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City Politics

Meet the Press Salutes Marion Barry

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On Sunday’s Meet the Press, Chuck Todd remembered former DC mayor, Marion Barry, who passed away over the weekend.

“Marion Barry died overnight after a brief stay in a Washington D.C. hospital,” said Todd, “Barry rose to national prominence as mayor of Washington D.C.  He was a commanding presence for decades.  He served four terms as mayor and one term in prison.  Marion was a civil rights leader who became mayor, a symbol of self governance for African Americans who put many blacks in positions previously reserved for whites.”

Todd continued, “but he also struggled with addiction and famously was arrested in a sting operation in a Washington hotel.  He had been lured there by a former lover.  And while that arrest is what many Americans outside Washington remember, for Washingtonians, at least for some of them, they forgive him because of his days as a civil rights leader.  Marion Barry was 78.”

Video Courtesy of NBC’s Meet the Press.

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Herb Block Foundation to be Honored at DC Vote’s Champions of Democracy Awards Gala

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A 1948 Herblock Cartoon, copyright by The Herb Block Foundation

DC Vote will honor the Herb Block Foundation at its 2014 Champions of Democracy Awards Gala on Wednesday, October 15. The foundation, named after the late Washington Post chief editorial cartoonist Herb Block, defends basic American freedoms through educational and charitable programs.

A special exhibit of Block’s work will also be on display at the gala and Clarence Page, a senior member of The Chicago Tribune editorial board, will present the award to the Herb Block Foundation.

“Herb Block was an institution as The Washington Post’s editorial cartoonist for more than 40 years,” said Kimberly Perry, executive director of DC Vote. “The plight of the people of the District of Columbia was a frequent topic of his work. DC Vote is honoring the Herb Block Foundation for keeping the famous cartoonists’ artwork alive and for passing on his passion for a strong American democracy on to new generations.” Read more

Washington City Paper Offers to Pay Your $25 Marijuana Fine

admin-ajax.phpTonight at midnight, marijuana possession of less than an ounce in the District will be decriminalized. Days in which being caught with the same amount could mean six months in prision and a $1,000 fine will soon be in the past, to be replaced with a $25 ticket. And for five lucky recipients of said ticket, the Washington City Paper has offered to front your bill.

“At Washington City Paper, we think the new law is a big improvement: For one, the vast majority of people arrested for possession of marijuana in D.C. are black, and the racial disparity in pot arrests is getting worse. For another, why should the other Washington be more progressive than we are? But we’re also curious to see how it’ll be enforced. So we’ll make an offer to the large, large numbers of people living here who have at some point possessed pot: If you get a citation under the new law, send us a picture of the citation and tell us your story, and if you’re one of the first five people we hear from at potfine@washingtoncitypaper.com, we’ll pay your $25 fine.”

While publicly outing yourself as a pot smoker isn’t required, WCP does require a photo of the citation (in which identifying details can be blurred out) and the circumstances under which it was issued – why and where you were stopped, how said marijuana was found, whether it was confiscated, and most importantly, was the issuer aware of the new law.

For more, or to submit your citation and be among the first five who’s ticket is paid by the City Paper, click here.

Atlantic Media Launches ‘State & Local’

GovExec_S&LAtlantic Media today launched its expansion from federal government current events coverage for Government Executive to city, county, and state government news and analysis. The new line of focus will include coverage of technology, health care, citizen services, infrastructure, security, transportation, and finance.

Government Executive’s state and local coverage is led by Michael Grass, who was hired in May following an April announcement of the intended news coverage expansion.

“As I’ve been talking with local government practitioners across the country, so many are innovating and serving their residents in new and exciting ways,” said Grass. “Government Executive State & Local will amplify these success stories.” Read more

On Taxing ‘Yogurt’ with Former DC Mayor Marion Barry, Jr.

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WJLA’s Holmes interviewing Barry; Roll Call’s Tom Williams photographing.

Friday night at LOOK, the restaurant’s Supper Club, Michael Kosmides and Janet Donovan‘s Hollywood on the Potomac hosted an on-the-record dinner with Marion Barry, Jr., the former four-term DC mayor known nationally for smoking crack cocaine on camera in a DC hotel room with a mistress, on his autobiography out last week Mayor for Life. The now DC Councilman was open to all questions from 20 press in attendance, including a FishbowlDC reader submitted question on the proposed “Yoga Tax” on yoga classes and gym memberships in the District.

Although his comments were quite hard to hear (given a very, very large happy hour crowd standing toward the entrance to the club, who were, getting extremely happy), Barry was confused by the question, confusing it with a non-existent “yogurt” tax in the District.

“Yogurt is really more healthy than some other things, as is cottage cheese…The best kind of yogurt is organic, without all these fillers and stuff…I don’t know who proposed that…I think Jack proposed that. I’m not sure. But whoever proposed it, it shouldn’t be.”

Suffice to say, Ward 2 Councilman Jack Evans has not proposed a tax on yogurt.

The former mayor re-focused on his career highlights throughout the night while being cognizant of his downfalls and encouraged guests to read his book in full before offering any criticisms.

WJLA’s Kristen Holmes sat down with the former mayor for a piece that aired Saturday night. On his legacy, Barry said, “Don’t judge me by one night, judge me by hundreds of nights, hundreds of days, hundreds of years, 31 years in DC of public service.” Barry is 78 years old.

On how he wanted to be remembered, Barry told Hollywood on the Potomac, “That I cared about people. That I did all I could [to] improve the lives of people, particularly, the poor…That I served as an inspiration, to a whole bunch of people, who needed some help.”

Local News Now Plans Hyperlocal Vertical for DC

1392014673219The publisher of ARLnow.com, BethesdaNow.com and RestonNow.com announced plans to launch a new local news website aimed for hyperlocal coverage of DC. Like the other sites within its brand, it will cover business, crime, and neighborhood news.

While its other local sites are successful for their locations, the new vertical will have lots of competition, specifically from InTheCapital.com, which launched just over two years ago and has a staff of 10+. Not to mention The Washington Post, the Washington City Paper, and a plethora of hyperlocal DC blogs.

Regardless, Local News Now LLC is looking for someone with two years of local news reporting experience, photography and photo editing skills, and a familiarity of social media.

One perk: “We believe in work-life balance and in a five-day work week — you will not be asked to work nights or weekends except in the event of breaking news or an especially important neighborhood meeting or event.”

For more, click here.

Now or Never: Dramatic Name for a Dumb Debate

Well, the last debate of the Mayoral campaign is over, and what have we learned?

1.) WUSA’s Bruce Johnson was woefully unprepared for the abject barbarism and lack of manners that awaited him.
2.) Jack Evans is the “white” candidate in the race.
3.) Vince Gray is, in fact, a living thing.
4.) How many people you have managed/ how big an organization you have run is the only criteria that really matters for being Mayor. That, and whether or not you have an elaborate shadow campaign to support you.

Check out the whole minute by minute recap below!

WUSA 9′s “Now or Never” DC Mayoral Democratic Primary Debate, 7 – 8 PM

7:06 – Wells announces “endorsement swell.” Lots of endorsements recently. This will win the race for him, absolutely. Evans notes that he won the only endorsement that actually matters: His mommy. No, actually, it was The Northwest Current. Actually, neither of those endorsements matter.

7:08 – Gray: Shuttup Bruce! I did nothing with Jeff Thompson in that room! Stop talking about the room!

7:10 – Wells: This whole shadow campaign scandal has cost DC $1 billion, according to me!

7:12 – Evans: “You don’t get to interrupt me, Muriel!” Also, Vince gray looks dead, literally dead.

7:13 –  Bruce Johnson has officially lost control of this debate. Evans is yelling at Muriel and Tommy that they’re not qualified to be Mayor. Wells is sputtering something about charter schools. Lots of shouting…

Read more