Everyone, please join D.C. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Vincent Bernard Orange Sr. in giving himself a round of applause. He really deserves it.
The Washington Nationals are world champions! And they could not have done it without the former councilmember, so he’s throwing himself a big party to celebrate.
The D.C. Chamber of Commerce will recognize
Orange’s the Nationals’ come-from-behind victory over the Houston Astros at its Annual Meeting and Chairman’s Inaugural Breakfast next Thursday, Dec. 12 at 8 am.
Orange, along with the other D.C. pols who supported bringing an MLB team back to the District in 2004, will be dubbed “Hometown Heroes” and will receive World Series replica trophies, a World Series hat, and a baseball signed by Nats GM and president Mike Rizzo and first baseman Ryan Zimmerman.
The awardees with no ties to airport authorities will also get a roundtrip ticket to anywhere Southwest Airlines flies, according to a news release the chamber sent out yesterday.
But Orange isn’t the only person Orange is showering with praise and valuable memorabilia. That would be selfish. Also on the list are former Mayor Anthony Williams, former Council Chair Linda Cropp, former councilmembers Harold Brazil, Kevin Chavous, Sandra Allen, and Sharon Ambrose (who died in 2017), and current (though possibly soon-to-be-former) Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans.
LL bets the spoil sports who opposed spending about $700 million in taxpayer dollars to build a new stadium are regretting their votes right about now. Among them are then-Ward 4 Councilmember Adrian Fenty, current Chairman Phil Mendelson, at-large members David Catania and Carol Schwartz, then-Ward 1 Councilmember Jim Graham (also deceased), and then-Ward 3 Councilmember Kathy Patterson, the current D.C. auditor.
It’s unclear exactly how big a role Orange played in designating himself as one of the Chamber of Commerce’s Hometown Heroes because neither he nor Margaret Singleton, the Chamber’s vice president of contracts and programs, returned LL’s emails and phone messages. LL will update this post if he hears back.
LL also wonders whether “hometown” is the right designation for these heroes. Orange is from Oakland, California, Williams is from L.A., Chavous is from Indianapolis, Brazil is from Columbus, Ohio, Cropp is from Atlanta, Ambrose is from Chicago, and Evans is from Nanticoke, Pennsylvania.
For Evans in particular, the announcement surely comes as welcome news. The embattled lawmaker has had a rough go of it recently and faces near-certain expulsion after the Council finally realized he’s been breaking ethics rules like it’s his job. Evans denies breaking any rules and says he had a different interpretation of the Council’s Code of Official Conduct.
Coincidentally, Orange is the other D.C. councilmember in recent memory whose outside employment raised a conflict of interest. In 2016, the lame-duck Orange accepted his current position at the Chamber of Commerce while he was still a sitting councilmember. Orange eventually gave in to the calls for his resignation. Evans does not appear ready to do the same.
“The eight awardees represent the original group of eight that voted and/or supported bringing baseball back to the nation’s capital, Washington D.C. and building a baseball stadium for the Nationals,” the Chamber of Commerce’s new release says, in case you forgot where the nation’s capital is.