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Wednesday, October 1, 2014

DC Votes Mayoral Forum Wednesday excludes Libertarians




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 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 (or favor other forms of voter ID or poll tax)?

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 we 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!

******************************************************************************


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  1. 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?

I think in general you need to bypass politicians and appeal directly to their voters and their interests.  In the case of Washington area representatives we would need to present a case that greater DC autonomy would allow DC to be a greater contributor of economic growth for the entire region, making the pie grow as opposed to competing for a slice of a pie not growing.  Somewhere in that project I’d like to commission a study of how allowing DC to get rid of the height limit on buildings would bring more jobs to the area, by allowing more units, both residential and commercial, to be built in the District.

  1. What strategies would you employ to stop riders from being placed on DC appropriation bills?

I think riders are placed on all bills in Congress so it is a much more general problem.  If DC had Senators and Representatives its political class would simply be participating in riders, earmarks etc. that affect it and other states.  Until DC is a state it has little power.  There are strategies it does not seem to have used much, including boycotting purchases from Congressional Districts whose representatives have attached such riders or in other ways been inimical to DC.

  1. 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?

This would depend in part on who is in the White House.  The three issues I would focus on with all federal officials are: (1) how DC needs Statehood, and before that more autonomy, to deal with its own criminal justice issues, so that it could wind down the war on drugs, something I think most DC residents favor; (2) allowing DC residents in federal prisons to be relocated to prisons closer to DC so that their family members could visit them, including potentially having a federal prison in DC; and (3) allowing DC more control of its own economic life, with an end to the height limit, and the transfer of unused federal property to the private economy.

  1. 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?

In general I favor weening DC from the federal payment and instead allowing it to borrow money as freely as any other state.  DC has an influx of highly paid residents who ultimately derive their incomes from federal government employment and related activities like lobbying.  It can instead tax them if it needs money, and they can vote out DC politicians if they think the taxes and spending are unwise.

  1. What types of executive actions could the DC government take to assert greater autonomy without changing the law or asking for approval from Congress?  

DC’s political class is not highly regarded by DC residents and even less so by residents of neighboring states and other states whose Congressional representatives vote about DC matters. Rather than have our political class perpetually bleat about Statehood, which may be widely viewed as a self-interested cause, where they would like new monies and powers in their new roles as Governors or Senators of a new state, I favor a perpetual referendum (or initiative) in every election where the actual opinion of DC voters is measured about whether they would like Statehood, the status quo, or some other arrangement (including exemption from federal taxation as in Puerto Rico).

  1. 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?

I think rather than doing the same things over and over one should identify new and maverick political factions and find a way of engaging them on the issues.  For example, Senators Rand Paul and Cory Booker have started cooperating on interesting criminal justice reforms (that would incidentally be great for District residents impacted by the criminal justice system).  We should formulate agendas they could be enticed to support.


  1. 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?

First do no harm.  The DC government seems to have happily overturned term limits initiatives passed by the voters, and kept campaign finance reform initiatives with thousands of signatures off the ballot, in year past.  This makes it look like Statehood would not be about democracy for DC voters, but making a state for the DC political class where “home rule” would not be greater autonomy, but the political class ruling your home.

  1. 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?

I don’t know that DC voters are or need to be unified on issues or that a mayor should spin to make it look like they are.  All states of course are heavily regulated by the federal government, which witholds federal funds unless they go along with federal policies.  DC simply has this worse than anyone else.


DC could forgoe the federal payment, since he who pays the piper calls the tune.  If that is not feasible DC could seek out state governments suing the federal government on a variety of issues to preserve state and local autonomy, and join them as a plaintiff; and then ask for cooperation on our autonomy in return.  Perhaps this could be part of the mission of the new Attorney General’s office.

  1. 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?

In general I don’t think politicians can be trusted with money, and any such fund will be tapped to buy votes and reward donors.  I would suggest that we alter the city charter to take away control of such funds from Congress, by instead substituting that they can only be spent on projects identified by voters by initiative (and not including by the city council through referendums).

  1. 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?

I think the DC political class should resist its temptation to spend DC taxpayers money in court fighting to see how far they can go in minimizing the Bill of Rights.  Giving the DC political class “autonomy” from the Constitution and Bill of Rights does nothing for the autonomy of DC residents.  Every neighborhood list serve I read talks about intruders in yards, cars, back porches.  Some categories of crime, including rape, have risen in recent years, even if homicide rates have dropped.  Law abiding citizens should be allowed to have a gun at home in DC just as they are in many states.  Even the White House seems to be having a problem with intruders this year, and the police are not always there in time to prevent it.

  1. 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?

I favor autonomy for DC residents, not the DC political class.  So I favor equal funding for charter schools,  In part this might allow enough charter schools to be started that the 22,000 students waiting for a space in one could enroll.  It would also save DC taxpayers money being wasted in court by the DC government defunding its unequal and discriminatory funding of students based on where they choose to learn.  Since cahrter schools and traditional public schools have different racial demographics -- charter schools are more African American, with Ward 3 having no charter schools - this inequity has a racial inflection.


Congress and the federal Department of Education interfere in local schools in all states and I do in general oppose that.



Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Libertarian Bruce Majors opening statement at the Mayoral Debate at the Historic Sixth and I Synagogue

My opening statement at the Mayoral Debate at the Historic Sixth and I Synagogue on Sunday, September 28

Thank you all for coming today and to the Jewish Community Relations Council and the Sixth and I Synagogue for inviting us and hosting this event.

I am Bruce Majors and I am running for mayor so that you do not have to throw away your vote. I am running for Mayor as a Libertarian because I want to build a new political party in DC so we will no longer be plagued by the corruption and other problems that have resulted in part from our being a one party state.

I've lived in DC since 1980, where I've lived in 3 of the city's four quadrants (NW, SE and briefly NE), and in 4 of the city's Wards (Wards 2, 3, 4 and 6).

I've had a variety of jobs - technical editor, teaching English as a foreign language, event planning, renovating properties, and for about two decades, selling real estate.

I'd like your vote because voting for me is one of the few ways you can make your vote count, one of the few ways you can vote without throwing your vote away.

If you vote for frontrunner Muriel Bowser, according to the polls she is going to win anyway. Your vote really adds nothing to that and has no impact.

If you vote for David Catania, polls say he is down by almost 20% and cannot win.  He will retun to the private sector, at least for a couple of years, and your vote will have no impact.

If you vote for my friend Carol Schwartz, she will also, according to the polls, not win, and she will retire with her great legacy of public service, and your vote will have had no effect.

But if you vote for me, and any of the other 9 Libertarians running for office, you help a new party -- DC's fastest growing party -- stay on the ballot, and help make DC's political marketplace more competitive.

So I'm asking for your vote, even if you aren't particularly libertarian or libertarian-leaning. To learn more about our policy ideas, besides what Will Sommers mentioned in his introduction for me and what we will discuss here today, I invite you to check out our newly launched Majors for Mayor website, which we will be adding to daily. Or talk to me after the debate today.

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I was happy and surprised this provoked Schwartz to insist that she could win, as in past elections 200,000 DC voters have voted for her.  I was also happy this actually provoked Catania to attack me obliquely, for having elsewhere criticized his offering that DC taxpayers will pay for the healthcare of immigrants who come to DC, with no budgetary constraint or limit offered.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Questions for the three mayoral candidates invited by American University

American University sponsored a kind of Potemkin village debate among only three mayoral candidates.  The audience were only political hacks and campaign staff, mainly Bowser's, who were bused in before tickets were given out and got all the tickets for the main hall (the event was cosponsored by Palisades and Ward 3 groups, but neighborhood people who showed up were shunted across the building to an overflow room),  the three candidates squabbled among themselves in a slightly childish fashion, and their supporters shouted and were rude.  Both the candidates and their cheerleaders were admonished to behave a number of times by moderator Tom Sherwood.

We also learned that all three candidates favor disarming DC citizens and all three favor increased spending on a variety of programs.  We also learned that all of them think the other two were incompetent and unproductive in the past while on the city council, and that they are less than truthful about their records.  Perhaps we should trust their assessments of their opponents?

Needless to say none of the candidates identified ANY metrics showing that their past legislation has had any positive effects, in a city they all admit has double digit unemployment in Wards 7 and 8, and among the highest dropout and truancy rates in the country (calling Dr. Freud: Carol Schwartz said the book she would require DC students to read would be "A Tale of Two Cities"). And Catania did not tell us what his many many proposed programs would cost, nor where he would extract the loot for them from the taxpayer. 
 
I am a little surprised AU didn't invite David Pitts and Richard Berendzen to officiate.


  1. For Catania, Schwartz and Bowser:  $29,000 is budgeted per pupil for students attending traditional public schools, but only $17,000 for charter students and even less ($12,000) for students using a DC Opportunity Voucher to attend an independent school.  Will you end this discriminatory and unequal funding, and allow all students the same resources, no matter where they choose to learn?


  1.  For Catania: You propose to spend more on programs for failing schools, trees, immigrant healthcare, the homeless, college scholarships, daycare, paid family leave, affordable housing, and many other programs, and have suggested raising taxes to pay for this.  You also say you want to bring more and diverse businesses and jobs to DC.  How will you get business to move to DC when you raise their taxes for your new programs?  Follow up:  How much is the total budget for your new programs?


  1. For Catania, Schwartz and Bowser:  In 1996 the DC voters voted for a term limit referendum by a 2/3rds majority; it passed by a majority in every Ward.  The City Council then overturned it.  How is the DC government legitimate if it nullified a basic constituitive principle passed by the voters?  How would you vote today?  For Schwartz:  How did you vote?


  1. For Bowser, Catania and Schwartz:  It is widely discussed by the public that officials in the Metropolitan police department may have covered up domestic abuse in the past by DC politicians.  Would you investigate these stories?


  1. For Schwartz:  You have said charter schools should be more closely regulated because some have misused funds.  But the traditional public schools spend $29,000 per pupil to produce at best equal results to those of charters, which receive only $17,000 per pupil.  How would you investigate the misuse of funds by the DC public schools?  Where is the money going?


  1. For Catania:  You have called for subsidies for day care.  But independent providers of K-6 education and after school care in DC are regulated by different agencies from those that regulate public and charter schools, and are required to have more staff, more bathroom facilities, etc. per the same number of students, as well as other more costly amenities (e.g., cots off the floor instead of mats).  What have you done in the past to address this?


  1. For Catania, Schwartz, and Bowser:  Mr. Catania’s 126 page booklet details how he has steered hundreds of millions of dollars to programs he favored, Ms. Schwartz’s 15 page paper details her history working on education issues, and Ms. Bowser has served on the city council for several years.  Yet as Mr. Catania’s booklet shows in various graphs, Wards 7 and 8 have double digit unemployment, and DC schools have higher truancy and drop out rates than anywhere in the United States, while spending more per pupil.  What metrics show that your past activities and expenditures have produced results?


  1. For Catania:  You propose to expand facilities for the homeless in DC.  How will you ensure that DC does not end up absorbing the homeless from the entire region from Baltimore to Richmond, at taxpayer expense?


  1. For Schwartz, Catania, and Bowser:  DC residents convicted of federal crimes are dispersed through prisons around the country, so that their relatives cannot easily visit them, which may frustrate their reintegration into society.  What plans do you have to address this and have them housed closer to DC?


  1. For Catania, Schwartz, and Bowser:  DC has reduced its homicide rate, but has regular car and home theft and vandalism, as well as muggings, gay bashings etc.  Yet police resources are used on ticket traps and victimless crimes.  What have you done in the past to address the misallocation of police resources?


m4msmaller.jpg

Bruce Majors, Libertarian for Mayor, 1200 23rd Street NW, Washington DC 20037

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Bruce Majors speaks at DC State Fair


  •  to 
  • Old City Farm and Guild

    925 Rhode Island Ave NW, Washington, DC (edit map)
  • A 5 minute speech and then we can pass out literature for 45 minutes.  Other candidates should come and meet voters.  I will introduce you from stage.

DC police arrest alleged prostitutes, wasting resources needed to fight violent crime

Mr Sinclair and Officer Boteler,

This was actually another big failure, which inflates our taxes unnecessarily for non violent crimes, as the Council and MPD seek to pretend to abolish street prostitution for the NIMBYs.

It might be more useful if MPD just arrested the johns and pimps to shame and scare away those who drive the market. Where ever there is a market of people — usually men with gross amounts of disposable income (like well to do PSA 307 residents) — to pay cash to exploit women (more than American society already does) for illicit sex, there will be suppliers.

DC's local judges don't take these irrational "solicitation" cases very seriously and often let non violent prostitutes go. I'm not sure whether or not the men involved get branded publicly as sex offenders — for the rest of their lives where ever they might live or work, to their wives and families — but it would make the system more effective and fair. Altogether, DC residents should fight to scrap current anti-prostitution policies and practices for a humane, logical, cost saving — if not revenue positive — alternative.

On Aug 27, during a trial for Monique L Moultrie (age 38) at the DC Superior Moultrie Courthouse, the Honorable Judge Truman Morrison stated that he's heard thousands of dubious "solicitation violations" in which — absent direct complaint of violence or an offense from one of the participants — MPD officers were actually guilty of committing the technically illegal solicitation to entrap poor people. The real victims in these situations are usually women (or LGBTs), notoriously abused by American society (more than whiny adult black males who get all the news media crying about racism) who have no better ways to survive in America and DC's local economy than to sell their bodies on the street to any disgusting creepy guy with $20 in their pants (who no normal economically stable and sensible human being would likely touch with a 10ft pole or want to see naked).
Judge Truman Morrison recalled an even more troubling case this year in which a poor woman — who was both deaf and mute — was arrested and tried for solicitation after an undercover MPD officer offered her $10 and begged her for some "head" and the male police officer claimed the poor woman solicited him when she "nodded" by looking down toward his crotch (more likely just intimidated, scared and dejected because she was about to be arrested w/o actually having committed a real crime). 

Judge Morrison decried current entrapment polices perpetuated by our DC Council and practiced by MPD as reprehensible and he suggested he usually throws out such cases, or gives meaningless light sentences, because the whole framework is inhumane and an obscene waste of tax payer dollars — from police resources to astronomical court costs — which no one dares itemize transparently for the public or at Council hearings because we would stop this nonsense completely and advocate to create a rational alternative.

So, the effect of the big Sept 13 prostitution bust will probably put the women back out the street with even fewer means to becoming employed and getting their lives back on track.



The nitwit way we use the brutal arm of the insanely costly criminal justice system to ruin the lives of non violent offenders is just one of the reasons Switzerland is ranked 7th as one of the world's leading democracies and the United States is lagging behind pathetically at 19th. The wealthy elite have ruined our democracy and are often eager to charge poor people with felonies that eliminate their right to vote and participate in society and advocate for more humane and rational cost saving policies.

Simple physiology dictates that men are hard wired to seek out sex regularly — with their wives, girlfriends and/or others. Puritanical fallacies about how people should live their lives are out of step with reality and even Christian values; even Jesus refused to condemn someone for a non violent sex offense in (The Gospel of John 8:3-11) when the elite wanted to have her stoned to death. It's hard to imagine He'd want anyone's life permanently ruined for such non violent offenses. 

Prostitution is unhealthy and self destructive, but so are BigGulps. A civilized humane society would not compound the damage — and increase their own taxes – by employing the criminal justice system instead of providing, at a lower cost, better education (than DC public schools — the worst in the Nation), preventive health care, substance abuse treatment, and legitimate/effective job training that would help empower these women (and their LGBT colleagues) and get them back on their feet to become productive neighbors and tax paying American citizens.

-- 
Best regards,

Martin Moulton
2014 DC Libertarian candidate for United States Representative for the District of Columbia (Statehood/Shadow Representative)
(202) 422-1161, @ShawingtonTimes


Re: [MPD-3d] 3-D VICE Anti-Prostitution Operation a Success !
Great job! Thank you for the department's hard work on this!
Thom Sinclair

[MPD-3d] 3-D VICE Anti-Prostitution Operation a Success !
On Sat, Sep 13, 2014 at 7:15 AM, 'Boteler, James (MPD)' james.boteler@... [MPD-3d]<MPD-3d@yahoogroups.comwrote:
On today's date, during the very early morning hours, members of your 3-D Vice Unit conducted an street-level undercover "Anti-Prostitution Operation" within PSA307.

The operation focused on street level prostitution and targeted both street-level prostitutes and the customers of said illicit activity.

A total of 15 adult men and women were arrested and charged with "Solicitation of Prostitution."

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Reading Between the Lines of DC’s Mayoral Candidates | Politics

Reading Between the Lines of DC’s Mayoral Candidates | Politics | Washingtonian



It's interesting that David Catania is in the position non-incumbent independent and non-establishment parties are always in: first he had to petition to get on the ballot; his main opponent refused to debate him until he had ballot status; and she continues to not want to debate him, since, should he actually be able to raise an issue (beyond saying people able to buy a house in a good school district will absolutely be guaranteed access to that school, and the rest of the city can eat cake) it can only diminish the ease with which she can coast to victory in a one party town.
Of course being an incumbent he gets much more media attention and money than most independents usually do. As usual, he and Bowser will spend many times more dollars per vote for each of their votes than any of the other candidates. It's often a factor of 10-20 times as much per vote received. Without donations from developers, corporations, and unions on whom they confer benefits, establishment candidates would have a lot more trouble. It's interesting that so many of the debates are sponsored by organizations, like American University (and WAMU) that benefit hugely from what is done with zoning laws and the tax code by the DC government.
It will be interesting to see what they differ on, or what issues they can even articulate, should they ever start debating or even campaigning. And DC journalists seem to be happy to ignore the fact that neither are articulating any solutions to our problems - our failed schools, our thousands of young men marked with scarlet letters that make them unemployable by the drug war, etc. - and treat the campaign as a sports tournament. Just as DC journalists were largely oblivious to corruption in DC, just as all the people in the local Democratic Party and on the city council were willing to turn a blind eye, until private citizens like Tim Day or outside investigators like the FBI paid attention .

Pranav Badhwar for Ward 6

Pranav Badhwar for Ward 6
Pranav Badhwar for Ward 6

Campaign 2014

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