Thursday, February 7, 2008

More on the Politburos

Today's Post contains a few tidbits about the Montgomery and Prince George's County Politburos... err, excuse me, Democratic Central Committees.

First, the Post reports that PGCDCC used an open roll call vote in selecting District 47 Senator Gwendolyn Britt's replacement. Hmmm, very interesting. Does anyone know how long PGCDCC has been using open votes for appointments? Delegate Saqib Ali had to threaten MCDCC with state legislation before they agreed to open voting.

Second, the same article supplies even more details about County Executive Jack Johnson's maneuvers to thwart his enemy, former Delegate Rushern Baker, from getting the appointment. Apparently, Johnson employed an eyeball-to-eyeball staredown (probably in addition to other tactics) to reverse a vote that was previously pledged to Baker. Now do you think Johnson could have personally stared down the thousands of voters who would have participated in a special election to fill the vacancy? I think not.

Third, in an article chronicling County Council Member Marilyn Praisner's long and distinguished career, the Post notes her support for special elections:

In an ironic twist, Praisner and former council member Betty Ann Krahnke, who died in 2002, were the driving forces behind a measure that in 1999 created the mandatory special election for replacing council members. They didn't want to leave those decisions to the political activists on the Democratic and Republican committees.
Actually, I believe the County Council appointed its own replacements prior to 1999 and MCDCC had no role. But Mrs. Praisner favored special elections for vacancies and worked to pass them at the county level. And unlike MCDCC spokesman Milton Minneman, Mrs. Praisner believed in the capacity of voters to choose their own leaders. Remember Minneman's infamous quote in the Examiner?

...The county’s Democratic Central Committee spokesman Milton Minneman believes his team is best equipped to make the selections. Because the group’s purpose is to get Democrats in office, and because it spends time interviewing potential replacements and hosting public forums, it is far more knowledgeable than average voters of each candidate’s suitability.

“Special elections are often held rapidly, and voters don’t have time to get to know the candidates,” Minneman said. “We think we’re more representative.”
That's right, I thought you remembered that.

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