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In 2010, voters in D.C. overwhelmingly approved a referendum to create an elected attorney general position. That election was supposed to be next year, but the D.C. Council is pushing it back.
More than 90,000 District residents may have voted to create an independent, elected attorney general, but it took only seven votes to derail it. By a 7-6 margin the Council voted to push back the election to until at least 2018 over concerns that no qualified applicants had thrown their hat in the ring.
There were also concerns over the authority of the new elected attorney general, with some saying that it should be limited, while others arguing that it should be more independent and oversee lawyers in agencies across the D.C. government.
Council Member Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) says he doesn't even support the idea of electing an attorney general. "Putting this off's not the end of the world. As a matter of fact, it's a good idea so we can get some stability here and revisit here when the time comes," he says.
But supporters of the 2014 election date, such as Council member David Catania (I-At Large), saw hypocrisy in his colleagues who voted to push it back, singling out members like Evans and Muriel Bowser (D-Ward 4), both of whom are running for mayor.
"They can trust the people to elect them mayor, but they can't trust the people to elect an attorney general… I think that is a striking indictment of what we think of our population," he says.
Catania compared the rhetoric and reasoning behind delaying the election to that of congressional lawmakers who say D.C. isn't ready for more autonomy. "Who needs members of congress when we will say it ourselves?"