Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Jack Evans Responds

In the interest of fairness, here's an excerpt from a response from Councilman Jack Evans's office to points raised in e-mails sent by several neighborhood residents (including your humble blogger) about last week's "crime forum":

"1) Our office gave Mr. Moulton permission to videotape the meeting at the United House of Prayer. Our contact for using the building is Doris Brooks. When Mr. Moulton got there with his equipment, Ms. Brooks informed him that he could not videotape the meeting. IF the meeting was held in a facility controlled by Councilmember Evans, i.e., the Wilson building, he would have been able to give the final word. Since it was Ms. Brooks who arranged use of the building for us, Mr. Evans was not abel to "overrule" her decision. We allowed Mr. Moulton to tape our Constieunt Fundraiser event becaus that decision was solely up to us. In the future we will be sure to find out the rules of the facility we're using to ensure an incident like this doesn't happen again.
"2) The meeting was hosted by Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans, ANC 2C and ECCA - it was at the top of the agenda if you were able to get a copy. Mr. Thorpe is the President of ECCA. Doris Brooks and Alex Padro are ANC commissioners. They all sat at the head table.
"3) When Mr. Evans began the meeting he recognized the members for both groups (ANC 2C and ECCA) and asked if Barbara and Kevin were present.....there was no response. Apparently, they both came late to the meeting. Ms. Curtis was identified by Windy Abdul-Rahim of our staff who tried to escort her to the front of the room....Ms. Curtis declined. Mrs. Rahim did not see Mr. Chapelle. I assure you if she had, she would have extended the same courtesy to him. Again, Mr. Evans recognized both Ms. Curtis and Mr. Chapelle and apparently, they were not present at the time. Mr. Chapelle had every right to come to the front of the room and had Mr. Evans known he'd shown up later, he was have invited him to do so. You were there, so you saw how many people were in attendance. Again, had we know he was there, he would have been escorted by Windy or invited by Jack to come up front, but he could have also just walked up and made his presence known."
Here's what I think about the response:
1. This might be an adequate explanation if there were no long-standing context of efforts by Mr. Thorpe and Ms. Brooks to prevent video recording of ANC meetings despite the absence of any legal prohibition against such recording of public meetings. Jack Evans's staffers are certainly well aware of this and he should have been as well. To acquiesce in Doris Brooks's prohibition of the recording makes it appear that he supports the Thorpe/Brooks position. If holding a public meeting with our mayor, councilman, and police chief in a private space means it no longer operates under the rules of a public meeting, then it should not be held in that space.
2. I did get a copy of the agenda, and the only non-DC government names on it were those of Leroy Thorpe and Doris Brooks. None of the other ANC commissioners were included. Again, there's context here--namely the maneuvering by Mr. Thorpe and his enabler, Ms. Brooks, to maintain defacto control over the ANC after losing an election. And again, Evans's staffers should be well aware of that. I can see no reason why this meeting (unlike the previous ones in June and September) needed to be "co-sponsored" at all. (Wondering whose idea that was...hmmm.) Giving Thorpe and Brooks equal billing with Jack Evans (and giving the other commissioners no billing) suggests--rightly or wrongly--that Evans supports their shenanigans.
3. Okay, okay, partial credit here. But if there is a head table, who sits there carries symbolic weight. Why weren't all of the commissioners invited beforehand to sit at the table? Mr. Thorpe's dubious credentials as "president" of the ECCA aside, I really have no problem with him being seated at the dais (assuming there needs to be one at all), but what about other (dare I say more active?) community associations? This was supposed to be a show of unity against crime, not a veiled political rally for one faction.

At least there seems to support for holding any other such meetings in a more neutral setting.


At 2/27/2007 3:16 PM, Anonymous Sam Farmer said...

Well at best its sloppy by Jack and his staff meaning they don't really care about this area or don't understand this area.

At worst it indicates that Thorpe bullied Jack into this meeting and its the kick off event of Elect Thorpe 2008.

Good research Daddy Five-Oh and it verifies what I've heard in other sources

At 2/27/2007 7:36 PM, Blogger volvolution1 said...

The only good thing I see that came out of this whole mess is that four or five people in a non-concerted fashion called out Cracker Jack for mistakes relating directly/indirectly to his association with Thorpe. My hope is that Jack distances him from Thorpe...somehow I don't see this happening.

At 2/27/2007 8:44 PM, Anonymous Martin said...

If Mr Evans or his staff needed to check with "Mother" before giving permission to record the event, they should have done so and not given permission and that would have saved me from hauling my stuff to the meeting in addition to bag full of I{Heart}Shaw Shirts. By granting permission, several weeks in advance of the event, I could only have expected that all concerned parties had been made aware of the request and permission being granted.

Given recent events at ANC meetings, why would Mr Evans' office avoid informing Ms Brooks of the request/permission before the event? Had they done so, they would have prevented the confrontation which occurred at the meeting and lessened a great deal of frustration.

Since Mr Evans' office sent out the official announcemt for the meeting in his office's stationery, it was reasonable to assume that his office was the primary contact. Neither Ms Brooks nor Mr Thorpe ever suggested that they should be contacted for information about the event.

My request was made to encourage transparency and to keep all parties informed. The problem and heat that resulted occurred because other parties were not being transparent. The communication breakdown occurred between Evan's office and the co-sponsors of the event.

And I still would like a response to:
"What harm is done by recording a public meeting for sake a making that recording available to the widest possible audience?"

I hope Mr Evans asks Ms Brooks and Mr Thorpe for their answer and makes that public.

At 2/27/2007 9:20 PM, Anonymous Charles Walker said...

Jack Evans needs a serious opponent in the Democratic primary at the next election. No politician should be allowed to be so lazy and treat his constituents which such contempt, and get reelected. He thinks he can treat us as subjects and get away with it. He needs to learn a lesson.

At 2/28/2007 2:10 PM, Anonymous ed said...

The email I saw did not mention ECCA or ANC2C. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/MPD-3d/message/2062

I arrived early and saw that Leroy had already planted himself front and center at the table. Note that Jack gave Leroy and Doris a big group hug at the end.

At 3/01/2007 5:41 AM, Anonymous Carmen said...

When is Jack Evans up for re-election? He doesn't seem to recognize that the basic requirement of elected office is to represent your CONSTITUENTS and their needs and expressed concerns and desires, especially as expressed in elections.

We elected Kevin Chapple - He is the COMMISSIONER, not Leroy Thorpe.

At 3/01/2007 1:16 PM, Anonymous Cary said...

My recollection is that ECCA has been a cosponsor of the past crime forums, pre-Thorpe. I've always felt that MVSNA should be acknowledged/represented at those meetings, but until after this latest event, I did not push the issue because I felt that conflict in the neighborhood between neighborhood associations would not accomplish anything and the meeting did not need MVSNA front and center to be productive. But after this meeting, I spoke with Councilmember Evans about the situation and he has said that he will include MVSNA in the future. Future meetings are also likely to be held in a neutral public building, such as the Kennedy Rec Center or Convention Center.

Like it or not, Doris Brooks is chair of the ANC and Leroy Thorpe is president of the ECCA (if ECCA members dispute the legitimacy of his presidency, it is up to them to address it). I don't fault Councilmember Evans for including them on the program or at the dais. I do agree that if there is to be a dais, then it needs to include all active community orgranizations and ANC Commissioners in the future. My preference is to get rid of the dais entirely, so we can avoid any appearance of exclusion or favoritism and avoid these meetings becoming an open mic or political rally for certain individuals. We need to all work together and seeing certain people up at the dais or not up at the dais immediately divides us.

I believe that all of the e-mails neighbors independently sent to Councilmember Evans reached him and he and his staff are certainly more aware of the situation in Shaw. Our neighborhood has decided it will no longer stand for the one-man show and the abuses that come along with it. That shift took 18 years and it may take more than a few months to fully reach the Wilson Building.

At 12/16/2010 8:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Carey has the only intelligent response to the entire issue. Everyone else should grow up and move on.


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