Pannell Slams White
Ward 8 D.C. State Board of Education candidate Philip Pannell recently pointed out that Trayon White, the incumbent, hasn't attended board meetings on a regular basis for five months.
Pannell, 61, alerted media via email on Wednesday, Oct. 3 about a listing that showed dates where White failed to attend regularly scheduled work sessions.
White defeated Pannell in a special election in April 2011 to replace the late William Lockridge on the city's school board.
"I requested the attendance roster of the working sessions of the State Board of Education members," Pannell said. "... Trayon White of Ward 8, was absent for eight of 17 working sessions. His absenteeism is an issue in my campaign."
Pannell obtained the information from Keinde Thomas, a staffer for the board. The email showed that the last board meeting that White attended was Feb. 22, and the board meets monthly with the exception of the August recess.
White, who has the support of D.C. Council member Marion Barry [D-Ward 8], disputed Pannell's claims.
"His accusations are untrue," said White, 28. "The information that he publicized is not true. Those are not the facts."
White declined to go into detail about the inaccuracy of Pannell's assertions, but he said that the board has special meetings and other sessions that he has attended. When asked about his lack of attendance at community meetings to discuss various issues that pertain to Ward 8, White said "that is not true, either."
Norton Supports Referendum
A move by the D.C. Council to put a measure on the ballot in 2013 that allows the District to enact its own budget without the approval of the U.S. Congress has the guarded support of D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton.
Interim D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson (D) introduced the charter referendum bill that would amend the D.C. Home Rule Charter to allow budget autonomy on Tuesday, Oct. 2. The introduction of this type of legislation by the D.C. Council is unusual because District issues that relate to the federal government are usually handled by Norton.
DC Vote, a non-profit in Northwest, that supports expanding the political rights of District residents and D.C. Appleseed, a Northwest-based think tank that deals with city issues, has embraced the referendum. If the referendum passes, the U.S. Congress has 35 working days to disapprove it and President Barack Obama would have to sign the disapproval resolution, which, if he is re-elected, is unlikely.
Some Republicans such as former Rep. Thomas Davis and Rep. Darrell Issa [R-Calif.] have expressed interest in granting the city budget autonomy.
Norton, 75, said in a statement through her press secretary, that she would support what the city wants and urges District residents to vote "yes" for budget autonomy next year.
"She continues to pursue a budget autonomy bill in Congress in order to preserve the bipartisan congressional support that has been building and that may prove necessary, considering the many difficult issues raised by the referendum, and to preserve the city's options on other D.C. matters," according to the statement.
"She does not intend to give opponents of budget autonomy a roadmap by discussing matters that can be used against the District. Whether through legislation or referendum, where there is no clear path or easy path to budget autonomy."