In July of this year, the Prince George’s County Council voted to place Question D on November’s General Election ballot. Question D would amend the County’s Charter to create two additional at-large council seats. These at-large seats would have a two-term limit separate from the current two-term limit for district seats. As phrased, Question D would permit current councilmembers to run for at-large seats in 2018 when their district terms expire.
A public hearing, called at short notice in mid-summer, preceded the council vote. The vast majority of residents, many representing their civic organizations, testified loudly and clearly in opposition to Question D. Ignoring their input, the Council voted to place Question D on the ballot.
The Council then promptly turned around and, assisted by the Senate delegation, is attempting to twist the arms of the Democratic Central Committee to support Question D. If the Democratic Central Committee votes to approve Question D, support for Question D will become the official position of the Democratic Party and it will be placed on the “sample ballot” that is routinely mailed and handed out to voters.
This is not what democracy should look like. Sign the petition below to show the Prince George's County Democratic Central Committee and it's leaders that Prince Georgians want them to take no position on Question D.
Petition by: Suchitra Balachandran, Kathy Bryant, Sarah Cavitt, Mary Forsht-Tucker, Jon Robinson, Linda Saffell, & Barbara Sollner-Webb
Progressive Prince George's
To: The Prince George’s Democratic Party Central Committee, the Prince George’s Senate Delegation, and the Prince George’s County Council.
Question D is the fourth attempt by elected officials to circumvent or repeal term limits in Prince George’s County.
Enough is Enough!
As residents and voters in Prince George’s County:
- We ask the Democratic Central Committee (Central Committee) NOT to take a position on Question D and attempt to influence the ballot;
- We ask the sitting Senators and sitting County Council members NOT to attempt to strong-arm the Central Committee to support Question D
- We ask all elected officials to respect the only public hearing on Question D held by the County Council at which the majority of speakers opposed Question D for some of the following reasons:
- Running countywide for at-large seats is expected to cost $300,000 to $400,000, making it difficult for grassroots candidates to compete against developer- and other corporate-assisted candidates.
- Candidates elected by special interest money will be accountable to their funders and not to the people who elect them.
- The two additional council members and their staff will cost the county roughly $1 million dollars annually.
- The addition of two at-large seats will dilute the power of the district council members who are most responsive to citizen needs.
Should the Central Committee wish to take a position on future ballot questions, we ask the Committee to adopt a fair, transparent and well-defined process that includes a thorough study of the pros and cons of the ballot question, and a robust public participation process.
Meanwhile, Please Do Not Take a Position on Question D
Let the voters decide.