DC4D members show disapproval of DC Council action on Initiative 77

0 12

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Thursday, October 11, 2018

DC4D members show disapproval of DC Council action on Initiative 77

Washington, DC – At the monthly meeting on October 10th, DC for Democracy members voted to pass a resolution disapproving the DC Council for its recent vote to repeal the voter approved Initiative 77, which would simply extend one fair wage to all District workers in tipped industries.

The resolution pertained to the Tipped Wage Workers Fairness Amendment Act of 2018 (B22-0913), which passed its first vote by the DC Council on October 2 by a vote of 8 to 5. Full text can be found below.

“This is the first time since DC4D was founded in 2004 that the DC Council has overturned a ballot initiative passed by the people,” said Kesh Ladduwahetty, DC for Democracy’s Chair. “Over 47,000 DC voters—a decisive majority in every ward except Ward 3—voted for Initiative 77 to help the poorest tipped workers. Our members strongly supported Initiative 77 and we take offense at the DC Council disrespecting the voters while caving to the restaurant industry lobby. While the Council has the power to repeal, we question its legitimacy, particularly since a compromise measure was offered. We passed this resolution to make it clear that we intend to hold Councilmembers accountable for repeal, in part by giving this vote extraordinary weight in future endorsement votes. We encourage other community groups to pass similar resolutions.”

While DC4D endorsed Initiative 77 and the principle of One Fair Wage, we joined other members of the One Fair Wage coalition in supporting the compromise approach crafted by Councilmembers Elissa Silverman, Mary Cheh, Brianne Nadeau, Charles Allen and Robert White, Jr.. We saw the compromise as a solution that balanced the will of the voters while accommodating the restaurant industry’s concerns.

Councilmembers voting for repeal were Chairman Phil Mendelson, At-Large Councilmembers David Grosso and Anita Bonds; Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans; Ward 4 Councilmember Brandon Todd; Ward 5 Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie; Ward 7 Councilmember Vince Gray; and Ward 8 Councilmember Trayon White. The five Councilmembers who supported the compromise measure all voted against repeal.

DC for Democracy is a progressive, all-volunteer grassroots organization with more than 600 members dedicated to promoting the political empowerment of ordinary people throughout the District.

CONTACT
Kesh Ladduwahetty, DC for Democracy Chair

Full text of the resolution

DC for Democracy Resolution regarding the Repeal of Initiative 77

(as amended on October 10, 2018)

Whereas, the DC Council voted on October 2, 2018 to pass the Tipped Wage Workers Fairness Amendment Act of 2018 (B22-0913), which effectively repealed Initiative 77;

Whereas, this is the first time since DC for Democracy was founded in 2004 that the DC Government has disrespected DC voters by repealing a ballot initiative passed by the people, an action that may depress voter turnout;

Whereas, DC for Democracy endorsed Initiative 77 because the status quo fails the vast majority of tipped workers, including those who do not work in the restaurant industry, and the evidence indicates Initiative 77 would help these workers.

Whereas, 47,230 DC voters — a decisive majority in every ward except Ward 3 — voted in favor of Initiative 77;

Whereas, the DC Council may have the raw power to repeal a ballot initiative enacted by DC voters, but does not enjoy legitimacy in doing so;

Whereas, the vote to repeal I-77 challenges our core values, poses significant risks to both the legitimacy of our elected officials and the health of our civic culture, and undermines the movement for DC statehood;

Whereas, while ballot initiatives can be problematic, they should not be overturned because a simple majority of the Council does not favor the initiative. There should be a significantly higher bar for repeal or modification of an initiative passed by DC voters;

Whereas, the Council had the choice of supporting the compromise approach crafted by Councilmembers Elissa Silverman, Mary Cheh, Brianne Nadeau, Charles Allen and Robert White, Jr. that demonstrated respect for the will of the voters while accounting for political constraints on the Council;

Whereas, the repeal legislation included minor amendments to address wage theft and sexual harassment, but nevertheless constituted an effective repeal of Initiative 77;

Therefore, it is resolved that DC for Democracy:

  1. Disapproves of the DC Council for repealing Initiative 77;

  2. Disapproves of the following Councilmembers for rejecting the compromise proposal and voting for repeal: Chairman Phil Mendelson, At-Large Councilmembers David Grosso and Anita Bonds; Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans; Ward 4 Councilmember Brandon Todd; Ward 5 Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie; Ward 7 Councilmember Vincent Gray; and Ward 8 Councilmember Trayon White; and

  3. Will give the repeal vote extraordinary weight in future endorsement votes and analyses of voting records.

Passed by acclamation on October 10, 2018.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.

X