Armstrong Williams

If you’ve been following the latest shenanigans of elected officials running the District of Columbia, it’s easy to understand why the city is so messed up. I’m referring, of course, to Lincoln-gate where DC City Council Chairman Kwame Brown ordered not one, but two 2011 Lincoln Navigator SUVs for his official use. Why two? Why not? Well, he didn’t like the color of the interior on the first one the city ordered at nearly $2,000 per month in leases.

It appears Mr. Brown wanted a “black on black” SUV and no other color combination would work. The reason he gave is that model “holds its value” longer than any other. So now the Chairman is cost-conscious? How pathetic. What Mr. Brown hopes readers don’t remember is his insistence that the SUV be “fully loaded”, including a DVD player in the back seat. I don’t even want to know the reason behind that request.

Late last week, the chairman saw the error of his ways and is now returning the vehicles. The sad irony here is we may never have learned of any of this – including Brown’s personal insistence on such minor (and meaningless) details – if not for a Freedom of Information Act request by area reporters.

Cover-up after cover-up, why is that the rule among District of Columbia politicians, even at the highest echelons of office where the magnifying glass of scrutiny is its strongest?

Worse still, why do these politicians feel they can flaunt and fiddle with the trappings of office and use their public positions for personal gain? Is this town stuck in the Dark Ages when it comes to transparency and stewardship of the public coffers?

I could offer the usual lines about “service means sacrifice” and it all may apply here. But what’s been occurring lately goes far beyond the typical admonishments.

Has this city and its people not learned from the previous mayor and his good-ole-boy, DC-style, deals and side bargains with fraternity brothers?

There’s a vicious pattern here, folks. A pattern where slaps on the wrist mean nothing anymore.

Where are the examples of character and putting the city first that was set by former mayor Anthony Williams, when this city was bustling with growth and greed wasn't tolerated on any level. Vincent Gray became the new mayor of this city in part, because the voters were turned off with youthful and inexperienced leadership. They yearned for the days of the Reagan generation to once again return to the leadership role and restore wisdom and maturity to the corridors of power. Hopefully and prayerfully Mayor Gray is ready for the challenge and task.

Armstrong Williams

Armstrong Williams is a widely-syndicated columnist, CEO of the Graham Williams Group, and hosts the Armstrong Williams Show. He is the author of Reawakening Virtues.
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