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Fenty Praises Graham for Work on Columbia Heights

Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) praised D.C. Council member Jim Graham (D-Ward 1) at a public event in Columbia Heights this morning, even as Graham continues to be battered with questions over last week's arrest of his chief of staff.

Fenty and Graham both attended the grand opening of the new fountain and plaza in the heart of the redeveloped Columbia Heights business and entertainment district on 14th Street. During his remarks, Fenty said Graham deserves credit for helping to turn the once-stagnant corridor into one of the city's most bustling retail and residential communities.

"This area, when Jim Graham took over, the entire area couldn't have looked any more different," said Fenty, referring to Graham's election in 1998. "Columbia Heights has come a long, long way in the 10 or 11 years he has been in office."

Graham did not address the charges against his chief of staff, Ted G. Loza, who is accused of accepting a $1,500 bribe. But Graham, who has been an integral part of most redevelopment projects in the area, said the transformation of Columbia Heights ranks among his top achievements.

"It's been absolutely phenomenal what happened here, and its all for the good," Graham said. "It's all for the public interest."

Both Graham and Fenty have developed reputations for never shying away from a well-publicized groundbreaking or ribbon cutting. But there was a minor hiccup at today's opening.

The new fountain, which is powered by solar panels concealed in towering metal structures that look like flowers, had to be turned on remotely. Apparently, someone turned the water on before Fenty and Graham were ready for the photo-op.

"Who has the switch to turn it on?" Fenty asked, off microphone, after the water began flowing. "Where is the switch to turn it on?"

"It's back there," a staffer responded.

"That's what Graham and I wanted to do," Fenty quipped.

--Tim Craig

By Washington Post Editors  |  September 28, 2009; 12:40 PM ET
Categories:  City Life , Columbia Heights , D.C. Council , Economic Development , Mayor Fenty , Tim Craig  | Tags: jim graham  
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Next: Fenty: I Can't Comment on Loza Case


Of course there is praise for Graham, two peas in a pod. That's why he picked Graham's ward to place his name on a school field. He knew that would be OK with Graham.

Posted by: candycane1 | September 28, 2009 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Loose Lips is reporting that Graham is indeed a target of the investigation.
Fenty "can't comment" most likely on the advice of counsel.

Does Graham still have a passport?

Posted by: ManOpener | September 28, 2009 2:54 PM | Report abuse

WUSA-TV has even more explosive charges: ‘Sources close to the FBI probe tell 9NEWS NOW that [Ward 1 Councilmember Jim Graham] is also a target of the probe….Our sources say both Graham and Loza are on tape talking with who they thought was a cab company representative when in fact they were communicating with an undercover FBI agent.’ The mystery man remains Ethiopian community activist Abdulaziz Kamus, who, reports indicate, tried to bribe a taxi commission member before cooperating with authorities to snare Loza—and who else?

Posted by: concernedaboutdc | September 28, 2009 3:23 PM | Report abuse

I saw that as well concernedaboutdc. What's also interesting is his trip to Ethiopia all expenses paid for the reason of learning the culture.LOL He didn't report the trip. His ward is heavily entrenched with Ethiopian culture all along U Street. Of course there's the embassy and libraries. Give us a break!!!

Posted by: candycane1 | September 28, 2009 4:24 PM | Report abuse

How long until Council members treat Fenty's praise like and endorsement from GW Bush - i.e., thanks but no thanks?

Personally I think this FBI investigation stinks, but I still find Graham disgusting.

Posted by: Godfather_of_Goals | September 28, 2009 6:02 PM | Report abuse

WELL, this gets bigger and bigger. Now I see why U Street was lost to so many of the original black business owners after the subway construction.

Graham has been going after owners of apartments in this area for some time. He supports speculators trying to but property to convert to condos.

Posted by: dccounselor72 | September 28, 2009 7:14 PM | Report abuse

Everyone knows that Jim G has maintained tremendous concern for gay Ethiopian vegetarians.

As he once said, "I never eat anything which once had a face."

Posted by: jbartelloni | September 28, 2009 8:45 PM | Report abuse

And Graham's record of dubious real estate deals for personal gain predates his term on the Council. He was up to his bowtie in it at WWC. Maybe now his sorry record will see the light of day.

Posted by: SoCali | September 28, 2009 8:47 PM | Report abuse

Godfather wrote:
How long until Council members treat Fenty's praise like and endorsement from GW Bush - i.e., thanks but no thanks?

Fenty's recommendation is unlikely to mean much to Graham except perhaps in a presentencing report.

Posted by: SoCali | September 28, 2009 8:49 PM | Report abuse

Candycane1 and ConcernedaboutDC, add me into the mix too. I agree with you both. I can't wait to see Adrian's a$$ fail. This guy has turned out to be a monster. He was a monster when I met he 10 years ago, but he was pretending to be nice and a man of the people.

Posted by: Ward4DC | September 28, 2009 9:46 PM | Report abuse

Being a resident in Councilman Graham's ward, I hope he isn't guilty of any impropriety. In the last few months when I have contacted his office with concerns regarding the neighborhood, the response was not only quick, but action taken as well. I reserve judgment until the investigation is complete.

Posted by: dottie20 | September 28, 2009 10:57 PM | Report abuse

Graham is good at constituent service but...

He is been known to be involved in this stuff. But so is Fenty--if there is a link to him as well--I would not be shocked but it will be like a present to DC to have him taken out by this.

However, he is so arrongant he could be indicted and still run for office.

Posted by: 411Tibby | October 1, 2009 10:54 PM | Report abuse

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