- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 19, 2011


The chickens have come home to roost, and the poop is all over the John A. Wilson Building.

The mayor and several legislators are under criminal, civil or ethical clouds that are shaped like dollar signs.

The rate of new D.C. HIV/AIDS cases is on the decline, but America’s capital is still in the throes of an epidemic, and the liberals are holding their collective noses against the benefits of abstinence.

Failure to curb dropout and illiteracy rates means hundreds and hundreds of men and women are crying out for the one thing that can spell relief when it comes to raising their families: J-O-B-S.

Small businesses, which grease the wheels of the local economy, are being pushed to go green or else.

Our newly elected leadership hasn’t even been up and running for six months, yet residents are ginning up recall efforts.

There’s more chicken poop covering city hall, including the fact that the D.C. Council, under Chairman Kwame R. Brown’s questionable leadership, last week passed a 2012 budget that ignores red flags and proposes spending revenue that has yet to make its way into city coffers.

This is no way to run a city, and voters said precisely that in a new poll by The Washington Post and the Kaiser Family Foundation.

When asked, “Do you think things in the District of Columbia are generally going in the right direction, or do you feel things have gotten pretty seriously off on the wrong track?” 46 of those in the May telephone survey answered “right direction” and 36 percent answered “wrong track.”

So while the trains may still be running on time, residents think the D.C. government has been derailed (36 percent), remains unchanged (11 percent) or have no opinion on the direction the city is taking.

Interestingly, these opinions were gleaned before the disgruntled Sulaimon Brown donned his designer sunglasses and produced money- order receipts to back his claim that supporters of Vincent C. Gray’s campaign paid him to make incumbent Adrian M. Fenty look bad during the 2010 mayoral race. The survey, conducted May 10 to 31, also preceded charges and new and renewed allegations leveled against several other high-level lawmakers, including Mr. Brown and council members Harry Thomas Jr., David A. Catania, Jim Graham, Yvette Alexander and Jack Evans.

Small wonder that a man named Frederick Butler has said enough is enough and announced plans to officially launch a recall effort Jan. 2, the earliest date allowed by law.

D.C. law prohibits voters from recalling the mayor or members of the council during their first or last year in office. If that stipulation weren’t already written in stone, Mr. Gray, the subject of federal and local investigations; Mr. Brown, the subject of campaign improprieties, and Mr. Thomas, accused of diverting nonprofit money for personal use, could certainly kiss their political jobs and careers goodbye this year.

The recall threat leveled by Mr. Butler includes a website, recallvincegray.com, and states his intentions.

All he has to do at the start of the new year is get the signatures of 45,000 bona fide registered D.C. voters to move forward — a small feat considering the recent complaints making the rounds on various listservs, in the blogosphere and by investigative reporting by The Washington Times and other local media, which remind city officials day in and day out that the road to political perdition is paved with chicken poop.

*Deborah Simmons can be reached at dsimmons@washingtontimes.com.



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