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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.

A poster hanging on the wall in the D.C. Superior Court building in Washington, D.C. shows "Black Women Paving the Way to Greatness in Politics." It curiously includes Ms. Davis. (The Washington Times)

Davis' portrait not endorsement of her views, D.C. court says

The D.C. Superior Court says a courthouse display on influential black women included Angela Davis for her "contributions to the political debate" and should not be viewed as an endorsement of her views or as a statement on accusations she was involved in a California kidnapping 40 years ago. Published March 12, 2012

**FILE** Neil A. Stanley (Drew Angerer/The Washington Times)

D.C. Council concerned by lingering troubles at DYRS

The District's juvenile justice agency needs to provide more substance-abuse treatment options for its troubled wards and drastically improve its communication with parents of young people housed as far as Utah, a D.C. Council committee says. Published March 11, 2012

D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray said it's been months since he spoke to Jeffrey E. Thompson, a donor to his political campaign, whose home and offices were raided this month as part of a federal investigation. (Rod Lamkey Jr./The Washington Times)

Gray: Let campaign donor probe play out

Mayor Vincent C. Gray distanced himself on Wednesday from an active D.C. political donor whose home and offices were raided on Friday as part of a federal investigation into campaign finance activities. Published March 7, 2012

D.C. Fire Chief Kenneth Ellerbe keeps to himself before his testimony at the John A. Wilson Building in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday before the D.C. Council's Committee on the Judiciary to answer questions about a number of ongoing issues within the department. (Rod Lamkey Jr./The Washington Times)

Ellerbe gets vote of confidence

Mayor Vincent C. Gray on Wednesday offered a vote of confidence to D.C. Fire Chief Kenneth Ellerbe after a report detailing sexual harassment and intimidation complaints against Chief Ellerbe at his prior job in Florida. Published March 7, 2012

D.C. Council members Mary M. Cheh and Tommy Wells have proposed a bill to ban corporate donations to city candidates and officials. It is a response to a "pay-to-play" culture that can influence policy decisions. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)

D.C. legislation would ban corporate donations

Two D.C. Council members proposed legislation Tuesday that bans corporate donations to city candidates and officials, an aggressive proposal that comes four days after federal agents obtained records from one of the city's most prolific political contributors. Published March 6, 2012

Yvette Alexander (T.J. Kirkpatrick/The Washington Times)

Medical marijuana site issue weighed

D.C. Council members hope a medical marijuana site proposed in Ward 7 will not harm long-term development in the area. But they will not bar the proposed facility from opening if it jeopardizes the integrity of the city's tightly regulated — yet unfinished — program to aid the sick and dying. Published March 6, 2012

D.C. Council member Yvette M. Alexander hopes to relocate the only eligible medical-marijuana cultivation center to a site in her ward east of the Anacostia River. (T.J. Kirkpatrick/Special to The Washington Times)

Ward 7 proposed for marijuana cultivation center

Seven weeks after the D.C. Council banned the excessive clustering of medical-marijuana facilities to assuage residents of Ward 5, a city lawmaker is hoping to relocate the only eligible cultivation center to a site east of the Anacostia River. Published March 5, 2012

Council member Vincent B. Orange is one of the D.C. politicians who have reportedly received funds related to Jeffrey E. Thompson. (The Washington Times)

Raid on political donor shakes D.C. government

The full intent of a federal raid late Friday on an influential D.C. political donor's home and offices remains unclear, but by Monday the potential fallout of the incident reverberated through city hall, the campaign trail and a long-shot effort to recall the city's top elected officials. Published March 5, 2012

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

D.C. set to relax gun laws, hesitantly

A bill that cuts training sessions and other impediments to registering a gun in the District is expected to pass, perhaps unanimously, when it goes before the entire D.C. Council in coming weeks. Published March 1, 2012

Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier.  (Drew Angerer / The Washington Times)

ACLU seeks limits on D.C. police tracking technology

The American Civil Liberties Union sounded the alarm on Wednesday over police officers' ability to use cellphone signals and license-plate-reading technology to track people inside the District. Published February 29, 2012

Political signs on Rhode Island Avenue Northeast are too big to be overlooked Tuesday by a pedestrian. Ward 5 D.C. Council candidates Shelly Gardner and Wilson Boston are among the 16 hopefuls running for the vacated seat of Harry Thomas Jr. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)

No shortage of candidates to replace Thomas

Sixteen candidates are competing to replace former D.C. Council member Harry Thomas Jr., who pleaded guilty in January to stealing more than $350,000 from the District and left Ward 5 without direct representation in city hall. Published February 28, 2012

Harry Thomas, Jr., Ward 5 Councilmember, gestures during a legislative session at the John A. Wilson Building, in Washington, D.C., Tuesday, July 12, 2011. (Drew Angerer/The Washington Times)

Graham wants to know how Thomas used trust to steal from city

Employees at a nonprofit organization that former council member Harry Thomas Jr. used as a conduit to steal from the city raised concerns about fast-tracked grants and the risk of becoming a "check-on-demand kind of place," according to testimony at a D.C. Council oversight hearing on Monday. Published February 27, 2012

A public-private trust at the center of former D.C. Council member Harry Thomas Jr.'s theft scandal gave more than $100,000 to groups not registered as nonprofits and others not in city records. (The Washington Times)

'Substantial questions' await Thomas trust

A public-private nonprofit that played a pivotal role in former D.C. Council member Harry Thomas Jr.'s theft of more than $350,000 from the city is expected to face tough questions from the council Monday. Published February 26, 2012

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

D.C. truancy report's absence raises ire

A D.C. Council member says the city's public school system violated the law by failing to submit an annual report on truancy, an urgent problem among city youth that has led to stricter monitoring and awareness campaigns across the District. Published February 23, 2012

The Washington Monument, seen through barricades on the Mall, remains closed since August's earthquake. Design for repairs should last into midspring, when bidding will begin. Work will be paid with $15 million in federal and private funding.

D.C. still years, millions away from fixing quake damage

Six months after a magnitude 5.8 earthquake stunned the nation's capital, the Washington Monument is still closed and awaiting $15 million in repairs, the D.C. government is looking for a federal reimbursement for its hodgepodge of damage and the Washington National Cathedral needs $18 million for major restoration efforts that could take up to five years. Published February 22, 2012

** FILE ** Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

McDonnell backs D.C. budget autonomy

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell has thrown his support behind a proposal to allow the District to spend its local funds without tying the process to congressional budget bills, citing the risk of disruptions to services in the nation's capital in the event of a federal government shutdown. Published February 22, 2012

Marion Barry

D.C. Council tightens behavior rules after Marion Barry dustup

The D.C. Council passed a measure Tuesday that expands its self-imposed ban on profane or abusive language to any public meeting attended by members, a swift response to a blowup between two members at the council's retreat on Valentine's Day. Published February 21, 2012