Wednesday, December 31, 2008

DC Government 2009 Wish List - Top 10

The top 10 areas that I'd like to see progress on in 2009 -- or at least the top 10 that come to mind at the moment....

10. DDOT addresses dangerous intersections, such as the crosswalks at New York Avenue NW at 4th and 5th Streets NW where pedestrians have 20 seconds to cross 6-10 lanes of traffic.

9. DC government disposes/better maintains the hundreds of vacant property it OWNS throughout the city, such as properties in the Home Again program.

8. MPD provides assurance that ShotSpotter (detects the location of gunfire instantly) is fully operation and producing results in the Third District.

7. Election reform ensures every citizen's vote is actually counted (no more touch screen ballots without a paper trail). Consideration of eliminating set-aside seats for minority parties on the DC Council and authorizing open primaries through a referendum vote.

6. Generally, more consistent enforcement of DC laws -- all of them -- and applying the law equally to all, i.e. permitting/construction and "quality-of-life crimes."

5. An effective, well-managed Advisory Neighborhood Commission representing the Shaw, Mount Vernon, and Penn Quarter neighborhoods.

4. Tax relief and other support for small businesses in areas that were hit by high property tax increases over the past decade so that they do not go under and find themselves replaced with more Starbucks and Subways.

3. The DC Council stops giving away public property (i.e. the Southwest waterfront for $1 a year for 99 years) without a transparent, open competitive bidding process. Next up: Franklin School?

2. Renovation of abandoned and neglected parks, such as Carter G. Woodson Park, 2nd and Massachusetts Avenue NW, 6th and N Street, or the Chinatown Park at 5th and Massachusetts Avenue NW. Let's see at least one more forward in 2009! Also - more dog parks.

1. When federal legislation to provide DC with a vote in the House fails yet again (or is declared unconstitutional), I hope the DC Council will restart discussion of true Home Rule issues (as opposed to license plates and billboards at the baseball stadium). Potential action items include having our own prosecutors and judges, an elected attorney general, placing federally-controlled small parks (aka "reservations") under DC control, and legislative and budgetary autonomy. DC Council passes a resolution urging Congress to move forward in one or more of these areas.


Anonymous said...

Thought you'd be interested in the open letter to Pres.-elect Obama that is circulating. Rather than get into a whole lot of explaining, I'll just paste the link and "letter" here which speaks for itself.

Please feel free to contact me for more information.

Gwen Mandell

Independent voters were proud to be a vital element of your winning coalition during the presidential campaign of 2008. Your appeal to Americans — that the country must move beyond partisanship and towards a more participatory and open political culture — resonated strongly with independent voters, who have been voicing these concerns for many years. Your invitation to all Americans to reshape our country’s future — without regard to political affiliation — was a refreshing change for independents and Americans of every political persuasion.

During the presidential primary season, independents played a crucial role in bolstering the change-oriented movement that led to your nomination. By virtue of being able to vote in the primaries and caucuses in 33 states, independents cast the votes that gave your campaign its margin, and continued to support you in the general election.

You asked the American people to partner with you to realize the dream of our democracy, to form a “more perfect union.” Let us strengthen that partnership as you begin your first term and work together to expand the voting rights of independents.

We raise this not as some kind of “political payback” for our support, but because we believe, insofar as the presidential election itself became a partial reform, this needs to be protected and expanded for future elections.
We, the undersigned, appeal to you to support the full inclusion of independent voters in all primaries and caucuses for election to federal office in all 50 states.

• In states with partisan registration, unaffiliated voters are now 24.8% of the electorate, up 36% since 1992;

• Nationally, nearly 40% of all voters self-identify as independents, regardless of whether they are registered into a party;

• In Presidential elections, independents can participate in primaries and caucuses in only 33 states. In 17 states, they are denied access;

• In numerous states, independents can vote in the presidential primaries, but not in other statewide primaries. Only 21 states ensure the inclusion of independents in Congressional primary elections;

• As independents gain in numbers and influence, there has been an intensified effort by major party leaders in states that have open primaries — e.g., Idaho, Mississippi, Virginia and Washington — to close the primaries to independents.

Therefore, we ask you, President Obama, to:

• Initiate and support federal legislation to create open primaries for election to federal office in all 50 states that guarantees full access for independent voters;

• Establish a Presidential Task Force on Political and Electoral Reform that includes representatives of the broad movement of independent voters to consider sweeping nonpartisan reform of the electoral process and its administration;

• Use your bully pulpit to speak out on the importance of open primaries and the inclusion of independents in all aspects of the electoral and political process.

Charles Walker said...

Here's an idea - why don't they just bury New York Avenue around City Vista by building a tunnel for through traffic.