November 28, 2013 at 8:00 am EDT | by Mark Lee
Even turkeys offer a holiday reason to be grateful
John A. Wilson Building, D.C. Council, government, gay news, Washington Blade, holiday

The John A. Wilson Building, home to the D.C. Council. (Photo by AgnosticPreachersKid; courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

During the Thanksgiving and end-of-year holiday season, the D.C. community has the opportunity to be thankful. This year, business owners, enterprise employees and local residents behold a bounty for which gratefulness is genuine.

Glad tidings include the following:

The D.C. Council will offer a respite from troublemaking with a holiday recess.

Although not as mercifully long in duration as the annual summer hiatus, the less time Council members are in proximity to one another the less opportunity for legislative mischief. Given the tendency of local officials to spend too much time fantasizing about conjuring up yet another jaw-dropping business mandate or startling social engineering scheme, local life is a bit more pleasurable when they’re not in cahoots.

The April 1 D.C. primary election date results in a delightfully shortened intra-party campaign slugfest.

Now that D.C. primary elections are required by national law to be conducted more distant from general elections, it provides a truncated campaign season for the gaggle of party candidates in the usually determinative Democratic primary. As a result, there will be fewer encounters with sidewalk intercessors and annoying robocalls, and a smaller number of voter forums with concomitant endlessly repetitive reporting of standard sound bites dutifully crammed into newspaper pages and onto local blogs.

Local politicians will continue counting construction cranes, but their lack of self-consciousness amuses.

D.C. elected officials and political candidates have an annoying habit of bragging about the number of construction cranes towering above private sector development projects – ignoring the fact that they glisten in the sunlight despite continuous enactment of business-halting and job-diminishing legislation. One day one of those cranes is going to swoop down and start scooping them up one-by-one from in front of media microphones and flinging them into the Potomac.

Prone to measuring the city’s increasingly robust economic environment, acknowledging the role of business in creating it becomes nearly inevitable.

Not that they won’t try to delude themselves – or us – into thinking they’re responsible for both reason and result, but the reliance of politicians on the achievements of the business community in evaluating their performance has to be a humbling experience for them. Especially among those who believe they’re not actually the reason that development is as hamstrung as it is by their misguided legislative convolutions and burdensome regulatory requirements.

D.C. Councilmember Mary Cheh won’t be able to launch any mind-numbing new restrictions on local business or personal choice.

Although the nanny state’s local queen bee will have ample time to study trendy restrictions on commerce and personal choice concocted in places like Berkeley and similar outposts of regulatory foolishness, Cheh can’t introduce any new bills – at least for a few days. She’ll soon have time to renew attempts to outlaw tanning for those under 18, mandate commercial signage restrictions to prevent light interference with mating and migrating birds, and a litany of other preposterousness.

Council members will have more time to try to figure out how the tipped worker wage system functions and discern a reasonable increase in the local minimum wage.

Not only is it well known that Council members have little or no private sector business experience, but they have demonstrated difficulty comprehending how things like the tipped worker wage system works. Let alone being responsible for a payroll or creating a real job. They can use the vacation for some eye-popping research and reflection.

City commissions will soon recommend D.C. tax reforms and regulatory improvements.

The D.C. Council can ignore them as easily as the last voter-approved charter amendment, but at least they’ll soon have the opportunity to review the hard work of both the D.C. Tax Revision Commission, chaired by former Mayor Anthony Williams, and the Regulatory Reform Task Force. Perhaps lingering holiday goodwill will cheer them into revising tax rates and reforming regulations that overflow city holiday stockings with coal each year.

It is the season for New Year’s resolutions, after all.

Mark Lee is a long-time entrepreneur and community business advocate. Follow on Twitter: @MarkLeeDC. Reach him at

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