City Desk

Jim Graham: I Am Not Trying to Abolish the Jumbo Slice!

LL just got off the phone with a nearly manic Ward 1 Councilmember Jim Graham. Manic, because he says that he's being unfairly deemed a pizza-banning legislator by a local TV station.

"I have been in media for 30 years, and there's never been a more preposterous story than this one," he says.

When WJLA-TV trained his cameras on him last week outside the John A. Wilson Building, he says, he mentioned nothing of legislation—only that jumbo slice pizzerias happen to be associated with certain problems, he says. "When they turn their speakers to the sidewalk, ramp up the volume, and have terrible fights occur not only outside the place but inside the place, when they provide kind of an unruly boardwalk atmosphere, they become a nuisance." But that doesn't mean legislation! He has no such bill in the works, Graham says.

"It's wrong, it's inaccurate, and it's unfair," he says. "To suggest that this is my point of view is absurd."

LL is currently seeking a response from Channel 7.

UPDATE, 6:10 P.M.: WJLA-TV reporter John Gonzalez says Graham indeed told him, in response to a question, that he was considering legislation. “He said, ‘Oh yeah, I’ve already talked to the mayor.’ And I asked, ‘You mean to revoke licenses?’ He said, ‘I mean, yeah.’”

“I have it on camera,” Gonzalez adds. “I have the raw video!”

If Graham has a quarrel, he says, it might be with the lede-in read Friday night by anchor Leon Harris, which said that Graham “wants to ban the sales of single-slice pizza.”

Says Gonzalez, “I can understand why that made him a little upset…it’s sexy to say that the councilmember wants to get rid of pizza, but that’s not really true.”

Gonzalez adds that many of Graham’s anti-pizzeria comments were left on the cutting-room floor. “I don’t think he realized the kind of reaction he was going to get,” he says. “Apparently people take those jumbo slices very seriously.”

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  • Mike Licht

    Jumbo Pizza is not inherently bad, but it attracts Go-Go Music, which has been scientifically proven to generate crime.

  • Dave

    Way to throw your anchor under the bus, Gonzo.

  • Adams Morgan

    Ooooh...hell hath no fury like a Grahamstander scorned...

    For someone who has been in the media for over 30 years one would think that the Grahamstander would understand how his little anti-pizza PR blitz was going to be portrayed and taken by about preposterous!

  • monkeyrtotica

    Jeebus. Just so long as I don't get drawn into yet ANOTHER lawsuit. I'm still trying to sort out that damned City Paper one.

  • Downtown Rez

    Oh, please. Graham gets exactly what he wants from this, which is enough negative public response so that he can go to the people pushing to close jumbo slice, shrug his shoulders, and say "I tried". If someone really wanted to close it, they'd do something with taxes, real property, or some other regulation. They wouldn't go the the media without a plan and announce it.

  • Fred

    Interesting point. Graham fortunately has enough leverage (read: no competition) that he can take these unpopular stands. But maybe it's not so unpopular...?

  • Arthur Delaney



  • Dave McKenna

    Graham, you can have my jumbo slice when you take it from my greasy, dead hands! I bet in grammar school Graham ran for student government secretary on the "Ban the Tuna Boat!" platform. if Graham outlaws jumbo slices, only outlaws will have...ok ok ok...i'll stop for now. but this is the best story of the Summer of 2K9! way to keep it going, MdB!!!!!

  • Fred

    Interesting that you think it's the best story. Or were you kidding? Graham is just tackling the obvious problems. I think a lot more people agree with him, but are cowed into submissiveness by people making fun of him by saying if you outlaw pizza only outlaws.... It's too easy to make fun of this. What's harder is to actually come up with some solutions to the crime atmosphere of 18th Street Thursday through Sunday nights. It's nasty business. The ANCs don't wanna do it. CP doesn't wanna see it happen apparently. As much as Graham rankles me sometimes, he is the lone adult here.

  • Q

    Banning the sales of single-slice pizza!?! This is a hilarious example of word play, especially since two years ago there was legislation to ban the single alcohol containers. I'm not a big 18th Street fan, but before Jumbo Slice is deemed Soddom, Gomorrah, or Babylon, how about enforcing the laws already on the books. I'm sure there is a noise ordinance law. I'm sure there is a law that sets limits on times you can sell alcoholic beverages. Last time I checked assault and battery are punishable offenses. And I'm sure DC can find some way to FINE Jumbo Slice for breaking some ordinance.

    Before Graham responds on or off camera, regarding "the pizza joint" I would ask him to review what is already on the books and be certain that enforcement is occuring. Geez, we got too many laws in the books that are not being executed or enforced properly. Adding another one regarding this is a waste.

    BTW, DC seems not to have any problem closing other establishments (i.e., clubs) due to violence. Why is this such a problem now. Could it be the neighborhood?

  • Pingback: Adams Morgan councilman targets pizza venues like Jumbo Slice - Newsroom - GW Hatchet Blogs

  • Ben

    Q has some very good points regarding the laws on the books not being followed up. My issue with the pizza is that it is not that good, people are lemmings and eat it because its supposedly cool.I've actually watched people eating it and dry heave as they are trying to get it down. Also I have walked in the alleys behind the one facing Belmont street that has all the saggy pants loitering around from 11pm-4am and hassling people, and the dough and flour sits outside the kitchen door(Rain/Sun/cold) until they arrive and it has rats defacating on it and eating it, and then they drag it in and feed it to the lemmings. The health dept are useles as I've heard they don't come out until like 4 or 5pm and by then the owners have arrived to wipe off the poop and clean it up. The other issue is that they make the neighborhood look like shit quite frankly.
    Keep Albertos, nuke the rest.