Newspaper article Roll Call

D.C. Activists Enlist Andy Harris for Help with Porta-Potty

Newspaper article Roll Call

D.C. Activists Enlist Andy Harris for Help with Porta-Potty

Article excerpt

Activists from the District of Columbia crowded the hallway outside Rep. Andy Harris' office on Thursday to lobby the Maryland Republican for help with local issues.

They say Harris should welcome their thoughts and concerns, given his keen interest in D.C.'s drug policy. The "DC Constituent Service Day" staged by DC Vote was organized a week after the House passed a spending bill that included a measure Harris proposed to target the District's marijuana decriminalization law.

"This is a porta-potty outside my house," said Ramin Catirai, a 31-year-old who lives near the intersection of 11th and T streets in Northwest D.C. "It's been there for about two weeks," he said, offering a black-and-white photo of the sidewalk outside his front door. "You can smell it."

Catirai and about 20 other residents hung out for more than an hour in the fifth floor hallway of the Longworth House Office Building, waiting to see the congressman -- who was not available. Some circulated colorful cards on a ballot initiative to legalize marijuana that will likely be on the November ballot. Capitol Police responded to the scene minutes after the protest started, ordering protesters to keep the walkway clear and the noise under control.

Inside the office, Harris' staff fielded meeting requests and questions about whether the physician elected to represent Maryland's 1st District in 2010 would be interested in moving out of Cockeysville to run for a D.C. Council seat. DC Vote Executive Director Kimberly Perry accused the congressman of "trampling on our rights," and pleaded for some face time with Harris.

"I appreciate the concern," responded chief of staff Kevin Reigrut.

In addition to the protest, DC Vote has promoted a boycott of Eastern Shore vacation destinations. It is promoting the boycott with Facebook ads, which have drawn rebukes from Maryland residents. …

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