November 22, 2012

Charles Allen, the Ward 6 Democratic Party leader, should take his reform proposal [“This is no way to choose a D.C. Council member,” Local Opinions, Nov. 18] a step further. Indeed, the entire election process for at-large D.C. Council members should be reformed and made a part of Mr. Allen’s charter amendment proposal.

During consideration of the home rule charter, I was a Congressional Research Service analyst assigned to the drafting committees in the U.S. House and Senate.  Members from both parties supported the provision whose intent was to ensure diversity in party representation on the D.C. Council. But Democrats have made a farce of that intent by changing their party registration to “No Party” and running as Independents.

Philadelphia has a system that has ensured the election of Republicans in a jurisdiction that, like the District, has an overwhelmingly Democratic electorate. Federal courts have validated minority-party-representation arrangements. District Democrats should join Republicans in seeking reform of the D.C. charter to ensure genuine political diversity in our local legislature.

Nelson F. Rimensnyder, Washington

The writer is a member of the D.C. Republican Committee.