News and Analysis


The Washington Post

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Regina Park.

Karl Racine won the first-ever race for D.C. attorney general Tuesday.

Racine, a Democrat, won with about 40 percent of the vote, according to the Washington Post. The D.C. attorney general had traditionally been appointed by the mayor.

Racine defeated Lorie Masters, Edward “Smitty” Smith, Lateefah Williams and Paul Zukerberg. All of the candidates were Democrats.

A September NBC4/Washington Post/Marist poll found that more than half of likely voters had not decided which attorney general candidate to support. Zukerberg led the race at the time with the support of 14 percent of likely voters. Racine had 5 percent.

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Updated: Aug. 4, 2014 at 8:31 a.m.

American actor Anwan Glover was brought to GW Hospital after he was stabbed in a D.C. nightclub early Sunday morning.

Glover, who appeared on HBO’s “The Wire,” was stabbed in the torso inside Cafe Asia near 17th and I streets at about 2 a.m. on Sunday. A man had approached Glover and repeatedly hit then stabbed him, the Baltimore Sun reported.

The D.C. native, also a musician, was released from GW Hospital after he was treated for non-life-threatening injuries, the Sun reported.

Glover, who played a gang leader on “The Wire” and also appeared in the movie “12 Years a Slave,” reportedly was shot 13 times when he was younger in Columbia Heights, the Washington Post reported. His brother died in a D.C. shooting seven years ago, and his son was wounded in a shooting four years later.

Glover appeared with then-Mayor Adrian Fenty in 2007 after his brother died to advocate against gun violence in the city.

This post was updated to reflect the following correction:
The Hatchet incorrectly spelled the name of former mayor Adrian Fenty. It is Adrian, not Adrien. We regret this error.

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Saturday, July 5, 2014 2:01 p.m.

José Andrés receives White House honor

Celebrity chef and University Commencement speaker José Andrés was honored Friday at the White House.

President Barack Obama recognized Andrés as an “Outstanding American by Choice” during a naturalization ceremony in which 25 members of the military, veterans and their spouses became U.S. citizens.

The Economist, Jose Andres

President Barack Obama honored chef José Andrés at the White House on Friday. Hatchet File Photo

Andrés, who became a citizen last November, was honored as part of a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services initiative to highlight the achievements of naturalized citizens who display a commitment to civic duty.

Andrés is the founder of the World Central Kitchen, a charity he established after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. He also serves on the boards of D.C. Central Kitchen and L.A. Kitchen, which focus on hunger problems in urban areas.

Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor to the president, tweeted a photo of Andrés and Obama with the message, “Congrats to @ChefJoseAndres for receiving the Outstanding American Award-he serves both delicious food & those in need.”

Andrés tweeted a similar photo, writing that he was “humbled” by the honor and “happy to be part of this great nation!”

In his remarks, Obama spoke about the 25 immigrants taking part in the ceremony and the urgency of immigration reform.

Obama vowed to “keep making our immigration system smarter and more efficient so hardworking men and women like all of you have the opportunity to join the American family and to serve our great nation.”

During his Commencement address this spring, Andrés, who immigrated from Spain 24 years ago, told graduates to reshape the American dream.

He has spoken out in favor of immigration reform in the past, notably in an op-ed in the Washington Post last December.

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This post was written by assistant news editor Zaid Shoorbajee.

Congress scrutinized D.C.’s proposal to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana Friday, poking holes in the legislation that the federal government has the power to overturn.

A U.S. House of Representatives oversight subcommittee voiced concerns that the measure would have negative effects on public health and questioned whether it would be able to combat racial disparities in drug arrests, which was why many D.C. Council members supported it in March.

Congress has about 50 days to review the law, which Mayor Vincent Gray signed on March 31. Both houses of Congress would have to pass and President Barack Obama would have sign legislation to overturn it.

If approved, those caught with less than an ounce of marijuana in D.C. would face a $25 fine instead of criminal charges. Smoking in public would still be a misdemeanor with a maximum punishment of 60 days in jail.

Eleanor Holmes Norton, the District’s non-voting representative in Congress, attacked the hearing because it was the first in more than a decade to only focus on a D.C. law, the Washington Post reported.

Representatives also challenged the measure for possibly conflicting with enforcement of federal law.

Deputy Chief of the U.S. Park Police Robert Mclean said at the hearing that the change wouldn’t impact enforcement on federal land. Federal parks, which make up about 22 percent of the land that falls within city limits, are under the jurisdiction of the Park Police.

Those arrested on federal property for marijuana possession face up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.

University spokeswoman Maralee Csellar said GW would wait until Congress approves the law before it considers changing punishments for marijuana possession on campus. University Police Chief Kevin Hay said in October that students would still face disciplinary action if they are caught smoking in their rooms.

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Sunday, March 16, 2014 7:46 p.m.

Snow headed for the District again

Snow is expected to dust the city Monday, and two counties in Virginia announced their public schools will be closed.

A dog stands in Dupont Circle during a snowball fight earlier this year. Hatchet File Photo

A dog stands in Dupont Circle during a snowball fight earlier this year. Hatchet File Photo

Between 2 and 4 inches of snow could accumulate in the D.C. area by Monday morning, the Washington Post’s Capital Weather Gang predicted, but even less could pile up downtown or near the Potomac River.

Snow that falls in the early evening will likely melt because of above-freezing temperatures, but it could start to stick between 8 p.m. and midnight.

Public schools in Fairfax and Loudoun counties will be closed Monday.

GW has canceled classed three times because of snow this academic year.

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D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray gives his State of the District speech last year. Federal prosecutors are now alleging he knew about the shadow campaign. Hatchet File Photo.

D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray gives his State of the District speech last year. Federal prosecutors are now alleging he knew about the shadow campaign. Hatchet File Photo.

Federal prosecutors said Monday that Mayor Vincent Gray had asked for the help of D.C. businessman Jeffrey Thompson before he illegally funnelled more than a half-million dollars into Gray’s 2010 mayoral campaign, The Washington Post reported.

Thompson pled guilty to two conspiracy counts Monday, including the financing of a $668,800 shadow campaign for Gray’s first mayoral bid between May and September 2010 – a figure that was higher than previously reported. Prosecutors said that Gray had met with Thompson several times and helped keep Thompson’s identity a secret by calling him “Uncle Earl.”

Gray said Monday that he used the nickname to keep Thompson’s identity a secret from former mayor Adrian Fenty, who also received money. Gray has repeatedly denied knowledge of the fund, though he publicly apologized for the 2010 campaign after launching his reelection bid in January.

He dismissed prosecutor’s charges when talking to a Washington Post reporter Monday.

“It’s shocking to me. Lies. These are lies,” Gray said, adding that Thompson implicated him to lessen the time he’d have to spend in prison.

“The only thing I can tell people is what has been and continues to be the truth for me, and you know what that is. I don’t need to repeat that for the 933rd time,” Gray said.

Thompson could have faced 18 months in prison but as a result of the plea, he will face at most six months in prison and a three-year supervised release.

Thompson’s court appearance, as well as the documents, unveil a tangled web of funding to federal and local political campaigns, which totalled more than $2 million. The cash also went toward Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential bid and Council member Vincent Orange’s 2011 At-Large Council campaign.

Thompson gave money to at least 13 federal candidates – including D.C.’s delegate to Congress Eleanor Holmes Norton – between 2006 and 2010, according to the documents.

U.S. Attorney Ronald Machen described the court appearance as a “major turning point” though he said there were “varying degrees of knowledge” about the funds among the candidates who received funding from Thompson. Machen declined to comment if Gray had cooperated with the investigation.

“What you learned about today was only the tip of the iceberg,” Machen said, adding there was no timeline to release more information about Gray before April’s Democratic mayoral primary.

Thompson said at the hearing that Orange – who is also running for mayor – did not know about the fund.

In a release, Gray’s campaign manager Chuck Thies cautioned about the “innuendo” of the charges.

“The Jeffrey Thompson charging document should be read carefully. Common misconceptions espoused by our opponents and echoed in the media are not substantiated in the Jeffrey Thompson charging documents. Read carefully,” Thies said.

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Saturday, Jan. 25, 2014 9:10 p.m.

Alumnus, representative of Guam, dies at 85

Photo used under the Wikimedia Commons license

Photo used under the Wikimedia Commons license.

Vicente Blaz, an alumnus who served as the first non-white general in the Marine Corps and represented Guam in Congress, died Jan. 8 in Fairfax, Va. He was 85.

Blaz earned a master’s degree in public administration at GW in 1963, the Washington Post reported, while he was serving in the Marines. He died from acute respiratory failure.

Blaz was born in Guam three decades after the island became a U.S. territory. Japanese forces invaded Guam during World War II and captured Blaz, then 13, and held him in a prison camp for three years.

He eventually traveled to the U.S., graduating from the University of Notre Dame before entering the Marines. Blaz served in the Korean War and received the Bronze Star Medal for his service in the Vietnam War.

After retiring from the military in 1980, he returned to Guam, the Post reported. Four years later, he was elected to represent Guam as a non-voting member of Congress. Blaz, a Republican, was the only former general in Congress at the time and went on to serve four terms.

He had a home in Fairfax, Va. and is survived by two sons, two brothers, a sister and five grandchildren.

His wife, Ann Evers Blaz, died seven months ago. They had been married for 58 years.

This post was updated on Jan. 25 at 11:32 p.m. to reflect the following:

Correction appended
In the headline, The Hatchet incorrectly reported that Blaz died at 58. As stated in the story, he was 85.

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The man charged with attacking a part-time professor near Dupont Circle last month was released from jail Monday and assigned to a halfway house until his trial.

James Brown of Southeast D.C. was arrested for assaulting Jason Chambers, a fencing instructor in the department of exercise science, the weekend before Halloween. Chambers was found unconscious on a sidewalk and unable to provide details of the attack.

A D.C. Superior Court judge ordered Brown, 38, to wear a GPS-equipped ankle bracelet and remain in the halfway house at all times, except for court appearances, the Washington Post reported.

Chambers is no longer in a coma, but doctors were forced to cut out part of his skull where Brown allegedly stomped on it. The Assistant U.S. Attorney on the case said Chambers “will never be the same.”

Brown allegedly attacked him near Connecticut Avenue at about 4:20 a.m., according to a police report.

The Metropolitan Police Department had originally assigned homicide detectives to the case because of the seriousness of Chambers’ injuries.

Police told the Post that Brown and co-workers were moving Washington Post newspapers from one delivery truck to another at the time of the attack. Brown punched Chambers after he felt threatened, checked Chambers’ pulse and “got back into his truck and began delivering his newspapers, leaving the victim on the sidewalk,” the Post reported.

Charles Canty, who is representing Brown, said the court had not yet set a trial date.

“We understand that professor Chambers is very popular. We understand that. But there was an unfortunate series of events. My client is innocent of anything involving Jason Chambers,” Canty said.

- Colleen Murphy contributed to this report

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Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., who has served as the District’s representative in Congress since 1991, has celebrated multiple moves by the federal government to grant the city budget autonomy. Hatchet File Photo

A Senate committee signed off on a bill Thursday freeing up the District’s tax dollars without congressional approval – the latest legal success that could allow for greater budget autonomy.

While the measure clashes with a spending bill in the House of Representatives, it comes days after Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif. introduced a separate bill Tuesday to amend the D.C. Home Rule Act and allow the city to spend funds without congressional approval.

D.C. has historically aligned its fiscal year with the federal government’s on Oct. 1, but most states begin July 1 to allow for school budget use.

“The District has now moved closer to budget autonomy than ever in its history,” Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., said of the Senate bill in a statement Friday. She is the District’s lone, nonvoting representative in Congress.

The city’s budget autonomy referendum, which was approved in April, will also go into effect next year after Congress allowed the legislative review period to expire this week.

Congress could pass a law nullifying the referendum retrospectively, but the Post reported President Barack Obama and the Democrat-lead Senate are unlikely to support such action.

The House bill, which a committee advanced last week, also cuts federal funding for D.C. by 6 percent. The other chamber’s proposal slightly increased funding, which makes up about 2 percent of the District’s budget and mostly pays for its court system.

The Senate committee measure would also end a restriction on D.C. from spending taxpayer dollars to pay for abortions for low-income women, but the House bill leaves the ban intact.

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This site could be home to GW and MIT lab facilities. Rendering courtesy of Walter Reed Local Redevelopment Authority.

After spending more than half a billion dollars on construction in Foggy Bottom, GW could now be a major player in development projects across the city.

Two real estate firms have included GW medical and biological science facilities in their pitches to rebuild a more than 60-acre site in Northwest D.C.

Those companies are among three developers vying for the former Walter Reed Army Medical Center property, which sits between Georgia Avenue and 16th Street. The teams presented their ideas Thursday, and Mayor Vincent Gray will have a final say on who develops the site, the Washington Post reported.

One proposal, called “The Parks at Walter Reed,” would include GW and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology lab facilities as well as Hyatt hotel and conference center and an arts center. Also called the Hines-Urban Atlantic proposal, it would take about 10 years to complete.

The second was pitched by Roadside Development, and includes a partnership between GW and Howard University. It would also include retail, housing and a hotel.

Associate Vice President of Operations Administration John Ralls said he could not immediately provide information about the plans.

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