You may have seen this flyer for a mayoral forum tomorrow around town listing me as a participant. I am actually excluded from the forum.
Someone showed it to me Monday night -- yesterday -- and I started searching my email for an invitation to a forum for Wednesday October 1 and couldn't find one.
It turns out the invite was buried in an email with a candidate questionnaire. I've been answering candidate questionnaires all month -- from the League of Women Voters, from the DC Youth Alliance, etc. -- and I'd glanced at this one and put it off because it was longer and more involved than the others. The subject line of the September 12 email is "Strengthening Our Local Democracy Candidate Questionnaire" -- no mention of an event. You have to open the email and see the mention of an event in the prologue text, not in the attached questionnaire (which is what I immediately went to).
I sent DC Votes my answers on the morning of September 30th, along with a statement that I regretted the misunderstanding. I pointed out to them that they were unique in combining a questionnaire and an event invitation in the same email -- and not mentioning the event invite in the subject line. They maintain it would be "unfair" to allow anyone in who didn't reply by September 26th. After closely questioning a slightly evasive Kimberly Perry on the phone, who first insisted everyone else understood it was an event invitation (and that I was uniquely oblivious), it looks like Muriel Bowser may have replied and is at any rate skipping their event, and Green Party candidate Faith Crannich never replied, so she too may not have realized there was an event.
The two essential questions for this forum are:
1) Does DC Vote oppose same week voter registration?
2) Will the coffee be strong enough if only Schwartz and Catania are there, and don't contrast their approaches to statehood but devolve into a personal squabble?
I am not sure I am going to find out. I suppose they won't actually have tons of security, as American University does, to keep out the uninvited candidates. But I don't know if it is worth it to go sit in a room with the same two dozen activists/local political junkies, who show up at every event.
Below are my answers. Ms. Perry opined that it would be unfair to provide my answers to the public since I would have had a chance to read Schwartz's or Catania's answers posted sometime this week on the DC Vote website (I actually went on their website last night to find out about the date and time of the mystery event my supporters were telling me about, and didn't see any such answers from other candidates. It's amusing that she thinks a Libertarian answer would resemble theirs.) She thinks it is more democratic to exclude a candidate and their answers to her questions from her website and her forum because she didn't get them 5 days ahead of her event than it is to include a candidate when she gets the answers a day ahead of time.
If you are donating to this group perhaps you should find an alternative. This approach may be why we don't have Statehood. Maybe Congress people aren't opening their emails because they don't mention the real subject in the subject line.
If only I had corporate PAC money so I could have staff to schedule events and read my sea of email, including those with uninformative subject lines. My apologies if you attend the event expecting to see me.
Hey Muriel -- wanna have coffee tomorrow morning at Corner Bakery? My treat! I guess we will be forgoing the 30 DC activists who go to almost every campaign event.
- How might you coordinate with DC’s Delegate to Congress and together maximize the city’s productive relationships with the Washington regional congressional delegation to advance the agenda for greater autonomy and representation?
- What strategies would you employ to stop riders from being placed on DC appropriation bills?
- If elected mayor and invited to the White House, what would be the top three issues you would raise? Related to this, what plans do you have to reach out to the White House after taking office?
- How might you amend DC's Home Rule charter, within the legal guidelines outlined by Congress, to gain any greater autonomy for our local government?
- What types of executive actions could the DC government take to assert greater autonomy without changing the law or asking for approval from Congress?
- While organizations like ours are fostering local, national and international partnerships all the time to advance democracy, from your perspective, who are our most strategic allies in the fight for autonomy and representation that we haven't reached out to yet?
- What specific things would residents of DC see coming out of your mayor’s office that would make it clear that advancing democracy for DC is a high priority?
- The District government ended up divided over the local Budget Autonomy Act. This law was unanimously supported by the council, signed by the Mayor and overwhelmingly approved by voters. As Mayor, what would you do to make sure DC presents a unified front on initiatives designed to give greater autonomy to the people of the District?
- In 2001, Congress mandated through the Appropriations Act that the District establish two reserves that could be described as "rainy day" funds. Although these reserves are funded with local dollars, Congress set very strict rules on when funds could be used and how they would have to be repaid. What would you do, if anything, to seek greater or full local autonomy over these reserves?
- Recently, a federal district judge from New York held that the city’s ban on the carrying of firearms outside the home is unconstitutional. How do you think the city should respond to this ruling?
- DC’s charter school board recently sued the city challenging the authority of the Council to alter the student funding formula established by Congress. What would you do as mayor to contest Congressional interference in matters like schools that that are clearly state and local functions?