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D.C. Representation has bugged me for a while, one proposed solution is to cede most of D.C. back to Maryland and create a much smaller federal district to minimize those who are without representation. Well, here is a proposed map of that new federal district overlaid on the current D.C.

(If you are not familiar with this proposal, please realize that this post is not meant to explain it in full)

Disclaimer: I have only been to DC a dozen or so times. I am not a local expert but more of a guy drawing lines on a map, this is intended to promote discussion, not as a final idea.

To see my proposed map of the new DC, go to this Google map

Here is a static image (New DC in red):
(EDIT: Note that this is an old static image now, I may update it later, click through to the Google map to see more changes)

Basically, I tried to highlight in red the areas of DC that are truly Federal. Ideally these areas have very low residential population. Hopefully, anybody who lives there also holds public office so nobody goes without representation.

While red is almost completely federal areas, yellow/orange is stuff I'm unsure about or blocks that are mixed.

Blue (excluding overlap with red) is what would be ceded back to Maryland.

Feel free to edit the Google map to improve the outline if you know more about D.C., with the goal of getting representation for all, while maintaining a federal district.  Try not to base edits on your opinion but only on residential population and federal presence.  

Last note, I am not sure what to do for homeless persons living in the open areas of the new proposed district, I don't think representation of homeless who stay within it can be solved via this map.

Originally posted to zubinmadon on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 04:36 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  sounds like a plan (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    burrow owl

    shame nobody in DC has representation to vote on it ;)

    John McCain says overturn the law that legalized abortion

    by ppcodeman on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 04:42:17 PM PST

  •  From the discussion (4+ / 0-)

    in kos's diary, the consensus among those who are actually residents of DC is ixnay.  D.C. is not Maryland.  While I argued that MD would assume a huge tax burden without an adequate tax base, some residents believed that they could be self-sustaining.  I say we leave it up to the folks who actually are affected.

    That being said -- nice mapping.

    •  We've had a budget surplus of late. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gchaucer2, elsibiades

      Furthermore, given the fact that we get a lower return on every Federal tax dollar that we pay than any other citizens in the union, that surplus is remarkable.

      •  Wow, that is amazing (3+ / 0-)

        My understanding from my friend who works in the District is that the Mayor is actually quite good and the new Superintendent of Schools is actually starting to turn a couple of schools around.

        •  Ahhh Fenty. (0+ / 0-)

          I liked him when he was my councilman.  I find his philosophy a bit intrusive though.  He's young which also adds to my frustrations with him.  But yes, he isn't an idiot and he does want to keep the trains running on time.  But we had a big surplus from property taxes and his idea was to give that surplus to businesses - an idea I have real philosophical issues with.  I don't think it will come to pass now with the economy being what it is - that rainy day fund will come in handy now.  But he was originally opposed to spending our money on the baseball stadium - which was the correct side of the line in my eyes - especially given our "special" situation - as an aside George Soros expressed interest in buying the DC baseball team and because Congress has a say in everything we do - he was blocked - but back to Fenty - he's sort of gotten sucked into that stadiums and business are "good" thing.  Barry got sucked into that too.  He got pummeled as a result - that's a long and involved story - but his fall from grace was not quite as straight-forward as most people think it was - it had a lot to do with the fact that he pissed off a lot of Federal players by finding other ways to fund the city - and he was tremedously popular for a while - when he deserved to be.  Blah, blah, blah.  There are too many local stories to get into, but the bottom line is that we are often used as a political football - or just used and insulted because some asshole congress-critter can and feels like it.

  •  Rock Creek Park is Federal. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SoCalLiberal, DemocraticLuntz, DCBlue

    The National Zoo is Federal. There is a lot more federal property in this city that you have identified.  We are inextricably linked.  Seriously, people with a lot more knowledge have tried to figure out ways to separate the two, but it is really not possible.

    You could have at least noted the Vice President's residence - aka the Naval Observatory - as Federal.  It is on Mass Ave.  You should be able to find it.

    •  Thank you (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      elsibiades

      Points taken, this is a very difficult problem to solve.
      One thing to consider, is: is it necessary that these all be in the Federal District?

      Can the VP residence be moved closer, and can the observatory and park and zoo be federal areas within Maryland, the way so many places are in all states already?

      •  It is a city. (0+ / 0-)

        Our District is littered with embassies, government buildings, museums, parks and lots more.  In addition, Northern Virginia also has tons of Federal agencies - the CIA and Pentagon are just the two most famous.  Ironically, the district used to be a square - we straddled the Potomac at one tim - but Virginia took their land back - but if you drew lines to complete the square, you'd have the original boundaries of the district.  There is tons of parkland on their side too.  In any case, relocation is not the solution.  In reality, taking back our original geography makes more sense.

        Not for nothin' a lot of Federal operations are getting relocated to other states - and that is a financial windfall for those states - which was what they were trying to avoid when they established the neutral zone that was supposed to be the District of Columbia and the home of the Federal government.

        •  A Giant Mess :) (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          elsibiades

          It seems we have two distinct but intertwined issues here:

          1. Representation for D.C. residents
          1. Federal Districting (and related Constitutional requirements)

          My map was primarily addressing the first issue, and I'd hope the country would get around to solving that as fast as possible, (it's been long enough).  The other issue is larger in scope and much messier due to varied interests.

          If I were king for a day, I guess I would just grant statehood to DC and they would get to cede the land back to the federal government as needed, rather than the other way around.

  •  I disagree about what blue should mean (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SoCalLiberal, elsibiades

    The blue on your map should be the new entity of Washington, and the red should be the constitutionally-provided federal district.

    Several reasons:

    1. The people of Maryland don't want DC, and the people of DC don't want to be annexed.  Nobody wants to be annexed.
    1. Shrinking the federal district would not require a constitutional amendment, which would be impossible to pass since it would need to be ratified by 38 state legislatures.
    1. Once you do #2, let the residential parts of DC hold a contitutional convention and let them form a state-like entity, which would basically be a state in everything except name.  The reason I say this is that while giving DC voting rights is very popular (warning: pdf) with the American public, granting it statehood loses badly to the tune of 58-22.  I guess people, like Kos, are weirded out by the whole "city-state" thing.

    So I think the thing to do is redraw the boundaries, make the federal district pretty much just the Mall, let the city residents hold a constitutional convention, and then grant this new entity "state-like" status, which wouldn't alienate the public, nor require a constitutional amendment.

    Can you tell I've been thinking about this? lol

    •  Definitely not an easy decision. (0+ / 0-)

      It seems you have given this a lot of thought.

      I'm not too familiar with the "state-like entity" status, is that constitutional? It does however seem like a fair stepping stone and solution in its own right.

      •  In actuality (0+ / 0-)

        I meant that it would be a state (meaning it would go through the process of statehood), but we just wouldn't call it that, so as to appease both sides of the issue.  And yeah, that's perfectly legal, since MA, PA, VA, and KY are all commonwealths, not states.  Hell, if you properly go through the process of statehood, you can call yourself a sack of pineapples. ;-)

        And I think some people are making too big a deal out of the fact that there would be federal buildings still located within this new state/entity.  That problem just doesn't seem insurmountable.  The federal district in no way would have to be contiguous, or the new state could just keep the federal buildings (maybe not the VP residence, but as far as the zoo - are we seriously going to shoot down this whole thing over that?)

        Of course, Congress could also just grant DC full voting rights and home rule and let the courts decide on the constitutionality.  I think they would easily uphold home rule, while voting rights could go either way.  And if the courts shoot it down, we're only back to where we are now.  You could also reach a compromise - 1 Senator and 2 House reps, although that would be constitutionally very iffy.  But I think the DC/Utah deal is bullshit.

        •  I get it, I totally agree (0+ / 0-)

          I think I agree with you on pretty much every point you made, haha.

          I think that the zoo/parks/etc can easily remain/become part of the NPS, the VP residence issue would be easy to deal with, either by having a non-contiguous district or just by moving it (easier said than done I know, but hey, they moved the whole capitol around back in the day).

          As far as DC/Utah, I agree, it is bullshit, the way the current electoral votes are bullshit. (preferable to zero representation but still bullshit).  I don't really like 1 senator either from a constitutional standpoint. They require 2 senators (whether as their own state or as part of another state).

          As a way of just getting the "state-like-thingy" process going, is there another prospective state that leans republican? Does the much larger Puerto Rico lean slightly Republican? (not sure on this) If they could admit two states at once to balance it, that would be nice. Of course this is not a requirement for representation, just an option to ease the process.

  •  I'd suggest (0+ / 0-)

    Including Rock Creek Park (including the National Zoo), the National Arboretum, Arlington National Cemetery and the Pentagon.

    January 20 2009 cannot come soon enough.

    by Crisis Corps Volunteer on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 05:04:42 PM PST

    •  On suggestions (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      elsibiades

      It looks like there is rough consensus on Rock Creek Park, I will add it on the map in orange.

      The pentagon is already not in DC, I suppose adding it makes sense but it would require Virginia to cede that land back to the Federal Government again, I believe.

      As for the national arboretum, does this need to be in the Federal District itself, or can it be a federally owned part of some state (Maryland or some state made of Washington DC)?

  •  One Voting Rep., ZERO Senators (0+ / 0-)
    What Kos is forgetting is that Congress controls the budget for the District of Columbia. They do deserve voting representation in Congress of some sort, and obliging them with ONLY ONE VOTE in the House is reasonable.

    They will NOT get Senate representation nor should they. Equal representation in the Senate is sacred, if you will, considering it is one of only two things that cannot be altered by Constitutional Amendment. See Article V.

    The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution... [which] shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States... [Provided that] no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.

    That's serious, yo. Don't mess with the Senate.

  •  why does federal matter? (0+ / 0-)

    Hate to bring this up, but who says you can't have a federal building in a state (say MD, or a new state of Washington, whichever)?  We have federal buildings (think FBI) all over the country, and the land is classified as federal land.  The current problem with DC is that you have residents on federal land.  So just make the residential land part of a state, and leave the federal land wherever it is.  It doesn't need to look pretty on a map. It doesn't have to be contigous. nothin, just has to not have residents who would need representation.

  •  . (0+ / 0-)

    For me as a DC resident, it is a travesty that we don't have full representation in Congress.  The only logical solution IMO is to grant home rule and full voting rights with 2 senators and 1 Congressman.  

    From a purely philosophical frame, does it make sense that surrounding the seat of power for this nation - for the free world - are hundreds of thousands of community members that can't vote.  

    Voting is that one special thing that differentiated us from  England, from dictatorships.  The fact that it's still being debated is ludicrous.

    Ugh.

    Liberalism is trust of the people tempered by prudence. Conservatism is distrust of the people tempered by fear. ~William E. Gladstone

    by DCBlue on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 07:14:27 PM PST

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