Ward 8 Dems Displeased With Pro Tem Pick
In case you were wondering which ward had the most die-hard partisans, the Ward 8 Democrats appear to have settled that question over the the weekend.
The Ward 8 Dems approved a resolution rebuking the D.C. Council for picking Councilmember Michael Brown, an independent-in-name-only who changed his registration from Democratic in order to get elected to the council, over true-blue Democrat Vincent Orange for the ceremonial pro tempore spot on the council.
One resolution: "RESOLVED, that if there are Democratic members of the Council of the District of Columbia who feel that supporting fellow Democrats is not an important consideration regarding its body leadership, then they should publicly state that being a registered Democrat is an unimportant proposition."
In an interview with LL, Ward 8 Democrats President the Rev. R. Joyce Scott echoed the same points Orange and Ward 8 Councilmember Marion Barry made last week from the dais prior to the council's vote for Brown: that Brown's past criminal and tax problems, along with his lack of a Democratic Party affiliation, makes him an unwise pick.
"They cut a Democrat's throat for an independent with a rain cloud," Scott says, adding that Brown's past conviction on a charge related to campaign finance violations shows he has a "scheming personality." She also says the fact that Brown's late father, Ron Brown, used to head the national Democratic party was irrelevant.
Scott says she's seeking a meeting with the head of the Democratic State Committee and with new Council Chairman Phil Mendelson to get some "clarity" and "understanding" about what party loyalty counts for these days.
"I need to know what a Democrat is," Scott says.
In a statement, Brown says he takes "no offense at a Democratic organization toeing the party line."
Present at the meeting was Markus Batchelor, the 19-year-old first vice-president of the Ward 8 Democrats. Batchelor, the city's former "youth mayor" and current GW student, abstained from the vote because he's been working as an intern in Brown's office. That association, according to people present at the meeting, earned him some heckling about why he wasn't working for a Democrat.
"Basically my loyalty to the party was called into question," says Batchelor.
Barry, who was at the meeting, offered to solve the problem by employing Batchelor in his office.
Batchelor says he declined the offer, saying he feels he can serve both the Ward 8 Democrats and Councilmember Brown.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery