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Posted at 3:40 PM ET, 03/ 1/2011

Kwame Brown vows to 'win back the trust' of residents

By Tim Craig

D.C. Council Chairman Kwame Brown (D) said Tuesday he's going to work to "win back the trust" of city residents angered or troubled by his decision to request a "fully loaded" Lincoln Navigator that would have cost taxpayers $2,000 a month.

Speaking to reporters after the council session, Brown said he's committed to turning the discussion back to the council's efforts to create jobs and balance the budget amid news the city is facing a $322 million budget shortfall in fiscal 2012.

"We are going to focus on the people's business," Brown said. He later added, "You've got to go back and win the trust of all the people who are disappointed and I am going to do that everyday."

Last week, The Washington Post reported that city officials were asked to lease a "fully loaded" Lincoln Navigator L for Brown at a cost of about $2,000 a month. The ensuing uproar led Brown to say he is returning the luxury sport-utility vehicle, although it is unclear whether the city can cancel its lease early.

The leasing controversy has battered Brown's public image. Thursday, he was booed by some audience members while trying to speak at a fundraiser for the Duke Ellington School of the Arts, held at the Kennedy Center, according some people who attended.

Brown was elected with 56 percent of the vote in his race against former council member Vincent B. Orange. On the campaign trail, Brown interspersed charm with a populist message, a combination that caused strategists and observers to respect his political skills.

Without recent public polling to gauge the impact of the SUV controversy, it's too early to tell if there will be long-term political consequences for Brown, widely considered a potential future mayoral candidate.

But Brown and D.C. Council member Sekou Biddle (D-At large) quickly will have to decide what role, if any, Brown will play in the April 26 special election for an at-large seat on the council.

In early January, Brown endorsed Biddle for the seat a few days before the D.C. Democratic State Committee voted to appoint Biddle as an interim council member pending the special election. Brown's visible support was widely viewed as key to Biddle's success in keeping Orange from winning the interim appointment.

With Biddle relatively unknown citywide, he may still need Brown to garner support in areas of the city where the Brown name holds sway. Yet, some of Biddle's opponents are salivating at the prospect of Brown remaining active in the campaign.

"Voters are not happy with the leadership they see right now," said Josh Lopez, a Democratic candidate in the race. "They see Biddle as a rubber stamp. D.C. residents want someone new."

Brown seems uncertain if he will be aggressively hitting the campaign trail for Biddle. Asked Tuesday if he would be an asset or liability to Biddle, Brown said he's just "supporting someone" he "believes in."

"I think he will make a great asset to the council," Brown said.

Biddle, meanwhile, has been taking some steps to try to distance himself from the controversy surrounding Brown.

Earlier Tuesday, Biddle introduced a controversial bill that would require city employees who live in Virginia or Maryland to pay a 2 percent tax for not living in the District.

"We have lost a signficant part of our taxbase to Maryland and the District," said Biddle, arguing it was unacceptable that 72 percent of city employees live outside the District.

Biddle also teamed up with Council member Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) to introduce legislation that would require the mayor and council to approval all future vehicle leases for District employees.

Biddle called the report by the Public Works and Transportation Committee that was critical of the leasing system "disturbing."
"It shows government agencies have operated for years with little regard to the laws," Biddle said from the council dais.

But Biddle's legislation may have not provided him the split from Brown he sought. When it came time for co-sponsors for the legislation, Brown attached his name to the bill

By Tim Craig  | March 1, 2011; 3:40 PM ET
Categories:  Joshua Lopez, Kwame Brown, Sekou Biddle  
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Next: Biddle picks up SEUI endorsement -- and criticism from opponents


Good luck with that Kwame

Posted by: maddogjts | March 1, 2011 4:34 PM | Report abuse

First of all, how about thinking your decisions through? Does it make sense in a city with so many issues to push for a luxury SUV? One should avoid impropriety as well as the appearance of impropriety in all things. As long as the people of DC continue to elect and reelect such shady characters, the city will continue to be a laughing-stock. Of course, once in never out, vote the Democrat back in regardless of record. Marion Barry continues to provide the example they all seem to strive for.

Posted by: wrldtrvlr1982 | March 1, 2011 4:42 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone believe Brown had no idea that his office was pushing for that SUV? Not only did he break the law, but now he's insulting his constituents' intelligence by lying about it, It makes one wonder what else he's been up to (don't forget that he's got "at least" $50,000 in credit card debt). And forget about Biddle - he's been irreparably tainted by his close relationship with Brown and Gray. The DC government is making a dangerous slide back to the bad old days. Its time the electorate of DC draw the line.

Posted by: asuka1 | March 1, 2011 4:50 PM | Report abuse

I deserve an SUV, I am Kwame dammit !

Posted by: pejochum | March 1, 2011 4:57 PM | Report abuse


ROFL Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha hhhhaaaa

April Fools' Day

Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha


Posted by: kstobbe1 | March 1, 2011 5:26 PM | Report abuse

Resign Kwame. You scumbag, resign.

Posted by: kenk33 | March 1, 2011 5:30 PM | Report abuse

Job creation in the District? Sounds like criminals, and gangs are hiring..

Posted by: wewintheylose1 | March 1, 2011 5:30 PM | Report abuse

KB you are going to "win back the trust" of residents. Did you ever think you shouldn't have lost their trust to begin with, through your totally self serving actions. You aren't sorry you ordered the SUV (and whatever else we don't know about yet), you are just sorry you got caught! If ANYONE in the district votes for him again or anyone he endorses, YOU ARE AN IDIOT!!!

Posted by: woodbinemom | March 1, 2011 5:42 PM | Report abuse

When you know what freezer over, Kwame.

Posted by: PublicEnemy1 | March 1, 2011 5:53 PM | Report abuse

The entitlement to the Navigator showed me everything I need to know about Kwame. He's hardwired that way and it won't change. I was skeptical at the beginning and he's shown that he can't be trusted. Unless Biddle goes after him and his buddy Bill Howland, then he's dead in the water.

Posted by: blankspace | March 1, 2011 6:00 PM | Report abuse

This is hilarious. Obviously there is no accountability being demanded from the people he serves (directly or indirectly). Why even speak about it?

He broke the trust. He IS a poor steward of the peoples money. NOBODY in this administration will do anything about it.

Move on Kwame. Figure out a better way to fleece your employers and shut up.

Posted by: bschaper | March 1, 2011 8:13 PM | Report abuse

Human Nature is an immutable trait. He will never be trusted ever again. Only a fool will buy into his song and dance.

Posted by: localgoober | March 1, 2011 8:26 PM | Report abuse

Brown should be indicted, tried, convicted and imprisoned. Since that's unlikely to happen, it's up to the people to start a recall movement to remove Brown from office.

Posted by: Bengal56 | March 1, 2011 8:33 PM | Report abuse

I've noticed a number of comments where people think he should step down. This won't happen. I think this guy posseses a sense of entitlement like few others. He's not going anywhere without a real fight. My advice: get used to him, and his antics. Stay tuned...more to come.

Posted by: ANCLvr | March 1, 2011 9:33 PM | Report abuse

Kwame, being the Chairperson of the Council of the District of Columbia isn't one of your strongest strengths.

I lost trust in you a long time ago. You displayed the same type of behavior as former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.

Posted by: CaptainKangaroo | March 2, 2011 1:10 AM | Report abuse

He doesn't have much of a choice now. Fox 5 is going through public records and outing all the wasteful spending. I'm glad this whole scandal happened because now other abuse is being exposed. Try and raise my taxes now to fix the budget hole.

Posted by: mike214 | March 2, 2011 6:23 AM | Report abuse

Resign, you scumbag! You've been caught abusing the public trust, you're supposed to be done, finished, you go away, and maybe some other day you get to come back, but you don't get to stay in office. To even think you could do this means you are an even lower-life sleazebag than the revelations of your abuse of office made you.

Posted by: GovFlack | March 2, 2011 7:40 AM | Report abuse

There's no politically correct way to put this; black folk, you are a mess.

Posted by: wewintheylose1 | March 2, 2011 8:22 AM | Report abuse

....said Biddle, arguing it was unacceptable that 72 percent of city employees live outside the District.

Unacceptable?? Shows me that that at least 72% of the city employees have some brains at their disposal.

Posted by: Ratzoe | March 2, 2011 8:28 AM | Report abuse

You cant regain something YOU never had. This Political goon needs to go. Another DEM wanna be mayor trying to work his way up the ladder. PLEASE bring back Fenty and get rid of Brown and Gray. Taxes and fees are about to go up up and up. Thanks to the low income, uneducated voters of DC.

Posted by: espnfan | March 2, 2011 8:41 AM | Report abuse

I hate to say this....but blacks have a long way to go...

Look at Mayor Barry's headlines today guy has $700 in unpaid parking tickets....not a big deal but what does this say about him? What kind of "public servant" sets this kind of example.

Mr. Brown is no different. He spends his days thinking "how can I make myself look better" when he needs to be thinking about how to make his constituents look better.

This is, as we have seen, the same MO of many black leaders. The blind leading the blind...

Posted by: inthemiddle2 | March 2, 2011 9:06 AM | Report abuse

Teacher, Teacher, Kwame is still lying. You don't understand that when you betray the public trust and your oath as a public official to uphold the laws of the district of columbia, and violate them yourself, you have no integrity left. You should do the right thing and resign.

Posted by: dcgovcorruption1 | March 2, 2011 9:20 AM | Report abuse

I voted for Orange and wrote-in Fenty. After I buy one of those "I Miss Fenty" bumper stickers, I'm going to write "Told ya so" at the bottom. Who didn't see this coming?

Posted by: daveb59 | March 2, 2011 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Is it just me that this thing with Kwame Brown, reminds me of Kwame Kilpatrict from Detroit? Both got elected and one is for sure a crook and the other is heading that way!!!!

Posted by: | March 2, 2011 10:09 AM | Report abuse

I didn't vote for Kwame because he already showed that he likes to live a lifestyle beyond his means. Move to PG where the other wannbe's live.

Posted by: prichardson1 | March 2, 2011 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Oh just stop this damn whining why don't we!!!!

If "choosing" a previously approving vehicle is the only thing Brown critics can attach themselves to, Brown will be A-OK.

His critics will never forget. But heck, the tea party never does either. No biggie!

Posted by: dcis1 | March 2, 2011 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Sometimes thought experiments are worthwhile. If it is hard to do one, try a similar one changing one variable.

Try this one: Kwame Brown resigns, and DC must either find, by current law and procedures a replacement for the Chair, or elect a new one.

Too hard? As suggested, compare that to "Mayor Gray suddenly resigns."

No voter except his vwife can think the first, Kwame's resignation, would hurt or change the city for the worse, especially not after comparing that thought experiment it to the second. So this is non-partisan.

And here's hoping that in another week we don't all see Mayor Gray as Kwame Brown has reinforced for us he really is: not to be trusted to be even a block-captain with a $100 new-neighbor hospitality-fund. (I watched the Mayor speaking with notes and extemporaneously before the Conference of Mayors. His mastery of issues continues to make Obama's cautious reading from print and teleprompter look childish and artificial, a schoolboy reading a homily written for him by his pastor or priest.)

Anyway, please, Kwame Brown, go away, disappear, or resign. Get on the bus, Gus; get a new plan, Stan; set yourself and all of us free.

Posted by: incredulous | March 2, 2011 12:54 PM | Report abuse

It's sad because I don't live in the District, I just work for them. I am so glad this is coming out now and not's no different than the Fenty administration. Him giving his friends the contracts and now Gray hiring his friends giving them 25% increases while putting dc gov further into debt. If Kwame didn't get caught, we all know that SUV will still be in his possession right now. What does he need a SUV for anyways? He is not that he is only the chairman of DC....that's all!!!!! On that note, what do any of them need fancy cars for? Like one reader commented on another article yesterday, why not catch metro...everybody else does...Barry is a COMPLETE JOKE!!!!!

Posted by: bsu06 | March 2, 2011 1:08 PM | Report abuse

It's a little late for that.

Posted by: tazz2 | March 2, 2011 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Having just watched Kwame Brown and listened to him on tv news, I am wondering what he means by "as far as I know".... "As far as I know" does not absolve nor does it rectify. "As far as I know" seems yet another politically shifty way of avoiding responsibility. Since Kwame Brown was the start and center of all this, why is he not "in the know?" Why is he not aware of every effort to redress this matter and where it stands in the process? Why can't he tell me for how much and when the citizens of DC will be made whole? Kwame Brown just wants this whole issue behind him with no real accountability to the citizens of DC.

Posted by: mac4700 | March 2, 2011 6:24 PM | Report abuse

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