Tuesday’s Topic: Marion Barry

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Good Morning Toughtalkerz.  On this past Saturday there was an election held to determine 15 delegates to support President Barack Obama at the 2012 Democratic National Convention being held in Charlotte, North Carolina…and despite overwhelming criticism Ward 8 Councilman Marion Barry was elected by voters as a delegate to represent the city at the convention.  Mr. Barry, who turns 76 today (Happy Birthday), continues to baffle some in the media as well as his colleagues with his ability to rise up from public and personal setbacks only to be re-elected time and time again to represent the citizens of Washington, DC.  And some wonder why.  How does a man who some have referred to as a “walking public relations disaster for the District” continue to have so much support?  Well I believe most people who aren’t Washingtonians wouldn’t understand what Mr. Barry has represented to most minorities who were raised here.  To some Mr. Barry was the first to give them, their parents and their siblings the opportunity at employment.  He was the first to give their grandparents housing when they migrated from the south.  He was the only politician that most kids who were raised in the city ever saw come into their neighborhoods.  So the ties, attachment and loyalty some feel towards Mr. Barry remains to this day.  And even though most don’t believe or support everything that he does…they view him as family.  And as one woman stated…I’ve embarrassed my family many times, but they still love me.  He’s paid his dues…He’s a legacy”.  And no matter what he does…some will always view him as just that…..a Washington, DC Legacy!

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Tuesday’s Topic: Occupy DC

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Good Morning Toughtalkerz!  The National Parks Service set a deadline this week and stated they will begin to enforce a ban on camping in two Washington DC parks.  This ban was adapted to directly affect the protesters of the Occupy DC Movement, who have been camping out 24 hours a day in protest of the greed and excess displayed by Wall street – as well as the state that our Government, and the widening differences of the “haves” and the “have nots”…(ie: the 1% versus the 99%).  The Park Service officials said protesters would be allowed to remain in the park around the clock and keep up their tents as long as one side of the tent remains open at all times so they can see in.  My question to the park service would be…What is this going to solve??  The protesters will just sleep during the day and stay up at night.  I believe there has to be some dialog between the Occupy Movement and the Park Service to arrive at a consensus because the health and safety of the area is now coming into question with the infestation of bugs and rodents (who have started their own Occupy Movement).  We live in the Greatest Country in the world, where our freedoms and liberties gives us the right to protest and stand up for our beliefs….so allow The Occupy Movement to do so…in peace!!

Thoughts on Thursdays: Marijuana

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There is a battle going on in Washington DC over something that I believe is being misrepresented by citizens, advisory neighborhood commissioners, and the city council…and that is the dilemma over medical marijuana and where it is cultivated (grown).  The DC City Council approved legislation restricting how much medical marijuana can be cultivated in each ward in the city…caving to pressure from Northeast residents who believe that Ward 5 could be overrun with growing facilities.  The City Council struck a compromise stating that no more than 6 cultivation centers can be located in any ward.  My question to the residents who were protesting the centers coming to there ward is…What is your issue with it??  Are there some plans for these warehouses??  I ask that question because that section of Northeast Washington, DC has always been the the city’s warehousing/industrial section and if there are already warehouses there then why can’t they be used to supply a medicine to those who really need it??  I know that medical marijuana is a relatively new way in combating disease and ailments, but through research it has shown to be a way to relieve pain from patients who are suffering from cancers, it gives appetites to those who are suffering from HIV/AIDS, and it also has been known to help patients suffering from glaucoma/cataracts.  So if marijuana can do so much good, then what’s the issue?  Are we putting our thoughts above someone’s health??  Are we that caught up in one Ward 5 activist’s perception of the neighborhood becoming a “dumping ground” that we would put PERCEPTIONS above the REALITY of helping others in need??  I would like to know because until you have lived with a loved one suffering from cancer and the medical marijuana eases some of their daily pains – or a HIV family member whose lack of nourishment has left them in an almost vegetative state but with the help of  medical marijuana they have an appetite and eat – or a senior citizen whose eyesight is now failing them through glaucoma/cataracts and they have a difficult time seeing their loved ones and with the aid of medical marijuana, they can get a glimpse of those faces again.  Until any of these things affect you or your loved ones, I guess you will continue to take offense to the cultivation centers.  But I hope and pray that you or any of your loved ones won’t need it anytime soon!!  JUST MY THOUGHTS PEOPLE!!!

What Were They Thinking Wednesdays: Harry Thomas, Jr.

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Something occurred on last week that hasn’t taken place since The District of Columbia was given Home Rule back in 1975…a member of the City Council resigned under duress.  Harry Thomas Jr….WHAT WERE YOU THINKING??  The former Ward 5 councilman resigned after pleading guilty to federal charges of embezzlement and filing false tax returns.  Mr. Thomas, Jr., who will be sentenced on May 3, 2012, faces a prison term expected to be from 37 to 46 months.  The allegations are that he used money intended for his non-profit youth sports programs to live a lavish lifestyle, including golfing excursions,vacations, and he also purchased vehicles (Audi/Chevrolet Tahoe) and a motorcycle.  The funds that were used for such selfish means were supposed to be used for various activities for the children of Ward 5.  I guess Mr. Thomas, Jr. deemed that unimportant in his thought process.  Now if the name Harry Thomas sounds familiar to you…it should.  Before this scandal left a permanent mark attached to the name…there was Harry Thomas, Sr.  Mr. Thomas, Sr. was a life-long advocate of civil rights and an army veteran.  After completing his tour of duty he became a federal employee in Washington, DC…and with hard work and sacrifice…(starting out as a janitor) in 1986 became DC Council Representative of Ward 5 where he served 3 full terms as a no non-sense Councilman who governed and ruled with compassion and empathy towards his fellow citizens.  Mr. Thomas, Sr. didn’t live long enough to witness the mess that his son now finds himself in, but I hope  Mr. Thomas, Jr. can now reflect upon where his decisions and greed have left him.  And upon release I pray that he can work towards restoring the name of a man who made his life’s work serving the same people that he used and stole from!!  Harry Thomas Jr…..WHAT WERE YOU THINKING??

What Were They Thinking Wednesdays: DC Boxing Commission

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Last Saturday, December 10, 2011, a major sporting event took place …World Championship Boxing returned to Washington DC for the first time in over 18 years!  Washington DC’s own Lamont Peterson captured the Super Lightweight title with a controversial split decision over Former Champion Amir Khan.  The fight was very entertaining,  with both participants exhibiting wonderful boxing skills, great heart and determination.  But my gripe with the entire night was the DC Boxing Commission and their appointing referee Joe Cooper to officiate the bout.  Mr. Cooper, who resides in Virginia, had more to do with the outcome of the fight than either Mr. Peterson or Mr. Khan.  Mr. Cooper penalized Khan for pushing in the fight (yes pushing) and awarded Mr. Peterson not one point (in the 7th round), but two points (in the 12th)!  I have never seen a referee take away a point for pushing in a Championship fight, let alone two!!!  The bout, which was televised live on HBO was a near sell out and could have been the catalyst to boxing returning to Washington DC in  MAJOR WAY!!  But with the DC Boxing Commission and their short sided vision of appointing a “HOMER”  referee to officiate the bout, they may have allowed something that could have been the start of something wonderful for the city to turn into what just may become a…every 18 year occurrence!!  DC BOXING COMMISSION…WHAT WERE YOU THINKING???!!!!