Author Archive for Michael Schaffer

The Beginner’s Guide to Harry Thomas Jr.

Federal prosecutors charged Ward 5 D.C. Councilmember Harry Thomas Jr. today with theft and filing false tax returns.
For those of you just joining us: Allegations of misdeeds by a Thomas-run charity group called "Team Thomas"  have been floating around D.C. political circles for the better part of a year, prompting a legendary editorial crusade by [...]

Bo Obama, Dissing D.C. Too?

Back in October, your trustworthy hometown boosters here at Washington City Paper pondered the implications of Michelle Obama's having made her much-hyped Target outing to one of the chain's Virginia outposts—despite the fact that the District's Columbia Heights store is both larger in square footage and closer to the White House. Was the First Lady [...]

D.C. Statehood: The TV Series

"Today Mayor Vincent C. Gray and D.C. Office of Motion Picture and Television Development Director Crystal Palmer will participate in a series of meetings with cable network executives in New York to attract more cable production to the District. Mayor Gray and Director Palmer also hope to encourage network executives to develop programming for [...]

Harry Thomas, Jr.: The Beginner’s Guide

With reports this morning of apparent FBI activity at the home of embattled D.C. Councilmember Harry Thomas Jr., the long saga of the Ward 5 legacy politco may be reaching a new and dramatic stage.
For those of you just joining us: Allegations of misdeeds by a Thomas-run charity group called "Team Thomas"  have been floating [...]

The Needle: Magic Statehood Bus Edition

Statehood Rides the Bus: Hot on the heels commissioning of pro-statehood TV spots that only ran on the D.C. government's cable Channel 16, District patriots today rolled out pro-statehood advertisements that will run on...the sides of Metrobuses. That surely guarantees more viewers than tune in to watch old mayoral press conferences, but, especially with bus [...]

Lanny Davis, SLAPP Law Defender

Here at Washington City Paper, we've spent all too much time over the past year contemplating judicial proceedings. The absurd lawsuit Dan Snyder filed, then refiled, and then ultimately abandoned before a judge could toss him out of court may have ended with a free-speech victory, but it cost a lot of [...]

Democratic Narrative: Enlivened

In May, when the Washington Post announced that Ned Martel would be leaving his perch atop an increasingly insurrectionist Style section, the news was accompanied by a memo that, for a brief minute, made it look like the controversial editor’s new gig represented an upward move. Martel, it announced, would be covering the 2012 campaign, [...]

Farewell, Mac

When I was a junior in high school, my pal Marc and I tried out for our school's It's Academic team. We finished fourth and fifth—though it remains a subject of some dispute as to just which of us was fourth and which was fifth. But the implications were clear: We were good enough to [...]

A Bookseller’s Dream

Last week, a capacity crowd gathered to hear Tom Sherwood and Harry S. Jaffe discuss Dream City: Race, Power, and the Decline of Washington, D.C. The size of the audience at the Waltha T. Daniel/Shaw public library was a testament to the landmark status of the 1994 chronicle of Marion Barry’s rise and (apparent) fall. [...]

The Needle: One Million Dollars Per Bedroom Edition

What Housing Bust? The manse next door to the former home of D.C. tycoon Herbert Haft—of Crown Books and Total Beverage fame—can be yours for a mere $12 million. The Mediterranean-style villa was once two houses, but they were combined in a 2001 renovation. Today, it represents the second-highest residential listing price in District history. [...]

Top 10 iPhone 5 Headlines in D.C.

As everyone knows, legacy media outlets have had a famously hard time merging their traditional values and processes with the traffic-driving demands of the Web economy. But we're trying! In the name of full transparency, here's a confidential internal email circulated by Washington City Paper's web programming czar, Will Atwood Mitchell, with some pointers for [...]

The Needle: Williams Nostalgia Edition

Metro Board Members Are Well-Fed: Eating on Metro's buses and trains may be forbidden, but it's apparently encouraged in the transit agency's board room: The Washington Examiner reports that even as board members have grappled with a budget shortfall of up to $72 million, they've spent over $13,000 on catered meals for meetings during the [...]

The Needle: Mandatory Composting Edition

Take Your Banana Peels to the Shoreham: Ah, composting. That great pastime of hippies, gardeners, of D.C.'s most luxurious hotels! The Washington Business Journal reports that the Omni Shoreham has agreed to pay the city $15,000 as a penalty for violating air quality regulations. The fine could have topped $200,000, but the hotel instead [...]

The Needle: Turkey Behavioral Economics Edition

No Turkeys for Turkeys: The holiday Turkey giveaway is a staple of old-time urban politics. But this year, D.C.'s old-timiest urban pol is adding a twist to the tradition by trying to use the freebies to engender good behavior in addition to goodwill: Recipients of birds from Ward 8 Councilmember Marion Barry's giveaway will be [...]

Cheap Seats on the Radio

Attention, sports fans! City Paper "Cheap Seats" columnist Dave McKenna will be the guest during the 12:00 hour of WAMU's Kojo Nnamdi show. And guess what he won't be talking about! Instead, McKenna will be on to discuss the sorry state of D.C. Public School sports, a subject he's chronicled at length over the years–and [...]