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Tom Howell Jr.

Tom Howell Jr.

Tom Howell Jr. covers politics for The Washington Times. He can be reached at thowell@washingtontimes.com.

Articles by Tom Howell Jr.

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

D.C. may reserve 10% of meters for disabled

A D.C. Council member will introduce a bill Tuesday that reserves more than 10 percent of the District's on-street parking spaces for disabled motorists, a "red-top" meter program designed to comply with federal law despite cutting into an already thin supply of curbside spots in the nation's capital. Published October 1, 2012

D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson (Craig Bisacre/The Washington Times)

D.C. Council to consider charter amendment on budget autonomy

D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson plans to introduce a charter referendum bill on Tuesday that, if passed, will allow city voters to say whether their elected leaders should be able to spend local funds without pre-approval from Congress. Published October 1, 2012

Former D.C. Council member Harry Thomas Jr. makes his way to a waiting car after his sentencing at the E. Barrett Prettyman United States Courthouse in Washington, D.C., Thursday, May 3, 2012. (Rod Lamkey Jr/The Washington Times)

Thomas investigation ongoing

Federal prosecutors on Thursday signaled the investigation into former D.C. Council member Harry Thomas Jr.'s scheme to bilk $350,000 in city funds is alive and well, even if the ousted lawmaker is already serving time at a prison in Alabama. Published September 27, 2012

Vincent B. Orange

Pre-election mailing puts D.C. Council member Orange in a gray area

D.C. Council member Vincent B. Orange is set to host a small-business summit downtown on Friday -- a who's who event at which Mayor Vincent C. Gray and top officials discuss business opportunities in the city -- but a mailing that advertises the event tests the delicate boundary between an incumbent's duties and the fight for name recognition on the path to Election Day. Published September 27, 2012

Fans celebrate after the Washington Nationals beating the Los Angeles Dodgers 4-1at Nationals Park, Thursday, Sept. 20, 2012, in Washington, DC. The Washington Nationals clinched a spot in the playoff for the first time in team history. (Craig Bisacre/The Washington Times)

LivingSocial funds Metro service for Nats playoff games

Daily-deal provider LivingSocial delivered a clutch hit for the Washington Nationals and the District on Thursday by offering to pay for extended Metro train service in October, if needed, when the ballclub enters the playoffs for the first time in decades. Published September 27, 2012

D.C. Council member Jim Graham (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)

D.C. alcohol board members criticize pick for chairman

A pair of D.C. Alcoholic Beverage Control Board members on Thursday accused Mayor Vincent C. Gray's pick to chair the independent body of creating a "toxic" environment behind the scenes while the board grinds through its heavy workload. Published September 27, 2012

Gray helps demolish ‘worst shopping center in the city’

With the swipe of a mechanical claw, D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray demolished a slice of a Ward 7 retail center that has been a sore point for officials and residents alike for two decades and symbolized the challenges that come with ambitious projects east of the Anacostia River. Published September 26, 2012

Doug Riley with Associated Builders Inc., works in November 2008 to build a presidential reviewing stand in front of the White House at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. The District is starting to prepare for the Jan. 21 Inauguration. (Rod Lamkey Jr./The Washington Times)

City gets in gear to inaugurate president

D.C. officials are gearing up for Inauguration Day festivities that will stretch from the U.S. Capitol to the White House, a logistical tightrope walk that costs millions, requires onlookers to deal with street-level checkpoints and puts city hall in the hands of the Secret Service. Published September 25, 2012

Uber CEO: ‘Gray areas’ plague D.C. car service laws

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick told D.C. Council members Monday that legislation and proposed regulations to oversee the burgeoningsedan-for-hire industry in the District are chock full of "gray areas" and impediments that could harm his business and the customers who rely on it. Published September 24, 2012

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

Falling D.C. unemployment ‘good news,’ not great

New labor statistics show the District's unemployment rate continues to decline — from 8.9 percent in July to 8.8 percent in August — although the city still lags behind the national rate of 8.1 percent and nearly 1 in 4 residents of Ward 8 cannot find work. Published September 23, 2012

As council chairman, Vincent C. Gray took the lead in voting down the contract award, thus necessitating a rebid, according to the memo. (The Washington Times)

D.C. unemployment declines in August

Labor statistics released Friday show the District's unemployment rate continues its decline — from 8.9 percent in July to 8.8 percent in August — although the city still lags behind the national rate of 8.1 percent and nearly one in four residents of Ward 8 cannot find work. Published September 21, 2012

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

Wells joins call for D.C. campaign reforms

D.C. lawmakers are heaping new bills onto an already deep pile of campaign-finance reforms on the agenda at city hall, creating what amounts to a smorgasbord of solutions aimed at restoring confidence in their scandal-tinged body. Published September 20, 2012

Washington D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray fields questions as he holds a press conference to announce the first set of grades for Grade.DC.gov at the John A. Wilson Building in Washington, D.C., Tuesday, July 24, 2012. The Grade.DC.gov platform is being piloted first with five District government agencies whose employees and online presences interact with large segments of the District's residents and businesses on a daily basis. The online feedback system is designed to analyze and improve customer service. (Rod Lamkey Jr./The Washington Times)

D.C. Council amends tech incentives bill

The D.C. Council on Wednesday delivered a blow to Mayor Vincent C. Gray's vision of a thriving tech sector in the District, hours after he strenuously defended investor-friendly tax cuts as a compelling way to diversify the District's economy in the face of potentially steep federal spending cuts. Published September 19, 2012

D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson holds a media briefing to discuss topics which may come up during a legislative meeting to be held on Wednesday, Washington, D.C., Tuesday, September 18, 2012. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)

Mendelson sees confidence gap for D.C. Council

D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson said he wants to effectively and efficiently restore public support for the city's legislative body, even as lawmakers gird for a fight Wednesday over the best ways to mitigate the effects of potentially steep federal spending cuts next year. Published September 18, 2012

Michael A. Brown

Brown notches endorsements despite recent troubles

D.C. Council member Michael A. Brown's campaign for re-election announced endorsements from nine unions Tuesday despite troubling headlines that have ranged from missing campaign funds to a close call on petitions he submitted to get on the ballot. Published September 18, 2012

D.C. Council member Jack Evans (The Washington Times)

Evans bill would eliminate need for D.C. Council contract approval

D.C. Council member Jack Evans plans to introduce a bill Wednesday that would remove city lawmakers' from the contract approval process, a controversial power that allows the council to have a say in deals worth more than $1 million and has fueled suspicions of pay-to-play politics in the city. Published September 17, 2012

Gray defends vision of D.C. tech hub

In the face of steep federal spending cuts, D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray on Monday called on city lawmakers to pass a tax incentives bill for tech companies to diversify the nongovernment economy in the nation's capital and keep 21st-century innovators from fleeing the city with their coveted jobs. Published September 17, 2012

** FILE ** Rep. Darrell E. Issa tells the media that Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. must provide Congress with the requested documents in the "Fast and Furious" probe in this June 20, 2012, file photo. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)

D.C. budget autonomy bid in limbo on the Hill

It's been 16 months since a powerful House member signaled a plan to allow the District to spend its local funds without being tethered to federal spending plans on Capitol Hill, an enticing goal for D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray and the city's piggy-bank minders. Published September 16, 2012

D.C. dignitaries joined city children on Thursday to cut the ribbon in front of Educare, a state-of-the-art center focusing on early childhood education in Ward 7. From left, are D.C. Housing Authority Director Adrianne Todman, council member Yvette M. Alexander, Ward 7 Democrat, and Mayor Vincent C. Gray. Dorothy Douglas, leaning over the banner in the black dress, is a member of the D.C. State Board of Education for Ward 7. (Tom Howell Jr./The Washington Times)

Gray opens center for early childhood education

D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray unveiled an early childhood education center east of the Anacostia River on Thursday that serves as the keystone of his aggressive effort to stimulate the minds of children in their first years, preparing them for kindergarten and beyond. Published September 13, 2012