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Should He Stay Or Should He Go: Everybody knows Ward 5 Councilmember Harry Thomas Jr. agreed to settle with the Office of Attorney General on Friday, right? And everybody knows that Thomas still hasn’t provided any reasonable rebuttal to the A.G.’s charges that he stole city money earmarked for youth sports and spent the money on an Audi SUV, golf expenses, and Hooters? Good, let’s move on to the reactions from his colleagues, which ranges from calling on Thomas to resign, to calling on everyone else to chill. Councilmember David Catania was first off the blocks on Friday in calling for Thomas to step down. “Taxpayers are owed an answer—not a settlement,” says Catania. On Saturday, Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh followed up on Saturday, saying that she hopes Thomas “will seriously consider stepping off the council.” Ward 4 Councilmember Muriel Bowser doesn’t quite call on Thomas to stand aside, but says “he needs to consider strongly the position he’s putting the entire body in and our ability to govern.” Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans says he’s confused by the settlement. Councilmember Phil Mendelson says it’s hard to ask for a colleague to resign when you have to work with that person. Ward 7 Councilmember Yvette Alexander says she would never agree to repay money if she hadn’t wrongfully spent it, but adds that she thinks it’s pointless to call on any of her colleagues to resign. And Councilmember Michael A. Brown is in Thomas’ corner, pointing out that there’s no admission of guilt in Thomas’ settlement, and that “speaks for itself.” No words on what they’d like to see Thomas do yet from Mayor Vince Gray or Council Chairman Kwame “Fully Loaded” Brown.
AFTER THE JUMP: More Reax; Kingmaker; Wells: Kwame Did a Dangerous Thing…
An Affront: The Post editorial board sounds off on the settlement, saying Thomas’ presence on the council “is an affront that should not be tolerated any longer. … if Mr. Thomas did nothing wrong, why did he agree to give the city $300,000? Where will the money come from? How come he has never accounted — despite repeated promises — for his actions?” The Post says it’s “likely that his attorneys — who now include noted defender Abbe Lowell — will try to use it as a bargaining chip with the U.S. Attorney’s Office,” before calling U.S. Attorney Ron Machen, again, to get some answers. The Examiner‘s Jonetta Rose Barras also calls on Thomas to resign and says the current chatter that there’s an element in of racism in white councilmembers calling on Thomas to resign is “ludicrous.” “If Thomas doesn’t voluntarily resign, residents should move to recall him as soon as the law permits. He can’t be allowed to receive a pass because he is black and serving a predominantly black ward. We all know the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. didn’t die to advance the careers of corrupt black politicians.” And WTOP’s Mark Plotkin says he doesn’t think Thomas’ political career can survive.
Kingmaker: The Post‘s Mike DeBonis takes a look at political “kingmaker” and city contractor Jeff Thompson, who likes to stay out of the spotlight. Mayor Anthony Williams and Chamber of Commerce boss Barbara Lang have nice things to say about Thompson. But Councilmember Vincent Orange had nothing to say about his political patron, “I’m not talking about Jeff Thompson.”
In Other News:
- Colby King: what did Brown do for foreign governments?
- Councilmember Tommy Wells wants to move the D.C. Jail, tells the Post, “putting me in charge of the office of planning was a very, very dangerous thing to do.”
- Gray admin meets with film execs; also, they’re making another Bourne movie? Kinda thought they wrapped that one up.
- Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson on test scores and teacher evaluations.
- Post calls H Street NE “a work in progress.”
Gray sked: Interview at 9:30 a.m. with CNN, another interview with the AP at 3 p.m.
Council sked: Recess.