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Text of H.R. 259 – An act to retrocede the county of Alexandria, in the District of Columbia, to the State of Virginia
|| 2/19/2009 || 7:12 pm || 1 Comment Rendered || ||

From 1840 to 1846, residents of Alexandria petitioned Congress and the Virginia legislature to approve retrocession. On February 3, 1846 the Virginia General Assembly agreed to accept the retrocession of Alexandria if Congress approved. Following additional lobbying by Alexandrians, Congress passed legislation (below) on July 9, 1846 to return all the District’s territory south of the Potomac River back to the Commonwealth of Virginia, pursuant to a referendum that would be held later in the year, and President Polk signed this first piece of legislation the next day.

A referendum on retrocession was then held on September 1–2, 1846 and the residents of the City of Alexandria voted in favor of the retrocession, 734 to 116, however, the residents of Alexandria County voted against retrocession 106 to 29. Despite the objections of those living in Alexandria County, President Polk certified the referendum and issued a proclamation of transfer on September 7, 1846. However, the Virginia legislature did not immediately accept the retrocession offer. Virginia legislators were concerned that the people of Alexandria County had not been properly included in the retrocession proceedings. After months of debate, the Virginia General Assembly voted to formally accept the retrocession legislation on March 13, 1847.

In Abraham Lincoln’s first State of the Union, delivered on December 3, 1861, he suggested restoring the District of Columbia to George Washington’s original boundaries:

The present insurrection [Civil War] shows, I think, that the extension of this District across the Potomac at the time of establishing the capital here was eminently wise, and consequently that the relinquishment of that portion of it which lies within the state of Virginia was unwise and dangerous. I submit for your consideration the expediency of regarding that part of the District and the restoration of the original boundaries thereof through negotiations with the State of Virginia.

I also question the legitimacy of the retrocession because in the bill below you can see that it states that both the county AND the town of Alexandria were to pass the referendum. The county of Alexandria never voted in favor of retrocession, only the town voted for it. Imagine if the land was returned back to the District of Columbia?

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The D.C. Colonist receives a warm welcome from Senator Joe Lieberman at today’s Business Meeting of the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
|| 2/11/2009 || 2:43 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

Roll Call’s photo of the week from April, 2007

Today I attended the Business Meeting of the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs dressed in my colonial attire. I wear this costume for every congressional hearing related to representation for the residents of Washington, DC. I arrived early enough to snag a decent seat and sat down next to my friend Shadow Senator Michael D. Brown. As the other Senators arrived for the meeting he & I chatted about ideas related to what we can do next to get statehood for the District of Columbia.

A few minutes later when Senator Joe Lieberman walked in, Shadow Senator Michael D. Brown stood up, greeted him, and shook his hand. Senator Lieberman then looks at me and said something along the lines of “I’m glad to see that we have a colonist here. Do you go by the name of Paul Revere?” I said, “No, I’m just a DC colonist.” He followed, “So you don’t have a name? Just ‘DC Colonist’?” and I responded, “I’m just a DC Colonist that suffers taxation without representation.” He smiled, walked over to the end of the table, and sat down at his seat. A few minutes later the hearing began and he decided to greet me publicly…..

Click here to listen to the audio
or
Click here to watch the video

[to watch the video, you first need to hit play, then scroll the slider over to about 21:10 to watch the introduction]

Senator Lieberman said:

I do want to note and welcome Mayor Fenty of the District of Columbia we are honored that you are here and a somewhat older resident of the District from colonial times [laughter] also present. I gather you are making the general point about taxation without representation [off camera I nod in the affirmative]. Okay I don’t need to make my case any stronger than that [laughter]. Thank you for being here.



Also worthy of mention is that later on in the hearing (at around 43:15 into the video), Senator George Voinovich mentions the time when the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe were in Washington, DC and we lobbied them on the Potomac River (right photo). Hearing him mention that day made me laugh. It was one of my favorite demonstrations I’ve ever taken part in! I remember watching the parliamentarians applaud our efforts from the ship and the following day they passed a resolution calling on the United States government to give DC residents congressional representation.

In the end, only Senator John McCain voted against the bill, S.R. 160, the senate version of the District of Columbia House Voting Rights Act of 2009, and it passed the committee with a vote of 11-1. Unfortunately, I agree with McCain’s opinion, only states should receive representation in Congress.

I feel that DC Vote and Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton wasted a huge opportunity to give DC residents equal representation in Congress by reintroducing this three-year-old, constitutionally questionable legislation that was written for a Republican controlled congress. Times have changed, however, the bill and its constitutional underpinnings have not. I’m not sure what will happen next to the bill, like when will it be voted on, but I am sure it will be challenged on it’s constitutionality. In the meantime, I’m going to continue to work with my Shadow Delegation on lobbying for statehood for the District of Columbia.



UPDATE: February 12th, 2009 – Comedian Stephan Colbert interviewed Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton the following night:

Its too bad the editors missed the chance with the Colonist…

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Hey Google & YouTube, those are not my Senators! I have no Senators!
|| 2/9/2009 || 6:26 pm || Comments Off on Hey Google & YouTube, those are not my Senators! I have no Senators! || ||

In continuance of yesterday’s posting, recently Congress changed their rules to allow Senators and Representatives to utilize YouTube to share information with their constituents. Today I noticed a secondary tragic flaw in their layout. Since the residents of Washington, DC are denied representation in the Senate, the coders at YouTube are using the state of the District of Columbia to show videos from different congressional committees. Instead of incorrectly listing DC as a state, they should include a link to “Committees.” Moreover, as you can see above & below, Google maps remove the words District of Columbia at different scales. This further shows how little YouTube/Google cares about the half a million disenfranchised residents of the District of Columbia.

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My DC license plate redesign was discussed today on the WAMU’s The Kojo Nnamdi Show
|| 12/5/2008 || 6:15 pm || Comments Off on My DC license plate redesign was discussed today on the WAMU’s The Kojo Nnamdi Show || ||

Yesterday I received an e-mail from a friend asking if I knew who was behind the “1/3 Representation Please” poster that has been showing up around town. I responded by stating that I did not know who the person was and sent the friend the two links related to poster. In the response e-mail it was then suggested that I contact the show to further the dialogue. So before the show started I decided to e-mail Kojo Nnamdi with the license plate above and the D.C. flag redesign as attachments and state for the record that I was NOT behind the poster or its placement around town.

The executive director of DC Vote, Ilir Zherka, was the guest on the show during the voting rights segment. Through the years he & I have had a very turbid relationship. We have a differing opinion on the 1/3 representation route his organization is advocating. During the show I paid close attention to his words and realized that he is not advocating for statehood at all, which is very sad because more DC residents want statehood and not fractional representation. During the show’s dialogue, the subject of president-elect Barack Obama changing the license plates on his limousine comes up….

Click here to listen to an MP3 of today’s show. The clip starts out with Zherka speaking about Obama changing the plates, then Tom Sherwood throws in a little bit of history, followed a question from Sommer Mathis, editor of one of my favorite DC blogs- DCist, then Kojo brings up my license plate, and Ilir Zherka responds….

Of note is that he states that his organization is already preparing for a court challenge if the bill his organization is advocating for gets passed in the House or Senate. Frankly I find this both sad and frustrating. Sad because they are knowingly trying to advance a bill that is not constitutional– only STATES can receive representation in the House or Senate. This is also frustrating because it only delays the equality for the residents of the America’s capital city. They could easily be advocating a new bill using a new strategy because there is a new congress, but they are still pushing for a piece of sub-par legislation that will be struck down on constitutional grounds.

After the show Kojo had an on-line chat in which I participated in. Below is the text from the chat:

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Al Franken draws a pretty good map of the United States; then sells it for $200
|| 8/6/2008 || 3:07 pm || Comments Off on Al Franken draws a pretty good map of the United States; then sells it for $200 || ||



Al Franken is running for Senate in Minnesota as a democrat against incumbent Norm Coleman. You can probably request a custom map from his campaign website.



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Roll Call’s Photo of the Week features the DC Colonist
|| 4/18/2007 || 11:34 am || Comments Off on Roll Call’s Photo of the Week features the DC Colonist || ||

From Roll Call:

Up-Lifting Message
Nikolas Schiller of the DC Statehood Green Party helps fellow party members lift a large pro-D.C. statehood flag on the Capitol’s West Front following a voting-rights march to the Capitol on Monday. Washington, D.C., Mayor Adrian Fenty, Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton and other District officials led supporters from Freedom Plaza to the Capitol in a show of support for a bill that would grant D.C. a vote in the House.


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Nikolas Schiller is a second-class American citizen living in America's last colony, Washington, DC. This blog is my on-line repository of what I have created or found on-line since May of 2004. If you have any questions or comments, please contact:

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  • thank you,
    come again!