Former D.C. Council Chair Kwame Brown (left) and D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray (far right). Brown resigned last week after pleading guilty to bank fraud and misusing campaign money.
The U.S. Attorney has taken an active role in our local government. So has the FBI, the D.C. Office of Campaign Finance, and the D.C. Attorney General. Now it’s time for fellow residents to take action, and here’s a great way to do it: Sign the petition for Initiative 70, which will end the destructive pay-to-play culture at the Wilson Building (D.C.’s City Hall).
I’ve helped gather signatures a couple of times to get Initiative 70 on November’s ballot. Last weekend, I was hitting up friends and neighbors. One neighbor cut me off after my first sentence and grabbed the paper out of my hand. “No need to say more,” he said. “I’ll sign.” Still another signed, saying that he supported the measure. He then added that the massive effort being undertaken to get the measure before the voters shouldn’t be necessary. “We elect people to make hard decisions,” he said. “We shouldn’t have to do this.”
He’s absolutely right. But this is Washington, D.C. You might have heard that the Council has had a few problems lately.
Shareholders and activists are gathering in Chicago today to protest corporate political spending, and Target stands front and center in their bulls-eye.
Flickr photo by jpellgen
Target’s political spending practices have landed the company in hot water before, so shareholders are rightfully concerned. In 2010, Target came under fire for contributing $150,000 to MN Forward, a group backing Tom Emmer, an extreme right-wing candidate for governor of Minnesota. Emmer was outspoken in his opposition to gay marriage, including supporting a constitutional amendment to define marriage as between a man and a woman.
The contribution prompted a firestorm of protests and boycotts around the country. In a viral YouTube video, a woman cut up her Target card and explained why she returned every item she recently bought from the store.
“They’ve lost every purchase from my family,” she says in the video. “I’m going to boycott Target until they make this right.”
The donation displayed a stunning lack of discretion on Target’s part and seriously undermined Target’s public commitment to LGBT inclusion. Target extends domestic-partner benefits to same sex employees and has openly supported pride events in Minnesota. The Human Rights Campaign gave Target a perfect score in 2009 and 2010 in its Corporate Equality Rating Index and its Best Places to Work for LGBT Equality.
So which is it? Clearly Target cannot both support diversity in the workplace and support a politician opposed to fundamental equality for the LGBT community.