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The name plate is gone from his first-floor office, and his page on the D.C. Council’s website has already been taken down, but now-former Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans was working up until the final moments of his time in elected office to save what’s left of his legacy.
At 4:36 pm, 24 minutes before his resignation would become official, Evans tried to slap a rainbow sticker on the end of his nearly 29-year D.C. Council tenure with a bill that would provide financial support for D.C.’s Pride celebration.
The “Capital Pride Alliance Grant and Equitable Forgiveness Amendment Act of 2020” would waive all city service fees for the Capital Pride Alliance in fiscal year 2021 and beyond.
The alliance organizes the District’s Pride celebration, which includes a parade and a street festival. It also organizes Capital Trans Pride.
Evans’ bill would also forgive the outstanding $121,056.76 owed to the Metropolitan Police Department for the 2019 festival, requires the District to refund any payments already made, and creates a $400,000 grant “to be used for expenses related to the 2020 Capital Pride Celebration and related Pride in the Nation’s Capital events.”
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“The Pride Parade is when the District proudly and loudly celebrates the diversity and inclusivity of our city and residents,” Evans said in a statement. “The future of the parade and the weeklong Capital Pride Celebration, much of which is free and accessible to the public, should not be burdened because of fees of government services for the event. Having first responders and city services are a critical component of any large event as we witnessed during the 2019 Pride Parade.”
Council Chairman Phil Mendelson, in a phone conversation last night, said he was not previously aware of Evans’ bill and couldn’t comment on whether it is likely to move forward. Without Evans there to push the bill, one of his 12 colleagues would have to take it up.
Mendelson told LL he stopped by Evans’ office, but did not see him.
“The main office looks pretty much the way it has been,” Mendelson said. “But I didn’t go into his office. It looked a little more empty [than usual].”
“The Pride celebration has continued to grow, and become a large economic impact for Washington D.C. and requires support from many agencies in city that put in a lot of hours,” Ryan Bos, executive director of Capital Pride Alliance says. “And this is the right thing to do. With support from the city we will be able to continue to provide the event that is for the entire Washington D.C. community.”
Evans’ announced his resignation on Jan. 7 and became official on Friday, Jan. 17, the last business day before the Council was set to vote to expel him. He would have been the first D.C. councilmember in history voted off the Council.
In a press release, Evans crowed about his longtime support of the LGBTQ community, including his legislation to repeal an anti-sodomy law, and claimed he was the first councilmember to support the legalization of same-sex marriage.
Evans has often pointed to his support for gay rights as evidence of his progressive bona fides, though critics have taken issue with his cozy relationships with the business community.
It was those relationships that ultimately led to Evans’ undoing. An investigation his fellow councilmembers authorized concluded that he had repeatedly violated the body’s ethics rules. In August, he received a $20,000 fine from the D.C. Board of Ethics and Government Accountability for using his Council email to send job solicitations to legal and lobbying firms.
He is also under investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s Office but has not been charged with a crime.
Evans promoted his bill on Twitter, mostly to the annoyance of those who felt compelled to reply. Meanwhile, Jeremiah Lowery, who chairs the progressive group DC for Democracy, tweeted a solicitation of “your best Jack Evans’ [sic] story.” The replies amounted to a greatest hits of sorts, including tales about bike lanes, internet sales tax, campaign finance reform, trickle down economics, his failed efforts to edit his own Wikipedia page, and an account from one guy who claims Evans almost hit him with his car.
Shortly after announcing the bill, Evans also sent out a final newsletter from his Council email account.
The message recounts what Evans believes are his greatest legislative accomplishments, including his support for LGBTQ rights, his role in the city’s financial revival and in bringing an MLB team back to D.C, and his support for the arts.
“I know I have made some mistakes during my service to the city and I’m leaving the Council having learned important lessons that I will carry with me into the next chapter of my life,” Evans wrote. “I want to apologize to my constituents, my staff, and the residents of the city.”
It’s unclear where Evans will end up. The Washington Post has suggested Evans may make a run for the seat he just vacated. He has not filed any paperwork to do so, but he also hasn’t updated his bios on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.