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New D.C. Wire Feature: Letters to the Editor

We told you today in the Post's Metro section about infighting in the D.C. Democratic Party, with a slate that includes about a dozen Obama volunteers upsetting the apple cart in its bid for seats on the D.C. Democratic State Committee. Now comes some heated reaction from David Meadows, spokesman for the party, who takes offense to the story and suggests in an email to the Post, which he copied to other news outlets, that "the reporting is frankly biased and misleading."

For more about why Meadows thinks this, read his full letter after the jump.

David Nakamura,

Your latest story titled "DC Party is resistant to change", inaccurately
reflects the position of the DC Democratic Party. The DC Democratic
Party welcomes all Democrats to participate in all levels of our organization. We encourage Democrats young and old to run for seats in our wards and constituency organizations and to qualify as candidates for the elected seats to the DC Democratic State Committee. To clarify, the Party does not participate in challenges to candidates petitions.

You eagerly report on 4 candidate challenges while omitting the fact that nearly 70 candidates went unchallenged. You talk about 2 candidates not being elected as Delegates but fail to mention that over 100 other candidates ran unsuccessfully for the 15 Delegate seats to our National Convention. This kind of reporting is frankly biased and misleading.

Your quotes of current members lead the reader to believe they speak on behalf of the Party while in truth they reflect their own personal opinions. I will not deny that the DC Democratic State Committee has members that have served the Party many years but objective research on your part would have shown that nearly 1/3 are new members of which most were elected after working on the Howard Dean for America campaign of
2004. A more fair and honest report you could have written could be titled "Some Democrats resist Change"

We share and embrace the enthusiasm Sen. Barack Obama has created in democrats across the country and at home and have for months implemented our Neighborhood Leaders Program (DCDemocrats.us) to utilize this electorate to ensure Obama will become our 44th President.

The DC Democratic State Committee with the leadership of Chairman, Anita Bonds is proud that within 18 months we have gone from being over $45,000 in debt to solvency with abundant resources to operate effectivly this election cycle. We are proud of our January Caucus of which 1,000 residents attended. We are proud of the DC Democratic
Convention this past May which had 600 participants and included work shop training and constituency caucus meetings. We are proud that last month we passed the first DC Democratic Platform in 4 years which includes relevant language addressing issues such as the repeal of the DC gun ban and education reform. We are pleased with our rebuilt website (DCDSC.org) which became active this past month which will enable needed stronger communication along with our new YOUTUBE.com account (DC
Democrats) where we will be posting meetings and events. The DC Democratic Party still faces its challenges but we are definitely enacting change.

You draw a negative opinion of the DC Democratic Party yet continually requested and plead to join us at our host hotel in Denver. We have secured space for you and I look forward to helping you gain access to as many Delegates as possible.

In closing, I am especially disappointed that you not only chose to misrepresent us in your story on the same day the DC Democratic Party held a protest against John McCain and the Republican Party's plan to privatize Social Security which made news Nationwide but that you did not offer me an opportunity to correct these inaccuracies when you and I spoke the day previous.

This DC Democratic State Committee election is similar to these Olympics where seasoned well trained athletes are greatly awarded and where unknown heroes break forth bringing new talents and ideas. We wouldn't have it any other way.

For future info, Vice Chairman Jeffrey Richard [sic] is not a Lawyer.

David Meadows
Director of Communications
DC Democratic Party

By David A Nakamura  |  August 15, 2008; 12:15 PM ET
Categories:  2008 District Election  
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Comments

Who gives a rip!

Posted by: Anonymous | August 15, 2008 12:25 PM | Report abuse

David Meadows -- what a poorly-written missive. Criticism loses a bit of weight when it's as fraught with as many spelling and grammatical mistakes as yours.

Posted by: CP | August 15, 2008 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Dave Meadows: Dinasaur Hack Politician's Apologist.

Two thirds of the commitee are dinasaur senior citizens who don't want to evolve.

Our message to baby boomers standing in the way and asking people to "wait their turn" is: YOUR TIME IS OVER. GET OUT!

Posted by: jbe | August 15, 2008 2:12 PM | Report abuse

I served on the DC Democratic State Committee (DCDSC) 8 times during 1978 thru 2007 as the President of the DC Young Democrats, At-large member, Alternate National Committeeman and 5 times as President of the Ward Eight Democrats. I have seen the DCDSC in the best of times and the worst of times and I say with strong conviction that the committee under the current leadership is one of the worst that I have experienced.

Organizationally speaking, it is a runaway train. Monthly meetings are haphazardly scheduled and cancelled at will. There is no long-term action agenda and absolutely no vision for the future. What particularly concerns me is the DCDSC's lack of financial integrity. There are no regular financial reports at the meetings. The DC Office of Campaign Finance fined the DCDSC $2000 last year for late reporting and the reduced the fine to $200. Most of the members of the committee were not even aware that this had happened. As of today, the DCDSC is late in filing its current report. Also, the committee has self-exempted itself from reporting to the Federal Elections Commission (FEC), which means that it cannot legally raise funds to help elect Obama to the presidency. It is outrageous that the DC Democratic Party right now cannot raise funds to help the national ticket carry Virginia for the first time in 44 years.

What is most despicable is that the DCDSC chair and the National Committeewoman have set up a seperate fund for national convention expenses and have structured it in a way that they are not required to report to the DC Office of Campaign Finance or the FEC. This arrangement is murky at best and unethical at worse as there is no accountablity outside of the persons who set up that account. That, in my opinion, is simply disgraceful. It is painful to witness some of our party's leaders play tricks and trash with Democratic cash.

Last year on behalf of the Ward Eight Democrats I organized a presidential debate watch party, which raised $1540 to raise funds for DCDSC national convention expenses particularly to send DC youths to the Denver convention. So far, it appears that not a dime of that money has gone to help young people get to the convention.

The DCDSC needs to put its organizational house in order. There is no way that the current committee can even get to the point of doing creative things as it cannot handle routine administrative matters in decency and order.

The Obama4UnityBeatsMcCain slate not only needs to win but must win in order to restore competency and ethics to the DCDSC. Hopefully DC Democrats who are interested in seeing the party organization adopt an activist agenda and operate with integrity will give this slate of reformers the opportunity to serve.

Yours for Democratic Party progress,

Philip Pannell

Posted by: Philip Pannell | August 15, 2008 2:31 PM | Report abuse

hey, um Meadows, why aren't there any Obama events on the site?

You said: (DCDSC.org) which became active this past month which will enable needed stronger communication along with our new YOUTUBE.com account (DC
Democrats) where we will be posting meetings and events.

But there are events happening in Virginia all the time, organized by DC for Obama. Hell, I even got an e-mail that obama4unitybeatsmccain is sponsoring trips to Virginia to turn Virginia Blue and ensure a Democratic victory for Warner, Feder and Obama. What events does the DCDS have planned for the nominee? I don't see anything other than fundraising crap about Denver. What about the rest of us who aren't going?

Kind of seems like the article hit the nail on the head.

Posted by: runamuk | August 15, 2008 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Yes, Jeffrey D. Richardson is not a Lawyer. So, Who Am I?

I am the current Vice Chair of the DC Democratic Party, elected in November 2006, and one of DC's representatives on the Democratic National Committee. And Yes, I am running as an at-large candidate on the Obama4UnityBeatsMcCain Slate (visit Obama4UnityBeatsMcCain.com)

I came into national Democratic Party politics as a volunteer in DC and New Hampshire for Governor Howard Dean’s 2004 presidential campaign. After Governor Dean left the Democratic primary race, I took up the charge to stay involved and work from within to revive and redefine the Democratic Party. As a grassroots community activist, youth worker, researcher and social worker, I jumped at the opportunity to be a change agent within the Democratic Party. After returning from volunteering at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, I rolled up my sleeves and joined a coalition of progressive activists in DC to form the DC for Democracy Political Action Committee (DCFD), a local chapter of Democracy for America founded by Governor Howard Dean. As a founding member of DC for Democracy I served as the first membership and outreach committee chair. From there I went on to serve as the First Vice President and Interim President of the DC Ward 6 Democrats.

I am a graduate of The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and The Howard University School of Social Work where I worked for seven years as a researcher within Howard University’s DC-Baltimore Center on Child Health Disparities, where my work focused on the development and evaluation of youth development strategies targeting the prevention of adolescent risk behavior with a specific focus on adolescent sexuality. I am currently working with non-profits to support the development and implementation of out-of-school time youth programs in the District of Columbia.

If you want to learn more about me and why I am running visit http://obama4unitybeatsmccain.blogspot.com/2008/07/jeffrey-richardson-at-large.html

Regardless of how you feel about the article that was written today, understand that the DC Democratic Party is here to be a voice for Democrats across this city and the party needs you now more than ever. No matter who you vote for on September 9th please consider getting involved to support the grassroots movement for change, accountability, and transparency the is sweeping this country. YES WE CAN! ~ SI SE PUEDE!

Jeffrey D. Richardson

Posted by: JDR | August 15, 2008 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Gee, this is why I stopped going to these stupid DC Democrat meetings. All this infighting. Reality check...everyone is looking bad. Give the new generation a chance to prove that they are in this for more than just Obama...keep in mind that they (we) are not all natives but have taken on the problems of our new home and made them ours collectively to solve. Everyone retires at some point or change becomes static. Come on folks!

Posted by: Don't want to ruin the fun | August 15, 2008 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Meadows is way too cocky. Look at the way he threatens the reporter
(Nakamura) suggesting that he might withhold access if Nakamura
doesn't write the articles he wants to read. Sheesh. Throw those bums
out and get some fresh blood in.

--Ben

Posted by: Ben | August 15, 2008 4:44 PM | Report abuse

I agree, this response does nothing to endear me to the status quo. I am def voting for the new people.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 15, 2008 4:59 PM | Report abuse

This is a funny line of comments. David Meadows who is a party hack is criticized by Philip Pannell another party hack.

The DC State Committee has never been a functioning organization and Pannell who claims to have served on it for 8 years now claims he and his slate can change it. Rubbish.

He and Arrington Dixon another DC has- been politician are trying for a comeback on the back of Barack Obama. They should be embarrassed as I know Obama would be if he knew what was going on.

Posted by: concerned citizen | August 15, 2008 5:14 PM | Report abuse

Someone mentioned that we should post info on the folks running on the Obama4UnityBeatsMcCain slate, so here it is:
http://www.obama4unitybeatsmccain.com/home

Honorable Arrington Dixon, National Committeeman
Miriam Sapiro, National Committeewoman
Douglas Sloan, Alternate National Committeeman
Regan Ford, Alternate National Committeewoman
Jeffrey D. Richardson, At-Large Committeeman
Kemry Hughes, At-Large Committeeman
Alan Bray, At-Large Committeeman
Jeff Norman, At-Large Male
Kenneth Ellerbe, At-Large Committeeman
John Nowicki, At-Large Committeeman
Kimberly Morton, At-Large Committeewoman
Linda Nguyen, At-Large Committeewoman
Kirsten Burgard, At-Large Committeewoman
Robin Kelley, At-Large Committeewoman
Tamela Gordon, At-Large Committeewoman
Gaby Fraser, At-Large Committeewoman
Ian Martinez, Ward 1 Committeeman
Jason Berry, Ward 1 Committeeman
Dr. E. Gail Anderson Holness, Ward 1 Committeewoman
Oralia Puente, Ward 1 Committeewoman
Daniel Wedderburn, Ward 2 Committeeman
Jerusa Carl Wilson Jr., Ward 2 Committeeman
Courtney Chapin, Ward 2 Committeewoman
Paige Wedderburn, Ward 2 Committeewoman
Shana Mosher, Ward 3 Committeewoman
Kahlill Palmer, Ward 3 Committeeman
Frank Wu, Ward 3 Committeeman
Jocelyn Nieva, Ward 3 Committeewoman
Dwayne Revis, Ward 4 Committeeman
Tony Towns, Ward 4 Committeeman
Faith E. Wheeler, Ward 4 Committeewoman
Ella Gilbert, Ward 4 Committeewoman
Carl Thomas, Ward 5 Committeeman
Fred Allen, Ward 5 Committeeman
Romaine B. Thomas, Ward 5 Committeewoman
Grace Lewis, Ward 5 Committeewoman
Howard Park, Ward 6 Committeeman
Deleon Ware III, Ward 6 Committeeman
Betty Smalls, Ward 6 Committeewoman
Rhonda Hamilton, Ward 6 Committeewoman
Juan Thompson, Ward 7 Committeeman
Phillip Hammond, Ward 7 Committeeman
Patricia Malloy, Ward 7 Committeewoman
Denise Reed, Ward 7 Committeewoman
Eugene Dewitt Kinlow, Ward 8 Committeeman
Wanda Lockridge, Ward 8 Committeewoman
Lauren Fraser, Ward 8 Committeewoman
Philip Pannell, Ward 8 Committeeman

You can also visit our blog at:
http://obama4unitybeatsmccain.blogspot.com

Together, Yes, We Can!!

PS, you can also visit me at http://uniongal.blogspot.com

(cause I can't stop myself from shamelessly encouraging visits to my union blog).

Posted by: uniongal | August 15, 2008 9:16 PM | Report abuse

If Barack Obama were embarrassed over anything about the DC Democratic State Committee race, it certainly would not have anything to do with the Obama4UnityBeatsMcCain Slate, as "Concerned Citizen" suggests. We are the grassroots volunteers who have been traveling all over this city, the Metropolitan area, and the country to turn out the vote for Obama. Even as we face our own difficult election on September 9th, we continue to phone bank and canvass and organize bus trips and raise money to turn Virginia blue for Obama. EVERY Slate running in this election uses Obama's name it its title, but ONLY Obama4UnityBeatsMcCain is comprised primarily of DC for Obama members.

Barack Obama would be proud.

(And no, I was not punched in the face, as Nakamura wrote in his article.)

Posted by: Jocelyn Nieva | August 15, 2008 10:04 PM | Report abuse

It's like everything else the Post is writing these day. Anything to disparage the Democrats and Obama. Even the beginning of this article is an insult.

Posted by: Truth | August 15, 2008 11:47 PM | Report abuse

My Dear Friend

Writing this letter was ill advised.

You are affectionate and talented but I fear you have made a grave mistake.

Never lie or misrepresent information to reporters. You are trying to play 3 card monty with them...and that infuriates them and spurs more articles.

You fail to mention that the Chair of the DC Democratic State Committee is also the lead on another slate of candidates. That she does plays a pivotal role in the election.

I have also been told that slate members have been given special favors by the chair. Such as a set aside for children, as the paige credentials was given to Deborah Royster, a woman well beyond her teen years.

Another media mistake, was in your rebuttal you did not promote the organization wholesale and use this letter to demonstrate concrete examples of unity. So it becomes nothing more than a he said/she said.

I assume there are examples but without taking this opportunity to share them the reader has to assume there are none.

Lastly, I think this conflict sounds like a fight between the current administration and the challengers. And as a paid DNC staffer, you should have not gotten involved.

I remember you fondly at the Democrat Club and your career for the DNC should continue. But getting involved with such squabbles does not show the best of you.

Friend of David Meadows
Capitol Hill


Posted by: Friend of David Meadows | August 16, 2008 8:15 AM | Report abuse

I just checked the DCDSC website: not a single event on their calendar for the months of September and October, critical lead-up months in this presidential election year. And the DCSC blog is empty.

Perhaps the communications people for the state committee are too busy insulting reporters to update their website and blog?

The choice on September 9 couldn't be more clear.


Posted by: jaydc | August 17, 2008 9:44 AM | Report abuse

Imagine, Phil Pannell trying to convince people he gives a rats a$$ about anything other than seeing his name in print. Pannell personifies what is wrong with DC politics.

For 24 years Pannell has been the one who runs for election, then resigns, runs again, then resigns, blames race and religion for his problems, and spends hours cursing everyone under the sun for the problems he alone creates. When Pannell's name is connected with anything political, most sane people know to flee from any connection with him.

So now we have a Pannell slate for DC Democratic State Committee known as "Obama4UnityBeatsMcCain." The mere fact some people have allowed themselves to be connected to a Pannell venture speaks volumes about them and their lack of political judgement. I pity the DC Democratic Party and Senator Obama if this is the type of leadership we have to rely on.

Oh well, in time Pannell will have another mental meltdown; his "unity slate" will disappear; and the DC Party won't have two cents in its treasury. Another successful Pannell venture. Only in DC!

Posted by: Another Rerun | August 17, 2008 3:31 PM | Report abuse

If my memory serves me correctly, the current Treasurer of the DC Democratic Party (Lenwood Johnson) was elected in 2004 as one of the reformers on the Dean slate put together by Phillip Pannell.

So now we find that the Treasurer does not perform. Why haven't the Dean folks removed him or at least made an effort to remove him?

Now the same people are running under a new title known to us as Obama4UnityBeatsMcCain. After the election we may very well have the same people with the same do nothing results for the next four years.

Posted by: DC Outsider Inside | August 17, 2008 5:36 PM | Report abuse

I don't usually engage in such discourse, but I felt the need to chime in on a comment made by DC Outsider Inside. You are correct Linwood Johnson was elected on the Running Against Bush Slate in 2004 as a result of party insiders pushing him onto the ticket and newcomers having no direct knowledge of his record. Where you are incorrect is that in November of 2007 Linwood Johnson was elected treasurer not by the former Deaniacs and Running Against Bush Members, but by the party old guard primarily spearheaded by the Ward 1 warring factions that sit on the DCDSC in an organized effort to oust sitting treasurer Jeffrey Norman, who was elected in 2004 by the former Deaniacs and an overwhelming majority of the DCDSC. Jeffrey Norman is a retired lawyer and federal government employee who has served as treasurer for several organizations across the city and in Ward 3 where he resides. During his term as DCDSC treasurer a treasurer's report was submitted monthly and as anyone will tell you, every I was dotted and every t crossed. Sadly many on the DCDSC didn't like having a treasurer who actively worked to keep the party in compliance and on the straight in narrow. Because Mr. Norman tended to be rather direct in informing the DCDSC executive committee and members if they were not using fiscally sound judgment, they formed a coalition to vote against him and elect Linwood Johnson. So the same people that ousted a functioning treasurer who kept the party in compliance for a treasurer that can't seem to balance the check book let alone submit and FEC or OCF report, are calling themselves change you can believe in and claim to be for DC. Bottom-line, will the DCDSC ever change? I hope so but I truly don't know, however I am willing to give up the blatant incompetence and cronyism of the past for what I perceive as possible strong organization and a willingness to be open to new people and new ideas, YES. I will be giving Obama4UnityBeatsMcCain a try, it can't get any worse and at least the DCDSC will drop some dead weight.

Former Deaniac & Party Observer

Posted by: Former Deaniac & Party Observer | August 17, 2008 10:21 PM | Report abuse

Giving your opponent ammo to shot you with is never a good idea.

Posted by: Open the barn door much | August 18, 2008 1:07 AM | Report abuse

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