How The Grinch Will Steal Kathy Posner's
White House Dreams

The Obama's White House Christmas

Last week, the National Park Service opened up a three day window on a lottery for the opportunity to obtain tickets to the “National Tree Lighting Opening Ceremony” held in front of the White House. I entered the lottery where up for grabs are 3,000 tickets for seats and 10,000 standing-room-only tickets. Any bets if I win a ticket? The reason I am watching the “tree lottery” closely is because of what happened during the “Easter Egg Roll” lottery. That is when we found out that then White House Social Secretary Desiree Rogers doled out tickets to people who worked at the hair salon she frequented. In a blog last year, I quoted one of the salon employees, “Hair stylist Ron Clemente remembers last spring when she came into a Georgetown salon where she has had her nails done, and gave employees tickets to the White House Easter Egg Roll.”

One certainly expects the seat of our central government to play fair, but since there was “cheating” before in ticket distribution, I will act as the Inspector General to ensure the “tree lottery” is run ethically.

Now to the numbers. There are 3,000 seats available in the general admission area. Since each entrant in the lottery was allowed to request up to five tickets (and who would not request the maximum?), that means only 600 families will actually get seating.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the U.S. population in 2009 was 307,006,550 people with approximately 129,925,421 households. Now the rules of the “tree lottery” state that each household is limited to one lottery application. But how do they know that each household is only entering once? Since they did not ask for an apartment number on the application, one could easily be deceptive in the process and enter more than once using a different e-mail address.

Now look at the 10,000 standing-room-only tickets. If you win some of those, you will be watching the tree-lighting event on one of the “large screen monitors that will be in place to provide a view of the activities on the stage.” Isn’t that just like watching it on TV? Why would one pay to fly to D.C., get a hotel room to stand in the freezing cold with port-a-potties to watch something on a screen? With the amount of money spent on a trip for five to the Capitol, one could buy a fabulous large screen TV to have and enjoy it in the warmth of their own home for years!

There are many conditions one has to agree to before entering the “tree lottery.” One of them, in big print at the beginning, is “I will not resell any tickets.” Wait a second! It says RESELL any tickets, that word is totally different from SELL any tickets. Does that mean I can legally BUY tickets to the ceremony from somewhere? But that I cannot RESELL them? I thought attendance at the event was strictly from tickets obtained through the “tree lottery.” You can’t RESELL unless you BOUGHT them first! But you cannot BUY them! Very convoluted!

Scrolling through the laundry list of "tree lottery" rules, one encounters the following:

“The resale or attempted resale of this ticket is grounds for seizure and cancellation without compensation. The resale or attempted resale of this ticket is prohibited under federal law and if discovered will result in the ticket being voided and may result in fines and/or imprisonment. Tickets purchased from unauthorized sources may be lost, stolen or counterfeit, and if so, are VOID. No refunds/exchanges.”

If one is told not to purchase tickets from “unauthorized sources,” then there must be “authorized” sources. How can there be authorized sources to purchase tickets when the tickets are supposed to be distributed by lottery? It makes no sense! Unless the “tree lottery” is not being run ethically, just like the “Easter Egg Roll” lottery wasn’t.

As with everything else in Washington D.C. now, obfuscation is rampant. But since Democracy is the best form of government, what are our other choices? I guess honesty is not a type of government.

Editors Note: We just wonder if Kathy Posner wins, if she will take Lady Shafran and her old pal James Edstrom? Can we smoke on the White House grounds?

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