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Posted at 6:57 PM ET, 09/ 2/2010

A narrow assessment of my role on the D.C. Council

By washingtonpost.com editors

By Harry Thomas,
Washington

The Sept. 2 editorial “D.C. Council endorsements,” which characterized my tenure as “a major disappointment,” was based on a disturbingly narrow range of issues. With its limited and subjective focus on mayoral support and school reform, the editorial failed to mention — or give weight to — any of my key achievements for Ward 5, such as the addition of two major Ward 5 corridors to the Great Streets initiative, securing the first neighborhood-based campus of the Community College of D.C., the passage of the Public Land Surplus Standards Amendment Act of 2009, or the considerable number of development projects in the ward that I have helped move forward during a tight economy. It is unfortunate that fighting for workers’ rights, marriage equity and a stellar legislative record are overshadowed by such a skewed assessment of my years in office.

Also troubling, and a new low point for a once-respected media outlet, was the paper’s endorsement of a Ward 5 candidate who has accepted funding from the National Organization for Marriage — a special-interest group dedicated to preventing the legal recognition and acceptance of same-sex marriage.

A broader set of measures other than support of the mayor and his brand of school reform is far more appropriate for determining the best candidate to represent Ward 5. Post readers — and Ward 5 residents — deserve better.

The writer, a Democrat, represents Ward 5 on the D.C. Council and is running for reelection.


By washingtonpost.com editors  | September 2, 2010; 6:57 PM ET
Categories:  D.C., D.C. politics, Fenty, HotTopic, Mayor Fenty, UDC, development, education, housing, media, parks, schools  
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Comments

Ms.Jo-Ann Armao, editorial writer for The Washington Post editorial board has shown she has no respect for the truth. Ms. Armao is locked in a strategy which is to take down anyone who dares to challenge Mayor Adrian M. Fenty.

Ms. Armao wrote a lie when she stated Council Member Harry Thomas only wanted to oppose anything offered by Mayor Fenty. Ms. Armao knows this is a lie and it should be retracted immediately.

The editorial credits Council Member Thomas for strongly supporting marriage equality, then the editorial board endorses someone whose single issue is to oppose marriage equality and who devalues the dignity of all people.

The intellectual hypocrisy and arrogance of Ms. Armao and the editorial diminishes the legacy of a once great newspaper and casts doubt on the credibility of its newsroom.

Ms. Armao and the editorial board shamelessly printed a lie about Council Member Thomas. Ms. Armao and the editorial board owe Council Member Thomas an apology.

Robert Vinson Brannum
rbrannum@robertbrannum.com

Posted by: robert158 | September 2, 2010 7:40 PM | Report abuse

of course, instead of just writing a normal letter to the editor, mr. brannum decided to take a more spirited approach as well. looks like someone needs to relax:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KnN5TAWr6-o

Posted by: IMGoph | September 3, 2010 6:55 AM | Report abuse

Yeah Washington Post. Someone finally called Thomas out. His hearings are are a joke. He nor his staff have a progressive thought. His staff will tell you directly they only do work for Ward 5 and they get away with it. It's past time for him to GO!!!!

Posted by: friendofdc | September 3, 2010 9:08 AM | Report abuse

The Post endorsement of Delano Hunter does not pass the laugh test, especially in its assertion his campaign is a "grassroots" one and that he would not seek to overturn the city's marriage equality law. If the latter is the case, then the National Organization for Marriage, which *does* want to overturn the law, is getting nothing for its endorsement and monetary investment in this candidate. The only other alternatives is that Hunter is misstating his true intentions, or The Post misreported them.

As for grassroots, there is nothing grassroots about a ward City Council campaign that receives the majority of its contributions--$16,538 as of the latest information on the D.C. Office of Campaign Finance site--from outside the District.

The Post endorsement of Hunter, in short, ranks among its most ill-considered in its history.

Posted by: DCProud | September 3, 2010 11:27 AM | Report abuse

It seems that most of you do not have your facts straight. WaPo (although I am not praising nor condoning any of their actions/endorsements) talked to the source and cleared the air with what Im sure was some tough questioning.
The 'single issue' of the Hunter campaign is not to oppose marriage equality and devalue the dignity of all people. That's ludicrous. Plus, sources tell the street that the money accepted from NOM could by something to the effect of a playstation game console.
Mr. Thomas probably admitted in their meeting with WaPo the same spill he always gives "I tried to work with Fenty, and it's not my fault"...Thomas has bee forming this 'alliance' to position himself for future endeavors. Enough with the special interests. The people of Ward 5 deserve more, better. And Thomas is too self-indulged to deliver.
Time to move on and stop living off of a legacy that is not his and a name that has dried up.

Posted by: funnylife | September 3, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

It seems that most of you do not have your facts straight. WaPo (although I am not praising nor condoning any of their actions/endorsements) talked to the source and cleared the air with what Im sure was some tough questioning.
The 'single issue' of the Hunter campaign is not to oppose marriage equality and devalue the dignity of all people. That's ludicrous. Plus, sources tell the street that the money accepted from NOM could by something to the effect of a playstation game console.
Mr. Thomas probably admitted in their meeting with WaPo the same spill he always gives "I tried to work with Fenty, and it's not my fault"...Thomas has bee forming this 'alliance' to position himself for future endeavors. Enough with the special interests. The people of Ward 5 deserve more, better. And Thomas is too self-indulged to deliver.
Time to move on and stop living off of a legacy that is not his and a name that has dried up.

Posted by: funnylife | September 3, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse


The post editorial board hasn't been very credible with their endorsements this year. The endorsement of Hunter seems premature. I have met Mr. Hunter and must say that I was impressed with his desire to do good. But, he also was very green about the level of planning and investment required to actually accomplish anything.

I am planning on voting for Thomas. Can he be better? Yes. Is he better than the alternatives? At this point in time, yes.

The NOM donation, at whatever amount, should not have been accepted by Hunter.

It is unrealistic to expect economic development to go from from planning to completion just shy of 4 years. Generally, plans are developed and funds are raised in the bond market years before any work begins.

Even with a difficult mayor/council relationship, and a crappy economy, Ward 5 is preparing to outpace every other section of the city with new development. With that in mind, I think that the Post is wrong to call Thomas' first term a disappointment. He had more work to do than other Ward representatives. It is his job now to ensure that these projects are completed in a way that put residents to work.

If Ward 5 is unhappy that there has been little done in the way of construction, then we shouldn't vote for Orange as council chair. He was the Ward 5 council member who did not ensure that we 5 got our share of prime development opportunities during a booming economy when Mayor Williams' administration was planning many of the projects that Mayor Fenty has now seen through to completion.

Although I plan to vote for Thomas, I was also very impressed with Mr. Hunter and Mr. McDuffie as young candidates. I just don't think that they are ready to serve on the council yet. But if they stick around and learn about how to create economic opportunities and civic engagement, I can certainly foresee voting for one of them in the next election.

Just my opinion. Feel free to differ. [And no I don't work or volunteer for a campaign]

Posted by: mamaspearl | September 3, 2010 8:12 PM | Report abuse

All candidates have much growing to do. Even though Thomas claims his tenured status...it's obvious that there he needs to shape up if re-elected. Hunter I feel got caught up in the excitement of being endorsed instead of understanding where his endorsement come from. If you really follow him and his rhetoric, it goes back and forth on his beliefs with the gay issue. One minute he's saying that he feels all people simply should have had the right the vote, then he says that "his GOD in his religion says its not right." He doesn't know where to stand with it. Either way, there's not too much he can do about the legislation now--not very many people on council would back his attempt anyway.

Posted by: jayhines | September 4, 2010 6:46 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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