What's in a name?

What's in a name?

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Request to the Board of Elections and Ethics.

23 March 2012

Ms.Deborah Nichols

Chair, Board of Elections and Ethics

Board of Elections and Ethics
Government of the District of Columbia
One Judiciary Square
441 4th Street NW
Suite 250 North
Washington, DC 20001

Ms. Nichols,

Pursuant to the authority set forth in D.C. Official Code 1-1103-01 (b-1) (1) 2001 edition, and the authority vested in the District of Columbia Board of Elections and Ethics by the District of Columbia Government.

I respectfully request a complete investigation into the Campaign related actions of Ward 4 Councilmember Muriel Bowser.   In so doing, it is evident that while being duly elected and serving her current term as as Councilmember for Ward 4, District of Columbia, she has personally violated the terms of Section 3300 of Chapter 33 of 3 DCMR, “Applicability” as it reads.

Specific to my complaint and request for a board instigated investigation,  section 3300.1 A Conflict of interest shall occur when a public official exerts any “effort to realize personal gain”, as defined in 9900.1 through official conduct. Additionally, pursuant to Code 3301.1  
“A person shall be prohibited from using their official position to obtain financial gain, other than that compensation provided by law for the public official, for the following.
(a)The public official;
(b)Any member of the public official’s household; or
(c)Any business with which the public official or a member of the public official household is associated.

It is alleged that Councilmember Muriel Bowser did on occasion use her District of Columbia government issued cell phone for personal gain.  By both dialing this cell phone to make direct contact with her campaign office and by receiving incoming calls from the number clearly identifiable by caller identification on her Blackberry device, and thus engaging in conversation with her staff at the campaign offices,  she is in violation of above aforementioned laws.

Use of said government issued cellular phone on government paid and contracted minutes constitutes an abuse of the guidelines set forth in the official code. This use is in direct violation of of the ability of the sitting councilmember to possibly have personal gain. As well a violation of Campaign laws that forbid the mingling of normal Councilmember and District of Columbia Government responsibility with that of re-election efforts.  There can be no clear line of division when a government issued cell phone is used for any contact with a campaign office. Either during regular government hours of operation or evening/weekend hours.  There should be a clear division to the two offices and the staff of each endeavor.

Additionally,  pursuant to code 3301.9 “Resources of the District of Columbia Government shall include, but not be limited to, the following:
(a)The personal services of employees during their hours of work and
(b)Non Personal services

It is suggested to the board that Ward 4 Councilmember Muriel Bowser did on numerous occasion speak with campaign staff and did request that Council staff relay messages via their government issued cell phones to both paid staff as well as volunteer staff at the campaign headquarters during regular business hours.

As per the provisions of code 3301.10 “Non personal services shall include, but not be limited to, the following:
(d)Office Space:
(f)Utilities, for example, telephone, gas and electric services.

It is suggested that Ward 4 Councilmember Muriel Bowser and members of her Council staff have on occasion abused the ethics of these codes of the “District of Columbia Government to engage in re-election, while being in office and during regular Government of the District of Columbia hours of operation.  

As stated in code 3300.1 “A conflict of interest shall occur when a public official exerts any “efforts to realize personal gain”, as defined in 9900.1 through official conduct.

These violations and the attached document obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, through the Office of the Secretary of the Council, clearly demonstrates that Councilmember Muriel Bowser is and has been in violation of said District of Columbia laws pertaining to the above stated ethics  as presented by the BOEE.

On this day (23 March 2012 do by this written notice request that the District of Columbia Board of Elections and Ethics conduct a thorough and responsive investigation into the matters as presented.


Keith Jarrell

Saturday, March 24, 2012

What's in a name? Did our councilmember forget who she is?

Not only while on Council business,  but now in the Ward as well.  Councilmember Bowser has refused to turn over her cell phone records pertaining to the recent article about council excessive cell phone bills.
It was appropriately noted that Ward 4 Councilmember Bowser has racked up the highest usage of any councilmember.  Her extensive call log now proves that she isn't just doing council business but also making personal calls on her District of Columbia Government issued cell phone.

While Ward 4 Councilmember Muriel Bowser was too busy to show up at a senior candidate's forum,  and too busy to care about Ward 4 constituents, she clearly had time to dial up her Campaign offices and inquire about how she was looking in the eyes of voters.

What is it about an elected official that proclaims to have good judgement, and to be engaged on the issue of credibility and transparency that they just don't get it.  Residents of the District of Columbia should not be forced to foot the bill for her use of a government issued cell phone for personal gain.  Personal gain of seeking re-election.

Muriel Bowser made a tragic mistake and took a call from her campaign office and then subsequently picked up her government issued cell phone and called her campaign offices. Wonder what that conversation was about?

Perhaps it was about her decision not to attend a Committee hearing held on the Committee of the Judiciary in their oversight capacity when Fire and EMS Chief Dennis Rubin was brought before the committee to discuss the Fire Department's performance.    This committee rubber stamped Rubin's confirmation hearing just over a year ago for the public now to learn that there was 6 counts of personnel related complaints in his personnel fine from 6 different women at the Sarasota Florida Fire Department.

Maybe Councilmember Bowser could have used her government issued cell phone to call Sarasota Florida and inquire about then Chief Ellerbe's history there during his short tenure as their Chief.

She clearly didn't.  She clearly failed this city,  and the residents of this ward when she did nothing to assure us that we were getting the best possible Chief of our fire department.

She failed every senior citizen in this Ward when she failed to show up for the Senior's candidate forum earlier this month and stand face to face with many and answer their questions.  Instead she sent a young and inexperienced staffer Brandon Todd,  although on leave he as served the councilmember in the past as nothing more than a constituent relations liaison.  Don't get me wrong Brandon is probably one of the best on her staff.  At least offering a polite mannerism and an approachable personality.

Fact is,  there may have been a violation of the Federal Hatch Act by him standing in front of citizens talking about the Councilmembers accomplishments while in office.  For the most part, Brandon Todd failed to answer the final two questions asked about the Councilmembers failure to show up at the committee hearing, and again for the Senior Forum.

We know she likes to talk on the phone and that she doesn't care enough to show up in public unless perhaps there is a ribbon to be cut,  and a celebration to appear to offer up her accomplishments for all those attending to see.

Let's move beyond this style of "not caring" and beyond this style of "not showing up" and let's elect someone that cares.  Someone that will offer us a truly transparent approach to our District government.  Let's elect someone that will not sell out to pay for play developers,  and corporations seeking favors so that they can get rich off of their relationships and favoritism from our elected in Ward 4.  

Monday, March 5, 2012

Bowser Campaign in Receipt of more than $18,000.00 from local Health Care firm .

The news that the FBI are investigating contributions from Jeffrey Thompson and those associated with his organization came as not surprise to many of us in the District of Columbia.  Earlier this month,  the news came just weeks from the April 3, primary. The FBI had raided the offices and residences of: Jeffrey Thompson of Thompson, Cobb, Bazilio, & Associates, Inc. Things like this always seem to have a relationship with those elected in our city. It is almost a given that there will be connections to this company's alleged misconduct and some of our elected officials.

Muriel Bowser, Councilmember Ward 4 has received numerous contributions from Jeffry Thompson and his associates.  Many through money orders,  and most evading the campaign laws that limit contributions to $500.00.  The recently submitted records indicate more than $385,000.00 in corporate contributions.
With such a large percentage of her total campaign funds coming from contributions from corporations how can you or I expect our voices to be heard?  Clearly we won't be.

Muriel Bowser who chairs the very committee that could have introduced real campaign finance reform, tabled the matter until after the primary.  Why one might ask?  Because a method for real reform would likely paint her and her campaign as indulgent to the over load of taking too much from those wishing to be given priority.  Priority in decisions that can clearly given them an advantage in development, District contracts and much more.

In a means to bring as much of corporate contributions to light here in Ward 4 I have spent a considerable amount of time to research the connections between the Executive Staff of Thompson, Cobb, Bazilio & Associates and our very own Ward 4 Councilmember, Muriel Bowser.

Thompson, Cobb, Bazilio and Associates, PC (TCBA or the Firm) is a full service professional services firm that provides accounting, audit and assurance, information systems.

Here is where there contributions to Ward 4 have gone since the 2007 special election held to replace then Mayor-Elect Fenty.

Contributions to Muriel Bowser during her first run for Council of the District of Columbia, Ward 4, her re-election campaign in 2008 and now re-election in 2012.

This group has contributed more than$18,000.00 to Muriel Bowser and her campaigns since 2007.
Often giving several donations on the same day from various entities from within the company.
Often using up to three different corporation names or Limited Liability Corporations.

Most often giving the legal limit and clearly giving from every perspective they can and under every name. Look carefully at the dates as there are numerous contributions given on the same day from various entities from within the corporation.

What kind of influence has Thompson, Cobb, Bazilio & Associates been trying to buy?  Why are they so interested in the the election of Muriel Bowser ?  All things that you should want answers to.  All things you should wonder about.

Given the fact that any individual is only allowed to contribute a maximum of $500 to a political campaign. If you are married you then can give $500 and your spouse can give another $500.  But in no situation other than a corporation or an L.L.C. can you garner any more legally.  Here are examples of numerous members of the same firm donating on often the same day,  and with different divisions of the corporation giving the allowable limit.

Ever wonder why Muriel Bowser is on record of not wanting to curtail corporation donations to political campaigns?  Ever wonder why Muriel Bowser has refused to return these donations and make good on her "transparency" to the voters of this ward?

The voters in this city, and more intimately here in Ward 4 must step back and take a serious look at how we can best form our city's trust in our elected officials.  Electing those that have such contiguous histories of listening first to the large corporate contributors rather than you and I should end.  

The history our of political system depends on you and I stepping up and saying enough is enough.  The future must depend on honesty, integrity, and transparency.  Ward 4 clearly doesn't have this now,  and we won't see it if we are used as a platform for Muriel Bowser to be re-elected, with her publicly stated intentions of running for a higher office in the future.  She clearly has her sights set on a run for Mayor in 2014, or possibly Chair of the Council.

We must create the positive change that our city deserves so that our efforts are looked upon by our children as one of compassion and insightful determination to do better.

Listen, read and make yourself aware of the many problems with current leadership in Ward 4 and across this city and vote accordingly.    

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Voters in Ward 4 and frankly across this city should march forward with strong convictions when it comes to who they elect.  Who they consider and most importantly who we place our trust in.
Those that have earned our support and trust that we have elected lately have truly let us all down. They have done so by not being honest, open and fair in their dealings with us as residents and over issues that effect us and our lives. 
The District of Columbia has a delima built into our very progress toward voting rights in congress. That turmoil exists with the very stigma that we have put ourselves in by continuing to elect those that turn out to be less than good representatives.  In fact, they are failing to represent us. This failure continues to complicate the struggle for voting rights in Congress.  With a city so widely exposed for our elected having problems ranging from financial, taxes,embezzlement and taking major donations from those wishing to gain access.  We the citizens and voters are often left out when it comes to our voice being heard and respected.  
This disrespect is rampant here in Ward 4 under the currently elected councilmember.  Muriel Bowser has lost her touch to keep in touch with the very people that supported her in the past. 
Moreover, the very people that need representation and support within the structure of city agencies to get and keep services that they are dependent on.  Muriel Bowser has failed her constituents in every way possible.  The method behind the madness is nothing short of rude,arrogant and pathetic.  Bowser seems to have forgotten the very residents of her own ward.  
With a chief of staff that has never lived in Ward 4 and who surely doesn't drive into the Ward often enough to see problems and to offer assistance in a resolve to the many issues.   It is clear that Bowser isn't concerned about residents of Ward 4.  Instead she has set her sights on things like District wide politics.  City wide elections possibly? 
However, if you by default weaken you own base, and their respect of you, how can you then expect to win a city wide election?  Didn't being friends with Fenty teach her anything? Fenty was by all accounts a great councilmember,  his own Ward 4 constituents helped to get him elected as Mayor and then his re-election bid failed and failed big within his very own ward.   This accomplishment occurred because of arrogance, and rudeness displayed toward the very voters that he had relied on previously.  Failure hit him hard,  but due to his own fault.  
Ward 4 voters and residents now have to contend with the very same failures in our elected member to the Council of the District of Columbia.  Muriel Bowser depended on many of us for support and votes to get her into office.  Yet she has turned her back and her ear to our needs.  She has gotten overly sure of herself and her abilities.  Her staff fails her and the constituents miserably and people across this ward continue to talk about it. However as in any like situation, one must hold the elected to their promises and the responsibility of their offices.  
Muriel Bowser has been aware of the many failures from within her staff time and time again. Thus, without failure she must be held accountable.

Additionally, when ethics reform was begun it was a desire and a hope of many voters in this city that Corporate giving would be one of the many areas that Muriel Bowser would tackle.  In her position of Chair of the Government Operations Committee Bowser had a chance to show her constituents and city wide residents her intent to bring full disclosure to the campaign financinglaws. She had the ability to stop corporate giving and the way they buy their influence into city elections.  
Bowser did what serves herself, and didn't tamper with corporate giving.  Thus keeping the door open to a large portion of her own campaign fund raising. Her Chief Fund Raiser, David Wilmot must have  influenced her to not mess with the current ability for corporations and development companies to be able to give to candidates of their choice, thus buying their influence on future projects and in areas most likely to grow.  Casting a negative light on the very system that was designed to give one vote for one person.  Casting doubt on her very honesty and lack of integrity as a public servant. 

Muriel Bowser is now lost in the sea of unworthy servants that we have cast our votes for and placed out confidence in for representation in our government. The many failings that could be counted as simple oversight in her office structure and how her employees serve her constitutes  is something that could be corrected and frankly forgiven.  But the very lack of integrity in the very process that could have brought closure to a long and nasty task of giving those with big money to spend the influence over our neighborhoods and the very growth around us is unforgiving.  Muriel Bowser has now proven that she has no conscience. Clearly, she prefers the big money that corporations and developers have given her to the voice of her constituents. She prefers to have money to run a campaign to walking the streets and knocking on doors asking us for our support and our vote. Muriel Bowser has lessened the reality that we have an elected official downtown that cares for us and our neighborhoods. Remember if you will Bowser held out on her support for Harry Thomas Jr. until it was clear that he had to resign.  She then quickly ran to the media and gave a statement to position herself as among those calling on the ward 5 councilmember to resign. In reality she held out, silent like a child until she had no other choice. 
Yet she professes to be a fifth generation Washingtonian.  A story that I have never believed. But for a minute if it were true don't you think she would be comfortable relying on the very residents and the support that they could offer her rather than the big money she has chosen to use to attempt to remain in office?
It has been suggested that Bowser has Mayoral possibility.  Clearly, she'll have the money behind her but will she be able to engage enough supporters that have a vote to again invest their hopes in her to represent them again?
Ward 4 desperately needs to move forward and elect a councilmember that both cares and shows it. Someone that will represent us and our issues.  The quality of our lives and the services that are available to us. Not big corporations and the gain financially that they are all looking to achieve. Big corporations don't care for seniors,  they don't care about quality education.  They don't care about the services that our most vulnerable residents get.  They are out to make money on the backs of every resident in this city and every future new resident as they continue to over built, and over price many people from the ability to even live here.  Bowser clearly buys into this with her ineffectual move to not offer change to the campaign finance rules on corporate giving.
I encourage every ward 4 resident and voter to take up issue with this and push back the inclination to re-elect Muriel Bowser.  Stand on firm ground and bring change to our ward in a way that speaks to the very need throughout this city. The kind of change that every resident can see unfold before them with better services,  and the kind of development that will serve us, not those out to make a fortune off of our backs. 
You have to ask yourself, Who is Muriel Bowser listening to? And in doing so, listen to your conscience and vote for change. Stop this train and detour it now rather than experience another wreck in the future.  If we take actions now and do not re-elect Muriel Bowser to another term as Councilmember for Ward 4 we will stop her dead in her tracks to become mayor and continue the influence peddling in high elected office in this city. Additionally, we will return the voice to our ward that has been missing for far too long now.  

Monday, November 28, 2011

Today, I announce that I have decided not to pursue the Democratic Nomination for Ward 4 City Council.

These past several months have been a real lesson in the clear status of politics in our city.  With a less than acceptable example of real ethics reform now on the table for consideration. A continuance of elected officials running to better themselves rather than the services we offer our residents.  It is clear that this council and likely the next two will be largely in transition of working to get over the ailments that this last year alone has caused.

With an elected representative that would rather cut ribbons that serve her constituents. A continuation to support other elected members of the council that by standards any place else would be in jail.  It should not take any us long to realize that we have a problem.  A big problem.  

This problem is bigger than any one election can change.  The improvements that are needed are drastic and long over due.  Improvements that no one elected member of City Council can fuel on their own.  But a much stronger engine of change and a new direction of leadership must come from all corners of this city.

My years of serving this community as an activists for many causes teaches me that more can and must be done.  Our juvenile justice system is in shambles.  Victims has less rights than the perpetrator and families continue to lose their teenagers to gang violence and drugs.  

Today,  I am withdrawing as a candidate for the Democratic Ward 4 City Council seat which is  slated to be decided on April 3rd, 2012, in the Democratic Primary for the District of Columbia.

I wish to graciously thank each and everyone that supported me and that stood with me on the quest to bring positive changes to Ward 4.  Your energy and ideas are greatly appreciated. And will not be forgotten.  For those that remain in the race,  I will carefully place my support behind someone in the future and will vow to work to support change and a more inclusive candidate that will better serve all of those that live in Ward 4.

As I change my path for the future,  I challenge each of you to re-consider what this city and our liberty stands for.  While many of you continue to vote and participate in a one party system I hope you will step back take a look and come to realize that only through a more open minded approach to who we support and elect can we then expect real change.  

We would all be better served to not vote a single party, but vote for the person that best offers a positive change and a vision for a brighter, safer and healthier Ward 4.

The coming days will no doubt bring me in touch with how I see my part in Ward 4 politics in the future.  Rather it be a political action committee or setting my sights on a different approach. Rest assured that it has always been a priority to think of our residents first!

The many victims of crime in this city and their families know well that I have worked tirelessly to bring about change to our juvenile justice system and the laws that better protect the perpetrators than the very victims of these many crimes. Our city and our government continues to release juvenile offenders to poorly managed half way houses that allow them to go back to the very streets where they have robbed, assaulted, shot and even in some cases killed before. Leaving everyone of us and even the criminal themselves susceptible to a continuation of crime and disrespect.  

I will vigorously work to pursue changes in laws, and management of our juvenile justice system, gang related crime and the seemingly endless ward on drugs in this city.

My Keith Jarrell 2012 web site will remain active in hopes of playing a part in the re-shaping of politics as we know them in both Ward 4 and the District of Columbia.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Clean up our streets, Put the juveniles that break the law behind bars!

October 1, 2010

Chairman Mendelson,
Councilmembers Alexander and Cheh and Bowser,

In response to some of you asking what I felt should/could be done to help our system deal with criminal behavior in and around guns, homicide, and drugs.  Effectively I have met with the Chief Judge from two Courts, of the D.C. Superior Court, the former Presiding Judge in the Juvenile and Neglect Branch of D.C. Superior Court, the U.S. Attorney,  a supervisor /member of the District Attorney’s Office that over sees Juvenile Case work.
Along with research of three various cities of approximate size with similar former problems like the District currently is experiencing.
I have prepared the following. It is comprised of both research from various cities that have experienced a decline in crimes associated with guns, homicide and drugs, and some opinions based on lengthy conversations with various entities of police, judicial and prosecutorial involvement.
First, the overwhelming statement that I get from everyone involved is:
TIGHTEN THE LAWS, Especially the juvenile laws.
Changes are desperately needed in Juvenile Court.  Prosecutors are not permitted to discuss the likelihood that case exists, let along any detail of the case.   Names of the accused are kept secret, and proceedings are conducted in locked courtrooms. Example: Until recently, a rape victim was not allowed to know that the accused lived in the same apartment building as she did.  Recently a change was put into effect that would allow prosecutors to now notify the victim that the accused lives and for them to be identified.  Juvenile Court and the proceedings should be open to the public. This serves as an enabler.
Secondly, the judge should be able to instruct the juvenile what the sentencing guidelines are if there were tried as an adult.  The law should mandate that juvenile records would be sealed, and become useless when the accused turns 18 if they stay out of trouble.  If they are re-arrested, that seal is broken and those charges will be brought forward as evidence and used in sentencing.  Leaving the judge, that possibility of a stricter sentence based on the prior arrest records, and the severity of crimes.  Felony crimes involving guns, drugs, or any type of gang involvement would carry over into the adult files if the defendant had not gone arrest free for the last two years of their juvenile status: 16-18 years of age. All of it can go away if the juvenile stays out of trouble.
In addition, the use of a firearm in a Felony I homicide, committed by juvenile the age of 15 or higher automatically is persecuted in D.C. Superior Court, as an adult.  This has be a change in the law from council to become effective.  If law, the court would have to adhere to the guidelines.  Secondly, the minimum sentencing guidelines for felony I Homicide with a gun should be increased to a minimum of 25 years.  The maximum should then be extended to 60 years.  The 25 year minimum would serve as a deterrent combined with the new power to prosecute persons 15 and older as adults.  The maximum guidelines would help in literally get hardened criminals off our streets.  If an accused is found guilty of both a felony I homicide conviction with a gun,  and found to be a participant in a gang or crew the sentencing guidelines would change to 35 year minimum,  with a maximum of up to life behind bar.  Anyone accused as an adult,  of multiple Felony I Homicides would automatically move into the allowed maximum sentencing guidelines.
One city in particular, Richmond Virginia, changed laws and strengthened their sentencing guidelines through the United States Attorney’s Office.  Authorities say the decade-and-a-half effort has paid off. But according to recent figures from the (1)U.S. Sentencing Commission and other studies, it has also left the Richmond area as a national leader in both federal crack cocaine and firearm prosecutions that lead to long prison sentences.
The average sentence for crack violators was just under 11 years; 18 of them were sentenced to more than 20 years and one to life.
City prosecutors (2) last year won state convictions for felony drug distribution or possession with intent to distribute against almost 400 people -- a 10-year high. The sentences added up to 850 years.
"Among the weapons brought to bear against Richmond's record wave of violence in the 1990s were stiff federal laws targeting drug dealers and firearms violators. The bloodshed has subsided since 1994, when the city had 161 slayings and the highest per-capita homicide rate in the country. Last year's toll of 39 did not even lead the state."
Where are the guns coming from that are used in crimes in DC?
Study finds Virginia Guns Often Used in Out of State Crimes.
The link below offers astounding information that highly supports the theory that we have to find out where these guns are coming from.
Project Exile:
Getting guns off our streets before they are used is instrumental in achieving a reduced homicide rate as well as other felony gun crimes.  Repeat offenders are often caught with guns and drugs supplement this.  The two most often run together.The District Of Columbia needs an extensive public outreach and media campaign to educate citizens about lengthy Federal prison sentences for gun crimes and to maximize deterrence also is a critical component of Project Exile. The Project Exile Citizen Support Foundation was formed in July 1997 in Richmond VA,  and has been highly acclaimed for it’s effectiveness.
The District needs a Project Exile Citizen Support Foundation to be formed to study, and to monitor the results of what I propose.
In addition legislation, should be introduced / passed to tie the buyer of any firearm used in a Felony I Homicide to the crime, with stiff sentencing put in place to prosecute those buyers that then allow a firearm, rather purchased legally or illegally to the crime and the end user. This sentence should be a minimum of 10 years for accessory to murder. This would serve as a deterrent, and although hard to prove in many cases there would be positive results in some.

Finally I suggest that you look at the information that the link below offers.  It is a Statistical Informational Packet of the DC Circuit for year 2009.  It is published by the United States Sentencing Commission.  
I find it telling when caparisons are done on the amount of cases prosecuted.
(1)   Known to be a group consisting of liberal attorney’s.
(2)   From a report dated 2009 so results would reflect numbers from 2008 respectfully.

Keith Jarrell
Resident Ward 4