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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 signals a turn on traffic-camera fines

City lawmakers on Tuesday answered a mounting chorus of motorists who say the District is burdening them with pricey traffic-camera fines in an attempt to balance the local budget under the banner of public safety. Published October 16, 2012

Jim Graham

Mendelson to talk to Graham before acting on Metro report

D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson said Monday he owes fellow city lawmaker Jim Graham the "courtesy" of a sit-down meeting to discuss a recent report that claims Mr. Graham violated rules of conduct while representing the District on the Metro board in 2008. Published October 15, 2012

Activists for D.C.’s disabled see ‘red’ over parking meters plan

Advocates told a D.C. Council committee on Monday that legislation to reserve about 10 percent of the city's on-street parking spots for disabled motorists — yet require them to pay — appeared to be a revenue grab that overburdens a population with limited transit options. Published October 15, 2012

D.C. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton

Norton walking tightrope on D.C. referendum

The District's non-voting member of Congress was put in a tough spot last week when all 12 members of the D.C. Council decided to support a springtime referendum that would allow voters to weigh in on budget autonomy, the long-sought ability to set the city's fiscal year and spend local funds without being tied to the spending-approval process on Capitol Hill. Published October 7, 2012

D.C. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton

Norton in tough spot between budget autonomy bill and congressional cooperation

The District's non-voting member of Congress was put in a tough spot this week when all 12 members of the D.C. Council decided to support a springtime referendum that would allow voters to weigh in on budget autonomy, the long-sought ability to set the city's fiscal year and spend local funds without being tied to the spending approval process on Capitol Hill. Published October 5, 2012

Plans for D.C. health insurance marketplace move forward

The District of Columbia will forge ahead with plans to build a virtual marketplace where the uninsured and small businesses can compare health insurance providers, even if Republican nominee Mitt Romney wins the White House and President Obama's signature health care law is repealed, city officials said Thursday. Published October 4, 2012

D.C. Council incumbents Michael A. Brown (left), an independent, and Vincent B. Orange (second from left), a Democrat, attend a debate with challengers David Grosso, an independent, and Mary Brooks Beatty, a Republican, on Thursday. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)

Debate for two D.C. Council seats maintains civil tone

Maybe it was the setting — a house of worship — but a quartet of candidates vying for two at-large seats on the D.C. Council eschewed the bitter rhetoric and personal attacks that have dominated the past few weeks for veiled swipes and even cordiality during a debate in Georgetown on Thursday. Published October 4, 2012

Fans have been flocking to Nationals Park this season, starting with Gavin Kearney, 4, holding the hand of his father, Gus, at the April 3 exhibition game against Boston. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)

Security, traffic control in on-deck circle for Nats

The Washington Nationals and half of D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray's Cabinet are ironing out plans to beef up security, vendor inspections and traffic control in and around Nationals Park next week when the city hosts its first baseball postseason game in almost 80 years, officials said Wednesday. Published October 3, 2012

**FILE** D.C. Council member Phil Mendelson (Drew Angerer/The Washington Times)

D.C. Council to seek budget freedom from Hill

The president could be forced to side either with the District or lawmakers on Capitol Hill if D.C. residents support a charter referendum next spring that would allow their elected leaders to spend local funds without approval from Congress. Published October 2, 2012

D.C. officials, Nats mascots and LivingSocial leadership unveiled LivingSocial's deal to pay for extra hours of post-season Metro service at a press conference at the Navy Yard Metro station last week. (Tom Howell Jr./The Washington Times)

Mendelson praises LivingSocial Metro deal for Nats playoffs

D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson is grateful that daily deal-provider LivingSocial "stepped up" and offered to put down a deposit to cover any costs from extended Metro service after late-night playoff games at Nationals Park this month. Published October 1, 2012

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

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

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

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

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