D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and Councilmembers Jack Evans and Phil Mendelson helped cut the ceremonial ribbon on a newly expanded jeweler in Dupont Circle earlier this morning.
The Tiny Jewel Box, a longtime jewelry and watch business located at 1147 Connecticut Ave. NW, today held a grand opening ceremony to mark the recent opening of its new 8,000 square foot addition next door.
“I love, love, love family-owned businesses,” Bowser said in a speech before the ribbon-cutting. “Small businesses are indeed the engine of our economy … and the Tiny Jewel Box has doubled down on Connecticut Avenue and doubled down on D.C.”
Bowser also praised the local Golden Triangle business improvement district, calling it a “champion” of businesses across the area.
Bowser, Evans and Mendelson then cut the ribbon along with Golden Triangle executive director Leona Agouridis and Tiny Jewel Box CEO Jim Rosenheim and president Matthew Rosenheim.
Attendees were invited inside for pastries, coffee and a tour of the newly expanded jewelry store following the ceremony.
D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson plans to hit up U Street this weekend.
The politician is scheduled to visit U Street Cafe (1301 U Street NW) this Saturday at 10 a.m. as part of his monthly “Meet Up With Mendo” appearances.
According to Mendelson’s office, the event is an opportunity for Ward 1 residents to weigh concerns about government services, share ideas on how to improve their neighborhood or have a cup of coffee with the chairman.
Photo via Facebook / Phil Mendelson
On Monday, February 25, the DC Council voted to strip Councilmember Jim Graham (D-Ward 1) of his oversight of the Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Board. The measure was first proposed by Council Chairman Phil Mendelson on February 21.
The 13-member council voted 11-2, with Graham and Councilmember Marion Barry (D-Ward 8) voting against the resolution. The bulk of the U Street corridor and neighborhood are in Ward 1, along with Columbia Heights, Adams Morgan, Mount Pleasant and Howard University.
Immediately after the vote, Graham released the following statement:
“It is time to move on. I have very important responsibilities as chairman of the human services committee and all the responsibility of representing Ward 1. Going forward, I will continue to represent the people who elected me to serve with the same passion and fervor as I have from my first day in office.”
The public reprimand comes after the Board of Ethics and Government Accountability found “substantial” evidence that Graham broke the code of conduct in a lottery contract bid.
A tweet from Bruce DePuyt (@News8NewsTalk) quotes Barry saying, “We all trade votes. I’ve done it. I’m arguing due process. He’s had no opportunity to defend himself.”
“This is a somber moment and a sad one, of course, because there is no joy in what we were asked to do today,” said Councilmember Mary Cheh (D-Ward 3) in a statement. “But, it is an obligation that falls to us and that we were and are duty-bound to discharge. Put very simply, we must keep and preserve that most delicate of commodities: public confidence.”
A reprimand is the least serious action the council can take against a member. It must be approved by a simple majority and carries no punishment. Barry was censured in 2010, which is more serious, WTOP reports.
Councilmember Jim Graham (D-Ward 1) could have a challenging week ahead of him. The Washington Post reports that Council Chairman Phil Mendelson aims to strip Graham of his oversight of the Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Board as a public reprimand to the veteran DC politician; he was first elected in 1998.
Mendelson’s potential action comes after the Board of Ethics and Government Accountability found “substantial” evidence that Graham broke the code of conduct in a lottery contract bid.
On February 21 Graham released a statement to constituents:
The Board of Ethics and Government Accountability had no basis to issue findings and pronounce judgment against our client without granting him a chance to be heard, allowing him to review and challenge the evidence to which we were denied access, and conducting a full adversary hearing. The Board violated the law and its own rules. That is not the ethics process that the Council sought to put into place, nor is it one whose decisions are worthy of respect or weight. Today we filed for relief and are confident that the court will agree that the Board acted lawlessly and denied Councilmember Graham basic fairness and due process.
After the findings, Graham repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and told constituents he has no intention of resigning. Washington City Paper reports that Graham is filing a lawsuit to “seek a temporary restraining order against the ethics board, who Graham says violated his rights to due process by issuing a negative report without having a full hearing.”
Ward 1 Democratic candidate Brianne Nadeau released the following statement:
The residents of Ward 1 find ourselves today with a representative who is under scrutiny for his deeply troubling, ethically questionable behavior. Today’s vote results from the fact that he has not been willing to take responsibility for his actions or apologize to the people of Ward 1 for engaging in back-room deals when he should have been out addressing real issues in the community. This is not the Jim Graham we used to know.
Nadeau has already announced her candidacy against Graham in the 2014 Democratic primary for the Ward 1 Council seat. She is a former ANC 1B commissioner.
The council will take up the measure of reassigning the ABC Board responsibilities at a special meeting on Monday. Coincidentally, that same day, Graham will hold a public roundtable on rule making that will impact enforcement of alcohol sale to minors. The rule making would require and provide legal consequences for the failure of bars to check IDs of people who come in.
Graham first convened this public roundtable on January 24 and recessed it to provide additional time for testimony. The question for the day will not be the outcome of the roundtable discussion. The question is: Will this be Graham’s last ABC Board oversight meeting?
On Monday, September 24, the Ward One Democrats will host a Council Chair Candidate Forum with a straw poll at the African American Civil War Memorial Museum (1925 Vermont Avenue NW) from 7 until 9 pm.
The two candidates participating in the Forum are Phil Mendelson and Calvin Gurley. Both Mendelson and Gurley are running for Council Chair in the special election on November 6. Former DC Council Chair, Kwame Brown, resigned this summer after being charged with felony bank fraud and misdemeanor campaign finance violations.
Community members are encouraged to ask the candidates questions (via the moderator) throughout the evening’s event, and registered Ward One Democrats can participate in the evening’s straw poll.
For more information, contact [email protected].
In a city like Washington, DC, where everything seems to be about politics–at least of the national variety–it is surprising to learn how uninformed and immature we can be when it comes to voting at the local level.
The fact that many DC voters are confused by man’s middle initial and last name tells you that the body politic has not done its homework. The confusion around the candidates in the Democratic Primary for an At-Large Council seat has befuddled voters ready to hand Michael D. Brown a victory on September 14 (see The Washington Post poll numbers). Why? They think D. is actually Michael A. Brown, who is not even running for anything in this election cycle.
Michael A. Brown is, obviously, a very popular At-Large member of the DC Council; he will be up for re-election in 2012. And, of course, you should not confuse either of them with At-Large Councilmember Kwame Brown who is favored to win the Democratic Primary for DC Council Chairman. This begs the question: Do some voters think they’re somehow supporting Kwame Brown when they say they are for D.?
D. is running against incumbent Phil Mendelson and Clark Ray. Until recently it was assumed that Ray was the main challenger to Mendelson, a three-term incumbent. Then, D. won a straw poll vote among Democrats in Ward 5 and coming very close in Ward 4. Remember that these are the party faithful, the committed and knowledgeable ones, who turn out to vote in straw polls.
Suddenly, the city–the ones paying attention, anyway–realized the level of confusion among voters between D. and A.
However, D. does hold an elected office, that of District “shadow senator,” an official position with no responsibilities beyond advocating for DC’s rights. According to Wikipedia, “Brown lobbies the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives on behalf of the citizens of the District in their attempt to gain full representation in Congress, self-determination, and eventually admittance to the union as a state. As shadow senator, Brown also works with the District’s delegate, mayor, and council to advance the interest of local residents on Federal issues. Brown is a member of the Democratic Party.”
How bad is our collective stupidity? The Washington Post ran the results of a poll that showed candidates Mendelson and Ray–who have worked hard to win votes–will likely lose to D. unless voters figure it out between now and September 14. The Post poll has D. at 38%, Mendelson at 21% and Ray at 7%. The numbers for D. are good citywide–he leads in all areas of DC except Wards 2 and 3 where he is still pulling 27% and trails Mendelson by only 5 points.
In the interest of full disclosure, the two editors here at Borderstan are supporting Ray (as we have noted before). We have known him for a number of years and believe he would be a better councilmember than Mendelson. Having said that, wouldn’t it be embarrassing for DC if D. were to defeat Mendelson due to nothing more than voter laziness? Of course, this would not be the first time DC has been the butt of jokes due to its local politics; the mention of Marion Barry still draws raucous laughter beyond the Beltway.
No disrespect to D.–he is probably a fine man–but winning on the basis of confusion is not a stellar way to make your way upward in politics. Of course, you have also have to hand it to D.; If he wins, he will have spent little money and effort to win a DC Council seat.
Shame on us–not on D.
A candidate forum this evening at 12th and U NW will feature candidates in two high-profile races in the September 14 Democratic primary.
Council Chairman. Invited candidates for the DC Council chairman spot are Kwame Brown and Vincent Orange as well as Dorrothy Douglas and Ann Wilcox. (See the results of Borderstan’s reader poll.)
At-Large Council seat. Candidates in the at-large race are incumbent Phil Mendelson and his main challenger, Clark Ray, as well as Michael D. Brown.
Location is the True Reformer Building (Marsh Conference Room) at 1200 U Street NW. The meet-and-greet starts at 6 pm with the program running from 6:30 to 8:30 pm.
Tonight’s forum is sponsored by DC Coalition Against Domestic Violence, DC Jobs Council, DC Jobs with Justice, Defeat Poverty DC, District Alliance for Safe Housing, Empower DC, Fair Budget Coalition, Latino Economic Development Corporation, Metropolitan Washington Council AFL-CIO, Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless and Wider Opportunities for Women.
Full disclosure: Borderstan’s editors are supporting Ray in his Council bid. We knew him prior to launching Borderstan.com.
The Clark Ray campaign is holding a meet-the-candidate event at Local 16 Lounge on Wednesday evening, 6 to 8 pm. Local 16 is at the southwest corner of 16th and U Streets NW.
Ray is running for an At-Large DC Council seat against incumbent Phil Mendelson in the September 14 Democratic Primary. Remember that DC primary elections are closed–you have to be registered in a party in order to vote in its primary. The three DC political parties with primaries are Democratic, Republican and Statehood Green.
Former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright gave Clark Ray her endorsement at a fundraiser Monday evening in Georgetown. Ray is running for an At-Large DC Council seat against incumbent Phil Mendelson in the September 14 Democratic Primary. Of Ray, Albright said:
I rarely endorse in primaries and this is only the second time I am doing it this year. I believe it is essential that we elect people of Clark Ray’s caliber and integrity to government. I know of his work with the Clinton/Gore administration and his commitment to the people of the District.
During the Clinton administration, Ray worked for Tipper Gore during husband Al’s years as vice president. Albright is now a professor of International Relations at Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service.
In addition, Albright’s sister, Kathy Silva is a supporter of dog parks. The connection? During his time as head of DC Parks and Recreation, Ray was credited with pushing forward three new dog parks in DC: 17th Street NW, 11th Street NW and one under construction in upper Northwest near Silva’s home.
Mike DeBonis (formerly of Washington City Paper) has a recap of the Ray event over at Post’s D.C. Wire, Debonis’ new gig. The Georgetown Dish blog also has more details. There are also event photos online.
Advice to Ray: Buy a dog and take it with you on your door-to-door campaigning–at least in this neighborhood.
Full disclosure: Borderstan’s editors are supporting Ray in his Council bid. We knew him prior to beginning Borderstan.com.
On Monday, the DC Council Committee on Public Safety and the Judiciary will hold hearings on the “Neighborhood and Victims Rights Amendment Act of 2010.” Time is 11 a.m. in Room 123 of the John A. Wilson building at 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue NW. If you want to provide testimony on the bill, the deadline to sign up is 5 p.m. tomorrow (Thursday); details on how to sign up are below the fold.
The crime bill was introduced by two Councilmembers–Jim Graham (D-Ward 1) and Jack Evans (D-Ward 2)–and is supported by Mayor Adrian Fenty. Evans represents the huge bulk of the Dupont-Logan area while Graham represents a slice of the area with the U Street corridor. However, most of Graham’s district is further north and centered in Adams Morgan and Columbia Heights. (Evans recently announced his candidacy for chairman of the DC Council in the September primary.)
Provisions of the Bill
According to Evans’ office, the bill does the following: (more…)
Last night’s Shaw crime forum featuring DC Councilmember Phil Mendelson (D-At Large) followed a pattern we have seen at similar rodeos in the Dupont–Logan area: questions and venting from frustrated residents, which were were met with detailed explanations of the criminal justice system. Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans and a representative of the U.S. Attorney’s Office were also there and actively participated in the meeting.
Mendelson did a mea culpa of sorts on his recent statement that “Crime in Shaw is not a legislative issue,” saying it was a poor choice of words. Evans noted that he has another anti-gang bill that will be introduced today.
Mendelson defended himself by noting that lots of anti-crime legislation has been passed by the Council during his tenure as chair of the Committee on Public Safety and the Judiciary. Moreover, he seemed to put some of the blame for DC’s violent crime problem on the system, i.e., the U.S. Attorney’s Office. A representative of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, on the other hand, told attendees that their office prosecutes crimes to the fullest.
So, what did the meeting accomplish? Mendelson seems closer to lending his support to a broader anti-loitering law, has already backed a school-zone loitering law, and wants funding to examine the District’s revolving door. Evans has an anti-gang bill due out today, which Mendelson should give a timely hearing and fair consideration. Mendelson and the U.S. Attorneys Office both got an earful and one can hope that what they heard will add vigor to their efforts and give them helpful perspective in their decisionmaking.
Tonight Councilmember Phil Mendelson (D-At Large) is holding a public safety-crime forum in Shaw (7 p.m. at New Community Church, 614 S Street NW). Mendelson–chair of the Council Committee on Public Safety and the Judiciary–resides in upper Northwest’s Cleveland Park, a very different neighborhood from downtown Shaw. So, I thought it would be interesting to look at crime numbers for these two neighborhoods to see how the compare.
For Cleveland Park, I ran crime stats for the intersection of Newark Street and Connecticut Avenue NW, which is by the Uptown Theatre. For Shaw, I ran the stats for 7th and P Streets NW, which is near the Kennedy Recreation Center and the O Street Market project.
Note: All numbers below are for Jan. 1 to Dec. 10 of this year and encompass an area within a 1,500-foot radius of the given address. The numbers are from the MPD’s crime database as of Dec. 10 (numbers were run on Dec. 13).
If I could ask only one question of Councilmember Phil Mendelson at his community forum on crime in Shaw Monday night, it would be this: “Why is DC’s murder rate 4.56 times higher than that of New York City and what is your plan to keep fewer young people from being killed?” (More on homicide rates below).
No, the Shaw neighborhood is not in Borderstan. However, Council Member Phil Mendelson (D-At Large) has influence over the entire District in his role as chair of the Council Committee on Public Safety and the Judiciary. So, it is noteworthy that he is holding a meeting tomorrow evening (December 14) to talk about public safety with Shaw and Mount Vernon Square residents. Time is 7 to 9:30 p.m. at the New Community Church, 614 S Street NW.
I suspect the meeting will be interesting and that Mendelson will get an earful from Shaw residents, particularly regarding past statements. Whatever issues we have in Dupont-Logan-U Street with crime, the folks in Shaw have more serious problems than we do here in the Borderstan area or in many other parts of the city.
“Not a Legislative Problem”
Mendelson has made some statements in the past that I (and others) find puzzling. For example, there is, “Crime in Shaw is not a legislative problem.” And you may like or dislike Harry Jaffe, but you should read this June 1, 2008, piece at Washingtonian.com, “Why DC’s Bad Guys Have So Many Guns.” (Coincidentally, Jaffe had a piece on violent crime in DC in today’s Examiner.)
In addition, Mendelson battled and defeated the mayor’s Omnibus Crime Bill earlier this year and has opposed efforts by Councilmember Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) to enact some much tougher crime measures. Note: For background information and a history of the bills, read Cary Silverman’s posting at his blog, The Other 35 Percent.
I disagree with Mendelson. Crime in Shaw (and the District) is a legislative problem. At the very least, legislation is part of solving the problem, if not the entire answer.
The police and a number of members of the DC Council feel strongly that there are some tougher and more effective laws that could be enacted that would help law enforcement officers do their jobs more effectively. The reality is that DC still has a crime rate much higher than that of other major U.S. cities.
New York and Chicago, for example, have violent crime rates much lower than DC. This fact seems to get lost somewhere. Why don’t we as residents, demand to know why this is the case? What does New York do that we do not do? Why can’t we learn from other major U.S. cities?
DC’s Murder Rate 4.56 Times Higher Than New York City
Let’s take the murder rate. We hear a great deal about DC’s declining murder rate. It is, indeed, very good news. But here is the ugly reality. The murder rate in New York City is 4.99 homicides per 100,000 people (through Nov. 22 this year). In DC, the homicide rate is 22.77 per 100,000 people (through Dec. 10 this year).¹ So, what is the answer? I don’t know, but I do wish that we (residents and elected officials) would start to ask why and try to figure out what we can do to bring down the rate of violent crime in DC. At the very least, shouldn’t we be asking the question?
When we have a murder rate that is 4.56 times higher than New York City, I am not sure we should be bragging about our declining murder rate. (There have been 134 homicides in DC through Dec. 10 compared to 175 for the same period in 2008).
I am going to try to make it to the Monday meeting in Shaw to hear what residents ask and how Mendelson answers. I suggest that you go, too.
Full Disclosure: Cark Ray is running against Mendelson in the Democratic primary next September for the At-Large Council seat. I have known Clark for more than a decade and I am supporting him; yes, you will find my name (Matthew Rhoades) among Clark’s contributors. Those of you who have been reading this blog since we started it in August 2008 know that I have been writing about DC crime long before Clark began his campaign.
About Tonight’s Meeting
Just a reminder about a couple of things happening in Borderstan tomorrow.
Farmers’ Market, 14th & U NW. Remember that the 14th and U Farmers’ Market continues into October. You can get info about the market on Facebook and since they have a public page on Facebook, you don’t have to be a registered member of Facebook to go to it. (Got that?) On the northwest corner of 14th and U Streets NW.
Clark Ray for Council Kickoff, 17th & Q NW. At 10 a.m. Clark Ray will officially announce his candidacy for the DC City Council at the corner of 17th and Q Streets NW next to Java House. Ray is kicking off his candidacy in Ward 2 where served as neighborhood service coordinator for former Mayor Anthony Williams. Ray is running for the At-Large seat held by Phil Mendelson; they will be on the ballot in the Democratic Primary in September 2010. (Full disclosure: I know Ray and am supporting him.)