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A New Strategy For Full Representation in Congress: Have the District of Columbia Government Sue State Legislatures
|| 7/14/2010 || 2:54 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

Last night I received an e-mail from Timothy Cooper, executive director of World Rights, about his recent appearance on NewsChannel 8 and decided to save the video to publish here. The thrust of the new strategy is to have the District government sue the State legislatures around the United States for denying District residents full representation in Congress using international law as the basis for this lawsuit. The strategy is quite novel and I’m curious to see how this turns out.



Washington, D.C., Approves Medical Use of Marijuana By Ashley Southall – The New York Times, May 5, 2010
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Screen grab of Washington, D.C., Approves Medical Use of Marijuana By Ashley Southall - The New York Times, May 5, 2010

Today my names appears for the first time in the New York Times:

Nikolas Schiller, the secretary of the D.C. Patients’ Cooperative, a nonprofit group that advocates legal medical marijuana, said the amendments would have clarified ambiguities in the bill. He pointed to an example of a Wal-Mart worker in Michigan, where medical marijuana is legal, who was fired in March after he tested positive for the drug, which he used to cope with sinus cancer and an inoperable brain tumor.

“We asked the Council to introduce the protection for that and they refused to,” Mr. Schiller said. “And it was very infuriating to sit and watch the best practices from other states, other jurisdictions be ignored.”

Although Ashley recorded a much longer interview with me after the District Council’s final vote, I am happy (read: not infuriated) with how this article is written. I wish she could have highlighted some of the more important issues I spoke to her about. Regardless, I am still disappointed the Councilmembers voted to create one of the most restrictive medical cannabis programs in the country. The reality is that Congress already approved a more liberal version earlier this year and these amendments are far away from the original intent of District residents. The next Congress can take the program away, so why not legislate to create the very best program in the country modeled off of what works? I am sad to say that without home cultivation and limiting growers to 95 plants, the program is going to have some problems, but I hope, in time, we can fix them.

Anyways, yesterday’s vote was an important start, but there is a long way to go…

Read the entire article:

+ MORE



SENATES VOTES, 55-32 FOR DRY WASHINGTON – The New York Times, January 10, 1917
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As I mentioned before, I thought it was interesting that the Senate would even consider a referendum on Prohibition in the District of Columbia. As it turns out, the Senate tyrannically voted the District of Columbia ‘dry’ without the referendum. Another interesting note that was definitely not taught to me in my American history class was that at the time of the passage of the 18th Amendment to the United States Constitution (aka Prohibition) most jurisdictions in America had already voted on whether they wanted to be ‘wet’ or ‘dry’, with most jurisdictions throughout the United States choosing be ‘dry’. At the end of the article the author mentions a Prohibition Map of the United States, but I have yet to find it on-line. If I do find it, I’ll be sure to post it here.


SENATES VOTES, 55-32 FOR DRY WASHINGTON

Tie Vote on District of Columbia Bill Indicates National Prohibition’s Standing.


CAME OVER REFERENDUM


Only 355 Wet Counties Left in the 2,543 in All the States of the Union, W.H. Anderson Says.

WASHINGTON, Jan. 9 – The Sheppard bill for prohibition in the District of Columbia after Nov. 1 was passed by the Senate today and sent to the House after a long fight. The vote was 55 to 32. The decision followed the rejection of the Underwood amendment, proposing to submit the question to a popular referendum, by a tie vote of 43 to 43. As the Vice President was not present to cast the deciding ballot the amendment was lost under a rule of the Senate.

The vote on the referendum is being considered tonight as a fair indication of the line-up in the Senate on the proposed referendum is being considered tonight as a fair indication of the line-up in the Senate on the proposed referendum regarding a constitutional amendment for national prohibition which has been reported favorably by the Judiciary Committee, and which would require a two-thirds vote to pass.

Neither the vote on the referendum amendment nor that on the passage of the bill was on party lines. There were 26 Democrats and 17 Republicans voting for the referendum and 23 Democrats and 20 Republicans voting against it. Most of the Republicans of the Progressive group voted against it. For the bill itself there were 28 Democratic and 27 Republican votes, with 22 Democrats and 10 Republicans against it. All the Progressives voted for passage.

The says that after Nov. 1 “no person or persons, or any house, company, association, club or corporation, his, its or their agents, officers, clerks, or servants, directly or indirectly, shall, in the District of Columbia, manufacture for sale, or gift, import for sale, offer for sale, keep for sale, traffic in, barter, export, ship out of the District of Columbia or exchange for goods or merchandise, or solicit or receive orders for the purchase of any alcoholic liquors for beverage purposes or for any other than scientific, medicinal, pharmaceutical, mechanical, sacramental or other non-beverage purposes.


Scientific Needs Recognized

Another section says the measure cannot be construed to prevent the manufacture, importation, exportation or sale of denatured methyl alcohol or of ethyl alcohol for scientific, medical, and like purposes, but their manufacture and sale are limited to licensed druggists or manufacturers. The so-called locker system is specifically forbidden.

All common carriers bringing intoxicants into the District are required to keep a record of the shipper and consignee, who must make affidavit that the intoxicants are for personal use.

Heavy penalties are provided for violations, including a provision aimed at physicians who prescribe liquor for patients without a cause. Efforts to forbid absolutely manufacture in the District and from it were beaten without a a record vote. An amendment by Senator Phelan which would permit sale of “wine, ale, beer, and porter” also was defeated.

The vote was preceded by little debate on the terms of the bill, but many explanations were given by Senators of their reasons for voting for and against the Underwood referendum amendment.

There were fewer absentees than at any other vote this session. During the several hours after the bill automatically came up and before the vote was taken every seat in every gallery except that reserved for the Diplomatic Corps was filled, and scores were standing or sitting in the aisles. About half the spectators were women. The crowd made only one real demonstration, that of hearty approval when the final vote was announced.

[ Note transcribed: a listing of the Senators who voted For and Against the Referendum ]


PREDICTS A “DRY” NATION


W.H. Anderson Expects National Prohibition in Ten Years

“It looks like very dry times ahead, and in the very near future. The upholding of the Webb-Kenyon bill by the Supreme Court will precipitate a regular epidemic of State laws restricting interstate shipment of liquor, and in ten years I believe this country will be absolutely dry.”

This was the comment of William H. Anderson, Superintendent of the New York wing of the Anti-Saloon League, yesterday, on the action of the United States Supreme Court Monday, when it held the law prohibiting shipment of liquor from wet to dry States to be valid. The decision brought joy to the camps of all the different organizations that have been fighting liquor in various ways, some of them advocating total prohibition, some local option, and others temperance.

“This is rapid progress,” Mr. Anderson said. “The public scarcely realizes to what extent the United States has gone dry in recent years. All of the wet territory in this country today could be put into the State of Texas. Of the 2,543 counties in all of the States of the Union, there are only 355 wet counties left, and some of these are partly dry.

“It now appears exceedingly probable that Congress will submit the national prohibition amendment to the voters of the country before 1920.”

Mr. Anderson said that the Webb-Kenyon bill itself would not prevent liquor from being shipped to most of the present dry States, as only three of four of these had passed laws absolutely prohibiting shipments of liquor. But, Mr. Anderson said, the action of the Supreme Court could not have come at a more opportune time, as most of the State Legislatures were now in session.

The National Executive Committee of the Anti-Saloon League will hold a meeting tomorrow in Washington.

A map obtained yesterday from the Anti-Saloon League here shows graphically the onward march of prohibition throughout the United States. As done in black and white- the white representing the “dry” States, and the black the “wet” – New Jersey stands out as the only State in the Union where liquor is sold throughout all its confines. Next, as a States where license predominates, comes Nevada, where liquor is sold almost universally with the exception of two “dry” spots, one on the Northern border and one near the California line.

Entirely dry are Maine, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, George, Alabama, Michigan, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, Colorado, Arizona, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, and Washington. New York State is almost half “dry”; Pennsylvania more than half. The “dry” territory spreads over almost half Wisconsin. Minnesota is roughly a third “dry,” and the anti-liquor forces have conquered much of California.

States in which local option has driven nearly out, but which remain “wet” as States, are Utah, Wyoming, New Mexico, Texas, Florida, and Delaware.

Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio are dotted with “wet” spots, but the “dry” territory predominates.



SENATE TIE ON PROHIBITION – The New York Times, December 20, 1916
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This article discusses the Senate’s actions toward implementing Prohibition in the District of Columbia. I found it rather interesting that the Senators were willing to hold a referendum on Prohibition and let District residents vote for the first time since the 1870s. More importantly, the referendum was to include women, who did not earn the right to vote until the passage of the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution.


SENATE TIE ON PROHIBITION


But Suffrage Wins a Referendum Test Vote, 54 to 15
Special to The New York Times.

WASHINGTON, Dec. 19- The first test of prohibition sentiment in the Senate came today when a vote on Senator Underwood’s amendment to Senator Sheppard’s bill providing for a referendum on the establishment of prohibition in the District of Columbia, resulted in a tie, 38 to 38. Immediately before the Senate had gone on record overwhelmingly for at least a limited degree of women suffrage, but voting 54 to 15 to accept an amendment giving the women of the District the right to vote under the terms of the referendum.

According to the Senate rules the tie vote defeated the referendum proposal, but as the Senate was at the time acting in Committee of the Whole, Senator Underwood announced his intention of bringing the amendment up again tomorrow when the bill will be reported by the committee to the Senate. A vote on the bill itself is also expected tomorrow.

The provision for a referendum was generally supported by the opponents of the prohibition movement, and today’s vote was commonly regarded as an accurate gauge of the strength of the prohibition forces. Both advocates and opponents of national prohibition have watched the course of the District prohibition bill in the Senate with increasing interest since the House Committee on Judiciary voted to report favorably the national prohibition amendment.

The two parties were very evenly divided today in the vote on the referendum. Twenty-three Democrats and fifteen Republicans voted in favor of the referendum and twenty Democrats and eighteen Republicans opposed it.

Before the vote was taken an amendment offered by Senator Williams of Mississippi was accepted, permitting women to vote, and inserting property and educational qualifications in the requirements for suffrage on the referendum vote. Senator Jones’s amendment making it possible for residents of the District who are citizens of other States to vote was also accepted.

The vote came unexpectedly after a long afternoon’s debate. As soon as the fate of the referendum was known Senator Underwood attempted to fix a definite time tomorrow at which his amendment could be voted on again by the whole Senate. The move was defeated, and the advocates of the prohibition measure attempted to force an immediate vote on the bill itself. They were forestalled by Senator Stone of Missouri, who made a motion that the Senate go into executive session to consider some appointments recently made by the President. The motion was carried, and the final decision on the Sheppard bill was postponed until tomorrow.


This newspaper article was transcribed from a scan of the original newspaper article. The document was obtained from the New York Times archives and is in the public domain. It is being republished here in order to continue my advocacy for full representation for the American citizens of the District of Columbia.



S280 – A Bill To Repeal an Act Entitled ”An Act to Retrocede the County of Alexandria, in the District of Columbia, to the State of Virginia” – United States Senate, April 23, 1866
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Within two years of the end of the Civil War, it was realized that Virginia’s retrocession in 1846 was unconstitutional and Senator Benjamin Wade, a Radical Republican introduced a bill to repeal the act:


Page 1 - S280 - A Bill To Repeal an Act Entitled 'An act to retrocede the county of Alexandria, in the District of Columbia, to the State of Virginia'
Page 2 - S280 - A Bill To Repeal an Act Entitled 'An act to retrocede the county of Alexandria, in the District of Columbia, to the State of Virginia'
Page 3 - S280 - A Bill To Repeal an Act Entitled 'An act to retrocede the county of Alexandria, in the District of Columbia, to the State of Virginia'
Page 4 - S280 - A Bill To Repeal an Act Entitled 'An act to retrocede the county of Alexandria, in the District of Columbia, to the State of Virginia'
[ Source: Library of Congress ]

Bills and Resolutions
Senate
39th Congress, 1st Session:
April 23, 1866

Mr. Wade asked, and by unanimous consent obtained, leave to bring in the following bill; which was read twice, referred to the Committee on the District of Columbia, and ordered to be printed.

A Bill To repeal an act entitled ”An act to retrocede the county of Alexandria, in the District of Columbia, to the State of Virginia,” and for other purposes.

Whereas the Constitution of the United States provides that Congress ”shall exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever over such District (not exceeding ten miles square) as may, by cession of particular States, and the acceptance of Congress, become the seat of government of the United States;” and whereas by an act of Congress approved July sixteenth, anno Domini seventeen hundred and ninety, ten miles square of territory was accepted from the States of Maryland and Virginia, as the permanent seat of government, constituting what was subsequently known as the District of Columbia, which when so accepted and defined, all jurisdiction over the same was, by the Constitution, forever vested in Congress, whose duty it was then, and forever after, to preserve unviolated and free from all control whatsoever, save that of Congress; and whereas experience derived from the recent rebellion, has demonstrated the wisdom of preserving such ten miles square under the exclusive control of Congress, both for military and civil purposes, and for the defense of the capital; and whereas, by an act of Congress approved July ninth, anno Domini eighteen hundred and forty-six, that portion of said ten miles square lying south of the Potomac was ceded back to the State of Virginia, in violation of the intent and meaning of the Constitution of the United States, and to the great peril of the capital as aforesaid: Therefore,

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the act of Congress approved July ninth, anno Domini eighteen hundred and forty-six, retroceding to the State of Virginia that portion of the district ten miles square, as provided by the Constitution, known as the District of Columbia, be, and the same is hereby, henceforth and forever repealed and declared null and void, and that the jurisdiction of Congress, and the laws provided for the District of Columbia be, and the same hereby, put in force, as same as if said act of retrocession had never been passed.

Sec. 2. And be it further enacted, That private and personal property shall not be affected by this act, so far as the rights of parties are concerned; and all public property whereof the United States were possessed at the time of the retrocession of said portion of the District of Columbia to the State of Virginia shall, from and after the passage of this act, be vested in the United States government, any law, act, or conveyance to the contrary notwithstanding, and the government, through its proper officials, is hereby authorized to acquire, by purchase or otherwise, any and all further property, real or personal, in said portion of the District of Columbia, as may be deemed necessary for public use.

Sec. 3. And be it further enacted, That all suits and actions at law, civil or criminal, shall from and after the passage of this act be conducted and determined according to the laws, rules, and regulations enacted and provided by Congress for the District of Columbia, excepting causes wherein final judgment, decree, or sentence shall have been pronounced or passed; in such cases the final satisfaction of such judgments or decrees will be in accordance with the laws in force in the State of Virginia. But all causes wherein final judgment or decree shall not have been passed or pronounced, shall be in future conducted and determined as provided by this act.

Sec. 4. And be it further enacted, That all taxes and revenues assessable and collectible on property, real or personal, in said portion of the District of Columbia south of the Potomac, shall from and after the passage of this act, be rated, collected, and applied according to the existing or future laws of Congress governing the District of Columbia.

Sec. 5. And be it further enacted, That from and after the passage of this act all civil offices in the said portion of the District of Columbia south of the Potomac, in the city of Alexandria and what is known as the county of Alexandria, shall be declared vacant; and the vacancies so created shall be filled by new appointments or elections, to be made and held under the laws, regulations, and qualifications provided by Congress for elections and electors in the District of Columbia.

Sec. 6. And be it further enacted, That this act shall be in force from and after its passage.



The Full Text Of An Act for the Release of certain Persons held to Service or Labor in the District of Columbia
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Washington, DC celebrates April 16 as Emancipation Day. On that day in 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Compensated Emancipation Act for the release of certain persons held to service or labor in the District of Columbia. The Act freed about 3,000 slaves in the District of Columbia nine months before President Lincoln issued his famous Emancipation Proclamation. The District of Columbia Compensated Emancipation Act represents the only example of compensation by the federal government to former owners of emancipated slaves. While the slaves of DC were the first to be freed in America, through the continued denial of congressional representation, their decedents are the last to be fully equal.

Text and Image Courtesy of the National Archives


An Act for the Release of certain Persons held to Service or Labor in the District of Columbia

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That all persons held to service or labor within the District of Columbia by reason of African descent are hereby discharged and freed of and from all claim to such service or labor; and from and after the passage of this act neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except for crime, whereof the party shall be duly convicted, shall hereafter exist in said District.

Sec. 2. And be it further enacted, That all persons loyal to the United States, holding claims to service or labor against persons discharged therefrom by this act, may, within ninety days from the passage thereof, but not thereafter, present to the commissioners hereinafter mentioned their respective statements or petitions in writing, verified by oath or affirmation, setting forth the names, ages, and personal description of such persons, the manner in which said petitioners acquired such claim, and any facts touching the value thereof, and declaring his allegiance to the Government of the United States, and that he has not borne arms against the United States during the present rebellion, nor in any way given aid or comfort thereto: Provided, That the oath of the party to the petition shall not be evidence of the facts therein stated.

Sec. 3. And be it further enacted, That the President of the United States, with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall appoint three commissioners, residents of the District of Columbia, any two of whom shall have power to act, who shall receive the petitions above mentioned, and who shall investigate and determine the validity and value of the claims therein presented, as aforesaid, and appraise and apportion, under the proviso hereto annexed, the value in money of the several claims by them found to be valid: Provided, however, That the entire sum so appraised and apportioned shall not exceed in the aggregate an amount equal to three hundred dollars for each person shown to have been so held by lawful claim: And provided, further, That no claim shall be allowed for any slave or slaves brought into said District after the passage of this act, nor for any slave claimed by any person who has borne arms against the Government of the United States in the present rebellion, or in any way given aid or comfort thereto, or which originates in or by virtue of any transfer heretofore made, or which shall hereafter be made by any person who has in any manner aided or sustained the rebellion against the Government of the United States.

Sec. 4. And be it further enacted, That said commissioners shall, within nine months from the passage of this act, make a full and final report of their proceedings, findings, and appraisement, and shall deliver the same to the Secretary of the Treasury, which report shall be deemed and taken to be conclusive in all respects, except as hereinafter provided; and the Secretary of the Treasury shall, with like exception, cause the amounts so apportioned to said claims to be paid from the Treasury of the United States to the parties found by said report to be entitled thereto as aforesaid, and the same shall be received in full and complete compensation: Provided, That in cases where petitions may be filed presenting conflicting claims, or setting up liens, said commissioners shall so specify in said report, and payment shall not be made according to the award of said commissioners until a period of sixty days shall have elapsed, during which time any petitioner claiming an interest in the particular amount may file a bill in equity in the Circuit Court of the District of Columbia, making all other claimants defendants thereto, setting forth the proceedings in such case before said commissioners and their actions therein, and praying that the party to whom payment has been awarded may be enjoined form receiving the same; and if said court shall grant such provisional order, a copy thereof may, on motion of said complainant, be served upon the Secretary of the Treasury, who shall thereupon cause the said amount of money to be paid into said court, subject to its orders and final decree, which payment shall be in full and complete compensation, as in other cases.

Sec. 5. And be it further enacted, That said commissioners shall hold their sessions in the city of Washington, at such place and times as the President of the United States may direct, of which they shall give due and public notice. They shall have power to subpoena and compel the attendance of witnesses, and to receive testimony and enforce its production, as in civil cases before courts of justice, without the exclusion of any witness on account of color; and they may summon before them the persons making claim to service or labor, and examine them under oath; and they may also, for purposes of identification and appraisement, call before them the persons so claimed. Said commissioners shall appoint a clerk, who shall keep files and [a] complete record of all proceedings before them, who shall have power to administer oaths and affirmations in said proceedings, and who shall issue all lawful process by them ordered. The Marshal of the District of Columbia shall personally, or by deputy, attend upon the sessions of said commissioners, and shall execute the process issued by said clerk.

Sec.6. And be it further enacted, That said commissioners shall receive in compensation for their services the sum of two thousand dollars each, to be paid upon the filing of their report; that said clerk shall receive for his services the sum of two hundred dollars per month; that said marshal shall receive such fees as are allowed by law for similar services performed by him in the Circuit Court of the District of Columbia; that the Secretary of the Treasury shall cause all other reasonable expenses of said commission to be audited and allowed, and that said compensation, fees, and expenses shall be paid from the Treasury of the United States.

Sec. 7. And be it further enacted, That for the purpose of carrying this act into effect there is hereby appropriated, out of any money in the Treasury not otherwise appropriated, a sum not exceeding one million of dollars.

Sec. 8. And be it further enacted, That any person or persons who shall kidnap, or in any manner transport or procure to be taken out of said District, any person or persons discharged and freed by the provisions of this act, or any free person or persons with intent to re-enslave or sell such person or person into slavery, or shall re-enslave any of said freed persons, the person of persons so offending shall be deemed guilty of a felony, and on conviction thereof in any court of competent jurisdiction in said District, shall be imprisoned in the penitentiary not less than five nor more that twenty years.

Sec. 9. And be it further enacted, That within twenty days, or within such further time as the commissioners herein provided for shall limit, after the passage of this act, a statement in writing or schedule shall be filed with the clerk of the Circuit court for the District of Columbia, by the several owners or claimants to the services of the persons made free or manumitted by this act, setting forth the names, ages, sex, and particular description of such persons, severally; and the said clerk shall receive and record, in a book by him to be provided and kept for that purpose, the said statements or schedules on receiving fifty cents each therefor, and no claim shall be allowed to any claimant or owner who shall neglect this requirement.

Sec. 10. And be it further enacted, That the said clerk and his successors in office shall, from time to time, on demand, and on receiving twenty-five cents therefor, prepare, sign, and deliver to each person made free or manumitted by this act, a certificate under the seal of said court, setting out the name, age, and description of such person, and stating that such person was duly manumitted and set free by this act.

Sec. 11. And be it further enacted, That the sum of one hundred thousand dollars, out of any money in the Treasury not otherwise appropriated, is hereby appropriated, to be expended under the direction of the President of the United States, to aid in the colonization and settlement of such free persons of African descent now residing in said District, including those to be liberated by this act, as may desire to emigrate to the Republics of Hayti or Liberia, or such other country beyond the limits of the United States as the President may determine: Provided, The expenditure for this purpose shall not exceed one hundred dollars for each emigrant.

Sec. 12. And be it further enacted, That all acts of Congress and all laws of the State of Maryland in force in said District, and all ordinances of the cities of Washington and Georgetown, inconsistent with the provisions of this act, are hereby repealed.

Approved, April 16, 1862.



“Representation, Reforestation” Was Selected For The DC Urban Forest Project
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I’m looking forward to finding out where my “tree” will be “planted” in downtown DC. I should know sometime next month!

My Urban Tree Project Submission: Representation, Reforestation

From the AIGA DC Website: AIGA DC would like to thank the Washington DC community for contributing over 400 submissions to be judged for The Urban Forest Project Washington DC. We are excited to share with you the 100 artists whose artwork was selected to be exhibited this spring on street banners. In addition to the professional artists, the work of AIGA DC’s mentoring teams and the Corcoran College of Art and Designs students* will be included.

Please look for additional information regarding the exhibition date, online gallery and reception in a couple of months. In the meantime visit ufp-dc.com to see where the banners will be exhibited.


WINNING PROFESSIONAL DESIGNERS AND ARTISTS
Sandy Adams
Antonio Alcala
Milagros Arrisueno
Julia Ames
Ioana Balasa
Sarah Hitchcock Becker
Ed Bisese
Nancy Bratton
Jessica Blair Buchanan
Bryan Byczek
Craig Cahoon
Sarah Chamberlain
Danielle
Dominique Chirinciuc
Ryan Clennan
Ryan Cooley
Adriana Cordero
Cecilia Cortes-Earle
MIchael Crossett
Daniel Delli-Colli
Tara Detchemendy
Alex Diaz
Eileen Doughty
Ilfigenija Dupras
Alessandra Marie Echeverri
Lauren Emeritz
Jo Fleming
Liani Foster
Lara Fredrickson
Rachel Freedman
Doug Fuller
Alia Faith
Nathan Gomez
Francheska Guerrero
Nicole Hamam
Robin Harris
Rania Hassan
Sean Hennessy
Richard Lee Heffner
Allen Hopper
Marcie Wolf Hubbard
Alicia Jager
Ann Kerns
Minki Kim
Ethel Kessler
Phyllis Klein
Galen Lawson
Marni Lawson
Sara Lin
Patti Look
Betsy Martin
Jessica Menk
Jamie Mitchell
Kudirat B. Momoh
Phil Napala
Catherine Nichols
Phil Napala
Katie O’Brien
Julian Oh
Nicole Parente-Lopez
Michelle Thomas
Hillary Reilly
Elizabeth Renomeron
Jessica Reynolds
Karen Rose
Kerri Sarembock
Erika Satlof
Monica Servaites
Shikha Savdas
Nikolas Schiller
Alex Schultz
Carolyn Sewell
Lindsey Smith
Marri Stanback
Greg Stein
Randall Stoltzfus
Rachel Stone
Hermano Talastas
Shelby Tanase
Angela Terry
Julee Dickerson Thompson
George Travez
Joe Velasquez
Sarah Joy Verville
John Wehmann
Jessica Witmer

AIGA DC MENTORING TEAMS
William Jones + Erin Green
Dezae Precia + Nicole Hamam
Demetria Williams + Jane deBruijn

*Not listed are the selected Corcoran Art + Design students

THE JURORS
Sam Shelton, Kinetik
Jim Darling, Useful Studios
Rachel Dickerson, DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities
Monica Lear, Urban Forestry Administration, DDOT
Linda Harper, Director of Cultural Tourism DC


ABOUT THIS PROJECT
This spring, The Urban Forest Project, a global public arts and environmental initiative, will plant 100 street banners designed by local designers and students in the downtown Washington DC. Each banner will use the form of, or metaphor for, a tree to make powerful visual statements about the environment. Together they’ll create a forest of thoughtful images in the heart of the nation’s capitol. Once the banners come down from the light poles, the artwork will be repurposed into tote bags for purchase. Proceeds from the sales of the tote bags will go to non-profit environmental efforts that will aid Washington DC in being a cleaner, greener and more sustainable city.

This project, conceived by Worldstudio, is being presented in Washington, DC by the District Department of Transportation (DDOT), in collaboration with the Corcoran College of Art and Design, AIGA DC and Downtown DC Business Improvement District. Seed funding for the project was provided through a grant from the USDA Forest Service with corporate sponsorship being sought to support implementation.

+Visit the DC Urban Forest Project Website



Vote Victory Result Of Luck, Hard Work, Some Sweat, Tears – The Washington Post, March 30, 1961
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This newspaper article highlights some of the work that was undertaken to ratify the 23rd Amendment to the United States Constitution. Two curious items that I learned from transcribing this article was that the Washington Post sent out a team of correspondents to 44 state capitals to cover the ratification process and that Tennessee was the only Southern state to ratify the Constitutional Amendment. As I have noted here & here, Arkansas was the only Southern State to flatly reject the Constitutional Amendment based mostly on the racial makeup of the District of Columbia. Nonetheless, I’ve got to wonder that with all the technological innovations in the last 50 years, would it be easier to pass a Constitutional Amendment nowadays than it was then?


Vote Victory Result Of Luck, Hard Work, Some Sweat, Tears

23d Amendment Had Close Calls, Many Friends

To the Washington resident starved for the vote the Constitution offered cake: He could be elected President of the United States.

Until the adoption of the 23d Amendment yesterday the Constitution denied him bread: the right to vote for the great office to which he always has been eligible to be elected.

Amending the Constitution is extremely difficult. The approval of two thirds of the members of both Houses of Congress must be won, then the approval of three fourths of the states (either their legislatures, as in the case of the 23d Amendment, or of specially called state conventions, as the case with the 21st Amendment repealing prohibition).

Amended 12 Times

And in the 170 years since the Bill of Rights went into effect the job has been done only 12 times. Several attempts have failed.

The 23d Amendment hardly had the intoxicating, thirst-slaking appeal of the prohibition-repeal Amendment. That it went through 39 states faster than the 21st went through 36 is astonishing.

It is astonishing even if you know of the confluence of luck and circumstance- including the dedicated, devoted work of many persons to a democratic principle, of the fortuitous political self-interest of some, even of the desire to use the presidential vote to head off home rule- that lie behind the 23d’s passage.

The whole story can never be told. But there are several examples of luck and lucky dedication that helped bring the vote to Washington:

+ A ratification resolution squeaked by the Illinois Senate with a 2-vote margin.

+ Tennessee almost certainly would not have ratified had it not been for the decision of Gov. Buford Ellington to rescue an Amendment resolution that a House committee had tabled. Tennessee was the only Southern state that ratified.

+ A House-passed resolution was before the Indiana Senate. Adjournment- until 1963- was but a few days away. It was not realized that the bill had not been lost en route from the printer and was, therefore, not on the Senate calendar.

Because of a routine “How are things going?” phone call from Sturgis Warner, presidential vote counsel to the District Democratic and Republican State Committees, the lost bill was found- and ratified in time.

The GOP-controlled Wyoming Senate got a do-not-pass recommendation from its Judiciary Committee. Under ordinary circumstances that would have been the end of the resolution.

Mary Bruner, District GOP Committee secretary and a former clerk in the Wyoming House, was horrified. She felt that the central problem was that Wyoming legislators did not understand that the Amendment would give District residents the presidential vote- period.

The Wyoming Press Association was meeting at the time in Cheyenne. Mrs. Bruner’s younger brother, Jim Griffith Jr., editor of the Lusk (Wyo.) Herald, had just been elected president.

She contacted him and influential Wyoming friends, including Lewis E. Bates, editor of the Wyoming State Tribune in Cheyenne, and State Treasurer C. J. Rogers.

Even before the Judiciary Committee action, the state’s lone Congressman, Rep. William Henry Harrison (R-Wyo.), had wired compelling appeals for support.

The Senate constituted itself as a committee of the whole, took the Amendment from the Judiciary Committee, passed it and sent it to the House, which later ratified it.

Perhaps it was luck, too, that Washington’s newspapers- divided on home rule and many other issues- were wholeheartedly united in trying to win the presidential vote.

Last September, The Washington Post set up a network of legislative correspondents in 44 state capitals. Especially in recent weeks, they provided The Post with the caliber of phone and wire coverage of fast-breaking news that can come only from experienced, on-the-spot reporters.

Beyond that, these correspondents themselves became interested in the Amendment. Their interest stimulated that of their own and other newspapers, of state legislators and of governors.

Slip-up in Vermont

There was one slip-up. The Vermont Senate had passed a ratification resolution. One day, the Vermont correspondent reported that the House had ratified. The report was duly printed.

Next morning, the office of Rep. Robert T. Stafford (R-Vt.) said there must have been a mistake- that the House had approved on a second, not a third and final, reading.

The cleark of the Vermont House, Dale Brooks, confirmed this. He said the House was in session at the moment (the morning of Friday, March 10) but was tied up with a fish and game bill. He doubted that final action could come before the following Tuesday.

The Washington Post reporter, almost speechless at the possibility of having to repeal Vermont, managed to ask Brooks if he would call collect whenever the House did ratify. Brooks said he’d be glad to.

Brooks called back within 10 minutes. He said that he had apprised Speaker Leroy Lawrence of the situation, and that the Speaker had suspended legislative hunting and fishing and called up the Amendment resolution, which was passed- unanimously.

For New Mexico’s ratification much credit is due to the wife of George Dixon, The Washington Post columnist. She is the daughter of Sen. Dennis Chavez (D-N. Mex.) Her name is Ymelda as most Dison’s fans know by this time.



This newspaper article was transcribed from a scan of the original newspaper article. The document was obtained from the Washington Post archives and is not in the public domain. It is being republished here in order to continue my advocacy for full representation for the American citizens of the District of Columbia.



My Urban Forest Project Submission: “Representation, Reforestation”
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Urban Tree Project: Washington, DC
From the District of Columbia Commission on the Arts & Humanities website:


This spring, The Urban Forest Project will plant 100 street banners by local designers and students in downtown Washington, DC. Each banner will use the form of, or metaphor for a tree, to make a powerful visual statement about the environment. Together they’ll create a forest of thoughtful images in the heart of the nation’s capitol. This project is being brought to Washington, DC as a platform to engage the public in the City’s environmental efforts.

A model of sustainability: The banners will be hung on city light poles in downtown Washington, DC during the spring of 2010 in celebration of Arbor and Earth Days. They will then be recycled into unique one-of-a-kind totebags designed exclusively for the project. Proceeds from the sales of the totebags will go to non-profit environmental efforts that help make Washington, DC a clean, green and sustainable city.

The brief is simple: Begin with the form, idea or a characteristic of a tree and use it to interpret and explore an issue around the environment that you feel is pressing, or an idea you find entertaining or intriguing. The only constraint is that the banner should not advertise a brand or product, nor endorse a particular political party. That’s it.

A short history: The Urban Forest Project was first executed in New York City’s Times Square in the fall of 2006. To learn more visit The Urban Forest Project website: http://www.ufp-global.com

Brought to you by: This project, conceived by Worldstudio, is being presented in Washington, DC in collaboration with: the District Department of Transportation (DDOT), DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, AIGA DC and Corcoran College of Art and Design.


:: rendered at 10,000 x 6,000 pixels ::
My Urban Tree Project Submission: Representation, Reforestation

Programs Used: Bryce 5.5 to render the tree and Photoshop 7.0 for the layout
Font Used: Monaco


My Urban Forest Project Statement:
Citizens are like trees. The longer we live in a location the deeper our roots within the community grow. Unless, of course, you happen live in the District of Columbia. Here roots of civic pride are prevented from growing deep into the soil of democracy through the denial of representation in Congress. The lone tree at the center of this design is the State Tree of the District of Columbia, the Scarlet Oak, Quercus coccinea Inaequalis. Extending behind this solitary tree of liberty is a reminder that Reforestation, the act of replanting, or repopulating a terrain, is needed for Representation in this urban environment. 535 species is far too few species for the health & sustainability of America’s magnificent forests.


I had a Lorax submit my design last week and hopefully I’ll find out in the next few months if my tree was selected for this project.



Justice Stafford Eloquent on Washington: Past, Present, and Future – The Washington Herald, May 9th, 1909
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Over the last few months I have transcribed the New York Times and the Washington Post‘s coverage of this historic dinner, but today I am honored to share the entire text of Justice Stafford’s speech that was published in full in the Washington Herald (and to an extent in the Washington Times).

The speech marks, according to Justice Stafford, the first time the president of the United States had ever met with the business leaders of Washington. He makes one of the best cases for including the people of the District of Columbia in Congress that I have ever read or transcribed. When reading this speech and seeing his ultimate predictions come to pass, I actually teared up at one moment. History had come alive before my eyes and it hurt. It hurt that he had predicted exactly what would come to pass in the next century. But alas, he highlighted what has not happened yet- the voice of the people of Washington in both Houses of Congress.

In his speech, he places before the president of the United States the notion that I presented as an April Fool’s Day joke this year, that the District of Columbia be afforded one Senator, and a proportional number of members of the House of Representatives. This speech was written before the Seventeenth Amendment was passed, which puts the election of each State’s two Senators up to popular vote, but I think his intention was to show that the District of Columbia is a not just a city, but its a special city, home to the Federal government, that deserves its own voice in the elected body that the Constitution gives full control over it’s dominion, Congress.

Please take a moment to read this historic speech by District of Columbia Superior Court Justice Stafford:



Justice Stafford Eloquent on Washington: Past, Present, and Future – The Washington Herald, May 9th, 1909


“Mr. Chairman, the President of the United States, and you, my fellow citizens:

“I pledge you in a sentiment that is almost a prayer”

“‘May this prove a fortunate day for the District of Columbia’

“Without doubt the people of the District look upon the occasion that has drawn us here as a most happy augury.

“The Chief Magistrate of the nation, not more respected than beloved, has signified his willingness to sit at their board, to break their bread and taste their salt. It is proof of interest and kindness that has touched all hearts.

“We who are seated around these tables are only a handful out of many thousands who in thought and sympathy are with us at this feast. Presidents have cone and gone, doing their duty by the District as they saw it, but in the press and through of larger duties too often prevented from giving to local matters the attention they deserved.

Points to Precedent.

“Never before has a President at the beginning of his term thus held out the hand of friendship to our people. Our President has seen much of Washington. But more than that, he has traveled far and wide, he has studied the capitals of other countries, their institutions and their laws. And thus he adds to the true promptings of a generous heart the wisdom of a ripe experience. Those are the qualities that are needed here and now. It is the hour for a statesman. The population of the District has increased so rapidly, it is growing so in wealth and beauty, the greatness of its future is already assured, that the time has come when the true relations between the District and the nation must be clearly conceived and accurately defined, and when an ideal must be formed for the District of Columbia– an ideal to be worth through generations true enough and grand enough to claim the attention and the devotion of all the land.

Need of a Home.

“The men who made the Constitution were absolutely certain of one thing, and that was that this Federal government must have a home of its own. ‘Over such a district,’ the Constitution in so many words declares, the Congress shall ‘exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever.’ So far as general legislation is concerned, there is no power in Congress to delegate this authority. It must legislate itself. When it attempted once to bestow upon a Territorial legislature for the District the authority to make general laws, the court declared the attempt unconstitutional and vain. The utmost it can do in this direction is authorize the enactment of local regulations. No attempt to legislate for Washington will be worth the making unless it is made in the same spirit in which the founders worked.

“It was said of an Eastern temple, ‘It was designed by Titans and finished by jewelers.’The tribute is capable of double meaning. A great work should be grandly conceived and then executed with minutest pains.

“We wish as much for Washington. But the jeweler must not meddle with the architect’s design. If he does, men may say: ‘It was planned by Titans; it was finished by pygmies.’

“Less than half a century had elapsed from the founding of the Capital before a congress was found pusillanimous enough to surrender and cede back thirty square miles of Federal soil, and the noble patrimony the nation had received from the Father of his Country was broken in two, and the Virginia portion cast away.

“Or task to-night is to put the Washington of our day to the test of the great principles that controlled the founders of our government, to view the work they left us in the light of all that has developed since, and to plan for the future as men of their vision have planned in our surroundings.

Sees Three Meanings.

“What do we mean when we say the District of Columbia? There are at least three meanings in which the expression may be accurately used. It may mean the mere territory, the seventy square miles of land and water. It may mean the municipal corporation which has been created by the act of Congress. It mean the political community, which may be called, and by the Supreme Court has repeatedly called, for certain purposes, a State. In this third sense it is not a mere municipal corporation, but is filled with the sovereignty of the United States of America.

“It is of the utmost importance to distinguish between these meanings, especially between the second and the third, if we would keep our thinking clear. Let us take a moment to trace this distinction in the transactions of a century.

“When the United States, in 1800, took possession of this territory it found local self-government here. For two generations it left it undisturbed. ‘Prior to 1871,’ said Mr. Justice Bradley, in a case before the Court of Last Resort, ‘the government of the United States, except so far as the protection of its own public buildings and property was concerned, took no part in the local government.’

A Municipal Government.

“‘The officers of the departments, even the President himself, exercised no local authority in city affairs.’ In 1871 the Congress created here a new government expressly ‘for municipal purposes.’

“It had its governor and its legislature- the latter, of course, elected by the people. It had also a board of public works, whose members, including the governor as its head, were appointed by the President and Senate. This board laid out the money raised in taxes, and assessed the owners benefited by improvement.

“The court held that its acts were binding on the District, and that in spite of its appointment by the President, it was only a branch of municipal government. Thus matters remained until 1874, when Congress tore down all it had previously done, and started new. The governor and the board of public works were abolished, and the power which they had exercised was intrusted to a commission of three to be appointed by the President and Senate.

“Four years later, in 1878, the new arrangement was made permanent. Nevertheless, the contention was made before the Supreme Court of the United States that the effect of the new act was to destroy the District of Columbia as a municipal corporation, except in name, and to make it nothing more than department of the national government. The contention was ruled down.

Source of Authority.

“The fact that its officers were appointed by the President, said the court, did no make the District of Columbia any less a municipal body corporate. Recognizing the general desirableness of local self-government, it held that the principle of representative government was legally satisfied when the appointment of local officers was made by other officers who themselves had been elected by the people, saying: ‘The people are the recognized source of all authority, and to this authority it must come at last, whether immediately or by a circuitous process.’

“Whether a flaw is to be found in this reasoning as applied to the sitution before the court, inasmuch as the people of the District of Columbia, the people to be governed, never did have a share in electing the President and Senate, who were the appointing officers, I will not stop here to inquire; for my present purpose is to point out the separation that has always been recognized between the District of Columbia, as a mere municipal corporation, and the District of Columbia as a quasi state.

“There is only one sovereign in the District of Columbia. Indeed, in respect to sovereignty, the situation is precisely the same as if there were no other domain affected by the central government; as if all its functions were performed here.

“Why, then, it may be asked, should there be such a municipality as the District of Columbia at all? Why should not the general government take direct control and administer all the affairs of the District through its own bureaus? It would not be so easy to answer that question if two facts were other than they are:

“First- If there were no citizens of the United States except those who live in the District.

“Second- If the District elected the national officers. But there are 350,000 people here, and there are some 90,000,000 outside, and all are citizens of the United States; and the 350,000 who live here have some interests which they do not hold in common with the 90,000,000 who live outside.

Draws a Picture.

“It is, in part at least, for the recognition and protection of these separate and peculiar interests that a municipal government exists and is required. All the more is it needed by reason of the fact that there is no suffrage. Let us picture what might be. The streets and public works might all be put under the War Department, the public health under the Surgeon General, the charities made a bureau in the Department of Commerce and Labor, or perhaps of the Interior, and the schools turned over to the Commissioner of Education. And so it might go on, until the local government was completely bureaucratic- until the rod of national administration, turned serpent, had swallowed up all the little rods of local administration and was left alone upon the floor.

“In the meantime the city, growing by leaps and bounds, has doubled and trebled its present population, and we have here a million people, without a word to say, in theory or fact, directly or indirectly, about the streets they walk, the water they drink, the light they burn, or the education of their children- everything done for them and done by officers in whose selection they had no voice and who have been selected with no particular reference to their opinions or their needs.

“To some of us that is not a pleasing spectacle.

A Nation’s City.

“Certainly we must not forget that this is a national city. There is little risk of that. But there are institutions, many and important, which are not national in their aim or character. They are exactly such institutions as the same numerical population would require were this no the Nation’s Capital. That is true of the institutions of charity and punishment. We should need to have schools, recording offices, post-offices, and courts; we should need streets and bridges, and thousand things beside, by reason of the fact that we are a city.

“Institutions that answer the needs of the community merely as a community, without reference to the national government, should not these be treated as local institutions? Should they not be administered as a part of the municipal government and officered by men identified with the District?

“Those courts of the District which deal not exclusively with local controversies, but in large measure with disputes to which the nation is a party, may perhaps be fairly made up, one-half of member drawn from the locality and one-half from the nation at large. This seems more appropriate, inasmuch as those who hold these offices hold them during good behavior, and when they come here come hoping to behave well enough to remain through life.

“But many offices relate exclusively to this community, at least as much so as the offices of any community can be said to relate to itself alone, and why should not these be filled by local citizens? Even if there should be no statute thus restricting the selection, ought not such a course be pursued as a permanent policy?

Demand of Consistency.

“Why should the people of the District have their deeds recorded by a man from California? Why should Washington be the only city in the land that cannot have a postmaster appointed from among its citizens?

“If we are to keep up the form of municipal government at all, does not a fair consistency demand that we should treat it as municipal, as existing, among other purposes, to care for all that is peculiar and local in the interests and needs of the community? Will it not be wisdom to treat it so?

“Let us not forget that there are thousands upon thousands here who have no other abiding place. Their roots have struck deep into the soil. They love the city with all the national pride we share with them, and with that tender sentiment which we call ‘the love of home’ besides. Is it wise to treat them as aliens in the house of their fathers?

Others have lived here till all ties with other places are dissolved and they expect their children will live here when they are gone. These people, so completely and irrevocably identified with the place, constitute an element not wisely to be overlooked when one is considering how local affairs may be most prudently and loyally administered.

May Be Parting.

“Who knows? Perhaps we have come already to the parting of the ways. Little by little the local hold is lost. Here a hospital is drawn under the control of a department. There the jail slips out of the hands of the Attorney General. Now it is proposed that the schools be placed under a bureau; and now, that the city shall be officered on the principle of efficiency alone, by one who can be found who is most competent, though he never saw Washington before.

“It would be something to assume that among 350,000 such as we find gathered here, not a single man could be found capable of conducting the business of the city. But if it should be conjectured that in some far off place a commissioner might be found somewhat more efficient, would that difference in efficiency make up for the sacrifice of one more bond- sometimes it seems as it were the last- between the government and the locality?

“The problem of city government is not altogether, I venture to think, a matter of perfecting the machinery. Men are not altogether machines. They have sentiments; they have hearts. And if there had not been sentiment and heart, as well as brain, there would be to-day no Washington.

No Need of Suffrage.

“As far as the municipal government is concerned, the people of the District seem to have settled down to the arrangement that there should be no suffrage.

“The accept it- very much as Lord Dundreary’s brother Sam accepted his embarrassment in being born, and especially being born bald-headed. ‘You see (Sam), he wasn’t consulted; and there he was, and it was too late to do anything about it.’ But suffrage or no suffrage in municipal affairs has nothing to do with the principle of which I speak. I believe it should be the policy of the government, alongside of the national spirit that inspires all hearts, to foster and perpetuate a sturdy local patriotism, a local and peculiar civic pride; and to this end, that all offices of this kind should be filled by those who have become residents of Washington for good and all.

“Sir, I am not included to discuss tonight the various proposed changes in the constitution of the city government. These concern a possible increase of efficiency in the municipal machine. In what I am yet to say I prefer to dwell upon a broader question. But no one ought to refer to the form of government that has given shape to our affairs since 1874 without doing justice to the splendid advances that have been made under its direction. In 1878 the plan was adopted of raising upon the ratable property here a tax of 1.5 per cent and of matching that with an equal amount from the national Treasury.

“Up to that time the District had carried the burden year by year, almost or quite alone, and was sinking under a debt of many millions. Under the new arrangement Washington has sprung to her feet. Parks have been laid out, avenues extended, bridges built, public buildings erected, grade crossings abolished, railway terminals improved, a magnificent new station built, the sewerage and water systems practically made over, millions upon millions spent toward making the city in health and beauty what it ought to be. Meantime absolute fidelity in the discharge of duties, no stain or hint of corruption, scarcely a dishonest transaction ever charged. Surely that is a record for any city to cherish and for those who have had a share in making it to look back upon with pride.

Money for Improvements.

“Some forbidding obstacles have been encountered and are met with still. One is, this being compelled to pay for permanent improvements out of the current income. What other city is expected to pay for its great works, to last for generations, out of its ordinary receipts, meanwhile taking it out od the schools and scrimping its legitimate expenses? Any other city would raise the money on bonds and pay them a little at a time.

“Washington need not be bonded, since the national treasury can supply it with the loan and let it be paid back at a reasonable rate; but the principle is sound. It is enforced by the late Secretary of the Treasury in his able report for 1908, where he sets forth with great lucidity the need of a national budget to bring about an adjustment between disbursements and receipts, with a rigid separation between expenditures for the ordinary service of the government and those for permanent public works, the latter to be met by bond issue.

“But there are obstacles of graver import and they constitute defects radical and without remedy in the present relation between nation and District. They can be removed only by a change in that relation itself. We shall all agree that to legislate wisely requires two things– first, a lively interest in the object of legislation; second, a clear intelligence touching the subject at hand. There being no representative from the District itself in either branch of Congress, it becomes necessary to commit the interests of the District, and the interests of the nation in the District, to hand unfamiliar with the subject and without any lively interest therein.

“The Congress as a whole cannot be expected to supply these requisites. No one pretends it does. It is engaged upon a thousand subjects, many of which appear to its members to be vastly more important than any that concerns the District. We cannot wonder at it; it is in the nature of things that it should be so. The step logically required by this condition is next taken.

“A committee in the House and a committee in the Senate are specially charged with these affairs. Not that their word is accepted as final. If it were, some difficulties would be escaped. But in the end their report must run the gantlet of the whole House or Senate.

Need for Knowledge.

“Here ignorance of District affairs has often shown itself so egregious and glaring that it could excite nothing but laughter, if tears were not often a more fitting recognition of the folly.

“And when that occurs there is no representative of the District to meet the ignorant, unfounded claim. Three hundred and fifty thousand people are voiceless in that hall. The committees cannot meet the emergency. To expect it would be to expect more than mortal men can do. Who are the members of the committee?

“Are they Senators and Representatives set apart for this work and free to devote themselves entirely to such business?

“By no means. They have their own constituencies to serve, and they have, besides, their share of responsibility for the general legislation, like all their fellow-members.

“They are appointed; they do the best they can; and if they give sufficient time to our affairs to understand our problems, they run the risk of losing their seats entirely by being thought at home to neglected their own States or districts.

“I am credibly informed that the risk has turned into a certainty in more instances than one. But, more than that, the membership of the House and Senate changes and the membership of the committees changes, too.

“Hardly has a member become reasonably acquainted with our subject than he is called away, another takes his place, and the whole process of education must be begun again. That is the radical and incurable defect of the present system. Keep your three Commissioners if you will, or substitute for them a single head, improve the machinery of municipal administration all you can, until it runs with the regularity of a Swiss watch- you have not touched the trouble.

“What is needed is two men in the House and one man in the Senate; real live men with blood in their arteries and brains in their heads; men who have lived long in the District of Columbia and belong to her; men who known her needs and her capacity, who know the history and condition of her institutions, her charities, her prisons, the views and aspirations of her people; men who are proud of their connection with her, and proud that to her soil has been committed the ark of civil and religious liberty.

“What we need is members of these bodies with the prestige that belongs to members; not figureheads, not lobbyists, not delegates, but a member of the Senate and two members of the House, able enlightened, informed, fit to represent the will and judgment of 350,000 citizens gathered within these bounds.

An Amendment Needed.

“But that requires an amendment of the Constitution. So it does. An amendment in strict accord with the principles of the Constitution, made necessary by the changed conditions of 120 years, made unavoidable and inevitable by the changes that will take place in the fifty or one hundred years to come. Do you imagine that when 1,000,000 or 1,500,000 shall be swarming in our borders they will be the only people in this broad domain to have no hand in the government of this magnificent republic, no word in the election of its President, no tongue in the national assembly?

“When 1,000,000 men are there, when they ask why they alone can have no part in a republican form of government, do you imagine they will call it a sufficient answer to be told ‘Because you live in Washington?’

“If you lived in Pumpkin Hook or Bloody Gultch, you might, but not while you lived here.

“Bear in mind, I am not speaking of municipal suffrage. I am speaking of the right of a million of simple American citizens to have a share-less than a one hundredth part would be- in the legislation that concerns their country and its Capital.

“Suppose they have no more right than the same number of people who live anywhere else in the United States. Have they not as much? And that is all the right of which I speak.

Believes in Humanity.

“But I hear it said, ‘The people of the District do not care for suffrage.’ Well, all I can say to that is this: If the people of the District of Columbia do not really care to have a part in the government of this splendid country, they do not deserve to have it, and nobody need fear that it will be thrust upon them. But I cannot believe that statement.

“‘Say, seignors, are the old Niles dry?’

“I cannot believe that the human heart has changed.

“I cannot believe that principles have lost their power.

“I cannot believe that the deep instincts that built up this wonderful fabric of free government have died out here in the very seat of its majesty, and that here alone the ‘bright consummate flower’ of liberty has gone to seed.

“There is no doubt that they need quickening. There is no doubt that they are have sunk into the torpor of faculties disused. But hold before their eyes the hope of what I am describing, and you shall see whether self-respect and the desire for self-government are dead.

“Sir, if I had it in my power to-night to dispose of this matter as I would, do you know what I would do?

“I would not change the constitution.

“I would not give the people of the District suffrage.

“What I would do is this:

“I would set to their dry hearts the flame of that old Promethean torch, the love of liberty.

“I would fill them with divine unrest at their condition.

“I would set beside that condition a picture of the dignity and power they might enjoy as real citizens of their country.

“I would move them first to desire and then to demand their portion of our heritage.

“I would nerve them to toil for it and fight for it through years of bitter opposition- and then at last, when the agitation had created a new Washington, when 400,000 or 500,000 people were calling as with one mighty voice for the great prize of representative government- then I would bestow it on them.

“And sir, I believe that is exactly what the god of time will do.

“A city of the dumb! Mr. Chairman, I have heard you speak of a little village on an island off the New England coast inhabited entirely by deaf mutes.

“They live unto themselves.

“They marry and intermarry and rear children who are dumb as they.

“They go about their tasks, but speak no word.

“The busy hum of life goes on around them; the shuttles of the world’s activities fly to and fro, but into the growing web they weave no strand.

“Sir, I will not extend the parallel. It is too obvious and too painful to be drawn. But that is not the Washington that shall be.

“Only let the agitation begin.

“Let it start here to-night.

“Why not make this occasion historic?

“Let every true son of Washington, native or adopted, go out from this feast strengthened and heartened for a long enlistment. Let him know for once in his life the glory of being possessed of a grand idea- the sublime enthusiasm of being lost in absolute devotion to a great cause.

“Let them meet and join hands and stir one another’s hearts, quicken one another’s minds, and sustain on another’s courage. Let it go on.

“It will be met with opposition; it will meet with ridicule; it will meet with censure; it will take years; it may take many- but it will have one possible outcome if the sons of Washington are worthy the name they bear.

Suffrage Question.

Again I say, I am not speaking now of municipal suffrage at all. Let the present arrangement, or some improved substitute for it, be continued if you please. What has that to do with the broad and fundamental fact that the hundreds of thousands here should have their due and proportionate representation in the National Assembly- should have the same right that other citizens enjoy of giving their votes in the election of the Chief Magistrate of the republic?

“‘The republic! It is not alone for the District of Columbia that I bring the proposition forward. The interests of the nation would be served as well.

“They would not be served first of all by the increased efficiency and propriety of the laws that would be enacted; in the next place, by the fact that the members from the District, being familiar with the local situation, and serving on the local committees, would relieve the members from other States of much of their present burden, leaving them freer to perform the duties for which they were specially selected.

Need for Real Men.

“Further, it would serve the nation by adding to Congress men of weight and influence in national concerns.

“We should have here a constituency peculiarly rich in material for Representatives.

“But, more perhaps that all the rest, the change would serve the interests of the whole nation by recognizing the grand principle of representative government here, in the most conspicuous position in the country, where hitherto it has been cast aside.

“Men could no longer point the finger of scorn at us, and say:

“‘Washington gives the lie to your pretensions.’

“‘Look! In the very seat of national greatness you acknowledge by your acts that your form of government is a failure. Until we are honest enough to live up to your principles, we shall deserve all our trouble; and, sir, from the bottom of my heart I do believe that the greatest troubles we have spring from this fact, that we have turned back upon those principles.

“We shall never find peace or safety until we return to them again.

“Shall we say we fear the suffrages of ignorance and vice- the ignorance and vice that we ourselves are to blame for- that could not last a generation if we did our duty by our fellow-men?

“Sham on the race or the community that holds its hands the wealth of the continent and carries in its brains the accumulated culture of the centuries and yet refuses to lift that ignorance and vice to the level of enlightenment and virtue.

“Tear down your shacks and shanties.

“Let in the sun upon your noisome alleys.

“Build decent habitations for the poor to dwell in.

“Make your prisons moral hospitals instead of breeding cells for crime.

“Spread education broadcast in the streets.

“Let us do the work of Christians at our doors before we admit that our fathers were fools and that democratic government is all a dark mistake.

Menace to the State

“Never until the men of wealth and education have spent their last surplus dollar and exhausted the ingenuity of their brains in the effort to make their fellow-men worthy to be sharers in the government, never until then will they have a right to hide behind an excuse like that.

“I admit that an ignorant and degraded class armed with the ballot is a menace to the safety of the state; but I deny that it is a greater menace in the end than that same class, robbed of its rights,thrust down into the dark, and left as no longer necessary to the be regarded or assisted because no having any part in the affairs of state.

“Strip men of the ballot and you take away from society the most powerful inducement that can prompt selfish human nature to educate and elevate its helpless and its poor.

“We must find fault with the Creator if we wish to complain that wealth, virtue, and culture cannot be safe in the neighborhood of poverty, ignorance, and vice. He means that it shall be so. He sees Blagden’s alley as well as Dupont Circle, and He has made it certain by the laws of nature, by every wind that breathes across the city, by every tiny insect that takes its unregarded flight from home to home, that Dupont Circle shall not be safe while Blagden’s alley is rotting with disease and filth.

Laws of Nature.

“The laws of nature are democratic. It is just the same in government. A community that has the power to lift ignorance and vice to its own level and will not stretch out its hand to do it, deserves to be ruled by ignorance and vice; and eternal justice will see to it that it is so. We cannot escape our duties; let us face them, then, like men.

If Franklin or Jefferson were here to-day and saw this mighty population with no voice in its affairs, he would lay his finger, like a wise physician, on the body politic and say:

“Here- here is where you are ailing.

“Here faith in the principles that brought us through. Let us take up the stitch our father dropped. Let us apply to our situation the rules of government they applied to theirs. If you should say to Jefferson, ‘Why should we be disturbed? Will it give us more interest on our money?’ Jefferson would have answered you ‘That I cannot tell, but this I know, that the man who loves freedom for anything but freedom’s self was made to be a slave!’

“Even if we should fail, men would write over our graces the profound saying of Guizot, ‘The struggle itself supplied in some measure the place of liberty.’ But we cannot fail.

“Is this an hour to doubt or question the principles of free government?

“Now, when those principles, encouraged by their success upon this continent, are shaking every throne upon the Bosphorous Young Turkey is making good its claim to constitutional government?

Far East Perspective.

“When Persia is starting from her revelry and old China is turning from the slumber of 4,000 years? Now, when in the islands of the South Pacific we ourselves are reaching out a hand to lead a strange race into the ordered paths of Anglo-Saxon freedom?

“Let the sons of Washington beware lest the little brown men of the Philippines enter the kingdom of representative government before them. If the people of Columbia prefer to take their ease, no rude reformer will disturb their rest. But when we have passed away, men will describe us as the dying patriarch in his prophetic vision pictured the most degenerate of his tribes:

“‘Issachar is a strong ass, couching down between two burdens; amd he saw that rest was good, and the land that it was pleasant; and bowed his shoulder to bear, and became a servant unto tribute.’

“Sir, the danger to this country lies not, as we sometimes think, in the poor immigrant who flees to us from afar, still smarting from the lash of tyranny- ignorant and low-minded though he be. The prize of citizenship will appeal to him. He will clutch it and hold it fast as ‘the immediate jewel of his soul.’

“The danger lies in him who, ‘like base Judean, throws a pearl away richer than all his tribe,’ in the man who will share the blessings of liberty without bearing its burdens; in the man who is willing that impudence and theft shall sit in the seat of power, so long as he is left free to pile up his millions or scatter them like a lord on the playground of Europe.

The Nation’s Capital

“The Capital of the United States- what is it? It is not marble palaces nor lofty domes nor splendid obelisks. If it is anything, it typifies a great idea.

“The deepest word that was ever uttered to interpret that idea was wrung from lips that trembled between hope and despair upon the field of Gettysburg- ‘of the people, for the people, by the people.’

“Can Washington typify that idea while it stands as it does to-day? It cannot be. It must be changed.

“It will be changed.

“The time will surely come when he who stands in the shadow of these majestic structures, and of the prouder ones that shall arise, will have no cause to hang his head for shame at any violation of our principles, but will feel that here- here more truly than anywhere else on the face of the whole earth- he is standing in their august and visible presence.

“And now, Mr. President, at the end as the beginning, we turn to you not to express the hope that you may discharge the new duties with clearer sight or firmer fidelity than you discharged the old- for that would be impossible- but that in your more exalted station you may find a wider field for your beneficent endeavors, cheered, as will be, by the personal love of millions of your fellows and supported by the unwavering faith of all America.”



Also see:
+ TAFT STIRS CAPITAL BY SUFFRAGE SPEECH – The New York Times, May 10th, 1909
+ PRESIDENT OPPOSED TO SUFFRAGE IN DISTRICT – The Washington Post, May 9th, 1909
+ JUSTICE STAFFORD’S PLEA FOR SUFFRAGE IN WASHINGTON – The Washington Times, May 9th 1909


This newspaper article was transcribed from a scan of the original newspaper article. The document was obtained from the Chronicling America newspaper collection and is in the public domain. It is being republished here in order to continue my advocacy for full representation for the American citizens of the District of Columbia.





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