DMV Daily: No Vote? How Unfortunate

Fimian opposes full D.C. representation

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    WASHINGTON - APRIL 16: Council Chairman Vincent Gray (L), Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) (2nd-L), Mayor Adrian Fenty (3rd-L), and Councilmember Kwame Brown (R) participate in a march to ask for voting representation for the nation's capital in the U.S. House of Representatives April 16, 2007 in Washington, DC. Thousands of residents of Washington, DC, marched to Capitol Hill to demand a voting right for the District. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

    “The Founders were pretty bright people.” So said Virginia 11th District U.S. House candidate Keith Fimian at a recent debate, according to DCist.

    So far so good.

    “They chose, for reasons that they had, to not have voting rights in Washington, D.C.

    Uh oh.

    “The folks who live there know that. They can live there or they cannot, and it’s their choice to live there. I’m not in favor of tampering with the Constitution unless it absolutely must be done. It’s unfortunate that they don’t have the right to vote.”

    Putting aside the question of whether the disenfranchisement of an area with more people than Wyoming that pays the nation’s highest per capita federal income taxes is merely “unfortunate,” I wonder just what is important enough to Fimian to justify “tampering” with the Constitution.

    He did support an amendment to the state constitution to ban same-sex marriage, so maybe that would. The withholding of a basic right from D.C., which has sent more than 192,000 of its residents off to war, with nearly 1,700 of them never coming home? Not so much.

    But Fimian at least deserves points for candor. Most of those who have rightly criticized efforts to give the District congressional voting rights through legislation rooted in a dubious interpretation of the Constitution’s “District clause” solemnly say that the constitutional processes must be respected. They’re right. But they never seem to follow up with, “…and therefore I am introducing a constitutional amendment to right this historical wrong.”

    At least Fimian is honest enough to say straight out that he doesn’t think we in the District should ever have the same right he and his would-be constituents enjoy.

    For now, Fimian has other things to worry about. National prognosticators are expecting him to come up a bit short in his bid to unseat Democrat Gerry Connolly -- I disagree, and think Fimian will eke out a narrow win -- and now, a group funded by New York’s megabucks Mayor Michael Bloomberg is running an ad against him. The Washington Post says the Americans United for Safe Streets spot features the brother of Virginia Tech victim Reema Samaha “castigating Fimian because he ‘won’t take a stand’ to close the ‘gun show loophole.’”

    The Washington Examiner says the race “is shifting to the volatile issues of abortion and guns” -- which could help Fimian -- “after months of debate over economic issues and health care reform” that put Connolly on the defensive.

    Elsewhere in the DMV:

    * Marylanders may disagree on whether Barbara Mikulski or Eric Wargotz should be their senator, but they probably agree they don’t want to see either of the candidates rapping. But what about their kids?
     

    * The Post is working hard to find new ways to stick it to Ward 5 Councilmember Harry Thomas Jr. in the few days left before the election. The paper endorsed one of his primary rivals, endorsed his Republican rival, and has run several articles on issues surrounding the funding of his “Team Thomas” nonprofit.

    Today, the paper says that even as Adrian Fenty and Vincent Gray were earnestly “cracking down on earmarking city funds last year,” Thomas worked to secure a $1 million grant “to the struggling Historical Society of Washington, D.C., for exhibits at its downtown building” -- an expenditure that “came to light last week after the District sued the historical society for failing to repay an additional $250,000 the city officials said was accidentally deposited into the group’s bank account in June.”

    The Post also has an editorial today saying how nice it is to have good Republicans running for office in D.C. this year -- especially against guys like Harry Thomas Jr.

    * Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh and her Republican opponent Dave Hedgepeth met in just the sort of polite, considerate debate you’d expect to find in tony Chevy Chase. The Georgetown Dish says they “poked at each other a little, but politely, and traded compliments a couple of times,” and said little that hadn’t come up in their two earlier debates.

    * The Post reports Ward 6 Councilmember Tommy Wells says he “will not accept any cuts to the city’s social services budget unless it is accompanied by a tax increase, perhaps even on wage-earners who make less than $100,000 a year.”

    * D.C. Shadow Rep. Mike Panetta is using the specter of Utah Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz rising to the leadership of the House subcommittee running District affairs to rustle up support for embattled Democrats. Panetta’s Free and Equal D.C. Fund is seeking late donations for five incumbents in close races, including Virginia’s Tom Perriello.

    * Human Events senior editor Emily Miller says she went out to cast an early ballot Wednesday and wrote in “the Holy Spirit for D.C. Mayor, Chairman of the City Council and At-Large member of the City Council.” It’s true, the Holy Spirit is all places at once, and so can technically be called a resident of the District, but simultaneously running both the mayor’s office and the Council may be beyond even the power of the Divine.

    * National Journal’s Hotline On Call says the 2011 elections in Virginia could be a predictor of how well President Obama and Sen. Jim Webb will do in the state a year later.

    * DCist calls the results of a safety survey of 10,000 Metro employees “rather depressing.” The Examiner says almost 60 percent of those surveyed “reported seeing a safety violation, including train or bus drivers texting or talking on cellular phones -- a ‘one strike’ offense that agency policy stipulates should lead to termination” -- and “more than 30 percent of those observing a safety violation did not report the violation to a supervisor.” About a third said “fear of ‘retaliation’ from co-workers” kept them from speaking up.

    * Greater Greater Washington’s David Alpert considers whether the District government should take over Metro bus routes that do not cross state lines.

    * Is Peter Nickles a “political hatchet man”? According to Peter Nickles, no.

    * The Post profiles Edward Burroughs and David Murray, two 18-year-old candidates for the Prince George’s County Board of Education.

    * Rockville Central looks at the town’s effort to brand itself.

    * Restonian reads the latest issue of “Reston: The Magazine,” which is “slathered with mauve” and has the cryptic word “MUSH!” on its cover.

    * No, I’m not going to call the Florida-Rhode Island-New Jersey Avenue nexus “FRINJ.

    Follow P.J. Orvetti on Twitter at @PJOinDC