There has been much progress made in the past year in the area of ethics reform in D.C. government. That progress includes the passing of three charter amendments in the most recent election.
One amendment allows the D.C. City Council to expel a member for "gross misconduct." The other two amendments require the mayor or a city council member to resign their office if convicted of a felony while in office. These two amendments would bar the mayor and council member from holding office in the future. If you feel that D.C. deserves the most trustworthy representation, than you have to feel pretty good about the passage of these amendments.
However, 22 percent of the people who voted on the amendments that addressed the felonious acts by a mayor or council member voted against the measures. I just can't figure that out. 22 percent of the people who voted want convicted felons to continue to serve on the council or be its mayor? How can you defend that position?
The people who voted against the adoption of these amendments are part of the problem. Maybe they don't feel they deserve trusted, ethical representation. Thankfully, they are in the minority.
Even with the passage of these three amendments, there is more work to be done. What these amendments do not address is the possibility that a mayor or council member can run for re-election if they resign before they are convicted of or plead guilty to a felony can run for re-election.
For example, Harry Thomas, Jr. and Kwame Brown are eligible to run for the council because they resigned before their convictions were handed down.
The City Council must close the door on this possibility quickly and tightly by re-introducing legislation that bars anyone convicted of a felony, whether in office or out, from serving on the council or as its mayor. This must be done in time for the revised amendment to be placed on the ballot for the special election to be held, most likely, in the spring. Because it appears, given the vote tallies for the three amendments, there are some out there who think electing felons is perfectly fine when it is clearly perfectly wrong.
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