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Tom Howell Jr.

Tom Howell Jr.

Tom Howell Jr. covers politics for The Washington Times. He can be reached at

Articles by Tom Howell Jr.

Christophe Tulou

Protocol breach led to firing of agency chief

D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray's administration said Friday it had fired the city's environment director, Christophe A.G. Tulou, for what officials termed a "serious breach of protocol" in negotiations over a long-term sewer project. Published September 2, 2012

Washington Mayor Vincent C. Gray (left) advocates for D.C. statehood in front of the New Hampshire House of Representatives Committee on State-Federal Relations and Veterans Affairs at the New Hampshire Statehouse in Concord, N.H., on Friday, Jan. 27, 2012.  (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)

Gray takes D.C. rights lobbying to convention

D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray is poised to use the Democratic National Convention to promote the District's right to local budget autonomy, a goal apparently within grasp as the city battles for voting rights in Congress or even statehood. Published September 2, 2012

Christophe Tulou

D.C. environment department director abruptly fired

D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray's administration said Friday it had fired the city's environment director, Christophe A.G. Tulou, for what officials termed a "serious breach of protocol" in negotiations over a long-term sewer project. Published August 31, 2012

** FILE ** D.C. Council member Tommy Wells (Raymond Thompson/The Washington Times)

Washington planning more speed cameras

Members of a D.C. Council task force on traffic fines agreed on Tuesday that speed limits and red-light cameras improve safety, but city officials need to show "a rational nexus" between hefty fines that can reach $150 and drivers' willingness to change their behavior. Published August 28, 2012

D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)

Gray proposes D.C. campaign reforms

D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray and the city's attorney general unveiled a long-awaited proposal on Tuesday to curtail pay-to-play politics in the city, including a ban on contributions from contractors who do business with the city. Published August 28, 2012

MLK's quote goes unfixed for six months

Martin Luther King Jr. didn't say it exactly that way, but an inaccurate quote remains etched into his granite memorial in Washington more than six months after National Park Service officials vowed to fix it. Published August 27, 2012

A speed camera on New York Avenue Northeast in Washington (The Washington Times) **FILE**

D.C. task force to evaluate traffic-camera fines

A new D.C. Council task force will evaluate hefty fines levied on motorists caught by speed cameras and other forms of automated traffic enforcement, a controversial and expanding system that has some wondering if city leaders care more about revenue than public safety. Published August 23, 2012

Work on the first phase of a multiyear effort to bury the District's power lines will begin in the spring, after the D.C. Public Service Commission announced Thursday it had approved the $1 billion plan.. (Andrew S. Geraci/The Washington Times)

D.C. takes revised look at underground power lines

Members of a newly formed task force looking at ways to reduce power outages in the District said it might be wiser to bury power lines only in high-risk areas than shell out billions for a citywide project. Published August 23, 2012

‘Smart meter’ contract in court

A technology firm on the losing end of a contract to install "smart meters" in the District's taxicabs filed a complaint Wednesday in D.C. Superior Court to stop the city from installing its competitor's machines. Published August 22, 2012

The Culex pipiens (left) is the primary mosquito that can transmit West Nile virus to humans, birds and other animals. It is produced in stagnant water. At right is an Aedes vexans, primarily a nuisance mosquito produced from freshwater that it is not a key transmitter of disease. (Associated Press)

D.C. resident contracts West Nile virus

D.C. officials are asking city residents to do what they can to prevent mosquito bites after several samples of the insects tested positive for West Nile virus and one person contracted a non-fatal infection. Published August 22, 2012

D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)

Gray urges DNC to put D.C. statehood in its platform

D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray is lobbying the Democratic National Committee to put D.C. statehood in its party platform ahead of its convention next month in Charlotte, a hopeful push within his own party after Republicans slapped away any talk of D.C. voting rights and urged city lawmakers to relax gun laws in the nation's capital. Published August 22, 2012

Barry’s opposition a speed bump for taxi ‘smart meters’

Washington, D.C., is forging ahead Wednesday with plans to install "smart meters" in about 6,500 taxicabs that offer pay-by-credit-card readers and other amenities, despite a mystifying dispute initiated by D.C. Council member Marion Barry over how to pay for it all. Published August 21, 2012

Medical marijuana

D.C. medical marijuana firms moving slowly through regulatory process

Months after the D.C. government gave 10 firms the go-ahead to start growing medical marijuana and sell it to qualified patients within the city’s borders, none have acquired the regulatory documents needed to begin the program, city officials said. Published August 20, 2012

D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray (Rod Lamkey Jr./The Washington Times)

Gray cheers slight drop in D.C. unemployment rate

D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray said Friday that a slight drop in the city's unemployment rate, from 9.1 percent in June to 8.9 percent in July, shows his workforce efforts "continue to pay off." Published August 17, 2012

A group of young people gather outside the John A. Wilson Building to protest for more gun rights on Friday. (Tom Howell Jr./The Washington Times)

Young people protest for gun rights in front of D.C. city hall

About 40 young people waved signs and voiced loud support for Second Amendment rights in the front of D.C. city hall on Friday, an unusual sight in a heavily Democratic city that is known for its strict gun-control laws. Published August 17, 2012

** FILE ** D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray (Ryan M.L. Young/The Washington Times/File)

Mayor Gray vows to ‘preserve’ D.C.’s gun-control laws

D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray said Thursday he will "work hard to preserve our gun-control laws" in the nation's capital, one day after police say a Virginia man shot a security guard who prevented him from entering a conservative research group's offices in a busy section of downtown. Published August 16, 2012