT HONOR TO SPEAK TO
YOU THIS MORNING VERY BRIEFLY ABOUT THE IMPORTANT BUSINESS OF
BUILDING A LEGALLY SOUND CONSTITUTION ON THE ROAD TO
STATEHOOD. THE CONVENTION AND THE
CONSTITUTION WE’RE ENGAGED IN WRITING IS A CRUCIAL STEP ON THE
ROAD TOWARDS STATEHOOD. BUT AS WE ALL KNOW, WE HAVE BEEN
WELL ON OUR WAY TO BUILDING A HEALTHY, ROBUST, DEMOCRATIC
STATE GOVERNMENT FOR YEARS NOW. LET’S LOOK AT THE EVIDENCE.
THAT’S WHAT LAWYERS DO. FOR MORE THAN 15 YEARS NOW, WE
BALANCED OUR BUDGET. CERTAINLY SOMETHING THAT
POSITIVELY DISTINGUISHES US FROM OUR CONGRESSIONAL OVERSEERS.
IN FACT — [ APPLAUSE ]>>IN FACT, WITH REPEATED ANNUAL
SURPLUSES AND FULLY FUNDED PENSION PROGRAMS, OUR FINANCES
ARE THE ENVY OF VIRTUALLY EVERY OTHER CITY AND STATE IN THE
NATION. WE BOLSTERED THE INTEGRITY OF
OUR GOVERNMENT, STRENGTHENING OUR ETHICS LAWS AND ROOTING OUT
CORRUPTION. WE HAVE MORE TO DO ON THAT FRONT
AND I KNOW WITH THE SUPPORT OF THE RESIDENTS OF THE DISTRICT OF
COLUMBIA WE WILL ENACT LEGISLATION THAT DOES JUST THAT.
WE HAVE VASTLY IMPROVED OUR GOVERNMENT SERVICES, ENDING
COURT OVERSIGHT IN MULTIPLE CASES OVER MULTIPLE AGENCIES,
IMPROVING OUR SCHOOL SYSTEM AND PROVIDING INNOVATIVE NEW
SERVICES THAT WE HAVE — THAT WE HAVE IMITATED BY OUR PEER STATES THAT HAVE BEEN IMITATED BY OUR
PEER STATES. WE HAVE MORE TO DO ON THAT FRONT
AND I’M SURE WITH AN ACTIVE CITIZENRY WE WILL ACCOMPLISH
SIGNIFICANT IMPROVEMENT IN THE FUTURE. AND WE’VE TAKEN ONE OF THE FINAL
STEPS TO BRING US IN LINE WITH 43 OTHER STATES, AND THAT IS
ESTABLISHING AN INDEPENDENT OFFICE OF ATTORNEY GENERAL THAT
IS ABSOLUTELY EVERY DAY DIRECTLY ACCOUNTABLE TO THE PUBLIC.
IF IT WEREN’T SO OFFENSIVE, I WOULD FIND IT FASCINATING THAT
PEOPLE SO FREQUENTLY TELL THE DISTRICT THAT WE HAVEN’T EARNED
THE RIGHT TO STATEHOOD. LET’S JUST SAY FOR SAKE OF
ARGUMENT THAT WE SHOULD HAVE TO EARN THAT RIGHT TO STATEHOOD.
DON’T YOU THINK WE MADE AN EXTRAORDINARILY STRONG CASE FOR
IT? [ APPLAUSE ] I THINK THAT MORE THAN 10,000 NET NEW RESIDENTS ARE MOVING TO
THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA EVERY YEAR PROVES OUR POINT.
PEOPLE ARE MOVING HERE BECAUSE THEY WANT TO BE PART OF AN
EXTRAORDINARY, EXCITING, INNOVATIVE, DYNAMIC COMMUNITY
THAT IS THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.
NOW, I MENTIONED THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE OFFICE OF
THE ATTORNEY GENERAL AS AN INDEPENDENT ENTITY AND AS AN
IMPORTANT MILE MARKER ON THE ROAD TO STATEHOOD.
AN INDEPENDENT ATTORNEY GENERAL CHARGED WITH PROTECTING THE
PUBLIC INTEREST PROVIDES THE CHECKS AND BALANCES NECESSARY
FOR AN ACCOUNTABLE, ROBUST AND HEALTHY DEMOCRATIC FORM OF
GOVERNMENT. AS MANY OF YOU KNOW, THERE HAVE
BEEN TENSIONS AS WE HAVE WORKED OUT THIS NEW FORM OF GOVERNMENT.
BUT EVEN THIS HEALTHY TENSION IS THE MARK OF A ROBUST DEMOCRACY.
IT MEANS RESIDENTS HAVE MULTIPLE AVENUES TO HAVE THEIR VOICES
HEARD AND THEIR ELECTED OFFICIALS MUST CONDITION.
AND ACCOUNTABILITY TO THE PUBLIC BY THE OFFICIALS CHARGED WITH
EXECUTING AND INTERPRETING OUR LAWS IS CRUCIAL.
THE OFFICE OF ATTORNEY GENERAL IS TAKING PART IN THE PROCESS TO
PROVIDE THE ASSISTANCE NECESSARY TO ENSURE OUR DRAFT CONSTITUTION
IS LEGALLY SOUND AND EMBODIES ALL OF THE BEST PRACTICES AND
PRINCIPLES WE KNOW FROM WELL-ORGANIZED STATE
GOVERNMENTS. THOSE PRINCIPLES, AS MR. COOK
ARTICULATED WELL ARE THE SEPARATION OF POWERS,
ACCOUNTABILITY AND SUFFICIENT REPRESENTATION.
THAT’S THE OFFICE OF ATTORNEY GENERAL’S ROLE IN THIS PROCESS.
YOUR ROLE NOW IS TO STAND UP AND DEMAND STATEHOOD.
PEOPLE SAY THE RESIDENTS OF THE DISTRICT DON’T ACTUALLY CARE
THAT MUCH ABOUT STATEHOOD. THEY SAY THAT WHEN IT COUNTS WE
DON’T REALLY TURN OUT. THAT THEY SEE THE SAME ADVOCATES
YEAR AFTER YEAR. WELL, NOW IS THE TIME TO DISPEL
THAT NOTION. FREDERICK DOUGLASS ONCE SAID
POWER CONCEDES NOTHING WITHOUT A DEMAND.
THIS IS OUR OPPORTUNITY TO SPEAK WITH ONE VOICE TO THE NATION AND
TO DEMAND STATEHOOD. SO I URGE YOU THIS MORNING TO
MAKE THAT DEMAND AND AS YOU DO THE OFFICE OF ATTORNEY GENERAL
IS HERE TO ENSURE THAT THAT DEMAND IS WITH THE BROADER
PRINCIPLES OF A HEALTHY AND ROBUST DEMOCRACY.
DEMAND STATEHOOD. [ APPLAUSE ]>>THANK YOU, MR. RACINE.
OUR NEXT SPEAKER WILL BE WALTER SMITH, THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF
THE APPLESEED COMMISSION. I’M SORRY, NO, COUNCILMEMBER
BRIANNE NADEAU.>>THANK YOU AND GOOD MORNING,
EVERYBODY. THE ATTORNEY GENERAL IS TOO
POLITE SOMETIMES. I CALL THEM, I OFTEN CALL THEM
OUR CONGRESSIONAL OVERLORDS. SO I HAVE BEEN TALKING ABOUT
STATEHOOD A LOT LATELY. AND MY FAVORITE PLACE TO DO THAT
IS IN OUR ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS, AND SO I WAS TALKING TO A GROUP
OF SECOND GRADERS THE OTHER DAY AND SECOND GRADERS ARE ACTUALLY
THEY ARE AT THAT POINT WHERE THEY ARE STARTING TO LEARN ABOUT
CIVICS AND THEY HAVE LOTS OF EXCITING IDEAS. THEY WERE GIVING ME LOTS OF
IDEAS FOR THE CONSTITUTION. SO I’LL BE PASSING THOSE ALONG.
ALONG THE LINES OF MORE CANDY AND THOSE SORTS OF THINGS.
YOU KNOW, WHEN YOU ARE TALKING TO YOUNG PEOPLE IN THAT AGE
GROUP, YOU REALLY HAVE TO BE VERY DIRECT, RIGHT?
AND ONE OF THE THINGS THAT I ALWAYS START OFF BY ASKING THE
CHILDREN IS, DO YOU BELIEVE THAT EVERYONE IN AMERICA DESERVES THE
SAME RIGHTS AND REPRESENTATION AS EVERYONE ELSE? RAISE YOUR HAND.
AND, OF COURSE, RIGHT, THEY RAISE THEIR HANDS.
THERE’S ALWAYS ONE OR TWO, RIGHT? FROM MARYLAND USUALLY.
[LAUGHTER] IN ANY CASE, NOT HATING ON
MARYLAND. WE NEED THEIR HELP FOR LOTS OF
THINGS. BUT IT’S VERY BASIC, RIGHT?
IT’S A VERY BASIC PRINCIPLE. IF YOU LIVE IN THIS COUNTRY, YOU
SHOULD HAVE THE SAME RIGHTS AS YOUR NEIGHBOR IN ANY OTHER
STATE, CITY, OR ANY NEIGHBORHOOD.
AND WE BELIEVE THAT VERY STRONGLY IN THE DISTRICT OF
COLUMBIA. YOU CAN SEE THAT IN THE WAY THAT
WE WELCOME OUR IMMIGRANT COMMUNITY AND HOW WE FOUGHT FOR
EQUALITY FOR ALL OF OUR RESIDENTS OVER THE YEARS.
AND SO IT’S SOMETHING THAT I HAVE BEEN CARRYING AROUND WITH
ME AND TALKING WITH THESE YOUNG PEOPLE. THEY ALSO GET EXCITED THAT
SOMEDAY THEY MIGHT HAVE THEIR OWN STAR ON THAT FLAG OVER
THERE. IT’S A REALLY POWERFUL THING.
THIS WEEK I HAVE ALSO BEEN THINKING A LOT ABOUT GUN
VIOLENCE AND THINKING ABOUT HOW IF WE COULD HAVE VOTING MEMBERS OF THE SENATE PARTICIPATE IN
THIS DIALOGUE. AND I MENTION THAT NOT ONLY
BECAUSE OF WHAT HAPPENED IN ORLANDO LAST WEEKEND, BUT ALSO
BECAUSE OF THE VIOLENCE THAT WE SEE ON OUR STREETS EVERY DAY.
WE HAD TWO VERY VIOLENT INCIDENTS IN WARD 1 THIS WEEK.
VERY, VERY UPSETTING, NOT ONLY TO THE PEOPLE INVOLVED AND THEIR
FAMILIES, BUT ALSO ALL OF OUR RESIDENTS WHO REALLY WANT TO
FEEL EVERY DAY LIKE WE LIVE IN A SAFE COMMUNITY. WE HAVE ALWAYS HAD TOUGH LAWS
AND TOUGH POLICY, BUT IT IS CONTINUALLY UNDERMINED BY
CONGRESS AND BY THE COURTS. AND UNTIL WE HAVE STATEHOOD AND
UNTIL WE HAVE VOICES IN THE HOUSE AND THE SENATE TO VOTE FOR
US ON THESE ISSUES, WE ARE NOT GOING TO MOVE FORWARD.
WE ARE NOT. THAT’S WHAT I CARRY WITH ME
TODAY AS WE MEET. AND I WANT TO TELL YOU I HAVE
ALSO BEEN TRAVELING QUITE A BIT LATELY TO SPREAD THE MESSAGE
ABOUT STATEHOOD. I REALIZED LAST YEAR IN
PARTNERSHIP WITH SOME OF OUR STATEHOOD COALITION FRIENDS THAT
THERE ARE OTHER PLACES WE CAN HAVE VOICES. I HAVE BEEN AT THE NATIONAL
CONFERENCE OF STATE LEGISLATURES. I HAVE BEEN AT THE YOUNG ELECTED
OFFICIALS NETWORK. I HAVE BEEN AT THE DEMOCRATIC
MUNICIPAL OFFICIALS NETWORK. AND EVERYWHERE I GO, I TALK TO
THEM ABOUT STATEHOOD. AND IT GOES SOMETHING LIKE THIS.
IF IT’S A DEMOCRAT, THE PERSON SAYS RIGHT, WE SHOULD GET YOU
STATEHOOD, LET’S DO IT. AND IF IT’S A REPUBLICAN, IT’S A
LITTLE MORE COMPLICATED. THE OTHER DAY I WAS IN A
CONVERSATION WITH ONE OF MY COLLEAGUES FROM MISSISSIPPI.
AND HE SAID TO ME, WELL, D.C. IS NOT A STATE IN THE CONSTITUTION.
SAID, WAS MISSISSIPPI? THOUGHT ABOUT THAT FOR A LITTLE
WHILE. I MIGHT HAVE GOT HIM IN THE END.
YOU CAN IMAGINE HOW FUN IT IS WITH THE DEMOCRATS AT THESE
MEETINGS TO WATCH ME CHASE AROUND THE REPUBLICANS WITH MY
ARGUMENTS. BY THE END, THE DEMOCRATS CAN
MAKE THE ARGUMENTS WITH ME BECAUSE THEY ARE LISTENING AND UNDERSTAND WHAT WE ARE GOING
THROUGH. YOU DON’T NEED TO HEAR ME LIST OUT ALL THE REASONS WE DESERVE
FULL REPRESENTATION. YOU KNOW, ONE THAT MOVES ME THE
MOST IS THAT OUR PEOPLE GO AND FIGHT AND SERVE IN THE MILITARY.
MY FIANCÉ IS A VETERAN AND I THINK ABOUT THAT A LOT AND THE
SERVICE HE DID IN AFGHANISTAN. AND HE WILL SOON BE A D.C.
RESIDENT AS WELL. THESE ARE THE THINGS THAT I
REALLY AM OUT THERE TALKING ABOUT. AND I JUST WANT YOU TO KNOW THAT I’M EXCITED TO BE HERE TODAY TO
HEAR FROM ALL OF YOU. I’M EXCITED THERE WAS SUCH A
ROBUST DISCUSSION LAST NIGHT. TODAY’S EFFORTS ARE REALLY
IMPORTANT IN MOVING US FORWARD AND I PROMISE YOU THAT I WILL
CONTINUE TO BE FIGHTING FOR STATEHOOD EVERYWHERE I GO.
IT’S IMPORTANT TO ME, ALSO, TO MENTION HOW EXCITED I AM THAT WE
HAVE A PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE, THE DEMOCRATS HAVE A PRESIDENTIAL
NOMINEE WHO HAS BEEN SO STRONG ON THIS, AND THAT WE MAY JUST
HAVE A WOMAN PRESIDENT WHO’S GOING TO HELP US MOVE THIS
FORWARD. [APPLAUSE] SO I THANK YOU ALL VERY MUCH FOR
GIVING ME A FEW MINUTES. COMMISSION, I APPRECIATE IT.
AND I THANK YOU FOR ALL THE WORK THAT YOU ARE DOING AND LOOK
FORWARD TO A GREAT DISCUSSION TODAY. THANK YOU.>>THANK YOU VERY MUCH,
COUNCILMEMBER NADEAU AND THANK YOU FOR YOUR PARTICIPATION AT
THE STATE LEGISLATURES, YOUNG ELECTED OFFICIALS.
IT’S CRITICAL THAT WE CONTINUE TO MAKE OUTREACH THERE.
WE HAVE BEEN JOINED BY — YOU TALKED ABOUT THE FIRST WOMAN
PRESIDENT. WE HAVE BEEN JOINED BY THE FIRST
WOMAN GOVERNOR SOON TO BE. [LAUGHTER]
OF THE NEW STATE. [APPLAUSE] OUR COMMISSION CHAIR, MAYOR
BOWSER.>>MAYOR: THANK YOU.
THANK YOU, SENATOR. I WANT TO THANK EVERYBODY FOR
BEING HERE TODAY AND THE ENTIRE COMMISSION AND ALL THE DELEGATES
WHO HAVE PARTICIPATED. I CAN’T TELL YOU HOW EXCITING
THE DISCUSSION HAS BEEN. WE HAVE GOTTEN GREAT COMMENTS,
GREAT FEEDBACK. BUT MORE THAN THAT, I THINK THAT
WE IN THE CITY ARE FEELING THE MOMENTUM GROW.
CERTAINLY AS I TRAVEL AROUND THE CITY AND INDEED AROUND THE
NATION, I ALSO HEAR PEOPLE ASKING US ABOUT IT.
WE SAW THE “WASHINGTON POST” PUT UP A VIDEO DESCRIBING THE
SITUATION THAT WE FACE IN WASHINGTON, D.C.
AND IT WAS A VIDEO THAT GOT THE MOST HITS OF ANYTHING THAT THEY
HAVE DONE. WE HAVE SEEN NATIONAL COVERAGE
OF WHAT WE HAVE DONE. YESTERDAY I HAD THE OPPORTUNITY
TO GO ON THE “MEET THE PRESS” DAILY SHOW. WHEN CHUCK TODD WAS HERE, HE
SAID I WAS SURPRISED BY THE FEEDBACK. I THINK WHAT IS CRITICAL RIGHT
NOW THAT WE HAVE BEEN DISCUSSING FOR THE LAST COUPLE OF MONTHS IS
THAT WE HAVE A UNIQUE OPPORTUNITY AND PERHAPS NOT
UNIQUE, BUT A NEW OPPORTUNITY TO GATHER ALL OF OUR THOUGHTS
TOGETHER AND GET A NEW VOTE ON STATEHOOD, UPDATE OUR
CONSTITUTION AND PRESENT A TOTAL PACKAGE TO A NEW PRESIDENT AND A
NEW CONGRESS. I WAS VERY ENCOURAGED BY THE
CONVERSATION WE HAD LAST NIGHT BECAUSE WE HAD A FUTURE
CONGRESSMAN FROM MARYLAND WHO KNOWS THE ISSUE INSIDE AND OUT,
BACK AND FORTH. IT’S ONE THING WHEN WE TALK
ABOUT IT AS WASHINGTONIANS. BUT IT IS HARD TO BE A PROPHET
IN YOUR OWN LAND, AS THEY SAY. AND TO HAVE THE FUTURE
CONGRESSMAN FROM MARYLAND BEING AN ADVOCATE, KNOWING THE ISSUES
AND BEING WILLING TO COME AND TALK ABOUT THEM WITH US RIGHT
NOW WAS SO IMPORTANT. AND HE TOO THOUGHT WE WERE AT A
CRITICAL POINT AND THE MOMENTUM IS BUILDING AND THAT IT WOULD
MAKE PERFECT SENSE TO HAVE THIS PACKAGE READY ON JANUARY 22nd
WHEN WE HAVE — WHAT SHOULD I SAY? A NEW PRESIDENT IN TOWN.
I WAS GOING TO SAY SOMETHING ELSE, BUT I WON’T.
AND I’M REALLY EXCITED ABOUT IT. SO I WANT TO THANK EVERYBODY FOR
THEIR HARD WORK AND THE MANY, MANY HOURS THAT PEOPLE HAVE PUT
IN TO GET US HERE. A VERY DIVERSE SMART GROUP OF
PEOPLE HAVE COME TOGETHER TO ASSIST THE COMMISSION.
AND WE’RE VERY THANKFUL FOR THEIR EFFORTS.
BUT I’M READY TO GET ON WITH THE THIRD DAY OF THE CONVENTION.
THANKS FOR KICKING THINGS OFF.>>THANK YOU. I’D LIKE TO RECOGNIZE OUR
COUNCILMEMBER FROM WARD 2. [APPLAUSE] JACK EVANS.
THANK YOU FOR BEING HERE.>>THANK YOU VERY MUCH AND GOOD
MORNING, EVERYONE.>>GOOD MORNING.>>NO ONE RECOGNIZES ME OUT OF MY BLUE SUIT AND WHITE SHIRT.
BUT IT’S SATURDAY MORNING. IT’S ERRAND DAY, RIGHT?
[LAUGHTER] SO I’M DOING ERRANDS.
BUT I DON’T WANT TO MISS THE OPPORTUNITY TO COME BY AND GREET
ALL OF YOU. AND, FIRST OF ALL, THANK OUR
MAYOR WHO HAS REALLY, REALLY LED THE CHARGE ON STATEHOOD THIS
TIME AROUND AND IS DOING A FABULOUS JOB, WHO HAS COME UP
WITH A NOVEL APPROACH. SO LET’S GIVE MAYOR BOWSER
ANOTHER ROUND OF APPLAUSE. THANK YOU, MAYOR BOWSER, FOR
REALLY LEADING THIS. AND THE REST OF THE MEMBERS OF
THE COMMISSION, OUR CHAIRMAN, OUR SENATORS AND REPRESENTATIVES
WHO HAVE SPENT AN ENORMOUS AMOUNT OF TIME ON THIS, THANK
YOU ALL FOR ALL THAT YOU ARE DOING.
AND MY GOOD FRIEND BEVERLY PERRY.
WHERE ARE YOU? GOT TO BE HERE SOMEWHERE.
HERE WE GO BACK 25 YEARS TOGETHER AND I KNOW YOU HAVE PUT
IN A YEOMAN’S EFFORT ON THIS. I CAN BRING PERSPECTIVE TO THIS.
I HAVE BEEN ON THE COUNCIL NOW 25 YEARS. AND ACTUALLY BACK IN THE ’80s
WHEN WE WERE DOING THIS ONCE BEFORE, WAS A MEMBER OF THE
DEMOCRATIC STATE COMMITTEE AND AN ANC COMMISSIONER.
SO I WAS MUCH INVOLVED IN THE EFFORTS BACK THEN.
AND SINCE THEN IN TRYING TO FIND A TIME WHEN WE COULD MAKE
STATEHOOD HAPPEN. I WANT TO SAY THIS.
THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA — AND AS I NOW CHAIR THE BOARD OF METRO AND TRAVEL AROUND THE
REGION AND MEET WITH MEMBERS OF CONGRESS ABOUT THAT PARTICULAR
ISSUE, WE ARE A STATE. WE ACT AS A STATE IN EVERY
ASPECT THAT MARYLAND, VIRGINIA AND EVERYBODY ELSE DOES. [APPLAUSE]
YEAH. IT’S TRUE, IT’S TRUE.
WE ARE A STATE. WE LOOK LIKE A DUCK.
WE QUACK LIKE A DUCK. THEY JUST WON’T CALL US A DUCK.
THEY CALL US A TURKEY. BUT WE’RE A DUCK, NOT A TURKEY.
I’M REALLY SERIOUS ABOUT THAT. WE ISSUE DRIVER’S LICENSE.
WE DO EVERYTHING STATES DO. WE DO.
AND WE PAY OUR OWN WAY. AND MAYBE THERE IS A DIFFERENCE
THIS TIME THAN THERE WAS BACK IN THE ’80s OR IN THE EARLY
’90s. I REMEMBER HAVING DISCUSSIONS
WITH MEMBERS OF CONGRESS. AND THE DIFFERENCE IS WE WERE
STRUGGLING BACK THEN. OUR FINANCES WEREN’T IN ORDER.
OUR GOVERNMENT WASN’T IN ORDER IN MANY WAYS.
AND SO WHAT THEY WOULD SAY IS GET YOUR HOUSE IN ORDER AND COME
BACK WHEN YOUR HOUSE IS IN ORDER.
WELL, I’LL TELL YOU, FOLKS. OUR HOUSE HAS NEVER BEEN IN
BETTER ORDER THAN IT IS TODAY. [APPLAUSE] IT’S NEVER BEEN IN BETTER ORDER,
NEVER. OUR FINANCES ARE THE STRONGEST
OF ANY CITY, COUNTY, STATE IN AMERICA. WE HAVE BALANCED OUR BUDGET 19
STRAIGHT YEARS. WE HAVE $1.87 BILLION IN OUR
RESERVE FUNDS. REALLY, WE HAVE NEVER BEEN
FINANCIALLY STRONGER AS A CITY THAN WE ARE TODAY.
DEVELOPMENT, AS YOU SEE ACROSS THE CITY, IS THE ENVY OF
EVERYONE ACROSS THE COUNTRY. THE CITY GOVERNMENT IS WORKING
WELL. OUR SERVICES ARE BEING
DELIVERED. AND SO FOR ANYBODY TO SAY TO US
GET YOUR HOUSE IN ORDER AND COME BACK, WE DID THAT.
WE GOT OUR HOUSE IN ORDER. AND NOW WE ARE COMING BACK.
AND WE DESERVE TO BE MADE A STATE IMMEDIATELY IN JANUARY OF
THIS COMING YEAR. WE REALLY DESERVE IT.
DESERVING SOMETHING IS NOT ALWAYS SYNONYMOUS WITH GETTING
SOMETHING, RIGHT? SO WE HAVE TO HAVE A PLAN AND THIS IS WHERE IT GOES BACK TO
WHAT THE MAYOR HAS PUT OUT THERE. THIS PLAN OF HAVING A
CONVENTION, HAVING A CONSTITUTION AND BE READY ON DAY
ONE. AND WE ARE GOING TO ELECT
HILLARY CLINTON THE NEXT PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.
IT’S NO DOUBT IN MY MIND WE’RE GOING TO DO THAT. [APPLAUSE] AND I AM A DELEGATE FOR HER.
I KNOW HER WELL. WHEN THE MAYOR AND MYSELF AND
OUR CONGRESSWOMAN AND ANITA BONDS MET WITH HER ON 7th
STREET A WEEK AGO, RIGHT, IT CAME UP.
THE COFFEE SHOP HAD A SIGN RIGHT UP THERE.
AND REALLY, SHE REINFORCED AGAIN HER SUPPORT FOR MAKING THE
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA A STATE. AND SO WHEN WE CAPTURE THE
SENATE AND WE HAVE A PRESIDENT, THE FIRST THING SHE OUGHT TO DO
IS PUT THIS OUT THERE. THE FIRST THING SHE OUGHT TO DO
IS PUT IT OUT THERE AND GET IT DONE. [APPLAUSE] AND IF THEY DON’T KNOW WHY IT’S
IN THEIR BEST INTEREST OF THE DEMOCRATS, IT’S BECAUSE WE’LL
GET TWO MORE DEMOCRATIC SENATORS.
THAT’S WHY IT WILL MATTER. AND WE WILL GET AT LEAST ONE, IF
NOT TWO DEMOCRATIC MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES.
THAT’S WHY IT MATTERS. AND FOR US, WE CAN GET OUT FROM
UNDER THESE RIDICULOUS CONGRESSIONAL PEOPLE WHO TELL US
WHAT TO DO, RIGHT? [APPLAUSE] REALLY, I’LL TELL YOU.
WHEN I WENT UP THERE — DIVERGING A LITTLE BIT TO TALK
ABOUT METRO. AND I HAD TO DEAL WITH THOSE TWO
IDIOTS, BEING HONEST WITH YOU, AND THEN THE THIRD GUY TRIED TO
COMPARE OUR SUBWAY SYSTEM, THE SECOND LARGEST SUBWAY SYSTEM IN
AMERICA TO THE MONORAIL AT DISNEYLAND.
I MEAN WHERE DO THEY GET THESE PEOPLE? WHERE DO THEY GET THESE PEOPLE?
YOU’VE GOT TO WONDER! SO IN ANY EVENT, THAT’S WHY IT’S
SO IMPORTANT THAT WE GET THIS DONE. AND EVERYONE HAS BEEN SAYING IT
AND I’M JUST GOING TO REPEAT IT. THE WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY IS
NOW, SO LET’S PULL TOGETHER. PULL TOGETHER, GET THIS DONE.
GET A CONSTITUTION DONE. OUR FINANCES ARE IN ORDER.
I CAN FIGURE OUT HOW TO PAY FOR THIS THING.
I CAN FIGURE OUT HOW TO PAY FOR IT. AND THERE IS NO HURDLE THEN THAT
WE CANNOT OVERCOME TO BECOME THE 51st STATE.
THERE’S NO HURDLE. AND LASTLY I WANT TO RECOGNIZE
MY GOOD FRIEND MARK PLOTKIN. MARK HAS BEEN WITH ME ON THIS
JOURNEY SINCE THE EARLY 1980s REALLY.
AND HE’S BEEN THERE EVEN BEFORE I HAVE.
AND IF THERE’S ANYONE WHO HAS A FOUNTAIN OF KNOWLEDGE AND IS
MORE PASSIONATE ABOUT THIS ISSUE, I DON’T KNOW WHO IT IS,
MARK. SO THANK YOU.
HE CALLED ME AT 9:00 THIS MORNING AND SAID YOU’VE GOT TO
GET HERE, SO HERE I AM. [LAUGHTER] AND I THANK YOU FOR DOING THAT.
BUT AGAIN, THANK YOU ALL. LET’S MAKE THIS HAPPEN, OKAY? [APPLAUSE]>>THANK YOU VERY MUCH.
OUR NEXT SPEAKER WILL BE WALTER SMITH, THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF
APPLESEED. SO THEY CAN MAKE THEIR WAY TO THE STAPLING, KEITH ANDREW
PERRY, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE BAR ASSOCIATION AND THEN WE’LL
HEAR FROM LUIS TORRES. MR. SMITH.>>GOOD MORNING, EVERYONE.>>GOOD MORNING.>>SO AS SENATOR STRAUSS SAID A
MINUTE AGO, THIS IS ABOUT HEARING FROM YOU ALL THIS
MORNING. SO I’M NOT GOING TO GIVE ANOTHER
LONG SPEECH. WHAT I WANT TO DO IS JUST BUILD
FOR A MOMENT ON WHAT YOU HAVE ALREADY HEARD.
AND I WANT TO START WITH WHAT KARL RACINE SAID.
HE QUOTED ONLY PART OF SENATOR BROWN’S FAVORITE QUOTE FROM
FREDERICK DOUGLASS. WHAT FREDERICK DOUGLASS SAID
POWER CONCEDES NOTHING WITHOUT A DEMAND, IT NEVER DID AND IT
NEVER WILL. AND THAT’S WHY WE’RE HERE TODAY.
WHAT YOU ALL ARE PART OF TODAY IS A PROCESS — AND THANK YOU,
BEVERLY PERRY, FOR PUTTING THIS PROCESS TOLD. [APPLAUSE] WHAT YOU ARE PART OF IS CRAFTING
OUR DEMAND. AND THANKS TO THE MAYOR AND
OTHERS WE HAVE THOUGHT THROUGH WHAT THIS DEMAND NEEDS TO LOOK
LIKE. WE ARE DOING IT THE WAY ANOTHER
STATE DID. WE ARE SHOWING WE HAVE DONE ALL
OF OUR HOMEWORK. WE HAVE GOT THE CONSTITUTION.
WE HAVE GOT THE PEOPLE BEHIND US.
WE HAVE GOT THE BOUNDARIES. WE HAVE GOT A REPUBLICAN FORM OF
GOVERNMENT. AND YOU ALL KNOW WHAT THAT
MEANS. I DON’T MEAN WITH THE BIG “R.”
AND WE’RE READY TO ENDORSE ALL OF THOSE THINGS.
AND THIS IS ALL TO THE GOOD. HERE’S THE POINT I WANT TO MAKE.
A DEMAND WITHOUT A PLAN TO BACK IT UP, TO MAKE SURE IT HAPPENS,
IS NOT GOING TO DELIVER. AND THE PLAN SO FAR, THE
TENNESSEE PLAN I BELIEVE IS THE RIGHT PLAN AT THE RIGHT MOMENT
FOR THE REASONS OTHERS HAVE SAID. BUT HERE’S MY POINT TO YOU
TODAY. NOW IS THE TIME TO BE
FORMULATING THE PLAN FOR THE NEXT STEP.
AS THE MAYOR SAID LAST NIGHT, WE HAVE GOT TO BROADEN THE
CONVERSATION BEYOND THIS ROOM, BEYOND THE BOUNDARIES OF THE
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. IF WE ARE ONLY TALKING TO
OURSELVES, WE ARE NOT GOING TO GET THIS DEMAND ANSWERED
AFFIRMATIVELY IN THE CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES.
AND I BELIEVE — [APPLAUSE] I BELIEVE AND I HOPE THIS IS
WHERE OUR ELECTED LEADERS COME TO.
WE ARE GOING TO HAVE TO INVEST NOT JUST TIME, BUT MONEY TO MAKE
THIS HAPPEN. A WELL-ORCHESTRATED,
WELL-PLANNED EFFORT COUNTRYWIDE TO BUILD THE SUPPORT THAT WE
NEED IS GOING TO TAKE A LOT OF PEOPLE AND IT’S GOING TO COST US
MONEY. BUT I BELIEVE IF WE INVEST THAT
MONEY, THE PAYOFF WILL BE WORTH IT. AND ALL OF US CAN BE PART OF THIS UNDERTAKING, BUT WE NEED
PEOPLE WHO KNOW HOW TO CONDUCT A PROFESSIONALLY RUN CAMPAIGN.
YOU KNOW, THERE WAS TALK LAST NIGHT.
CHUCK TODD SAID WE DIDN’T HAVE ENOUGH MILLENNIALS IN THE ROOM.
WHAT MAKES THIS THE MOMENT FOR THE OPPORTUNITY IS THE
COMMUNICATION TOOLS THAT ARE NOW AVAILABLE TO US.
WE HAVE GOT TO USE THEM. YOU KNOW, THE BEST EXAMPLE THAT
I KNOW OF RECENTLY WHERE SOMEONE ACHIEVED THE IMPOSSIBLE WAS TO
CHANGE THIS COUNTRY’S VIEWPOINT AND THE COURT’S VIEWPOINT AND
THE CONGRESS’ VIEWPOINT ON GAY MARRIAGE.
PEOPLE SAID THAT COULD NOT BE DONE.
A WELL-ORCHESTRATED NATIONAL CAMPAIGN CHANGED THE OUTLOOK ON
THAT ISSUE. AND IT’S EVEN HARDER FOR US TO
DO THIS BECAUSE AS MANY, MANY SPEAKERS HAVE SAID, THIS COUNTRY
STILL DOES NOT KNOW THAT THE PEOPLE WHO LIVE IN THE CAPITAL
OF THEIR GREAT COUNTRY DON’T HAVE DEMOCRACY.
WE HAVE GOT TO CONDUCT A CAMPAIGN TO BRING THAT TO THEIR
ATTENTION. AND WHEN WE DO THAT, I AM
CONFIDENT WE WILL GET THE SUPPORT THAT WE NEED, EVEN IF WE
HAVE TO PRESSURE IT. YOU KNOW, BRIANNE SAID SHE
DIDN’T WANT TO BE AS POLITE AS KARL HAS BEEN.
I LAST NIGHT HEARD BARNEY FRANK SAID POLITENESS AND PATIENCE ARE
OVERRATED. [APPLAUSE] IT IS TIME TO BACK THIS DEMAND
WITH A BLACK TO DELIVER ON IT. OR AS JUSTICE BRANDEIS ONCE
SAID, MOST THINGS WORTH DOING WERE THOUGHT IMPOSSIBLE BEFORE
THEY WERE DONE. THIS CAN BE DONE. AND IF WE ALL WORK TOGETHER, IT
WILL BE DONE, I PROMISE YOU. [APPLAUSE]>>MR. KEITH ANDREW PERRY, THE
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE NATIONAL BAR ASSOCIATION. [APPLAUSE]>>GOOD MORNING, EVERYONE.>>GOOD MORNING.>>TO THE COMMISSION AND FELLOW
CITIZENS, I AM, OF COURSE, THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE
NATIONAL BAR ASSOCIATION BUT I AM SPEAKING IN MY PERSONAL
CAPACITY. KARL REFERENCED THE LAW AS HE,
OF COURSE, HAS EVERY RIGHT TO DO AS OUR FIRST ELECTED ATTORNEY
GENERAL. AND IN THE LAW OF PERSONAL
TESTIMONY IS ALWAYS GIVEN GREAT WEIGHT SO I WILL BE GIVING
PERSONAL TESTIMONY TODAY. I FEEL LIKE I’M IN A FAMILY
REUNION I SEE SO MANY OLD FRIENDS.
ON TUESDAY WE WERE THE LAST TO VOTE FOR PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED
STATES. AND AFTER A FASHION, THAT WAS
QUITE FITTING BECAUSE SO IT HAS ALWAYS BEEN FOR US IN THE
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. WE HAVE BEEN LAST VOTING FOR
PRESIDENT. MY FATHER WAS 51 YEARS OLD
BEFORE HE WAS ENTITLED TO VOTE FOR PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED
STATES HERE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.
MY MOTHER WHOSE NAME IN THE FRENCH LANGUAGE WAS ATWAL,
MEANING STAR, WAS 41. SHE WAS APTLY NAMED.
SHE WAS GORGEOUS WITH A GENIUS I.K. AND A SERVANT’S HEART.
SHE WAS A GRADUATE OF CARDOZO HIGH SCHOOL, MINOR TEACHERS
COLLEGE AND NYU. SHE WAS AN ADJUNCT PROFESSOR AT
D.C. TEACHERS COLLEGE. SHE PROUDLY TAUGHT 5th AND
6th GRADES IN THE D.C. PUBLIC SCHOOLS FOR NEARLY 30 YEARS.
AND SHE RETIRED ON DISABILITY IN 1980 AS THE DIRECTOR OF THE HEAD
START PROGRAM. HER NAME WAS ATWAL.
SHE WAS A STAR, BUT SHE NEVER HAD HER FULL RIGHTS AS A
CITIZEN. AS A FOURTH GENERATION
WASHINGTONIAN WITH UNCLES WHO CAME BACK FROM WORLD WAR II WITH
MEDALS AND LIKE SO MANY OF TODAY’S WARRIORS, DIFFICULTY
COPING WITH CIVILIAN LIFE, WITH AUNTS AND OTHER RELATIVES WHO
TOOK ON THE WAR AT HOME WITH GRACE AND OPTIMISM EVEN AS THEY
FACED SEGREGATION IN THE SCHOOLS AND BIGOTRY IN THE BUSY
DEPARTMENT STORES THAT ONCE ANCHORED F STREET, THEY ARE
PROUD WASHINGTONIANS AND STOOD FOR A PRINCIPLE THAT SUSTAINED
THEM. DEMOCRACY.SO IN THE SPIRIT OF MY ANCESTORS
AND PERSONAL HEROES LIKE MARTIN LUTHER KING, JULIAN BOND,
MALCOLM X, ADAM POWELL, AND THURGOOD MARSHALL, SPOTWOOD
ROBINSON, MARION BARRY AND MUHAMMAD ALI, THIS INJUSTICE,
THIS DISENFRANCHISEMENT OF 800,000 PEOPLE WILL NOT STAND. [APPLAUSE] WE ARE TOO COMFORTABLE IN D.C. WE ARE TOO COMFORTABLE BECAUSE
THE INJUSTICE THAT WE FACE HAS NOT BEEN PLACED IN ITS PROPER
FRAMEWORK. THIS COUNTRY HAS GONE TO WAR
MANY TIMES. MANY TIMES OVER THIS PRINCIPLE.
WHEN IRAQ WENT INTO KUWAIT AND ATTEMPTED TO COLONIZE THAT
COUNTRY, DISENFRANCHISING AND MARGINALIZING ITS RESIDENTS WHEN
PRECISELY THE SAME THING HAS BEEN DONE TO THE CAPITAL OF THIS
COUNTRY, TO US, THAT’S A HYPOCRISY.
OH, THEY SAY, WELL, IT’S IN THE CONSTITUTION.
THEY SAY THAT WE ARE CONSTITUTIONALLY NOT A STATE.
WELL, SLAVERY WAS IN THE CONSTITUTION.
SO WAS THE 3/5 COMPROMISE. SO WAS THE DISENFRANCHISEMENT OF
WOMEN. AS MARTIN LUTHER KING TAUGHT US
WITH RIGHTEOUS ELOQUENCE, LEGALLY SANCTIONED INJUSTICE IS
NO LESS AN INJUSTICE. [APPLAUSE] YES, WE ARE TOO COMFORTABLE HERE
IN D.C., TOO COMFORTABLE. EVEN AS WE SIT HERE ENSCONCED IN
WHAT APPEARS TO BE THE CONSTRUCTION CAPITAL OF THE
WORLD, EVEN IN THIS CITY, EVEN AFTER MY 52 AND A HALF YEARS OF
RESIDENCY IN A CITY THAT I QUITE OFTEN FRANKLY NO LONGER
RECOGNIZE, THE TIME HAS COME TO RISE UP AGAINST THIS
ANTI-CONSTITUTIONAL SUBLIMINATION AGAINST THE RIGHTS
OF AMERICAN CITIZENS AND STAND. STAND FOR JUSTICE AND STAND FOR
THE EQUAL RIGHTS IN OUR CONSTITUTION.
STAND FOR D.C. STATEHOOD NOW. YOU KNOW, CIVIL RIGHTS IN THIS
COUNTRY IS ON A CONTINUUM. AND AS WE FIGHT IN 2016 AGAINST
THE HATE SPEECH OF DONALD TRUMP, THE GEORGE WALLACE OF 1964 COMES
TO MIND. [APPLAUSE] BUT WE OVERCAME IT IN 1964 AND
WE WILL DEFEAT IT NOW. WE MUST REMAIN VIGILANT MY
FRIENDS. HATE SPEECH TAKES MANY FORMS.
THOSE WHO MAINTAIN THAT D.C. SHOULD SUFFER STATE SPONSORED
DISFRANCHISEMENT ARE PLAYING A CYNICAL GAME TO ENCULTURATE US
TO INJUSTICE. AS ONE WHO STUDIED
CONSTITUTIONAL LAW AT HOWARD UNIVERSITY UNDER HERBERT O.
REED, PROPERLY VIEWED THAT’S NOT CONSTITUTIONAL CONSTRUCTION.
IT’S HATE SPEECH. SO I IMPLORE ALL OF US TO STAND
UP. BE ENRAGED BY IT AND ACT.
EVEN AS WE FIGHT TERROR IN THIS COUNTRY AND ALL AROUND THE
WORLD, WE MUST STAND UP HERE IN OUR CITY AND FIGHT FOR OUR OWN
JUSTICE. [APPLAUSE] AS I CLOSE, HOW CAN WE BEST
RESPOND TO THE HYPOCRITES IN ISIS AND THE TALIBAN AND AL
QAEDA? HOW CAN WE BEST STAND UP TO THAT
HYPOCRISY THAN TO ELIMINATE THOSE THAT WE SEE IN OUR OWN
COUNTRY? TO BORROW FROM FREDERICK
DOUGLASS ONCE AGAIN, WE MUST BRING AMERICAN CITIZENS INTO THE
FULL LIGHT OF DEMOCRATIC DAY. AND THAT MEANS D.C. STATEHOOD
NOW. WHO ARE WE TO SIT ON THE
SIDELINES IN THIS FIGHT? WE NEED ALL OF OUR TALENT, ALL OF OUR BRAIN POWER, ALL OF OUR
WILL, ALL OF OUR LOVE FOR OUR GREAT CITY-STATE.
SO I IMPLORE YOU TO STAND. STAND. STAND. [APPLAUSE] AND ONE DAY THE 51st STAR, OUR
OWN ATWAL WILL BE OUR OWN. THANK YOU.
[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]>>IT IS MY PRIVILEGE TO WELCOME
LUIS TORRES, DIRECTOR OF POLICY AND LEGISLATION, LEAGUE OF
UNITED LATIN AMERICAN CITIZENS BETTER KNOWN AT LULAC. [APPLAUSE]>>WELL, GOOD MORNING, EVERYONE.
MY NAME IS LUIS TORRES AND I’M HERE REPRESENTING THE LEAGUE OF
UNITED LATIN AMERICAN CITIZENS OR LULAC FOR SHORT.
WE ARE THE NATION’S OLDEST AND LARGEST LATINO CIVIL RIGHTS
ORGANIZATION. AND WE WERE FOUNDED IN 1929.
OUR MISSION IS TO ADVANCE THE ECONOMIC CONDITION, EDUCATIONAL
ATTAINMENT, POLITICAL INFLUENCE, HOUSING AND CIVIL RIGHTS OF THE
LATINO COMMUNITY. WE HAVE 135,000 MEMBERS.
AND THIS FIGHT TO US IS A PART OF OUR LONG JOURNEY, WE THINK
FOR OUR MEMBERS, TO GET FULL AND COMPLETE EQUALITY.
AND WE ARE 100% BEHIND THE EFFORT TO ACHIEVE STATEHOOD FOR
THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. AND WE UNDERSTAND THE BATTLE
BECAUSE WE ARE FIGHTING A PARALLEL BATTLE IN PUERTO RICO
WHERE WE HAVE MILLIONS OF CITIZENS THERE TOO WHO
UNDERSTAND EXACTLY WHAT IT MEANS TO BE WITHOUT A VOICE IN
CONGRESS. NOW, THE INTERESTING THING FOR
US TO SEE IS THAT THEY TELL OUR FOLKS IN PUERTO RICO YOU NEED TO
GET YOUR HOUSE IN ORDER, YOU HAVEN’T EARNED YOUR RIGHT TO BE
A STATE. AND YES, PUERTO RICO IS GOING
THROUGH SOME PROBLEMS. BUT YOU TURN AROUND AND YOU HEAR
THESE SAME PEOPLE MAKE THOSE SAME ARGUMENTS TO THE DISTRICT
OF COLUMBIA. AND YET THE SITUATION HERE IS
MUCH DIFFERENT. AND THE POINT I WANT TO MAKE
WITH THAT IS THAT PEOPLE AREN’T GOING TO GIVE US A SEAT AT THE
TABLE. WE HAVE TO BRING OUR OWN SEAT IF
WE DON’T HAVE A SEAT AT THE TABLE.
AND IT’S NOT JUST ENOUGH THAT WE SIT THERE.
WE WANT TO BE THERE BEFORE THEY SERVE LUNCH. [LAUGHTER] [APPLAUSE] AND SO WE ARE HERE WITH YOU.
WE ARE ACTUALLY BRING ABOUT 20,000 OF OUR MEMBERS IN JULY
FOR OUR NATIONAL CONVENTION. IN D.C., WE ARE VERY FORTUNATE
TO HAVE THE MAYOR WHO WILL BE ATTENDING.
AND OUR MEMBERS ARE HERE. THEY ARE FROM ACROSS THE
COUNTRY. YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
WE WILL SUPPORT THIS FIGHT TO THE VERY END.
THANK YOU. [APPLAUSE]>>IS KIM KEENAN HERE?
KIM. THERE YOU ARE.
AND SHE’LL BE FOLLOWED BY MR. MARK PLOTKIN.
>>GOOD MORNING.>>GOOD MORNING.>>IT IS REALLY A GREAT HONOR TO
BE HERE AND TO GET AN OPPORTUNITY TO TALK ABOUT THIS
STATEHOOD ISSUE THAT’S SO IMPORTANT TO ALL OF US.
I WANT TO THANK THE GOVERNOR — I MEAN THE MAYOR. [LAUGHTER] OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA FOR
THIS OPPORTUNITY AND, OF COURSE, OUR SENIOR
COUNSEL BEVERLY PERRY. I KNOW MY TITLE IS CEO OF
MULTICULTURAL MEDIA, TELECOM AND INTERNET COUNSEL.
BUT I KNOW I WAS INVITED HERE TODAY BECAUSE I AM A PAST
PRESIDENT OF THE WASHINGTON BAR, THE NATIONAL BAR.
[APPLAUSE] AND THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
BAR. SO THAT THERE ARE JOKES, YOU
KNOW. I’VE NEVER MET A BAR ASSOCIATION
THAT I DIDN’T WANT TO BE PRESIDENT OF.
[LAUGHTER] BUT THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA BAR
ASSOCIATION COMPRISES 103,000 LAWYERS, ALMOST HALF OF WHICH
LIVE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.
I’M HERE BECAUSE OF THE TRADITION OF WHAT LAWYERS MEAN
TO A PROCESS WHEN THERE’S A BATTLE, WHEN YOU’RE FIGHTING AND
THERE’S ADVOCACY FOR PEOPLE WHO NEED TO HAVE THEIR VOICES
AMPLIFIED. I’M HERE BECAUSE OF THE
TRADITION OF A LAWYER NAMED CHARLES HAMILTON HOUSTON WHO
BELIEVED — [APPLAUSE] THAT A LAWYER IS EITHER A SOCIAL
ENGINEER OR A PARASITE ON SOCIETY. [LAUGHTER] AND SO THERE ARE SO MANY LAWYERS
IN THIS AUDIENCE. I KNOW YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN.
SO IT IS A GREAT HONOR TO STAND HERE TODAY AND RAISE MY VOICE
FOR STATEHOOD. I CAME HERE AS A TEENAGER FROM
BUFFALO, NEW YORK. AND I HAD NEVER — YAY!
I HAD NEVER SEEN A BLACK BUS DRIVER WHERE I COME FROM.
THE THOUGHT OF A BLACK MAYOR, LET ALONE A BLACK FEMALE MAYOR
WAS NOT EVEN SOMETHING MAYBE THAT MY 17-YEAR-OLD MIND COULD
HAVE IMAGINED. BUT YET I CAME HERE TO THE
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA WHERE THE THEN MAYOR, MARION BARRY CREATED
MY FIRST JOB AS A COLLEGE STUDENT. [APPLAUSE] I WORKED FOR SYEP, Y.E.S. AND
EVERY VERSION OF THE SUMMER YOUTH EMPLOYMENT THERE WAS AND
IT BEGAN A GREAT LOVE AFFAIR WITH THIS GREAT CITY AND WHAT IT
MEANS TO THE PEOPLE OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.
I HAVE DONE THINGS IN SOUTHEAST AND NORTHWEST AND SOUTHWEST AND
NORTHWEST. AND I CAN’T IMAGINE LIVING
ANYWHERE EVER AGAIN. BUT YET I TOOK A JOB AS GENERAL
COUNSEL AND SECRETARY OF THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR THE
ADVANCEMENT OF COLORED PEOPLE. AND THERE I WAS, TRAVELING THE
COUNTRY DAY IN, DAY OUT, FIGHTING FOR PEOPLE TO HAVE THE
RIGHT TO VOTE. FIGHTING AGAINST A COURT SYSTEM
THAT HAD CREATED A WORLD WHERE VOTING RIGHTS WOULD BE TAKEN
FROM PEOPLE IN A TIME WHEN THERE WAS NO PROBLEM WITH VOTING
RIGHTS. THERE WAS NO VOTER FRAUD.
THERE WERE NO PEOPLE GOING TO THE POLLS AND SAYING THAT THEY
WERE ANNIE MAE JOHNSON OR RUBY JONES, MY GRANDMOTHER’S NAME.
PEOPLE WHO DIDN’T HAVE I.D.’S AND THEY WERE ABLE TO VOTE FOR A
LIFETIME. BUT YET AFTER ALL THOSE TRIPS TO
INDIANA AND MISSISSIPPI AND TO ALABAMA, I’D COME BACK TO
WASHINGTON AND WE DIDN’T HAVE REPRESENTATION IN CONGRESS.
AND SO I HAVE DEDICATED A LOT OF MY FREE TIME TO WORKING ON
VOTING RIGHTS BECAUSE VOTING RIGHTS ARE THE QUINTESSENTIAL
AMERICAN RIGHT. WHEN WE GO AROUND THE WORLD AND
WE TELL PEOPLE ABOUT HOW WONDERFUL OUR DEMOCRACY IS, WE
TALK ABOUT THE RIGHT TO VOTE. SO WHAT HYPOCRITES WE APPEAR TO
BE WHEN CITIZENS LIKE THE CITIZENS OF THE DISTRICT OF
COLUMBIA ARE LEFT TO THE EXPERIMENTATION OF PEOPLE IN
CONGRESS WHO WOULDN’T BE ABLE TO TAKE THOSE IDEAS BACK TO THEIR
JURISDICTIONS WHERE THEY LIVE. [APPLAUSE] HOW DARE THEY AND HOW DARE WE
LET THEM — HOW DARE WE HAVE A JUDICIARY THAT HAS TO BE
APPOINTED BY THE PRESIDENT. WHY MUST WE BE LEFT TO THE WHIMS
OF ANOTHER OFFICE, A POLITICIZED OFFICE WHEN WE HAVE THE ABILITY?
WE HAVE SOME OF THE GREATEST LAWYERS IN AMERICA IN WHATEVER
JURISDICTIONAL BOUNDARY YOU CAN DRAW. AND WE HAVE PEOPLE WHO HAVE THE
ABILITY TO SERVE IN THE JUDICIARY AND MAKE A TREMENDOUS
DIFFERENCE. I’M HERE TODAY BECAUSE WE ALL
NEED TO JOIN TOGETHER, REGARDLESS OF WHAT WE DO OR
WHERE WE LIVE OR WHAT WE WORK. AND WE MUST NOT BE DAUNTED BY
PEOPLE WHO SAY THAT WE HAVEN’T EARNED IT OR WE DON’T DESERVE
IT. WE ARE AMERICANS.
OF COURSE, WE DESERVE IT. THE CONSTITUTION SAYS WE DESERVE
IT. AND I HATE THESE PEOPLE WHO KEEP
TALKING ABOUT WHAT IT SAID, YOU KNOW, SO MANY HUNDRED YEARS AGO
BECAUSE IF IT SAID WHAT IT SAID AND WE BELIEVED THAT, THEN I
COULDN’T EVEN STAND ON THIS STAGE AND WE COULD NOT SIT HERE
TODAY. [APPLAUSE] WE COULD NOT SIT HERE TODAY AS
AN AUDIENCE OF PEOPLE WHO REPRESENT ALL OF WHAT AMERICA
IS. THAT IS WHAT I AM SO PROUD OF AS
I LIVE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. THAT WE REPRESENT ALL OF WHAT
AMERICA IS, EVERY COLOR, EVERY ETHNICITY, EVERY RICH CULTURAL
EXPERIENCE. THAT IS WHAT MAKES US SPECIAL.
AND SO I WANT TO ADD TO THIS THEME OF FREDERICK DOUGLASS.
AND I KNOW EVERYBODY SAID — KARL, YOU BEAT ME TO IT.
POWER CAN SEIZE NOTHING WITHOUT DEMAND.
AND I KNOW YOU JUMPED TO IT AND SAID THE PART ABOUT IT NEVER DID
AND IT NEVER WILL. BUT WE MISSED THE FIRST PART.
[LAUGHTER] WE MISSED THE FIRST PART.
I LOVE THE WHOLE QUOTE. THOSE WHO PROFESS TO FAVOR
FREEDOM AND YET REPLICATE AGITATION ARE PEOPLE WHO WANT
CROPS WITHOUT PLOWING THE GROUND, THEY WANT RAIN WITHOUT
THUNDER AND LIGHTNING AND THEY WANT AN OCEAN WITHOUT THE ROAR
OF ITS MANY WATERS. THE STRUGGLE MAY BE A MORAL ONE OR IT MAY BE A PHYSICAL ONE OR
IT MAY BE BOTH. BUT IT IS A STRUGGLE.
AND SO I SAY TO YOU WE DON’T HAVE THE LUXURY TO LISTEN TO
NAYSAYERS AND PEOPLE WHO WOULD TURN US AROUND.
WE DON’T HAVE THE LUXURY TO TURN BACK BECAUSE WE ARE RIGHT.
AND NOT ONLY WILL HISTORY PROVE US TO BE RIGHT, BUT EVERYTHING
THAT WE BELIEVE IN AS AMERICANS, ONE NATION UNDER GOD INDIVISIBLE
WITH JUSTICE AND FREEDOM FOR ALL.
EVERYTHING THAT WE HOLD NEAR AND DEAR SAYS THAT WE MUST MAKE THIS
RIGHT. THERE ARE NO TRIUMPHS WITHOUT A
TRIAL. NO TESTIMONY WITHOUT A TEST.
AND THERE CANNOT BE DIAMONDS WITHOUT FIRE.
SO IF WE WANT THAT STAR, WE MUST NOT REST.
WE MUST NOT TURN BACK. AND WE MUST NEVER GIVE UP UNTIL
STATEHOOD IS OURS. [APPLAUSE]>>THANK YOU. THANK YOU. MR. PLOTKIN.
AFTER WE HEAR FROM MR. PLOTKIN, WE WILL BEGIN WITH THE TESTIMONY
FROM OUR DELEGATES.>>THIS IS MY FOURTH APPEARANCE.
OBVIOUSLY, I WANT TO TALK ABOUT THE SUBJECT.
SHE’S TELLING ME THREE MINUTES. I’M NOT GOING TO STAY TO THREE
MINUTES. I AM GOING TO THANK BEVERLY PERRY FOR ASKING ME TO SPEAK. I KNOW THAT WASN’T MAYBE A POPULAR DECISION. [LAUGHTER] AND I’M GOING TO THANK THE
MAYOR. SHE’S GOING TO BE SURPRISED FOR
HAVING THIS BECAUSE IT HAS RAISED THE VISIBILITY OF THE
ISSUE. I SEE I DON’T HAVE ANY TITLES.
I’M JUST MARK PLOTKIN. AND I KNOW WASHINGTON, D.C.
NEEDS TITLES TO GIVE YOU SOME STANDING.
I’M PRESENTLY A CONTRIBUTOR TO THE BBC ON AMERICAN POLITICS.
I WRITE A COLUMN FOR “THE HILL” EVERY FRIDAY.
I WOULD APPRECIATE IT IF YOU WOULD READ IT.
THEHILL.COM. AND I’M A COLUMNIST FOR “THE
GEORGETOWNER.” I’M NOT HERE WITH ANY
PROFESSIONAL AFFILIATION BECAUSE, FIRST OF ALL, I’M A
CITIZEN OF AMERICA. AND MORE IMPORTANTLY, A CITIZEN
OF THIS CITY. I WAS A TEACHER IN FAR SOUTHEAST
AT MOTEN IN THE EARLY ’70s AND FAR NORTHEAST AT RIVER TERRACE.
I’M JUST NOT A TALKING HEAD OR SOME LOUD MOUTH ON THE RADIO.
I WAS AN ELECTED MEMBER, PHIL MENDELSON TWICE OF THE
DEMOCRATIC STATE COMMITTEE. I WAS THE CHAIRMAN OF THE
ADVISORY NEIGHBORHOOD COMMISSION.
SO I JUST DON’T MOUTH OFF. ALTHOUGH IT MIGHT SEEM LIKE
THAT. I’M COMMITTED TO THIS CITY AND,
MORE IMPORTANTLY, TO THE FUTURE OF THIS CITY.
AND I WANT TO BE THE SKUNK AT THE DINNER PARTY.
NO GREAT AMERICAN ACHIEVEMENT HAS BEEN WITHOUT PRESIDENTIAL
LEADERSHIP. AND SO PLEASE INDULGE ME BECAUSE
I DON’T WANT THIS TO BE REPEATED.
THERE’S BEEN AN ABSENCE OF PRESIDENTIAL LEADERSHIP.
IN 1992, BILL CLINTON TESTIFIED — EXCUSE ME THE
HISTORY LESSON, BUT I WANT YOU TO BE ARMED WITH FACTS.
IN 1992 BILL CLINTON TESTIFIED AS A CANDIDATE.
SO DID PAUL SONGAS AND SO DID TOM HARKIN AND MODESTLY DOUG
WILDER BEFORE THE HOUSE DISTRICT COMMITTEE.
AND THEN WHEN HE WAS PRESIDENT, WE DID HAVE A STATEHOOD VOTE.
LET ME REMIND YOU IT WAS 23 YEARS AGO.
AND THE LOBBYIST FOR THE WHITE HOUSE LEFT BEFORE THE VOTE TOOK
PLACE. AND I SAID TO HIM, WHERE ARE YOU
GOING? THEY HAVEN’T EVEN VOTED.
THAT SHOWS THE RHETORICAL COMMITMENT TO STATEHOOD.
BUT AS THE PREVIOUS SPEAKERS HAVE SAID, NOT THE ACTUAL ACTION
COMMITMENT TO IT. WE GOT 153 VOTES.
THE REQUIRED NUMBER, TALKING WITH FRED COOKE IS 218.
DELEGATE NORTON FOR 23 YEARS HAS KEPT ON TALKING ABOUT WE’VE GOT
2/3 OF THE VOTE. AND PEOPLE START CHEERING.
WE LOST. WE DIDN’T WIN.
WE LOST. LET’S STOP DEFINING DEFEAT AS
VICTORY. LET’S STOP TAKING CREDIT FOR
LOSING. [APPLAUSE] THIS ISN’T HORSESHOES. ALMOST DOESN’T COUNT.
THEN WE HAD AN AFRICAN-AMERICAN PRESIDENT ELECTED IN 2008,
BARACK OBAMA. BARACK OBAMA, I ASKED HIM THE
FIRST QUESTION WHEN HE WAS THE RUNNING. IT WAS AT A RECREATION CENTER IN
SOUTHEAST. AND I SAID, WHAT’S YOUR PERSONAL
COMMITMENT TO D.C. STATEHOOD? AND HE SAID ELECT MORE
DEMOCRATS. I SAID THAT’S NOT MY QUESTION.
MY QUESTION IS YOUR PERSONAL COMMITMENT.
AND FOR SEVEN AND A HALF YEARS, THIS PRESIDENT HAS IGNORED US.
HAS TAKEN US FOR GRANTED EVEN THOUGH WE VOTED 93% AND 91%.
HE NEVER LOST ONE PRECINCT IN FOUR ELECTIONS.
THIS HAS NOT BEEN PRESIDENTIAL ————————————————————————————————-
LEADERSHIP. WHEN ASKED, HE SAYS YEAH, I’M
FOR IT. MICHAEL BROWN SAYS HE’S FOR IT. HE’S FOR IT, SENATOR BROWN, IN
THE MOST CASUAL, HARMLESS WAY. HE HAS NOT LED US. HE’S GOT SIX MONTHS. I BELIEVE IN REDEMPTION. HE STILL HAS TIME TO TELL US
HE’S FOR US, TO SPEAK TO US IN D.C. FOR D.C. [APPLAUSE] HE TAKES OUR VOTES. HE DOESN’T MENTION US IN SEVEN
AND A HALF YEARS. IT TAKES HIM FOUR YEARS TO PUT
ON THE LICENSE PLATE. AND WHEN HE’S ASKED, SENATOR
BROWN, HE SAYS YEAH, I LIVE HERE SO I GUESS I’M FOR IT. THAT’S NOT WHAT I HAVE HEARD
HERE FROM THESE SPEECHES. WHY DO I BRING UP PRESIDENTIAL
LEADERSHIP? I WAS 17 OR 18 YEARS OLD. 17 YEARS OLD. AND I CAME TO GEORGE WASHINGTON
UNIVERSITY. AND I SAW LYNDON JOHNSON WHO HAS
PLENTY OF PROBLEMS. BUT THE CIVIL RIGHTS BILL OF ’64
PASSED. I’LL NEVER FORGET HIM ADDRESSING
A JOINT SESSION OF CONGRESS AND SAYING WE SHALL OVERCOME. YOU DON’T PASS LEGISLATION
UNLESS, UNLESS THERE’S PRESIDENTIAL LEADERSHIP. SO I’M SUPPOSED TO BE A POLITICAL ANALYST. LET ME TAKE A DRINK OF WATER. [LAUGHTER] WE’RE NEARING COMPLETION,
BEVERLY. I KNOW. THREE, THREE. I’M FILIBUSTERING. THE REASON I MOVED UP ON THIS
HISTORIC JOURNEY IS, MAYOR, I DON’T WANT YOU TO GO TO SEE ONE
SENATOR EVER AGAIN, LIKE YOU DID WITH SENATOR CARPER WHO
SUPPOSEDLY IS A FRIEND. YOU KNOW, MIKE MANSFIELD THE
FORMER MAJORITY LEADER SAID THANK GOD FOR MY ENEMIES. SAVE ME FROM MY FRIENDS. TOM CARPER INTRODUCED THE BILL. IT GOES TO HIS COMMITTEE. YOU ARE NOT TO GO TO SEE ANY
SENATOR. YOU’VE GOT TO MAKE A NUISANCE OF
YOURSELF. KARL RACINE AND EVERY OTHER
ELECTED OFFICIAL. AND THE FIRST WORD OUT OF YOUR
MOUTH HAS TO BE STATEHOOD. NOBODY COULD SAY, WELL, SHE
NEVER BROUGHT IT UP. SHE NEVER TALKED ABOUT IT OR HE
NEVER TALKED ABOUT IT. IF OUR DELEGATE WON’T GO TO SEE
THESE PEOPLE, WHICH SHE DIDN’T IN 2014 —
SHE TOLD ME TO GO SEE THEM. THEN OTHER ELECTED OFFICIALS
HAVE TO FILL THE VOID. I’M WORRIED ABOUT HILLARY
CLINTON. IN CLOSING, I’M WORRIED ABOUT
HILLARY CLINTON BECAUSE I DON’T WANT HER TO DO WHAT BILL CLINTON
AND BARACK OBAMA HAVE DONE TO US. TALK A GOOD GAME BUT NOT DO
ANYTHING. [APPLAUSE] AND MADAM MAYOR, WITH ALL DUE
RESPECT, YOU KNOW IT’S TROUBLE WHEN YOU SAY WITH ALL DUE
RESPECT. [LAUGHTER] YOU WERE THERE IN ANACOSTIA. YOU WERE AT THE TAXICAB
COMMISSION. YOU SAW NEERA TANDEN.
SHE IS THE DESIGNATED REPRESENTATIVE OF HILLARY
CLINTON’S PRESIDENTIAL CAN CAMPAIGN ON THE PLATFORM
COMMITTEE. SHE GOES TO THE CONSTITUTIONAL
CONVENTION AND SHE FAILS TO MENTION THE WORD STATEHOOD. I HOUNDED HER OUT THE DOOR AND I
SAID, IS IT GOING TO BE IN THE PLATFORM? AND YOU KNOW YOU’RE IN TROUBLE
IN WASHINGTON WHEN THEY START WALKING FAST TO GET AWAY. SHE NEVER COMMITTED. WE ARE NOT TO ALLOW HILLARY
CLINTON TO TALK A GOOD GAME AND NOT PUT IT IN THE PLATFORM AT
THE DEMOCRATIC CONVENTION. [APPLAUSE] THANK YOU FOR STANDING. IN CLEVELAND, OHIO. AND IF IT ISN’T, THE D.C.
DELEGATE SHELLY TOMPKIN AND JACK EVANS, YOU NEED TO WALK OUT. YOU NEED TO DO A MISSISSIPPI 64. YOU NEED TO CAUSE TROUBLE. IN THE DEATH OF A SALESMAN, THEY
SAID ATTENTION MUST BE PAID. ATTENTION MUST BE PAID. AND I ECHO JACK EVANS’ REMARKS. THE YEAR IS 2017. YOU’VE GOT ONE YEAR. YOU CAN’T DO IT IN 2018. THAT’S AN ELECTION YEAR. POLITICIANS ARE COWARDS. THEY DON’T WANT TO VOTE FOR
SOMETHING LIKE THIS IN AN ELECTION YEAR. YOU’VE GOT TO DO IT IN 2017. AND I WILL IN CLOSING-CLOSING,
TAKE A PAGE OF BARACK OBAMA. HE GOT HEALTH INSURANCE DONE
WITHOUT ONE — I HOPE THERE WERE REPUBLICAN
VOTES. BUT WITHOUT ONE REPUBLICAN VOTE
IN THE HOUSE. WITHOUT ONE REPUBLICAN VOTE IN
THE SENATE. AND YOU KNOW WHAT HAPPENED THE
NEXT YEAR. HE COULDN’T HAVE DONE IT. 2017 IS THE YEAR. AND I CLOSE WITH THIS LINE. NO SENATOR — YOU RUN INTO
THEM — SHOULD BE SAFE AT THE SAFEWAY. YOU GO UP TO THEM AND YOU TELL
THEM — [CHEERS AND APPLAUSE] YOU MAKE A NUISANCE. YOU BECOME A PEST TO THEM. NO HOUSE MEMBER SHOULD BE SAFE
IN A HARDWARE STORE. YOU GO UP TO THEM. YOU BLOCK THEIR AISLE. YOU DON’T LET THEM CHECK OUT
WITH MAKING A NUISANCE OF YOURSELF. THANK YOU FOR ALLOWING ME TO
SPEAK THE FOURTH TIME.>>THANK YOU, MR. PLOTKIN. [CHEERS AND APPLAUSE] WE NOW COME TO THE PORTION OF
OUR DELEGATE TESTIMONY. OUR FIRST DELEGATE, MR. RODERICK
WOODSON. [APPLAUSE] AND I SAY THIS BECAUSE WE ARE AT
THE POINT IN THE PROGRAM WHERE WE WILL BEGIN ENFORCING THE TIME
LIMITS. THE FACT THAT FOLLOWS
MR. PLOTKIN’S REMARKS IS PURELY COINCIDENTAL. BUT I WOULD ASK THAT YOU DIRECT
YOUR ATTENTION TO THE TIME KEEPERS FROM THIS POINT FORWARD. THANK YOU FOR BEING HERE,
MR. WOODSON.>>GOOD MORNING, EVERYONE. I FIND IT INTERESTING THAT I’VE
BEEN ASKED TO TESTIFY TO THE COMMISSION, BUT I’M ASKED TO
FACE THE CAMERA.>>MAYOR: FACE THE CAMERA.>>FACE THE CAMERA, BUT THE
COMMISSION IS HERE.>>WE SEE YOU.>>PARDON ME. LIFT THE MIC.>>MAYOR: YES.>>OKAY. WORD TO THE WISE. MY NAME IS RODERICK WOODSON. I CAME TO WASHINGTON, D.C. TO BE
A YOUNG LAW STUDENT IN 1969. I HAVE LIVED THROUGH EVERY
ADMINISTRATION SINCE HOME RULE BEGAN AND WATCHED THE EMERGENCE
OF HOME RULE IN THE ’70s. I LISTENED TO AND OBSERVED AND
PARTICIPATED IN THE STATEHOOD ENGAGEMENT DURING THE ’80s AND
THE EARLY ’90s. BUT I CAME AWAY FROM THAT WITH A
SENSE OF CYNICISM ABOUT THE ISSUE, THAT WE WERE — AS THE
PREVIOUS SPEAKER NOTED, WE HAD BEEN CAPTURED — I HAD BEEN
CAPTURED BY A SENSE OF NOT RESISTANCE BUT A RESOLUTION TO
BEING A SECOND-CLASS CITIZEN. A PHILADELPHIAN FROM
PENNSYLVANIA, A FAMILY INVOLVED IN CIVIC PARTICIPANTS. AND IT WAS INCREDIBLE THAT WE
DID NOT HAVE ANY PARTICIPATION ON CAPITOL HILL. BUT TODAY I HAVE BEEN INSPIRED
BY WHAT HAS HAPPENED AND WHAT I HAVE HEARD TODAY BY THE
LEADERSHIP OF MAYOR BOWSER AND THE COMMISSION TO REALLY PUSH
THIS MATTER FORWARD. SO I JOIN OTHERS IN SAYING NOW
IS THE TIME. MARK IS RIGHT, 2017 IS THE YEAR. TO THE SUBSTANTIVE ISSUE OF THE
DAY ABOUT THE JUDICIARY AND THE SEVERAL DIFFERENT ARTICLES, I
HAVE JUST SEVERAL COMMENTS. ONE, THAT IT MAY BE WORTHWHILE
FOR US TO HAVE AN INTERMEDIATE COURT OF APPEALS TO HELP OUR
JUDICIARY BE MORE EFFECTIVE. WE JUST DON’T HAVE ENOUGH
CAPACITY TO ENGAGE JUDICIAL DECISION MAKING. SECONDLY, OUR CONSTITUTION OUGHT
TO BE SPECIFIC ABOUT THE DISTRICT HAVING THE POLICE
POWER. NOT A GUESS, BUT THE POLICE
POWER IS THE FOUNDATION FOR REGULATORY AND GOVERNMENTAL
ACTION. THAT THE POWER OF THE ATTORNEY
GENERAL BE MORE SPECIFIC. OUR CONSTITUTION, AS DRAFTED,
DOESN’T SAY ENOUGH ABOUT IT. LASTLY, I JUST WANT TO JUST
CLOSE BY SAYING THAT THE SINE QUA NON OF CITIZENSHIP ANYWHERE
IS THE RIGHT TO VOTE. WE SHOULD NOT SHIRK FROM THAT.>>THANK YOU VERY MUCH. OUR NEXT DELEGATE SPEAKER MAY
HAVE A NEW TITLE SOON BUT, ROBERT WHITE, IF YOU WOULD COME
UP AND SPEAK. FOLLOWING MR. WHITE WILL BE LORI
MASTERS, JACK DIJAN.>>AM I FACING THIS WAY?>>MAYOR: YEAH.>>GOOD MORNING.>>GOOD MORNING.>>AS THE DEMOCRATIC NOMINEE FOR
AN AT-LARGE SEAT ON THE COUNCIL OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, I
CONGRATULATE THE MAYOR, MAYOR BOWSER, OUR SHADOW DELEGATION
AND THE STATEHOOD COMMISSION FOR THE RENEWED PUSH TO ACHIEVE
EQUAL RIGHTS FOR THE NEARLY 800,000 RESIDENTS WHO CALL THE
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA HOME. I FULLY SUPPORT OUR ONGOING
EFFORTS TO ACHIEVE STATEHOOD FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA AND
THIS APPROACH TO ACHIEVING IT. LIKE EVERY OTHER JURISDICTION IN
THE 50 STATES OF OUR GREAT COUNTRY, D.C. RESIDENTS FIGHT IN
WARS, PAY FEDERAL TAXES, AND REJOICE IN THE TRIUMPHS AND
GRIEVE IN THE TRAGEDIES OF OUR NATION. UNLIKE RESIDENTS OF THOSE
STATES, WE HAVE NO SAY IN CHARTING OUR COUNTRY’S PATH
BECAUSE WE LACK THE RIGHTS AND PRIVILEGES DUE TO EVERY AMERICAN
CITIZEN, MOST ESPECIALLY VOTING REPRESENTATION IN OUR FEDERAL
GOVERNMENT. WE ARE A COLONY. WHILE WE FIGHT FOR PIECES OF
EQUALITY LIKE LEGISLATIVE AND BUDGET AUTONOMY, THERE IS LITTLE
DOUBT THAT ANYTHING SHORT OF FULL STATEHOOD WILL REFLECT THE
JUSTICE AND FREEDOMS THAT WE CLAIM AS A COUNTRY. AS WE WORK TO DRAFT THE STATE
CONSTITUTION THAT THE RESIDENTS OF THE DISTRICT WILL VOTE TO
APPROVE AND THAT WE WILL TRANSMIT TO THE UNITED STATES
CONGRESS IN A PETITION FOR STATEHOOD, I URGE MY FELLOW
RESIDENTS AND THE COMMISSION TO ADOPT A CONSTITUTION IN ITS MOST
BASIC FORM IN ORDER TO MAXIMIZE OUR CHANCES OF PASSAGE. IN DETAILING TOO MANY SPECIFIC
RIGHTS AND PRIVILEGES, WE RUN A HIGH RISK OF LOSING SUPPORT OF
RESIDENTS WHO MAY DISAGREE STRONGLY WITH A SINGLE PROVISION
OR A HIGHLY PARTISAN CONGRESS. ADDITIONALLY, I STRONGLY URGE
TWO SPECIFIC INCLUSIONS. FIRST WE MUST INCLUDE A PROCESS
FOR AMENDING OUR CONSTITUTION SIMILAR TO THE MAJORITY OF STATE
CONSTITUTIONS. THIS WILL BE A NECESSARY ELEMENT
IN AN EVER-EVOLVING JURISDICTION. SECOND, WE MUST INCREASE THE
SIZE OF OUR LEGISLATIVE BODY FROM ITS CURRENT SIZE OF 13. TWO STATES IN OUR COUNTRY, VERMONT AND WYOMING ARE
REPRESENTED BY BICAMERAL STATE LEGISLATURES OF 180 AND 190
MEMBERS RESPECTIVELY. WHILE I PROPOSE NO SPECIFIC
SIZE, I NOTE A LEGISLATIVE BODY OF 13 ELECTED MEMBERS DOES NOT
MAXIMIZE GOVERNMENT EFFICIENCY OR ADEQUATELY ALLOW FOR THE DEEP
DELIBERATION REQUIRED OF OUR LEGISLATURE. OUR LEGISLATIVE BODY SHOULD BE
LARGE ENOUGH TO ALLOW FOR SUBCOMMITTEES THAT CAN
DELIBERATE THE MINUTE DETAILS OF LEGISLATION AND PERFORM MORE
EFFECTIVE OVERSIGHT OF OUR AGENCIES AND POLICIES. I THANK OUR ELECTED OFFICIALS
AND RESIDENTS WHO HAVE ENGAGED IN THIS PROCESS AND PLEAD WITH
RESIDENTS FROM ACROSS OUR CITY TO JOIN IN AND TO ENGAGE MORE
FULLY IN THE BATTLES FOR LOCAL AUTONOMY FOR OUR HOME, THE
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. I LOOK FORWARD TO WORKING WITH
THE COMMISSION TO ACHIEVE OUR RIGHTS AS AMERICAN CITIZENS
THROUGH FULL STATEHOOD. THANK YOU. [APPLAUSE]>>THANK YOU VERY MUCH. LORI MASTERS.>>GOOD MORNING, EVERYONE. LORI MASTERS. I’M A PARTNER AT THE LAW FIRM
PERKINS HERE IN THE DISTRICT. AND I WAS FORTUNATE TO HAVE THE
OPPORTUNITY TO RUN FOR ATTORNEY GENERAL IN THE FIRST ELECTION IN
2014 FOR OUR ELECTED ATTORNEY GENERAL. SO I WANTED TO ADDRESS A FEW
POINTS SPECIFICALLY ON THE CONSTITUTION THAT HAS BEEN
PROPOSED. FIRST OF ALL, THANK YOU TO THE
MAYOR AND TO THE COMMISSION FOR ALL OF THE TERRIFIC WORK THAT
HAS BEEN DONE ON THE CONSTITUTION. I THINK THAT IT’S BEEN A
TERRIFIC EFFORT IN BUILDING ON WHAT WAS DONE IN 1982 AND 1987
AND THAT WE SHOULD TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THAT AND MOVE
FORWARD TODAY THIS YEAR TO PUT THIS ON THE BALLOT AND MOVE
FORWARD WITH THE EFFORT FOR STATEHOOD. SPECIFICALLY, I AGREE WITH
ROBERT WHITE THAT WE SHOULD LOOK AT THE SIZE OF THE LEGISLATURE. I THINK IT’S IMPORTANT, AS MR. WHITE SAID, THAT WE HAVE A
LARGER LEGISLATURE SO THAT WE CAN ENSURE MAXIMUM ABILITY TO
ADDRESS THE ISSUES THAT ARE IMPORTANT TO THE CITIZENS OF THE
DISTRICT. AND ALSO, IT WILL GIVE AN
OPPORTUNITY FOR MORE CITIZEN ENGAGEMENT AND MORE
OPPORTUNITIES IN THE DISTRICT FOR PEOPLE TO GET THE EXPERIENCE
THAT WE NEED HERE AND THE MORE OPPORTUNITIES FOR PEOPLE TO RUN
FOR ELECTED OFFICE. SECONDLY, ON ARTICLE 1, SECTION
6, I WOULD SUGGEST THAT WE GIVE THOUGHT TO THE DISTRICT BEING A
LEADER ON THE ISSUE OF THE DRAWING OF LEGISLATIVE
DISTRICTS. OTHER JURISDICTIONS HAVE
NONPARTISAN COMMISSIONS THAT DRAW DISTRICTS AND TAKE
POLITICAL CONSIDERATIONS OUT OF THE DRAWING OF LEGISLATIVE
DISTRICTS. AND I WOULD SUGGEST THAT WE LOOK
AT THAT. WITH REGARD TO ARTICLE 3, THE
ISSUE THAT WE ARE HERE TODAY OSTENSIBLY, WE ARE NOT LIMITED
TO THAT, I THINK, BUT SPECIFICALLY ONE OF THE ISSUES
THAT WE ARE SUPPOSED TO BE ADDRESSING TODAY IS ARTICLE 3,
THE JUDICIARY. AS MR. WOODSON SAID, I THINK
THAT WE SHOULD CONSIDER INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURTS
HERE IN THE DISTRICT. IF YOU TALK TO ANY OF THE JUDGES
ON THE D.C. COURT OF APPEALS, THEY WILL TELL YOU THEY HAVE A
HUGE CASELOAD, THEY ARE OVERWORKED. WE NEED MORE OF A JUDICIAL
CAPACITY HERE TO ADDRESS THE ISSUES THAT COME UP THROUGH OUR
COURTS. I’D ALSO LIKE TO SAY THAT IT’S
IMPORTANT TO KEEP IN MY VIEW THE STRUCTURE THAT WE CURRENTLY HAVE
FOR APPOINTING JUDGES THROUGH THE JUDICIAL NOMINATION
COMMISSION. WE HAVE A VERY HIGH QUALITY
JUDICIARY HERE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. AND I WOULD NOT WANT US TO LOSE
THAT. AND THEN AS TO SIGN OFF, IN MY
LAST 30 SECONDS, I’D JUST LIKE TO SAY THAT, REITERATE WHAT
WALTER SMITH SAID. WE NEED A COMMUNICATIONS
STRATEGY TO MAKE THIS HAPPEN. WE NEED IN THE ERA OF CITIZENS
UNITED, YOU MAY NOT LIKE CITIZENS UNITED, BUT LET’S TAKE
ADVANTAGE OF WHAT’S OUT THERE. WE NEED THAT TO BE PART OF OUR
COMMUNICATIONS STRATEGY. WE WILL NOT GET WHAT WE NEED IF
PEOPLE ACROSS THIS COUNTRY DON’T UNDERSTAND THAT WE DON’T HAVE
STATEHOOD AND DON’T SUPPORT US IN OUR FIGHT FOR STATEHOOD. THANK YOU. [APPLAUSE]>>IS JACK NIJAN HERE? DAN LEWIS. JACK NIJAN? NO. YEAH? NO, HE IS NOT. SHERONA MORGAN. TIA SMART, CHERYL LEW, PHIL
THOMAS.>>GOOD MORNING, EVERYONE. MY NAME IS TIA SMART AND I’M
ACTUALLY FROM THE STATE OF FLORIDA. I THINK, FIRST OF ALL, WE SHOULD
GIVE A ROUND OF APPLAUSE FOR OUR STATE COMMISSIONERS BECAUSE THEY
ARE VERY PASSIONATE. ROUND OF APPLAUSE FOR ALL OF
THEM. THEY ARE ALL PASSIONATE MEMBERS
AND HAVE DONE SO SO PASSIONATELY AND FIGHTING FOR THE STATEHOOD
FOR YOU ALL FOR YEARS AND MANY WITHOUT COMPENSATION. AND IT TAKES A LOT OF TIME AND
EFFORT TO GET THIS WORK MOVING FORWARD. SO AGAIN I AM FROM THE STATE OF
FLORIDA SO THIS IS ALL NEW TO ME. IT’S KIND OF EYE OPENING ON
KNOWING THAT THERE’S NO REPRESENTATION HERE AND THAT
YOUR OWN FEDERAL GOVERNMENT HAS DONE THIS INJUSTICE TO YOU ALL. SO I THINK FOR THE FIRST PART
FOR THE COMMISSION IS REALLY IMPORTANT TO KNOW THAT THE
RESIDENTS NEED TO GET MORE IN-DEPTH KNOWLEDGE AND THERE ARE
GRASSROOTS EFFORTS TO DO SO. HOWEVER, I THINK IT’S IMPORTANT
TO KNOW THERE ARE ADVOCACY GROUPS. MY SUGGESTION IS MAYBE PUT THE
LEADERS OF THE ADVOCACY GROUPS LIKE THE COMMITTEE CHAIRS AND
PUT THEIR EMAILS ON THE WEBSITE SO COMMUNITY MEMBERS CAN
ACTUALLY HAVE ACCESS AND I GUESS LIKE REACH OUT TO THOSE MEMBERS
THAT WANT TO GET MORE INVOLVED INTO THESE ADVOCACY GROUPS. AND THEN I KNOW THIS HAS BEEN
TAKING A LOT OF TIME FOR THE LEGISLATIVE BRANCH. I THINK THAT’S A REALLY BIG
ISSUE FOR THE DISTRICT RESIDENTS. AND I THINK IT’S IMPORTANT TO
NOTE WHEN YOU ARE TRYING TO COMPARE TO VERMONT AND WYOMING,
YOU GUYS SURPASS THEIR POPULATIONS. SO EVEN IN VERMONT THEY HAVE
ABOUT — I THINK IT’S ABOUT 150 MEMBERS. IN MY OWN STATE WE ONLY HAVE
120. SO MAYBE KIND OF THINK ABOUT HOW
YOU WANT TO REPRESENT THEM BECAUSE IN VERMONT THEY HAVE ONE
REPRESENTATIVE FOR EVERY 4,059 RESIDENTS. MAYBE INSTEAD OF HAVING THE
ADVISORY NEIGHBORHOOD COMMISSIONS KIND OF MAKE THEM
INTO REPRESENTATIVES OF YOUR HOUSE OF DELEGATES TO HAVE A
MORE BICAMERAL AND MORE REPRESENTATION IN YOUR NEW
STATE. AND THEN ALSO, A STRONGER BILL
OF RIGHTS. THAT WOULD BE VERY EFFICIENT. I THINK FROM THE 1982, JUST KIND
OF TAKE SOME OF THOSE PORTIONS OF THAT INTO THE NEW BILL OF
RIGHTS TO KIND OF MAKE IT MORE REPRESENTATIVE OF WHAT D.C.
RESIDENTS ARE. THIS IS A NEW STATE AND YOU WILL
BE MAKING A PRECEDENCE FOR THE FUTURE. ALSO WHEN IT COMES TO INFORMING
THE REST OF THE COUNTRY, FROM AN OUTSIDER LOOKING IN, I THINK
THIS INJUSTICE ISN’T JUST A D.C. PROBLEM. IT’S AN AMERICAN PROBLEM. HOW ARE WE LETTING OUR FELLOW
AMERICANS GO UNDER THIS INJUSTICE? AND I THINK IT WOULD BE EASIER
TO REMIND THE AMERICAN PUBLIC THAT THEY SHOULD BE ANGRY WITH
THEIR OWN MEMBERS OF CONGRESS BECAUSE WHY ARE THEY SO
CONCERNED WITH LOCAL D.C. AFFAIRS WHEN THEY SHOULD BE
REPRESENTING THEIR OWN CONSTITUENTS THAT ELECT THEM. SO THAT’S THE MESSAGE. [APPLAUSE] SO THAT’S THE MESSAGE THAT YOU
SHOULD BE SENDING TO OTHER AMERICANS AND THAT IS ALL I HAVE
TO SAY. THANK YOU.>>THANK YOU. [APPLAUSE]>>NEXT WE WILL HEAR FROM CHERYL
LEW. IS PHIL THOMAS HERE? JEAN HARRIS. BILL SLATTERY.>>THANK YOU. I WANT TO FIRST THANK THE
COMMISSION FOR GIVING ME THIS OPPORTUNITY TO TESTIFY. MY NAME IS CHERYL LEW. AND I AM THE FOUNDER OF
GEORGETOWN STUDENTS FOR D.C. STATEHOOD. FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO WERE HERE
LAST NIGHT, YOU HEARD CHUCK TODD TALK ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF
MILLENNIALS GETTING INVOLVED IN THIS MOVEMENT. WELL, I’M HERE TODAY TO TELL YOU
THAT THEY ABSOLUTELY ARE. WHILE WE HAVE AN AFFINITY FOR
BOXED WINE AND BINGING NETFLIX, WE DEEPLY PASSIONATE ABOUT OUR
COMMUNITY AND OUR NATION AND WE BELIEVE IN FIGHTING FOR WHAT WE
KNOW TO BE RIGHT. YOU HEARD TESTIMONY FROM SEVERAL
GEORGETOWN STUDENTS YESTERDAY AND WE ALSO HAVE STUDENT
STATEHOOD GROUPS AT A.U. G.W., HOWARD AND RAPIDLY EXPANDING.
IT WOULD HAVE BEEN WONDERFUL SEEING MORE STUDENTS AT
YESTERDAY’S CONVENTION BUT UNFORTUNATELY CIVIC ENGAGEMENT
IS NOT REALLY WHAT MY PEERS ARE INTERESTED IN ON A FRIDAY NIGHT. [LAUGHTER] I ALSO AM HERE TODAY TO LET YOU
IN ON A LITTLE SECRET. CHAIRMAN MENDELSON, MEMBERS OF
THE COMMISSION, STUDENT MEMBERS OF THE D.C. COMMUNITY, I AM A
CARD-CARRYING REPUBLICAN. [APPLAUSE] [LAUGHTER] I SORT OF EXPECTED THE CEILING
TO CAVE IN OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT. AS YOU CAN IMAGINE, IT HAS BEEN
VERY INTERESTING DIPPING MY FEET INTO D.C. POLITICS. LET’S JUST SAY I’M A LITTLE BIT
OUTNUMBERED. THAT BEING SAID, I HOPE THAT YOU
WILL BELIEVE ME WHEN I SAY THAT THE REPUBLICAN PARTY THAT I
BELIEVE IN IS NOT RACIST, NOT MISOGYNISTIC OR HATEFUL. THE REPUBLICAN PARTY BELIEVES IN
FIGHTING FOR EQUALITY IN ALL AMERICANS, REGARDLESS OF RACE,
PARTY AFFILIATION OR YES, GEOGRAPHIC LOCATION. THAT BEING SAID, AS A PROUD
REPUBLICAN AND MILLENNIAL, I BELIEVE THAT IT IS TIME FOR US
TO REMOVE THOSE 535 LEGISLATORS WHO SHOULD BE CONCENTRATING ON
GOVERNING THEIR OWN DISTRICTS AND ADD TWO VOTING SENATORS AND
A VOTING REPRESENTATIVE. NOW, I WAS BORN AND RAISED IN
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS. AND IF YOU KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT
ILLINOIS POLITICS, YOU ARE WELL AWARE THAT WE DON’T HAVE THE
BEST TRACK RECORD WITH GOVERNMENTAL OFFICIALS. AND BY SAYING THAT, I MEAN THAT
FOUR OF OUR GOVERNORS SINCE 1960 HAVE GONE TO PRISON AND A RECENT
CONGRESSMAN HAS HAD TO RESIGN AFTER MISUSING CAMPAIGN FINANCES
TO AMONG OTHER THINGS DECORATE HIS OFFICE IN THE STYLE OF
“DOWNTON ABBEY.” REGARDLESS, THE POINT IS THAT I
AS A NATIVE ILLINOISAN HAVE REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS AND
IT’S TIME FOR WASHINGTONIANS TO HAVE THE RIGHTS THEY SO RIGHTLY
DESERVE AS AMERICAN CITIZENS. LET’S JUST HOPE THAT IF THE
FUTURE CONGRESSMEN OF NEW COLUMBIA ARE CONVICTED OF
ANYTHING, IT WILL BE FOR SOMETHING FAR MORE EXCITING THAN
POOR CHOICE OF OFFICE DECORATION. REGARDLESS, I LOOK FORWARD TO
CONTINUING THIS FIGHT FOR STATEHOOD AS A STUDENT, AS A
MILLENNIAL, AS A REPUBLICAN AND MOST IMPORTANTLY AS AN AMERICAN
CITIZEN. THANK YOU. [APPLAUSE]>>CHAIR: MS. HARRIS.>>GOOD MORNING. I FIRST WANT TO THANK MAYOR
MURIEL BOWSER AND THE COMMISSION FOR THE HARD WORK THEY HAVE
ALREADY DONE ON MOVING US CLOSER TO STATEHOOD. MY NAME IS JEAN HARRIS. I’M A THIRD-GENERATION
WASHINGTONIAN, EDUCATED FROM ELEMENTARY, KINDERGARTEN THROUGH
COLLEGE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA AND HAVE LIVED HERE MY
ENTIRE LIFE. I’M A RETIRED FEDERAL EMPLOYEE
AND I’M ALSO CURRENTLY THE STATE PRESIDENT FOR THE NATIONAL
ALLIANCE FOR MENTAL ILLNESS IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. FOR THOSE OF YOU THAT MAY NOT
KNOW WHAT THAT IS, THE NATIONAL ALLIANCE IS THE LARGEST
GRASSROOTS NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATION DEDICATED TO
BUILDING BETTER LIVES FOR MILLIONS OF PEOPLE AFFECTED BY
MENTAL ILLNESS. I BRING THIS UP BECAUSE I
PERSONALLY, AS STATE PRESIDENT — AND WILL FOLLOW
JACK EVANS WHO WILL SAY I’M NOT A STATE. BUT NAMI CONSIDERS ME THE STATE
PRESIDENT BECAUSE THEY DIDN’T KNOW WHAT OTHER TITLE TO GIVE
ME. IF I PUT WASHINGTON IN AND DON’T
DO D.C. QUICKLY, YOU KNOW WHAT COMES UP. WASHINGTON STATE. SO I’M KICKED OUT OF THE SYSTEM. BUT WHAT I WANTED TO SAY IS
RIGHT NOW A BILL WAS JUST PASSED, NAMI NATIONAL ADVOCATES
HEAVILY FOR MORE FUNDS, MORE SERVICES FOR PEOPLE WITH MENTAL
ILLNESS. I’M EXCLUDED FROM THAT PROCESS,
NOT BY NAMI BUT BY THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA NOT HAVING STATEHOOD
TO ALLOW ME TO REACH MY CONGRESSMEN OR SENATOR TO SAY
PASS THIS BILL. SO I AM AFFECTED NOT ONLY
LOCALLY, I AM AFFECTED NATIONALLY BECAUSE NAMI IS A
LARGE ORGANIZATION. 50 STATES WITH OVER 1 MILLION
MEMBERS WHO HAVE VOTING RIGHTS IN THEIR STATES, WHO PUSH FOR
LEGISLATION TO SUPPORT VETERANS CHILDREN AND ALL WHO ARE
SUFFERING. AND SO I HAVE NO MAJOR COMMENTS
TO MAKE ON THE CONSTITUTION. I’M GOING TO LEAVE THAT TO THE
LAWYERS WHO SEEM TO BE DOING AN EXCELLENT JOB ON THAT. AND SINCE I JUST GOT A COPY AND
HAVE NOT THOROUGHLY READ IT. BUT I WILL ENCOURAGE US TO
BROADEN THE BASE OF PUBLIC PARTICIPATION TO INCLUDE AND
ENCOURAGE ALL D.C. RESIDENTS, THOSE NEW TO D.C., YOUNG AND
OLD, AND THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN HERE FOR A LIFETIME LIKE MYSELF
AND MY MOTHER WHO PASSED AT 104. FOR THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN WORKING
ON THIS FOR DECADES, IT MAY SEEM LIKE A SLOW PROCESS. BUT WE ARE MOVING FORWARD.
AND I ENCOURAGE US TO USE AND UTILIZE NEW EYES, NEW VISION AND
NEW SPIRIT TO HELP US GET THIS LION OVER THE MOUNTAIN AND GET
US VOTING RIGHTS IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. I THANK YOU.>>THANK YOU VERY MUCH. [APPLAUSE] IS JIM SLATTERY HERE? THANK YOU, MR. SLATTERY. HE WILL BE FOLLOWED BY BRIAN
LOVE AND DALE BROWN.>>GOOD MORNING, EVERYONE. THANK YOU TO THE COMMISSION
MEMBERS. MY NAME IS JIM SLATTERY. I AM A WARD 4 RESIDENT, THIRD
GENERATION WASHINGTONIAN. I’M DESCENDENT FROM GRANDPARENTS
WHO CALLED SWAUM-POODLE AND NOW-NOMA. I KIND OF PREFER SWAUM-POODLE. AND NEAR NORTHEAST. I LIVE, AS I SAID, IN WARD 4
WITH MY HUSBAND OF SEVEN YEARS. AND I’M HERE ON BEHALF OF THE
MAYOR’S COMMISSION TO THE OFFICE ON LGBTQ AFFAIRS. TO READ A STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF
OUR CHAIRPERSON DAVID PEREZ WHO COULD NOT BE WITH US. BASICALLY WE WEREN’T ASKED TO
LOOK AT THE CONSTITUTION, BUT AS ACTIVE MEMBERS OF OUR
COMMISSION, WE DID TAKE A LOOK. AND WHAT STRUCK US WAS WHO WAS
LEFT OUT OF THE CONSTITUTION. AND BY THAT, I’LL JUST GO AHEAD
AND READ THIS. LANGUAGE AS CURRENTLY DRAFTED
THROUGHOUT THE DRAFT CONSTITUTION DOES NOT REFLECT
TODAY’S REALITY THAT ALL GENDER IDENTITIES MUST BE SPECIFIED AND
RESPECTED. WE BELIEVE THAT LANGUAGE
MATTERS. AND THAT BY SAYING MEN OR WOMEN
OR HIS OR HERS VERSUS PEOPLE OR THEY OR THEIRS, THE COMMISSION
WHILE NOT INTENDING TO DO SO ARE REINFORCING GENDER BINARIES AND
THUS MAKING PEOPLE WHO DO NOT FALL INTO ONE OF THOSE
CATEGORIES FRANKLY FEEL INVISIBLE. IT IS THE COMMITTEE’S DESIRE TO
ENSURE ALL PEOPLE OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, ESPECIALLY
THE LGBTQ COMMUNITY NOT ONLY FEEL INCLUDED BUT ARE INCLUDED. AND AS SUCH, WE ASK THAT EACH
INSTANCE IN THE DRAFT BE AMENDED TO REFLECT THIS REQUEST. WE FEEL AS WELL THIS ACTION WILL
ONLY ADD TO THE COMMON CONCEPTION AROUND THE COUNTRY
THAT THE DISTRICT IS A NATIONWIDE LEADER ON ALL MATTERS
LGBTQ. THANK YOU FOR TAKING THE TIME TO
LISTEN TO THE ADVISORY COMMITTEE’S REQUEST. WE WHOLEHEARTEDLY SUPPORT THE
RENEWED CALL FOR STATEHOOD AND HOME THAT IT WILL BE AN HISTORIC
WIN ON SEVERAL FRONTS. THANK YOU. [APPLAUSE]>>THANK YOU. DALE BROWN. OR I’M SORRY. BRIAN LOVE. ALL RIGHT. BEFORE YOU BEGIN, WE DO HAVE
THESE RESERVE SEATS FOR OUR ON-DECK SPEAKERS. AS I CALL SOME OTHER NAMES UP,
SHELLY TOMPKIN, YOU WILL BE NEXT. DALE WILLS. GO AHEAD.>>THANK YOU, MEMBERS OF THE
COMMISSION AND FELLOW DELEGATES TO THIS CONVENTION. I HAVE LIVED HERE IN THE
DISTRICT FOR SEVERAL YEARS NOW AND WAS A SUPPORTER OF D.C.
STATEHOOD WELL BEFORE THAT. THE PROVIDED DRAFT CONSTITUTION
IS AN ACCEPTABLE START BUT THERE ARE A NUMBER OF AREAS WHERE WE
CAN DO BETTER. FIRST I DO NOT LIKE THE NAME NEW
COLUMBIA. IT SEEMS CLUNKY. IT IS DERIVED FROM CHRISTOPHER
COLUMBUS WHO HAS A POOR LEGACY. AND THE LOGICAL POSTAL
ABBREVIATION NC HAS ALREADY BEEN TAKEN. I HAVE HEARD SEVERAL GOOD NAMES
FOR OUR FUTURE STATE, ANY OF WHICH WOULD BE GOOD CHOICES. POTOMAC, ANACOSTIA, DOUGLASS
AND, AS SUGGESTED LAST NIGHT, THE DOUGLASS COMMONWEALTH. ALL OF THESE NAMES ARE CONNECTED
TO OUR HISTORY, ARE DISTINCTIVE AND DO NOT CONFLICT WITH
EXISTING POSTAL ABBREVIATIONS. LIKE OTHERS WHO HAVE SPOKEN
BEFORE ME, I THINK THAT ALL ELECTIONS IN THE NEW STATE
SHOULD BE NONPARTISAN. THAT WILL ALLOW FEDERAL
EMPLOYEES TO RUN FOR OFFICE AND WILL REDUCE THE CHANCE FOR
PARTISAN GRIDLOCK AND WILL ALLOW ALL CITIZENS TO HAVE EQUAL SAY
IN OUR ELECTIONS REGARDLESS OF THEIR NATIONAL POLITICAL
AFFILIATION. ALONG WITH THIS, I WOULD SUGGEST
WE GET RID OF PRIMARIES ENTIRELY AND GO DIRECTLY TO THE GENERAL
ELECTION. TO DO THIS, I WOULD PROPOSE THAT
ALL ELECTIONS USE INSTANT RUNOFF VOTING OR SINGLE TRANSFERABLE
VOTE. THIS WILL PREVENT THE SITUATION
THAT REGULARLY OCCURRED IN THE PAST WHERE TWO CANDIDATES WITH
BROAD BASE OF OVERLAPPING SUPPORT SPLIT THE VOTE IN AN
ELECTION RESULTING WITH A CANDIDATE WITH LESS OVERALL
SUPPORT BEING DECLARED THE WINNER. FOR GOVERNOR, SPEAKER, ATTORNEY
GENERAL AND OTHER OFFICES I PROPOSE INSTANT RUNOFF VOTING. THERE ARE PLENTY OF RESOURCES
ONLINE DESCRIBING THE PROCESS IN DETAIL BUT WILL LEAD TO THE
WINNER WITH THE SUPPORT OF THE MAJORITY OF VOTERS. FOR THE HOUSE OF DELEGATES, I
RECOMMEND FIVE DELEGATES USING SINGLE TRANSFERABLE VOTE
GREETING A SIGNIFICANTLY LARGER BODY. SPECIFICS CAN BE FOUND ONLINE
BUT THIS SYSTEM WILL RESULT IN A HOUSE FAR MORE REPRESENTATIVE OF
THE DIVERSE VIEWPOINTS OF DISTRICT THAN OTHER CURRENT
SYSTEM. COMBINED INSTANT RUNOFF VOTING
AND SINGLE TRANSFERABLE VOTING WILL LEAD TO A MORE DEMOCRATIC
ELECTIONS. WHILE THE CONSTITUTION MENTIONS
THAT ELECTED OFFICIALS WILL ALL HAVE FOUR-YEAR TERMS, IT DOES
NOT SAY ANYTHING ABOUT THE YEAR THEY WILL BE ELECTED. I THINK ALL DELEGATES SHOULD BE
ELECTED IN ONE CYCLE AND THE GOVERNOR, SPEAKER, ATTORNEY
GENERAL AND OTHER NONDELEGATE POSITIONS BE ELECTED TWO YEARS
LATER. THIS WILL ALLOW SITTING
DELEGATES TO RUN FOR SPEAKER OR GOVERNOR WITHOUT LOSING THEIR
SEAT WHICH IS A PRIVILEGE ENJOYED TODAY BY ONLY HALF THE
D.C. COUNCIL. BY ELECTING ALL DELEGATES AT THE
SAME TIME, THIS OPPORTUNITY IS EQUALIZED ALLOWING ANY QUALIFIED
CANDIDATE TO RUN FOR THESE POSITIONS. THERE ARE SEVERAL OTHER CHANGES
I WOULD MAKE, BUT I WILL SAVE THOSE FOR FURTHER TESTIMONY. IT IS IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER OUR
GOAL MUST BE STATEHOOD. WHETHER WE PUSH FORWARD WITH
THIS PROCESS OR CONCENTRATE ON BUILDING AWARENESS AND ELECTING
DELEGATES TO CRAFT A CONSTITUTION IN 2017, WE CAN’T
LOSE SIGHT OF THAT GOAL. WE ARE AMERICANS AND WE DESERVE
A VOTE IN CONGRESS. THANK YOU.>>THANK YOU. [APPLAUSE] DALE BROWN.>>GOOD MORNING. MY NAME IS DALE BROWN. I’M IN THE PALISADES AREA. I HAVE LIVED THERE A LONG TIME. I LOVE D.C. WE REALLY NEED STATEHOOD. I WANTED TO JUST TALK STRATEGY
FOR A MINUTE, GOING A LITTLE BIT TO THE NEXT STEP, THE STEP AT
THE END WHEN CONGRESS NEEDS TO PASS THIS AND ENCOURAGE ALL OF
US TO START NOW TO BUILD AN ARMY OF ALLIES. WE HEARD FROM SOMEONE FROM
FLORIDA WHO I BELIEVE IS A SIMPLE EXAMPLE OF THE MANY
PEOPLE WHO EVENTUALLY WILL HELP US. BUT WE NEED TO GET IN CONTACT
WITH THEM. WE NEED TO TALK TO OUR
RELATIVES. WE NEED TO TALK TO OUR FRIENDS. MANY OF US COME HERE WITH GOOD
SOLID NATIONAL NETWORKS AND WE NEED TO TELL THEM OUR PAIN. WE NEED TO SHARE OUR PAIN. WE NEED TO SHARE THE GAIN TO
THEM IF STATEHOOD PASSES. SO I JUST CAN’T RECOMMEND ENOUGH
TALKING TO THE PEOPLE YOU KNOW. TELLING THEM ABOUT THIS FIGHT
STARTING NOW SO THAT WHEN THE TIME COMES, WE NOT ONLY HAVE
ADVOCATES WHO ARE GOING TO SIGN A PETITION, WRITE CONGRESS, MAKE
A PHONE CALL, BUT START THINKING ABOUT THEIR STATE SITUATION. MAYBE THEY KNOW SOMEBODY WHO
ACTUALLY GIVES MONEY TO THIS CONGRESS PERSON’S CAMPAIGN. MAYBE THEY ACTUALLY HAVE A
FRIEND WHO THEY CAN TALK TO WHO WILL TALK TO THE CONGRESSMAN. THE PROBLEM IS BUILDING THESE
RELATIONSHIPS NEEDS TO START NOW BECAUSE, FRANKLY, ASKING THEM TO
SUPPORT YOU POLITICALLY OR US POLITICALLY ACTUALLY, IT’S NOT
AN EASY THING FOR EVERYBODY TO DO. THOSE OF US WHO HAVE DONE IT FOR
A LONG TIME OFTEN FORGET THAT. SO THAT’S MY REQUEST TO ALL OF
US HERE. PLEASE START NOW TO BUILD THE
RELATIONSHIPS WITH PEOPLE IN OTHER STATES WHO ARE YOUR
FRIENDS, WHO ARE YOUR RELATIVES AND LET THEM KNOW THAT WE DO NOT
HAVE STATEHOOD, WE DO NOT HAVE OUR RIGHTS AND WE WANT IT NOW. THANK YOU. [APPLAUSE]>>THANK YOU VERY MUCH.>>THE NEXT SPEAKER WILL BE
SHELLY TOMPKIN, SHIRLEY WELLS, AND ANN HOFFMAN.>>I’M SHELLY TOMPKIN, NATIVE
WASHINGTONIAN, AS MY GOOD FRIEND MARK PLOTKIN MENTIONED I’VE BEEN
HE AS A DELEGATE TO THE DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL CONVENTION
AND NOW I KNOW MY GOOD FRIEND MARK WILL BE WATCHING ME AS IF I
DIDN’T KNOW THAT BEFORE. I’M CONTINUING MY TESTIMONY FROM
LAST NIGHT AND I WILL TRY TO BE BRIEF. I EMPHASIZED THE IMPORTANCE OF
RIGHT-SIZING THE LEGISLATIVE BODY OF GOVERNMENT AND WHEN I
SAY RIGHT-SIZING I BELIEVE IT NEEDS TO BE LARGER THAN 13
MEMBERS BUT NEEDS TO BE RIGHT-SIZED SO I HAVE TWO
OPTIONS JUST TO SUGGEST TO THE COMMISSION THAT I THINK HAVE
ALREADY BEEN SUGGESTED BUT I WANTED TO ADD MY VOICE TO THOSE
OPTIONS. FIRST OPTION WOULD CREATE A
BICAMERAL LEGISLATURE BY TRANSFORMING THE CURRENT COUNCIL
INTO A STATE SENATE AND WOULD ADD A LOWER HOUSE OF DELEGATES
COMPRISED OF FOUR DELEGATES PER EACH WARD. EACH WOULD BE ELECTED FROM
DIFFERENT GEOGRAPHIC SECTORS IN THE WARDS. THE HOUSE OF DELEGATES WOULD
THEREFORE HAVE 32 MEMBERS WITH A POPULATION PER LEGISLATIVE RATIO
OF 20,000 TO 1. IT IS NOT WHAT YOU WOULD FIND IN
MOST STATES BUT IT IS CERTAINLY AN IMPROVEMENT OVER 80,000 TO 1. IT IS ALSO POLITICALLY I THINK
AND STRUCTURALLY AN ATTRACTIVE PLAN IN THAT IT WOULDN’T UP-END
THE INTERNAL WORKINGS AND STRUCTURE OF THE CURRENT
COUNCIL. ESSENTIALLY THE CURRENT COUNCIL
WOULD BE LEFT AND WOULD BECOME THE STATE SENATE AND BUT IT
WOULD ALLOW THE ELECTION OF NEW REPRESENTATIVES IN A LOWER HOUSE
THAT WOULD BE IN A POSITION TO PROVIDE MORE DIRECT
REPRESENTATION TO THEIR CONSTITUENTS. NOW, IF YOU DON’T LIKE THAT,
THERE ARE SOME WHO SAY, WELL, YOU HAVE BICAMERAL LEGISLATURE
MAKES POLICY MAKING SLOWER. OKAY SO WE COULD HAVE A
UNICAMERAL PROCESS BUT INCREASE THE SIZE OF THE CURRENT COUNCIL
THREE-FOLD ADDING TWO COUNCILMEMBERS PER WARD OR AT
THAT TIME IT WOULD BE DISTRICT. TWO ADDITIONAL AT-LARGE MEMBERS
WHICH WOULD BRING THE LEGISLATURE TO 30 MEMBERS, AND
IN THIS CASE THE 24 DELEGATES REPRESENTING INDIVIDUAL WARDS
WOULD EACH HAVE A POPULATION FOR LEGISLATOR RATIO OF ABOUT 28,000
TO 1 AND I’VE SEEN THIS RATIO RECOMMENDED QUITE. NOW, TO FINISH UP I’VE GOT 30
SECONDS, I WANT TO SAY THAT I’VE SEEN, I’VE BEEN FOR A NUMBER OF
THESE MEETINGS AND I THINK THE ISSUE THAT I HAVE HEARD
DISCUSSED THE MOST FREQUENTLY FROM THE PUBLIC PARTICIPATION IS
THIS ISSUE OF REPRESENTATION IN THE LEGISLATURE. SOL I APPEAL TO THE COMMISSION
TO TAKE THIS SERIOUSLY AND TO TRY TO EDIT AND TO AMEND THE
CONSTITUTION TO THIS EFFECT. THANK YOU. [ APPLAUSE ]>>THANK YOU VERY MUCH. NOAH WELLS?>>HELLO. I AM NOAH WELLS AND I AM THE
CURRENT 2016-2017 PRESIDENT OF AU STUDENTS FOR D.C. STATEHOOD. [ APPLAUSE ]>>I ALSO HOPE TO BE THE LAST IF
ALL GOES WELL. I’M FROM PENNSYLVANIA BUT I’M
ALSO A REGISTERED VOTER IN THE DISTRICT FOR THIS ELECTION CYCLE
SO I’M HAPPY ABOUT THAT. WHEN I FIRST READ THROUGH THIS
DRAFT I THOUGHT OKAY WE’VE GIVEN OURSELVES LEGISLATIVE AUTONOMY
AND BUDGET AUTONOMY BUT THE THING THAT LACKED FOR ME WAS OUR
HISTORY OF THE LACK OF VOTER REPRESENTATION IN CONGRESS
WASN’T EXPLICITLY MENTIONED IN THE CONSTITUTION. WE NEED VOTER PROTECTIONS. WE NEED VOTER QUALIFICATIONS
EXPLICITLY MENTIONED IN OUR CONSTITUTION. FOR BEING A STATE CREATED ON
THESE THREE PRINCIPLES I WOULD ARGUE THAT VOTING RIGHTS IS THE
MOST PROMINENT YET WE DO NOT MENTION IT AT ALL. A LOT. I RECOGNIZE THAT WE NEED
BIPARTISAN NONCONTROVERSIAL CONSTITUTION TO BE PRESENTED TO
CONGRESS TO BECOME A STATE AND I ALSO RECOGNIZE THAT WE CAN AMEND
THE CONSTITUTION IN THE FUTURE ONCE WE WIN STATEHOOD BUT WHAT
IS THE POINT IF WE DO NOT EXPLICITLY MENTION OUR NEED FOR
FREE AND INCLUSIVE SUFFRAGE IN OUR FOUNDING DOCUMENT? IT IS MY OPINION IN THESE
POLITICS CONGRESSMEN ARE NOT GOING TO VOTE FOR OR AGAINST THE
SPECIFICS OF THE CONSTITUTION. THEY WILL VOTE FOR OR AGAINST
THE IDEA OF STATEHOOD. DON’T LET VOTING RIGHTS OF THE
RESIDENTS OF NEW COLUMBIA BE ESTABLISHED THROUGH AMENDMENTS
IN OUR STATE CONSTITUTION MUCH LIKE OUR NATIONAL CONSTITUTION
I KNOW THAT WE ALLOWED TO OPERATING UNDER THE SAME VOTING
LAWS AND REGISTRATION AS IN THE DISTRICT IN ARTICLE 8 AND I LIKE
D.C.’S VOTER PROTECTIONS AS IT HAS ALLOWED ME TO BE A VOTER OF
THE DISTRICT. HOWEVER, THE LAST CONSTITUTION
D.C. RATIFIED THERE WAS AN ENTIRE ARTICLE FOR VOTING RIGHTS
AND IN THIS CONSTITUTION IT IS MENTIONED THE LAST SECTION OF
THE LAST ARTICLE AS WELL AS A SECTION IN ARTICLE 8. TO CONCLUDE, I FORESEE NEW
COLUMBIA AS THE STATE WITH THE MOST FREE AND INCLUSIVE
ELECTIONS IN THE ENTIRE COUNTRY TO SET AN EXAMPLE FOR OTHER
STATES. I BELIEVE THERE MUST BE AN
ARTICLE ON VOTING YET AGAIN AND I HOPE YOU DO, TOO. THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME. [ APPLAUSE ]>>THANK YOU. LET ME SAY ON BEHALF OF THE
COMMISSIONERS THAT THERE ARE TWO AU ALUM UP HERE FOR D.C.
STATEHOOD AND WE APPRECIATE YOU.>>THREE.>>FOUR. ALL RIGHT.>>I WENT TO THE INTERNATIONAL
SCHOOL OF TRUCK DRIVING.>>SHIRLEY HOFFMAN. JESSE LEVEL. I’M SORRY, PLEASE COME DOWN,
MISS HOFFMAN. I DIDN’T SEE YOU THERE A MINUTE
AGO.>>GOOD MORNING TO GOVERNOR
BOWSER.>>YOU HAVE TO SPEAK INTO THE
MICROPHONE.>>OH, GOOD MORNING TO GOVERNOR
BOWSER, CHAIRMAN — MAYOR BOWSER. CHAIRMAN MENDELSON, SENATOR
STRAUSS, SENATOR BROWN AND REPRESENTATIVE GARCIA. I AM SHIRLEY HOFFMAN, A WARD 5
RESIDENT OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. SINCE 1962. I AM ALSO A GRADUATE OF THE D.C.
NEIGHBORHOOD COLLEGE, ET CETERA, AND AN ADVOCATE FOR ALL D.C.
1 THROUGH 8 WARDS. I AM FORMERLY FROM VIRGINIA IN
1963 I WAS HIRED BY MR. BENJAMIN BRADLEY OF NEWSWEEK MAGAZINE AND
I WORKED THERE FOR 37 YEARS. WHAT A HISTORICAL MOMENT
FORESEEING CIVIL RIGHTS AND EQUAL RIGHTS AND NOW STATEHOOD
RIGHTS. MY FATHER PAID POLL TAXES IN
VIRGINIA IN ORDER TO VOTE. YOU CAN HEAR THE ACCENT,
VIRGINIA, RIGHT. THE BLUE RIDGE MOUNTAINS. IT WAS OF THE SEGREGATED ERA. HE WAS THEN TOLD THE PEOPLE
LIVING IN D.C., HIS RELATIVES ALL CAME TOMORROW DRIVING IN
NICE CARS WITH THE TAGS AND ET CETERA ON IT AND OF COURSE HE
DID A LOT OF WALKING AND DEPART — GARDENING BUT HE SHARED WHAT
HE HAD. EVEN AT THAT TIME HE FOUND OUT
THAT EVEN THOUGH PEOPLE CAME TO D.C. AND THEY WENT TO OTHER
STATES BUT D.C. HAD NO REPRESENTATION. THEY PAID SO MUCH TAXES. THEY DID EVERYTHING AND IN THAT
ORDER BUT NO REPRESENTATION. EVEN WHEN HOME RULE CAME IN
PEOPLE CAME HOME PRAISING AND BRAGGING ABOUT THE FACT WE’VE
GOT HOME RULE, YOU KNOW, WE WERE WONDERING ABOUT HOME RULE. BUT TODAY WE STILL ARE WHERE WE
WERE 60 YEARS AGO WHEN MY FATHER TALKED TO ME AND THAT WAS OF THE
ERA OF SEGREGATION WHICH I GREW UP IN. I’M PROUD TO BE HERE IN
WASHINGTON, D.C. I’M PROUD TO KNOW OUR MAYOR AND
FAMILY AND ALL WHO HAVE MADE D.C. WHAT IT IS AND WHAT IT
SHOULD BE AND WILL COME TO BE WITH STATEHOOD COMING INTO THE
PROCESS. NO MORE TAXATION WITHOUT
REPRESENTATION. WE NEED STATEHOOD AND WE WILL
ALL GO TO THE POLLS IN NOVEMBER. THANK YOU. [ APPLAUSE ]>>[INAUDIBLE] LOWE.>>HI, THANK YOU TO THE
COMMISSION. THIS IS MY SECOND TIME
TESTIFYING DURING THE ACTUAL CONVENTION ALTHOUGH I’VE BEEN
HERE A FEW TIMES. I AM AN 18-YEAR RESIDENT MYSELF
OF THE DISTRICT. ORIGINALLY FROM ONE OF THE TWO
STATES WITH LESS POPULATION ORIGINALLY FROM VERMONT WHERE I
DO REMEMBER WHAT IT WAS LIKE TO HAVE SOME FAIRLY PROGRESSIVE
SENATORS AND REPRESENTATIVES, BUT I’M ALSO THE SECRETARY OF
THE D.C. STATEHOOD COALITION AND I AM EXCITED TO SEE US MOVE
FORWARD, BUT I THINK I DO WANT TO ADDRESS SOME OF THE SPECIFICS
AND I WANT TO CONTINUE TO MAKE THIS AS MUCH OF AN INTERNALLY
DEMOCRATIC PROCESS AS WE CAN. SO LOOKING TODAY AT A LOT OF THE
SPECIFICS IN ARTICLE 7, ARTICLE 7 SECTION 3 I WANT TO TALK ABOUT
THE AMENDMENTS PROCESS. I DO THINK WE NEED AN AMENDMENTS
PROCESS THAT CAN START WITH THE PUBLIC. THE CURRENT ARTICLE NOW WOULD
REALLY ONLY ALLOW AMENDMENTS TO START IN THE HOUSE OF DELEGATES
AND THEN BE RATIFIED. I DO THINK WE NEED A PROCESS FOR
THIS TO START WITH THE PUBLIC AS WELL. AND I THINK MOVING FORWARD
CERTAINLY IN FUTURE YEARS WE SHOULD REQUIRE A SUPER MAJORITY
IN ORDER TO AVOID POSSIBLY INITIATING A CYCLE OF JUST
REPEATED CHANGES OVER AND OVER AND OVER TO THE CONSTITUTION. I JUST THINK IN GENERAL SUPER
MAJORITIES ARE A GOOD IDEA AS MUCH AS I MIGHT WANT TO SEE
CHANGES IN THE SHORT TERM I DON’T WANT TO SEE CONSTANTLY
RELITIGATING EVERYTHING IN THE CONSTITUTION. BUT I THINK MOST IMPORTANTLY I
BELIEVE THAT DEMOCRACY MAY BE RATHER THAN THE LAW DEMOCRACY
ADVISES THAT WE HOLD A PROPER CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION WHICH
WOULD INCLUDE ELECTED CITIZEN DELEGATES WHO CAN PARTICIPATE IN
THE DRAFTING OF THIS DOCUMENT. I BELIEVE ARTICLE 7 SHOULD
ADDRESS THE PROCESS OF CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTIONS FOR
THE FUTURE. BUT EVEN AS WE CONSIDER THE
PARTICULAR LANGUAGE IN THIS DRAFT CONSTITUTION WE SHOULD
ALSO CONSIDER HOW WE ARE GOING TO MOVE FORWARD IN THE MEANTIME
BEFORE D.C. ACHIEVES STATEHOOD, BEFORE WE BECOME FULL CITIZENS,
COMPLETE CITIZENS IN THE WORDS OF FREDERICK DOUGLASS. WE SHOULD CONTINUE THIS EFFORT
WE BEGAN THIS YEAR ALL OF THE TIME AND THESE MEETINGS, ALL OF
THE ADVISORY MINDS WHO HAVE BEEN GOING TO WORK ON THIS.
I THINK WE SHOULD CONTINUE THE PROCESS PAST THIS YEAR. I THINK WE SHOULD WORK TO
IMPROVE WHAT MANY ARE NOW CALLING AN INTERIM DRAFT. WHILE WE CAN VOTE ON AN INTERIM
DRAFT IN NOVEMBER, I REALLY DO FEEL WE NEED TO SEE SOME
REASSURANCE THAT THIS PROCESS WON’T END THERE. THANKS.>>MAYOR: THANK YOU. [ APPLAUSE ]>>ANN HOFFMAN. SHE WILL BE FOLLOWED BY BETSY
CAVENDISH.>>MY NAME IS ANN HOFFMAN AND
I’VE LIVED IN D.C. FOR 24 HOURS. I’M CURRENTLY A RESIDENT OF WARD
1. WHEN I MOVED TO D.C. FROM NEW
JERSEY IN 1991, I DID NOT REALIZE I WAS GIVING UP MY
UNITED STATES CITIZENSHIP. THAT REALIZATION CAME SOME YEARS
LATER WHEN THE INTERNET BECAME A BIG THING AND I BEGAN GETTING
NOTICES ABOUT CAUSES I BELIEVED IN. THE E-MAILS ADVISED ME TO CALL
MY SENATORS AND TELL THEM TO SUPPORT MY POSITION. OR TO CALL MY REPRESENTATIVE AND
ASK HIM IT USUALLY SAID HIM THEN TO VOTE FOR A PARTICULAR BILL. I SUDDENLY REALIZED THAT I HAD
NO SENATORS AND MY REPRESENTATIVE HAD NO VOTE. I VOLUNTEERED IN VARIOUS WAYS TO
CHANGE OUR SECOND CLASS CITIZENSHIP SINCE THE LATE
1990’S. I’M VERY PLEASED THAT THE MAYOR
AND THE STATEHOOD COMMISSION ARE TAKING STEPS NOW TO SECURE
STATEHOOD WHICH I REALIZE IS THE ONLY PERMANENT IRREVOCABLE
ADEQUATE WAY TO MAKE RESIDENTS OF D.C. WHOLE LIKE THE REAL
CITIZENS OF THE UNITED STATES. I’M HAPPY THAT WE WILL BE VOTING
IN NOVEMBER TO BECOME A STATE. I WISH WE WERE NOT VOTING THEN
ON THIS CONSTITUTION. I THINK THE PROCESS OF
DEMOCRATICALLY DEVELOPING THE CONSTITUTION OF OUR NEW STATE
TAKES MORE TIME AND MORE DIRECT INVOLVEMENT OF THE RESIDENTS OF
D.C. THAN WILL BE ALLOWED UNDER THE CURRENT TIMETABLE. ASSUMING THAT TRAIN HAS ALREADY
LEFT THE STATION, HOWEVER, I DO HAVE SUGGESTIONS FOR CHANGES IN
THE DRAFT CONSTITUTION. HERE ARE JUST A FEW. IF WE ARE TO INCLUDE A BILL OF
RIGHTS IN THE CONSTITUTION, I THINK IT SHOULD BE A PROPER BILL
OF RIGHTS FOR US IN THE 21ST CENTURY. NOT A REPEAT OF THE 1789
DOCUMENT. I THINK IT SHOULD BE WRITTEN IN
CLEAR MODERN LANGUAGE GOING BEYOND JUST GENDER NEUTRAL
PRONOUNS. SUBSTANTIVELY I BELIEVE A PROPER
BILL OF RIGHTS D.C. DID NOT INCLUDE THE SECOND AMENDMENT
WHICH HAS IN RECENT YEARS BEEN MISS CONSTRUED BY THE U.S.
SUPREME COURT TO GRANT INDIVIDUALS THE RIGHT TO BEAR
ARMS. I BELIEVE IN APPROPRIATE
CONSTITUTION FOR D.C. SHOULD INCLUDE AN EQUAL RIGHTS
AMENDMENT BARRING DISCRIMINATION BASED ON SEX OR GENDER. ALTHOUGH THERE IS AN EQUAL
PROTECTION CLAUSE IN THE DRAFT D.C. BILL OF RIGHTS, THAT CLAUSE
HAS NOT BEEN HELD TO BAR ALL SEX DISCRIMINATION TO THE EXTENT IT
BARS RACE DISCRIMINATION. I BELIEVE A NEW D.C.
CONSTITUTION SHOULD BAN DISCRIMINATION AGAINST GLBTQ
PEOPLE AND PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES. IT IS AN INHERENTLY A RIGHT TO
COUNSEL NOT JUST IN CRIMINAL CASES BUT IN CIVIL CASES WHICH
CAN RESULT IN LOSS OF STATUS AND MONEY AND I BELIEVE STRONGLY OUR
BILL OF RIGHTS SHOULD INCLUDE THE RIGHT TO VOTE. THANK YOU. [ APPLAUSE ]>>LET ME ASK IF YOU HAVE PREPARED WRITTEN COMMENTS PLEASE
FEEL FREE TO SHARE THEM WITH THE COMMISSION AND WE WILL MAKE THEM
A PART OF THE RECORD.>>GOOD MORNING, COMMISSIONERS
AND NEIGHBORS. THANK YOU FOR HOLDING THIS OPEN
AND DEMOCRATIC PROCESS FOR HEARING FROM D.C. RESIDENTS
ABOUT OUR HOPE FOR A NEW STATE GOVERNMENT. I’M BETSY CAVENDISH A PROUD WARD
4 RESIDENT. I’VE LIVED IN WASHINGTON ON AND
OFF SINCE 1981 WHEN I CAME HERE FOR AN INTERNSHIP AND
CONTINUOUSLY SINCE 1997 FOR ALL OR PART OF ABOUT 30 YEARS. I’D LIKE TO TESTIFY THIS MORNING
IN MY INDIVIDUAL CAPACITY AS A DISTRICT RESIDENT ON A COUPLE OF
ISSUES AND MAY SUBMIT LONGER TESTIMONY ON OTHERS. FIRST, I LIKE THE NAME DOUGLASS
COMMONWEALTH AS I LIKE THE IDEA OF KEEPING A D.C. POSTAL CODE
AND THE D.C. NICKNAME. MORE IMPORTANTLY I’VE BEEN
PERSUADED BY OTHER SPEAKERS THAT HONORING FREDERICK DOUGLASS
WOULD BE FITTING FOR OUR ASPIRATIONS AS A STATE, FULLY
INCLUDED IN THE UNITED STATES DEMOCRACY. AS OTHERS HAVE NOTED HE WAS AN
ABOLITIONIST AND A FIGHTER FOLLOW WOMEN’S RIGHTS. HE FOUGHT FOR PEOPLE WHO WERE
ENSLAVED AND WOMEN WHO WERE DISENFRANCHISED MAKE HIM A
PERSON TO HONOR AS WE STRIVE TO HAVE VOTES IN THE SENATE AND THE
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. DO YOU KNOW WHO OUR NEIGHBORING
STATES WERE NAMED FOR? VIRGINIA WAS NAMED FOR THE
VIRGIN QUEEN ELIZABETH THE FIRST WHO LIVED FROM 1533 TO 1603 AND
MARYLAND WAS NAMED FOR KING CHARLES THE I’S WIFE HENRYETTA
MARIA. WE NEED TO PLEDGE FOR A
REPUBLICAN FORM OF GOVERNMENT WHICH MEANS WE WON’T HAVE A
HEREDITARY MONARCHY SO LET’S NAME OUR STATE FOR SOMEONE WHO
WAS A PART OF OUR DEMOCRACY AND WHO WAS AN AMERICAN AND WHO DID
LIVE IN D.C. [ APPLAUSE ]>>BUT NO MATTER WHICH NAME IS
CHOSEN, I STAND UP FOR STATEHOOD AND HOPE ALL OF YOU WILL JOIN IN
SUPPORTING STATEHOOD EVEN IF YOU DON’T GET EVERY ISSUE YOU WANT
IN OUR NEW CONSTITUTION. SECOND, MANY HAVE FOCUSED ON THE
SMALL SIZE OF THE LEGISLATURE PROPOSED IN THE FIRST DRAFT OF
THE CONSTITUTION. I DON’T KNOW HOW YOU ALL WILL
ULTIMATELY DECIDE ON THIS QUESTION BUT YOU HAVEN’T HEARD
ANY VIEWS IN DEFENSE OF A SMALLER NUMBER OF LEGISLATORS SO
I WILL SET FORTH ONE DEFENSE FOR THE SAKE OF ARGUMENT. CRITICS OF THE SMALL LEGISLATURE
CONTEND THAT OUR DEMOCRACY IS STUNTED BECAUSE OUR COUNCIL AND
THE PROPOSED HOUSE OF DELEGATES ONLY NUMBERS 13 PEOPLE. THIS I THINK IS A THIN VIEW OF
DEMOCRACY MEASURED ONLY BY THE RATIO OF REPRESENTATIVES TO
POPULATION. OTHER THAN AT THE FEDERAL LEVEL
WHERE WE LACK SENATORS AND A VOTING REPRESENTATIVE, WE DON’T
SUFFER FOR WANT OF DEMOCRACY HERE. WE HAVE A ROBUST DEMOCRACY WITH
PEOPLE PARTICIPATING IN THEIR GOVERNMENT AND MYRIAD WAYS
DIRECTLY AND INDIRECTLY. IN OUR ROBUST DEMOCRACY THE
PEOPLE ARE HEARD AND THE GOVERNMENT RESPONDS. THE COUNCIL TAKES TESTIMONY AND
HOLDS HEARINGS ON EVERY BILL SOMETIMES STAYING LONG INTO THE
NIGHT TO HEAR ALL WHO WISH TO SPEAK. OUR CITY HALL AT THE WILSON
BUILDING IS ACCESSIBLE WITHIN AN HOUR TO EVERY RESIDENT AND IS
VISITED OFTEN BY PEOPLE WHO WANT TO MEET WITH THEIR
COUNCILMEMBERS OR TO TESTIFY. THE PROXIMITY OF THE LEGISLATURE
MAKES COMPARISONS TO THE LEGISLATURE PEOPLE RATIOS IN
OTHER STATES THAT ARE MUCH VASTER IN SIZE NOT PERSUASIVE. WE ALSO HAVE 40 ADVISORY
NEIGHBORHOOD COMMISSIONS WITH 296 SLOTS FOR COMMISSIONERS WHO
MEET, HEAR FROM THEIR NOTICE BORES, PASS RESOLUTIONS AND
WEIGH IN ON MATTERS OF ZONING, ALCOHOL AND BEVERAGE LICENSING,
PLANNING, SANITATION, RECREATION FACILITIES AND MORE IN THEIR
NEIGHBORHOODS AND THROUGHOUT THEIR CITY. WE HAVE 178 BOARDS AND
COMMISSIONS. WE’RE THOUSANDS OF FELLOW
RESIDENTS PARTICIPATE IN GOVERNMENT, HELPING TO REGULATE
INDUSTRIES, SET STANDARDS, HEAR FROM REGULATED PARTIES, REVIEW
EVIDENCE, IMPOSE SANCTIONS, MAKE POLICY RECOMMENDATIONS, ADVISE
AGENCIES AND MORE. ACCESS TO OUR GOVERNMENT COMES
IN MANY OTHER FORMS AS WELL. ANYONE CAN CALL 311 TO GET A
POTHOLE FIXED OR BULK TRASH PICKED UP. GOVERNMENT QUICKLY RESPONDS TO
INDIVIDUALS AND ON THESE AND MANY OTHER ISSUES OF LOCAL AND
PERSONAL CONCERN. 311 ESSENTIALLY PROVIDES MUCH OF
THE CONSTITUENT SERVICES THAT LEGISLATIVE OFFICES ALSO
PROVIDE. GOVERNMENT AGENCIES TAKE
COMMENTS ON PROPOSED RULES BUT OFTEN SPEAK WITH INTERESTED
PARTIES AND HOST ROUNDTABLES BEFORE ISSUING REGS. THAT IS CITIZEN INVOLVEMENT AND
RULEMAKING GOES WELL BEYOND WHAT IS REQUIRED BY ADMINISTRATIVE
LAW. THE MAYOR, TOO, AND FUTURE
GOVERNMENT INVITES CITIZENS TO PARTICIPATE IN THE FORMULATION
OF THE BUDGET, HOLDS OFFICE HOURS WHERE SHE HEARS CITIZEN
CONCERNS AND WALKS THROUGH NEIGHBORHOODS LISTENING TO
PEOPLE AND THEIR ISSUES. THIRD AND RELATEDLY UNICAMERAL
LEGISLATURE MAKES DEMOCRACY MORE RESPONSIVE AT THE SAME TIME OUR
POLITICAL CULTURE GUARDS THE MOST VULNERABLE AND MINORITY
RIGHTS.>>I AM GOING TO HAVE TO ASK YOU
TO SUM UP, PLEASE.>>WE PROTECT RIGHTS ROBUSTLY
HERE AND I THINK WHATEVER YOU DECIDE I HOPE EVERYBODY SUPPORTS
THE CONSTITUTION AND SUPPORTS STATEHOOD. THANKS.>>THANK YOU VERY MUCH. [ APPLAUSE ] [NAMES CALLED]>>WELCOME BACK.>>I WILL BE A LITTLE MORE
SERIOUS TODAY. MY NAME IS CLIFF SMITH. I HAVE LIVED IN D.C. FOR OVER 47
YEARS. I FIRST CAME HERE IN 1951,
LIVING NEAR PENNSYLVANIA AVENUE AND ALABAMA AVENUE. AS THE YEARS HAVE GONE ON, I
HAVE GOTTEN INCREASINGLY FRUSTRATED THAT I DO NOT HAVE
REAL POWER AS A VOTER TO VOTE FOR SOMEBODY TO WRITE TO
SOMEBODY WHO HAS REAL POWER IN THIS SENATE OR IN THE HOUSE. AND IT IS NOT A MATTER OF WE PAY
TAXES, JOIN THE MILITARY, ET CETERA, BUT WE ARE AMERICAN
CITIZENS AND IT IS BECAUSE WE ARE HUMAN BEINGS THAT WE SHOULD
HAVE EQUAL RIGHTS IN THIS COUNTRY AND IN THIS CITY WITH
EVERYBODY ELSE IN AMERICA. THIS HAS BEEN GOING ON FOR 225
YEARS AND 1791. REGARDLESS OF EVERYBODY ELSE
GETTING RIGHTS WHETHER THE CIVIL WAR AND THE 15TH AMENDMENT WITH
THE SUFFRAGE AND THE 19TH AMENDMENT ALL OF THIS WAS
IRRELEVANT TO D.C. WE DID NOT GET THOSE RIGHTS.
NEITHER MEN NOR WOMEN, BLACK NOR WHITE OR ANYBODY. TO THIS DAY. I WENT TO THE UNIVERSITY OF
PENNSYLVANIA THERE IN 1960 WAS MY FIRST DEMONSTRATION PICKETING
WOOLWORTH’S IN SUPPORT OF THE STUDENTS IN GREENSBORO, NORTH
CAROLINA. I SUPPORTED THE WOMEN’S MOVEMENT
WHICH WAS THE ONLY PURPOSE OF OUR MEN’S GROUP. I’M A LIFE MEMBER OF THE NAACP
AND I WAS A STATE DEPARTMENT FOR TEN YEARS. I WAYS PICKED OUT FOR BEING
AGAINST THE WAR IN VIETNAM PROBABLY THE ONLY AMERICAN
DIPLOMAT IN THE WORLD WHO SUBSCRIBES TO THE BLACK PANTHER
NEWSPAPER. THAT’S HOW IT GOES. RECENTLY IN THE LAST TWO YEARS
I’VE BEEN INVOLVED IN GOING TO EIGHT OR TEN DEMONSTRATIONS OF
BLACK LIVES MATTER. I’M INVOLVED WITH THE PACIFICA
RADIO AND I’M VERY INVOLVED WITH PALESTINIANS AFFAIRS BECAUSE MY
GRANDDAUGHTER IS HALF PALESTINIANS AND MY DAUGHTER
USED TO LIVE IN JERUSALEM SO WE ARE INVOLVED IN THAT. I HAVE A VERY IMPORTANT POINT
ABOUT THE CITY COUNCIL BECOMING THE LEGISLATURE WE HAVE FIVE
AT-LARGE MEMBERS OF THE CITY COUNCIL. IF YOU LOOK BACK AT HISTORY BACK
WHEN HOME RULE CAME ABOUT THE VERY PURPOSE OF AT-LARGE FIVE
DELEGATES WAS PUSHED BY WHITE CONGRESS PEOPLE FROM THE SOUTH
TO HOPEFULLY GIVE A WHITE MAJORITY TO THE CITY COUNCIL OF
D.C. AND MAJORITY AFRICAN-AMERICAN CITY. THE LOGIC WAS AT THAT TIME 40
YEARS AGO, 45 YEARS AGO WAS THAT BUT WHITES VOTE IN A HIGHER
PERCENTAGE THAN AFRICAN-AMERICANS DO. IF YOU HAVE AT-LARGE SEATS
YOU’RE GOING TO HAVE WHITE REPRESENTATIVES AND THEIR LOGIC
WAS YOU HAVE FIVE AT-LARGE PLUS WARD 4 ALWAYS WHITE PLUS ONE
OTHER WARD AND YOU GET A MAJORITY OF THE CITY COUNCIL. THIS IS THEIR LOGIC. AT LARGE SEATS WERE USED ALL
THROUGH THE SOUTH FOR THE CIVIL RIGHTS STRUGGLE BY WHITE RACISTS
IN ORDER TO PREVENT AFRICAN-AMERICANS FROM HAVING
THEIR SECTION OF TOWN, THEIR SECTION OF THE STATE REPRESENTED
DEMOCRATICALLY AND I DO NOT THINK THERE IS ANY LEGISLATURE
IN AMERICA, ANY STATE LEGISLATURE THAT HAS AT-LARGE
SEATS. AND I DO NOT THINK THAT WE
SHOULD HAVE OVER ONE-THIRD OF OUR FUTURE LEGISLATURE TO BE
AT-LARGE SEATS. THANK YOU.>>THANK YOU, MR. SMITH. [ APPLAUSE ]>>JENNIFER GOODWIN?>>THANK YOU.>>GOOD MORNING, EVERYBODY. MY NAME IS JENNIFER GOODWIN. I’M A NATIVE WASHINGTONIAN. I LIVE IN WARD 8. I JUST WANTED TO SAY I’M VERY
PROUD TO BE HERE AND ALSO VERY PROUD THAT EVERYONE HERE IN D.C.
IS FINALLY GETTING THE STATEHOOD ON THE BALLOT IN NOVEMBER. ALSO FOR YEARS THAT D.C. HAS
BEEN PAYING NOT ONLY STATE TAXES BUT FEDERAL TAXES WHICH DON’T
MAKE ANY SENSE. AND I FEEL THAT D.C. IS READY TO
BE THE NEXT STATE AND I DO AGREE WITH MARK ON ALL OF HIS
STATEMENTS. THAT’S WHY I STAND UP AND CLAP
LIKE THIS. I JUST WANT TO SAY I WANT FOR
THE PANEL TO HONOR OUR CONSTITUTION EVEN IF YOU HAVE TO
REWRITE AND REWRITE AND REWRITE. JUST TO HONOR OUR CONSTITUTION
AND TO FIGHT FOR STATEHOOD AND TO LET OUR CONGRESS KNOW THAT WE
ARE READY TO BE THE NEXT 51ST STATE. WE ARE READY. THANK YOU VERY MUCH. [ APPLAUSE ]>>KEITH IVEY FOLLOWED BY CHARLES GAITHER AND PAULA
EDWARDS.>>HI. MY NAME IS KEITH IVEY. I HAVE LIVED IN D.C. FOR 24
YEARS, AND I AM ACTIVE IN D.C. FOR DEMOCRACY AND THROUGH IT THE
D.C. STATEHOOD COALITION. I WANT TO THANK THE COMMISSION
FOR BRINGING MUCH NEEDED NEW ATTENTION TO STATEHOOD, REVISING
ENTHUSIASM ABOUT THE ISSUE AND REVISITING THE CONSTITUTION
WHICH IT IS DEFINITELY TIME AFTER A THIRD OF A CENTURY TO DO
THAT. HAVING SAID THAT, I HAVE SOME
OTHER POINTS TO MAKE THAT I FEAR MAKE ME ANOTHER SKUNK AT THE
PARTY. THE MESSAGE WE KEEP HEARING IS
THAT WE NEED TO NOT WORRY ABOUT THE DETAILS OF THE CONTENT OR
THE PROCESS BUT JUST GET SOMETHING, ANYTHING ON THE
BALLOT AND VOTE FOR IT NO MATTER WHAT IT IS AND MAYBE WE CAN FIX
IT LATER. DESPITE THE FACT THAT CURRENTLY
ANYTHING WITH AT LEAST AS IT IS NOW THE AMENDMENT PROCESS WOULD
BE UP TO THE 13-MEMBER LEGISLATURE, BUT THE WHOLE POINT
OF THIS IS THAT WE’RE SUPPOSED TO BE ABOUT CREATING GREATER
DEMOCRACY NOT TRADING CONGRESSIONAL OVERLORDS FOR A
DIFFERENT UN-DEMOCRATIC PROCESS. I DON’T KNOW WHY IF STATEHOOD IS
A PRIORITY THIS PROCESS WASN’T BEGUN LAST YEAR TO PROVIDE SOME
TIME FOR AN ACTUAL CONSIDERATION OF A CONSTITUTION. BUT IN ANY CASE THIS PLAN WAS
PUT TOGETHER AT THE LAST MINUTE BEHIND CLOSED DOORS WITHOUT
INPUT FROM PEOPLE WHO HAVE BEEN WORKING ON THIS ISSUE AND IN
SOME CASES FOR DECADES AND THE PROCESS FOR CREATING THIS
CONSTITUTION FALLS FAR SHORT OF WHAT THE PEOPLE OF THE DISTRICT
DESERVE AND ESSENTIALLY A HOME RULE CHARTER WITH A FEW TWEAKS
AND THE HOME RULE CHARTER IS AN ACT OF CONGRESS AND IT ADDS
INSULT TO INJURY TO REFER TO THIS EVENT AS A CONSTITUTIONAL
CONVENTION AND TO CALL US TO SAY THAT ALL RESIDENTS ARE DELEGATES
WHAT WE ARE DOING HERE IS PROVIDING INPUT WHICH IS
ESSENTIAL AND IT IS GREAT THAT IT IS HAPPENING BUT WE’RE NOT
WRITING A CONSTITUTION HERE AND NONE OF US AS DELEGATES HAVE A
VOTE AT ANY POINT DURING THE WRITING PROCESS. I CAN TESTIFY BEFORE THE D.C.
COUNCIL OR E-MAIL MY COUNCILMEMBER BUT THAT DOESN’T
MAKE ME A MEMBER OF THE COUNCIL. IN A VERY SHORT TIME WE WILL BE
PRESENTED WITH THE FINAL CONSTITUTION THAT EMERGES FROM
THIS RUSHED PROCESS. IN NOVEMBER THERE WILL BE NO
OPTION BUT TO VOTE YES OR NO. WITH THE KNOWLEDGE A NO VOTE
WILL BE INTERPRETED AS OPPOSING STATEHOOD. I FULLY SUPPORT HAVING THE
PEOPLE OF D.C. EXPRESS THEIR SUPPORT FOR STATEHOOD IN A
REFERENDUM IN NOVEMBER. THAT’S A GREAT IDEA BUT I HAVE
GRAVE CONCERNS ABOUT CONFUSING AND UNDERMINING THE VOTE BY
COMBINING IT WITH THE RATIFICATION OF THE PARTICULAR
CONSTITUTION PRODUCED BY THIS PROCESS. I ASKED THE COMMISSION AND THE
D.C. COUNCIL TO SLOW DOWN NOT ON PUSHING FOR STATEHOOD BUT ON THE
CONSTITUTION PART AND GET THE CONSTITUTION RIGHT. WE MUST HAVE A REAL
CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION TO RAISE A LEGITIMATE CONSTITUTION.>>THANK YOU VERY MUCH. MR. GAITHER?>>GOOD MORNING, AND THANK YOU
FOR THIS OPPORTUNITY AND PRIVILEGE. I WAS TAUGHT IN THIS VERY
BUILDING 30 YEARS AGO, AND MISS GARCIA’S U.S. GOVERNMENT CLASS
THAT VOTING IS A RESPONSIBILITY AND IT IS A RIGHT, AND IT IS ONE
OF THE PILLARS OF OUR GOVERNMENT. I’M A MEMBER OF THE D.C.
DEMOCRATIC PARTY AND A NATIVE WASHINGTONIAN AND INVESTED LIKE
ALL OF THE OTHER RESIDENTS IN THIS AUDITORIUM. I WOULD LIKE TO THANK THE MAYOR
FOR HER CONTINUED LEADERSHIP AND REQUEST THAT ALL CITIZENS
CONTINUE TO SUPPORT HER BY PLACING THIS MATTER ON THE
BALLOT IN NOVEMBER SO THAT IT WILL BE ON THE PRESIDENT’S DESK
IN JANUARY FOR HER TO SIGN IT. THANK YOU. [ APPLAUSE ] [NAMES CALLED]>>THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR THIS
OPPORTUNITY TO SPEAK. I’M A NATE ITCH WASHINGTONIAN
BORN IN THE OLD COLUMBIA HOSPITAL FOR WOMEN. I SEE THERE ARE OTHERS HERE. I HAVE ENUMERATED MY DIFFERENCES
WITH THE PROCESS AND WITH THE CONSTITUTION IN MY WRITTEN
TESTIMONY. THEY ARE VERY NUMEROUS BUT I
WOULD LIKE TO SPEAK WHY IT IS SO IMPORTANT FOR US TO SUPPORT THIS
PROCESS. FOUR DAYS AGO THERE WAS A
DECISION IN A CASE CALLED PUERTO RICO VERSUS FRANKLIN, CALIFORNIA
FREE TRUST. I GOT THAT RIGHT. FRANKLIN, CALIFORNIA TAX-FREE
TRUST. IF THAT DOESN’T ALERT US TO THE
DANGERS OF OUR NEBULOUS STATUS AS A QUASI STATE NOTHING ELSE
WILL. HEDGE FUND MANAGERS WERE ABLE TO
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF PUERTO RICO’S EXEMPTION FROM THE SAME RIGHTS
THAT ARE AVAILABLE TO EVERY OTHER STATE IN THIS COUNTRY TO
DECLARE BANKRUPTCY, AND TO FORCE PUERTO RICO INTO A STATE WHERE
THEY CAN NOT TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE BANKRUPTCY THAT ANY OTHER
STATE COULD DECLARE AND SO THEY FAILED AFTER ARGUING THE CASE
UNFORTUNATELY. D.C. IS THE ONLY JURISDICTION IN
THIS COUNTRY THAT PAYS BOTH FEDERAL AND LOCAL TAXES AND THAT
DOES NOT HAVE ULTIMATE CONTROL OF OTHERWISE LOCAL TAXES AND HAS
NO INPUT INTO THE DISTRIBUTION AND USE OF ITS FEDERAL TAXES. THIS INCLUDES PUERTO RICO, GUAM,
VIRGIN ISLANDS. WE’RE ONE OF THE ONLY
JURISDICTIONS IN THE WORLD THAT IS IN THIS SITUATION
THE ONLY OTHERS I KNOW OF ARE OCCUPIED BY MILITARY FORCES. I GO TO INTERNATIONAL TAX
CONFERENCES, I GO TO THESE ARE PEOPLE BY PEOPLE WHO ARE
LEGISLATORS. THEY ARE TAX EXPERTS. THEY ARE AMAZED WHEN I TELL THEM
OF OUR STATUS. THEY ARE UNAWARE OF IT. AND IF NOTHING ELSE COMES OUT OF
THIS PROCESS WE HAVE TO MAKE EVERYONE AWARE OF THE UNIQUE
POSITION WE ARE IN. IT IS VERY UNIQUE AND IT IS
DANGEROUS. AND IT CAN’T CONTINUE TO GO ON. THANK YOU. [ APPLAUSE ]>>MISS FUKES?>>GOOD MORNING. I’M A LONG-TERM D.C. RESIDENT
AND I HOPE THAT YOU HAVE HEARD THIS BEFORE.
AS FAR AS I’M CONCERNED, THIS IS NOT A STATEHOOD CONSTITUTIONAL
CONVENTION. I ECHO THE MAN WHO JUST SPOKE
BEFORE ME. THIS WAS A WELL KEPT SECRET.
THIS SHOULD HAVE BEEN BROADCAST ALL OVER THE CITY, TO THE
SCHOOLS, ELEMENTARY, SECOND GRADE SOMEONE MENTIONED, MIDDLE
SCHOOL, HIGH SCHOOL, IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN A HEARING IN EACH
WARD. NOTICE GIVEN TO OTHER CITIES. STATES. AND COUNTRIES. BECAUSE THIS IS SO-CALLED THE
CAPITAL OF THE WORLD, OKAY, RIGHT? THIS SCHOOL IS VERY FAR FROM
WARD 8. BESIDES THE WOMAN WHO JUST
SPOKE, WHO ELSE IS FROM WARD 8? ANYBODY ELSE? 1, 2, 3, OKAY. IF IN THIS AGE OF GOVERNMENT
SECRETS THIS SHOULD HAVE BEEN EXACTLY THE OPPOSITE. THE BEGINNING OF A NEW AGE IN
AMERICA AND WASHINGTON, D.C.’S STATEHOOD CONSTITUTIONAL
CONVENTION COULD HAVE STARTED IT. AS YOU CAN SEE, I AM HERE TO
PROTEST WHAT IS HAPPENING AND I HOPE THERE IS A NO VOTE TO GRANT
D.C. STATEHOOD IN NOVEMBER. UNTIL IT IS DONE RIGHT. I HOPE THAT OTHER CITIZENS WILL
SAY THE SAME THING. THANK YOU.>>MISS HUGHES?>>HELLO. MY NAME IS LAURA FUKES AND I
FINISHED MY 9TH YEAR TEACHING IN D.C. PUBLIC SCHOOLS. [ APPLAUSE ]>>I AM 100% BEHIND THE NEED FOR
STATEHOOD BUT I’M UNWILLING TO ENSHRINE THE HOME RULE ACT IN
ORDER TO ACHIEVE IT. ADVANCED PLACEMENT GOVERNMENT WE
TALK A LOT ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF CHECKS AND BALANCES WHEN
ANALYZING THE U.S. CONSTITUTION. THERE ARE BASIC PRINCIPLES AT
PLAY BUT ONE OF THE MAIN ONES IS THE NEED TO HOLD OUR EXECUTIVE
BRANCH ACCOUNTABLE TO THE CITIZENS. IN THE CURRENT DRAFT ARTICLE 2,
SECTION 7 PART B CLAUSE 2 STATES THAT THE HOUSE OF DELEGATES MAY
ESTABLISH WHICH EDUCATION POLICIES CAN GO TO THE SCHOOL
BOARD. IF THAT CONTINUES, SAYING
PROVIDED SUCH POLICIES WILL NOT INCLUDE POLICIES THAT WERE NOT
APPROVED IMMEDIATELY PRIOR TO THE EFFECTIVE DATE. THIS IS AN UNDUE LIMIT ON OUR
CITY COUNCIL AND IT ENSHRINES, MAYORAL CONTROL. AS AN EMPLOYEE UNDER THREE
SEPARATE MAYORS UNDER MAYORAL CONTROL OF THE SCHOOL SYSTEM, I
HAVE LEARNED FIRST HAND THE PROBLEMS THAT ARISE WHEN THE
SYSTEM OF CHECKS AND BALANCES COMPLETELY BREAKS DOWN AND IS
NONEXISTENT. I’M NOT GOING INTO THEM NOW BUT
TO COMBINE THESE PROBLEMS WE CAN LEARN FROM NATIONAL GOVERNMENT. NUMBER ONE, APPOINTMENTS OF
HEADS OF MAJOR AGENCIES SHOULD BE APPROVED BY THE COUNCIL AFTER
EXTENSIVE HEARINGS. NUMBER TWO, ALL ACTS MUST
ORIGINATE FROM THE HOUSE OF DELEGATE MEMBERS. NUMBER THREE, THE ELECTION
SHOULD BE SEPARATE FROM THE GOVERNOR TO ENCOURAGE MORE
COMPETITION AND OPPORTUNITIES FOR COOPERATION. NUMBER FIVE, WE NEED TO HOLD THE
EXECUTIVE BRANCH ACCOUNTABLE. IT DOES NOT MAKE SENSE TO ME
THAT WE FIGHT FOR A VOICE IN CONGRESS TO DENY IT HERE AT
HOME. WE NEED A CONTROLLED EXECUTIVE
BRANCH. STATEHOOD IS FUNDAMENTAL BUT
CONSTITUTIONS ARE IMPORTANT. THANK YOU. [ APPLAUSE ]>>THANK YOU VERY MUCH. JOHN [INAUDIBLE].>>GOOD MORNING, MY NAME IS JOHN
HEALY I’M A 28-YEAR RESIDENT OF WARD 3 AND I’M HERE TODAY
REPRESENTING D.C. 2020 WHICH IS A GRASSROOTS CITY-WIDE COALITION
OF DISRUPTORS WHO HAVE A CLEAR VISION FOR THE FUTURE OF D.C.
WE WILL BE SUBMITTING MORE EXTENSIVE COMMENTS ONLINE. HOWEVER, VERBALLY WE WANT TO
HIGHLIGHT THREE FLAGS REGARDING THE DRAFT CONSTITUTION. THE FIRST INVOLVES THE ATTORNEY
GENERAL. D.C. VOTERS HAVE PREVIOUSLY
SPOKEN. WE WANT A STAND ALONE ELECTED
ATTORNEY GENERAL WITH CLEAR AUTHORITY AND POWERS. CURRENTLY THE DRAFT TAKES US
BACKWARDS. IT PUTS THE AG BACK UNDER THE
OVERSIGHT OF THE GOVERNOR AND IT DOES NOT DELINEATE ANY OF THE
AG’S AUTHORITY, DUTIES AND AUTONOMY. YOU NEED TO FIX THIS PORTION OF
THE DRAFT TO MOVE IT OUT FROM THE CONTROL OF THE GOVERNOR AND
TO DELINEATE THEIR DUTIES AND AUTHORITIES THE SECOND INVOLVES ETHICS AND
INTEGRITY OF THE LEGISLATURE. CURRENTLY THE DRAFT ALLOWS
LEGISLATORS TO HAVE OUTSIDE JOBS AND ONLY REQUIRES THE GOVERNOR
AND THE SPEAKER TO EXCLUSIVELY WORK FOR THE VOTERS. THIS BAN OF OUTSIDE EMPLOYMENT
NEEDS TO BE EXPANDED TO COVER ALL LEGISLATORS. THE NEED IS HIGHLIGHTED BY A
CURRENT COUNCILMEMBER WHO IS A PAID LOBBYIST OF HIS FELLOW
MEMBERS. CLOSE THIS LOOPHOLE. THE THIRD FLAG INVOLVES ANC’S
AFTER EVIDENCED BY ALL OF ANC’S WHO TESTIFIED AT ANITA BONDS’
RECENT HEARINGS ON THE GREAT WEIGHT PROVISIONS ANC’S GAVE
TESTIMONY THAT THEY AREN’T GIVEN GREAT WEIGHT AND OFTEN FEEL
TOTALLY IGNORED BY D.C. GOVERNMENT AGENCIES PLUS ALL OF
THE ONGOING PRESS COVERAGE OF THE IN-FIGHTING, MANIPULATION
AND PERSONAL AGENDAS WITHIN THE ANC’S AND THE FAILURE FOR THEM
TO FULFILL THEIR SEEK RED OATHS THAT REQUIRES THEM TO DO WHAT IS
BEST FOR D.C. INSTEAD OF THEIR PERSONAL AGENDAS. ANC’S SHOULD BE ELIMINATED FROM
THE DRAFT RATHER THAN PERPETUATING THIS FAILED
CONCEPT. AND INSTEAD REPLACE THEM WITH AN
ELECTED REPRESENTATIVES TO THE D.C. HOUSE. WHILE KEEPING THE CURRENT
COUNCIL AS THE D.C. SENATE. THANK YOU.>>THANK YOU VERY MUCH. [NAMES CALLED]>>MY NAME IS DALE DUSETT, I AM
58 YEARS IN WASHINGTON, D.C. I CAME HERE ALSO TO WORK FOR
JOHN KENNEDY, AND I AM PART OF A CREW HE CALLED THE BEST AND THE
BRIGHTEST OF THE YOUNG PEOPLE, AND I STAYED TO KEEP WORKING IN
D.C. ON OUR CULTURAL REVOLUTION. SO WHAT I WOULD LIKE TO PROPOSE,
WE HAVE THIS WORD NEW COLUMBIA. I DON’T LIKE IT. WE’RE NOT NEW. LET ME TELL YOU, THIS HAS BEEN
CALLED COLUMBIA, WE’RE NAMED AFTER CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS, AND
WE WERE COLUMBIA TERRITORY BEFORE WE WERE COLUMBIA
DISTRICT. COLUMBIA IS THE TERM THAT
OVERSEES FOR THE 17, 1800’S THAT REPRESENTED THE UNITED STATES. AND SO I THINK THAT THE STATE OF
COLUMBIA WOULD BE ADEQUATE. IT IS SHORT. WE’RE NOT NEW. WE’VE BEEN THE SAME THING SINCE
THE BEGINNING. WE’RE JUST BETTER AT IT. MY PROPOSAL IS THAT WE SHOULD BE
STATE OF COLUMBIA. THANK YOU.>>THANK YOU VERY MUCH. [NAMES CALLED]>>GOOD MORNING, THANKS FOR THE
OPPORTUNITY TO TESTIFY. WE’VE HEARD SEVERAL PEOPLE
MENTION THE FACT THAT WE’RE GOING TO NEED WIDESPREAD SUPPORT
ACROSS THE COUNTRY IN ORDER TO GET STATEHOOD PASSED. I WAS ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE IN THE
WIDESPREAD COUNTRY BACK IN 1972 WHEN I FIRST LEARNED OF THE
STATEHOOD MOVEMENT WHEN I MET JULIUS HOBSON AT THE PEOPLE’S
PARTY CONVENTION IN ST. LOUIS, A DEMOCRATIC SOCIALIZE PARTY BY
THE WAY. HE WAS RUNNING WITH DR. BENJAMIN
SPOCK ON THE PEOPLE’S TICKET. BERNIE SANDERS WAS ALSO ACTIVE
IN THIS CAMPAIGN AND BERNIE SANDERS REMAINS COMMITTED TO
STATEHOOD, AND I WANT TO ADDRESS COMMENTS TO THE SUPER DELEGATES
WHO ARE HERE AND ALSO THE ELECTED DELEGATES, SUPPORT
BERNIE’S MOVE TO PUT PROGRESSIVE ISSUES ON THE PLATFORM INCLUDING
STATEHOOD. BERNIE WILL BE WITH YOU ON THAT. THAT’S VERY IMPORTANT. HE WILL COME OUT FOR HILLARY AND
PUT HIS MAJORITY OF THE UNDER 45 VOTERS THAT HE HAS ACTIVATED AND
AMAZINGLY TO BRING THEM INTO THE POLITICAL PROCESS. HE IS NOT AGAINST HILLARY WHEN
THE CHIPS ARE DOWN. SO SUPPORT HIS PROGRESSIVE MOVES
TO GET THE CAMPAIGN PLATFORM GOING IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION. I WAS INVOLVED IN STATE PARTY
REFORM BACK IN MISSOURI TO GET A PROPORTIONAL REPRESENTATION IN
PLACE WHICH IS NOW IN PARTY OPERATIONS. IT WASN’T BACK IN 1972, ’68, ’72
IT WASN’T LIKE THAT. I ALSO HAVE AL COMMENT ON AN
ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUE NAMELY IN SECTION 6 OR ARTICLE 6, SECTION
2 REQUIRING 5% OF EACH OF AT LEAST FIVE OF THE WARDS TO GET
AN INITIATIVE ON THE BALLOT SEEMS A BIT CUMBERSOME AND
OVERLY RESTRICTIVE. 5% OF THE REGISTERED VOTERS
OUGHT TO BE ALL THAT IS NECESSARY. I RAISE THIS ISSUE BECAUSE I AM
INTERESTED IN ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES. I WAS A SENIOR SCIENTIST AT EPA
HEADQUARTERS FOR 27 YEARS AND INVOLVED IN A LOT OF THIS KIND
OF STUFF. I’M CURRENTLY INVOLVED WORKING
WITH LULAC OTHER AMONG OTHERS TO GET FLUORIDE OUT OF THE
DISTRICT. WE HAD A BIG PROBLEM WITH LEAD
IN THE DRINKING WATER HERE THAT CAME TO LIGHT IN 2007. IT IS DIRECTLY RELATED TO THE
CHEMICAL WE PUT IN THE WATER TO PUT FLUORIDE IN THE WATER. WHEN THAT STUFF IS PUT IN THE
DRINKING WATER ESPECIALLY IN CONNECTION WITH CORAMINE IT
LEECHES LEAD LIKE GANG BUSTERS OUT OF PLUMBING FIXTURES. A RECENT ARTICLE IN THE POST BY
BRADY DENNIS MENTIONING THAT LIKE ONE IN SEVEN CITIES AND
ACROSS THE COUNTRY HAVE PROBLEMS WITH LEAD IN THE DRINKING WATER
BECAUSE MOST PLACES THAT PUT FLUORIDE IN THEIR DRINKING WATER
USE THIS ACID AND IT IS CAUSING INCREASING LEAD LEVELS IN KIDS
AND I ALSO WANT TO PUT IN A PITCH FOR THE BICAMERAL
LEGISLATURE WITH SAY FOUR REPRESENTATIVES FROM EACH WARD
TO BE IN THE HOUSE OF DELEGATES AND IN THE SENATE. THANK YOU.>>THANK YOU VERY MUCH. MISS SHORE? [NAMES CALLED]>>THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR THE
OPPORTUNITY TO SPEAK TODAY. PARTICULARLY TO THE MAYOR, THE
STATE COMMISSIONERS, OUR SHADOW DELEGATES AND THE CITY COUNCIL. I AM DEBBIE SHORE AND I’M A
RESIDENT OF WARD 3 AND AN ACTIVIST IN THE CITY FOR THE
PAST 45 YEARS. I HAVE HEARD OTHERS YESTERDAY
AND TODAY SPEAK SO ELOQUENTLY ABOUT HOW IMPORTANT IT IS FOR US
TO HAVE STATEHOOD. I AM VERY IMPRESSED BY THE
NUMBER — THE RANGE OF PEOPLE WHO HAVE TESTIFIED. MILLENNIALS, RECENT VOTERS,
PEOPLE HAVE BEEN HERE FOR GENERATIONS SO I DON’T NEED TO
UNDERSCORE ALL OF THE GREAT REASONS WHY WE NEED TO HAVE
STATEHOOD BUT I DO WANT TO BRING ONE THING INTO THAT I HAVEN’T
HEARD WHICH IS I AM THE FOUNDER AND EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF SASHA
BRUCE YOUTH WORK AND WE WORK WITH RUN AWAY AND HOMELESS YOUTH
AND FAMILIES IN THIS CITY THAT ARE REALLY HAVING A HARD TIME
AND WHAT WE DO WITH THEM IS TO TRY TO HELP THEM TO SEE THAT
THEY HAVE SOME AGENCY IN THEIR LIVES AND WHEN WE HAVE YOUNG
PEOPLE WHO WE HAVE A PLACE WHERE WE HAVE HAD RECENT CONVERSATIONS
WITH YOUNG GIRLS WHO ARE HAVING A LOT OF TROUBLE IN THEIR LIVES
AND THEY CAN LOOK AT THE CAPITOL BUILDING, THE DOME AND THEY FEEL
AS FAR AWAY FROM THAT REALITY AS IF THEY LIVED IN ALASKA. OR SOMEWHERE ELSE. WE NEED TO RECOGNIZE THAT WE
NEED STATEHOOD FOR ALL OF US WHO HAVE A SENSE OF AGENCY IN OUR
OWN LIVES AND PARTICULARLY FOR PEOPLE WHO DON’T FEEL THAT. SO I BELIEVE THAT THIS IS A
WONDERFUL OPPORTUNITY TO ENTHUSIASTICALLY EMBRACE, SHOW
THE WORLD AND THE CONGRESS THAT THE CITY IS READY AND WANTS
STATEHOOD AND TO THAT END I AM COMMITTED TO WORK TO EDUCATE
OTHERS, TO GET THE REFERENDUM ON THE BALLOT AND TO HAVE AN
OVERWHELMING NUMBER OF VOTERS TO ASK FOR STATEHOOD. THAT’S THE FIRST STEP, AND I SAY
THIS AS A CITIZEN BUT ALSO I AM THE CHAIR OF THE WARD 3
DEMOCRATS AND A MEMBER OF THE D.C. STATE COMMITTEE. SO I DON’T SPEAK FOR ANY OF
THOSE GROUPS HERE BUT I HAVE ARRANGED A SPECIAL MEETING OF
OUR WARD 3 DELEGATES IN ABOUT TEN DAYS TO ASSURE THAT OUR
NEIGHBORS AND DELEGATES AND EVERYONE IS AWARE OF THE
CONSTITUTION, THE REFERENDUM AND WHAT IS AT STAKE SO WE CAN
INCREASE THE NUMBER OF AMBASSADORS FOR THAT EFFORT. WE NEED AS MANY OF THEM AS
POSSIBLE. ON THE CONSTITUTION ITSELF, MY
MAIN POINT OF SUBSTANCE IS THAT I BELIEVE STRONGLY THAT THE
NUMBER OF LEGISLATORS MUST BE INCREASED. I REALLY APPRECIATED WHAT WAS
SAID BY OTHERS WHO HAVE LOOKED INTO THIS CAREFULLY. THE IDEA OF A BICAMERAL
LEGISLATURE
WOULD BE WONDERFUL. CERTAINLY IF WE HAVE A
UNICAMERAL LEGISLATURE WE SHOULD HAVE AT LEAST 30 PEOPLE. I LIKE THAT CONSTRUCT. THIS WOULD MEAN AS I CALCULATED
IT THAT WE WOULD EACH BOARD REPRESENTATIVE WOULD REPRESENT
22,000 PEOPLE WHICH IS A LOT OF PEOPLE ALREADY. SO IN ADDITION TO THE FAIRNESS
FACTOR OF INCREASING THE NUMBER OF LEGISLATORS, THE REALITY FOR
OUR CITY IS THAT THERE HAVE BEEN LIMITED OPPORTUNITIES FOR
ELECTED REPRESENTATION. AND WE SHOULD TAKE THIS
OPPORTUNITY TO ENHANCE THE CHANCE OF BUILDING LEADERSHIP.>>THANK YOU.>>I WANT TO SAY ALSO THAT THE
WARD 3 DEMOCRATS TOOK A SURVEY ABOUT A YEAR AGO ABOUT WHAT WAS
IMPORTANT IN THE CITY. EDUCATION, ETHICS, HOUSING AND
HOMELESSNESS, ENVIRONMENT AND STATEHOOD. WE NEED TO MAKE SURE THAT THAT
KIND OF MESSAGE MOVES FORWARD NOT JUST WITHIN OUR CITY BUT
THAT WE DO AS MANY PEOPLE HAVE SUGGESTED HERE THAT WE MAKE SURE
THAT THE WORLD KNOWS THAT, TOO. THANK YOU.>>THANK YOU VERY MUCH. [NAMES CALLED]>>GOOD EVENING. I SINCERELY THANK MAYOR BOWSER
AND THE NEW COLUMBIA STATEHOOD COMMISSION FOR ALLOWING
RESIDENTS TO TESTIFY ON THIS IMPORTANT ISSUE. MY NAME IS SHERONA D. MORGAN AND
I AM A FIFTH GENERATION WASHINGTONIAN AND A STRONG AND
CONTINUED SUPPORTER OF D.C. STATEHOOD. HAVING WITNESSED THE TRIALS AND
TRIBULATIONS OF THE DISTRICT NOT HAVING NATIONAL REPRESENTATION
TO FIGHT FOR OUR PROGRAMS, POLICIES AND BUDGETS THAT IMPACT
OUR RESIDENTS AND CITY. IT IS ESSENTIAL THAT THE
DISTRICT GETS THE STATEHOOD IT DESERVES NOW. YES, THE DISTRICT HAS MADE
PROGRESS SINCE HOME RULE IN 1973 BUT WE ARE NOT DONE FIGHTING. WE DESERVE THE RIGHT TO HAVE A
GOVERNOR AND TRUE CONGRESSIONAL REPRESENTATION. CONGRESSWOMAN NORTON HAS AND
CONTINUES TO FIGHT FOR THE DISTRICT BUT WE NEED TO HAVE A
TARGETED EFFORT IN THE SENATE AND THROUGH A GOVERNOR TO ENSURE
WE ARE HEARD AND TRULY REPRESENTED ON THE NATIONAL
LEVEL. WE NEED CHANGE AND I AM
CONFIDENT SIMILAR TO YOU THAT THE TIME IS NOW AND OUR CITY IS
HUNGRY FOR IT. OUR CITY AND COUNTRY IS IN
TURMOIL FROM LAST WEEK’S TRAGEDIES IN ORLANDO TO OUR
DAILY VIOLENT CRIMES IT IS CLEAR PROPER NATIONAL GUN VIOLENCE
LEGISLATION IS PARTIALLY THE CAUSE OF THIS HORROR AND WOULD
HELP TO CURTAIL MORE CRIME THAN DEATH FROM GUNS. [ APPLAUSE ]>>THERE IS TOO MUCH AT STAKE ON
THE NATIONAL AND LOCAL LEVEL AND THE DISTRICT’S VOICE NEEDS TO BE
HEARD SO PLEASE CONTINUE THE CHARGE. REMEMBER THAT TIME IS NOW. NOT LATER, BUT NOW. [ APPLAUSE ]>>I LOOK FORWARD TO VOTING FOR
STATEHOOD SOON.>>THANK YOU VERY MUCH. [ APPLAUSE ]>>AGAIN PLEASE FEEL FREE TO
LEAVE YOUR WRITTEN COMMENTS WITH US AS WELL. [NAMES CALLED]>>GOOD AFTERNOON, I’M JOHNNY
SCOTT RICE. I’M A FOURTH GENERATION
WASHINGTONIAN. IN THE HOUSE THAT I GREW UP IN
IN NORTHEAST, THAT WE STILL OWN, THERE ARE SEVEN GENERATIONS THAT
HAVE COME OUT OF THAT HOUSE. I AM ONE OF THE PEOPLE THAT
TRAVELLED AROUND THE COUNTRY WITH SENATOR BROWN, WITH GENE
KENDALL, MAYOR GRAY AND OTHERS. I HAVE NEVER EXPERIENCED THE
DISSATISFACTION OF GIVING US STATEHOOD PERSONALLY THE WAY I
DID IN THE STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE. THEY TALKED TO US AS IF WE WERE
NOT HUMAN BEINGS. THEY TALKED TO US AS IF PEOPLE
DIDN’T ACTUALLY LIVE IN THE CITY. ONE MAN SAID TO ME, ARE YOU SURE
YOU LIVE IN D.C.? I SAID, YES. HE SAID I DID NOT KNOW THAT
PEOPLE ACTUALLY LIVED IN D.C. AND I SAID WHAT DO YOU THINK IT
MEANS WHEN PEOPLE SAY THEY ARE GENERATIONAL? WELL, I HAPPEN TO BE ONE OF
THOSE GENERATIONAL PEOPLE. I HAPPEN TO BE ONE OF THOSE
PEOPLE THAT WENT OUT IN THE STATES AND LITERALLY BEGGED FOR
THEM TO SUPPORT STATEHOOD. I THINK WE SHOULD DO MORE. WE SHOULD SEND MORE PEOPLE OUT
EVEN THOUGH YOUR FEELINGS WILL GET HURT, YOU WILL BE TALKED TO
LIKE YOU WEREN’T WORTH A DAMN, THAT YOUR TAXES DON’T MEAN
ANYTHING AND THAT YOU DON’T HAVE A RESIDENCE. I BELIEVE THAT IF WE CONTINUE TO
FIGHT AND WE SEND PEOPLE OUT WITH STRONG VOICES BECAUSE WHEN
I SPOKE TO THAT COUNCIL IN NEW HAMPSHIRE MY IGNORANT BUTT DID
NOT REALIZE THAT THESE PEOPLE WERE PACKING GUNS. LIVE FREE AND DIE, THAT’S WHAT
THEY MEAN. LIVE FREE AND DIE. WHEN I’M TALKING THIS MAN PUT
HIS JACKET BACK TO LET ME SEE THE BUTT OF HIS GUN. MY IGNORANT BUTT THOUGHT IT WAS
HIS PALM PILOT. I DON’T KNOW WHAT A GUN LOOKS
LIKE, OKAY? THE LADY SITTING NEXT TO ME WHEN
I SAT DOWN SHE SAID, BABY, YOU SPOKE WELL. BUT LET ME SHOW YOU SOMETHING. SHE OPENED HER PURSE. THERE WAS A GUN IN HER PURSE. I LOOKED AT HER AND SAID WHY DO
YOU NEED A GUN? SHE SAID THIS IS TO LIVE FREE
AND DIE. I SAID WHAT DOES THAT MEAN? SHE SAID WE HAVE THE RIGHT TO
SHOOT YOU. YOU WENT IN THE BUILDING. THEIR GOVERNMENT OFFICE, THEIR
COUNCIL OFFICE, THERE ARE NO SECURITY GUARDS. THERE IS A SIGN THAT TELLS YOU
WHERE TO GO FOR YOUR HEARING. THE MAID IS COMING THROUGH THE
BUILDING CLEANING THE BUILDING STACKED WITH A GUN AND TRASH
BAGS. THIS IS WHAT HAPPENED IN THE
STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE, OKAY? Y’ALL THINK NEW HAMPSHIRE LIKE
US, NO, THEY DON’T. Y’ALL THINK THESE STATES WANT US
TO HAVE STATEHOOD, NO, THEY DON’T. BUT WE WANT IT AND WE’RE GOING
TO CONTINUE TO FIGHT FOR IT. WE HAVE A MAYOR WHO IS WILLING
TO FIGHT. WE HAVE A CITY COUNCIL THAT IS
WILLING TO FIGHT. [ APPLAUSE ]>>WE HAVE TO BE THE CITIZENS THAT IS WILLING TO FIGHT. I HEAR ALL OF YOU PEOPLE TALK BEING HOW MANY YEARS YOU’VE BEEN
HERE. GUESS WHAT? I’M 75 YEARS, FOUR GENERATIONS. [ APPLAUSE ]>>SO UNDERSTAND IT IS A SERIOUS
ISSUE. IT NEEDS TO BE TAKEN CARE OF,
AND IT NEEDS TO BE TAKEN CARE OF NOW. I DON’T HAVE A WRITTEN STATEMENT
BECAUSE I WAS OUT OF TOWN. I GOT A CALL WHILE I WAS OUT OF
TOWN YESTERDAY TO COME AND SPEAK HERE TODAY. I WAS SUPPOSED TO BE OUT OF TOWN
TODAY. I CANCELLED. MY SISTER’S MEMORIAL SERVICE TO
BE HERE WITH YOU ALL THIS MORNING SO UNDERSTAND I AM GOING
TO CONTINUE TO FIGHT AND I’M GOING TO ASK THE MAYOR AND THE
COUNCIL CHAIRMAN, PHIL WAS THERE, HE KNOWS I’M TELLING THE
TRUTH. BRIAN WAS THERE. WE GOT ON THE SHUTTLE TO GO BACK
TO THE AIRPORT WE WERE ALL DOWN. WE WERE SO DOWN BECAUSE WE HAD
BEEN SO DISRESPECTED. I WILL NEVER STEP FOOT IN THE
STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE AGAIN AS LONG AS I LIVE. THEY HAVE NOTHING THAT I WANT TO
COME TO SEE. NOTHING.>>THANK YOU.>>YOU TALK ABOUT BERNIE
SANDERS, BERNIE SANDERS AIN’T DONE NOTHING FOR US. HE COULDN’T COME TO THAT HEARING
IN NEW HAMPSHIRE AND HE LIVES THERE. HE KNEW WE WERE COMING.>>OKAY.>>SO I WILL TELL YOU WE NEED TO
GET IT DONE. WE NEED TO GET BEHIND OUR
MEMBERS. WE NEED TO GET BEHIND ELEANOR
HOLMES AND Y’ALL PEOPLE THAT WANT TO LIVE HERE AND CLAIM D.C.
AS YOUR HOME FIGHT HARDER.>>THANK YOU, MISS RICE. THANK YOU, MISS RICE. [ APPLAUSE ]>>EXCUSE ME, SENATOR, CAN I ADD
THAT I WAS THERE WITH JOHNNY AND I HAVE NEVER BEEN PROUDER OF A
CONSTITUENT THAN I WAS OF HER. SHE STOOD UP TO THOSE PEOPLE IN
NEW HAMPSHIRE AND I WILL NEVER FORGET IT AND I’LL TELL YOU
WHAT, THEY WILL NEVER FORGET IT, EITHER. THANK YOU.>>THANK YOU VERY MUCH. WE WILL HEAR FROM ANICE JENKINS. [NAMES CALLED]>>HELLO, EVERYBODY. THANK YOU FOR BEING HERE. THANK YOU FOR CARING. THANK YOU FOR NOT DOING YOUR
ERRANDS AND THANK YOU FOR NOT — FOR GETTING THAT BABY-SITTER SO
YOU CAN BE HERE AND FOR GETTING PEOPLE TO WATCH YOUR
GRANDCHILDREN, WHOEVER YOU ARE, THANK YOU. WE ARE THE TROOPS FOR THIS
NIGHT. WE ARE THE PEOPLE WHO ARE GOING
TO GO AROUND THE COUNTRY WE’RE THE PEOPLE WHO ARE GOING
TO EDUCATE OUR OWN COMMUNITY ABOUT WHY WE NEED D.C.
STATEHOOD. I’M ANICE JENKINS, EXECUTIVE
DIRECTOR OF STAND UP FOR DEMOCRACY IN D.C.
OTHERWISE KNOWN AS FREE D.C. [ APPLAUSE ]>>WE ARE A CONTINUATION OF THE
FREE D.C. MOVEMENT THAT CAME OUT OF MISSISSIPPI WITH DR. JAMES
FOREMAN AND MARION BARRY. WE WERE TOLD BY ONE OF OUR
ELDERS IN OUR ORGANIZATION WHO WILL HELPED TO FOUND IT THAT YOU
ARE NOT STARTING THIS MOVEMENT. YOU ARE A CONTINUATION OF A
MOVEMENT THAT HAS BEEN GOING ON FOR OVER 200 YEARS. IT IS UP TO US TO KEEP THE FIGHT
GOING. ROYAL HEIGHT, HAROLD HUNTER,
CHUCK HICKS, SHERRY FLAT, SUSAN WOODARD AND GRANDCHILDREN SANDRA
MORGAN, TABU TAYLOR, IVANA, JOYCE ROBINSON PAUL, MALCOLM
WISEMAN, KAREN, I’M GOING TO PUT YOUR NAME IN THERE. KAREN, THESE ARE ALL PEOPLE I AM
GOING TO AND OB SITTING RIGHT THERE IN THAT RED AMBASSADOR
SHIRT THESE ARE ALL PEOPLE WHO ARE GOING TO CONTINUE TO BE
AMBASSADORS FOLLOW D.C. STATEHOOD. I WANT TO GET BACK TO SOMETHING
THAT I STARTED SOME TIME AGO AS FAR AS THE CRITICISM AND I WANT
TO SAY THAT THE COMMISSION HAS IMPROVED. THE WORD DID NOT GET OUT IN
TIME. THE PEOPLE THAT I NAMED KNEW
BECAUSE THEY ARE PART OF AN ORGANIZATION BUT THE WORD DID
NOT GET OUT IN TIME TO THE COMMUNITY. IF WE ARE A CONVENTION ALL OF
THE SEATS SHOULD BE FILLED. WHAT WE WANT TO DO IS GET THE
WORD OUT. WE WANT TO TELL OUR NEIGHBORS
AND WE WANT TO GET TO THE SCHOOLS AND GET TO THE CHURCHES
AND GET TO THE UNIONS. YOU MADE A GREAT EFFORT BY
MAKING THE POSTERS AND THE FLYERS. I WANT TO COMPLIMENT YOU ON
THAT. HOWEVER, AT THIS POINT I STILL
SUGGEST BECAUSE PEOPLE DO NOT KNOW A CONSTITUTION. I DON’T BELIEVE IN PEOPLE VOTING
AND APPROVING FOR SOMETHING THAT THEY DON’T KNOW WHAT IT IS. I AM GOING TO SUGGEST AGAIN THAT
YOU TAKE THE CONSTITUTION OFF OF THE REFERENDUM. I WANT PEOPLE TO APPROVE
STATEHOOD. WE DON’T EVER, EVER WANT TO VOTE
AGAINST OUR FREEDOM AND OUR LIBERATION. BUT I WOULD REALLY SUGGEST AND
I’M GOING TO STOP IS THAT THAT BE REMOVED UNTIL PEOPLE HAVE
BEEN EDUCATED ABOUT THE CONTENTS AND THAT THEY CAN SAY
SIGNIFICANTLY AND IN REALITY, THAT THEY SUPPORT THE
CONSTITUTION AS IT IS PRESENTED TO THEM. THANK YOU AND FREE D.C. [ APPLAUSE ]>>THANK YOU, MISS JENKINS.>>STATEHOOD NOW. NEXT [NAMES CALLED]>>THANK YOU. I WANT TO THANK AGAIN THE PEOPLE
WHO HAVE PUT THIS TOGETHER, ALL OF THEIR STAFF AND ALL OF YOU
FOR BEING HERE AND TAKING PART EVEN THOUGH YOU ARE NOT ELECTED
DELEGATES, AND IT DOESN’T REALLY MATTER WHAT YOU ARE SAYING. I’M AFRAID. BECAUSE WE WILL BE VOTED ON BY A
COUNCIL WHICH ALREADY HAS THREE LAME DUCK MEMBERS WHICH IS ONE
REASON WHY THE CONSTITUTION AS CURRENTLY PRESENTED SHOULD NOT
BE VOTED ON IN NOVEMBER. WE SHOULD ABSOLUTELY VOTE FOR
STATEHOOD BUT WE SHOULD HAVE THE NEW COUNCIL BEING VOTED ONCE WE
HAVE VOTED FOR HOW THE CONSTITUTION SHOULD APPEAR. I WOULD LIKE TO INTRODUCE MYSELF
ALSO I’M G. LEE AKIN. LIKE ROBERT WHITE I WAS ELECTED
IN THE PRIMARY TO BE THE BALLOT CANDIDATE IN NOVEMBER WITH THE
D.C. STATEHOOD GREEN PARTY. NOW, THE NATIONAL AFFILIATE
GREEN PARTY HAS HAD STATEHOOD ON ITS PLATFORM FOR MANY YEARS AND
NOT ONLY SHOULD WE SEND PEOPLE TO THE REPUBLICAN AND THE
DEMOCRAT CONVENTIONS WE ALSO OUGHT TO HAVE SOMEBODY GOING TO
THANK THE STATEHOOD CONVENTION FOR HAVING US ON THEIR PLATFORM
ALL OF THESE YEARS. SO THAT’S ALL I’M GOING TO SAY
ON THAT. I’M VERY HAPPY TO BE HERE IN
WILSON HIGH SCHOOL. I CAME HERE TO D.C. THE DAY
AFTER KENNEDY WAS ELECTED. MY CHILDREN WERE BORN HERE. MY CHILDREN WENT TO THIS HIGH
SCHOOL. AND MY SON GRADUATED FROM HERE
AND THEN ALMOST IMMEDIATELY ENDED UP FIGHTING IN GULF WAR
ONE PLUS TWO TOURS IN AFGHANISTAN, AND WE HAVE HAD
6,000 OF OUR CITIZENS KILLED WORKING FOR THE NATIONAL
GOVERNMENT FOR ALL OF THE PEOPLE AND WE STILL DON’T VOTE. WE NEED TO LOOK AT WHAT WE HAVE
AHEAD OF US, AND I HAD PREPARED ON MY BLOG G. LEE
AKIN.BLOGSPOT.COM A COMPLETE CALENDAR OF WHAT IS GOING ON
WHICH I TRY TO UPDATE REGULARLY, AND IN THE FUTURE ONCE THIS IS
OVER THE COUNCIL WILL BE LOOKING AT WHAT THE MAYOR SUBMITS FOR
APPROVAL FOR STATEHOOD AND IT DOESN’T SAY ANYTHING ABOUT IT
BEING A HEARING. I REALLY THINK WE SHOULD HAVE A
VOICE ON THAT AS WELL AND AS I SAID WITH THREE MEMBERS BEING
LAME DUCKS THEY SHOULD NOT BE APPROVING THE CONSTITUTION ONLY
THE REFERENDUM TO HAVE US APPROVE STATEHOOD WHICH I HOPE
WE WILL DO UNANIMOUSLY. SUBSEQUENTLY TO THAT THE BOARD
OF ELECTIONS WILL SUBMIT — WILL HOLD HEARINGS TO CERTIFY THE
REFERENDUM LANGUAGE. AND WE SHOULD TRY TO ATTEND THAT
HEARING AND I DON’T KNOW WHETHER WE WILL HAVE INPUT FOR THAT BUT
WE CERTAINLY SHOULD TRY TO HAVE IT THERE, TOO, AND THEN ASSUMING
PUBLICATION ON 8/12 POSSIBLY THERE WILL BE TEN-DAY WINDOWS
OPEN FOR OBJECTIONS AND REQUEST FOR HEARING SO THESE ARE ALL
CONTINUING STEPS THAT WE SHOULD BE PAYING ATTENTION TO AND
TAKING PART IN. THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR YOUR
HARD WORK AND COMING HERE AND SITTING ON THESE HARD SEATS.>>THANK YOU. [ APPLAUSE ] MR. LIGHTFOOT?>>THANK YOU, GOOD MORNING. I’M GOING TO SPEAK THIS MORNING
AS A FORMER MEMBER OF THE COUNCIL OF THE DISTRICT OF
COLUMBIA AS WELL AS A FORMER CHAIRPERSON OF THE COUNCIL
JUDICIARY COMMITTEE. I’M GOING TO SPECIFICALLY
ADDRESS ARTICLE 3 WHICH RELATES TO THE JUDICIAL BRANCH. LET ME FIRST COMMEND THE MAYOR
AND CHAIRPERSON MENDELSON AND THE OTHER MEMBERS OF THE COUNCIL
WITH MAKING THIS EFFORT NOW TO BRING STATEHOOD TO THE DISTRICT
OF COLUMBIA. I THINK THE STRATEGY BEING
ADOPTED IS VERY IMPORTANT AND I THINK IT IS VERY IMPORTANT WE DO
VOTE IN NOVEMBER SO WE CAN MOVE THIS FORWARD TO CONGRESS, AND
FORCE THIS ISSUE BUT NOW LET ME ADDRESS THE SUBSTANCE OF ARTICLE
3 IF I MAY. I’M GOING TO SPECIFICALLY
ADDRESS THE ABSENCE OF THE TEN-YEAR COMMISSION WHICH I
CURRENTLY SERVE ON. I’M AN APPOINTEE OF THE MAYOR TO
THE TENNESSEE TENURE COMMISSION. WE HAVE TWO COMMITTEES THAT DEAL
WITH THE JUDICIARY. ONE IS THE NOMINATING
COMMISSION, THE OTHER IS THE TENURE COMMISSION. THE TENURE COMMISSION DEALS WITH
DISCIPLINING JUDGES AND REAPPOINTING JUDGES. WHEN WE DISCIPLINE JUDGES WE IN
LARGE PART FOLLOW THE CODE OF JUDICIAL RESPONSIBILITY. THAT IS NOT MENTIONED IN HERE AS
ONE OF THE CRITERIA TO BE CONSIDERED WHEN A JUDGE IS TO BE
REMOVED OR REAPPOINTED. SO I WOULD URGE THE PEOPLE ON
THE DAIS AND OTHERS INVOLVED TO PLEASE INCLUDE, NUMBER ONE, THE
TENURE COMMISSION AS WELL AS THE NOMINATING COMMISSION. THE JOBS ARE VERY MUCH
DIFFERENT. SECONDLY, I WOULD ASK THE
FRAMERS OF THE CONSTITUTION TO ALSO INCLUDE THAT ONE OF THE
MEASUREMENTS BY WHETHER A JUDGE SHOULD BE REAPPOINTED OR
DISCIPLINED OR REMOVED FROM THE BENCH IS THE CODE OF JUDICIAL
CONDUCT. THAT HAS BEEN DEVELOPED ALL
ACROSS THE COUNTRY USING IN ALL OF THE STATES USED BY ALL OF THE
AGENCIES WITH RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE ETHICS OF JUDGES. THERE ARE COURT CASES WHICH HAVE
IN INTERPRETED AND WE’VE GOT PRECEDENT WE CAN FOLLOW. THERE ARE RULES AND STANDARDS
WHICH ARE VERY CLEAR SO WITH THAT I WILL END BY SAYING AGAIN
I COMMEND YOU BY MAKING THIS ACTION NOW. I THINK IT IS IMPORTANT THAT WE
VOTE IN NOVEMBER AND I KNOW THIS WILL BE CONTROVERSIAL BUT THE
ARGUMENT NOT TO VOTE IN NOVEMBER TO ME IS SIMILAR TO WHAT I HEAR
IN CONGRESS WHEN THEY SAY THEY ARE NOT GOING TO VOTE ON
PRESIDENT OBAMA’S NOMINEE TO THE SUPREME COURT. [ APPLAUSE ]>>SO WITH THAT I THANK YOU VERY
MUCH AND I APPRECIATE IT.>>THANK YOU. SHEILA REED? SHE WILL BE FOLLOWED BY JANET
BROWN, ELINOR HART AND JOHN PINKUS.>>GOOD AFTERNOON, EVERYONE. I AM SPEAKING TODAY WEARING TWO
HATS. I AM DIRECTOR OF THE MAYOR’S
OFFICE OF LGBTQ AFFAIRS AND I’M ALSO A LONG-TIME WARD 4
RESIDENT. I STARTED OUT THIS PAST WEEK AT
THE WHITE HOUSE WITH PRESIDENT OBAMA CELEBRATING PRIDE MONTH
WHERE HE REFERENCED AND CALLED US A ROOM FULL OF ANGELIC
TROUBLEMAKERS CELEBRATING THE PROGRESS THAT WE MADE AND I
ENDED THE WEEK MOURNING WITH MY COMMUNITY OVER THE ORLANDO
SHOOTINGS AND THE TRAGEDY AND THE AFTERMATH OF THAT I ATTENDED
NO LESS THAN FIVE TO SIX VIGILS AND CANDLELIGHT WORKSHOPS SO
WHEN PEOPLE ASK AT THESE WORKSHOPS WHAT CAN WE DO, WHAT
CAN WE DO, WE FEEL FOR THE COMMUNITIES. THESE ARE ALLIES NOT JUST THE
LGBTQ COMMUNITY. WHAT CAN WE DO. I SAY YOU CAN VOTE FOR STATEHOOD
IN D.C. YOU CAN KEEP GUNS OUT OF D.C.
YOU CAN TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR FUTURE. [ APPLAUSE ]>>YOU CAN MAKE CERTAIN THAT WE
HAVE SENATORS AND A CONGRESSWOMAN WITH A VOTE AND I
CONNECTED THE DOTS FOR THEM TO SAY WE HAVE NOBODY THAT CAN
PROTECT US SO WE MUST TAKE A STAND AND ULTIMATELY LEARN TO
PROTECT OURSELVES. FROM GUNS. THANK YOU. [ APPLAUSE ]>>THANK YOU VERY MUCH. JANET BROWN FOLLOWED BY ELEANOR
HART AND JOHN PINKUS. [INAUDIBLE]>>IF YOU WOULD COME DOWN AND MAKE YOUR WAY SO WE COULD KEEP
THINGS MOVING. DEBRA PRENDEL WILL BE AFTER
THAT.>>GOOD MORNING, I GUESS IT IS
STILL MORNING. MY NAME IS ELINOR HART. I LIVE IN WARD 1 AND I HAVE BEEN
WORKING FOR STATEHOOD FOR ABOUT FIVE OR SIX YEARS. I HAVE BEEN VERY ACTIVE IN THE
D.C. STATEHOOD COALITION. I WOULD LIKE TO THANK THE MAYOR
AND HER TEAM FOR THE STATEHOOD INITIATIVE. AND I ALSO WANT TO THANK THE
DRAFTERS OF THE CONSTITUTION. I THINK THEY DID A GOOD JOB IN
GETTING AND PUTTING TOGETHER A DOCUMENT THAT WILL BE APPROVED
BY OUR 13-MEMBER COUNCIL WHICH HAS TO HAPPEN, AND I THINK IT
WILL — IT HAS FEWER REASONS FOR THE MEMBERS OF CONGRESS TO
OBJECT. I THINK AS FEW REASONS AS
POSSIBLE. BEFORE I ADDRESS THE
CONSTITUTION EXPLICITLY I DO WANT TO MENTION SOMEONE’S NAME.
I UNDERSTAND HIS NAME HAS NOT BEEN MENTIONED AT ALL DURING
THIS CONVENTION. I THINK WE SHOULD THINK ABOUT
THE PERSON WHO MADE STATEHOOD A REAL ISSUE IN D.C. AND THAT WAS
A MAN NAMED ED GINAN, THE PERSON WHO LED THE STATEHOOD INITIATIVE
TO GET IT ON THE BALLOT. [ APPLAUSE ]>>AND HE HAS THE POSTED A
WONDERFUL OBIT ON HIM SO YOU CAN GOOGLE HIM TO FIND OUT MORE
ABOUT IT BUT I THINK WE SHOULD REMEMBER HIM AS WE THINK ABOUT
STATEHOOD. THE CONSTITUTION HAS ONE VERY
SERIOUS FLAW TO ME. AND THAT IS AN ABSENCE OF VERY
VIGOROUS AMENDMENT PROCESS. THIS IS A DOCUMENT AS WE KNOW
THAT WAS WRITTEN BY CONGRESS AND AND WE’RE GOING TO TAKE IT OR
LEAVE IT AND I’M GOING TO TAKE IT IF THERE IS AN OPPORTUNITY TO
IMPROVE IT AND I THINK WE NEED TO THINK OF THREE WAYS. CERTAINLY A CITIZEN INITIATIVE
AND I THINK WE CAN ALSO ASK THAT THERE BE A REAL CONSTITUTIONAL
CONVENTION AFTER WE BECOME A STATE TO LOOK AT AMENDING IT. AND CHANGING IT. SO AGAIN THANK YOU TO THE PEOPLE
WHO BROUGHT US HERE TODAY AND WE LOOK FORWARD TO A WONDERFUL VOTE
IN NOVEMBER.>>THANK YOU, MISS HART. [ APPLAUSE ]>>JUST A QUICK NOTE, ON THE
POSTER THAT WE ACTUALLY DISTRIBUTED, ED’S PICTURE IS ON
IT. AND IT WAS ACTUALLY BY
GRACIOUSLY DONE BY JULIE WHO WAS ATTENDED ONE OF OUR FORUMS.>>THANK YOU VERY MUCH. MISS BROWN? [NAMES CALLED]>>I’M JANET BROWN AND I HAVE
BEEN ACTIVE IN THE STATEHOOD MOVEMENT FOR ABOUT THE LAST FOUR
OR FIVE YEARS BUT I HAVE BEEN CONSCIOUS OF IT EVER SINCE I
CAME HERE TO GET MARRIED IN 1957. I FELT AT THE TIME THAT I HAD
BEEN ROBBED AS I SAID IN A COUPLE OF WEEKS AGO HERE. I FEEL VERY GRATEFUL AND WE ALL
SHOULD TO THE MAYOR FOR TAKING THE LEAD ON THIS. [ APPLAUSE ]>>WE WOULDN’T BE WHERE WE ARE
TODAY AND I AM REALLY PLEASED TO SEE HOW MUCH INTEREST HAS GROWN
AND MAYBE IT WAS HERE IN THE CITY SIMMERING ALL OF THE TIME
AS IT HAS BEEN FOR ME BUT THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE AND THE VARIETY
OF ORGANIZATIONS THAT HAVE COME OUT HERE TO TESTIFY IS A VERY
FINE TESTIMONY TO THE VALIDITY OF THE ISSUE AND TO THE
LEADERSHIP OF OUR MAYOR. I AM NOT DISTURBED BY THE NUMBER
OF PROPOSED CHANGES. MANY OF THEM CONTRADICTORY ONE
TO ANOTHER. I AM NOT CONCERNED REALLY ABOUT
THE DETAILS. I HAD LOTS OF PROBLEMS WITH THE
CONSTITUTION BUT I AM NOT IN A POSITION TO DO ANYTHING ABOUT
IT. I DON’T HAVE THE KNOWLEDGE OR
THE BACKGROUND BUT I THINK IT IS ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL AS ELINOR
HART HAS SUGGESTED ON MORE THAN ONE OCCASION THAT WE HAVE AN
AMENDMENT PROCESS THAT NEEDS TO BE VERY CLEAR IN THE
CONSTITUTION, AND BECAUSE THE AMOUNT OF TIME THAT THE MAYOR
HAS BEEN CONFINED TO BETWEEN NOW AND NOVEMBER FOR THE CITY TO GET
BUSY ON THESE THINGS WE HAVE AN UNREASONABLY SHORT TIME TO WEIGH
THE CONSTITUTION. SO I THINK THE AMENDMENT PROCESS
IS ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY, AND WE NEED TO HAVE AN EXPLICIT CALL IN
THE CONSTITUTION FOR A CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION AND
SAY FOUR TO SIX WEEKS THAT WOULD — FOUR TO SIX YEARS WHICH WOULD
GIVE US TWO ELECTIONS AND THE EXPERIENCE OF IT. AND THEN TO HAVE A CITIZEN
ELECTED CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION WITH ALL OF THE
PROPER INVESTMENT AND RESOURCES FOR THE COMMISSION, THE LAWYERS
BECAUSE WE WON’T ALL BE LAWYERS ON THAT COMMITTEE, ON THAT
CONVENTION AND THEN TAKE A THOROUGH REVIEW AND GET US THE
FINAL PRODUCT THAT WE WANT. I PERSONALLY PROBABLY WON’T BE
AROUND IN FOUR YEARS, BUT I AM WILLING TO TAKE THE CHANCE THAT
WE WILL GET A BETTER CONSTITUTION AND WE WILL BE
HAPPIER WITH IT IF WE HAVE A REVIEW IN FOUR YEARS. SO LET’S GIVE US THE STATEHOOD
VOTE BY ALL MEANS. [APPLAUSE] WE WILL ACT IT IN NOVEMBER. WE ARE GRATEFUL TO THOSE WHO ARE
WORKING ON IT, BUT GIVE US A SPECIFIC AMENDMENT THAT CALLS
FOR A STATE CONVENTION FOUR YEARS FROM NOW. THANK YOU. [APPLAUSE]>>JUNE PINKAS. [INAUDIBLE]>>THANK YOU. DAVID PRENDAL FOLLOWED BY MARY
LORD.>>ACKNOWLEDGING MY SHORTNESS, I REPRESENT SHORT PEOPLE. [LAUGHTER] GOOD MORNING. I THINK IT’S STILL MORNING. THANK YOU FOR PROVIDING THIS
OPPORTUNITY FOR US TO HAVE THIS KIND OF CONVENTION AND THIS KIND
OF HEARING. I HAVE BEEN A HOMEOWNER IN WARD
3 31 YEARS. I HAVE A DOCTORATE IN CITY AND
REGIONAL PLANNING AND MASTER’S DEGREES IN ECONOMICS AND PUBLIC
ADMINISTRATION. SO THAT IS THE PERSPECTIVE THAT
I’M GOING TO BRING TO MY COMMUNITIES. THE FOCUS OF MUCH OF THE
TESTIMONY THIS MORNING HAS BEEN ON THE MANY POLITICAL ADVANTAGES
OF STATEHOOD AND NATIONAL REPRESENTATION IN CONGRESS. AND I FULLY SHARE THEM AND LIKE
MANY OF THE OTHER SPEAKERS, I HAVE BEEN EXTREMELY FRUSTRATED
OVER THE YEARS THAT BEING UNABLE TO WRITE OR INFLUENCE ANYONE IN
CONGRESS WHO WOULD REPRESENT ME AS A D.C. RESIDENT. HOWEVER, I AM CONCERNED AS MANY
OTHERS ARE JUST ABOUT THE RUSH TO PASS THE CONSTITUTION. AND I DEVOUTLY FEEL THAT THE
DEVIL IS IN THE DETAILS IN THIS CASE. I’M PARTICULARLY DISMAYED AND
DISAPPOINTED BY THE ABSENCE OF CONCERN OVER THE FINANCIAL AND
ECONOMIC BURDEN ON TAXPAYERS IN THE DRAFTING OF THE
CONSTITUTION. WE ARE NOT A TYPICAL PLACE TO
HAVE A STATE. WE ARE EXTREMELY SMALL
GEOGRAPHIC AREA AND SOME OF THE COMPARISON THAT HAVE BEEN MADE
TO OTHER STATES I DON’T AGREE WITH. WE HAVE A VERY LARGE PORTION OF
OUR LIMITED TERRITORY WHICH IS COVERED BY TAX-EXEMPT USES,
GOVERNMENT MONUMENTS, GOVERNMENT FUNCTIONS, RELIGIOUS
INSTITUTIONS AND SO FORTH. SO THE TRUE TAX BASE OF THE
FUTURE STATE WOULD BE EXTREMELY SMALL AND LIMITED. AND I THINK WHAT WE NEED TO
HAVE — AND I WANT TO CALL FOR THIS. A SOLID FINANCIAL ANALYSIS OF
THE BUDGETARY DEMANDS ON TAXPAYERS OF THE PROPOSED
CONSTITUTION. ESPECIALLY ANY PROPOSED LOSS OF
FEDERAL FUNDING AND ANY ADDITIONAL GOVERNMENT COSTS FOR
AN EXPANDED SIZE OF GOVERNMENT IN THIS DRAFT AND IN ANY FUTURE
ITERATIONS OF FUTURE DRAFTS. I PARTICULARLY WANT TO DRAW
ATTENTION TO THE MANY COMMENTS THAT PEOPLE HAVE MADE ABOUT
CALLING FOR AN EXPANDED LEGISLATIVE BRANCH. THERE ARE HUGE COSTS INVOLVED
AND NOT JUST FOR THE ELECTIONS, BUT FOR THE SALARIES AND THE
OFFICE SUPPORT, THE OTHER EXPENSES THAT WOULD GO WITH
THOSE FUNCTIONS. PEOPLE REALLY NEED A SOLID
ANALYSIS OF THAT. I SEE YOUR POINT. 30 SECONDS, YES. THEN ALSO ON THE JUDICIAL
BRANCH, I UNDERSTAND THAT THE PROPOSED DRAFT WOULD TAKE AWAY A
LOT OF THE FEDERAL FUNDING FOR JUDICIAL FUNCTION THAT IS WOULD
REMAIN VERY SUBSTANTIAL IN OUR TERRITORY. EVEN AS A STATE. SINCE WE ARE NOT A TYPICAL
LOCATION, SINCE WE HAVE THE PRESENCE OF NATIONAL GOVERNMENT
WHICH WILL CONTINUE TO ATTRACT TERRORISTS, CROWDS AND THE THEFT
OPPORTUNITIES INHERENT IN LARGE CROWD CONTROL, THE COST TO US OF
A JUDICIAL SYSTEM AND CRIME AND INCARCERATION AND SO FORTH
SHOULD BE FAIRLY APPORTIONED — THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT SHOULD
CONTRIBUTE TO THIS. AND I THINK THAT WHAT WE NEED TO
DO IN DRAFTING A CONSTITUTION IS LOOK AT THE PROPOSED INCREASES
IN COST TO TAXPAYERS AND THE PROPOSES LOSSES IN REVENUE AND
HAVE A SOLID REPRESENTATION ABOUT THAT. THAT SHOULD NOT BE UNDISCUSSED.>>THANK YOU VERY MUCH. [APPLAUSE]>>MARY LORD FOLLOWED BY DONALD
HAYNES AND OUR LAST SPEAKER.>>THANK YOU. FIRST I WANT TO THANK MAYOR
BOWSER AND THE COUNCIL AND OUR CENTERS AND REPRESENTATIVES FOR
THIS OPPORTUNITY TO ENGAGE IN PROBABLY THE BEST CIVICS LESSON
I HAVE HAD IN A LONG TIME. THE SPIRIT OF ’76 IS RIGHT HERE
AND ALIVE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. MY NAME IS MARY LORD. I CURRENTLY SERVE AS THE
AT-LARGE MEMBER ON THE D.C. STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION. AS I LIKE TO SAY, I VOLUNTEERED
IN MY CHILDREN’S NURSERY SCHOOL AND THINGS JUST GOT OUT OF HAND. AND I, AS A MEMBER OF THE STATE
BOARD OF EDUCATION, AND MY COLLEAGUE FROM WARD 3 RUTH
WATTENBERG IS HERE, HAVE THE PRIVILEGE OF SETTING GRADUATION
REQUIREMENTS THAT WOULD REQUIRE EVERY GRADUATE OF THE DISTRICT
OF COLUMBIA TO STUDY D.C. HISTORY. WHICH IS OUR CIVICS LESSON, TO
STUDY AMERICAN HISTORY JUST LIKE MOST OF THE CHILDREN IN ALL THE
OTHER STATES DO. SO I’M HERE TO ACTUALLY
SPECIFICALLY ADDRESS ARTICLE 2, SECTION 7-B-2 WHICH ESTABLISHES
THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION IN THE
CONSTITUTION. THIS IS INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT
BECAUSE IT MEANS THAT THE LEGISLATURE CANNOT WITH A FLICK
OF THE PEN TAKE AWAY OUR RIGHTS AS CITIZENS TO DETERMINE THE
EDUCATION OF OUR CHILDREN. IN OTHER STATES, THERE HAVE BEEN
MOVES AND SUCCESSFUL MOVES TO ABOLISH THEIR STATE BOARDS OF
EDUCATION. BUT THIS COMES WITH A BIG
CAVEAT. THE POWERS AND AUTHORITIES IN
THE CONSTITUTION STRIP THE BOARD OF EDUCATION TO SERVING AS
MERELY AN ADVISORY BOARD TO THE STATE SUPERINTENDENT OF
EDUCATION. WE NO LONGER CAN SET GRADUATION
REQUIREMENTS. WE NO LONGER CAN ADOPT THE
STANDARDS THAT HAVE SUCCEEDED IN RAISING GRADUATION RATES
FOUR-YEAR ON-TIME GRADUATION RATES TO THE HIGHEST THEY HAVE
EVER BEEN IN THE HISTORY OF THIS CITY. THEY STRIP US OF THE ABILITY TO
LAY THE FOUNDATION FOR SUCCESS FOR EVERY STUDENT. AND IT WOULD SEVERELY UNDERMINE
AND POLITICIZE EDUCATION IN A WAY THAT WOULD BE DETRIMENTAL TO
CHILDREN. SO I TOTALLY SUPPORT THE
PROCESS, BUT I THINK AS THE PREVIOUS SPEAKER SAID, THE DEVIL
IS IN THE DETAILS. THE OTHER THING I WOULD LIKE TO
SAY AS YOUR PREVIOUS SPEAKER MENTIONED IS TO BUILD ON THE
STATE LEVEL AUTHORITIES WE ALREADY HAVE. I SERVED AS PRESIDENT OF THE
NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF STATE BOARDS OF EDUCATION LAST YEAR. AND I’M CURRENTLY THE IMMEDIATE
PAST PRESIDENT. AND BECAUSE WE ARE MEMBERS OF A
STATE BOARD, WE HAVE ALL THE POWERS AND AUTHORITIES, YOUR
VOICE WAS AT THE TABLE WHEN THE REWRITE OF FEDERAL EDUCATION LAW
TOOK PLACE. SO I WOULD LIKE TO FIND A WAY TO
ESSENTIALLY ESTABLISH MORE STATE-LEVEL BOARDS THAT WE CAN
THEN BUILD ON TO GO AND ROVE THE HALLS OF CONGRESS WITH PEOPLE
WHO ACTUALLY DO HAVE A VOTE. THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR THIS
OPPORTUNITY. [APPLAUSE] AND THANK YOU ALL FOR BEING
HERE!>>THANK YOU VERY MUCH.>>THANK YOU. I’M DONALD HAYNES. I’M A RESIDENT OF WARD 6 SINCE
1975. I WANT TO ADDRESS THREE SPECIFIC
ISSUES JUST BECAUSE I THINK THEY ARE ONES THAT HAVE NOT
NECESSARILY BEEN TOUCHED ON OR I HAVE A PERSPECTIVE TO ADD.
FIRST I WANT TO TALK ABOUT THE PROBLEM OF THE LEGISLATURE’S
SIZE. AND I’M A LATE CONVERT. I THINK WE ARE HEARING THE
BEGINNING OF A GELLING COMPROMISE. I WAS ONE OF THOSE STRONGLY
OPPOSED TO KEEPING THE COUNCIL AT 13 AND KEEPING THE
LEGISLATURE AS THE COUNCIL AT 13. BUT I THINK THE RATIONALE, I
SUGGEST WE GO TO THREE PHASES. THE FIRST PHASE IS AN IMMEDIATE
TRANSITION PHASE. AND THAT WOULD BE UPON THE DATE
OF STATEHOOD, WE HAVE BASICALLY A NAME CHANGE AS THE
CONSTITUTION PROVIDES. THE COUNCIL HAS THE DELEGATES
AND THE CHAIRMAN BECOMES THE SPEAKER, THE MAYOR BECOMES THE
GOVERNOR. I’D ADD A LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR
LIKE MARYLAND SO THE GOVERNOR AND LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR RUN AS A
TEAM AND THE LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR APPOINTED BY THE GOVERNOR
BECAUSE THAT’S HOW THE LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR IS SELECTED. IN ADDITION, I WOULD HAVE THE
JUDGES DO THE SAME THING. AND I WOULD ALSO INITIALLY SAY
THAT THE ELECTED SHADOW SENATORS AND DELEGATE, SENATORS AND
REPRESENTATIVE WILL TAKE THEIR SEATS IN CONGRESS AS THE MEMBERS
OF THE VOTING ELECTORATE IN D.C. HAVE INTENDED AND ALL OF THESE
OFFICERS WILL STAY UNTIL ONLY THE FIRST GENERAL ELECTION AFTER
WE BECOME STATEHOOD. THEN WE WOULD BE UNDER WHATEVER
THE CONSTITUTION IS. AND THEN ALSO IN THE
CONSTITUTION WOULD BE THIS PROVISION FOR AN AUTOMATIC FOUR
YEARS. I PREFER SIX. MAYBE WE CAN COMPROMISE ON FIVE
CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION. I AM STRONGLY OPPOSED TO THE
IDEA OF INDIVIDUAL CITIZENS OR SO-CALLED GROUPS OF CITIZENS
BEING ABLE TO PROPOSE INITIATIVES TO CHANGE THE
CONSTITUTION. WHAT THAT MEANS IS WE END UP
LIKE CALIFORNIA, WHERE EXTREMIST GROUPS OR MORE LIKELY
CORPORATE-FUNDED GROUPS DO BOGUS — SO WE HAVE PROPOSITION
8 TO ELIMINATE ANTIDISCRIMINATION CAUSES OR
PEOPLE AGAINST A BOTTLE TAX OR IN FAVOR OF A BOTTLE TAX ALL USE
OUR RESOURCES. ON THE AMENDMENT PROCESS ITSELF,
I THINK IT’S TOO EASY NOW. RIGHT NOW A BEAR MAJORITY OF THE
COUNCIL CAN CHANGE THE CONSTITUTION WITH A BEAR VOTE. IT OUGHT TO BE 2/3 OF THE
COUNCIL AND IT OUGHT TO REQUIRE TWO VOTES, TWO GENERAL ELECTIONS
SO THAT THE CONSTITUTION PROVIDES A CHECK ON THE
TEMPORARY MOOD THAT HAPPENS. AND THEN IN ADDITION, THE
JUDICIARY OUGHT TO BE MORE LIKE OUR JUDICIARY. EVERY JUDGE THAT NOW SERVES
D.C. — SOME OF THEM GOOD JUDGES. EVERY JUDGE LACKS ONE THING.
A VOTE FOR A SINGLE D.C. — VOTING PERSON IN CONGRESS. SO WE OUGHT TO HAVE THEM — I
THINK JUDGES SHOULD NOT BE SUBJECT TO ANY ELECTION. CONTINUE THE JUDICIAL NOMINATION
PROCESS. AND LEAVE IT WITH THE MAYOR’S
APPOINTMENT SUBJECT TO CONFIRMATION BY THE HOUSE OF
DELEGATES, BUT FOR A LIFETIME TENURED JOB. THAT’S THE PROTECTION FOR ALL OF
US. THANK YOU.>>THANK YOU VERY MUCH. [APPLAUSE] I SAW RUTH WATTENBERG
EARLIER. RUTH WATTENBERG. NO? OKAY. YOU WANT TO —
>>YEAH. THIS IS JUST A HOUSEKEEPING
MATTER. MY TRUSTY ASSISTANT RACHEL WHO
WORKS HER TAIL OFF FOR ME HAS LOST HER WALLET. IF ANYBODY FINDS A BLUE WALLET,
CAN YOU PLEASE BRING IT TO OUR ATTENTION? THANK YOU.>>OKAY. THAT CONCLUDES OUR WITNESS LIST
OF SPEAKERS WHO HAVE SIGNED UP. I’M GOING TO TURN THE GAVEL BACK
OVER TO OUR MAYOR.>>MAYOR: WELL, I WANT TO THANK
EVERYBODY. WE ARE REACHING THE CLOSE OF OUR
CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION. AND I WANT TO THANK EVERYBODY
FOR YOUR PARTICIPATION. I JOTTED DOWN A COUPLE OF NOTES
OF SOME THINGS THAT I HEARD AND OBSERVED OVER THE LAST SEVERAL
DAYS, AND INDEED THE LAST SEVERAL WEEKS THAT WE HAVE BEEN
TALKING ABOUT THE CONSTITUTION AND THE ADVISORY REFERENDUM. I THINK I WILL START WITH THE
FIRST THING — IS THAT THERE IS A LOT THAT WE ALL AGREE ON. AND I THINK THAT THE SENTIMENT
THAT WE HAVE A UNIQUE TIME RIGHT NOW THAT NEEDS TO BE TAKEN
ADVANTAGE OF IS RESONATE ACROSS ALL OF THE DAYS OF OUR
DISCUSSION. I HAVE HEARD A LOT OF QUESTIONS
ABOUT PROCESS AND HOW WE COULD DO BETTER, SHOULD HAVE DONE
BETTER OR WILL DO BETTER. AND I HAVE ALSO BEEN HAVING A
LOT OF THOUGHTS OF MY OWN ABOUT WHAT WAS THE PROCESS LIKE BEFORE
IN ’82 OR ’87, WHAT WAS THE RESULT. CERTAINLY THERE WAS PROBABLY
SOME DISCUSSIONS THEN ABOUT HOW THE PROCESS COULD BE DIFFERENT,
COULD BE BETTER, WILL BE BETTER EVEN THEN. I DON’T KNOW ABOUT THAT PROCESS
BECAUSE I WASN’T AROUND FOR THAT PROCESS. BUT I IMAGINE THAT THERE WAS A
LOT OF VIGOROUS DEBATE, INCLUDING AROUND THE NAME OF NEW
COLUMBIA. ONE OF THE LEGAL ADVISORY TEAMS
WENT AND RESEARCHED THE ACTUAL DOCUMENTS FROM THAT CONVENTION
AND DESCRIBED THE LONG ROBUST PROCESS OF COMING UP WITH THAT
NAME THAT WAS AGREED TO BY A CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION AND
VOTED ON BY THE VOTERS. SO THAT JUST TELLS US THE
PROCESS THAT SOME TALK ABOUT NOW AS IF IT WERE PERFECT — WHICH
MAYBE IT WAS, PROBABLY WASN’T. THEY CAME UP WITH NEW COLUMBIA. TODAY WE DEBATE A NUMBER OF
THINGS THAT ARE PART OF THIS PROCESS. WE ALSO WANT TO LOOK AT WHAT
HAVE BEEN THE RESULTS OF PROCESS AND A LOT OF YEARS OF TALKING
ABOUT STATEHOOD WHICH TAKES ME TO MY THIRD POINT. YOU’RE GOING TO HEAR ME SAY THIS
A LOT, THIS PHRASE. THAT URGENCY HAS A SHELF LIFE. AND I GET CONCERNED WHEN I THINK
BACK OF WHAT MUST HAVE HAPPENED IN ’82 AND ’87, THAT THERE WAS A
LOT OF RIGOROUS DEBATE AND THEN THERE WAS NO WIN AND A LOT OF
RIGOROUS DEBATE AND TALK, BUT NOT CONCRETE ACTIONS. SO I ASK THAT WE ALL FOCUS ON
WHAT TYPE OF COMMITMENT ARE WE WILLING TO MAKE FOR A SUSTAINED
EFFORT THAT GETS US TO A WIN AND GETS US TO REAL ACTION. WHAT IS THAT AMOUNT OF TIME? IS IT SEVEN MONTHS? IS IT SEVEN YEARS? IS IT THREE YEARS? ARE WE GOING TO BE SITTING HERE
NEXT YEAR WITH THE SAME AMOUNT OF ENERGY? I DON’T KNOW. I WANT US TO THINK AS WE MOVE
FORWARD — AND THIS IS MY MESSAGE TO THE DELEGATES. THIS WILL BE MY MESSAGE TO THE
COUNCIL AND MY MESSAGE TO THE VOTERS. WHAT IS THE AMOUNT OF TIME THAT
WE ALL CAN COMMIT TO A HIGH LEVEL SUSTAINED EFFORT, NOT ONLY
WITHIN OUR BOUNDARIES, BUT ACROSS OUR NATION? AND SO THAT IS WHAT HAS DRIVEN
ALL OF US TO BE SITTING HERE. SO A NUMBER OF PEOPLE HAVE SAID
THAT THE MAYOR’S DONE THIS AND WE’RE HAPPY ABOUT IT, BUT I’M
ONLY A VESSEL. I AM ACTING ON WHAT YOU TOLD ME
TO DO. CERTAINLY WHEN I WENT AROUND ALL
EIGHT WARDS OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, PEOPLE ARE FOCUSED,
MORE FOCUSED THAN I HAVE SEEN IN ALL OF MY YEARS OF ELECTED LIFE
ABOUT THE INDIGNITY OF OUR LACK OF HAVING A VOTE IN THE
CONGRESS. PEOPLE — AND MARK PLOTKIN SAID
IT A COUPLE OF TIMES. WILL DO SOMETHING WHEN WE ARE
PERSONALLY INSULTED BY WHAT IS HAPPENING. I’M PERSONALLY INSULTED BY WHAT
IS HAPPENING. MY LEVEL OF PERSONAL INSULT
STARTED A FEW YEARS AGO WHEN WE WERE LITERALLY TRADED IN A
BUDGET DEAL. LITERALLY TRADED IN A BUDGET
DEAL. I COULDN’T BELIEVE IT THEN.
I UNDERSTOOD IT. I KNOW WHAT OUR LEADERS HAVE TO
DO WHEN THEY HAVE TO GET THINGS DONE FOR A WHOLE COUNTRY AND
THEY ARE FACED SITTING ACROSS THE NEGOTIATION TABLE. I UNDERSTOOD IT BUT IT STILL
MADE ME MAD. A NUMBER OF YOU HAVE GONE TO
JAIL FOR D.C. — STATEHOOD, RIGHT? HAVE YOU? WHO HAS? I HAVE GONE TO JAIL FOR D.C. —
STATEHOOD AND I HAD NO INTENTION OF GOING TO JAIL FOR D.C. —
STATEHOOD WHEN I WOKE UP THAT MORNING. [LAUGHTER] NONE WHATSOEVER. BUT I WAS INDEED PERSONALLY
INSULTED BY WHAT I SAW. NOW, AS MAYOR, THE LEVEL OF
PERSONAL INSULT IS EVEN MORE DRAMATIC BECAUSE IT IS TRUE,
JACK IS RIGHT. WE ARE A STATE. WE FUNCTION LIKE A STATE. THERE IS NO MAYOR IN THE UNITED
STATES THAT HAS THE POWER TO EFFECT CITIZENS THAT I HAVE AS
MAYOR. NONE. [APPLAUSE] WE ARE NOT LIKE ANY OTHER CITY. AND SO THE WAY WE ARE DIFFERENT,
WE ARE DIFFERENT IN A VERY CRITICAL WAY. THIS IS WHY MY FRIEND ANNISE
WOULD TELL ME I DON’T KNOW WHY YOU ALL ARE GOING FOR THIS
INCREMENTAL VOTING RIGHTS BUSINESS. I DON’T KNOW WHY YOU’RE DOING
IT. BUT SHE’S RIGHT. BECAUSE EVEN IF WE GET ONE VOTE
OR TWO VOTES IN THE HOUSE, THERE IS NOTHING LIKE HAVING TWO
SENATORS. IT MAKES A DIFFERENCE IN TERMS
OF OUR ABILITY TO IMPACT THE LAWS THAT AFFECT US AND IMPACT
THE BUDGET THAT GOES DOWN TO ALL STATES. WE ARE IN A GREAT POSITION TO
HAVE THIS CONVERSATION RIGHT NOW. AND I DO AGREE THAT WE HAVE TO
EDUCATE, FIRE UP OUR OWN RESIDENTS. AND WE DO HAVE TO EXPLAIN TO
THEM — BECAUSE SOMETIMES WHEN LIFE IS
GOOD, YOU THINK, WELL, HEY, NOTHING IS WRONG WITH THE STATUS
QUO IN WASHINGTON. YOU KNOW, THEY PICK UP MY TRASH. THE SCHOOLS ARE IMPROVING. PEOPLE ARE MOVING HERE. YOU KNOW, MY TAXES ARE EVEN
GOING DOWN. NOT SO BAD IN WASHINGTON. WHY DO WE NEED TO SHAKE THINGS
UP? BECAUSE WE ARE ALWAYS AT THE
WHIM OF THE CONGRESS. WE ARE ALWAYS AT THE WHIM OF THE
CONGRESS. [APPLAUSE] SO, MR. PLOTKIN SAID A LITTLE
BIT EARLIER I SHOULD NEVER TALK TO ANY MEMBERS OF THE CONGRESS
WITHOUT TALKING TO ABOUT STATEHOOD. TRUST ME, MARK PLOTKIN HAS NO
IDEA WHAT I TALK TO THE MEMBERS OF CONGRESS ABOUT. NOW, SOMETIMES I WILL COME OUT
AND TELL THEM. SOMETIMES I WON’T. BECAUSE THOSE CONVERSATIONS ARE
CRITICAL. BUT EACH TIME WE DON’T ONLY GO
AND TALK TO THE DEMOCRATS BECAUSE THE FACT IS THE
REPUBLICANS HAVE SAY OVER US. IMAGINE THAT. LISTEN TO THAT STATEMENT. SOMEBODY FROM UTAH HAS SAY OVER
US. SOMEBODY FROM NORTH CAROLINA HAS
SAY OVER US. SOMEBODY FROM WISCONSIN,
FLORIDA, TEXAS, YOU NAME IT, HAS A SAY OVER WHAT OUR ELECTED
REPRESENTATIVES DO. AND SO TIME AFTER TIME THEY WILL
SAY TO ME, ONE OF THEM SAID, YOU KNOW, NEVER GONNA HAPPEN. I KNOW YOU’RE WORKING ON
STATEHOOD, NEVER GONNA HAPPEN. TIME AFTER TIME, TIME AFTER
TIME. SO THESE PEOPLE WILL TELL US
THAT THEY ARE OUR FRIENDS AND, YOU KNOW, THEY THINK THAT THEY
ARE. AND WE HAVE TO REMIND THEM THAT
THEY ARE NOT. [APPLAUSE] SO
I JUST WANT TO ASK
EVERYBODY — AND I RESPECT ALL OF WHAT I HEARD. AND I HAVE HEARD ALL OF WHAT I
HEARD. AND I HAVE REALLY — I SHOULDN’T
SAY I HEARD IT. I REALLY LISTENED TO WHAT I
HEARD. AND THIS IS THE DISCUSSION THAT
WE WILL BE HAVING AMONG COMMISSIONERS. SO IF THE ARGUMENT IS LET’S TAKE
LONGER, LET’S JUST NOT TAKE LONGER FOR THE SAKE OF TAKING
LONGER. LET’S THINK ABOUT WHAT WE WOULD
ACTUALLY GET OUT OF TAKING LONGER. OR CAN WE GET ALL OF THE THINGS
THAT WE HAVE HEARD TAKEN CARE OF IN THE TIME THAT I THINK IT WILL
BE MOST IMPACTFUL? I ALSO HEARD A LOT ABOUT MAKING
SURE THAT THE CONSTITUTION ENSHRINES OR DOESN’T GET RID OF
ANY CHECKS AND BALANCES IN OUR JURISDICTION. AND I ASSURE YOU THAT I WILL
ONLY SUPPORT SOMETHING THAT DOES ENSHRINE THOSE CHECKS AND
BALANCES. NOT FROM THE CONGRESS, THOUGH. AND SO THAT’S WHAT’S DIFFERENCE
ABOUT WHAT’S BEFORE US. I HAVE HEARD SOME QUESTIONS
ABOUT DO THE ELECTED A.G. AND BEING UNDER THE GOVERNOR —
THAT’S NOT IN THIS CONSTITUTION. THE ELECTED A.G. CONTINUES TO BE
ELECTED IN THIS CONSTITUTION. THE A.G. IN OUR SYSTEM AND THE
WAY WE ARE SET UP IS PART OF THE EXECUTIVE. JUST LIKE THE CFO IS A PART OF
THE EXECUTIVE. JUST LIKE THE I.G. IS PART OF
THE EXECUTIVE. THAT’S NOT SAYING THEY ARE
SUBORDINATE TO THE MAYOR. THAT IS SAYING THAT THEY SERVE
AN EXECUTIVE FUNCTION. NOT A LEGISLATIVE FUNCTION, NOT
A JUDICIAL FUNCTION, BUT PART OF AN EXECUTIVE FUNCTION. AND THAT CONTINUES TO BE
ENSHRINED HERE. IT WAS ALSO VERY IMPORTANT TO
MANY PEOPLE THAT THE STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION IS INCLUDED. THAT THERE ARE ALSO SOME PARTS
OF THE GOVERNMENT THAT THE CONGRESS, THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT
HAS MORE SAY OVER WHAT HAPPENS THAN WE DO OR TOO MUCH SAY,
INCLUDING HOW WE WRITE OUR ZONING LAWS. AND SO THOSE ALSO ARE TAKEN CARE
OF BY OUR STATE GOVERNMENT AND NOT BY THE CONGRESSIONAL BODY. NOW, THE AMENDMENTS TO THE
CONSTITUTION, I THINK THERE HAVE BEEN SOME VERY CONSTRUCTIVE
RECOMMENDATIONS DONE HERE. AND I LOOK FORWARD TO HAVING
THIS CONVERSATION WITH THE MEMBERS OF THE COMMISSION. I ALSO WANT TO EMPHASIZE WHAT I
HEARD AROUND COMMUNICATIONS AND FUNDING AND SUSTAINING THE
EFFORT BECAUSE THIS HAS BEEN QUITE A LOT. WE ESTABLISHED IN THE GOVERNMENT
FOR THE FIRST TIME A REGIONAL AFFAIRS OFFICE THAT IS LED BY
BEVERLY PERRY. AND I WANT TO GIVE HER A BIG
ROUND OF APPLAUSE FOR HER FEDERAL AND REGIONAL WORK. [APPLAUSE] AND SOMEBODY SAID THAT WE SHOULD
HAVE STARTED THIS LAST YEAR, BUT WE DID START THIS LAST YEAR WHEN
WE CREATED THAT OFFICE, SO THAT WE WOULD HAVE A FOCUS IN THE
MAYOR’S OFFICE ON OUR RELATIONSHIPS WITH THE CONGRESS,
ON OUR RELATIONSHIPS WITH THE FEDERAL AGENCIES AND INDEED OUR
EFFORT TO CHART A NEW COURSE FOR STATEHOOD WHICH IS WHAT IS UNDER
WAY NOW. I ALSO HEARD A LOT ABOUT VOTING
AND MAKING SURE THAT THE PRINCIPLES OF ONE PERSON AND
HAVING ACCESS TO THE BALLOT BOX AND ONE PERSON ONE VOTE AND
HAVING COMPETITIVE ELECTIONS. AND I THINK THAT HAS BEEN RAISED
A NUMBER OF TIMES. AND FINALLY, I’LL SAY THIS. AND WE HEARD JAMIE RASKIN AND I
WAS SO PLEASED THAT HE WAS ABLE TO COME AND OFFER HIS
PERSPECTIVE. AND I HOPE THAT WE ALL PAY
ATTENTION TO WHAT JAMIE SAID. HE IS AN ALLY. HE’S A CONSTITUTIONAL SCHOLAR. AND HE WILL BE MORE THAN ANYBODY
ABLE TO HELP US ADVANCE THE CAUSE OF STATEHOOD. HE EMPHASIZED THE URGENCY OF
NOW. HE EMPHASIZED HAVING A
STREAMLINED CONVERSATION, STREAMLINED CONSTITUTION. AND HE EMPHASIZED MAKING SURE
THAT WE ARE GAINING ALLIES IN EVERY PLACE THAT WE CAN ACROSS
OUR COUNTRY. AND I THINK THAT WAS
SIGNIFICANTLY IMPORTANT. I AM REALLY VERY PROUD OF ALL OF
YOU FOR STAYING THE COURSE ON STATEHOOD FOR AS LONG AS YOU
HAVE. AND I OWE IT, WE OWE IT AND WE
ALL OWE IT TO OUR FELLOW CITIZENS TO MAKE SURE THAT WE
ARE MOVING FORWARD. SOMETIMES WE DECRY THE PEOPLE
WHO ARE NOT HERE WHEN WE NEED TO CELEBRATE THE PEOPLE WHO ARE. AND THEN FIGURE OUT HOW TO GET
EVERYBODY ELSE IN THE ROOM. [APPLAUSE] SO WITH THAT, IF THERE’S NO
FURTHER DISCUSSION AMONG THE MEMBERS OF THE COMMISSION, I
WOULD LIKE TO ADJOURN THE NEW COLUMBIA STATEHOOD COMMISSION
AND CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION OF 2016. [POUNDING OF GAVEL] [CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]

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  1. It looks like you edited my comments at this event, along with those of Josh Burch, when I discussed preparing to address the likelihood of a Repubolican controlled Congress and White House.

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