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Opinion: D.C. Council Is Getting What It Deserves

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Opinion: D.C. Council Is Getting What It Deserves

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D.C. Council members who have not spoken out against the shady process by which the D.C. Democratic Party will deliver to the Council its newest at-large member are likely to get the colleague they deserve.

So, how many of the 12 current Council members have questioned the Party’s methods? None.

Let’s review.

On Dec. 10, the Party will hold a meeting at a yet-to-be-disclosed location. Some time later that night the Council will know the identity of its next member.

You should not be surprised that the Party has yet to reveal the location of the meeting. The process to appoint the next at-large member of the D.C. Council is lacking in transparency.

For example, at a monthly meeting in October, Party officials voted to pick a date for the appointment showdown. Jan. 3 was chosen. At a subsequent meeting in November, the Jan. 3 date was reaffirmed. A few days later, during a conference call that included only select Party insiders, the date was changed.

After the scheduling switcheroo the Party did very little to promote the contest, which is open to all registered Democrats in the District.

The Party also established rules that made it difficult for anyone but Party insiders to qualify. In order to enter the contest, prospective candidates were required to collect signatures from a third of Party officials. The Party did not publish an up-to-date list of officials on its website. Contact information for bigwigs was added to the website AFTER entry into the contest was closed.

All of this would be ho hum business-as-usual for a Party that has demonstrated ineptitude over the years were it not for one important factor: The chair of the Party, Anita Bonds, is running in the contest.

Party member Doug Sloan and former Party member John Capozzi are competing with Bonds.

Capozzi is pursuing the seat on a platform that, among other things, opposes the tainted, desultory appointment process. His approach is delicious. And, of course, he is doomed.

Sloan, too, is unlikely to have enough votes to undo Bonds.

I hope I’m wrong.

Being one of the District's 13 legislators is a powerful position to be in.

It is also a nice gig. The pay is around $10,000 per month.

The winner of the Party’s shady contest gets to keep the job for about five months. Jackpot!

And if the winner of the Party’s shady contest is Anita Bonds, agendas spearheaded by Council member Marion Barry on the Council will have one more vote on which to rely.

Bonds's affiliation with Barry dates back to the early 1970s. It is no coincidence that Bonds is in this race. During the summer Barry told me he had someone in mind for the seat, but he would not specifically name anyone.

Now we know that person is Bonds.

And when the Party is done elevating Bonds to the Council, Barry’s influence will grow by one.

One vote on a 13-member body that has seen significant issues decided on a 7-6 margin.

One vote in the upcoming process to ratify the Council’s reorganization and all-important committee assignments.

One vote the genesis of which is dubious.

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