Loose Lips

Big Day for Anti-Corporate Giving Petition Drive

Side effects from today's election are likely to include: heartburn, sweats, and irritability among incumbents in danger of losing their jobs; unrealistic bursts of optimism from several challengers; and a good barometer of whether the petition drive to end corporate giving in local political races will be successful.

Organizers of the anti-corporate giving push, known as Ballot Initiative 70, are counting on today for a huge boost in their effort to collect at least 23,000 valid signatures from registered voters to put the issue of corporate giving on the November ballot. They still have a few more months to get all those signatures, but today is their best chance to get the lion's share over and done with.

Organizers Bryan Weaver and Jerry Clark (pictured above at a Ward 1 voting station at Goodwill Baptist Church) say today's goal was somewhere between 10,000 and 15,000 signatures, and they have about 200 volunteers out circulating petitions at some of the most historically active voting precincts. (Ward 7 ANC commissioner Sylvia Brown is another sponsor of the initiative.)

Earlier this morning, Clark and Weaver were joined by Jim Dean, brother of former DNC Chairman Howard Dean, at a couple polling places trying to support the cause. LL watched the pair nab a few signatures today around noon. They didn't have to give a hard sell, or any real sell at all, to get people to sign.

But there weren't that many people out to give the soft sell to, and reports on the Twitter seem to indicate it's a low-turnout affair citywide.  That's not unexpected for a primary in April, and it's still early in the day. But a really, really low turnout could put a big dent in the good government group's efforts to ban corporate donations. After all: You can't get signatures from voters who stay home.

Photo by Alan Suderman

  • Ghost Dad

    Wish they were passionate about Term Limits

  • Drez

    Low turn out so far.

  • Juan Camilo Barragan

    Go Jerry, you're the man!

  • cminus

    @Ghost Dad, last time we passed a term limits initiative the Council voted to overturn it. This current Council is worse than that one, so any term limits initiative would be a waste of time.

  • NE John

    We should start a drive to fund a daily delivery to the council breakfast. A pile of shit from the Blue Plains.

  • dcvoterboy

    @Ghost Dad - we have term limits - they're called elections. If people don't like their elected officials - being an elected official is not a guaranteed gig. There's absolutely nothing that stops voters from kicking pols out of office except voters themselves.

  • Charlie

    I am sorry they are not circulating a petition that would require ranked-choice voting in the city. So if a candidate gets a majority of the vote in the primary they win. If not the second choice votes of the losing candidate are tallied and if someone has a majority they are declared the winner. If not the same method is applied to the next lowest candidate and so on until someone has a majority. This would allow voters to remove candidates that depend on winning he primary by getting a lot of contenders to enter the primary.

    Do you think Orange and Alexander would win with such a system?

    Barry, Bowser and Evans scored majority victories in their wards.

    IMO this would do more to reform DC politics than banning corporate contributions.

  • Alamo Sweets

    @Charlie it would not work because its not a legit system. Your pretty much creating a system off the basis that it will hinder 2 incumbents from winning.

    A candidate running his campaign off potential will never trump a candidate with a respectable record and knows the political arena inside and out.

    No matter how many times LeBron messes up, you will never start a rookie over LeBron James? Why because EXPERIENCE does mean a lot. Not only for the work that has been done in the area, but for the relationships and the ease of the wards.

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  • Charlie

    @Alamo Sweets In your scenario voters would only keep incumbents in office. That is, until they die in office or go to jail.

    There is widespread dissatisfaction with the quality of the council's ethics. I am just suggesting a change that would create a better, less ethically challenged city council (IMO). Better than banning corporate contributions. With the system we have now it would probably take dancing nude in front of Wilson Building or being caught on camera smoking crack to get booted from office. Or not even then.

    There are cities that are using this method. My understanding is that it is rather complicated to implement. And sometimes it gives surprising results. A change like this will never come from the sitting council. It would have to come from an initiative, and even then they might reverse it.

  • Kevin

    @Alamo Sweets
    But you're presuming the incumbent (or candidate with a plurality of votes, see Ward 5 situation) has a respectable record - this is certainly debatable with the current council members who ran for reelection.
    But in the absence of ranked choice voting, more polling in these races would be helpful to know whether a challenger is electable enough as well as good on the positions, in order to vote strategically.

  • Alamo Sweets

    @Charlie the only reason that candidates are not winning is because their strategy and their approach to the citizens is not strong enough to win. Elections are much more than door to doors, raising issues, and raising money.

    There is a science behind politics, and if you arent a student of the game, no matter how many Laws you have, there will always be a loophole or a better strategy for victory.

    What's best is the candidates re-evaluate their positions, start at the bottom, and build their way up with the progressives. From working on other campaigns, to ANC Commissioner, to Ward Council, to At-Large to the top dog. Thats how it should be