Loose Lips

D.C. Dems Exchange Money, Awards

Last night the D.C. Democratic State Committee had its big Kennedys-King fundraising dinner at the Hinckley Hilton. The at $175-a-ticket event is a chance for D.C. pols and the party faithful to rub shoulders with random bigwigs like South Carolina Rep. Jim Clyburn and former U.N. Ambassador Andrew Young, as well as to eat, drink, pretend that everyone in the local party likes each other. They were also able to silently bid on microdermabrasion cream.

It was also an opportunity to hand out awards and give speeches. D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson gave Mayor Vince Gray the "DC Home Rule Award" and said the mayor "really has done so much to try to increase the consciousness of the citizens across the country as well as in the District” about D.C.'s second-class status in Congress.

The embattled mayor, the target of a federal investigation that everyone seems to be talking about lately, opened his acceptance speech with a joke: "I know what the real question is here tonight and I’m going to answer it for you, um, the game just started about five minutes ago.”


Ward 4 Councilmember Muriel Bowser won the award for legislator of the year and former mayor for life Ward 8 Councilmember Marion Barry won the Dr. Martin Luther King lifetime achievement award. In presenting that award, Councilmember Vincent Orange reminded the audience that Barry lives his life according to Jesus' teachings.

"Now when we bring up the honorable Marion Barry, we already know he feeds the hungry, we already know he clothes the naked, we already know he heals the sick," said Orange.

Barry said that "growing up poor, never would I have thought I would be standing here tonight.” He continued:

I accept this award but I’m disturbed by something here. Washington, our nation’s capital, is a tale of two cities. The very, very poor, 40 percent of our citizens are not at the poverty line but below the poverty line. We have the very affluent and very very poor. We have two wards in our city. Ward 8, 98 percent African-American and proud of it. But in 2012, we shouldn’t have any more that’s 98% of anything. Ward 7, 90 percent African-American. Yet on another side of the river, one ward 90 percent white. In 2012, we shouldn’t have a tale of two cities.

Sudip Bhattacharya contributed to this report.

  • Bill Hobbs

    And this is why every considers DC Government a joke...

  • Philip Pannell

    The Kennedys-King Dinner was a hot mess. It was unorganized and lacked even a modicum of pretense of classiness. The grassroots awards were still being handed out at 11 p.m. when there were less than 50 attendees. The Democrats of DC deserve better and will not get it until the current leadership is a distant memory.

  • Jimbo

    And here's the laughing stock.

  • http://www.facebook.com/AntLorenzo Anthony Lorenzo

    How was the food? That's what I want to know.

  • um hummm

    @PP#2: Yet you trotted across the stage in pink and white and accepted that award. Some of the more 'classy' of us stayed to the end when it had dwindled down to LESS than 50. Most awardees left as soon as they received the placques, so I guess that made them/you also guilty of 'lacking even a modicum of pretense of classiness.'

    But don't let me get started on some of your less classy moves in life...you know, like 4th Street for example?

    @AL#4: The salad and the desert were scrumptious. Had just eaten at a late luncheon engagement so didn't taste the main course. Passed it on to a table mate with a very robust apetite and it must have been good because he ate every bit of it.

    The long-winded 45 minute 'keynote' address by Ambassador
    Andrew Young (Received by a hushed crowd) probably ate up all of the profits and the silent auction was wonderful to me. I won the only two items I bid on @$100.00 a pop.

    My wife and I had a ball. Short of the Harlem Theatre Hook, there was little the MC could have done at that point to rein in those waxing eloquently on their golden days.

  • um hummm

    Re#5: My Bad, PP!!! My wife says it was another Pannell on 4th Street. Still, you exhibit poor taste with your comment.

  • RealDC

    Sounds like some of the same ol' DC Dems bullshit!

    Bowser gets the legislator of the year, for WHAT? How to keep telling everybody that she is WORKING so hard for ward 4? Bullshit!

    Barry, MLK Award, really? After the racist comments he has made. Bullshit!

    The leadership in this town is horrible!

  • Hopefully Gray is out in 2012

    The event was a hot mess! How you charge $175 for a dinner (even through who really paid that besides the corprorate sponsors)and it seemed like it was grassroots event in the back yard, lol. My high school prom was better than this event. You have no one producing the evnt, the speakers talk to long to present or accept and award and no one really paid attenntion after the meal was served. One shining spot, I enjoyed Andrew Young and his speech on gay marriage. Hopefully next year the Dems wikll get an event planner. It would really help, maybe more people will stay.

  • capitol hill

    Was marion barry there? The man caught smoking crack with a prostitute?