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Maryland occupies, intends to annex disputed District of Columbia territories

This article was posted as an April Fool's joke.

Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley seized on instability in the small but strategic territory of Columbia today, where local elections could return a controversial leader, who may face indictment, back to power.


Photo by Michael Hilton on Flickr.

Maryland-based construction contractors demanding access to District government projects and to the Fort Totten dump led columns of untagged pickup trucks over the District line this morning. College Park students, also believed to be acting on O'Malley's orders, have rallied at District polling places to demand a referendum on the territory's status, chanting "There is no State of Columbia!"

The Marylanders took over several recreation centers and library buildings in Wards 4 and 5, raising purple and black Ravens flags and demanding the territories be "returned" after being illegally "taken" from Maryland in 1801.

Pro-Maryland forces moved as far as DC USA and the Rhode Island Avenue Home Depot by early afternoon. At a press conference, O'Malley justified the move, citing "chaos" in the District and alleged mistreatment of Marylanders. Grievances were not limited to contractor rights. "Sunday church parishioners arriving from Prince George's County have been pushed out of their traditional parking lands by bike lane fascists," he claimed.

Embattled District Mayor Vincent Gray asserted there was no pretext for the incursion, and that his administration stopped enforcing parking bans around churches months ago.

O'Malley also promised that no commuters driving into the city would have to face discrimination on the basis of whether they chose to pay at a meter or not, whether they obeyed posted time limits or not, or for leaving parked cars in rush hour restricted lanes.

Tensions remain high as O'Malley appears poised to encroach further into the District from the south, with still greater Maryland forces amassing at Town Centers in Largo, Westphalia, and National Harbor. An analyst with the Coordination Strategy Group (CSG), a defense contractor, said the formations were suspicious. The analyst, Carol Chort, said, "These should be lifeless places. But we're seeing levels of pedestrian activity at these Town Centers that our models would have never predicted, even under ideal busway conditions."

Gray's rivals for power were trying to capitalize on events as they unfolded. Councilmember Jack Evans claimed credit for keeping Maryland forces out of Ward 2, citing the hordes of gentry he had mobilized on 14th Street NW at happy hour to dissuade further incursions with the area's notorious $14 cocktails.

Meanwhile, fellow rival Muriel Bowser said that while she had no specific comment on the merits of annexation at this tme, she promised residents she would fight hard against applying Maryland's laxer zoning restrictions and lack of a height limit to occupied Ward 4 territory.

At his press conference, O'Malley brimmed with confidence. "There is no ethnic or linguistic distinction between Marylanders and our District brothers. We will free them from corruption and taxation without representation." He concluded, "Under my decisive leadership, I am confident we can extend the Green Line all the way to Maryland Live! Casino in Arundel Mills by 2024."

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This seems ripe for a 2014 peace of Westphalia. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peace_of_Westphalia)

by JDC on Apr 1, 2014 11:17 am • linkreport

Green line to Maryland Live! would actually do well.

by Tom Coumaris on Apr 1, 2014 11:26 am • linkreport

Ironic thing here is that retroceding most of DC to Maryland would be an excellent idea. It could potentially creating Maryland's second Independent City with most of the area inside the Beltway north of the river being annexed/included
.

by Alex P on Apr 1, 2014 11:33 am • linkreport

It would be incredible for coordination and relolving the phony city-suburb dichotomy. Let's call Putin and figure out how we can do this.

by Thayer-D on Apr 1, 2014 11:35 am • linkreport

better to unretrocede Arlington and eastern Alexandria. NoVa politics is cleaner, and more committed to urbanism (in those two jurisdictions, that is) but DC politics more supportive of progressive social and economic policies. Bill Euille would be the obvious candidate for running the place (mayor, governor, whatever) and would be damned good at it. Maybe we could even entice Chris Zimmerman back into elective politics.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Apr 1, 2014 11:39 am • linkreport

The intervention is necessary to stop clueless, arrogant comments like, "You live in Silver Spring? What are you doing down here?" or when having drinks on U Street, "How could you hang out here when you live in Silver Spring? It's so far!" In reply I ask, "Where do you live?" "Brightwood."

by Cavan on Apr 1, 2014 11:44 am • linkreport

@AWITC +10 million. And it would finally restore our proper square shape.

@Everyone else: the problem with retrocession to Maryland is that all the inhabitants of the District then become...Maryland Drivers. A fate worse than a fate worse than death.

by LowHeadways on Apr 1, 2014 11:50 am • linkreport

Despite losing some identity as separate residents former districters can surely look forward to now having a maryland license plate and driving however fast or slow they feel like it now.

by drumz on Apr 1, 2014 11:52 am • linkreport

guess i come back tomorrow when there is real news and stories being reported here

by Jay on the 3rd Floor on Apr 1, 2014 11:57 am • linkreport

But will O'Malley keep his shirt on?

by DaveG on Apr 1, 2014 12:06 pm • linkreport

@ AWalkerInTheCity: Sorry, but Washingtonians would never vote for such new comers in the city.

by Jasper on Apr 1, 2014 12:20 pm • linkreport

Too bad this is April Fool's. This would be the best thing that could happen to the residents of Washington, DC. DC statehood as a concept will be politically a non-starter until at least 50 years after Mayor-for-Life Barry has gone to be Mayor-for-Eternal-Life.

by Jasper2 on Apr 1, 2014 12:36 pm • linkreport

Now I get the author's name, Anita Park:

"I need to park"

by DaveG on Apr 1, 2014 12:44 pm • linkreport

@jasper

and richmond would not permit it (esp the Va Dems who dont want to lose the Dem votes) and a lot of Arlco and Alex locals would object (even if things like school funding and taxes could be addressed by giving Arlco and Alex county status within the district, they would lose prized access to Va public U's)

Its just a thought experiment.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Apr 1, 2014 12:48 pm • linkreport

I don't think there are that many people in DC that want to be part of Maryland though even if it makes some sense in terms of DC's weird jurisdictional/political issues.

by BTA on Apr 1, 2014 1:12 pm • linkreport

Make DC, Maryland and all of NOVA one state. That would be a powerhouse.

by Steve on Apr 1, 2014 1:15 pm • linkreport

IF DC is ever retroceded it will create enormous financial problems for DC. DC's budget of $12B is twice as large as the city of Baltimore's ($2B) plus the state of Delaware's ($3.5B) combined. 33,000 employees. Evening out with Baltimore would be disaster.

by Tom Coumaris on Apr 1, 2014 1:33 pm • linkreport

As one state, DC/VA/MD would be the 5th most populous state beating out Illinois by a couple million and 26th by area (just below Illinois). It would vote reliably Democratic. Median household income would be about ~$64k making it fifth in the nation. The gubentorial/US senate elections would probably be a circus.

by BTA on Apr 1, 2014 1:38 pm • linkreport

Tom, on the other hand, you can bet MARC would get some much needed upgrades.

by BTA on Apr 1, 2014 1:39 pm • linkreport

Too soon.

by Gavin on Apr 1, 2014 1:50 pm • linkreport

IF DC is ever retroceded it will create enormous financial problems for DC. DC's budget of $12B is twice as large as the city of Baltimore's ($2B) plus the state of Delaware's ($3.5B) combined. 33,000 employees. Evening out with Baltimore would be disaster.

Because DC has state functions as well as city function. Baltimore doesnt run a DMV for instance while DC does.

MD is a fairly powerful state(state holds a lot of power relative to the counties). One of the largest employers in Baltimore is....the State of Maryland.

by Richard on Apr 1, 2014 2:06 pm • linkreport

Richard- DC doesn't provide $10B worth of state services. AAMOF the feds provide many of our state services. Baltimore with a similar population is one of the highest budgets of that size city at $2B (Atlanta is $500M).

Then for a full array of state services also add the state budget of a typical state under 1M population. Delaware's $3.5B is typical of that.

$5.5B total is a long way from $12B.

We spend like a crack addict and retrocession would be hitting bottom.

by Tom Coumaris on Apr 1, 2014 2:18 pm • linkreport

I know this is an April Fool's joke but I'd like to make a serious point against retrocession of portions of The City of Washington to Maryland. As has been proposed before, if all parts of Washington, D.C. were returned to Maryland, excluding the National Mall, White House, and Capitol Hill, what exactly would be the United States' "Capital City"? Instead of a multicultural hub approaching 1 million residents, it would be the smallest and most insignificant national capital in the world; split from it's former glory. Returning Arlington and Alexandria to Virginia was alright at the time due to the fact that the area was still early on in its development. We need a cohesive capital city to set an example for other cities around the world.

by Levi on Apr 1, 2014 2:19 pm • linkreport

April Fools!

by adelphi_sky on Apr 1, 2014 3:03 pm • linkreport

I agree that now would be an appropriate time for DC to retrocede to Maryland. There are a number of benefits to such a move:

- DC residents finally get proper representation in Congress
- DC gets to eliminate duplicative "state-level" administrative functions
- Maryland gets more tax $$$
- It would be an overall net benefit to MD since DC is headed in the right direction population-, income-, crime-,and jobs-wise,reducing crime rates (unlike the DC of the 80's/90's)
- The demographics of both jurisdictions are similar
- MD/DC communities already have a strong social bond with each other due to the lack of a physical border (Chevy Chase, Brentwood, Takoma Park etc.) as well familial ties
- Maryland would never again have a repugnican governor
- Maryland would solidify its status as wealthiest state in the country permanently

There are a few drawbacks though:
- While DC is improving it still has a lot of inner-city social problems (albeit less than Baltimore)
- Maryland's status of having the top-ranked public schools in the nation will disappear
- Baltimore, already the "second city" in the Balt-Wash area, would certainly would put up fierce opposition to any move making it tougher to compete with DC and relegating it to No. 2 in the state
- Despite its inability to attract private-sector employers, MD isn't really desperate for new territory
- The balance of power would swing heavily north of the Potomac
- As good as a 99% Democrat state legislature sounds, single-party rule is never a good thing. Even with the current supermajorities, the MD legislature is more like some sort of country club than a rule-making body and is inefficient and borderline inept.

As for Virginia, it would make sense for Arlington (and maybe Alexandria) to secede to Maryland/DC since it's pretty pretty much a progressive, liberal enclave in a conservative, Southern state. Of course that would never happen since there's no way the good folks in Richmond would ever let any part of NoVa (aka "the Bank") go.

If for some reason they did let Arlington/Alexandria join "the yankees" they Lee Highway and Jeff Davis Blvd would have to be renamed...

by King Terrapin on Apr 1, 2014 3:47 pm • linkreport

@King Terrapin

Other than congressional representation, I have a hard time seeing what the benefits for District residents would be. There are reasons we don't live in Maryland now.

by LowHeadways on Apr 1, 2014 4:05 pm • linkreport

Are there multiple Jaspers or is that something that arose from using multiple browsers?

by selxic on Apr 1, 2014 6:58 pm • linkreport

I actually submitted this version as well, but went with Maryland-DC over DC-Virginia as the power dynamics were more similar to Russia-Ukraine.

District of Columbia Occupies, Intends to Annex Disputed Virginia Territories.

Citing a dispute over the obscure Retrocession Act of 1847, District Mayor Vince Gray sent a battalion of bicycle activists and led by a masked lobbyist calling himself "Uncle Darryl" to city squares in Rosslyn and Alexandria today, demanding a referendum that would bring the disputed territories "back home." Analysts were divided on the true domestic motives behind the move, citing Gray's need to bolster his flagging polls in the midst of a corruption scandal or to stifle what Gray once described as "sales tax leakage". Gray's opponents at home were largely silent today, though rival Councilmember Muriel Bowser was overheard muttering to a concerned resident that the annexation would have "legal issues", as many Rosslyn buildings do not conform to the District's strict height limit. She intimated that some Virginia buildings would have to remove upper floors before any formal annexation act would receive her support.

by Myles G Smith on Apr 1, 2014 8:53 pm • linkreport


Other than congressional representation, I have a hard time seeing what the benefits for District residents would be. There are reasons we don't live in Maryland now.

In state tuition to UMD isn't a bad thing.

by Exergy on Apr 1, 2014 9:02 pm • linkreport

King Terrapin +1

by Thayer-D on Apr 2, 2014 5:35 am • linkreport

Though I'm an MD resident I like having DC be separate.
If anything I'd like to see DC reclaim (retro-retrocession?) Occupied DC... AKA NOVA.

by blinks on Apr 2, 2014 10:12 am • linkreport

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