Loose Lips

Kwame Looks to Wells For Answers on Occupy Protests (Updated)

In yet another sign that D.C. officials have no real clue how to handle the Occupy D.C. protests at McPherson Square, Council Chairman Kwame "Fully Loaded" Brown has asked one of his colleagues to plan some possible ways to better manage the demonstration, which has been going on for four months. (Due to an editing error, this post originally reported Brown was looking into ending the protests.)

Brown sent a letter to Ward 6 Councilmartyr Saint Tommy Wells last week asking Wells, in his capacity as chairman of the council's Committee on Library, Parks, Recreation, and Planning, to "provide the council with a briefing on the status" of the McPherson protest as well as "recommendations for action, if necessary."

Mayor Vince Gray recently asked the National Park Service to evict protestors from McPherson because of concerns that the park is becoming overly occupied by rats.

You'll note that the mayor addressed his concerns to the Park Service, which actually controls McPherson Square. As chairman of the D.C. Council's park committee, Wells controls the District's parks, not the parks that sit on federal land, as McPherson does. Wells has as much oversight over McPherson Square as he does over Yellowstone National Park—which is to say none. The District's health department and its police department have both been involved with the protests, but as you can tell from the name of Wells' committee, he doesn't have oversight of those departments.

When asked why Brown's letter was sent to Wells, Brown's spokeswoman Karen Sibert responded via email: "Major issue. CM Wells chairs committee on parks."

It's worth noting that this isn't the first time that Brown has given Wells homework. After Wells investigated Brown's request for a fully loaded Lincoln Navigator, a council source says Brown asked Wells to organize a briefing on Metro—just straight up Metro. According to the same council wag, no other councilmember has been given these type of assignments. Of course, Brown didn't strip any other councilmembers of their committees either.

Update: Brown called LL just after this post was originally published. The chairman says his support of the Occupy protestors is still strong and he has no desire to see them evicted. Still, "I would love to know what the end game is," Brown says.

As for Wells, Brown says he thought Wells was the right person to ask because 1) Wells heads the the parks committee and 2) Wells is the council rep on the National Capital Planning Commission. (The commission is the federal government’s planning agency for the capital region, but wouldn't have any say in whether to kick out the Occupy protestors.) Brown adds that there was no other agenda in asking Wells for the briefing.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

  • truth hurts

    Punk move by Kwame. If I'm Wells, I recommend (tomorrow) to Kwame that he consult MPD and the NPS.

    Assignment completed.

  • Drez


  • http://ebrown eugene brown

    What about the deputy mayor of public safety? What any skin in the game?

  • Anothernative

    If not the chairperson for parks,then who? If the chairman had just stepped in you jokers along with Councilman Wells would have accuse him of micromanaging.

  • jimbo

    Councilmartyr to the rescue! He'll write an op-ed piece and then claim he doesn't have oversight but is concerned. Cluster****

  • Drez

    The council committee on parks and recs only has oversite authority and then only over local parks, not federal ones. If you want oversite authority on federal parks, talk to Norton or Obama, or better yet ask Kwame or Gray to.

  • LOL

    Kwame is trying to look busy.

  • DJ Ren

    @Anothernative - maybe read the article? Wells doesn't have oversight.

    All we learned from this episode is that (a) Kwame is as dumb as he appears, and (b) his spokesperson is none too bright either.

    Anybody surprised?

  • sinclair skinner

    he needs to leave the protesters alone and focus on some real problems.

  • Bubba

    Skinner: I'd focus on how to get some more payola now that Fenty's gone or you'll be living at McPherson with the rats.

  • Charlie

    DC does have jurisdiction there but it might be in it's best interestes (if possibly just for public health reasons) to help get the rat situation under control.

    Here's some suggestions that they make to the Occupiers:
    1. Keep all food in rat-proof containers.
    2. Put out rat traps. I would certainly be inclined to buy one of these (http://electronicrattraps.net/) if rats were coming into my tent at night. And squirrels are rats to, aren't they?
    3. Dump the trash cans regularly.

  • Charlie

    Should say "does not" have jurisdiction.

  • EP Sato

    The House is hosting hearings on Occupy right now. Interesting that while the Council and Mayor are pretty much set at finding an "end game", our Delegate is 100% for the protests, comparing them to the civil rights movement.

    It also sounds as if the National Park Service is going to remove the protesters soon. "Soon" is a relative term, but that's better than "indefinitely"

  • meanteeth

    Damned if you do and damned if you don't. So, if the Council "acts as if" and actually looks into possibilities and strategies, they're just trying to look busy and it's a pass the buck game. If they don't do anything then everyone bitches and moans about people not doing anything.

    I for one would love to see all of the councilmembers acting as if they have jurisdiction and taking on leadership roles. I think it's important to stay in the fore of all of the issues of the city. I'm sick of things happening and everyone's after the fact critique. I give Kwame & Tommy the benefit of the doubt on this one. Do something.


    Our DC reps (Quander, Lanier, Akhter -- Mayor curiously absent w/ a minimal public schedule today. Didn't want to face off against his friend EHN?) got slapped down by EHN and other Congressional Black Caucus members for trying to crack down on #occupydc. DC reps were actually singing the same tune as white GOP members seeking to cleanse the parks of protestors. EHN made a good point that while most Congressional leaders fully supported and spoke out to protect even the rioting ArabSpring protests, at least some Members didn't view similar grassroots protests in the US Capital, in their own back yard, in the same light.

    -- Politrix makes strange bed fellows.

  • Mr. Remember


  • jimbo

    Councilmartyr won't do a thing. He has no leadership ability. His mo is that he says he's "concerned", "upset", blah blah blah then does nothing. We all know that his staff and sycophants monitors these groups and then pipes up with support.

  • ElleBD

    Kwame is wearing a new watch in the pic above. It's got additional chronograph buttons on the side, and an oversized face. Unless Kwame has decided to go with a cheapo sans functioning chrono dials (I don't think he'd go the cheapo route) looks like Fully Loaded dropped at least a thousand on some wrist bling. Paid back the Navigator lease difference yet?

  • SEis4ME

    Damned if you do and damned if you don't. So, if the Council "acts as if" and actually looks into possibilities and strategies, they're just trying to look busy and it's a pass the buck game. If they don't do anything then everyone bitches and moans about people not doing anything.

    I for one would love to see all of the councilmembers acting as if they have jurisdiction and taking on leadership roles.

    Can a brotha get an AMEN!!!!

  • Tom

    Since when is it practice to task a legislator? This isnt the executive branch, and although he is the chairman, they dont really report to him (unless they want a nice committee assignment, which for Wells no longer matters). We need new leadership now!

  • Get A Grip

    @ElleBD -- Don't be so petty! Who says its new -- maybe he just doesn't wear it often enough for it to be photographed. Or perhaps it was a Christmas gift. Give the man a break. Focus on the issue, not the attire.

  • ElleBD

    Since when is Kwame's spending not an issue regarding his leadership? Nice world you live in. Rose-colored glasses are cheaper than Kwame's wrist bling, though. Nice avoiding the question: paid back that Navigator balance yet he promised?

  • SEis4ME

    Elle, do you sleep in Kwame's bed? Live in his house? Did he or any other politician give a breakdown of each item he/she owns?

    You sound silly.

    Very, Very, Silly. I'm sure you also believe that Obama really wasn't born in the US.

  • DJ Ren

    While Elle's reference to Kwame's watch is odd, she does raise a good question - has the little fella paid back the city for the Navigator, as he promised?

  • leeshato

    There was resurrection city that Dr.King promoted for the poor people campaign. How is this any different from the civil rights and war protest of the sixties. It is good that someone is protesting about the banks and wall street.They were a major factor in this forclosure mess. I am glad they are protesting and not telling any one who the leaders are.If this was known I am sure they would kill them like they killed Dr. King and Malcolm

  • ElleBD

    Hey SEis4ME, if I wanted to discuss the rest of the stuff in Kwame's crib, I can always Google the stories about his personal spending crisis, resulting problems. So I'll ask you a third time: Kwame paid that Navigator balance back to the people of the District like he promised yet? I know from the pic above he can tell time-and-date, and has time for shopping, so how long has this been drawn out now? Time for ppl to forget I suppose, in your defend-the-cookie-jar-politicos world, I am sure. But we haven't forgotten. If he's got time and money to shop for luxury jewelry like a thousand dollar watch, got time to pay the ppl. Payment to the People!

  • LastStop

    The Council has no say. National Park Service (the feds) are the only ones with the "authority" to act in this park space.

  • SEis4ME

    @Elle, well, uhm, he's likely NOT going to repay the city. So there's your answer. He ain't doing it. Does that end your day-long orgasm over this nonissues?

    I'm sure he's also found the time to eat, shop, and vacation. That has nothing to do with him paying the city back. It ain't happening. Now that you have my answer, now what?

    You're gonna ask why the martians no longer land on earth?

  • ElleBD

    SEis4ME wrote: "I'm sure he's also found the time to eat, shop, and vacation. That has nothing to do with him paying the city back."

    Uh, well, thanks for supplying the explanation as to why DC politics are what they are. If you give a politician a moral blank check to go shopping and on vacations, and suggest zero connection to his choices whether to pay back the people of the city, and then say he just ain't and get over it, you have even less of a moral barometer than the Chairman. At least he pretends lol.

  • http://washingtoncitypaper.com southeast lady

    I understand/heard that some district 7 policemen have been deployed to deal with occupy DC. Have you heard, please inform.