FOX 5's Vice President and General Manager Duffy Dyer gives his take on issues in the DC Region.
The Ethics Challenged DC City Council
Tuesday of last week, the DC City Council voted 12 to 1 against the creation of an emergency ethics reform task force. Several of the members who voted against the measure sponsored by Councilman At Large Vincent Orange said that a more deliberate and comprehensive approach to ethics reform that includes input from the public is needed. OK, that’s fine. Here’s some input, somebody better do something about ethics reform and do it fast.
A February 2011 study of city councils in major cities by the Pew Charitable Trust found that the DC City Council members are the 2nd highest paid city council in the nation. Only Los Angeles pays more. And on a per-resident basis, Washington DC spent the most on its city council.
So one would think that we could find and elect a council that would serve our needs in a competent and honest manner.
The citizen’s of the District of Columbia have been inundated with revelation after revelation of improper, unethical and possibly illegal actions. Three of the more concerning lapses involve the Council Chairman Kwame Brown’s request for a taxpayer financed SUV and the allegation that the Chairman’s 2008 campaign funneled $239,000 to a firm operated by his brother. On top of these revelations is Councilman Harry Thomas’ misuse of city funds, earmarked for the development of youth sports, for a car purchase and golf outings.
With all the revelations that have come to light, it should surprise no one to hear Councilman David Catania admonishing his fellow council members by saying “we are losing our moral authority to govern…”
So why do we, the voting public, let this go on? Well, given recent voter turnout, it would appear that we just don’t care. On April 26th of this year, in a special election for several offices, including an at-large seat, only 10.3% of registered voters turned out to put Vincent Orange in office. In the important primary election last September, only 37% of registered voters showed up to cast their vote.
The next time DC voters get a chance to improve on this shameful record is Primary Day April 3, 2012. Six council seats will be on the ballot, 2 at larger seats and seats in Wards 2, 4, 7 and 8.
Washington, D.C. is a great city and the citizens deserve elected officials that can be trusted to act above the law and in the city’s best interests. But we have to get involved.
We at Fox 5 News intend to keep a spotlight on this council and its activities so that you will be informed voters when you - hopefully – go to the polls next April 3rd.
That’s my take. What’s yours? Comment below here on myfoxdc.com or send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org .
WTTG FOX 5 & myfoxdc
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