EHNertia

In any race, a candidate has to answer not just the, “Why should we vote for you?” question, but also, “What’s wrong with the other guy?” This is doubly true when running against an incumbent who wins handily year after year.

Let’s be specific here: I’m running against a lady who is a living icon of the Civil Rights movement. A woman who has championed the rights of African Americans, women, LGBT individuals, and many others for longer than I’ve been alive. No one, certainly not I, challenges her devotion to the District nor her love for this city.

So why am I running?

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It's NOT "too hard"!

Yesterday, I discussed Aaron Weiner’s Peter May I?: Meet the most powerful man shaping D.C.’s growth you’ve never heard of in the context of Statehood, and I firmly believe that regularizing our status with rest of America is the best, fairest, and most practical way to correct that wrong.

But so what?

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Oh, THAT guy?

This week’s cover story in the Washington City Paper has a rather click-bait-y title: Peter May I?: Meet the most powerful man shaping D.C.’s growth you’ve never heard of. It’s an excellent profile by Aaron Wiener of someone who holds the cumbersome title of Associate Regional Director for Lands, Planning, and Design for the National Capital Region of the National Park Service. Go take a look at it. It’s a great read, but I have to quibble with the headline a bit.

I have most certainly heard of Peter May.

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Absolutely Not

Last Friday, a man jumped the fence and rushed the front door of the White House. While he managed to just barely get in the building, the system worked– albeit imperfectly. Even if the President had been in the building at the time, there would have been no danger to him. Furthermore, the man was captured by the Secret Service without injury to himself or any officers. After a summer where issues of police overreaction have been hotly discussed, I think it speaks well of the Secret Service that they managed to resolve this without gunfire.

Allowing the fence jumper to get to the front door is clearly a matter of much internal discussion within the Secret Service, and it’s entirely appropriate that they review procedures, and if necessary, make physical modifications, to prevent a similar occurrence. However, this morning's Washington Post reveals that some of these proposals call for restricting pedestrian access to Pennsylvania Avenue, either by partial closures or bag checks a block away.

This is a disturbing idea, and District and national leaders need to call on the Secret Service to think of other ways to protect the President.

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One Year Ago

Almost exactly at this time last year, I was giving a tour at Arlington Cemetery. From the Tomb of the Unknowns, I happened to glance up at the stunning vista of Washington, DC, and saw what looked like a dozen helicopters descend on my neighborhood of Capitol Hill like a swarm of flies. A slew of worried texts, tweets, and phone calls followed. Details, almost all of them false, leaked in, but gradually a picture formed: the Navy Yard, where many of my friends and neighbors worked, was in the midst of a horrific attack; a few blocks away my children's school was locked down; and I still had a group of kids whose parents back in Michigan would naturally have concerns. I spent the day in a bit of a fog, showing blissfully unaware eighth graders about town, and somewhat selfishly hoping that no one I knew was hurt.

I was fortunate. 12 other families in our region were not.

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Let's stop subsidizing Congressional parking

Attention Republicans and others deeply concerned with the cost and size of the federal government!

Want a big, splashy issue that you can use to rail against “those fat cats in Washington” giving freebies to a pampered overclass? Specifically, an issue that won’t cost the taxpayers a dime? One that will net hundreds of millions of dollars for the US government and which we can… I don’t know? Turn it into tax breaks or something?

Here it is: get rid of all the free parking around the Capitol and build more city.

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We can do better than Dan Snyder

There's been a lot of chatter in the last few days regarding our local NFL franchise possibly moving back to Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. Stadium. I have struggled with creating a measured response to the proposal. Maybe it would be good if they agreed to build a stadium integrated into the urban fabric? Maybe the plan should go ahead if we, as a city, take a firm but conciliatory stand on the offensive name? Maybe things would work if we use a possible stadium deal to spur continued development and clean-up of the Anacostia River?

I made it about two paragraphs in. It didn't work. I can't see a scenario where a NFL Stadium on that site is a good idea. Not when the site could be so much more.

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Stop stalling. Statehood now.

Do you ever pause to think why some of the most important parts of the Constitution weren’t IN the Constitution in the first place? Rather critical things like freedom of speech, press, right to a jury trial, protection against unreasonable search and seizure, and many more, were left out of the original ratification of the Constitution. They would, of course, be quickly added as amendments; but why weren’t they there in the first place?

It obviously wasn’t because the Founders were against individual rights. Rather, it was because many of them felt it was unnecessary, even dangerous, to list, and therefore limit, them. Bills of Rights were for monarchies, “stipulations between kings and their subjects, abridgments of prerogative in favor of privilege, reservations of rights not surrendered to the prince,” according to Alexander Hamilton in Federalist No. 84, Democracies already existed for the people, and had no need for instructions. Such things were better suited, as he put it, in a “treatise of ethics than in a constitution of government.”

What would actually protect individual liberties if not a formal Bill? Simple. The unique construction of our government, with power deliberately separated between branches of government and between the central government and the individual states achieves that goal.

In other words, the Founders intended free citizens to be residents of states.

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No Taxation Without Representation! For Real?

"Look, Krepp: You know, and I know, that Statehood will never happen. And you know full well that this talk of going 'back' to Maryland is a smokescreen to avoid dealing with the unpleasant truth that so many Americans live without basic representation. No way it’s happening either. So why not embrace the other half of 'taxation without representation'? Do you LIKE paying taxes?"

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Maryland, Your Maryland

"Ok, fine. You've convinced me," you are thinking. "The District Clause is anachronistic and makes little sense in today's world. And yes, the Constitution should be viewed as a template FOR democracy not as an excuse to restrict it. So let's just fix it. Why don't we..." --stop me if you've heard this before-- "...go back to Maryland!?!"

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