D.C. Statehood: Popular as Dirt

All those folks pushing for D.C. statehood -- the mayor, our shadow "senators" and a host of dedicated activists -- have apparently been laboring for naught. A new Washington Post poll of 1,011 randomly selected adults nationwide found that 58 percent gave statehood for the nation's capital a resounding no. The margin of error was plus or minus 3 percent.

The question: "Do you favor or oppose making Washington, D.C., a separate state?" The answer: 22 percent said they favor D.C. statehood, and 20 percent said they don't know.

Democrats were more likely than Republicans and independents to stand up for D.C. (25 percent versus 20 percent and 19 percent, respectively). Young folks were more sympathetic than old (30 percent vs 12 percent, respectively). And folks living in the Northeast and West were friendlier than those in the South and Midwest. (The lineup: Northeast, 27 percent favor; West, 24 percent favor; South, 21 percent favor; and Midwest, 15 percent favor.)

Maybe the mayor needs to spend a little less time in Thessaloniki and Dakar and a little more time in Fargo and Akron....

By Lori Montgomery |  March 24, 2006; 6:52 AM ET
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Yeah next time you see a family visiting from Iowa trying to figure out the metro tell them that they really should check out the Congressional Heights and Prince George's Plaza areas. Tell them they will make lots of new friends if they chant "lock up Barry" once they get off the metro!

Posted by: Sparky jr | March 24, 2006 09:21 AM

Not sure that the statehood movement, as supported by those in power, is really about statehood as much as it is about getting some type parity via representative voice.

Posted by: Mark | March 24, 2006 09:24 AM

Mark, exactly right. I think only the most delusional think statehood is in the offing anytime soon. The realistic objective is simply to get Congressional representation. And not Eleneor's "vanity vote" the Dems handed out, where she could vote when it didn't matter to the result.

Personally, I think the more realistic objective should be retrocession of all but the monumental core to MD. Or a less realistic, but funny idea would be to work with Alexandria, Arlington, and Fairfax to rejoin (in the case of the first two) and then claim the 51st state. VA screws them over anyway, so why not join up? Let Richmond enjoy it's silliness without the cash cow to fund them, while the addition of NOVA would dilute the predominant Dem profile and make it more palatable to the Reps.

Posted by: John | March 24, 2006 09:49 AM

I always thought we should hold out for representation in both Congr. Houses. Without representation in the Senate, the playing field will never be close to level.

Posted by: Mark | March 24, 2006 09:59 AM

While statehood is a stretch, I believe Delegate Norton should get full voting rights on the House floor.

Posted by: Elisa | March 24, 2006 11:42 AM

A national education and communications campaign is the key to generating interest and understanding for the plight suffered by the disenfranchised residents of DC.

Such a campaign is only possible with the backing of local politicians with real muscle and their ability to involve deep-pocket benefactors willing to foot the bill.

DC Mayors, Delegates to Congress, and local elected officials have talked the talk, but none have walked the walk with any real determination.

Yes, they will tell you about all they've done to secure a bit of representation or some degree of autonomy here & there. Who among our elected officials, though, has disrupted a State of the Union Address, stood before a tank in Tiananmen, or otherwise put their neck on the chopping block?


Posted by: CT | March 24, 2006 11:48 AM

The amazing thing about all this is that nationally very few people are actually aware that DC does not have voting rights! A national survey, regarding our disenfranchisements, hardly carries any weight without education for the country about its capitol. People just don't know!

Posted by: Sean | March 24, 2006 11:59 AM

i nominate you, CT! maybe you and some friends can paint your faces, make some banners and face down a Bush motorcade....

Posted by: Lori Montgomery | March 24, 2006 11:59 AM

CT,

That sort of symbolic silliness is exactly why people don't support it. Yes, I know competence is not a requisite for Representation, but the fact is that without overall public support it won't happen. And you know as well as I do that the first thing you hear from a non-DC resident is "Oh great, like we need Congressman Barry".

We do symbolic stuff all the time. The twit who refused to vote in the Electoral College. Protests. Yadda, yadda. And the general public looks at it and says "like those idiots should be in Congress?"

What we need is some realism and practical effort. Maybe admit that an economically non-viable entity which houses the National govt. probably won't ever get Statehood, and work for retrocession of the non-Federal city? Maybe use the high per-capita income of the residents to funnel campaign contributions into state party primaries to get chits with the folks on the Hill?

Symbolism is played out, and achieves nothing.

Posted by: John | March 24, 2006 12:03 PM

What an awesome post. I find it humorous and enlightening, I love it.

Aaron from Minnesota

Btw, I oppose D.C. statehood; for now my mind could be changed, I never say never.

Posted by: Aaron L. Wittnebel | March 24, 2006 12:09 PM

Of course, there's that little matter of the Constitution in re statehood as well.

Posted by: Stick | March 24, 2006 12:14 PM

Boy it must be really easy to oppose statehood, when you don't live in DC! They don't live in an ambigous federal territory where they have to pay Federal taxes and have no vote in congress.

Posted by: Gabe | March 24, 2006 12:23 PM

No question there, Elisa.

What motivates my call for Senate representation is my desire for financial independence.

It's unhealthy for DC that so much of our budget is decided by people who have little or no personal stake in managing our city well. With Senate representation, we might be better able to get a share of the wealth generated in the DC metro region. We may even be able to reduce or eliminate our reliance on Federal subsidies.

I want us to be able to fend for ourselves, and to be responsible for doing so. That will encourage better planning and more seriousness among us.

Posted by: Mark | March 24, 2006 12:28 PM

Lori,

If I was invited to sit with President Bush's special guests at the SOTU address, you can be assured the nation would hear from me about DC voting rights.

Recall, also, that Howard Dean pledged --if elected-- to make DC voting rights a topic of his first SOTU. So if I was his guest, I'd just sit and smile :)

Posted by: CT | March 24, 2006 12:38 PM

I suppose it was a bit premature for D.C. Vote to be patting itself on the back the other day. I had posted that the "TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION" license plates were a bust, even though over 1 million of them can be found on the roads.

Robbie
http://beyondthemall.wordpress.com/

Posted by: Robbie | March 24, 2006 12:40 PM

Count me in as a pot-stirer. Retrocession or nothing.

Posted by: aflapr | March 24, 2006 01:15 PM

I live in Mt Pleasant; I've seen the way this city doesn't operate. I've seen how criminal politics is here. I've been persecuted by the un-civil non-service employees of the District at all levels. I'm opposed to statehood.

I am in favor of making DC a Federal Enclave that is tax free. All of the states of the union would provide money to support the district in the same way they are represented in the Congress. Each state would provide an equal share, and each state would provide a representative share for the annual operation of the District.

The city would become a show piece. There would be money available to ensure housing availability for low and middle income families. It would work out much better then statehood.

Posted by: D~ | March 24, 2006 01:18 PM

I don't like the wording of the question. It implies (to me) that DC is asking for something special. It sounds a little too much like, "Do you support DC seceding from the union?"

Perhaps if it were phrased: "Do you favor or oppose granting DC the same rights as every other state?" the results would change.

Posted by: Eli | March 24, 2006 01:23 PM

(1) Without viable leaders such as Julius Hobson and Sammy Abbott (who?) the Statehood Party has faded into nothingness. That ought to be the first step in pushing for statehood again.
(2) At least one "serious" statehood bill, introduced by House District Committee Chairperson Ron Dellums (who?) back in the 1970's actually had hearings before getting mired by the type of rednecks who seem to be making too many of these comments.
(3) That bill would have retained a federal enclave within which residents still would be denied a vote, and everyone else would be included in the new state.

It amazes me that folks who support an American-imposed theocracy in Iraq do not support "democracy" for hundreds of thousands of tax-paying fellow citizens.

Posted by: fracas | March 24, 2006 01:44 PM

I hear what John's saying and I wish I could agree, but I don't. Is it in the combined interests of MD and VA for one or the other or both to give up their greatest source of tax revenue? Why would they do that? Also, why would the other states dilute their vote in congress (and lose the chance to use us as an occasional petri-dish for wacko gun and tax experiments)? We have no vote in this matter, and so we have little of substance to offer in return for getting one.

It falls on us to make the most of the hand we've been dealt. To me, this suggests playing to others' sense of fair play. Norton, Williams, and others have been doing this but, as they also have other priorities and responsibilities, they cannot press the issue as hard as necessary. For this, I think we need a grass-roots effort. Our current unfair system has been in place for so long that it is broadly accepted and ignored. It will not change unless we raise nationwide awareness, and that will not happen without some type of dramatic and controversial statement and, perhaps, sacrifice on our part.

I'd like to see a large-scale tax protest movement and a Boston tea party-style event at the reflecting pool. People wearing the "Taxation without Representation" shirts. people marching. People getting arrested for non-payment This would certainly draw national attention to the outrageously undemocratic and inequitable situation. We could do it annually, if need be.

Posted by: none | March 24, 2006 02:03 PM

Wow, to listen to the whining and complaining from all the DCers here....

If you don't like the situation that DC is in, then...drumroll....MOVE OUT! It's a free country! You are living there of your own volition. The constitution says you don't get a vote in Congress, so deal with it, one way or the other.

DC will never become a state, at least in my lifetime (and thank the Lord). Why would other states want to dilute their control/influence over Congress? What could possibly give anyone confidence that DC has the ability to choose competent national representatives, after seeing who they've chosen to govern themselves? DC is a smallish city, and a disfunctional one at that.

Posted by: JD | March 24, 2006 02:23 PM

Uhmmm... lets see, a billion dollar budget surplus, crime levels going down, property values sky rocketing and property tax increases are nowhere near what some other states have seen. How many other states out there have a billion dollar surplus??

Oh yeah and that's a great argument, "if you don't like it move" because that is soo easy. Why don't you just up and move despite the fact that you might have friends and family who live near by or your job and/or place of worship are near by.

Sounds like there are a lot of republicans and racists commenting here against DC statehood. Bunch of true red, white, and blues here "ah it's not my problem if +600,000 of my own country men can't vote, what do I care? how does it benefit me" There was a Greek term for people like this it was originally used in the ancient Greek city-states to refer to people who were overly concerned with their own self-interest and ignored the needs of the community. These people were seen as having bad judgment in public and political matters. It's called Idiot!

Posted by: Wow SO uninformed | March 24, 2006 02:38 PM

I agree with a previous blogger here. I am an Independent voter, leaning to the GOP, but a moderate voter, pro McCain, not pro Bush, but am certainly no Liberal Deaniac / Pelosiist Democrat. But a good, Middle of the Road" compromise is to have a Constitutional Ammendment allowing DC to have a voting Congressional Representative. While I am sure Bush would veto this, perhaps the House and/or Senate may be majority Democrat in 07 and, thus, could humiliate Bush in overriding his Veto on this. At any rate, the next President in 2009, who will either be a Democrat, or a moderate Republican (like McCain, I hope !) would almost certainly sign on to this ammendment of giving DC a full Vote in the House, making it into a much needed law.

Posted by: Craig L | March 24, 2006 02:43 PM


There is a very paternal, sometimes racist, assumption that somehow D.C. would never be able to govern itself if given the opportunity. I grew up in D.C. and now live in a very large and broken state - California. California has had the opportunity to elect movie stars, destroy its tax base and leave important legislative decisions to popular referendums. Why is this somehow less scary then D.C. being a state?

To anyone who thinks that moving out of D.C. is the answer: We live in a democracy and when citizens are constitutionally banned from voting there is something wrong.
If you are comfortable NOT being able to vote, perhaps you should move to a more oppressive regime where voting is simply not an option.

Posted by: KW | March 24, 2006 02:44 PM

This is a classic case of a question's wording influencing the answer. I'm sure if you asked the question, "Do DC residents deserve the same voting rights as any other American?" there would be an overwhelmingly positive response.

Posted by: Jesse | March 24, 2006 02:47 PM

JD is exhibit A in my argument.

A tax-protest march timed to take advantage of confluence of the Cherry Blossems blooming in late March and the IRS filing deadline of April 15th would be best for the media.

Posted by: None | March 24, 2006 02:49 PM

The day that DC gets statehood will be five years after Peurto Rico and other territories get statehood, and not a moment sooner.

Besides, all you Beltway serfs are in such denial over what's happening in the rest of the country, and how mad we all are at your insanity, it doesn't really matter what you in Versailles think.

Posted by: Will in Seattle | March 24, 2006 03:01 PM

Will in (the other) Washington:

Who do you think we residents of DC are? For the most part, we're not the one's running the country. If we were, we'd already have a vote. If you, who lives 2000+ miles away thinks insanity by beltway serfs is maddening, perhaps you can imagine how we feel.

Anyway, if it doesn't matter what DC residents think, why would you read a blog on local DC politics?

Posted by: More like the slums of Rio... | March 24, 2006 03:16 PM

Hey, wake me up for the Cherry 'Blossem' protest, I can help bang the drums and gather the nuts and berries.

Seriously, the question is: if it bothers you DCers so much (and I'm from Virginia, I'm sure you've guessed that by now), then why are you staying there? Move to Maryland - same politics, same taxes (more or less), you get 'your' candidate in there, etc. There's a reason that non-DCers don't live there - and if voting is important to someone then they choose another place.

No DC residents are dying in an 'immoral war' (nice neutral language there, BTW) without having volunteered. DC residents pay federal taxes, and last I checked they vote on president and vice. You have home rule more or less, and tremendously benefit from the presence of the federal government, budget-wise and prestige-wise.

I agree that the management of the city has improved recently, although friends who live and work there (a cop, a healthcare worker, and a real estate appraiser) say the DMV is still a nightmare, public school isn't an option, and crime is still way too much of a problem.

This is not meant to be paternalistic or racial (and shame on anyone who tries to play those cards, or sees everything through the prism of race...like the WaPo editorial board); just a dose of realism. Just read the constitution. And Craig L, I think you need more than a vote to do what you suggest - doesn't a constitutional amendment have a much higher bar to clear, something like 2/3 or 3/4 of all states signing on?

Posted by: JD Again | March 24, 2006 03:36 PM

Perhaps it would enlighten our readers across the country if they understood that a majority of the political movers and shakers in the D.C. area live in Virginia or Maryland. The district itself is filled with ordinary citizens trying to make a living...and wanting to make a difference.

Posted by: Chrissy | March 24, 2006 03:37 PM

It is not playing 'race card' to admit that racial politics have existed in this country from its inception and continue to shape our conversations. The issues that arise around D.C. statehood won't be resolved unless this is directly addressed. Denying it won't help your argument.


Posted by: KW | March 24, 2006 03:50 PM

There are some things DC needs to do to sell its case for statehood:

Settle on one constitution for the new state of New Columbia. There are currently two. One was ratified in 1982 and the other proposed in 1987, but never ratified by the voters (and therefore null and void).

Replace its city structures with state structures.

Stand Up for Democracy is organizing a People's Constitutional Convention to discuss these issues and make recommendations to the Council. Delegates to the convention will be selected in a caucus open to all DC registered voters. After the time and date of the caucus are nailed down, members of the Democratic State Commitee, DC Statehood Green Party General Assembly, DC Republican Committee and ANC Commissioners (as well as the general public) will be invited to run to be convention delegates. The tentative date for the caucus in May 20th. The organizing committee is in disucssion with several sites and we hope to finalize soon.

After the convention meets and makes its recommendations to the Council, it will be asked to put these on the ballot. Should a single constitution be agreed to (thus amending the current ratified constitution) and home rule act amendments agreed to, a stronger case will be made for statehood.

Retrocession advocates and the Committee for the Capital City are free to hold their own convention to draft an organic act for their vision of Douglas County, Maryland. However, we won't do their work for them.

There are other options as well. There is, of course, beyond voting rights, statehood and retrocession. There is retrocession lite, which is Rep. Dana Rohrbacher's bill, which can be considered along with the Davis Bill, to grant representation through Maryland. To do this, an interstate compact between MD and DC would be necessary to settle questions of electoral eligibility (only voters who would be otherwise eligible to vote for the House of Delegates could vote for Congress - whether this can be accomplished without retrocession is a matter for litigation. A permissive reading of the constitution on this is possible) and to work out reapportionment so that the District is fully integrated into Maryland after the next census on the principle of one person, one vote.

Even after representation is settled, there is the question of control. Right now, Congress assumes it has a plenary right to change DC's form of government without the consent of its citizens. That may have been the case before the passage of the Home Rule Act. However, because it was ratified by the voters, any amendment of it should meet the same test. In every state of the Union and every other territory, either an intervening election must occur or a vote must be taken. Because the former is not relevant to the situtation of DC, the latter must be accomplished, else a violation of the Equal Protection Rights of DC citizens has occurred. That the plenary power of Congress must meet equal protection has been litigated by the Supreme Court in Bolling v. Sharpe, which turned aside an objection to desegregation which rested on that plenary power.

Of course, if DC voters had representation through Maryland, the Maryland GOP would be the most ardent advocates for statehood in the nation.

Also, if we ended the fun of Congress in tinkering with DC's form of government, their objection to statehood would melt.

One final action would help. Florence Pendleton's Shadow Senate term is up for bids this year (I don't know if she is running or not). This is the only office where another office can be held concurrently. I propose that the District draft Carol Schwartz to run for that seat. If she wins, the whole 2 Democrats or nothing argument goes away. While she may be pro-choice, her anti-tax credentials are such that she would be welcome in the Senate Republican Conference. If we offered one of each party (and Carol would be hard to topple once seated), statehood becomes an easy proposition.

That is the measure of the sincerity of statehood or voting rights advocates. Would they accept statehood if one of the Senators was a Republican?

Posted by: Michael Bindner | March 24, 2006 03:54 PM

Hey, JD. I understand. Civic involvement is not your thing and, as you point out, if DC got voting rights your homestate of VA might be lessend. So, just stay at home in your nice insular suburb and watch the FOX or CNN or whatever. After all, what's it to you, anyway?

Oh and, by the way, I'm from VA and didn't like it, so I MOVED OUT. Like, 15 years ago...

Posted by: Solipstic, JD? | March 24, 2006 04:47 PM

Those who support statehood for DC want a disproportionate amount of power in the national government. But I agree that that the citizens of DC should have voting representation in the Federal government. The only workable and fair solution is for the population of DC to be counted in the Maryland census and to vote for a Maryland Congressman. The population of DC should also be given the right to vote in one of the Maryland Senate districts. This may add a congressman to the Maryland delegation but it will provide representation that is proportional to the population of the city.

Posted by: TS | March 24, 2006 04:59 PM

I appreciate the frustration felt by the residents of D.C. and would like to suggest a method for achieving statehood that no American will dare oppose.

Article I, Sec. 8 of the U.S. Constitution reads: "The Congress shall have Power To.....exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District [D.C] (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of Particular States, and the Acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States..."

Before D.C. can achieve statehood, this clause will need to be amended. For information on how to amend the U.S. Constitution, see Article 5.

Posted by: Solon | March 24, 2006 06:01 PM

Whenever there is a debate about representation for the District of Columbia, there are always several comments that the constitution does not provide for district representation so it should not exist.

There never seems to be, however, a recognition that the ratified constitution did not authorize a federal income tax. The federal income tax did not come about until the 16th amendment in 1913.

If anyone thinks that the original framers of the constitution intended a scheme that would allow such "taxation without representation" you need to go re-read your history books. After all, the founding fathers went to war "For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent".

Once the citizens of the District became subject to a federal income tax, they became entitled to full voting representation in the body that establishes that tax. No other conclusion can be justified.

Posted by: Parker | March 24, 2006 06:15 PM

DC should have some sort of deal where it gets the same rights as statehood. Most people have the idea of a state as much larger than DC even though DC has more people than Wyoming. Giving DC statehood or de facto statehood would not be giving a disproportionate amount of power to DC. I too am sick of people saying that if we don't like it, that we should move. Of course. It's so easy to leave your community. And Will from Seattle is obviously an idiot if he honestly thinks that everyone that lives in and around DC is involved in politics and the government. Sadly, the stereotype that there's nothing in DC except the government continues.

Posted by: MK | March 24, 2006 08:30 PM

Retrocession to Maryland is the answer, but I like John's idea of retro-retroceding Arlington for a new state.

The notion of statehood for the city of Washington is a pipe dream of the city's local politicians who aspire to higher office. If they really cared about voting rights for citizens, not to mention governmental competence, they'd work for retrocession.

Posted by: Richard | March 24, 2006 09:36 PM

I believe it goes back a few generations - a Federal District. Read about it in the Constitution. Get over it. It ain't gonna happen.

If you don't like it, move. I'm in favor of letting the District become a voting part of MD. They have the same political bent so they should be happy with each other.

Posted by: PK | March 25, 2006 10:29 AM

Wow... sparky jr. the Congressional Heights??? Sounds like a golf course to me. Are you from Iowa or something? Boy...I really wish people would spend a lot less time worrying about a former Mayor and more time worrying about the one that has put a for sell sign on DC. I mean get over it, Marion Barry has little to no power and people are still worrying about what the rest of the country thinks about him. And correct me if I'm wrong but PG plaza is in Maryland right?? So who cares what they say to tourist who rides the Metro there.

Posted by: native resident | March 27, 2006 10:30 AM

I'm curious JD what is a "smallish city". Let's see geographically Washington is bigger than Oakland, Boston, Miami and San Francisco. I think you would call those major cities right??? We have an 8 billion dollar budget, 3800 member police force and a median income of around $45,000 a year. The median house price is $441,000, we're represented by all of the major sports and we have 600,000 people and a metropolitan area that's approaching 6 million. 45% of the residents have graduated from college and we have a major subway system,that is the second busiest only to New York City. Finally...we have the third largest amount of commercial office space outside of NYC and LA. What exactly makes this place smallish. Please back up your claim with facts. You know....since you think everybody in America should control us, maybe they need to be required to learn our history and the basic facts about the city so that they don't like fools like you.

I really wish some of you carpet baggers that move here and add absolutely no civic value would just go back home, you need us we don't need you. I mean really....if where you came from was so great why didn't you just stay there. Don't let the door hit you!!!!!!!

Posted by: Native Resident | March 27, 2006 11:10 AM

I think it is time to return D.C. to Maryland.....it did belong to those folks way back when....that sure would solve this so-called voting problem !

Posted by: Bill | March 27, 2006 12:16 PM

Off topic, but Iraqis as a whole are actually highly educated and not dirty or ignorant. There is really no good reason to denigrate them to make your point, Frank9230.

Posted by: down, boy | March 27, 2006 02:02 PM

Hey, I've got a friend who was born in DC and grew up there, graduating from college even, before she moved here to the real Washington.

My point is called one thing - reality.

So long as Peurto Rico doesn't have statehood, you have nil chance of getting it. Argue all you want, but them's the cold hard facts.

Posted by: Will in Seattle | March 27, 2006 06:30 PM

Well Will in Seattle, tell the person you're talking about good luck in the suicide capital of America. I went there last June for a week and the only thing they I could do was to keep an umbrella to cover my head and a towel to dry off. I wasn't impressed. I digress....I think you've forgotten that Puerto Rico was offered the opportunity to become a State via a referendum a few years back and they voted it down. You know why...BECAUSE THEY DON'T PAY U.S. TAXES RIGHT NOW AND THEY DON'T WANT TO PAY THEM!!!!! However, they enjoy the protections of being a US territory. I'd be glad to give up the statehood argument if I were exempt from paying taxes. Please people do your research.

Posted by: Native Resident | March 28, 2006 08:45 AM

Of course it would help me as a property-owning DC resident not to pay federal taxes but, if you think DC's cost of living (eg, property values and taxes) are ridiculous now, just imagine what they would be when the most wealthy in this country decided that DC, with all its access to transportation, museums and culture, was the ideal tax-shelter alternative to Texas or Florida.
Eliminating Federal Taxes in DC is a sure and rapid way to widen the class divide.

Posted by: Mark | March 28, 2006 10:05 AM

Statehood would be a mistake. As long as we are a federal city the federal government has an obligation to keep us afloat. Also, I've lived in a state with representation and I don't feel any difference!! Plus the fact, if D.C. became a state, the level of incompetence would remain the same--HIGH.

Posted by: Beej | March 28, 2006 11:12 AM

I think DC should have a Potomac Tea Party; first, who the hell is the Congress/Senate to have their own 'city' in this day and age and second, all those from other parts of this country who are against statehood should really consider what TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION really means. It isn't about a vanity vote but about what this nation was initially built on. I suspect they would change their minds.

Posted by: Slick | March 28, 2006 11:27 AM

While statehood is a stretch, I believe Delegate Norton should get full voting rights on the House floor.

Posted by: Elisa | March 24, 2006 11:42 AM

Mabe she should pay her income taxes first.

Posted by: DC Flash | March 28, 2006 11:32 AM

I agree with D on March 24 at 1:18 pm. The leaders that DC chooses are absolutley horrifying and if we elected Senators and Reps it would probably be an embarrassment.

That being said, I know from converstaions I've had with my family that most people outside DC don't realize that we don't have Congressional representation. I just don't think they equate "statehood" with congressional representation or lack thereof.

Finally, I've lived in DC for about two years now, and in spite of its many problems I really do love it. But why the Hell can't we elect some decent leaders and hold them accountable? Seriously- what is up with that? This is a world class city with a sophisticated population, so why is it we can't get some decent people to run it?

Posted by: Pamela | March 28, 2006 11:48 AM

Well, people in Iraq don't pay US taxes, but they bleed our nation dry. And they love their new American-paid-for Islamic Theocracy.

I'm just telling you political reality - you can deny it and shuffle the deck chairs - like the Card thing with Bush today - or you can deal with it, and try to leverage a combo PR/DC statehood deal that might actually get through.

Posted by: Will in Seattle | March 28, 2006 01:31 PM

To Will in Seattle:

Sorry; your President got us into Iraq and he and his oilmen buddies are what's bleeding America dry -- not to mention senselessly killing/maiming our youth. And there is no "new" theocracy in Iraq; it was always Islamic.

Posted by: Slick | March 28, 2006 02:34 PM

You must surely be joking about statehood. The only benefit that giving a rep. and two (?!?) senators to D.C. would be to bump Louisiana out of the most corrupt and incompetentlocal government in the nation slot.

With all due respect, the place is solely a fiat of the Federal Government. Why would there be a reason to create a new political entity that was utterly dependent on the federal gove. for support.... can't the current crop of politicians see as clearly as those ~200 years ago that there is a problem with conflict of interest?

Without wanting to be cruel, the idea of approaching the topic with the current state of affairs in leadership and competence looks like an attempt to get more money... and didn't we learn (and are still observing with growing cynicism about motives and competence) a lesson about pouring money on a local problem when the leadership is dysfunctional?

DC was never intended to be a state, it was and is a transit point for citzens involved in government. The only rational change would be to push most of it back into one or the opther of the neighboring states. The idea of more representation in congress is as appealing as inviting the U.N.

Posted by: Jim | March 28, 2006 02:36 PM

To Pamela:

1st, I've lived in DC for about 14 years, and hold an ANC position in Ward 2. I follow DC politics more closely than most. An introduction of sorts being out of the way, we do have some (even many) good politicians and leaders in DC. DC's just hard to govern. We really don't have our own budget authority to the extent other jurisdictions do, as we're dependant on a somewhat-unreliable annual hand-out from the Fed Gov. Second, we're just a few years out of MAJOR fiscal problems. Third, given the large (and growing) income divide in DC, what's good policy for one group is bad for another.

Anyway, I'm all for giving our elected representatives more authority (by way of congressional representation) and the increased responsibility that comes with it. For too long, we've been able to lean on the Federal Gov to bail us out. We shouldn't need to do that. They should give us representation and phase out our subsidy.

Posted by: Stay a little longer | March 28, 2006 03:10 PM

Now go back and conduct the same poll for the Gulf Coast Region, particularly those areas similar to and including the black New Orleans sections of town. Let's see how many of these same fols want to bring these areas back and to upgrade the levies there.

Then ask yourself, now what do these two areas have in common? And if you still cannot figure it out, one only has to consider whether or not the results would be the same if the demographics in D.C. were different.

Those same people would not tolerate the same for a majority white, Washington D.C., if it were appealing for its Rights!!!

By the way, where is the Conservative Right, with respect to this issue? Answer: Against it? What a sad and polarized country?

Posted by: Seal of Abraham | March 29, 2006 08:12 AM

To those who say to Washington DC Americans, to simply leave...

In most civilized societies around the world(one can argue if this one ever was or will be), you remove the criminals (from the society), not the other way around. If anyone should go away, or be put away (as some have suggested on this blog), it should be people who think like, and act as these do, in denying the rights of other American citizens.

So, to those who say to DC residents, if you don't like the fact that you cannot acquire Statehood or Congressional Representation, move out of DC, let me give you my response to that. Why don't you return to the compassionateless, incompetent, incomprehensible, godless and barren existence that you originated from? Oh and if you leave, pick up journalist Bob Novack and his crowd and take them with you, for people who think and act like you do have ruined this country, not the other way around.

I am not and have never been a resident of Washington, DC. But the fact is that I was born in the polarized white supremacist's northern portion of the United States of America. I was raised in, worked with, lived besides, and was denied my rights by people like you, the same who formed a country made up of murdering invaders; white-supremacist racists; tax-evaders; human slave traffickers; child-molesters (of black underage females); rapists (of black slave females); adulterers (with married black females); home-wreckers; profiteers; separatists and Klansmen who were ELECTED to the highest offices in the land (in Congress, the Supreme Court and the White House).

D.C. residents stand your ground. The majority of you did not ask to be in America or in DC, they brought your ancestors here. You are the legacy of those (mostly slaves) who were left scattered all over this country, including in the Washington DC area.

And as your ancestors who worked for many Presidents and other politicians in this country, particularly Washington DC, were denied their constitutional rights, you are being denied the same and subjected to a compasstionateless Congress and electorate, controlled by people who think and believe just as they did, today, i.e, both Democrats and Republicans.
.
To see an example of people like these, who were considered the best that America had to offer, just drive over to Mt. Vernon and visit the former home of the First President of the USA. At Mt. Vernon you will see where the problem began, the same problem that you are struggling against today.

There you will find the remains of a celebrated, (God only knows why) white pimp-daddy President, the first President of these United States), who exploited and pimped over 360 black human beings so that he and his family could live a life of luxury and ease. Those black slaves had no rights, and did not receive either pay or inheritance for their labor..

These are the kinds of people who Americans see and celebrate as heroes, others they deny their rights. These are the types of people that makeup the opposition that you been struggling with over the past few decades. The rights of black Americans were disregarded then, just as they are being denied now. Hang in there DC, for there are those of us who support you, and keep in mind the demographics in America are changing!

P.S. And for those of you who will say that race has nothing to do with this, and that you are not a racist, and you can prove it because you have black friends, I simply answer the following. Just as you can have a mother, daughter, wife and a sister and still be a sexist (just ask your wife, mom, sister or daughter if you are a sexist), in the same token you can have black friends, and even be married to a black individual and worship in a mixed-congregation', and still be a racist white supremacist who feels that some people are beneath you, and not entitled to certain rights, privileges and freedoms; or as some have said, "not yet ready for self-governing"?

Posted by: Solomon | March 29, 2006 10:08 AM

Wasn't DC initially conceived to be independent of the states so no 1 state would have undue influence over the federal government?

Posted by: Mike | March 29, 2006 10:09 AM

Remebering recent polls where individuals were asked to list the capitals of states, location of states (east or west of Mississippi River)etc and couldn't, I suspect that many who responded to this poll probably thought that Washington D.C. was part of an exisiting state - Virginia, Maryland, Iowa...

Posted by: jesthinking | March 29, 2006 10:33 AM

Here is my two cents worth:

Return the majority of the district to Maryland / Virginia. Retain the obviously federal properties as the "Federal District", i. e., White House, Capital Building, and immediate sourounding land, as appropriate. The remaining areas not federally owned become part of the new "City of Washington DC", as part of the State of Maryland. The details will have to be worked out concerning Federal, State, Counth and City Juristictions, but given enough time the details can be worked out.

By this method, the residents of the new City of Washington, will be enfranchised, gain representation, and pay their taxes to a more local and visible form of government.

I completely relize this will be disruptive to the livelyhoods of many DC Civil Servants, and local politicians. But the good of the majority far oughtweigh the wants of a few.

Tell mey what you think at papaprieth@yahoo.com

Posted by: J H Prieth | March 29, 2006 12:14 PM

Don't underestimate the value of public education. Last year, a New Jersey gas station attendant (there's no self-serve in NJ) asked me what "taxation without representation" meant on my plates, and I told him we pay plenty in taxes but have no sens. or reps. His response: "Wow, I'd be pissed! That stinks!"

Posted by: JP | March 30, 2006 09:15 AM

DC residents deserve full US voting rights whether the property is called a State or not. DC residents need to be able to vote for two Senators and have their voting power mean something in the election and they need to elect members of the House of Representatives according to the population, just like all other US citizens. Call it Statehood (but realize that is entirely unlikely) or go for Retrocession to Maryland and be a City of clout along with Baltimore. Full voting rights now, somehow.

Posted by: | March 30, 2006 10:26 AM

Jim says, "...it was and is a transit point for citzens involved in government."

It in fact is NOT a transit point. When D.C. was established as the Nation's capital it was a rather desolate swampland. It now has over 600,000 people living here, more than Wyoming and Vermont!

"Wasn't DC initially conceived to be independent of the states so no 1 state would have undue influence over the federal government?"

Yes, but is this is a realistic qualm? Our legislature is made up of Congressmen and women from every state. They comprise and fund the Federal government. Exactly how can one state, whether it houses the government or not hold undue influence over such a parity of power?

Posted by: Mike W. | March 30, 2006 03:35 PM

Good observation Mike W., I'll take it a step further. If you want to talk about un due influence and who has the advantage over the nations capital, please see...MD and VA four of the 10 richest counties in the country reside around washington, DC. Do you think the people in Iowa, Kansas and Nebraska know about that I doubted. 75% of all the money earned in this city goes to those two states. I don't believe that the founders ever conceived of our National Capital region becoming so vast and interdependent.I don't mind succession, but who'll run the Nations Capital? If you think the DC govt. is bad wait until you see DC under Congressional control (see Hurricane Katrina)

Posted by: native resident..... | March 31, 2006 10:21 AM

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