No one could ever accuse Borderstan resident and iconoclastic journalist Harry Jaffe of holding his tongue. (See Harry Jaffe Unfiltered (Isn’t He Usually?) In his last column for Washingtonian magazine, he essentially calls for a do-over off the 2010 Democratic primary between former Mayor Adrian Fenty and incumbent DC Mayor Vincent Gray.
With rumors swirling about a possible indictment of Gray, and the mayor saying he won’t resign, Jaffe penned a piece, “Mayor Gray’s Elaborate, Illegal Scheme to Steal the Election.” Jaffe details how he believes campaign operations were conducted and money was illegally exchanged with the goal of creating a downward spiral of public opinion against Fenty.
Jaffe admits that Fenty’s all-too-often dismissive attitude toward old-school DC politicians and community organizations played into the hands of those seeking to oust Fenty. But, at the end of the day Jaffe says corruption and old-style DC machine politics were at work.
Jaffe’s column’s illustrates the power of hidden money in the Gray campaign and in his usual blunt style writes, “Gray and his crew stole the election, plain and simple. If not for the $653,000 that paid for a fundamental and effective get-out-the-vote operation, might Fenty have won?”
The article raises some very good questions about how local politics work — but more than anything else leaves you with a feeling of hopeless dissatisfaction just when you thought DC was on its way to become a better place.
The answer to the question, “What is the meaning of life?” may still be 42, but for all your other burning questions, there’s “Ask Harry and Louise.” The column is written by Harry Jaffe and his wife, (you guessed it) Louise. It’s in the Washingtonian and is a pretty entertaining read.
While this is (as far as we know) Louise’s first foray into journalism, Harry is a longtime DC veteran. Jaffe currently writes for The Washington Examiner and Washingtonian magazine. His specialties are the DC government, crime and the local media itself (he writes a column on The Washington Post called “Post Watch”). Jaffe is currently known for his prolific stories and columns on crime and the DC police.
The couple moved to the Borderstan area in the past year, after raising three daughters in the Chevy Chase section of DC.
And, yes, yours truly did a profile on him back in June: Harry Jaffe Unfiltered (Isn’t He Usually?)
From Michelle Lancaster. Talk to me on Twitter @MichLancaster.
When we found out that Harry Jaffe had moved to the Borderstan area, we knew he’d be perfect for one of our Q& A profiles of interesting residents. A blunt, combative journalist and columnist for local media (some assuredly call him a gadfly and cynic), he currently writes for The Washington Examiner and Washingtonian magazine. His specialties are the D.C. government, crime and the local media itself (he writes a column on The Washington Post called “Post Watch”). Jaffe is currently known for his prolific stories and columns on crime and the DC police.
Along with WRC-TV reporter Tom Sherwood, Jaffe co-authored Dream City: Race, Power and the Decline of Washington, D.C. in 1994. As Washingtonian describes it, the book “remains the definitive tale of Marion Barry’s rise and fall, from 1965 to 1994.” You really should read it.
Here’s Jaffe in his own words: he talks about moving to Borderstan, the journalism business and some of his colleagues in the media — and Marion Barry, too.
Borderstan: Housekeeping chores! Thanks for agreeing to be on the ‘other’ side of the desk, Harry! Let’s start with the basics: what brought you to D.C. and when?
Jaffe: I arrived here in 1978 to work as a press secretary for Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy. I lasted less than a year on the “flak” side of the news game before I switched to States News Service and then a host of news outlets, including Regardie’s Magazine and then Washingtonian.
Borderstan: What has kept you in D.C. as a journalist?
Jaffe: I have always preferred local reporting rather than covering national politics; it’s more of a contact sport where you write about people and places that you can see and feel. I have been lucky enough to find news outlets in D.C. that will pay me to write about the local scene.
Borderstan: How did you end up in our neighborhood?
Jaffe: Call it a typical story of downsizing: I had raised my three daughters in Chevy Chase, D.C.; once they had moved on to college and such, I was in the market for a smaller homestead. I had lived in the Dupont Circle neighborhood back in the early 80’s, but moving back was not an option. Way too expensive. So my wife and I searched for a neighborhood where we could walk to stores and bars, which had bike lanes, where the architecture was genuine. Then she found a great place at a good price.
A column by Harry Jaffe in the Feb. 5 issue of the DC Examiner:
Fenty’s tough new crime laws could make city safe
By Harry Jaffe
Examiner Columnist 2/5/09 7:46 PM
The first six weeks of 2009 have been bloody for the folks who live in the other Washington, the one east of the Anacostia River. Very bloody. According to city stats, there have been 10 homicides already in the badlands covered by the 7th Police District. In the 2nd District, which covers Georgetown north to Friendship Heights and Chevy Chase, there have been no murders. That district racks up perhaps one a year.