City Desk

Chatter: Autonomy of Scale

shadowofadoubtWhat you said about what we said last week

If the District government arms the D.C. Statehood movement with $1 million in public funds, can it turn around efforts that have sputtered for decades? That’s the question Loose Lips columnist Will Sommer explored in last week’s cover story, and it inspired commenters to rehash the statehood debate’s various talking points. DCdemocrat raised some familiar arguments against statehood: that a city of 600,000 is too small to merit two voting senators; that the Constitution prohibits it; that the cause’s most prominent proponents lack credibility.

Commenter Fabrisse made quick work of all that, writing, “We should get statehood because we have a larger population than Wyoming per the 2010 census. We should get statehood because we paid more (numbers are from 2007 which is the most recent year available in a quick Google search) in federal income tax than Wyoming, Montana, and both Dakotas *combined.*”

In a barn-burner of a response, Neighbors United for D.C. Statehood activist Josh Burch wrote on the group’s website that Sommer’s story “touches on some uncomfortable truths which point to why the statehood cause has not moved forward much in over 20 years.” Still, Burch supports the D.C. Council bill that would fund the District’s shadow delegation, which he says doesn’t deserve all the blame. Sommer, he wrote, “fails to mention a key point about the statehood bill itself: the bill has rarely been offered by our own delegate. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton has not really focused energy or effort on statehood since 1993. Delegate Norton offered the statehood bill in 1993, then again in 1995, and then not again until 2011. Given that the Control Board ended in 2000, why did it then take 11 years to offer a statehood bill?”

Not shockingly, several current and former members of D.C.’s shadow delegation didn’t love the cover story. Shadow Rep. Nate Bennett-Flemming found the article “a bit cynical and oversimplistic in its analysis of the statehood issue and the ‘fund the delegation’ bill.” Among his criticisms: “LL makes it seem like the work that it took to get 50 co-sponsors on [Bennett-Flemming’s statehood] bill is insignificant because 50 is apparently a small number and only Democrats are on the bill. Plenty of bills pass with no co-sponsors, and plenty of bills with many co-sponsors stand no chance of passing. The idea is to use the co-sponsorship process to build support in Congress. Why would we focus on Republicans, when we don’t even have full support in the Democratic caucus?”

Grill Marks

In last week’s Young & Hungry column, Jessica Sidman bemoaned the surfeit of traditional steakhouses that out-of-town restaurateurs are bringing to D.C. While Sidman argued that the trend hinges on an outdated sense of the city’s food culture, reader tim defended the red-meat impresarios: “I think this is just the ‘commuter town’ nature of the city. D.C. is basically a midsize residential city with a huge office base. The city has the biggest daytime-to-nighttime population imbalance of any major city in the country. There is just a lot of money to be made appealing to the suburban workers and the business crowd. Far safer to take the Midwest CPA delegation (here to lobby on accounting rules) to a steakhouse than some Peruvian-Chinese fusion joint.”

Department of Corrections

Due to an editing error, a City Lights pick for a Pere Ubu show incorrectly included a photo of Rocket From the Tombs, a band featuring members of Pere Ubu.

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