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Words Matter in Hartsock Feud

In the battle over whether Ximena Hartsock remains interim director of the parks and recreation department, words matter.

First, Council member Marion Barry (D-Ward 8) insulted Latinos by stating Hartsock didn't understand "black and brown" culture.

After the council voted 7 to 5 to reject Hartsock, she responded to Barry by making some African Americans uneasy by saying, "if Marion Barry was a white person and I was black person, there would be riots in the street."

Attorney General Peter Nickles was so upset by the council decision he told the Washington Examiner the council made its decision based on "a misogynist, racist hearing."

Council member Kwame Brown (D-At large) then accused Nickles, who worked as civil rights attorney in Mississippi in the 1960s, of "inciting" racial tensions in the District.

Over the weekend, Council member Mary M. Cheh (D-Ward 3) offended Nickles by stating Mayor Adrian M. Fenty's administration is "almost becoming a lawless administration." Nickles responded by accusing Cheh of being an "angry woman."

Brown, a possible candidate for mayor next year, was again outraged , and he issued a statement Monday demanding Nickles apologize to Cheh. Earlier today, Nickles gave Cheh flowers to try to smooth out their relationship.

But it doesn't stop there. Not to be left out, the D.C. Republican Committee is now accusing Cheh of demeaning Hartsock.

Prepare to be offended - if you believe the word "smuggling" can never be used in relation to someone who is Hispanic.

In an interview with Newschannel 8, Cheh is quoted as saying Fenty is now "smuggling" Hartsock "back in with a new label" because he reappointed her interim director on Friday.

Robert J. Kabel, chairman of the D.C. Republican Committee, said Cheh should not have used the term "smuggling" because Hartsock is from Chile and is not a U.S. citizen.

"We hope the council will send a clear message to Ms. Cheh that her comments in describing Dr. Hartsock are not welcomed and will not be tolerated," Kabel said.

Ah, politics!!

--Tim Craig

By Tim Craig  |  October 28, 2009; 4:15 PM ET
Categories:  Tim Craig  
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Will somebody please have mercy on the hard-working, tax paying residents of DC and stop the insanity.

Is there no justice?

Posted by: 2belinda | October 28, 2009 6:25 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: shank2sb | October 28, 2009 6:52 PM | Report abuse

Somebody please forward this article to Comedy Central, c/o The Daily Show and The Colbert Report. At least then we might get a little amusement and commiseration along with our frustration and humiliation.

Posted by: nan_lynn | October 28, 2009 7:02 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: candycane1 | October 28, 2009 8:50 PM | Report abuse

How does that differ from smuggling contracts for one agency to another? I'm saying, Councilwoman Cheh was undoubtedly not trying to be racist. This is getting stupider by the day. FBI, please investigate the nonesense.

Posted by: southyrndiva | October 28, 2009 8:55 PM | Report abuse

Southyrn diva, I agree with you, and I think GW law students should get a discount...

Posted by: lindabelledc | October 28, 2009 9:46 PM | Report abuse

Oh Ollie what a mess you've gotten me in this time!

Posted by: gordonbundy | October 28, 2009 9:49 PM | Report abuse

Cheh- please stop embarassing us.

I hope the swine flu keeps half of our councilmembers at home.... then we might actually get some things done.

Posted by: iheartdc1 | October 28, 2009 9:57 PM | Report abuse

Michael Brown and Mary Cheh both indicated Dr. Hartsock's failure to follow the law was the determining factor in their decision to dismiss her.

A US District Court dismissed this lawsuit against DPR yesterday.

A council that doesnt do their homework before they make decisions... Welcome to DC.

Please get out and stop embarassing.

Posted by: iheartdc1 | October 28, 2009 10:25 PM | Report abuse

Mary Cheh is like a good student who gets an F as soon as starts hanging out with the wrong crowd (Harry Thomas, Marion Barry). Even her language has changed...the once serious, smart law professor has become mundane, ordinary, classless.
Nickles maybe a snake but proved Cheh wrong in court and now Cheh will have to eat her words rejecting Hartsock because according to a federal judge she did not break the law. Cheh should know better...She needs to take a vacation, stop hanging out with Harry and Marion, and shut up for a while...if she does all three she may survive...

Posted by: randy2233 | October 29, 2009 1:06 AM | Report abuse

She's found her niche; in the kingdom of the blind, the one-eyed man is King.

Posted by: smithhemb | October 29, 2009 6:28 AM | Report abuse

Seriously - they ARE "smuggling" her in... they dont think the racism card would play for the whites who voted against her so they needed something else... People should have been more outraged when she came in, fired people w/out an evaluation then brought in her own making double their salary. Sorry, I have no sympathy.

Posted by: missboo | October 29, 2009 8:15 AM | Report abuse

Weren't the people she fired without evaluation childcare workers -- i.e. because she was eliminating the department? And weren't the people she brought in managers whose job responsibilities were quite different?

Posted by: smithhemb | October 29, 2009 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Meanwhile, the killing in DC continues...

Posted by: mendelsonmustgo | October 29, 2009 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Take back The Washington Post. Cancel your subscription immediately. It's not worth the ink.

Posted by: teacherspet | November 1, 2009 3:46 PM | Report abuse

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