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Protest by social service advocates disrupts D.C. council breakfast

Dozens of advocates stormed into a closed-door D.C. Council breakfast meeting this morning to protest spending cuts in the fiscal year 2011 budget that members plan to vote on later today.

Organized by a group called Save Our Safety Net, the advocates pushed into the meeting shortly before 10 a.m. as members were eating a breakfast of waffles and grits.

SaveOurSchools.jpg"D.C. deserves better than this," one woman began shouting. "We want to know who is going to stand up today for a strong safety net."

The advocates are lobbying in support of a proposal by council member Michael Brown (I-At large) to increase taxes on the wealthy to spare some cuts to social service programs. Brown's proposal would impose income tax rates of 8.9 or 9.4 percent for top wage earners. But Brown said today he will not push for his proposal at today's meeting because he is comfortable that the council is already restoring funding for key social service programs.

"We are going to have to revisit this later this year, definitely next year," Brown told the Washington Post's Mike DeBonis. "I got [the cuts] restored in another way."

The crowd, which forced many members to flee their breakfast meeting while they awaited for the security guards to restore order, spent about 10 minutes shouting various chants.

"Show some guts, stop the cuts," they yelled. "Chairman Gray, Chairman Gray, how many cuts have you made today?"

"Can you guys leave so we can have our" meeting, Council member Yvette Alexander (D-Ward 7) said one point.

When the security officers cleared the meeting room, the advocates spread a makeshift net in the hallway as they continued chanting.

"One-two-three-four, stop before you cut some more," they said. "Five-six-seven-eight, D.C. families cannot wait."

--Tim Craig

By Tim Craig  |  May 26, 2010; 10:41 AM ET
Categories:  Budget , City Finances , D.C. Council , Tim Craig  
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Streetcars, dead or alive?

Posted by: Trulee | May 26, 2010 11:09 AM | Report abuse

I'm as liberal as they come, but why should wealthy people have to pay for social entitlement programs they will never have the opportuntiy to use?

How does this protests do anything accept get people arrested just fore the sake of being arrested?

Posted by: BLKManCommonSense | May 26, 2010 11:16 AM | Report abuse

The other thing is that the whole forcing rich people to pay more when they already pay most is fundamentally flawed and actually counter productive.

Has the council ever attempted to ASK all of the super wealthy to just donate money as a charitable gift as opposed to a forced tax? When I was a fundraising director for a non-profit, I found extremely wealthy people to be both socially conscious and fiscally generous.

Posted by: BLKManCommonSense | May 26, 2010 11:23 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: RealityCheckerInEffect | May 26, 2010 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Why am I not surprised. All of these welfare freeloaders complaining about their welfare state not upping their entitlements double digits this year like every year for the past decade.

Instead of looking like a rabid group of mindless drones, they should have spent their time that they obviously have so much of, looking for work

Posted by: Nosh1 | May 26, 2010 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Hey Protestors,

Move to PG County. I hear their social services are better.

Posted by: kenk3 | May 26, 2010 11:45 AM | Report abuse

Is this a joke? The council has never met a tax they didn't love. The DC budget has doubled in less than a decade. What we're seeing is the end stage of the life of a redistributive entity where people go from cradle to grave assuming that the state owes them everything. Ask Maryland how it's "millionaire's tax" worked out -- people simply moved to another state and a tax that supposedly would raise millions of dollars actually ended up causing a drop in tax income. It's doubly easy to move out of DC.

Posted by: zippyspeed | May 26, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Always looking for the handout. what are they gonna do when there are no rich folks left to tax. God forbid they do something for themselves.

Posted by: FLvet | May 26, 2010 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Typical DC. Bunch of slackers want everybody else to pay.

Posted by: melador | May 26, 2010 12:21 PM | Report abuse

I think the protestors have a good point. D.C. is opening Dog Parks in Upper Northwest while teachers are being laid off and social workers fired. Explain to a child who cannot receive social services that it's more important for your dog to have a spacious, green toilet at city expense! By the way a lot of us middle class tax payers would like to see more money appropriated to service for the poor instead of out door bathrooms for dogs.

Posted by: PepperDr | May 26, 2010 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Reminded me of the folks in Athens... I wonder if these guys will start burning and killing in order to keep getting their free stuff... paid for by others.

Posted by: Davidsonville | May 26, 2010 12:26 PM | Report abuse

The very last thing DC needs to do is preserve the current level of funding for entitlement programs. More money in DC is like more crack to a crackhead; not a single city agency and particularly those which claim to serve as so-called "safety nets" operates even close to a level of efficiency, particulalry from a human resources perspective, that justifies their level of funding. At best these public and outsourced private organizations are little more than shells which operate to benefit their top managers (and inevitably a few friends and family members) wouldn't be so bad (read, insulting) if the DC Government would just label their various departments and agencies "DC Jobs Bank" or, better still "DC's Adult Day Care Centers" where folks dress up and go play work...These protesters are just pathetic parasites who feel threatened by the realities those of us from whom they seek to take so much more money, must face every day to earn the very money they want more of. As an alternative, perhaps their energies would be better applied to having fewer babies out of wedlock, availing themselves of the public education we taxpayers support so well (performance of DCPS aside...a perfect example of why and how throwing more cash at a systemic, culturally-based problem never seems to solve it), and behaving like responsible, contributing adults. Taxes need to be lowered and budgets need to be slashed. Across the board.

Posted by: paul20002 | May 26, 2010 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Probably the same SEIU crowd that was "escorted" into Maryland. if these clowns ever showed-up in Virginia, these bums would be given the door and the DC cops would be spending the night in the pokey.

Let's just end social services and cut taxes. Let them knock on King Obonehead's door for a job.

Posted by: Computer_Forensics_Expert_Computer_Expert_Witness | May 26, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Eliminate these offices:

DC Office of LGBT Affairs;
DC Office of African Affairs;
DC Office on Women's Policy;
DC Office on Latino Affairs;
DC Office on Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs

Posted by: actupdc | May 26, 2010 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Boy, you have to love these all American commenters.

Posted by: dccounselor72 | May 26, 2010 12:49 PM | Report abuse

DC's total budget for 2011 is 9.4 billion dollars.

Of that amount, DC's welfare state budget is 3.5 billion. 38% of all of DC's dollars go to pay for these baby mommas and their dozen kids.

It was 3.1 billion two years ago.

The same folks who ran into this meeting looking for their handouts are too dumb to realize their handouts have increased by 13% over the past 3 budget years.

Posted by: Nosh1 | May 26, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Boy, you have to love these all American commenters.

Let's just get some big guns and shoot these bums. Kill them all and we do not have to worry about taking care of them. Nor would Maryland and Virginia have to deal with these freeloaders.

Yes, let us cut taxes and continue to cut education programs as well, trash collection, public roads, etc.

Finally, I think each section of DC needs a $400,000 dog park so my dog can P-- in style as well.

Posted by: dccounselor72 | May 26, 2010 12:54 PM | Report abuse

PepperDr said : "Explain to a child who cannot receive social services that it's more important for your dog to have a spacious, green toilet at city expense!"

Why don't you explain to that child why their parents are too lazy to care for them and society has to be their parents.

Ask them why their mother thought it was a good idea to have 3 kids by the age of 22 with three different guys?

Ask them why their parents seem to have all the time in the world to intrude on meetings, but never spend it looking for a job so that they can improve all the lives?

Those are the questions you need to ask this fictional child before you ask them why I can't take care of them anymore.

Posted by: Nosh1 | May 26, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Boy, you have to love these all American commenters.

The worst part- these same idiots are the ones voting in tea party (aka neo-Reagenism), an attempt to take us back to the stone ages.

Posted by: mmurphy6 | May 26, 2010 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Boy, you have to love these all American commenters.

The worst part- these same idiots are the ones voting in the tea party (aka neo-Reagenism), an attempt to take us back to the stone ages.

Posted by: mmurphy6 | May 26, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse


Give me a break. I have been a life long blleding liberal my entire life and haven't voted for one Republican since my first vote 30 years ago.

But these unemployed freeloaders lose any and all argument they had about "losin" money, when the city spends 13% more now than it did 2 years ago on their programs.

DC HHS is as far as I can tell, the ONLY city budget that hasn't fallen in the past 4 it continues its yearly climb.

Posted by: Nosh1 | May 26, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, DC could be perhaps the worst place in the country to try to implement targeted taxes on the wealthy. It's fairly easy to move several stops down the Orange or Blue lines once taxes become too high to justify living in DC. It's great living in the District, but eventually adding 15 minutes to the commute becomes something you're willing to take.

Posted by: jlowery1 | May 26, 2010 1:27 PM | Report abuse

typical Post commenters. Classist blacks and racist nonblacks.

At no point in this story does the Post detail "what" programs the protesters are against cutting. At no point did it suggest that this group of protesters were comprised of the unemployed.

What is does is show a picture of blacks and OH BOY HERE WE GO..

Whenever blacks suggests a role for government, classist non/blacks and racist nonblacks start their usual schtick of namecalling.

Welfare Mothers
Baby mama's
looking for handouts etc.

This same group could be protesting cuts in senior citizens programs and this SAME group of classists/racists will yell that blacks only want a handout.

Moreover, it is the middle class NOT the rich who are already taxed out the arse.

Posted by: dcis1 | May 26, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

I invite all dog owners in DC to take their dogs to Nosh1's yard for their daily dump, to save the taxpayers money. And Nosh1, no I won't question a child about what his parents did 9 months before he or she was born. I will leave that cruelty to jerks like you who think it is more important to have a good place for his dog to take a dump than it is for a child to get appropriate counseling and education.

Posted by: PepperDr | May 26, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

About a year ago WaPo had an article with statistics about those receiving welfare in DC. The article noted that a portion of this group had been receiving benefits for years, were capable of working, but had not availed themselves to job training or education programs. I say cut the benefits of this sub-group. Maybe that will close the gap.

Posted by: nomayo | May 26, 2010 1:48 PM | Report abuse


Its folks like you who create strawmen arguments and make subjective claims who are your causes worst enemies.

I don't have a dog and think spending $50 dollars, let alone 50 million dollars on parks in this city is just as asinine as a group of self obsessed freeloaders complaining about their "safety net" when it has only grown in size, gotten 13% larger in the past 2 years. If they could make the argument that cuts were taking place, fine, but they can't. They are getting everything they want and STILL whining about it.

How do I know they are unemployed? Because otherwise they would be at work at 10:00am on a Wednesday morning, rather than chanting in a Council meeting.

I see from the photo they are also shamelessly using their kids to make an argument, kids they kept out of school to protest for them.

Again, the whole argument is moot. There were no cuts, so they need to let the Council get back to their jobs.

Posted by: Nosh1 | May 26, 2010 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Nosh, that's an odd and completely illogical conclusion. I attended a recent "community" meeting with at least 10 others from my neighborhood. This was at 10:30am in the morning. We took leave from our jobs. It seems odd to suggest that the only people capable of attending a "daytime" event are the currently unemployed. That logic portends that only unemployed people would protest a council's meeting.

I wonder what that says about the annual IMF protesters from around the country. Guess all of them "must" be unemployed handout seekers too?

Silly Rabbit.

Posted by: dcis1 | May 26, 2010 2:22 PM | Report abuse


Judging by the unkempt, unwashed look adorned with ragged clothes that typifies the standard IMF protestor that I've seen thousands of here in DC over the years, yes, I am quite confident in saying they don't have jobs, or are at the very least "underemployed".

Posted by: Nosh1 | May 26, 2010 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Nosh, it's impossible to be quite confident about the disposition of people you have no connection to. It is quite different making a case that peddlers on the streets of DC who carry around their personal possessions are--homeless. But postively concluding employment status based on participation in a protest?

Silly, Silly, Silly person you are. But hey, it gets the attention you solicit nonetheless.

Posted by: dcis1 | May 26, 2010 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Don't the protesters realize beautiful PG county is waiting for them?

Posted by: kenk3 | May 26, 2010 5:11 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: drfields | May 27, 2010 7:21 PM | Report abuse

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