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From the Publisher's Desk...

JUST WHO IS THE MAYOR RELYING ON TO ASSIST HIM WITH SELECTING KEY AIDES?

Whoever it is, that person, or persons, should be fired! They may be well-meaning, but clearly not competent. As we have sadly witnessed earlier this year, Mayor Gray has not been well-served by some in his inner circle, causing him and the city embarrassment and unnecessary distractions. We have no doubt that these are well-meaning and loyal insiders but they have been doing our decent and capable mayor a serious disservice.

The latest example — the news of which first broke with DC Watch’s blogger and activist Dorothy Brizill’s scathing report in the August 30th issue of TheMail — was of the revelation that the then just appointed Andrea Pringle to serve as the Mayor’s deputy chief of staff had voted in last September’s DC primary election even though she was then a Maryland resident, residing in Bethesda. It simply is not legal for non-residents to vote in DC elections –- every school kid no doubt knows that.

Yet, as Dorothy Brizill pointed out in her follow-up posting in TheMail on September 4th, “Pringle chose to violate the District’s election laws given her background. As her résumé notes, [she] has an extensive background as an elections and political campaign consultant, and has worked on a variety of local and national political campaigns (for example, for Howard Dean, Carol Mosely Braun, Bill Richardson, and Vincent Orange), and in that capacity she would be expected to have gained familiarity with basic election laws and practices — for example, that only duly registered voters can vote, and only in the jurisdiction where they live, and that a voter’s possible intention to move into a jurisdiction at some time in the future does not give a voter the right to vote in that jurisdiction more than a year in advance.”

Now, as it turned out, thanks to Dorothy Brizill’s reporting and her concurrent filing of a complaint with the DC Board of Elections and Ethics asserting that Pringle had violated the DC Corrupt Election Practices Act, followed by further reporting in the Washington Post and City Paper, handed in her resignation as we were preparing our September issue. That being so, it might seem that this discussion is no longer relevant, but we would disagree; Gary Imhoff, the editor of TheMail, best explains why we say the matter is not moot, notwithstanding her resignation:

“One person who does not understand . . . is [Ward 6] Councilmember Tommy Wells. On Friday, September 2, in an interview with Mark Plotkin on WTOP-FM’s ‘The Politics Hour,’ Councilmember Wells excused Pringle’s voting in DC: ‘She thought she was still resident in the District; sometimes people are confused about that. . . . I take her at her word that she did not intend to violate the law.’

“Councilmember Wells should know better. His ward, Ward 6, is one of the most impacted by nonresident voters, the ‘Ward 9’ voters who take advantage of a relative’s or a friend’s address, or an old and outdated address of their own, to vote in DC and dilute the votes of legitimate residents. Perhaps some of Councilmember Wells’ constituents could explain to him the ethical issues involved in voting. He could use a little remedial education.”

And, it’s not just Councilmember Wells that might need “remedial educations”; too many questions are being asked about the actions of other members of the Council who surely need more than just “remedial educations”; you know who you are, and so do our readers – and maybe also the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia. The voters are watching and, we hope, a vigilant as Dorothy Brizill and Gary Imhoff.