Important Information for ALL DC Voters
For many years, we of the DC Statehood Green Party have been working to achieve the same rights held by all our US citizens--the right to vote for Congressional representatives, the right to spend our own tax money, and all other rights reserved for US states. Comments inserted by me will be in brackets [ ]. This is a fast moving series of events and will be updated, so come back again. Also add Comments, especially if you have information from the past or present we should know.
The New Columbia Statehood Commission was created by the New Columbia Statehood Initiative, Omnibus Boards and Commissions, and Election Transition Reform Amendment Act of 2014 (DC Act 21-070). The officers and current members of the Commission are Mayor (Muriel Bowser), Council Chairperson (Phil Mendelson), and two Senators and Representative of the DC Shadow Congressional Delegation (Paul Strauss, Michael D. Brown, and Franklin Garcia).
At the April 29th meeting, where all 5 members (above) were present, 15 minutes for public comment were allowed which the Mayor noted for future addressing. Statehood Green Party member, David Schwartzman indicated that although statehood was long overdue, he favored the bottom-up process of the 1982 Convention, and we ought to choose between the process outlined in the New Columbia Admissions Act, or hold a new Constitutional Convention after Nov. 8 with elected [not appointed] delegates. Importance of getting MD and VA support was emphasized, and Jesse Lovell, Secretary of the DC Statehood Commission, outlined such support received. Asked was information on the affect of this new effort on the current New Columbia Admission Act in Congress. Also questioned was why we are drafting a new Constitution when the one in 1982 was voted and approved by DC residents. [There are legal changes which needed to be incorporated, but absolutely no legal reason to reduce the number of delegates to our current 13 Council number.]
Beverly Perry, the Mayor's Senior Advisor, presented the Legal Advisory Committee's recommendations. These included promoting stability by keeping DC's current governing structure, simplify and modernize the Constitution, and empower the [current] legislature and executive to govern in the interests of the people who elected them [and paid for their campaigns].
We the people were first presented with a draft copy of this new 2016 Constitution at the Lincoln Cottage at the Soldiers Home, upper North Capital St., an area with poor public transportation. This chilly rainy day meeting on May 6, 2016, was held in a large tent, but was well attended including by many who had participated in the 1982 and 1987 working groups. After detailed explanation of the proposed action, the Mayor called on many people including those who had a number of objections. People were concerned about bypassing the 2 years of work on the 1982 Constitution (this 36 page document has not date printed on it), as well as work in 1987. Concerns were also raised about the sudden speed required by this approach, and limiting the Delegates to only 13 (thus, with no change in power of gentrifiers), rather than the higher numbers previously agreed (over 2 years of many meetings) which are closer to the pattern of other states. In 1982 it was 40 delegates, and 25 in 1987.
Here is the schedule for the fast track process proposed by Mayor Bowser on 4/15/2016 (Emancipation Day) and supported by Council Chairman, Phil Mendelson. You can visit: statehood.dc.gov for updates. The significant input by the people ends on June 24th. After that all work is by the existing power structure, and we must monitor to demand our interests be served. Also there is no information on location and times after June 24. I will add this as well as the To Be Determined (TBD) information if it is provided.
4/21/16 - Convene meeting of New Columbia Statehood Commission, Wilson Bldg., 1350 Pennsylvania Ave., NW. [details on time and place of events already held are omitted, others are TBD, to be determined]
4/26 - Presentation of statehood strategy at Council breakfast, WB.
4/29 - Convene meeting of New Columbia Statehood Comm, WB.
5/6 - (video follows 4/29) New Columbia Statehood Comm. Draft Constitution release, Lincoln Cottage.
5/9 - Presentation of DC Statehood Advisory Referendum to ANCs, UDC.
5/12 - Working Group Kickoff Event, Gallaudet Univ.
5/16-19 - Working Group Organizational Meetings, locations & times below, and call in info.:
5/16 - Advocacy Working Group meeting, WB, G-9, 6:30 pm.
5/17 - All 8 Wards Working Group meeting, WB, G-9, 6:00 pm.
5/18 - Cleveland/Philadelphia Conventions Working Group meeting, WB, G-9, 12:00 pm.
Dial In: 866-761-6796, Participant Code: 7440840
5/19 - Communications Working Group meeting, WB, G-9, 12:00 pm.
DI: 866-423-3721, PC: 4809024
5/20 - All Americans for DC Statehood meeting, WB, G-9, 6:00 pm.
DI: 866-761-6796, Access Code: 7440840
5/25 - All 8 Wards workgroup meeting, WB, G-9, 6:00 - 7:30pm. [follow-up]
5/25 - All 8 Wards workgroup meeting, WB, G-9, 6:00 - 7:30pm. [follow-up]
5/26 - New Columbia Statehood Comm. convenes public engagement meeting, location WB, G-9, 6:30-9pm.
At the 5/17 meeting we were told changes to the meetings below are on their site. I have listed what I have found at the bottom of the page. Wards are not indicated. At the meeting it was said people could go where they wanted. For unclear locations go by what is at the bottom of page or at link.
5/31 - Ward 3 Town Hall to discuss draft constitution, Tenley-Friendship Library, 4450 Wisconsin Ave., NW, 6:00-8:00pm. (unclear where and when)
6/1-10 - DC Council Public Engagement Hearings/Roundtables, WB, Rooms & times TBD.
6/1 - Ward 6 Town Hall to discuss draft constitution, Southwest Neighborhood Library, 900 Wesley Pl., SW, 6:00 to 8:00pm. (unclear where and when)
6/2 - Ward 5 Town Hall to discuss draft constitution, Birdie Backus/UDC-CC, 5171 South Dakota Ave., NE, 6:00 - 8:00pm. (same)
6/4 - Ward 7 Town Hall to discuss draft constitution, (apparently combined with Ward 8).6/4 - Ward 8 Town Hall to discuss draft constitution, Thurgood Marshall Academy, 2427 Martin Luther King, Jr. Ave., SE from 1:00 - 3:00pm.
6/6 - Ward 2 Town Hall to discuss draft constitution, MLK Library, 901 G St., NW, 6:00 - 8:00 pm. (unclear where and when)
6/7 - Ward 1 Town Hall to discuss draft constitution, African American Civil War Museum, 1925 Vermont Ave., NW, 6:00 - 8:00pm.6/8 - Ward 4 Town Hall to discuss draft constitution, Raymond Recreation Center, 3725 10th Street, NW, from 6:00 - 8:00pm.
6/9 - Working groups present recommendations to the New Columbia Statehood Comm., Student Center, UDC, 4200 Connecticut Ave., NW, 6:30-9:00pm.
6/14 – Primary Election day, at your designated Precinct.
6/17-18 - New Columbia Statehood Comm. convenes Constitutional Convention, 6/17 location TBD, 6:00 - 10:00pm, 6/18 location TBD, 9:00am - 1:00pm. [these times will make it hard for our seniors to attend both sessions given the late Friday and early Saturday timing].
6/24 - Convene meeting of New Columbia Statehood Commission to approve emergency legislation, including Constitution, WB, G-9, time TBD.
6/30 - Mayor, on behalf of the New Columbia Statehood Commission (NCSC), will submit the NCSC Resolution to Council. [Will there be public hearings?]
7/5 - Council approves resolution for Statehood.
7/8 - Advisory Referendum filed with Board of Elections.
7/28 - Board of Elections to hold hearing to certify referendum language [We should try to attend this hearing].
8/4 - Board of Elections will submit language to DC register and notify Mayor and Chairman.
8/12 - Assuming publication, 10 day window opens for objections and request for hearing.
9/15 - Board of Elections certifies the Advisory Referendum to be placed on 11/8 ballot.
11/8 - Election Day, when DC voters will vote on the Advisory Referendum.
1/21/2017 - Petition submitted to new President and new Congress.
At the Lincoln Cottage, we were then invited to take part in the next meeting on May 12th held at Gallaudet University. That event was also well attended. When comments were called,the first was from Anise Jenkins asking whether funds would be available to help low income activists go to the various political Conventions this summer. I asked whether we should add outreach to the foreign embassies in DC given that ALL other major capitals have full citizens' rights and also whether there would be cooperation with Puerto Rico since they suffer similarly. Another comment emphasized the reduction of the 1982 and 1987 delegate numbers to new 13 number maintaining the status quo. He also explained the much larger delegations and bicameral nature of most all state legislatures. I believe this was by the man quoted below: [NOTE - my Blogger refuses to allow me to enlarge the material below]