What if you could cast one vote for yourself and become a state legislator? And you could do that without having to raise a single dollar or knock on a single door? Would you do it?
That’s what Kirill Reznik did.
Regular readers of this blog are acquainted with the selection process for state legislative vacancies by now. Kevin Gillogly, in his now-legendary “Who the Frick is Bill?” post, described how Kirill Reznik, a Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee (MCDCC) member, cast the deciding vote to make himself District 39’s next state delegate a few months ago. Never mind the fact that his opponent, Hugh Bailey, had earned 1,451 votes from District 39 residents when he ran for an at-large County Council seat the year before. Never mind the fact that Bailey earned 1,451 more votes than Reznik, who had never run for office, ever did. Reznik, as an MCDCC member, was entitled to vote for himself and Bailey, not an MCDCC member, was not. Do you think that Hugh ever had a chance?
Now I’m sure Kirill Reznik kisses babies, loves dogs, eats apple pie, collects Norman Rockwell artwork and buys American. Lots of politicians – and aspiring politicians – do. And he’s not the first Central Committee member to vote for himself. But since he appeared in Kevin’s excellent “Who the Frick is Bill?” piece, he’s the poster child for this column.
Recently, I ran into a man who was an MCDCC member many years ago. He told me, “Back in the old days, there was no Rezniking. We had a rule that MCDCC members could not be appointed as legislators.”
I asked, “What happened to that rule?”
He replied, “It was never written down. It was just the ethics of the time.”
“The ethics of the time.” Sheesh. How quaint. Does this guy still watch black-and-white TV?
I tried to explain this to my neighbors. They just shrugged and said, “Hey, it’s corrupt back-room politics. Of course they’re going to appoint each other. That’s what we expect out of politicians.”
Is this the relationship the MCDCC wants with bucket-carrying, lawn-mower-pushing Democrats? Do you really want us to believe that the only reason you join MCDCC is to sit around, waiting to get lucky for a legislator to leave so you can vote yourself into office? Don’t you want Democratic voters to find out the good things you do and participate in them? What do you know that your “ethics of the time” predecessors did not?
Even though I heckled them with such terms as “Baroness,” I’ll give credit to the MCDCC for some recent improvements to their process. In their latest selection for District 18 delegate, three of them posted their reasons for voting on this blog. They junked secret votes. They posted applications and recommendations on their website. They allowed camera-toting Kevin Gillogly to crawl all over their selection meeting. And I hear a few of them even laughed about that “Baroness” bit. Hey, anyone that can tolerate my sense of humor can’t be all that bad. Just ask my wife.
But I tell you, a lot of us Democrats – yeah, activists like me that contribute money, bang on doors, spend our entire careers working for progressive organizations, fight in every civic battle in our neighborhoods and vote Democratic in every election – are getting Rez-ticked that you can and do vote yourselves into office. Show us that you’re better than Crony-Hall-of-Fame members Harriet Miers, Alberto Gonzalez and Mike Brown. Live up to the term “Democrats.” Return to your honorable traditions of the past and once again forbid MCDCC members from running for appointments.
Or Lord help you when you run for re-election.