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Posted at 6:37 PM ET, 11/17/2010

A fair way to fill vacancies on the D.C. Council

By Jacque D. Patterson, Washington

The Nov. 14 editorial "Getting a leg up on D.C. Council" called the process for filling at-large D.C. Council vacancies flawed, but it itself was flawed by a lack of balanced reporting.

Instead of questioning whether "connections" are the key to the appointment, the editorial should have explained how the D.C.Democratic State Committee is constituted. Members are either elected citywide to four-year terms, by the voters of their wards to two-year terms or by a Democratic organization promoting the rights of minority groups.

Further, the committee is requiring that individuals wishing to be considered for the appointment collect at least 1,000 signatures, with at least 100 coming from each ward. This was done to ensure exactly what the editorial called into question: that the candidate with the best qualifications and ideas also can show that he or she has engaged residents across the city and earned enough public trust to be considered a worthy representative to our council.

Why is there a need to appoint an interim at-large council member when this is not done at the ward level? The answer is self-evident. A voice representing the whole city should never be muted, not even for a short period. And with the council facing big budget deficits, it's more important than ever to have all hands on deck.

The process to fill the vacancy on the D.C. Council as put in place by the D.C. Democratic State Committee is open, fair and built on integrity. I only wish your editorial had been subject to the same thorough process.

The writer is president of the Ward Eight Democrats and a member of the D.C. Democratic State Committee. He is seeking the appointment to fill D.C. Council Chairman-elect Kwame R. Brown's at-large council seat.

By Jacque D. Patterson, Washington  | November 17, 2010; 6:37 PM ET
Categories:  D.C., D.C. politics, HotTopic  
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