Loose Lips

Running in Place

Ward 5 Politicians Line Up For Potential Special Election To Replace D.C. Councilmember Harry Thomas Jr.

If you have amazing hearing and listenclosely, you just might be able to detect the pitter-patter of potential political candidates, jockeying ever so carefully for position in the event of a special election to replace embattled Ward 5 Councilmember Harry Thomas Jr.

Thomas, as LL hopes all of his readers are aware, recently agreed to pay $300,000 to settle a civil suit with the District that accused him of improperly using city money to buy, among other things, an Audi SUV, golf trips, and a meal at Hooters.

He’s also under federal investigation, and while the inner workings of the U.S. Attorney’s Office are a mystery known to few, there’s a widespread feeling that Thomas will be brought up on criminal charges.

“This is much, much too serious,” former U.S. Attorney for the District Joe diGenova says of the allegations made in the civil suit against Thomas. “I think the U.S. Attorney’s office is all over this like a cheap suit.”

The current U.S. attorney, tight-lipped Ron Machen, hasn’t given any clues as to whether he’ll go after Thomas, who says he agreed to pay back the money because it was best for the city—not because he did anything wrong. But that hasn’t kept many people in Ward 5 from writing their councilmember’s political future off and planning for an as yet-undetermined future race.

“It’s just a matter of time,” says Debbie Smith-Steiner, a former ANC commissioner who ran unsuccessfully against Thomas in 2006, who says she’s actively trying to recruit candidates to run in a special election. “The ward needs a cleansing.”

There are three scenarios that could lead to a special election. One: Thomas resigns, which seems doubtful even if he were to be indicted by the feds. Two: Thomas is removed from office, which the Board of Elections and Ethics could do only if he were found guilty of a felony and sent to prison, according to a board spokeswoman. And three, the most likely scenario: Ward 5 residents recall Thomas next January when he becomes eligible for such an effort. (Based on current numbers, petitioners will need 5,983 signatures of registered Ward 5 voters to initiate a recall vote.)

“A lot of people have told me that they can’t wait for the opportunity to do a recall,” says ANC commissioner Vaughn Bennett.

Kathy Henderson, a former ANC commissioner who ran for the council seat in 2006 and 2010, says her phone has been ringing off the hook from neighbors wanting to know more about the recall process. She has helped organize a special meeting for later this month to explain how it works.

The meeting could very well have a campaign feel to it, as Henderson sounds like an all-but-declared candidate for any potential special election.

“I feel confident that I would be able to represent the ward competently, ethically, and with passion,” says Henderson, who adds that Thomas is a failed leader who lacks the “dignity” or the “grace” to resign.

Thomas did not respond to a request for comment.

Not everyone feels so free to publicly badmouth Thomas. The family name carries weight in the ward, long the backbone of D.C.’s black middle class. His late father, Harry Thomas Sr., was a popular councilmember, and his mother, Romaine Thomas, is a former school principal who remains a beloved fixture in ward politics and affairs.

Evidence of the vast reservoir of goodwill the Thomas family has established in Ward 5 is in the reticence of At-Large Councilmember Vincent Orange, who used to represent the ward and has long had a frosty relationship with Thomas, to speak out against him now.

“His advisers explained to him: Stay out of it,” says a source close to Orange.

It’s not just Orange, either. Smith-Steiner says a common refrain she hears from potential candidates is, “We don’t want to disrespect his mom, we don’t want to go out there too soon.”

One Ward 5 political source, who asked not to be identified so he could speak freely, says past Thomas supporters who are interested in replacing him are using surrogates to try and line up support on their behalf for a future run. These supporters are treading carefully, the source says, because they’re afraid of angering Thomas and his close friend, Mayor Vince Gray.

“They don’t want to be in position of running for office while Thomas is still councilmember,” the source says.

Some potential candidates LL heard come up several times, but who declined to comment, didn’t return multiple calls for comment, or couldn’t be reached, include Ward 5 school board member Mark Jones, former D.C. Council candidates Frank Wilds and Kenyan McDuffie, and Ward 5 Democratic Party Chairwoman Angel Alston.

“It’s certainly my intention to run again if the seat opens up,” says Delano Hunter, who ran against Thomas last year and isn’t as gun-shy. Hunter says you won’t hear serious candidates criticize Thomas, because no one wants to be seen as kicking a man while he’s down.

“You have to be careful,” he says, comparing the current low-key politicking that’s going on in the ward to a “cold war” atmosphere.

That being said, Hunter says his team of supporters are eager to get started on another campaign “at a moment’s notice.”

“We really feel like this is our moment,” says Hunter.

Just when that moment comes, if ever, depends on Thomas, Machen, and whether nearly 6,000 Ward 5 residents are willing to put their name to paper five months from now.

* * *


Earlier this summer, Scott Kubly, whoheaded the District Department of Transportation’s streetcar, Circulator, and Capital Bikeshare programs, resigned from his post.

The departure was big enough news to merit a Friday night tweet from Ward 6 Councilmartyr Tommy Wells—and concern from members of the smart-growth set that DDOT has been suffering from a brain drain and low morale ever since the Gray administration took over.

That concern is shared by at least a few current and former staffers who began their District government careers under former Mayor Adrian Fenty and were willing to give, at least for a little while, his vanquisher a chance.

Their basic complaint goes like this: Bright, young staffers were given lots of responsibility and leeway under Fenty to pursue aggressive changes in the city, which made it an exciting place to work. The Gray administration, by contrast, made clear from the get-go that it wasn’t going to be as hard-charging, and the youngins’ weren’t going to be calling the shots anymore.

One former staffer (who, like all the malcontent whippersnappers LL spoke with, is deathly afraid of publicly dissing a former employer, and thus spoke on the condition of anonymity) left after being ignored for several months by a new boss.

“I realized I was part of the problem with the government, a waste of taxpayer money,” says the former employee. “I loved my job there, and I felt like I was making an impact, and even now sometimes I think, ‘Maybe there will be a new mayor, and maybe I can go back.’”

Another former employee complained that the Gray administration has “a ‘no first’ mentality,” whereas under Fenty, “typically, ‘no’ was not the first thing you ought to say.”

Throw in the rash of embarrassing scandals involving the city’s top elected officials, these bright young things say, and the District government is becoming a lot less appealing place to work for smart kids from fancy schools and blue chip companies.

That might not be the end of the world; after all, the Fenty administration was often charged with being dismissive of community concerns, something that probably wasn’t helped by the fact that there were so many young guns hired from around the country calling the shots. But LL thinks it ought to at least be on the mayor’s radar.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

Got a tip for LL? Send suggestions to lips@washingtoncitypaper.com.


  1. #1

    Meanwhile, Crystal Palmer is back in the saddle, rather then wearing the saddle.

  2. Kathy Henderson's Man Servant

    If Thomas allegedly broke the law during his previous term on the council, why do we have to wait until January to recall him?

  3. #3

    Oh, no, it's okay -- all the long-term, 5th generation DC residents are going to get jobs in the Gray administration and make the city a wonderful place to live. We don't need smart, young people. We need more stupid, old people. Because they did such a great job before. Don't you get it? Yeah.

  4. #4

    @ Kathy Henderson's Man Servant: District law says a recall can't be launched during the first year of a term. Thomas began his second term this year.

  5. #5

    The Devil is a lie; Harry Thomas need to go period. Unfortunately, I live in Ward 7. Councilmember Yvette Alexander need to be voted out of office. After giving it some thought, all 13 members on the Council of the District of Columbia and Mayor Gray need to go. As a character stated in the horror series, 'The Stand', we are doomed.....

  6. #6

    Ward 5 is like a small town, isn't it? A small town where everyone has the same horrifying physical defect because their family tree looks like a bowl of spaghetti. And where they all speak with the same unintelligible, unreproducible accent that will hobble them if they ever try to leave.

    And of course this isn't limited to Ward 5. Wards 7 and 8 are the same way. Prince George's County is the same way. An abundance of low-information voters, an absence of independent, honest-broker civic organizations, and politicians who treat their job as an opportunity to make some serious cash money, and then pass on the loot-gathering platform to their heirs.

    I mean, I know -- blah blah coping mechanism blah blah -- but black America seems to have missed out on the good government gene. Quel dommage.

  7. #7

    Some of the residents of ward 5 who are calling for Harry's ouster should be very careful. The constant calls to remove Harry and others from office can backfire to the extent that it could create a very dangerous political vacuum, which will allow people who are not really suited for the positions to not only become a serious candidates but actually win. Specifically, there are a vocal and well respected group of citizens in both Ward 5 and 7 beating the drums for new leadership without putting forth a person who is a reasonable alternative. As such, in ward 7, you now have several potential candidates whose politics and minimum political experience make them suspect. In fact, it now seems that former ward 7 Councilmember Keven P. Chavous son-Keven B. Chavous- is seriously considering throwing his hat into the ring. From all public accounts, he is a 26 year old man who support one of the most controversial and conservative components of school reform- school vouchers. It's well noted that the school vouchers program is the cornerstone to the most conservative republican education agenda. In fact, the school vouchers program is really designed to curtail federal spending for public education which majority of the school kids in ward 7 rely upon. In addition, Mr. Kevin B. Chavous position on education reform probably reflects the fact that he is socially conservative, which will be completely devastating for many of the ward 7 citizens since they heavily rely on government services. Likewise, in Ward 5, all of the people considering a run for Harry's seat are part or have been part of the city establishment. Thus, they will be fighting for the same voter base which could open the door for a "dark horse" candidate to win by appealing to the newer residents and benefiting from a split vote amongst the established candidates. This city has seen time and time again what happens when a political vacuum is created. I surely hope that the residents in these communities calling for new leadership really know what they are doing, because its conceivable that the people who may replace both Harry and Yvette are politically ten time worse. Given the change that this city is going through, black folks will no longer have the last say doing election time, and that's when the rubber will indeed meet the road.

  8. #8

    Or these bright young things all (inexplicably) thought they'd be getting higher level jobs and calling shots. I doubt anyone in the group interviewed made policy decisions before, they prepped info and advised the people who did. Well... Welcome to the real world kids. Many of us have worked our way up one step at a time, changed employers to advance a step or two, etc. It's how things work. Stop bitching and do your jobs.

  9. #9

    Just to be clear, ^^^^ is a different DC Guy.

  10. #10

    Can anyone who bothered to read any of the accomplishments in Gray's 200 day plan fill me in on the highlights?
    I got a minute.

  11. #11

    DCGuy, give me go-getter young whippersnappers eager to try and fail and adapt and succeed any day. They're the ones who move the ball down the field.

    The people who patiently shuffle their way along, one step at a time, year after year after year, doing nothing that will get them in trouble or show signs of original thinking, can all roast slowly and deliberately in hell.

  12. #12

    @ Ward 1 Voter: Your comments sound extremely racist and more than that, extremely socio-economically elitist. What is more shocking and interesting about your comments is that you failed to include any acknowledgement to the fact that Ward 1 is full of the same type of people that you described in Wards 5 and 7, and Prince George's County; many of whom do not event speak or understand English in order to be more informed. Moreover, begin your criticism with your own Ward Councilmember - Jim Graham; he has a history of self-serving malfeasants. So, just remember, people living in glass mansions, should not throw stones.

  13. #13

    @Wrack " We don't need smart, young people. We need more stupid, old people".

    Are you really that ignorant, dense, foolish, dull-witted, and/or slow? Do you have parents? Are your parents old and stupid? That was one of the most unintelligent statement I have ever hear. You always need institutional memory so you don't make the same mistakes. What is needed is a healthy mix. You always get your best with a yeam effort.

  14. #14

    @ Isn't It Obvious -Your comments seem informative and not self serving.

  15. #15

    @ CoolidgeGrad: I think that Wrack was being sarcastic.

  16. #16

    @ CoolidgeGrad: Thanks for the feedback.

  17. #17

    @Ward 1 Voter, You my fellow human being, definately need help to get yourself out of 1950 and into today. If in fact these wards are as you say, what are you doing to help the situation? or do you bask in the glory of being part of the problem.

  18. #18

    Isn't It Obvious, can you point to anything specific that I wrote that is incorrect? Black DC political culture is extremely insular, is it not? And full of political actors who are obviously corrupt, and voters who care not a whit about corruption? That happens in white communities too, but almost always in dirt-poor white-trash communities far from the beaten path.

    Yes, Ward 1 has its problems too. Obviously so if we're represented by someone like the Grahamstander. But it's not as incestuous as Ward 5. People in Ward 5 are reduced to whispering stuff off-record because they don't want to upset HTj's mommy and daddy. I mean, wtf? Is this a city, or some little backwoods town in Alabama?

  19. #19

    All you young fools better STAY IN YOUR LANE!*
    -The Man.
    *by your lane I mean the parking lane. Just gimmee your $ and stay put 'till rush hour.

  20. #20

    I am a Ward 5 resident and I hope to see a recall petition circulate soon. I've always felt Harry Thomas Jr. was not the best representative for Ward 5 citizens. His staff should be ousted as well for failing to listen and follow up with constituents, especially Ayawna Chase Webster. Harry Thomas will always tell you "I'll have my staff follow up", but that's just his phony way of trying to act like he's visible and cares about what's going on. I only list all of these things because I have received these responses from his office and spoken to other residents who have complained that they received the same answers. Delano Hunter, Kenyon McDuffie,and Kathy Henderson, please re-emerge as candidates asap.

  21. #21

    Right on Honest Abe! His "I forwarded our message to _______" days are over!

  22. #22

    well, we know that hunter is gonna run. i am not sure who else will throw their name in the mix. it will be a race to watch.

  23. #23

    I heard all your comments , but until Harry Thomas is proven guilty then you will have to accept Councilmember Thomas as the leader of Ward 5. There is no need of any potential candidates considering running because Harry is not going to resign and as a longtime resident of Ward 5 I have no intention of signing a petition to remove him from office.

  24. #24

    Harry Thomas can't afford to resign. It's that simple.

    And any recall effort will have some significant racial implications for the chagning demographics of Ward 5. Which Courtland Milloy will then spend tons of time analyzing from his home in PG County.

  25. Worriex in Ward 5

    I thought that this would be a great article full of wide spread research in the Ward insights and understanding of thrany parts of one of the largest wards by land mass in the city. Unfortunately from that stand point it seemed more like an articleto drum up the same old names and stir the pot. At this point wr knoe little to mothing about what eill emerge from the investigation of our council person amd.only then should we even have this discussion. As for the conversation anout the recall chances that would be where this article ahould have focussed but of course you didnt go in that direction nor did you mention that this is partvof a group of potential recalls including the Mayor.

    As for the comments from individuals such as the Ward 1 voter, I am not going to even justify his uneducated prattle with a response. I mean his response was not only about as anoying as a room full of folks loudly masticating and has about as much truth to it. In all honesty it is time for this city to began to turn the corner and move forward and the constant round of current attacks does little to nothing to achieve this and needs to stop.

  26. #26

    @disappointed, I'm looking for information and wonder why you wouldn't sign a petition. I'm not disagreeing with you, just trying to gather facts and listen to people's opinions. Everybody else seems to have judged HTJ, but not you. Why? Thanks for the info.

  27. #27

    @Ward 1 Voter, your comment: "Ward 5 is like a small town, isn't it? A small town where everyone has the same horrifying physical defect because their family tree looks like a bowl of spaghetti. And where they all speak with the same unintelligible, unreproducible accent that will hobble them if they ever try to leave."

    It should be clear to everyone by now including those black folks who so much yearn to be love by people like you, that you are absolutely worthless. You have the nerve to mock others speaking or writing abilities when people like you have supported white trash like Sarah Palin and other tea party bigots. Sarah Palin is a complete idiot who can barely read on the 4th grade level yet she has millions of white supporters and followers who overlook all her of weakness. Moreover, who in the hell are you to tell someone how they should write or talk? As far as I am concern this is nothing but white arrogance, which is rooted in the sick and racist belief that white folks are the only ones who have the right to be. I encourage everybody to share their opinions regardless of their writing abilities, because this country has elected tons white folks who have very limited qualifications and abilities to very powerful positions and no one sad a goddam word. Personally, I will be glad when all of you white filthy ass faggots catch AIDS,because such a punishment is fitting for a people who have shown by their sick conduct that they are godless.

    I know what Jesus meant when he asked the question:
    " Ye Serpents...Ye generation of vipers
    are you any better than your fathers."

  28. #28

    Read the 200 day accomplishment plan YOURSELF. Then, if you like, post your commentary.

    Stop being lazy.

    "The mind is a terrible thing to waste..."

  29. #29

    Worriex, I'll admit I'm trolling a little here. But I'm doing it for a larger purpose. There's a really strong taboo among us white liberals about criticizing black politicians. We're on the same side, more or less, and even the crookedest, thievingest black politician is a damn sight better than some dumbass Republican on his knees pleasuring his billionaire bosses and screwing over the rest of us.

    But -- and this is a big, important "but" -- places like Ward 5 have issues that require serious, ethical, smart leadership. What drives me crazy is when we have obvious, blatant theft of public money going on, and the good ol' boys and good ol' girls circle their wagons around the guilty party because he's "one of us," and any criticism of him is an attack on "us."

    Harry Thomas Jr. stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from the kids of Ward 5. No weasel words. He stole that money from kids. From kids.

    Ward 5 needs somebody who's going to ensure that the limited resources available to the city are allocated in the most optimal way possible. Ward 5 deserves better than some street hustler in a suit and tie diverting that money into his own pockets, or the pockets of his allies.

    I don't even know that youth baseball teams are all that great. Maybe the hundreds of thousands of dollars that HTj stole would have been better used in job training for those kids' moms and dads. Or fixing up Ward 5 to attract businesses that could employ those moms and dads.

    But Ward 5 sure didn't benefit from HTj helping himself to a luxury SUV with that money, or to a golf junket to Myrtle Beach. And so Ward 5 is just a little worse off for having been punked by street hustler HTj.

    Ward 5 needs the cojones to stand up to punks like HTj, and if his pillar-of-the-community mommy and daddy are pushing and pulling people to defend him, then Ward 5 needs the cojones to stand up to mommy and daddy too, and the rest of their street hustler crew stealing money from kids.

    So Ward 5 needs people to prod them into action, to remind them they're in a big city with serious issues requiring serious leadership. If I can add to that conversation, then I'm satisfied.

  30. #30

    @ Isn't It Obvious, I agree completely with your post #12, in response to Ward 1 Voter's asinine comments regarding Ward 5 residents.

    @ Ward 1 Voter, first and foremost -- stay in your lane. Your comments insult all of us who reside in Ward 5. Your description reduces us to some sort of inbred retardates. Not only is your description disgusting, it is factually inaccurate. Do you have any statistical basis on which to base your assertions? Secondly, as another post pointed out -- you need to focus on your own ethically challenged CM.

    While it may be true that HTJ was elected twice –it was never by my vote. When I moved to Ward 5, we had decent representation in Vincent Orange and I have never voted for HTJ.

    I could easily engage in a war of words with you, just to prove you wrong. I am a native Washingtonian, who has traveled the world. I can engage in thoughtful debate with equally intelligent and articulate folks.

    Unfortunately, you chose words that denigrate an entire Ward’s electorate. You apparently feel superior to some, but you are intellectually challenged. Your tone of false superiority actually reflects insecurity. You wrote fighting words, therefore, the appropriate response is -- would you like to step outside?

  31. #31

    tony, the accent thing was a metaphor. I was sort of drawing an implicit parallel between the wards of eastern DC and the hollers of West Virginny, if you catch my drift.

    Also, with your homophobia, you might take another look at Sarah Palin. She might be white, but you and her are closer than you think.

  32. #32

    Harry Thomas has not been found guilty of anything and not until he has been found guilty by a court of law, the calls for him to step down is premature.

    The fact is that Harry was overwhelmingly elected by the voters in Ward 5 to be their leader. And, they will at some point get the opportunity to vote for or against him in the future. However, I think it is absolutely wrong for his colleagues or others who don't even live in his community to suggest whats good for the people of ward 5.

    If the argument is that corrupt politicians should be rooted from office, then the argument is fair. But, if the argument is that certain corrupt politicians should be rooted from office, then the argument is suspect. Harry has a history of political and community service that is very strong and well respected. Thus, the notion that he was only elected and continue to be supported by many in his community merely because he is black is crazy. Given his track record of working on behalf of kids, senior citizens and the working class cause some of his supporters to be reluctant to throw him under the bus base on allegations that they may see as poltically motivated.

    Again, when and if, Harry is found guilty then his political career will be impacted;however, his political career should not be impacted because some people dislike him or merely want his job.

  33. #33

    It's entertaining to read a person's response to a post that they said wasn't worth dignifying with a response.

  34. #34

    Glad to see Ward 1 voter admit s/he is trolling.

  35. #35

    @ Isn't It Obvious, I agree completely with your post #12, in response to Ward 1 Voter's asinine comments regarding Ward 5 residents.

    @ Ward 1 Voter, first and foremost -- stay in your lane. Your comments insult all of us who reside in Ward 5. Your description reduces us to some sort of inbred retardates. Not only is your description disgusting, it is factually inaccurate. Do you have any statistical basis on which to base your assertions? Secondly, as another post pointed out -- you need to focus on your own ethically challenged CM.

    While it may be true that HTJ was elected twice –it was never by my vote. When I moved to Ward 5, we had decent representation in Vincent Orange and I have never voted for HTJ.

    I could easily engage in a war of words with you, just to prove you wrong. I am a native Washingtonian, who has traveled the world. I can engage in thoughtful debate with equally intelligent and articulate folks.

    Unfortunately, you chose words that denigrate an entire Ward’s electorate. You apparently feel superior to some, but you are intellectually challenged. Your tone of false superiority actually reflects insecurity. You wrote fighting words, therefore, the appropriate response is -- would you like to step outside?

  36. #36

    Ward 1 Voter complains of political corruption: "That happens in white communities too, but almost always in dirt-poor white-trash communities far from the beaten path." LOL Do you have any idea how many elected local officials in Fort Lauderdale (not to mention all of South Florida) have been jailed or indicted in the last two years? Well more than 10, almost all white, of course. The former Sheriff only recently got out of prison. Wasn't that where Bush stole the 2000 election? And I spose Nixon & all his folk were trash? ABSCAM? And Grahamstander's unreported bribery attempt? Your ignorance of political society in Ward 5 is apparent to all and offensive to most, if not nearly all.

  37. #37

    Well, disappointed, we're +1 because I'm signing the recall petition and it sounds like Honest Abe is to. We cancel you +1 for ousting HTJ. You don't have to break the law and be proven guilty in a court to act in an unethical manner deeming you unfit for public office. The fact that a lawsuit was brought (wouldn't have been done without solid evidence) and HTJ paid the money back (even without admitting guilt, why not fight it if he's innocent? It's not like this was a $25 parking ticket that just wasn't worth the hassle) is enough for me.

  38. #38

    Dirty Government or Incompetent Gov’t….which is COSTLY??? [Printed from article 7/9/11]

    WHY ARE YOU [and the Media] “just” targeting Dirty Government?

    Why not target INCOMPETENT Government as WELL?

    Monies were stolen, taken and not reported to officials. However, does it not hurt and harm hard working D.C. residents WHEN the INCOMPETENT CITY council allows the city Department Heads and Mayor TO LOSE Billions of FEDERAL FUNDING!

    Incompetence cost us residents money, our taxes are used to make up for those Federal Dollar shortfalls, Police Budgets are cut, lay-offs and furlough Days are stricken on hard working D.C. workers. Social programs are cut and D.C. school funding is CUT…because of lost Federal Funding from an incompetent City council.

    This is the truth of the matter…Incompetence Government fosters budget deficit and possibilities of tax increases.

    When the Feds. Rightfully withhold annual Federal Funding because D.C. Gov’t can’t find accounting records or receipts, or the accounting system is all messed-up, or NO FINANCIAL report is submitted… we RESIDENTS are targeted to fund the council continual run-away spending.

    Firstly, Gray must be confused to keep Police Chief Lanier in the light of the forthcoming multi-MILLION lawsuit by wrongly arrested drivers who were tested using Lanier’s “un-calibrated” breathalyzer test.

    Citizens WILL PAY approximately $500 Million Dollars to those victims who lost their jobs, who lost their families and who wrongfully SUFFERED due to Police Chief Lanier's troops who wrongly arrested drivers with a faulty breathalyzer. Half a Billion Dollars WASTED!

    Citizens WILL PAY $2.5 MILLION DOLLARS to reinstate those wrongly fired teachers this fiscal year. When the Council did nothing to assess and rectify the wrongful firing of DCPS teachers.

    However, Black leaders have been despairingly targeted.

    Yes, the media prints corruption stories; but Jack Evan’s [on the Board of the Corcoran Gallery] article on a $40 million give-away to the Corcoran Art Gallery and a later $10 million to replace their terra-cotta roof was found in the Saturday’s edition – hidden on the back page.

    Catania…refused to bring to the Council floor a life saving’s vote on a business deal [from a Black Businessman in P.G. County partnered with the George Washington University to buy the defunct Greater S.E. Hospital] only to have the Council overpay $78 million dollars to purchase a $35 million dollar hospital which in two days was ready to go into Federal liquidation.

    The mayor giving Mr. Abe Pollin $50 million dollars on his birthday was hidden in the Metro section – only given a few printed lines.

    However, some way and how the Washington Post, the Examiner news can garner-up resources and money to go down deeper and beyond the first print of an article on a Black elected official…but not on other councilmembers.

    The Post and Examiner used the FOI Act , research more agency’s records, pressure D.C. agency and Department heads for more public information. But, "SOME HOW" other elected officials escape this media lynch mob's intensified method of coverage.

    The entire Council needs to be removed due to Dirty and Incompetent Government. Stop concentrating on just the dirty.

    Wake up Trusting Citizens

    Calvin H. Gurley

  39. #39

    Kathy Henderson is to sanity what Harry Thomas is to integrity.

  40. #40

    Moderator, please come back from your two-hour lunch. I have a post that has been in the abyss of "your comment is waiting moderation" since 12:25

  41. #41

    And lastly #36

    let's not forget how DC residents have been and always will be PUNISHED for any advancement to self rule or defiance to Jim Crowe, that's what I like to refer to FED oversight which has done more harm than good for the plantation BKA DC!

  42. #42

    In his testimony, Mallof stated, “People are very concerned, generally. We’ve done some very poor dealmaking repeatedly within the Wilson Building, and it’s not just the Council’s responsibility, it’s also the mayor’s, the deputy mayor’s. The hits keep on coming out of sequence, poorly documented and poorly quantified benefits.”

    Tucker asked, “Are you kidding me? Are you seriously considering hundreds of millions of dollars for a hotel at the same time that you’re cutting services for the mentally ill?”

  43. #43

    Jack "JUST another day at D office" Evans!!!!

  44. #44

    dc5, I'm not talking about just political corruption. That will happen anywhere you can find both money and politicians. Which is everywhere. What I'm talking about is the kind of political culture where people put up with and even celebrate corruption.

    Just look around on the Loose Lips comment threads. There are plenty of people willing to defend HTj and Fully Loaded. They're the big boss men, and it's not allowed for people to criticize big boss men, and they're innocent until proven guilty, and they can't be guilty because it's all a set-up, and white men been doing it for years so now it's the black man's turn.

    That's what I'm objecting to. That kind of reflexive submissiveness to the big boss man and the hostility to outsiders who dare to speak out about it.

  45. #45

    @Mrs.D wrote: You don't have to break the law and be proven guilty in a court to act in an unethical manner deeming you unfit for public office.

    This is a very interesting comment. When one began to talk about ethics, one is talking about morals--right and wrong, good and evil. Believe me when I tell you that we don't want to play that game. Because, there's alot of politicians in this country much less in this city who would be booted from office if you apply the moral test.
    I wonder how many politicians in this country much less in this city could pass the moral test. I mean, you have some good ole christians who believe that people should not curse or drink alcohol but most, if not all, of our elected officials do so. You have good honest people who believe that a man and woman should be married before having kids. You have decent people who believe that the least amongst us should be help at the expense of the more blessed. And, anyone who violates these principles, beliefs or the like would be immoral, unethical and unfit for public service according to your reasoning.

    I hate to say this, but white people can teach blacks a thing or two about how to get power and keep it, because we are woefully lacking when it comes to such an understanding.

  46. #46

    Ward 1 IS a dumb azz racist, NO SURPRISE THERE....he's the same doofus who made a point as to HIS KIND no longer being afraid of black folk anymore, as if it was his personal pilgrimage or right of passage in FREELY walking thru "certain" hoods unafraid; retardation of the WARD 1 KIND, y'all can keep that cowardice right where it languishes!!!!!

    #36 in regards to your post, they pick in choose based upon the most basic and juvenile of concepts......"so-called" agenda advancement and self preservation based on fears, prejudice and ignorance!!!!

    If you listen/read closely you see the comparisons of Gray to Barry and "we are going back to the Barry days" which is virtually IMPOSSIBLE considering the racial divide, make up and POLICE state we have in DC!

    Cloak and veil and ripe for this lazy, trifle, BIASED reporting and "MY sh*t don't stink perspectives" served up by clowns and idiots daily!

    It's commenters like Ward 1 who actually believe that he has to morph into some street vigilante or John Wayne in order to get a slurpee from 7 eleven on Eastern Ave NE or a burger from Burger King on Florida Avenue which validates the point I am making here and adds to the problem!

  47. #47


    You are correct, I will be one of the first in line to sign the petition to recall and I hope others will join us. tony I respect your opinions and understand where you are coming from, but the fact that Harry THomas is re-paying money that he was alleged to have stolen is enough to convince me. Why pay if you're not guilty? I don't think this has anything to do with race at all. I'm black and I think people should be held accountable for their actions regardless of race. tony think about it; if you or I stole $300k, we would be in jail and our lives ruined substantially. As I initially stated Harry Thomas has never been a good Council Member as well. On my street we've had shootings, vandalism, car thefts, and drug dealing. Harry Thomas (only after contacting his office for what seamed like forever finally decided to participate in a mtg with residents.) When he showed up his body language told the story and he made all dorts of promises and has not followed thru. I don't believe that Harry Thomas can fix everything and residents have to play their part, but our Council Member whom citizens elect to represent us should be there for us to lobby the police department for additional resources to combat the problem.

  48. #48

    It really bothers me when people question the moral compass of a group of people who are reluctant to par ways with their leaders based on some allegations or accusations.

    I know alot of my comments contain racial implications and this is so because I honestly believe that the issue of race remains this country's number one moral agony. And, I believe this reality impacts and certainly influences the political, social, and eonomic structures upon which all americans rely upon. In my view, all people are entitle to the grand convenants enmerated in that great document called the constitution. However, history clearly demonstrtes that a certain class of people have not always enjoyed the benefits enshrined in the constitution, the same benefits which allowed others to prosper and excel. It is within this historical context, that I question the argument that black people can fully participate in this country's economic, social, and political arenas without the fear of having artificial barries erected to impede their progress. I think that there is ample of evidence that there's is a mindset that still exist in this country, that black people are both unfit and incapable of serving in position of power without the supervision and the approval from others. I honestly believe that such a mindset is fueled by fear and a false sense of entitlement and racial superiority.

    It is within these historical parameters that I believe that black people are justified and wise to carefully examine the accuracy of any accusations of wrongdoing by their political leaders. Black people ascension to political power in this country has not been easy and, in fact, it has been tainted by concerted efforts by others to deny it. Therefore, it should not come as a surprise when black leaders are accused of some wrongdoing that some in the black community -well- may just a pause.

  49. #49

    It is amazing how some posting here, @Ward 1 Voter, think that they can malign an entire Ward's electorate. Your comments regarding Ward 5 are insensitive, offensive and disgusting to all of us who live here.

    I have never voted for HTJ, and will be among the first to sign the recall petition, thus will not be an apologist for him.

    You should stay in your lane, first and foremost. Concentrate on removing your ethically challenged CM before you start telling Ward 5 voters what to do.

  50. #50

    @Honest Abe and Mrs. D., I hear your frustration, and your concerns seem very valid. But, what you two are talking about is really your dissatification with your councilmember's performance. And, you are not alone, every politician in this city has citizens that are dissatified. Mary Cheh in Ward 3 has people in her ward that are dissatified and the same can be said for every elected official in this city. But, there is a process in place-reelection- which allows such people the chance to voice their concerns in a consructive and meaningful way. The only thing a recall election would do is create a political vacuum whereby allowing some nutcase an opportunity to get elected. For example,when Kwame became chair, a political vacumm was created and a special election was held. During that election a very conservative candidate -Patrick Mara-with the backing from the tea party came within a measly 1000 votes of beating a well known and well financed candidate-Vincent Orange. Again, he would not have had that kind of success but for the political vacuum that existed. Every political pundit worth their name will tell you the political danger associatd with creating a political vacuum that a recall campaign could accomplish. Thats why such a method is rarely used. Be careful.

  51. #51

    Dcdem- I started to, but the puffery and utter vapidity put me off.
    Are there any notable highlights? Bullet pints? An executive summary?

  52. #52

    Ward 1 Voter: why do you confuse "celebrating corruption" with upholding the presumption of innocence? You speak of a political "culture" of which you are ignorant. Defending everyone's right to due process doesn't equal defending anyone's behavior. You assume guilt of corruption without facts. When a jury of 12 says it's so, after a fair trial, THEN we move on to consequences. Not before.
    Also tiresome is the lame refrain: "well, if he didn't do it then why did he pay it back?" Appropriated funds spent by private agencies are subject to strict programming rules and documentation requirements. When those requirements are not followed repayment to the government can be required. It does not mean the funds were misspent in whole or in part or that services were not provided. There may well be criminal behavior involving some or all of the funds; we as a community do not know that yet (see "presumption of innocence" above). Due process also includes evenhanded use of investigatory and prosecuting authority, as ably explained in comment #44.

  53. #53

    @ Wendy Washington --

    We don't have a full-time moderator for comments. We do try to get to the queue as quickly as possible, but other job responsibilities sometimes require more immediate attention. Thanks for your patience.

  54. #54

    Correction: I meant as explained in comment #46.

  55. #55

    Correction the comment by Tony on Aug. 4th at 4:32 pm

  56. #56

    Good for you, Wendy Washington. Wish there were more people like you in Ward 5. I like Ward 5. I want Ward 5 to thrive. Think of me as a friend of Ward 5.

    Sometimes the best thing that a friend can do is let you know that you've got broccoli sticking out of your teeth. Well, you've got broccoli sticking out of your teeth, Ward 5. And you might think about trying a new deodorant. Also, you're not planning to go out wearing those shoes. are you? Otherwise, you're looking good.

    And, yeah, the Grahamstander is bad, and I'd be happy to see someone else take his place. But he's the roll-your-eyes kind of bad, not the lock-him-up kind. And Ward 1 wouldn't put up with him if he were.

  57. #57

    dc5, the "presumption of innocence" talk is for the courts. I'm going to guess that none of us are officers of the court and so none of us have to pretend to not notice that Harry Thomas Jr. is a conniving thief who stole money from the children of Ward 5. The End.

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