- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 31, 2011

Embattled D.C. Council member Harry Thomas Jr. (or at least someone handling his email account) dispatched a letter from a faithful constituent Friday morning to his colleagues at the John A. Wilson Building.

The letter, written by “Brian” from the Brookland neighborhood, uses flowery language to defend Mr. Thomas‘ rights to due process and praise his past deeds.

It warns against “rushing to judgments” about Mr. Thomas, Ward 5 Democrat, even amid calls for his resignation when he agreed to pay $300,000 to the District after complaints he diverted funds earmarked for youth baseball.

“Like any family, Ward 5 is respecting its native son,” the letter says. “They are respecting his rights to due process and presumption of innocence.”

But some at city hall see Mr. Thomas‘ settlement with the D.C. attorney general - and overall silence on where the money went - as implicit assent to the charges.

One council staffer said this is not the first such email to reach his inbox, an apparent strategy by Mr. Thomas to respond to criticism without issuing any statements as the U.S. attorney for the District works on a criminal probe.

Three council members have openly called for Mr. Thomas to step down, but he shows no signs of quitting the council.

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell remains among the most popular heads of state in the country, according to a poll released last week by the Democratic-leaning firm Public Policy Polling. Fifty percent of Virginia voters said they approve of the job Mr. McDonnell is doing, compared with 31 percent saying they disapprove.

That puts Mr. McDonnell, a Republican, tied for eighth-most-popular among 41 sitting governors PPP has so far tested.

Mr. McDonnell, the vice chairman of the Republican Governors Association, has been mentioned (including by presidential hopeful Mitt Romney) as a potential 2012 vice presidential pick.

But when asked what would happen if Mr. McDonnell were on the ticket next year, 31 percent of Virginia voters say it would make them less likely to vote Republican for president and 24 percent said it would make them more likely. (44 percent say it wouldnt make a difference).

Take note, Romney/Bachmann/Perry et al …

Metro General Manger Richard Sarles proudly announced some great news last week for the roughly 23,000 daily Metrorail passengers at the Bethesda station who must frequently sweat their way up and down the often-broken elevators. Sort of. He said the transit, whose problems keeping elevators running has been well documented, merely “plans” to replace all three Bethesda entrance escalators because the board of directors must first approve the plan. And neatly folded into the second-to-last paragraph in the press release was word the project is not even expected to begin until 2014. Here’s to a third- or maybe fourth-consecutive record-hot summer.

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