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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.

**FILE** D.C. Council Chairman Kwame R. Brown (The Washington Times)

D.C. Council to consider Brown's budget plan

The D.C. Council will consider its chairman's fiscal 2013 budget today, which dedicates more than $20 million to affordable housing programs by leveraging funds tied to the sale of city-owned land, and issue the first of two votes on the plan. Published May 15, 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)

Voters head to polls to pick replacement for Thomas

Voters in Ward 5 will replace former council member Harry Thomas Jr. on Tuesday by choosing from a long menu of candidates who hope to restore confidence and integrity to the Northeast ward's seat at city hall. Published May 14, 2012

D.C. Council Chairman Kwame R. Brown's budget proposal includes a compromise  to raise more revenue from expanded bar and restaurant hours.

D.C. budget proposal leaves out tax hikes

D.C. Council Chairman Kwame R. Brown indicated on Monday he will deliver a fiscal 2013 budget plan that does not impose new taxes or fees — a feature that Mayor Vincent C. Gray emphasized in his blueprint for the council — but does tweak a proposal to expand alcohol sales at bars and taverns across the city. Published May 14, 2012

D.C Council Chairman Kwame R. Brown. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)

D.C. budget vote scheduled for Tuesday

The long, tortured path toward compensating city workers for four furlough days will get a little longer, as the D.C. Council looks ahead to fiscal 2013 instead of taking up the issue on Tuesday during its first round of voting on the upcoming year's budget. Published May 14, 2012

**FILE** D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray's proposal to raise $30 million by expanding a traffic-camera program is a "ruse" to take advantage of out-of-state motorists, said AAA Mid-Atlantic spokesman John B. Townsend II. (The Washington Times)

D.C. Council explores avenues for reducing traffic fines

D.C. Council members are actively looking at ways to reduce traffic fines in light of Mayor Vincent C. Gray's recent plan to greatly increase the use of automated enforcement on the city's streets. Published May 13, 2012

**FILE** Former D.C. Council member Harry Thomas Jr. (Andrew S. Geraci/The Washington Times)

D.C. woman connected to Thomas scheme pleads guilty

A 46-year-old woman linked to former council member Harry Thomas Jr.'s scheme to steal public funds pleaded guilty on Friday to failing to report income on her tax return in 2010, including a "fee" she obtained for surreptitiously redirecting more than $100,000 in grant funds to cover the costs of an inaugural ball in January 2009. Published May 11, 2012

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

Graham not sold on compromise over bar hours

D.C. Council member Jim Graham is not abandoning his proposal to increase the excise tax on alcohol sales in lieu of Mayor Vincent C. Gray's money-raising plan to expand bar hours, despite the appeal of a compromise plan that could render the tax moot and keep the booze flowing until 4 a.m. on holidays instead of year-round. Published May 10, 2012

D.C. Council Chairman Kwame R. Brown (T.J. Kirkpatrick/The Washington Times)

D.C. Council considers bar hours trade-off

The D.C. Council is considering a budget compromise that allows bars to stay open until 4 a.m. on all federal and D.C. holidays, some specified holiday weekends and the week of the presidential inauguration in lieu of Mayor Vincent C. Gray's plan to keep taps flowing for an extra hour every night of the year. Published May 9, 2012

Muriel Bowser (Rod Lamkey Jr./The Washington Times)

D.C. bill would cut illegal alien holding time

A D.C. Council committee Tuesday advanced a bill 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 May 8, 2012

**FILE** In 1998, voters in the District approved the Medical Use of Marijuana Initiative. (The Washington Times)

Rejected marijuana applicants take to the courts

Unsuccessful applicants to the District's medical marijuana program are asking the courts to force the reconsideration of their submissions, claiming they were rejected by a review panel despite meeting or exceeding stated criteria. Published May 6, 2012

D.C. Council member David A. Catania (The Washington Times)

Catania finds $20M to restore D.C. healthcare funding

D.C. Council member David A. Catania announced his Committee on Health has found $20 million to restore hospital and specialty funding to about 20,000 city residents — almost all of them immigrants — who are not eligible for Medicaid. Published May 3, 2012

D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray had the support of bar owners for his proposal that clubs be allowed to remain open an extra hour, till 3 a.m. on weeknights and 4 a.m. on weekends, but a D.C. Council committee voted 3 to 2 against the plan Wednesday. The measure could still resurface, however. (Rod Lamkey Jr./The Washington Times)

D.C. Council panel refuses to extend bar hours

A D.C. Council committee on Wednesday delivered a blow to Mayor Vincent C. Gray's plan to raise $3.2 million in the coming year by allowing bars to stay open for an additional hour. Published May 2, 2012

D.C. Council members Phil Mendelson (left) and Michael A. Brown (center) listen to American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Executive Director Geo T. Johnson's pitch for compensation for furlough days for city employees. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)

D.C. Council deadlocks on amendment to budget

The D.C. Council on Tuesday failed to pass a midyear spending plan that would have compensated city workers for four furlough days in 2011 after it deadlocked on a patchwork of funding priorities and whether it made sense to put the District's payroll over its other responsibilities. Published May 1, 2012

D.C. Council Chairman Kwame R. Brown (above) says he is "not jumping up and down about any increase in taxes and fees" to close the city's budget gap. Council aide Juan Gray (left) collects small toy houses that say "Kids need homes" placed by protesters Monday in the council chamber before they were told to leave. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)

Graham proposes alcohol tax hike

D.C. Council member Jim Graham on Monday proposed an increase to the District's alcohol excise tax that translates to 6 cents more per drink at bars and liquor stores - a bid to close the city's budget gap without green-lighting Mayor Vincent C. Gray's plan to keep taverns open an extra hour. Published April 30, 2012

D.C Council Chairman Kwame R. Brown. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)

Spending plan includes furlough repayments, bonds-tax repeal

The D.C. Council on Tuesday will consider a $68.7 million spending plan for the rest of the fiscal year that repays city workers for furlough days they took in 2011 and repeals a controversial and confusing tax on interest earned from out-of-state bonds, council Chairman Kwame R. Brown said. Published April 30, 2012

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

Report: Others aided Thomas' theft from trust

D.C. Council member Jim Graham is using his oversight powers to launch a formal investigation into whether staff at a public-private nonprofit "and perhaps others" paved the way for former city lawmaker Harry Thomas Jr. to pocket more than $350,000 in city funds intended for youth sports programs. Published April 27, 2012