With Kwame Brown’s At-Large city council seat vacating due to his move to the Council Chair’s office, the DC Democratic State Committee is in a rare position of power: they get to appoint his replacement to serve a shortened term. At least a dozen people have picked up petitions to serve in this capacity, and the final choice rests with the DCDSC alone.
We have a modest proposal for DCDSC: make the contest a reality show.
The citywide general election for Brown’s final replacement is going to be an absolute circus, sure, but there’s no reason that DCDSC can’t make their replacement process just as fascinating for the public to watch, and at the same time, they can call attention to issues that are prevalent in the District and could use some nationwide exposure. So here’s my proposal…
They have to live together
This is the staple of any good reality show: constant, unrelenting proximity. Rent a small house somewhere interesting. No, I don’t mean Eastern Market. Nor do I mean Ward 2. I mean somewhere interesting, where things will, invariably, get real. I’m thinking somewhere like near Southeast, or maybe Trinidad or Barry Farm. Not bad neighborhoods, no, but certainly somewhere that we’re not seeing people apply from. Those are the people that arguably need representation on the council the most, and this would put these people right in their midst.
There’s got to be some prank contests
I’m thinking here that we need some new and inventive ways of balancing the budget. For example, I want someone on the council who can easily do the math necessary to move large budget blocks around, and I want them to be able to do it while a little buzzed on Four Loko and dizzy from spinning around. Person who can do the best basic budget math while under the influence will be most likely to tolerate the mind-numbing tedium of council meetings, so I would highly recommend that this be an early contest to weed out the people who just won’t be able to take it.
Do something voting-rights related
The best way to do this one is to stage something with Congress. Sure, if Real World DC got some intern to work with Human Rights Campaign, we can surely get these guys into the halls of power to do some good for our city. Or, barring that, they should at least get to TP Rep. Jason Chaffetz’s (R-UT) office for good measure. Best campaign gets you immunity for a week.
Speaking of Voting…
We’ve got to crowd-source the selection process. Sure, the DCDSC has the final say, but there’s no reason that we can’t do some influencing based on the results of a given challenge, and I think the DCDSC should be open to that. You don’t have to vote the public’s mind, no, but you might have to keep an eye on that sort of thing going forward. You would have, anyway, if the city got a bum choice based on patronage instead of ability, at least now, you’ll have the city’s support.
Work with TBD and TBD TV/News Channel 8 to make this happen. Think about it, who wouldn’t want Bruce DePuyt to host this? I mean, MoJo clearly will be in charge of any contests, as his straight-laced-joker personality is perfect to delivering deadpan challenges like, “And now, Mr. Orange, you have to drink this can of Four Loko and balance the budget.” Better still, work with ABC 7 to get TBD TV’s signal on one of the sub-frequencies of the main channel, so that people with OTA antennas can watch. Ratings would be through the roof, and I bet money that TBD TV would pay handsomely for the opportunity. Want to fund the DCDSC’s statehood efforts? This is the way to do it.
Teach the Controversy
This is the single best opportunity that DC has had to work on their public image, and get some life back into the council meetings. I fully expect that this will never happen, as the DCDSC is a bunch of old hacks that couldn’t understand cool if it offered them a million dollar idea for free, but give this opportunity a chance. Make this happen, DCDSC, and you draw a new generation into the politics of the District and inspire a generation to become involved in their community. Teach the controversies of DC politics to a new generation and you empower them to take over when you retire.