Greater Greater Washington

Breakfast links: Count it!


Photo by Travelin' Librarian on Flickr.
The Census is in: The 2010 Census results were released yesterday. Virginia continued with double-digit growth, Maryland experienced nearly 10% growth, and DC topped 600,000 for the first time since the 1950s. Neither Virginia, nor Maryland will see any change in their Congressional delegation size. (WUSA)

Census results complicate DC vote fight: After the last Census, DC voting rights advocates partnered with Republican-heavy Utah, who was left just short of gaining another House seat, to fight for a seat for both. This year, Utah got their seat anyway thanks to continued growth and the next state in line, North Carolina, is itself a politically balanced state. (WAMU)

New federal money for K Street transitway: The Federal Transit Administration has awarded DC a $1 million planning and analysis grant to explore new streetcar technology and advance the K Street Transitway plan. (Examiner)

New UMD president gets the Purple Line: It looks like Wallace Loh's rule at the University of Maryland may be a breath of fresh air for Purple Line advocates, after years opposition under C. Dan Mote. Loh has talked with officials at Portland State University about the light rail on their campus. (Rethink College Park, Cavan)

Tax break and much more passes: The DC Council passed a 20-year, $46 million tax abatement for a planned hotel in Adams Morgan. That's one of many bills passed yesterday including ones on rent control, open meetings (though exempting Council committees), and rules limiting homeless shelters to DC residents. (TBD, Post)

BRAC parking cap cut from defense bill: Virginia Senator Congressman Jim Moran's proposed cap of 1,000 parking spaces at the new BRAC headquarters in Alexandria was cut from the Defense Reauthorization Act, leaving the onus on the Pentagon to take steps to reduce driving to the new campus. Moran says he will reintroduce the cap in 2011. (Dr. Gridlock)

WABA begins responsible cycling campaign: WABA wants area cyclists to make a New Years resolution to respect the rules of the roads and other road users, as part of a new campaign to increase responsible cycling and combat the image that all cyclists are scofflaws. (WTOP)

Passenger rail coming to Norfolk: Virginia signed a deal with Norfolk Southern that will allow passenger rail to come to Norfolk, VA. Service currently ends in Newport News. The state will use $87 million in federal money to upgrade the rail and a new connection built between CSX rail and NS rail. (Railway Age, David C)

Pick a mode in SF: A neat tool using open data in San Francisco lets people compare the time and cost of traveling from one place to another and back using that city's two car sharing systems, biking, walking, and transit. (ModePick via @joooe)

Have a tip for the links? Submit it here.
Erik Weber has been living car-free in the District since 2009. Hailing from the home of the nation's first Urban Growth Boundary, Erik has been interested in transit since spending summers in Germany as a kid where he rode as many buses, trains and streetcars as he could find. Views expressed here are Erik's alone. 

Comments

Add a comment »

Which state is expected to get the LAST seat in the new allocation? One solution would be to take that seat away and give it to DC.

by Alan on Dec 22, 2010 9:05 am • linkreport

Minnesota (which generally leans Democrat in the House, but will be an even split with the new Congress) got the last seat, which enabled them to remain at 8 seats. As a native Minnesotan, I of course am biased and would be against taking it away to give to DC.

But as the past couple years has shown, there's nothing in the Constitution against adding two new reps, one for DC and one for another state.

by Froggie on Dec 22, 2010 9:15 am • linkreport

typo- Moran isn't a senator

by mch on Dec 22, 2010 9:20 am • linkreport

By my calculations, Nevada would get the 435'th seat. So one solution would be to give Nevada three seats and DC one, instead of giving Nevada four and DC zero. But of course, no one will propose doing that because Nevada is a key swing state that no one is willing to cross.

by Alan on Dec 22, 2010 9:36 am • linkreport

typo - We were last at 600k in the 90s. This is the first time the population has grown since the 1950s.

by Sven on Dec 22, 2010 9:36 am • linkreport

Looks like the official apportionment data is here:
http://2010.census.gov/2010census/data/apportionment.csv

From that table, it looks like Rhode Island is getting the 435'th seat. So the solution would be to give RI and DC each one seat, instead of giving RI two and DC none. That would definitely be doable, since RI is a tiny state that is reliably democratic.

It also looks from that table that if the House were expanded, Montana would be in line to get the 436'th seat. So a second solution would be to give Montana a second seat and give one to DC. That should also be doable since Montana is reliably Republican.

by Alan on Dec 22, 2010 9:50 am • linkreport

Montana actually gave McCain a slim margin of victory (2.4%) and gave its electoral votes to Clinton. Not to mention it's 2 Democratic Senators and Democratic Governor. Just sayin..

by Ward 2 on Dec 22, 2010 9:57 am • linkreport

Alan: it came from someone who was live-tweeting the announcement yesterday.

by Froggie on Dec 22, 2010 9:58 am • linkreport

I'm a little confused by all this talk about 'taking away' a seat a state is otherwise entitled to in order to be able to give one to DC. At the last census, the talk was about 'giving' a seat to a state that otherwise wasn't entitled to it but was close. In that case it was Utah which didn't really have the population to get that extra seat but was close enough that if a compromise could be reached to give DC a seat too, then the assumed Democratic seat from DC would get balanced out by the 'extra' seat given to Utah which was assumed would mean a Republic seat. It was basically a 'bribe' to the Republicans to get them one extra seat to which they otherwise weren't entitled. And that's what's missing in all this talk about 'taking away' a seat that a state is otherwise entitled to. That doesn't work because nothing is being offered up to anyone. On the cotrary something is being illegally taken away from someone.

by Lance on Dec 22, 2010 10:06 am • linkreport

There would be nothing illegal about keeping the total number of seats at 435 while allocating one seat to DC.

by Alan on Dec 22, 2010 10:10 am • linkreport

The stars were aligned for DC House representation two years ago, when Obama had big majorities in the House and Senate. He was supposedly all for it, but he spent all his political capital on healthcare.

Eleanor Holmes Norton failed horribly. She will be lucky if she keeps her vote in committee, and her chances of getting a vote on the floor are nil.

Anyone who thinks that a Congress that did NOT pass DC voting rights with a big Democratic majority will turn around and pass it next year with an even bigger Republican majority is simply delusional.

I don't know which is the bigger tragedy: the epic fail of Norton and Obama when the opportunity was there, or the coming GOP House majority slamming the door on that hopey-changey feeling that we were finally gonna get a vote.

by Facing a bitter reality on Dec 22, 2010 10:25 am • linkreport

Statehood always was, and still is, the only way to go as far as I'm concerned. I have no interest in living under a quasi-representative, potentially unconstitutional one House seat/no Senators arrangement. Even if it were Constitutional, and I still have my doubts, that could be repealed or amended so that the seat went to somebody else by a simple majority vote.

by Nate on Dec 22, 2010 10:33 am • linkreport

Giving a seat to DC is a mute point since the issue was raised sometime in the last year and Dems chose not to pursue the issue. Given the recent Republican takeover it’s unlikely we will see DC with a seat in the next two years.

by Matt R on Dec 22, 2010 10:36 am • linkreport

Lance: actually, with the formula by which the Census determines Congressional seat appoprtionment, Utah was #436 from the 2000 Census numbers. So it make perfect sense for DC to negotiate with Utah since they rightfully would have received the next seat had Congress voted to increase the size of the House.

by Froggie on Dec 22, 2010 10:42 am • linkreport

@Alan 10:10 am There would be nothing illegal about keeping the total number of seats at 435 while allocating one seat to DC.

Alan 9:50 am From that table, it looks like Rhode Island is getting the 435'th seat. So the solution would be to give RI and DC each one seat, instead of giving RI two and DC none.

Maybe you meant otherwise, but it sure sounds like you're saying that Congress should be taking away one of RI's seats so that there's a spare seat to give to DC. My point that last time around we were trying to give someone (i.e., the Republicans) something (an extra seat) in order to get them to agree to give DC a seat ... which otherwise would have posed a threat to them (the Republicans) because the DC seat would be sure to be Democratic ... and be used to vote against them. It was a carrot. Taking away a seat from RI isn't a carrot ... Maybe 'illegal' is too strong a term, but I think you get the gist of what I meant.

by Lance on Dec 22, 2010 10:46 am • linkreport

Correction, it *MADE perfect sense for DC to work with Utah. That is no longer the case, of course. According to what I've read (I'm still crunching the numbers myself), North Carolina is "next in line" given the 2010 Census results.

by Froggie on Dec 22, 2010 10:46 am • linkreport

WABA wants area cyclists to make a New Years resolution to respect the rules of the roads and other road users, as part of a new campaign to increase responsible cycling and combat the image that all cyclists are scofflaws.

While this kind of self-flagellation is nice, I wonder what percentage of sidewalk or "salmon" riders out there are WABA members. Maybe .00000000003%?

I pledge to ride exactly how I've been riding for the last couple of decades: safely, respectfully of pedestrians (and drivers whether they know it or not), and 70% of the time, within the law.

Happy Holidays, and Peace on Earth Between Every Mode!

by oboe on Dec 22, 2010 10:50 am • linkreport

@Froggie Lance: actually, with the formula by which the Census determines Congressional seat appoprtionment, Utah was #436 from the 2000 Census numbers. So it make perfect sense for DC to negotiate with Utah since they rightfully would have received the next seat had Congress voted to increase the size of the House.

Yeah ... that's what I said ... 'At the last census, the talk was about 'giving' a seat to a state that otherwise wasn't entitled to it but was close. ... It wasn't entitle to a seat given that the House has been capped at 435 members for close to a century now. I think we're saying the same thing.

by Lance on Dec 22, 2010 10:55 am • linkreport

Either DC residents deserve the right as Americans to be represented in Congress or we don't - but there's absolutely no reason to have to pay blackmail to Republicans by giving them an extra seat just to obtain what DC residents should have in the first place. I can't believe that people are being so blase about that - since when do we horsetrade our basic rights?

by andy on Dec 22, 2010 10:56 am • linkreport

There was one unique thing about Utah that made the deal perfect. They argued that a large enough number of their 'residents' were overseas on mission to cost them the seat - and that they have more citizens living overseas per capita than any other state. They felt they should not be punished for doing charity work. That argument resonated with some people. No other state can make that claim.

Statehood would be great. But the last time it was voted on, it was absolutely destroyed. I think a majority of Democrats voted against it. So you'll have to convince a lot of people that DC, with a population only 85% that of the average congressional district, deserves a rep and 2 Senators. Plus you need to amend the Constitution. I still think it's easier, more politically viable and better to amend the Constitution to allow non-States to have reps and share Senators.

Lance, if DC were given a seat, it would raise the effective population needed for a seat and reduce the number of 'extra' seats to be alloted. That would leave RI with one fewer seat, but it wouldn't really be taking it away from RI. It would be taking it away from the pot of extras and thus indirectly from RI.

by David C on Dec 22, 2010 11:02 am • linkreport

@andy when do we horsetrade our basic rights?

Welcome to the real world. We do that all the time. Why do you think we have democratic organizations in place? You only gain and preserve rights ... even basic rights ... when you have something to trade. In the case of democracies, it's the ability to trade self-governance and law and order via our representatives in exchange for the right to enjoy our 'basic' rights. In countries where that isn't possible, you end up with military juntas (think Latin America) or other dictatorships (think Saddam Huessein's Iraq). First and foremost for society to function is law and order. So don't believe for one minute that democratic organizations exist solely to protect our basic rights. The exist because they can trade that law and order for those basic rights for us. And our getting a vote in Congress will require our being able to offer up something in return. Like everything in life, it needs to be earned/traded in some way.

by Lance on Dec 22, 2010 11:04 am • linkreport

I both agree and disagree with Lance:

Disagree: it would not be "illegal" to take a seat away from a state at the bottom of the list and give it to DC. In fact, if you changed how the apportionment worked (to give one seat to DC or treat DC like a state for giving out congressional seats) then one state would by design get one fewer congressperson and DC would get that one.

Agree: If you want to keep pushing this, do it like we did last time. Propose bringing the house up to 437, give one of those seats to DC and one seat to whatever state is next on the apportionment list. It looks like North Carolina is next on the list so you would give them a seat and give DC a seat.

It's not going to happen this time. But I'm not sure we should have accepted a complete and total gutting of our gun laws in exchange for one damn congressional vote. I do think DC's gun laws were too strict but I don't think we should sacrifice our ability to have those laws at all.

by MLD on Dec 22, 2010 11:13 am • linkreport

@David That would leave RI with one fewer seat, but it wouldn't really be taking it away from RI. It would be taking it away from the pot of extras and thus indirectly from RI.

But doesn't currently RI have 2 seats? Don't you think they would view it as one of their seats being taken away in order to give DC a seat? irrespective of the 'fine print' of how it was taken away?

Incidentally, I agree with you:
'I still think it's easier, more politically viable and better to amend the Constitution to allow non-States to have reps and share Senators.'

We're lacking basic representation, and there's no excuse for that. But our becoming a state could be counter to our own self interests ... and that of the nation. Because we're not a state, we get a lot or things that states don't get. (For example: museums with no entry fees; special funding for roads (we get something like 95% of all our road funds from the feds vs. something like a 50% match for Interstate roads for the states); a very stable workforce, etc.) Being the nation's capital we'll always have a unique relationship with the feds. A relationship that would have to change if we were a state. There's no reason we can't get a vote in Congress (house and senate) and STILL retain that special relationship with its rights and responsibilities that are different from the rights and responsibilities which states have vis-a-vis the federal government. AND, as you so aptly point out, it would probably be a lot easier to change the constituention to allow that than to change DC into a state.

by Lance on Dec 22, 2010 11:16 am • linkreport

@David C:
You would not have to amend the Constitution to make DC a state. You would have to make the "federal district" smaller, say, a strip from the Washington Monument to the Capitol, for example.

by Nate on Dec 22, 2010 11:26 am • linkreport

The question is, what state is in line for the 436th representative using the apportionment rule? I do not know how to interpret the table in Alan's link.

But in any case, there is general agreement among the politicos that the issue is dead. I think it is time for DC to do something radical to get this accomplished.

by goldfish on Dec 22, 2010 11:33 am • linkreport

David wrote: Lance, if DC were given a seat, it would raise the effective population needed for a seat and reduce the number of 'extra' seats to be alloted.

Yes to the latter, but not really to the former. Here is the method by which the Census determines Congressional seat appropriation. True, giving a seat to DC would take away from "last place on the list" (North Carolina based on the 2000 numbers), but the extra population argument only really applies to whoever's in "last place".

A correction to an earlier comment of mine. I did the number crunching based on the apportionment formula, and based on my numbers, it's actually Texas that got seat #435 (Minnesota got seat #434). North Carolina is still next on the list, as I mentioned before.

by Froggie on Dec 22, 2010 11:38 am • linkreport

@Lance Don't a lot of those extra federal road funds already go to Virginia? (Genuine question. Not picking a fight -- I'm largely in the same boat, where I feel that DC should get at least one representative and senator, but possibly not be explicitly granted statehood.)

And, yes. I don't want to do this by giving the republicans an artificial and unfair advantage.

by andrew on Dec 22, 2010 11:41 am • linkreport

I wonder if rail service to Norfolk will mean the end of the Amtrak bus connection from Newport News to Norfolk and Virginia Beach.

by Gavin on Dec 22, 2010 11:59 am • linkreport

DC should push for statehood in the manner Nate suggests. From what I've heard, the drawback would be the need to take on some funding that currently is being shared by the Feds (such as our prison system), not museum fees or an unstable workforce. Having one voting representative in Congress would do little to limit the various Congressional encroachments on our autonomy.

by DCster on Dec 22, 2010 12:07 pm • linkreport

I stand corrected. Applying the Apportionment Rule mentioned above by goldfish (priority based on The Method of Equal Proportions as described in Wikipedia), Minnesota got the 435'th seat, and if the number of seats were increased, North Carolina would be first in line for the 436'th seat.

by Alan on Dec 22, 2010 12:56 pm • linkreport

Or just to make it more confusing, maybe it was Idaho that got the 435'th seat.

by Alan on Dec 22, 2010 1:04 pm • linkreport

i'm very happy to hear that, during a time of daily, ongoing violence directed at cyclists, WABA, DC's cycling association, is going after...cyclists.

i guess Transportation Alternatives jumped off that bridge, so WABA just had to follow suit. smart.

with friends like these...

by Peter Smith on Dec 22, 2010 4:38 pm • linkreport

@Andrew Don't a lot of those extra federal road funds already go to Virginia? (Genuine question.

What I was referring to earlier was the federal funding mechanism used for DC vs. states (any state). I remember reading an article (many years ago) where this was given as one of the examples of the many bene's we get. It went something like this: the usual formula for states receiving federal highway funds is that states need to match dollar for dollar any funding from the feds. Hence, if the feds are giving $100 M for road work, then the state has to also spend $100 M for road work. AND that this only applied to certain 'national' roads such as the interstate highways. BUT for DC, the formula was more along the lines that DC only had to match something like $5 for every $95 that the feds put in. AND that because all roads in the District technically belong to the feds, all the roads qualified for this funding ... unlike just the 'national' ones in the states. This was just one of many examples given in the article on how we really did get special treatment from the feds for being the capital. I'm sure it can also be a double-edged sword. It's like when our parents pay for things for us, it doesn't come without strings. It's a trade-off. Yeah, we could (possibly) lobby to get the District shrank down to a fraction in size of what it is now, but then we'd need to be prepared to lose all these benes. In any case, that can be a separate argument than just insisting on voting rights as a district. An amendment was passed allowing us to vote for President ... why can't an amendment equally easily be passed giving us voting representation in Congress. I don't see how anyone could oppose that. It's not like we'd be asking to stop being the national capital (which is essentially what asking to be a state does for all practical purposes.) Yes, short term the Dems might have to make some concession in order to gain those extra Democrat-leaning votes passed the Republicans. But I can't see how other than that there would be any opposition for us getting representation ... provided we were remaining a district.

by Lance on Dec 22, 2010 4:53 pm • linkreport

@Peter, You might remember my writing a while back that all the cyclists looking to increase the number of cyclists on the roads where doing themselves a disfavor. When you only have a few cyclists out there it's not a major problem if they don't follow the rules. Other than putting themselves in danger, the effect on others, including disruption of motor traffic, is minimal ... and no one's going to get upset. Well, now a couple years later, we have a situation where the bike lanes and the CaBi system have encouraged the number of cyclists out there to multiply. And we're reaching the stage (at least in some parts of DC) where cyclists not following the rules is having an impact on more than just the cyclists putting themselves at risk. It's disrupting traffic and generally creating a lawlessness which no one, including DDOT, will want. Hence why you're now seeing the increased enforcement which I predicted for you earlier. Sometimes we get what we wish for.

by Lance on Dec 22, 2010 5:01 pm • linkreport

You only gain and preserve rights ... even basic rights ... when you have something to trade. In the case of democracies, it's the ability to trade self-governance and law and order via our representatives in exchange for the right to enjoy our 'basic' rights. In countries where that isn't possible, you end up with military juntas (think Latin America) or other dictatorships (think Saddam Huessein's Iraq). First and foremost for society to function is law and order. So don't believe for one minute that democratic organizations exist solely to protect our basic rights. The exist because they can trade that law and order for those basic rights for us.

Just want to point out that you could just describe this as the philosophy of the white male, and call it a day. Black folk in the South in the 60's? Okay, what do you have to trade?

It's quite easy to be glib about the rights of other folks.

by oboe on Dec 22, 2010 6:57 pm • linkreport

Nate, you'd have to amend the Constituition to deal with the 23rd Amendment. Or else the strip of land left to be DC would still have three Electoral Votes.

by David C on Dec 22, 2010 11:10 pm • linkreport

Froggie, You're correct about the method, that it does not directly use the total population of the U.S. But there is nonetheless an "effective" average population of each congressional district (710,000+). And that number would go up by about 1300 if DC were thrown in the mix.

by David C on Dec 22, 2010 11:22 pm • linkreport

@oboe, They traded their promise to see things change in a peaceful manner ... It's not like equal rights was just given for the asking. They were earned by these folks and the people who stood up for them via sit-ins and marches and other such actions which while demanding change, gave a promise that that change would be a peaceful one. MLK and Gandhi understood that peaceful change can indeed be a bargaining chip ... something to barter with. If you really believe that the white folk in the south in the 60s who accepted this change did it purely out of the goodness of their hearts, then you're seeing something I'm not seeing.

by Lance on Dec 22, 2010 11:28 pm • linkreport

Lance, what about women's suffrage? There was no threat of violence there; and equality was not forced on one region of the country by another, but was accepted by the group in power (men).

by David C on Dec 22, 2010 11:31 pm • linkreport

David, It's not a coincide that the emancipation of women (including suffrage) occurred concurrently with the industrial age and new technology which gave 'brain' a leg up on 'braun'. (Ie in a world where strength matters less, women have more to barter. For example, a woman can fly a jet fighter equally well as a man can.)

by Lance on Dec 25, 2010 9:48 am • linkreport

Add a Comment

Name: (will be displayed on the comments page)

Email: (must be your real address, but will be kept private)

URL: (optional, will be displayed)

Your comment:

By submitting a comment, you agree to abide by our comment policy.
Notify me of followup comments via email. (You can also subscribe without commenting.)
Save my name and email address on this computer so I don't have to enter it next time, and so I don't have to answer the anti-spam map challenge question in the future.

or