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Call him the Franklin Delano Roosevelt of liquor regulation!
Last year, Ward 1 Councilmember Jim Graham held up a pair of nominations to the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board submitted by Mayor Adrian M. Fenty. In February, Graham explained his power move by playing up his plan to reduce the board’s size from seven to five members.
This week, Fenty sent down some new ABC board nominations. Two of the names—-Ward 8 engineer Herman O. Jones and Ward 6 statistician and civic leader Nicholas Alberti—-are somewhat familiar: They were the two that Graham had obstructed. Two new names show up, however: Charles L. Brodsky and Donald C. Brooks.
And here’s another place they show up: Graham’s donor rolls. Brodsky, an Adams Morgan businessman, gave $100 to him in 2002; Brooks, a longtime city health administrator and also an Adams Morgan resident, gave the same amount, along with his wife, Christine Brooks.
Currently, only four board seats are filled, and two are set to be vacated come June. The board’s current chair, Peter Feather, is a Ward 1 resident (and also a Graham donor), which means that assuming all four of the new nominees are approved, three of six board seats will be occupied by Graham constituents/donors.
But Ward 1 has a lot of liquor licenses, right? Not that many: Only 16 percent of the city’s almost 1,500 active on- and off-premises liquor licenses are located in Ward 1. (If any ward were entitled to multiple members, it’s Ward 2, with 609.)
Back in February, Graham told LL that he and Fenty had worked out a deal, though he didn’t disclose the details at the time. Graham has not responded to a call for comment, but from these developments, the dimensions of the deal look something like this: Graham stopped pressing his bill to shrink the booze board; Fenty reciprocated by nominating two Ward 1’ers.
More to come.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery