This newspaper article was transcribed from a scan of the original newspaper article on Chronicling America. It is being republished here in order to continue my advocacy for full representation for the American citizens of the District of Columbia.
Senator Gallinger’s Statehood Bill – Arizona Silver Belt, Globe City, December 11, 1902
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TO MAKE A STATE OF DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA – The New York Times, December 14, 1902
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WASHINGTON, Dec. 13- A little byplay for the advocates of statehood and their opponents is promised before the contest in the Senate is entirely over. Senator Gallinger, who has espoused the side of Senator Quay and the admission of the three Territories that are demanding to become States, has, as Chairman of the District Committee, introduced a resolution to amend the Constitution and make a State out of the District of Columbia.
The idea has taken with many of the people of Washington, and meetings are being held to discuss the prospect seriously. Last night a mass meeting was held at Brightwood, one of the largest suburbs of the city, and the Gallinger resolution was unanimously indorsed, but with a suggestion that there be a limitation on the suffrage.
The meeting was attended by many of the prominent and wealthy citizens of the District. Pressure is being brought to bear on Senator Gallinger to offer an amendment to the Statehood bill looking to the admission of the District as a State.
So far as population goes, Washington and the District have a good claim to admission. Delaware, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming all rank below the District in population. In point of intelligence and prosperity, so long as the Government stays here, there will be little doubt on that score.
The presence of a large negro vote and dubious jurisdiction involved in being the neutral ceded ground on which the Federal city is placed have been the chief difficulties in the way of giving the district any political status. The courts have uniformly held that the district in its political character is unlike any other principality on earth, and more nearly resembles the Bishopric of Durham than anything else.
Delegate Rodey of New Mexico led a large delegation of his constituents to the White House to-day to urge on the President the claims of the three Territories to admission into the Union.
The New Mexicans came away not entirely satisfied with the President’s manner in receiving their arguments. He was cordial and treated his callers with all possible consideration, but he did not promise he would help them to pass the Statehood bill. This was what they wanted and anything less than this seemed inhospitable.
Senator Beveridge also had a talk with the President about the bill, and when he came away from the White House said he could not make any comment on what the President had said to him, but he was more than ever confident of the defeat of the Tri-State bill. Beveridge says that Senator Quay has claimed too many votes and cannot muster a majority.
Yesterday I noticed this important committee now has it’s own webpage. I have been involved with this committee since it’s inception earlier this year and feel strongly about making sure as many people as possible know about it. If you are a DC resident or concerned citizen interested in becoming involved, please e-mail Amy Bellanca ( email@example.com ) to be added to her “citizen stakeholder” e-mail distribution list.
The next meeting of the Special Committee on Statehood and Self-Determination will be on Thursday, January 21st, 2010 at the UDC Law School and will involve a discussion with the students about DC Statehood and voting rights. This committee will also be involved in planning some DC Statehood events next year that I am very excited about. A big thank you goes to Chairperson Michael A. Brown for his steadfast leadership on this committee.
The Committee will also provide analysis of Congressional legislation and its potential impact on proposed Council legislation or initiatives, encourage communication between stakeholders, and encourage collaboration and coordination of statehood and voting-right initiatives and events within and outside the Council.
Committee Chairperson: Michael A. Brown (At Large)
Committee Clerk: TBD
Committee Members: Kwame R. Brown, Yvette Alexander, Mary Cheh, Harry Thomas, Jr.
Committee Contact Information
Office: 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Suite 406, Washington, DC 20004
Tel: (202) 724-8105
Fax: (202) 724-8071
Pat Buchanan Prefers To Be A Colonist. I Do Not. [YouTube Video Clip of MSNBC’s Morning Joe Show]
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I accidentally came across this footage from the MSNBC cable show “Morning Joe” with Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski. It was recorded back in February of this year on the morning after the Senate voted to approve the District of Columbia Voting Rights Act of 2009. After a short discussion, it turns out that Pat Buchanan prefers being a Colonist with taxation without representation.
whereyouare / whereiam@ – A Satircal Election Map of Maine’s Vote on Same-Sex Marriage
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The evening after Maine’s election results came in I was asked to help coordinate the sound system for an impromptu rally at Dupont Circle. During one of the speeches, I remember hearing someone mention that the ballot should never be used to let the majority of population impose it’s will on a minority population. Being that there are far fewer gay couples in Maine (or most states for that matter) than heterosexual couples; the point stood out in my mind.
Its an example of the “tyranny of the majority,” at the ballot box. The fundamental inalienable principles of equality, all men being created equal, and the pursuit of happiness are the foundation of American democracy and when those words were written the largest city in America was Philadelphia, with 28,000 citizens and the rest of the American population was mostly rural. Yet in the 200+ years since, the rural / urban divide has only grown more stark as some states contain few large centers of population. Paradoxically, its in these cities where the most social interaction & social education takes place. It’s in cities where people are more likely to see same-sex couples in their daily lives and possibly have same sex-couples as their friends, and thereby be more apt to see same-sex couples from a different perspective that is not based on prejudice towards The Other.
The modified map [pdf] above was originally found on the Bangor Daily News website. It shows how the state of Maine voted on the question of same-sex marriage. Voters were given the opportunity to Vote Yes and repeal the recently-passed same-sex marriage law or Vote No to keep it in place.
To remix this map, I first inverted the color scheme, which surprisingly yielded a pink color for the counties which voted 65% or greater to repeal the law. Ironically, its a color I personally associate with those who voted No. I then added my own typographical critique to the map. I created a pink square and placed in an unpopulated rural location and added the words “whereyouare,” in large font and in the southern portion of the map, in smaller font size, I added the words “whereiam@” above Maine’s largest city, Portland.
The justification for this subtle addition was to highlight the nature of the urban / rural divide. Portland, for example, voted 73.5% to not repeal the same-sex marriage law, so I placed “whereiam@” nearby to show where my vote would have been. Most rural areas overwhelmingly supported the removal of equal rights for their fellow citizens, so I placed the pink square in an area that doesn’t even an election precinct.
TAFT STIRS CAPITAL BY SUFFRAGE SPEECH – The New York Times, May 10th, 1909
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WASHINGTON, May 9.– Nothing has stirred the District of Columbia so much since the days of the civil war as the declaration made by President Taft at the dinner tendered him by the business men of Washington last night that suffrage for the District was impossible. His sweeping answer to the eloquent plea of Justice Stafford of the Supreme Court of the District for the privilege of the ballot has been discussed to-day wherever citizens of the District gathered. There is general disappointment at his attitude, but he finds champions even among those citizens who crave suffrage, but who acknowledge the logic of his arguments.
The President’s speech followed the appeal of Justice Stafford. He said:
“As I look about here into these smiling faces, these somewhat rotund forms that give evidence of prosperity, it is a little difficult for me to realize that it was about these caitiffs and these slaves that Mr. Stafford spoke.
“In spite of my experience with respect to Washington, I am a nationalist. This city is the home of the Government of a Nation, and when men who are just as much imbued with the principles of civil liberty as any who have come after, Washington at the head, put into the Constitution the provisions with respect to the government of the District of Columbia, they knew what they were doing.
“Now, I want to say, with reference to this discussion, that if this meeting or subsequent meetings are to be devoted to securing an amendment to the Constitution but which you are going to disturb the principle of two Senators from every State and you are going to abolish the provision that was put in there ex industria by George Washington, you will not get ahead in the matter of better government in Washington by such meetings. I do not want to seem to be abrupt, but I believe it is possible by such meetings as this to arouse the interest of Congress and the Executive to the necessity of consulting the people of Washington, to let them act as Americans act when they don’t have the right of suffrage, let them act by the right of petition.
“Now, I am opposed to the franchise in the District. I am opposed, not because I yield to any one in my support and belief in the principles of self-government, but the principles are applicable generally, and then, unless you make exceptions to the application of those principles you will find that they will carry you to very illogical and absurd results. This District was taken out of the application of the principle of self-government in the very Constitution that was intended to put that in force in every other part of the country, and it was done because it was intended to have the representatives of all the people in the country control this one city, and to prevent its being controlled by the parochial spirit that would necessarily govern men who did not look beyond the city to the grandeur of the Nation, and this city as the representative of that Nation.
“Now the question arises, What shall we do with the Government of Washington? Shall we have the present board of three? Shall we have one, or shall we have some other form? I confess I do not know. My predecessor has recommended a change of the present form as to give the responsibility to one, with the view of visiting that one with the responsibility. On the other hand, it is said that three have worked well; that it gives more opportunity, possibly, for counsel, and that it takes away the bureaucratic character of the Government.
“As I have said, I have reached no conclusion as to what recommendation I shall make to Congress on the subject. I fully concur with Justice Stafford in thinking that it would be most unwise to introduce into the District what I understand to be a bureaucratic form of government. That is right.”
HOME RULE FOR THE DISTRICT! GRAND MASS-MEETING OF CITIZENS AT ODD-FELLOWS’ HALL [The Washington Times, 1/20/1880]
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Addresses in favor of SUFFRAGE will be made by ROBERT G. INGERSOLL, THOMAS J. DURANT, J.F. KLINGLE and others.
All invited. Reserved seats for ladies. Members of Congress, you who have established this despotic appointive government over us, are respectfully invited to be present.
LOOK ON THIS PICTURE:
Debt of the District of Columbia in 1871, after 70 years under an elected government…….. $3,000,000
THEN ON THIS:
Debt of the District of Columbia in 1880, after 9 years under an appointive government……… $24,000,000
FIVE HUNDRED of our best citizens are houseless and homeless to-day in consequence of excessive taxation imposed upon them by this anti-American government.
WANT 20,000 SIGNERS – The Washington Post, November 16th, 1894
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Another organization of those in the District of Columbia who want to be full-fledged citizens with the right to vote and to have a voice in the management of local affairs was formed this evening. The plan of campaign differs in some particulars from that of the labor organizations instituted some weeks ago, but in other respects it is the same. Steps were taken for the circulation of a monster petition and an effort will be made to secure for it 20,000 signatures. This will ask Congress to allow a special election in the District to determine whether the citizens desire to maintain the present form of government.
The of the organization is “The District Suffrage Petition Association.” It grew out of the meeting of citizens which was held a week ago last evening at the John Wesley Church on Connecticut Avenue, between L and M streets. The meeting last evening was at the same place and the temporary organization of a week ago was made permanent. Robert Reyburn, M.D. presided, and was made the president. He is strongly in favor of the movement and spoke earnestly for it.
Here is the constitution which was adopted:
The object for which this association is founded is the securing of a representative form of government for the citizens of the District of Columbia. All citizens of the District of Columbia who believe in the principles of free government are invited to join, and aid in the movement, by forming branches or auxiliary associations.
The officers of the association shall be a president, two vice presidents, a secretary, and a treasurer. The president shall be a member, by virtue of his office, of all committees. The president and all other officers of the association shall perform all the duties usually appertaining to such offices in other organizations. An executive committee shall be elected by the members of the association (or appointed by the president), to devise such means as in their judgment will further the objects for which the association was founded. They will be called upon for a report upon the progress they have made, at every meeting of the association.
The order of business at the meetings shall be reading of minutes, report of the treasurer, report of the executive committee, and other committees, unfinished business, new business, adjournment.
Regular meetings of the association will be held on the third Tuesday of each month and can be called at any time on the written request of three members to the president, or, in his absence, to the vice president.
The meeting was called to order at 7:30 o’clock. A good number of the persons who had assembled were colored people, many of whom are well known in the District. There were in the neighborhood of a hundred present, of whom three or four were women. Lawyer James H. Smith, who was subsequently elected permanent secretary, took down the minutes of the proceedings. There were brief addresses by Dr. Reyburn, who said he had always felt humiliated that he should have lived so many years in the District without the rights of a citizen which those in the States enjoy. He did not feel contented that his son should be reared without the education in public affairs which an enjoyment of the franchise imposes. Dr. Reyburn also stated briefly the transactions of the previous meeting. Mr. Smith spoke after him urging the necessity of suffrage for the District. Then the constitution was adopted and the election of officers proceeded with. Besides the president and secretary already named W. Calvin Chase, the editor of the Bee, was chosen first vice president; Gustav Augustine, second vice president; E.M. Hewlett corresponding secretary; Mr. Smith having been designated as recording secretary, and Walter Callahan, treasurer.
Dr. Reyburn advanced the idea of circulating petitions, a number of copies of which he had caused to be printed. It was agreed that these should be carried about the friends of the cause and those present added their names. Dr. Reyburn said he proposed to have copies of these petitions in public places throughout the city, where signers could be secured. He believed this would be an effective method of expressing local opinion about suffrage to Congress. The petition reads as follows:
To the Honorable Senate and House of Representatives of the United States: We, the undersigned citizens and permanent residents of the District of Columbia, believe the present form of government existing in the District (by Commissioners) to be in direct violation of all the principles on which this republic was founded.
Moreover, we also believe that a large majority of the citizens and permanent residents of the District of Columbia are in favor of a change in this District from the present form to one in harmony with the principles of free government.
We respectfully urge and request, therefore, that a law be passed directing that a special election be held (as soon as practicable) by the citizens of the District of Columbia, to decide the question whether the citizens of this District desire to maintain the present form of government by Commissioners or to return to a representative form of government.
The next meeting will be held at this church next Thursday evening. A vote was taken also that the state monthly meetings should be held the third Thursday evening of each month, and the hour was fixed at 8 o’clock. Mr. Augustine said he had visited the hall of Typographical Temple, where a meeting of the labor organization interested in the suffrage movement was advertised to be held. He said that no one was in attendance. Milford Spohn, the president of that organization, was in the audience, and Dr. Reyburn called upon him to speak.
Mr. Spohn replied with moderation and outlined the work which the labor men had undertaken to do. A delegate of the Knights of Labor from Washington to the convention in session this week at New Orleans had been instructed to bring the matter to the attention of the body with the request that labor organizations all over the country should ask their representatives in Congress to grant the citizens of the District the right to vote. This was done because of the opinion that Congressmen would respect a petition much more when there a vote behind it. A similar request was to be made before the international convention of the unions of the Federation of Labor. He added that able editorials had been written by the newspapers of the District against local government. The chief objection which these contained was that the government now paid half of the taxes, and that this would involve an undesirable complication. He thought it was not manly to sell one’s birthright for fifty cents on the dollar, and declared that only those in the jails, insane asylums, and the District of Columbia were denied the full right of citizenship in the United States.
At the close of his speech Mr. Augustine spoke dramatically of local affairs, expressing his opinion that an investigation would reveal corruption in police circles far beyond that lately exposed in New York. an enthusiast then said that a reporter for a morning newspaper was unable to attend the meeting and he was making a motion that the secretary be authorized to make out a full report and sent it to the office, but was compelled to sit down by a chorus of laughter, in midst of which the meeting voted to adjourn.
The D.C. Statehood Vote – The Washington Post, November 20th, 1993
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The Washington Post, November 20th, 1993
Today the House of Representatives begins debate on whether the District of Columbia should become a state. The deliberation is historic, as will be the vote expected to follow this weekend. The issue is not the fate of statehood legislation this year: Supporters concede they have little chance of winning. It is whether a lopsided defeat will ultimately cost or break political ground for statehood. D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton contends that even in defeat, a vote `would give the undemocratic treatment of the District the serious national attention it would never attract in any other way.’ If that is the outcome, the statehood debate will be a milestone.
There is, after all, a historic wrong to be set right. The tax-paying, war-fighting citizens of the District, unlike citizens in the 50 states, have no control over their own governmental affairs. As residents of the nation’s capital, they are denied voting representation in the Congress, final word on the budgets and laws they enact, the ability to appoint their own prosecutors and judges and the ability to work out reciprocal taxing arrangements with neighboring jurisdictions. They are at all times subject to the whims of Congress.
We had hoped a way could be found for citizens here to enjoy the full political participation that is their due and still have their city remain the seat of the national government. But the defeat of a proposed constitutional amendment that would have given the District full congressional representation, and congressional inaction on other political reforms, made that outcome impossible. It became apparent that these goals could only be achieved in the context of statehood–but statehood that fulfilled certain clearly understood conditions.
As we said earlier this year, there are critical issues to be faced to make statehood feasible and desirable. We refer to a prenegotiated agreement or understanding with suburban representatives for a limited commuter tax, resolution of the congressionally created unfunded pension liability problem that threatens the District’s financial solvency and a predictable, stable and guaranteed payment to the new state.
Of the three issues, today’s statehood proposal addresses only the payment question. It eliminates the federal payment and replaces it with a payment in lieu of taxes arrangement that mirrors the funding scheme for other states with federal property within their borders. The merits of that alternative, as well as Congress’s role in addressing the other issues that could threaten the new state’s fragile viability, ought to receive a thorough airing this weekend. If a consensus can be reached on how best to approach those outstanding issues, this unprecedented debate, whatever the vote, will take statehood to a new and better place.
Tax Fairness for D.C. – The New York Times, October 30th, 1993
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The New York Times, October 30th, 1993
With a population of nearly 600,000, the District of Columbia has more people than Vermont, Wyoming or Alaska. Yet its Mayor and City Council have limited power. And the District is denied a voting representative in the same Congress that rules on its affairs.
The colonial character of this arrangement was underscored this week when Congress voted on the Washington D.C. budget, and grandstanding politicians from other places tried to deny its citizens the right to spend their own money as they see fit.
The District’s budget totaled $3.7 billion. The $3 billion came from District citizens in taxes; all but a tiny fraction of the rest is what the Federal Government pays for occupying 41 percent of the District’s land, on which it pays no taxes. The Federal payment is a miserly sum, given that the Government presence costs the District $2 billion a year in lost tax revenues.
Still, many in government see the District as a pawn in a political game. George Bush once vetoed the city budget, forcing the District to ban the use of even locally raised tax revenues to furnish abortions for impoverished women. C-Span’s broadcast of the District’s budget vote showed the latest act in this political amateur hour.
Representative Dan Burton, Republican of Indiana, seemed not to have read the budget bill but that didn’t deter him. He questioned the salaries of the District’s City Council members, and condemned District voters who chose to return the former Mayor to office as a Councilman. He picked out random lines in the budget and asked the sponsors to explain them. This nitpicking came at the end of a tortuous 18-month process that the District suffers to get its budget.
Congress as usual? Perhaps. But imagine yourself a citizen of the District, with no voting representative in Congress, watching as Congressmen questioned not just the vote you had cast in your city, but your entitlement to tax dollars that you had paid to local government for local use. How angry would you be?
Mr. Burton rationalized his antics by contending that Federal tax dollars were at stake. But the bulk of the budget is D.C. tax money. The Federal payment that makes up the rest is rent, and skimpy rent at that. Congress oversteps in trying to control how its bargain-basement rent is spent. Mr. Burton was performing for the people back home. But what people in Indiana need to see is that their Congressman is trampling on the rights of citizens just like them, all for a little time on camera. No wonder Congress was besieged by District demonstrators agitating for statehood.
It’s hypocrisy that America champions democracy abroad while refusing fair political treatment to the citizens of its own capital.