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June 5, 2011


Dear Ethics Advisors:

Late this evening the Office of the DC Attorney General, Irvin Nathan, issued a press release announcing that Nathan will hold a press conference tomorrow morning at 11:00 a.m. in the old city council chambers at 441 4th Street, NW. Nathan “will make an announcement regarding the investigation by the Office of the Attorney General concerning Team Thomas.” Team Thomas is the fundraising group with questionable accounting practices run by Ward 5 Councilmember Harry Thomas, Jr. Nathan’s press release doesn’t say any more, or give a hint about what he intends to announce, but how often does a prosecutor send out a press release or hold a press conference open to the public to announce that an investigation didn’t turn up anything and led to a dead end?


The Washington Post editorial board took a big step toward rehabilitating its reputation for slanted coverage of local politics with its lead editorial today, “Michael Brown, Gambling Man,”  The editorial exposes At-Large Councilmember Michael Brown’s conflict of interest in introducing pro-gambling legislation that would make the District of Columbia the first jurisdiction in the country to allow online Internet gambling. The editorial board actually did commendable original reporting for the editorial, exposing the deep gambling interests of the law firm, Edwards Angell Palmer & Dodge, that employed Brown at the time that he introduced the bill. It also raised important questions about the legality of the bill and the propriety of introducing it in a way (as part of the supplemental FY2011 budget act) that shielded it from public scrutiny and public hearings.

When Dorothy asked Michael Brown last fall whether his Internet gambling bill didn’t directly conflict with the federal laws that ban online gambling, Brown claimed that he had an opinion from the city council’s knowledgeable and experienced General Counsel, Brian Flowers (who has since been replaced by David Zvenich, chosen by Council Chairman Kwame Brown), that attested to the bill’s legal sufficiency. But Michael Brown refused to produce that legal opinion, if it ever existed. And not a single member of the city council has shown any interest in examining the issue further, or in giving the public an opportunity to testify on the issue. (Councilmember Jack Evans scheduled a hearing on the online gambling bill that was to be held two weeks ago, but then canceled it.) They seem to be satisfied with Brown’s unsubstantiated argument that the city will profit by thirteen to fifteen million dollars a year if online gambling is legalized, and with the unspoken assumption that councilmembers will also profit handsomely from the campaign contributions and other favors that will be showered upon them by gambling interests.

The city council is unable to govern itself, much less govern the city. The council is unable even to pretend to be interested in cleaning up the funding scandals and staffing scandals and conflicts of interest of Michael Brown, and Kwame Brown, and Harry Thomas, and Yvette Alexander, and Jim Graham, and Jack Evans, and — well, add your favorite councilmember here. The ethics legislation that Kwame Brown has proposed, the “Comprehensive Ethics Reform Act,” is inadequate and filled with loopholes, and Kwame has shrouded in secrecy and won’t release the report prepared by the Georgetown University Public Policy Institute that supposedly led to drafting the bill, despite repeated requests by Dorothy. The Post editorial today says, “The latest disclosure [of Brown’s conflict of interest] provides further reason for the DC council to return to this issue with a seriousness that was absent the first time around.” Given the current climate at the council, where so many councilmembers are under scrutiny, investigation, and public criticism, it provides further reason why the council should reverse its hasty and ill-considered decision to flout the federal laws against online gambling.

Gary Imhoff


The Other Redistricting Exercise
Dorothy Brizill,

In the May 11 issue of themail, I wrote that, in addition to the ward redistricting exercise underway at the city council, “Cathy Lanier, DC’s Chief of Police, and Paul Quander, the Deputy Mayor for Public Safety, have secretly developed a plan to redraw the boundaries of all police district and PSA’s (Patrol service Areas).” I went on to state that, “It is not yet exactly clear how Lanier and Quander will roll out their proposal, but it appears as though most citizens will first see the plan when it is forwarded to the council. According to Quander, there will not be any citizen input or consultation prior to the referral of the plan to the council and the council’s review.”

Now, in response to community opposition to the Metropolitan Police Department’s secretive redistricting process, Chief Lanier has announced that, beginning on June 7, MPD will hold a series of community meetings on “police boundary realignment.” Wendy Glenn has sent MPD’s meeting schedule for this issue of themail, below. The meetings for the seven police districts will be held between June 7 and June 23, but it doesn’t appear that the MPD will release its proposed changes before the meetings, so that citizens will not have a chance to go over them before the meetings are held. A map of current MPD police districts and PSA’s is at


The Budget Crisis and the Lincoln Theater
Matthew Forman,

As recently reported in the media, there’s allegedly a budget crisis. But I haven’t seen much serious dialogue on the nitty gritty items of questionable spending and lost revenue that add up. Here’s a start. Why are we subsidizing the Lincoln Theater to the tune of a half million dollars each year? Apparently, the community isn’t all that interested in seeing what the theater has to offer, or the place is mismanaged. Otherwise, ticket sales would support operating expenses. And there isn’t much being offered anyway, according to the theater’s web site. Only a handful of events from now through September. And since the city owns the theater (and looking at their IRS 990), I suspect they don’t even have to pay rent. If they can’t make a go of it rent-free, isn’t it time to give the space to another group? If we can’t make just one theater financially viable, then why is the city subsidizing reconstruction of the Howard Theater just a few blocks away? Can we really afford to pay for empty theaters for nostalgia’s sake?



MPD Meetings on Police Boundary Realignment, June 7-23
Wendy Glenn,

The MPD will discuss plans to improve the delivery of police services in the District of Columbia beginning on June 7 at the First District. Each police district will host a community meeting to discuss new Police Service Area boundaries in that district. Community members are invited to attend these meetings to get more information and have their questions answered. See (the web site will be updated if there are any emergency cancellations).

Meeting dates and times are scheduled as follows at the community room of each police station. First District, 101 M Street, SW, June 7, 7:00 p.m.; Second District, 3320 Idaho Avenue, NW, June 22; 7:00 p.m.; Third District, 1620 V Street, NW, June 9, 7 p.m.; Fourth District, 6001 Georgia Avenue, NW, June 16, 7:00 p.m.; Fifth District, 1805 Bladensburg Road, NE, June 23, 7:00 p.m.; Sixth District, 100 42nd Street, NE, June 13, 7:00 p.m.; Seventh District, 2455 Alabama Avenue, SE, June 15, 7:00 p.m.


Sam Gilliam Takoma Mural Dedication, June 11
Deidre Ehlen,

The Takoma community invites you to the dedication of a public work of art, “From a Model to a Rainbow,” a hand-blown, Italian glass mosiac mural created by international renowned artist and Washingtonian Sam Gilliam. Saturday, June 11, 10:00 a.m., at the Takoma Metro Station. For questions, contact Deidre Ehlen at the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, 724-5613 or


Ms. Senior DC Pageant 2011, June 12
Darlene Nowlin,

Witness the selection of Ms. Senior DC 2011 as District women aged sixty and older compete for the title. The Ms. Senior DC Pageant will be held on Sunday, June 12, at 2:30 p.m. at the University of the District of Columbia, 4200 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Main Auditorium, Building 46. The contestants will be judged on their elegance, poise, and their inner beauty as they present themselves during a personal interview with a panel of judges, their philosophy of life, their talent, and evening gown presentations. Ms. Senior DC will represent her peers at the Ms. Senior America Pageant in Atlantic City, NJ, in October. Ms. Senior America Kimberly Moore will be present and perform at the Ms. Senior DC Pageant. Ms. Senior DC Sheila Poole will crown Ms. Senior DC 2011. The donation for tickets is $15 and you may call 724-5626 or 289-1510 x1171 for tickets and more information. The Ms. Senior DC Pageant is presented by the DC Senior America Cameo Club, Family Matters of Greater Washington, and the DC Office on Aging.


Festival Foods Fundraiser, June 16
Afrika Abney,

One Voice, One Sound, The Festival Center, and DC’s Got Talent will present an International Taster’s Banquet and Talent Showcase on Thursday, June 16. The event will offer an assortment of entrees from around the world prepared and presented by The Festival Center’s job training culinary program. Entertainment will be presented by a myriad of local artists from One Voice, One Sound, and DC’s Got Talent. Together these three groups aim to showcase some of the best new artists in the Washington area.

Festival Foods: Job Skills Training Program. Food is a powerful source of connection amongst all nations, cultures, religions, and ethnicities. Within Washington’s multicultural community it is often a tie that bonds us together. It is within this spirit that participants in The Festival Center’s job training food program, Festival Foods, will create a diverse menu for our event with cuisine representative of our rich Washington community that all will enjoy. Festival Foods is a two-week, hands on program led by food industry professionals. Each group is small by design so that students have the opportunity to receive one on one instruction and gain proficiency in a commercial kitchen. At the end of each training program students receive a certificate for their participation and accomplishments and present a feast including tasty appetizers, savory main entrees and sweet desserts. See

One Voice, One Sound: A Platform for Local Artistic Talent. One Voice, One Sound is an association of independent producers, rappers, dancers, poets, spoken word, hip-hop, and R&B artists. While members often perform on stage as individual artists or in small groups, One Voice, One Sound comes together as a complete unit by providing vital encouragement, helpful support and thoughtful critiques to one another. One Voice, One Sound aims to present, highlight and promote burgeoning new artistic talent in the Washington, DC, area. Ultimately One Voice, One Sound is driven to become a mainstay in Washington, DC’s, artistic community. The group allows individuals to express themselves and hone their talents for professional ambitions or simply share their gifts with the community. The group is working hard to put together a show to remember on June 16th, one that will inspire and entice all those who attend to want more. Of great interest to One Voice, One Sound is the plight of young people within our region.

DC’s Got Talent Television Show. DC’s Got Talent Television Show is a community based show that features untapped, undiscovered, and multicultural talent as well as those at their first pivotal step to a professional career. Artists’ ages range from preteen to adult that spans from old school to new school. Our media and platform is television, Internet and radio to showcase all genres of music, dance, acting, i.e., stage, television, theatrical performance, musical instruments, and oratorical gifts, to name a few. The well of talent is limitless that we draw from. DC’s Got Talent Television Show’s co-executive producers are Myrna Sparks and Ricardo Bailey. We can be reached by E-mail at and 705-5048 and 240-381-5553 for further information.

The International Taster’s Banquet and Talent Showcase will be held on Thursday, June 16, from 7-9:00 p.m., at The Festival Center, located at 1640 Columbia Road, NW, in Adams Morgan. While admission is free, a $15 donation is suggested to offset the price of food, overhead, production equipment, etc. Please contact Gerald McCorkle, Executive Producer of One Voice, One Sound for more information at 255-8386 or at


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