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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.

D.C. Fire and EMS Chief Kenneth Ellerbe said Wednesday that his staff-scheduling plan "will not reduce services one bit," adding that "safety is not an issue." (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)

D.C. firefighters pour cold water on chief's rescheduling plan

The D.C. fire chief is girding for a public battle with the firefighters union over a plan to switch from the 24-hour shifts firefighters have been working for more than two decades to 12-hour shifts - a plan the chief expects will reduce by about 26 percent the number of firefighters in the District. Published November 30, 2011

D.C. Council member Mary M. Cheh (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)

D.C. drivers may soon display their team spirit on plates

D.C. officials are paving the way for license plates that promote the Washington Redskins and eight other home teams, a quick-and-easy proposal intended to satisfy sports fans without sliding into a slew of offerings that have roiled political waters in various states. Published November 29, 2011

Council member Jack Evans is expected to schedule a hearing on iGaming alongside a bill to repeal the program altogether. (T.J. Kirkpatrick/The Washington Times)

Changes unlikely for online gambling in D.C.

D.C. Lottery officials do not plan to change the essential components of their controversial online gambling plan after holding nine community meetings to hear concerns and dispel myths about the program. Published November 28, 2011

** FILE ** (Associated Press)

Wal-Mart jobs set aside for D.C. residents

D.C. officials and Wal-Mart agreed to an "unprecedented" community-benefits package on Tuesday that should ease the retail giant's controversial entry into the nation's capital. Published November 22, 2011

D.C. Mayor Gray replaces chief spokeswoman

D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray has tapped two Capitol Hill veterans to help him trumpet his "ambitious agenda" to the public after a string of personnel blunders threatened to obscure any progress during his first year at the helm of the city. Published November 21, 2011

D.C. Council member Muriel Bowser (T.J. Kirkpatrick/The Washington Times)

Bowser introduces D.C. ethics-reform bill

A D.C. Council member has circulated a widely anticipated ethics-reform bill that creates a three-member oversight body and cuts in half the amount of money lawmakers can raise for funds that are supposed to address constituents' dire needs but have been used for catering, office space and sports tickets. Published November 19, 2011

"I will keep the light on this issue until we have a law," Rep. Darrell E. Issa, California Republican and chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said of the D.C. budget-autonomy issue. (Rod Lamkey Jr./The Washington Times)

Budget autonomy for D.C. still on the table

A Republican House leader pledged Thursday to press ahead on crafting a bill that gives the District more control of its budget process, even after city leaders rejected his initial proposal because it included a ban on funding elective abortions. Published November 17, 2011

Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton was among three D.C. officials Wednesday to turn down a budget-autonomy deal Tuesday offered by a Republican lawmaker. (Rod Lamkey Jr./The Washington Times)

D.C. spurns budget-autonomy deal

D.C. leaders say they cannot support a Republican proposal on Capitol Hill that would give the city greater control over its budget process yet ban local funding for elective abortions. Published November 16, 2011

** FILE ** (Associated Press)

Wal-Mart planning for 6 D.C. locations

D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray said Wednesday that Wal-Mart plans to build six stores across the city and threw his full support behind the proposal, saying the company opening two more locations than planned is a much-needed job creator in a city with pockets of 20-percent unemployment. Published November 16, 2011

New D.C. bill cuts time frame for detaining illegals

The D.C. Council introduced a bill Tuesday that cuts in half the amount of time U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has to pick up illegal immigrants placed on a civil detainer. Published November 15, 2011

Washington, DC Mayor Vincent Gray speaks to reporters after surveying the damage the Washington National Cathedral sustained from the August 23 earthquake, Washington, DC, Thursday, October 20, 2011. (Andrew Harnik / The Washington Times)

D.C. bides its time on budget proposal

D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray and council members are taking their time with a proposal from House Republicans that gives the District more control over the city's budget process, despite an attached ban on locally funded abortions that could have made the offer dead on arrival. Published November 15, 2011

Rep. Darrell Issa, California Republican

Proposal offers D.C. budget autonomy

A Republican proposal on Capitol Hill puts the District within striking distance of greater budget autonomy, a practical and symbolic goal of city leaders who have repeatedly sought to wrest control of their own affairs from congressional oversight. Published November 14, 2011

** FILE ** The U.S. Capitol (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Concealed gun carry cut from House gun bill

A Republican-led effort to allow Illinois residents to carry concealed weapons by obtaining a permit in another state — loosening D.C. gun laws in the process — did not pass a final hurdle on Monday night before major gun legislation reaches the House floor. Published November 14, 2011

HONOR GUARD: Alexander Hubichi (from left), Matthew Cranford, Thomas Shedlick, and Matthew Shipley, Army JROTC cadets at St. John's College High School, carry the colors Thursday at the District of Columbia War Memorial. (T.J. Kirkpatrick/The Washington Times)

D.C. fights for World War I memorial

Edwin L. Fountain says a teenager who walks around the Mall and takes in the ornate, circular memorial to World War II just might wonder whatever happened to World War I. Published November 10, 2011

D.C. Council member Jack Evans (T.J. Kirkpatrick/The Washington Times)

Evans' challenger cites 'intimidation' in dropping out

The D.C. Council's longest-serving member took a giant step closer to securing a sixth term when his opponent dropped out of the race on Wednesday, citing a bizarre chain of events that included a man peering into the windows of her Georgetown home. Published November 9, 2011

Ex-staffer for DYRS settles suit for $130K

The District's juvenile justice agency agreed to pay about $130,000 to a disgruntled former employee who sued the city after he was passed over for the top job at a D.C. facility in Laurel that houses young offenders, according to papers from the D.C. Office of the Attorney General. Published November 9, 2011

Panel works to land D.C. a bigger part in showbiz

D.C. Council member Vincent B. Orange says the D.C. Armory could make a good soundstage as part of renewed efforts to attract film and television crews to the nation's capital instead of letting Baltimore and far-flung cities act as stand-ins for the city's distinct neighborhoods and architecture. Published November 9, 2011

Pick to lead D.C.'s 911 agency pledges to fix morale, service

Mayor Vincent C. Gray's pick to lead the agency that handles 911 emergency calls and 311 service requests says she will improve morale "from the bottom up" and work to make sure emergency calls from Northwest do not end up at dispatch centers in Maryland. Published November 7, 2011