Mayor Muriel Bowser
Mayor Muriel Bowser Credit: Darrow Montgomery

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LL needs to take a shower, and it’s not because he’s been wearing the same pair of sweats for the past week. He’s just feeling a little slimy after reading through the list of individuals who will join the advisory group that will help Mayor Muriel Bowser and her administration figure out when and how to reopen the District after the coronavirus pandemic.

As others have pointed out, Bowser’s advisory committee, broken up into sectors such as restaurants, education, public safety, health, and real estate, include many of the usual suspects who hang around the District government—the “highfalutin mucky mucks,” as Rev. Graylan Hagler calls them.

[Adrian] Fenty? C’mon,” Hagler says of the former D.C. mayor who now lives in California and who Bowser tapped as a co-chair for the group. “With the exception of a few people, it’s not the people going through what we’re going through in the District. Where are any poor folks or marginalized people represented? It smacks of being representative of development and business.”

During one of the Council’s near-daily conference calls with City Administrator Rashad Young, At-Large Councilmember Elissa Silverman questioned what looked to her like a lack of public health and national experts. Bowser’s chief of staff, John Falcicchio, explained that each sub-committee includes a public health expert. Authors of a Johns Hopkins University report will help the advisory group as well, Falcicchio said.

Leading the group are Michael Chertoff, the former Homeland Security secretary who a Government Accountability Office report blames for the botched response to Hurricane Katrina, and Susan Rice, national security advisor and UN ambassador for President Barack Obama.

In addition to Fenty, co-chairs include D.C. CFO Jeffrey DeWitt, Council Chairman Phil Mendelson, former Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services Nicole Lurie, Bowser’s senior advisor Beverly Perry, and former Mayor Anthony Williams. Conspicuously absent from the group is former mayor and current Ward 7 Councilmember Vince Gray, the only living D.C. mayor left out.

LL combed through each of the subcommittees and picked out some of the usual suspects. He surely missed a few. Feel free to send him a tip.

Education and childcare

• Charlene Drew Jarvis—community co-chair and former Ward 4 councilmember.

• Katherine Bradley—a committee member, “shadow chancellor,” philanthropist, and education reformer who leads CityBridge, a force behind charter schools. Bradley is a frequent donor to local campaigns. 

• Rich Harrington—associate committee director, Ward 3 mayoral liaison, and associate director in the Mayor’s Office of Policy.

Equity, disparity reduction, and vulnerable populations

Kenyan McDuffie—government co-chair and current Ward 5 councilmember. McDuffie is the only sitting councilmember to make the cut.

Donna Brazile—community co-chair, Democratic political operative who resigned as a pundit for CNN after she leaked questions to Hillary Clinton‘s campaign ahead of town halls and debates. Fox News hired Brazile after she left CNN.

Cora Masters Barry—committee member and widow of the late Mayor-for-Life Marion Barry. Bowser appointed Masters Barry to the Commission on the Arts and Humanities last year.

Faith, arts, culture, hotels, entertainment, and sports

Vinoda Basnayake—committee member, lobbyist, and nightclub investor, frequent political donor to Green Team candidates including Bowser and Ward 4 Councilmember Brandon Todd.

Marvin Bowser—committee member, actor, photographer, and, oh yeah, brother of the mayor.

Abbe Lowell—criminal defense attorney, and one of the men representing former Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans. He sits on the board of trustees for the Shakespeare Theatre Company.

Angie Gates—government co-chair, Bowser buddy, director of the Office of Cable Television, Film, Music, and Entertainment, and executive producer for Bowser’s 2019 inaugural celebration.

Government operations, public safety, and criminal justice

LaRuby May—community co-chair, former Ward 8 councilmember, closely aligned with Bowser’s Green Team, chair of the United Medical Center board.

Jodi Ovca—committee member, treasurer for Bowser’s 2018 campaign, and Feng Shui devotee.

Robert Bobb—committee member, city administrator under Mayor Williams, and frequent political donor.

Ron Moten—committee member, one half of the Peaceoholics, the defunct violence reduction group sued by the District over misspent public funds. Moten agreed to a $10,000 fine and admitted no wrongdoing in a settlement. AG Karl Racine recently persuaded a judge wipe the fine and relax other terms of the settlement. Moten is a primary organizer of the Don’t Mute DC movement, and recent recipient of a $2 million grant to support his Anacostia business, Check It Enterprises.

Human services, social services, and health

David Catania—community co-chair, former at-large councilmember, and lobbyist for hospitals. Bowser also appointed Catania to co-chair her healthcare delivery transformation commission. He ran an unsuccessful mayoral campaign against Bowser in 2014.

Elaine Crider—committee member, vice chair of the University of District of Columbia’s board of trustees, and a government consultant involved with UDC student affairs. Then-Mayor Gray appointed Crider to the UMC board in 2012. She served as the registered agent for Integrated Urban Solutions, a company involved in a “shadow campaign” that prosecutors say helped Gray win the mayor’s race in 2010, City Paper previously reported.

James D’Orta—committee member, physician, Democratic fundraiser, and frequent political donor.

Melat Debela—committee member, pharmacy manager (according to her LinkedIn profile), and donor to Green Team candidates.

Open spaces and recreation 

Gregory McCarthy—co-chair, former deputy chief of staff for Mayor Williams, current VP of government and municipal affairs for the Nationals.

Monica Ray—committee member, business partner to Ward 8 operative and businessman Phinis Jones, and frequent Green Team donor. Ray gave $10,000 to Bowser’s inaugural committee and managed former Ward 8 Councilmember May’s campaign finances

Chanell Autry—committee member, former McDuffie staffer, current senior director of government and community affairs for Monumental Sports and Entertainment, Ted Leonsis’ company that owns the Capitals, Wizards, Capital City Go-Go, Mystics, and Capital One Arena.

Tommy Wells—co-chair, former Ward 6 councilmember, and current director of the Department of Energy and Environment. 

Public health innovation and workforce

Brian Kenner—community co-chair and former deputy mayor for planning and economic development, who jumped ship to Amazon, where he is now head of HQ2 policy. Kenner also worked in both the Williams and Fenty administrations. Bowser also appointed him to the Events DC board.

Debby Ratner Salzberg—committee member, developer behind the Yards in Southeast, and frequent political donor.

Sharon Pratt—committee member, former D.C. mayor.

Real estate and construction

Monty Hoffman—co-chair, developer behind the Wharf, and leader of the new group of businesses and developers, DC2021, asking for $300 million in tax relief to help with coronavirus recovery.

Buwa Binitie—co-chair, member of D.C.’s Housing Finance Agency board of directors, founder of Dantes Partners, and political donor. Binitie donated $10,000 to Bowser’s controversial FreshPAC, then claimed he could not recall who asked him for the contribution.

Chico Horton—committee member, lobbyist, and lawyer with close ties to Fenty, who chaired Bowser’s FreshPAC.

• Rob Hawkins—committee member, former Bowser deputy chief of staff, and lobbyist for Nelson Mullins, whose client includes Urban Atlantic, which is leading the charge on the Walter Reed development, as WAMU reported.

Bob Murphy—committee member, developer whose firm, MRP Realty, stands to benefit from a sweetheart deal to redevelop the housing authority’s headquarters. MRP was named in a whistleblower complaint last year alleging political favoritism in the allocation of Housing Production Trust Fund dollars.

Adam Weers—committee member, developer behind the long delayed McMillan Sand Filtration site redevelopment, and, apparently maker of a “mean cheesecake.”

Restaurants and food retailers

• Rudy Seikaly—committee member and cofounder of the construction company MCN Build, primarily known for working on public and charter schools, as former City Paper reporter Morgan Baskin points out. Seikaly accompanied Bowser to Ethiopia last year, and his company “received more than $500 million from the District for building a fire house, schools, homeless shelters and recreation facilities, the Washington Post reported. He’s been a consistent Bowser donor.

Retail and small business

Neil Albert—community co-chair, president of the Downton DC Business Improvement District, chair of the DC Housing Authority board, and city administrator and deputy mayor for planning and economic development under Fenty.

Ben Soto—committee member, longtime Green Team campaign treasurer, FreshPAC treasurer, Eagle Bank board member.

David Jannarone—committee member, developer who stands to benefit from a sweetheart deal in the redevelopment of the housing authority’s headquarters. His company, Taylor Adams Associates was the subject of a whistleblower complaint last year calling attention to possible political favoritism in the award of Housing Production Trust fund dollars. Jannarone was also a Fenty administration official, who helped organize a scheme to give a District fire truck to the Dominican Republic.

Transportation and infrastructure

Dan Tangherlini—community co-chair, former Fenty city administrator, former director of Department of Transportation, former CFO for the Metropolitan Police Department, former head of Metro.

Max Brown—committee member, frequent political donor, Bower’s appointed Events DC chairman, who doubles as a lobbyist for the industry that owns stock in an esports startup, WAMU reported in 2018.

Thorn Pozen—committee member, heavy political donorlawyer for Bowser’s FreshPAC, and a lobbyist who represents AirBnB, Google, local developers.

Warner Session—committee member, lobbyist, frequent political donor, board member of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority.