While traveling around the City during the recent primary election campaign, I have thought of a number of ideas for promoting Statehood and Greener living. Here are a few of them, but I have others as well. [Unfortunately for me, my worthy opponent won the primary vote for DCSGP At Large for City Council. However, I had enough write-in votes to run for DCSGP "Shadow" Representative to Congress on the November ballot.]
Now I would like your help in moving a statehood/green agenda for our city. If you would like to help with any of the projects below, either Comment with your contact information, or email me. Just list the number and what you might like to contribute to the effort.
-- 1) Promote solar and wind energy production on the many flat office building roofs downtown. This could reduce our dependency on the grid in major heat waves, which are likely with global warming.
-- 2) Pressure Walmart to place low and moderate income units above any stores built (they currently plan “market rate” housing on at least one store), and put solar panels on the roof.
-- 3) Pass a “good Samaritan” law that would protect anyone who volunteers their land, building, or time for a sanctioned activity from unfair legal problems. This would make it much easier to get vacant land for community gardening, or houses needing fixing for youth training programs.
-- 4) To promote Statehood, have an escrow account in which DC taxpayers could put 3/5ths of Federal taxes owed until we get the Representative and Two Senators all other US populations our size elect. Actually returning this money to DC would increase our tax revenue to between 1/2 and 1 billion dollars. Enough to restore many worthwhile programs cut in recent years.
-- 5) Puerto Rico has a separate entry in the Olympics. Until we have Statehood, maybe we should have one too. Let the whole world see how unfairly we are treated as the USA boasts our Democratic ideals.
-- 6) On Memorial Day weekend demonstrate in front of the World War II column that says Washington, DC. Display a large sign listing: Number Died, Number Wounded, Number who Served. [We need to move on this one quickly to make it happen this year.]
-- 7) Consider persuading Congress to allow much taller buildings away from our Monumental core and existing neighborhoods. Tall buildings would provide more tax income to permit restoring the lower tax rates we enjoyed when we first got Home Rule, which our leaders have failed to preserve for us.
-- 8) In addition to “coupling” our D-40 Deductions and Exemptions to the more favorable Federal rates, allow a Deduction for anyone who is seriously disabled and dependent, not just for blindness. Let us lead the nation in promoting this critical change that will be so important to our aging population.
-- 9) Promote better nutrition and health by using high school greenhouses, land around public housing and parks to grow seedlings for distribution, and edible plantings both seasonal and permanent food. Also restore allowing trucks to circulate in neighborhoods selling fresh fruits and vegetables.
-- 10) Large amounts of perfectly good paint are being thrown away. Let's provide a central repository where people can pick up free paint for worthy projects like painting schools, and elderly housing.
-- 11) Develop a fall carnival similar to the spring ones in Brazil. There, each neighborhood has a “Samba School” where everyone works all year to create costumes, dance routines, and floats for the big parade. This would be a great opportunity for young and old to spend summers being creatively involved together to prepare everything for the big event in the fall. It could be a big money maker and jobs opportunity for the city's hotel and restaurant industry. See Brazil Carnival or Brazil Samba Schools at Google.
These are just some of the ideas I have had. I would love to see any ideas that you think would help too. Please email to email@example.com. You can also add them as a comment as I check them periodically.
G. Lee Aikin, April, 2012