<![CDATA[NBC4 Washington - First Read]]>Copyright 2016http://www.nbcwashington.com/blogs/first-read-dmv http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/WASH+NBC4+BLUE.png NBC4 Washington http://www.nbcwashington.comen-usThu, 20 Oct 2016 17:37:37 -0400Thu, 20 Oct 2016 17:37:37 -0400NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Miley Cyrus to Campaign for Hillary Clinton in Va. Sat.]]> Thu, 20 Oct 2016 12:02:10 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/199*120/miley+web.JPG

Miley Cyrus will be in the D.C. area this Saturday, knocking on doors in Northern Virginia to campaign for Hillary Clinton.

Cyrus is scheduled to campaign for Clinton and her vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine at George Mason University. Cyrus will speak to students “about the high stakes in this election for millennial voters,” according to a press release from the Clinton campaign.

The singer and actress has previously spoken out about LGBT rights, gender equality and environmental issues.

<![CDATA[Voter Registration Deadlines: Dates for DC, Md., Va.]]> Mon, 17 Oct 2016 05:51:50 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/240*120/20160919+Register+To+Vote.jpg

Deadlines are approaching for voter registration -- and, in some places, early voting is beginning.

Here's a guide to the voter registration and voting dates in our area:


In the District of Columbia, online voter registrations must be completed by Oct. 11; mailed-in applications must be postmarked by Oct. 11. Registering in person at the D.C. Board of Elections can be done as late as Election Day itself, Nov. 8.

In Virginia, the voter registration deadline in Virginia is Oct. 17 for online, mailed and in-person applications. The deadline to request an absentee ballot is Nov. 1 at 5 p.m. if you're mailing your request, or Nov. 5 at 5 p.m. if you're requesting one in person.

In Maryland, Oct. 18 is the last day to turn in an application online or mail it to either the local or state board of elections.

However, you can also register during early voting at the early voting centers in each county in Maryland. Early voting runs from Oct. 27 to Nov. 3, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.


Early voting in D.C. starts Oct. 22 at One Judiciary Square and on Oct. 29 at several community centers throughout the District. Go here for a list, hours and wait times.

Virginia does not allow early voting, but you can vote absentee (see below for details).

In Maryland, early voting starts Oct. 27. Go here for more information and a list of early voting sites.


Like voting deadlines, absentee ballot deadlines differ slightly from state to state as well.

If voting via absentee ballot in D.C., the Board of Elections must receive the request to receive the ballot by no later than November 1 (you can also apply online). Then, your voted balclicklot must be received by Election Day. 

In Virginia, applications to receive an absentee ballots in the mail must be processed by Nov. 1 by 5 p.m. (you can apply online here). The deadline changes to Nov. 5 if requesting a ballot in person.

Absentee ballots must be received by Nov. 1 in Maryland as well (here's a link to the form you'll need). You can also download an absentee ballot online, which must be done by Nov. 4.

In Maryland, you'll have to postmark your absentee ballot by election day, and it must be received by Nov. 18. You can also hand-deliver your voted ballot to your local board of elections by 8 p.m. on election day.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock / Joseph Sohm]]>
<![CDATA[Va. 10th District Congressional Candidates Face Off]]> Wed, 19 Oct 2016 19:57:17 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/100616+luann+bennett+barbara+comstock.jpg Candidates for the 10th District congressional seat in Virginia debate.

Photo Credit: NBC Washington]]>
<![CDATA[Washington, Douglass Commonwealth as 51st State?]]> Tue, 18 Oct 2016 16:21:02 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/dc-flag-shutterstock_206336774.jpg

If Washington ever succeeds in becoming a state, it won't be getting a new name after all.

The D.C. Council on Tuesday approved a statehood constitution ballot item for Nov. 8 -- but it rejected the long-proposed name of New Columbia.

Instead, the new state would still be known as Washington, D.C. -- but as a state, the initials would stand for "Douglass Commonwealth" instead of "District of Columbia."

The moniker would honor abolitionist Frederick Douglass. He lived in Washington from 1877 until his death in 1895, purchasing the family's final home on a hill above the Anacostia River.

District leaders plan to send the proposed constitution to Congress next year. However, many supporters of statehood said there is little chance Congress would approve the measure.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Physician-Assisted Suicide Bill Advances in DC]]> Tue, 18 Oct 2016 19:05:51 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000016451641_1200x675_788616259823.jpg The DC Council took the first step toward approving a so-called "Death with Dignity" bill on Tuesday, which would allow physician-assisted death for terminally ill adults in the last six months of their lives. News4's Tom Sherwood reports on the emotional debate surrounding the issue.]]> <![CDATA[Poll: Clinton Leads Trump in Virginia by 15 Points]]> Mon, 17 Oct 2016 11:08:27 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Clinton-Trump-Split.jpg

A new poll taken in Virginia after the second debate and the release of the "Access Hollywood" tape showed Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton with a 15 percentage point lead over Republican candidate Donald Trump.

The poll of 809 likely Virginia voters by the Wason Center for Public Policy indicated Clinton leads among men, 37 percent to 32 percent, and military households, 38 percent to 32 percent, for the first time. Women’s support of Clinton is nearly double their support for Trump, 50 percent to 26 percent.

A late September poll conducted by the Wason Center had Clinton’s lead at 7 percentage points.

While Clinton’s support among Democrats has remained steady, Trump’s support among Republicans in Virginia has eroded 10 points, from 78 percent on Sept. 26 to 68 percent on October 16. It would appear those Republican voters are either turning to Clinton, going from 3 percent to 7 percent in the same time frame, or becoming undecided in their choice.

Clinton is also growing among younger voters (18-34), increasing from 34 percent in late September to 45 percent in the latest poll. Trump has declined among those same voters, 23 percent to 18 percent.

The poll was conducted between Oct. 11 and Oct. 14, after the second debate and the release of the “Access Hollywood” tape. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 3.6 percent.

<![CDATA[Clinton Will Win Election According to 'Redskins Rule']]> Mon, 17 Oct 2016 11:41:48 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/ap-robert-kelley-redskins-eagles.jpg

The Washington Redskins' victory over the Philadelphia Eagles is good news for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

If tradition holds true, the win means Clinton will be the next president of the United States. 

According to the "Redskins Rule," if the team wins the final home game before a presidential election, the incumbent party will keep the White House. If they lose, the opposing party will be victorious. 

On Sunday, the Redskins beat one of the NFL's top defenses in a 27-20 victory. After starting the season 0-2, Washington now has its fourth consecutive win and its best record through six games since 2008. 

If you don't count the time the Redskins played as the Braves in 1932, the "Redskins Rule" has only failed once in over 80 years. In 2012, the Redskins came up short against the Carolina Panthers, but President Barack Obama still secured a win against his challenger Mitt Romney. 

Photo Credit: Reuben Frank | CSNPhilly.com]]>
<![CDATA[The Jaffe Report: D.C. Council's Leftward Lean]]> Thu, 13 Oct 2016 09:17:27 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/20161012+Wilson+Building.jpg

Harry Jaffe, a longtime chronicler of the people and politics of Washington, D.C., writes a column for NBC Washington's First Read DMV blog.

In a few weeks voters across the nation will go to the polls and determine whether the country follows a progressive or conservative course.

Here in the District our course is set; we are about to venture down the most progressive path in the Home Rule era.

Voters set that leftward lean in the last few D.C. council elections when they replaced experienced, centrist candidates with young progressives. Six decidedly liberal members have been elected in the last few years.

They will join Chairman Phil Mendelson, who leans left on most matters.

“In a way they are very different progressives,” says Jack Evans, who’s represented Ward 2 on the council for 25 years. “Progressive issues in the 1990s were civil rights. Now it’s social justice programs.”

The council’s progressive majority is likely to drive the District’s politics and legislation for the next two years, during the second half of Mayor Muriel Bowser’s first term. If Bowser had any sway over the council, she squandered it in the last primary election when her three candidates lost to members who now owe her nothing.

“She has one vote,” says a political consultant, referring to Brandon Todd, her handpicked replacement in Ward 4. “That’s it.”

It gets worse for Bowser. Her nemesis, former Mayor Vincent Gray, will assume the Ward 7 seat in January. He still believes Bowser knocked him off in 2014 only after federal prosecutors alleged -- but never proved -- he knowingly took dirty cash in the 2010 campaign.

“Every day people plead with me to run for mayor against Bowser,” he said. “I won’t rule it out.”

Add it up and you have a volatile political brew that could be hard on business and great for social service programs. Tobacco free zones are in. The council is considering one that will ban smoking at Nationals Park. The Redskins coming to D.C. is out. No way this council will allow a football team with a name many consider offensive to return to the nation’s capital.

It’s good for commissions on climate change. Ward 3’s Mary Cheh proposed one this week. It could be bad for private sector employers.

“Some of the things the council is considering could put the District in a competitive disadvantage with Maryland and Virginia,” says Jim Dinegar, president of the Greater Washington Board of Trade.

One of those things is family leave. No doubt the council will adopt laws and regulations that will allow employees to take paid leave for health and family emergencies, as it should. But many businesses are balking at up to 16 weeks off, paid for by a tax that would be administered by a new government agency.

“Create a new government agency to handle the money?” asks Vince Gray, who supports the concept of family leave. “I don’t think that’s a good idea at all.”

He’s not sure about allowing 16 weeks, either.

At-large member Elissa Silverman, perhaps the most progressive of all, ticks off a series of legislative goals to make life in the District “fair for everyone.” That means a generous paid family leave package, fair scheduling for employees so that part-time workers have the benefits and choices of full-time employees, stronger consumer protection laws, more subsidized child care, mentoring programs for job seekers and increased welfare for poor families.

The District has plenty of cash. Chief Financial Officer Jeffrey DeWitt recently revised local fund revenues up by $180 million for this fiscal year and projected increases through 2020.

“Whatever extra money should be invested in ourselves,” Silverman says.

Jack Evans was on the council in 1995 when D.C. rang up a $750 deficit. Congress neutered the local government and put a federal control board in charge of the cash.

“You have to be able to afford all these entitlement programs,” he said. “Where do you stop? If revenues fall, you can get into a death spiral where you’re forced to raise taxes. The city went under in 1995. That should be a cautionary note.”

Evans, chairman of the Metro board, cautions that D.C., along with Maryland and Virginia, will be asked to increase subsidies to the transit system by $100 million next year. “Where’s that going to come from?” Evans asked.

Meanwhile, Mayor Bowser will propose her own set of projects, such as more affordable housing and body cameras for police – all of which cost big bucks.

John Falcicchio, Bowser’s chief of staff, called Bowser's relationship with the council “outstanding” and adds: “Whether with the current council or the next, we will continue to find ways to work together to best serve the residents.”

Sounds swell, but Bowser has made enemies in the Wilson Building, below her fifth floor chambers. She called Chairman Mendelson a “f—king liar” outside council chambers after a contentious fight on housing for the homeless. Vince Gray is still angry and sore.

Ward 5 council member Kenyan McDuffie is a potential challenger. Evans still wants to be mayor. She campaigned hard against Treyon White who won in Ward 8, and Robert White who took an at-large seat. She wanted to slay Gray, who beat her candidate in Ward 7.

In the next two years Bowser has to convince voters she’s a leader worthy of a second term, but the council’s progressive majority might be more inclined to minimize her role, render her irrelevant, and put her mayoralty in play.

<![CDATA[Trump's Campaign Is 'Pulling Out of Virginia']]> Thu, 13 Oct 2016 09:21:29 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/trumpAP_16286727608907.jpg

Donald Trump's campaign is "pulling out of Virginia," a move that stunned staff in the battleground state, three sources with knowledge of the move told NBC News.

The decision came from Trump's headquarters in New York and was announced on a conference call late Wednesday that left some Republican Party operatives in the state blindsided. Two staffers directly involved in the GOP's efforts in Virginia confirmed the decision.

The move to pull out of Virginia shows Trump is "running essentially a four state campaign," with the focus now shifting to battlegrounds critical to his chances in November: Pennsylvania, Florida, North Carolina, and Ohio, a source with knowledge of the decision told NBC News.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Washington Post Endorses Hillary Clinton for President]]> Thu, 13 Oct 2016 08:57:07 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-610636870.jpg

The Washington Post has endorsed Hillary Clinton for president, writing the endorsement comes "without hesitation."

In an editorial published Thursday, the Post's editorial board touted Clinton's record as first lady, New York senator and secretary of state and called the Democratic presidential nominee "dogged, resilient, purposeful and smart."

"In the gloom and ugliness of this political season, one encouraging truth is often overlooked: There is a well-qualified, well-prepared candidate on the ballot," the editorial board wrote.  

The Post did recognize that some voters don't trust and dislike Clinton. 

"The biggest worry about a Clinton presidency, in our view, is in the sphere where she does not seem to have learned the right lessons, namely openness and accountability," the editorial board wrote.

But the editorial board believes that anyone who votes for Clinton will be proud of their decision four years from now. 

Clinton's choice of Sen. Tim Kaine as her running mate was also praised.

The Post's editorial board simultaneously published an article Thursday making the case against Donald Trump, calling the Republican presidential nominee "uniquely unqualified to serve as president, in experience and temperament.”

The scathing editorial included "erroneous, malicious and ignorant comments" made by Trump since the beginning of his campaign. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Candidates in Md.'s 6th Congressional District Agree It Should Be Redrawn]]> Wed, 12 Oct 2016 21:13:16 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Maryland+6th+congressional+district+john+delaney+and+amie+hoeber.jpg Maryland's 6th congressional district is a winding, weirdly shaped slice of the state redrawn recently to favor Democrats, folding in more of left-leaning Montgomery County into Republican western Maryland. Scott MacFarlane reports on race for the seat.]]> <![CDATA[Sherwood's Notebook: Vulgarity and More for 2016]]> Wed, 12 Oct 2016 06:12:38 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/AP_16284075781254.jpg

Where is comedian George Carlin when we need him?

Well, of course, he died back in 2008.

His famous “Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television” routine in 1972 was seen at the time as scandalous.

Well, we’re still not printing those words here, or any of the words Donald Trump was heard using in that vulgarity-strewn video from 2005 that surfaced last week. Go online if you want to read or hear them.

But, in a new level of coarseness for the media, all the Trump-related vulgarities were printed in full by The New York Times and CNN on their websites. Cable political shows and other outlets aired them unedited in some cases.

New York Times politics editor Carolyn Ryan explained the decision-making: “It’s a rare thing for us to use this language in our stories, even in quotes, and we discussed it at length. Mr. Trump is the nominee for president of one of our two major parties and the specific language he used was newsworthy and a major part of the story.”

The Times editor said “to leave out or simply describe [those words] seemed awkward and less than forthright to us, especially given that we would be running a video that showed our readers exactly when was said.”

Politico also ran the words in total. Even the Wall Street Journal allowed the use of “p——” in a direct quote, but drew a line at the f-word. Across all the media, it was a frenzy of words obliterated or disguised. Truly, it’s a new level in politics. We feel for the parents whose children are trying to do classroom reports on this presidential race.

■ Bowser vs. Trump. No one doubts Democratic Mayor Muriel Bowser is 100 percent for Hillary Clinton for president.

So we knew there would be a response after Sunday night’s debate in St. Louis when Trump was asked about African-Americans. Trump doubled down on his view that essentially all African-Americans have been failed by Democrats. He referenced crime and unrest in many communities, leaving out the unrest over police shootings.

“You look at Charlotte. You look at Baltimore. You look at the evidence that’s taking place in the inner cities — Chicago. You look at Washington, D.C. We have an increase in murder within our cities — the biggest in 45 years. We have a divided nation because of people like [Clinton].”

Bowser on Monday morning tweeted out a list of facts about our city over the past two years:

Violent crime down 2 percent.

Property crime down 9 percent.

Overall crime down 8 percent.

Bowser added a few tourism facts (a subtle reference to Trump’s new hotel here):

Highest hotel occupancy rate in a decade.

A record 19.3 million domestic visitors, up 4 percent.

A record $7 billion spent by tourists, up 5.3 percent.

■ The Notebook’s take. We were sitting at home when Trump made the “look at Washington, D.C. remark.” We tweeted that yes, we wish people would look at local Washington and see the dramatic changes here over the last 15 years, let alone Bowser’s last two.

We’re proud to note our tweet was picked up and liked 219 times and had 77 retweets.

The District’s every misstep or problem is conflated with former Mayor Marion Barry, who died two years ago next month. The city surely has its problems and crooked officials, but this city is far from the depths of years past.

■ Virginia GOP turmoil. The national Republican infighting over Trump shows no signs of subsiding. And it just got a little angrier in Virginia. Never mind those Democrats who are working for Hillary Clinton; this is Republicans versus Republicans.

The national Donald Trump campaign on Monday fired Virginia state co-chair Corey Stewart. You could say Stewart is more pugnacious than Trump himself. He proved it on Monday by holding a protest rally in front of the Capitol Hill offices of the national Republican Party. Stewart is angry that too many Republicans, like Northern Virginia 10th District Republican Rep. Barbara Comstock, are running away from Trump.

Comstock’s campaign told NBC4 that she is focused on serving her constituents and is focused on defeating her Democratic challenger.

This close to the election, the Trump campaign doesn’t need any more infighting over Trump’s campaign. So it fired Stewart, who also chairs the Prince William County Board of Supervisors.

Stewart was unrepentant, telling NBC4’s Jackie Bensen in a telephone call: “I found out about it through news reports and, frankly, it’s not a big surprise. I stood up to the RNC today. I stood up to the Republican establishment. They threatened to fire me, and they made good on that threat.”

The Republican Party of Virginia backed the move. “Every day, hundreds of Republicans across Virginia are working hard to elect Donald Trump,” state party chair John Whitbeck in a statement. “We can’t afford any distractions.”

Virginia this time around is no longer seen as a battleground state. Clinton consistently leads in state polling. Stewart says he believes there are 250,000 voters who still are undecided. But his official role in the campaign is decided. He’s out.

Stewart is running for governor in the 2017 race next year. More moderate-conservative state Republicans are trying to diminish the hard-right influence of Stewart and others. Whether Trump wins or loses on Nov. 8, the bitterness of the infighting will continue into next year. Who’s happy? All those Virginia Democrats are happy.

Tom Sherwood, a Southwest resident, is a political reporter for News 4.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Republican Party Remains Divided Over Trump]]> Tue, 11 Oct 2016 13:57:45 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/2016-10-11_1356.jpg "This is an absolutely remarkable moment in American politics," said NBC News political editor Carrie Dann.]]> <![CDATA[Debate Comment on Fallen Soldier Draws Family's Anger]]> Tue, 11 Oct 2016 00:00:50 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/politicians+react+trump+clinton+debate.jpg

Khizr Khan, the father of fallen Gold Star recipient U.S. Army Capt. Humayun Khan, said Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's use of his son's name during Sunday's debate was "disgraceful."

During the town hall debate in St. Louis, Trump said if he were president, Humayun Khan would still be alive because he would not have had troops in Iraq. The comment came during discussion about Islamophobia during the debate with Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

Khizr Khan and his wife, Ghazala, were speakers during the Democratic National Convention and lashed out at the GOP candidate for invoking their son's death during the debate.

"Disgraceful comment. It is total no empathy, not only for Capt. Humayun Khan. He died for a purpose," Khizr Khan told News4. "For this candidate to say, 'Had I been the president, they would be alive,' is such a disgrace."

The Khans issued a statement to NBC News on Monday, saying, "We know that our son, Captain Humayun Khan, is an American hero. We also know that Donald Trump is not telling the truth when he says he was against the Iraq war. Our son served this country with honor and distinction, and gave the ultimate sacrifice. The only thing that Donald Trump sacrifices is the truth."

Capt. Humayun Khan was deployed in Iraq and died in 2004. He was from Silver Spring, Maryland.

<![CDATA[Trump's Va. Campaign Chair Fired for Protest Outside RNC]]> Tue, 11 Oct 2016 10:00:27 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/20160607+Corey+Stewart1.jpg

Donald Trump's presidential campaign did one of the things the Republican candidate is best known for, firing his Virginia campaign chairman for leading a protest outside the Republican National Committee in Washington, D.C., News4 confirmed.

Prince William County Board of Supervisors Chairman Corey Stewart confirmed for News4 he was fired over the protest Monday. He said he knew the risk going into the protest but felt it was important to do.

"I stood up to the RNC today. I stood up to the Republican establishment," Stewart told News4. "They threatened to fire me and they made good on that threat."

He remains loyal to Trump.

"Tons of interviews today on behalf of Mr. Trump," Stewart posted on Facebook Monday afternoon. "Then, I went to start a rebellion against GOP establishment pukes who betrayed Trump."

The protest was organized after several Republican politicians withdrew their support of Trump following the release last week of audio from 2005 of the candidate making vulgar remarks about women.

Stewart singled out Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-10th District), who called on Trump to withdraw and is in a tough reelection fight in northern Virginia herself.

"He might not be very popular in McLean and parts of Fairfax County where she lives, but I think she is misunderstanding her district. I really do," Stewart said.

Comstock did not respond to requests for comment.

Veteran Virginia Republican Bobbie Kilberg, who supports Comstock and has worked with three Republican presidents, said she's not supporting Trump either.

"I think that we have crossed the line and that enough's enough," she said.

Stewart, who is raising money to run for governor of Virginia, posted details about the protest on Facebook Sunday, writing that Republican women in Virginia helped organize a demonstration in support of Trump at the RNC at 2 p.m. Monday. He included the address of the RNC and the closest Metro station.

"While this turn of events is disappointing, I support the Trump campaign's decision to remove their Virginia chairman," Republican Party of Virginia Chairman John Whitbeck said. "With less than a month until Election Day, we can't afford any distractions."

This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Fact-Checking the Second Presidential Debate]]> Mon, 10 Oct 2016 08:38:06 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-613698380.jpg
View Full Story

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Jaffe Report: Could a President Trump Be Good for DC?]]> Fri, 07 Oct 2016 09:52:01 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-524993072.jpg

Harry Jaffe, a longtime chronicler of the people and politics of Washington, D.C., writes an occasional column for NBC Washington's First Read DMV blog.

Michael Bloomberg got it right at the Democratic National Convention: "The richest thing about Donald Trump is his hypocrisy." The billionaire, former New York mayor and independent called Trump "a dangerous demagogue," endorsed Hillary Clinton and added: "God help us. I'm a New Yorker, and I know a con when I see one."

Even stalwart Republicans like the former presidents Bush agree Trump is not fit to be president. As Clinton says: "He's unhinged."

But The Donald just might be tightly wrapped enough to treat the District of Columbia very well from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. At the risk of wrecking my marriage, alienating my three daughters and getting tossed out of my poker game, I can make the case that the District would prosper under a President Trump.

Contrary to conventional wisdom, the nation's capital -- where 75 percent of voters register as Democrats -- has done quite well under Republican presidents and friendly GOP members of Congress. Democrats have not always been there for D.C. Trump might fit the mold of benevolent Republicans.

"I would like to do whatever is good for the District of Columbia because I love the people," Trump told Chuck Todd last August on Meet the Press. "You know, it's funny. I've really gotten to know the people, the representatives, and the mayor, and everybody. They're really special people. They're great. And they have a great feeling."

Whatever that means.

Trump didn't commit to supporting statehood or any change in the District's status as a ward of the federal government, with no voting representation in the House and nary a senator. But he does like us.

"So," he went on, "I would say whatever's best for them I'm for. I have a total conflict of interest."

That conflict would be Trump's luxurious hotel, which opened last month at the Old Post Office Pavilion on Pennsylvania Avenue, between the White House and the U.S. Capitol. It's "what will be maybe one of the great hotels in the world," he told Todd.

But that conflict could accrue to the District's benefit. Trump is at heart a businessman. With his landmark hotel down the street, he would have a stake in keeping the District safe, prosperous and fiscally sound.

He would be following the path cut by his Republican predecessors.

It was President Richard Nixon who signed the 1973 Home Rule Act, which established the elected mayor and council. It was Nixon who toured the riot-scarred streets of the nation's capital with D.C.'s first elected mayor, Walter Washington. It was Nixon who started the city's reconstruction.

Granted, Lyndon Baines Johnson was by far the president most sympathetic to the District. LBJ loved the capital. He had spent most of adult life here. For him, liberating the District from Congress was part of his Civil Rights crusade. After LBJ, any impetus to give residents of D.C. more power and local control withered.

During Bill Clinton's first two years in office, Democrats controlled the House and Senate. What a perfect moment to push through statehood, or budgetary control, or full voting rights in the House. Nada. The moment passed with no progress for D.C.

The District received the most positive attention of late during George W. Bush's administration, thanks to Josh Bolton. Raised in D.C., Bolton was a Bush insider who became chief of staff and used that position to help his town.

"He was fabulous," says D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton.

Norton points out that Republican allies in Congress were crucial in advancing District laws favorable to the District. Former Fairfax representative Tom Davis championed the last best effort to give full voting rights to the District's House member. The D.C. Tuition Assistance Grant, that pays as much as $10,000 for students to attend state colleges, such as those in Virginia and Michigan, came to us thanks to Davis, former Montgomery County Congresswoman Connie Morella and Ohio Sen. George Voinovich, all Republicans. And from Norton, of course -- who points out that Republicans have held majorities for most of her time in office.

On the other hand, Norton said Barack Obama has done "very little" for the District. The first African American president sold D.C. down the river in negotiations to keep the federal government running in 2011. "John," he was quoted telling former Speaker John Boehner, "I will give you D.C. abortion," giving into conservatives who wanted to ban abortion in the District.

"With friends like that," The Washington Post editorialized, "who needs enemies?"

It took four years of wheedling and whining to get Obama to put the District's "No Taxation Without Representation" license plates on his limousines.

Norton says she used a moment with Hillary Clinton a month ago to press D.C.'s case.

"Madam Secretary," she said, "are you for statehood?"

"Eleanor, I have always been for statehood."

Indeed, Clinton vowed in an op-ed for the Washington Informer in May that she would be a "vocal champion" for statehood. "Washingtonians serve in the military, serve on juries, and pay taxes like everyone else. And yet, they don't even have a vote in Congress."

Everyone, we have learned, but Trump.

Despite his apparent success at avoiding federal income taxes, his bouts of misogyny and abiding racism, there are some native Washingtonians who favor him. Elizabeth Matory, an African American who grew up in D.C. and lives Maryland, supported Ohio Gov. John Kasich and now Trump.

"We are suffering from 50 years of failed liberal policies," she offers. "Go east of the [Anacostia] river and you will see that we have failed one another." Trump, on the other hand, will "grow the tax base, bring in industry and put people back to work," she said.

That sounds great, but seeing how Donald Trump conducted business in New York and Atlantic City, Michael Bloomberg might be right. Let's say Trump becomes president and his luxury hotel fails. He loses money. He blames the city, the servers, the tourists. He bails out, declares bankruptcy, and leaves the District with an albatross.

Once a con, always a con.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Sherwood's Notebook: Bad, Bad Traffic ... It's Bad]]> Wed, 05 Oct 2016 09:01:28 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/04-25-2014-generic-traffic-generic.jpg

Did we say bad? Yes, we did. Bad.

Way back in 1978, the residents of Reno Road got fed up with commuters, speeding cars and trucks along their winding road in Northwest Washington.

The residents organized teams of neighbors to drive the two-lane road at the 25 mph speed limit, just 15 mph near schools. It got attention, and in 1980, Reno got some traffic-calming help, and later, turn lanes.

We thought of Reno Road this week when The Washington Post reported on the crush of cars roaring down Cathedral Avenue because Rock Creek’s Beach Drive is now closed for three years. The race track atmosphere means residents can’t walk children or dogs, and mail carriers risk their lives crossing the street.

All this was in part because the D.C. Department of Transportation covered stop signs to speed detour traffic. The stop signs were installed years ago to slow the traffic. Now, after an angry community meeting, the stop signs are returning.

But the larger issue is the growing morass that is traffic all over the nation’s capital.

The mayor has pointed proudly to this growing city, but the Notebook could see our inability to handle traffic becoming a potent political issue.

Whether it’s the three-year closing of Beach Drive, which daily is forcing 30,000 vehicles onto side streets, or the shutdown of Metro lines, or the failure to enforce rush-hour parking and other traffic-calming problems, there is a serious problem. The routine blocking of lanes ignoring rush-hour signs is so common it’s almost comical.

A Transportation Department spokesperson said the agency is working “around the clock” to keep traffic flowing; is hiring more traffic aides; and is updating technology. He said the agency is working with the Department of Public Works (the enforcement arm) “to penalize those who disobey our laws.” And finally, he said his agency has a forthcoming “comprehensive multimodal congestion management study” due out soon.

Pick your area for problems. Your Notebook on Monday morning was on 12th Street NW, northbound from Pennsylvania Avenue. We counted seven out of eight city blocks that had illegally parked cars and/or trucks and buses. Just south of Pennsylvania Avenue, cars and trucks parked in the rush-hour curb lane along the Trump International Hotel. No tickets, no enforcement, no towing. They’re there every morning.

On Saturday before sunset on Capitol Hill near 4th Street SE, a large 18-wheeler was doing a major unloading while parked in the left-hand traffic lane of Pennsylvania Avenue. We watched two police patrol cars blithely pass by.

Smart drivers know to avoid New York Avenue at North Capitol most any time of the day. Back across town at the 9th Street tunnel, there is a daily, angry double-lane game of chicken and cut-ins as afternoon drivers try to squeeze onto the Southeast-Southwest Freeway and 14th Street Bridge. On Massachusetts Avenue NW eastbound at 7th Street near the Washington Convention Center, the slow crawl begins five blocks back at 13th Street.

On Saturday near Nationals Park (4th and M streets SE) as the nearby game ended, traffic snarled as a TCO (traffic control officer) stood on the northeast corner and seemed overwhelmed with pedestrians and traffic. When the frustrated driver waiting too long in front of me inched into the crosswalk, she yelled at him. I couldn’t hear the driver, but the TCO yelled back, “I know what I’m doing!”

Don’t even ask about I-295 north or south. The fact is there are bottlenecks and backups all over the city’s main arteries.

Reporters keep hearing that downtown traffic signals are almost all re-timed. We’re told the TCOs are staffing key rush-hour intersections. We’re told double-parking, rush-hour parking and traffic rules are being enforced. But several truck drivers tell me tickets, if given, are just a cost of doing business because the trucks are not made to move. And despite suggestions that enforcement is being done, utility, construction and other work crews boldly block lanes, ignoring rush-hour signs.

What many drivers see is that the District is losing control of the streets, especially during rush hours. Ward 2 D.C. Council member Jack Evans said it simply the other day: “The streets of Washington are in gridlock these days.”

■ “Mouth-off” politics update. Violent crime has been many a mayor’s political undoing. Mayor Muriel Bowser’s team sees it as a potential threat to her 2018 run for re-election.

A few weeks ago, Bowser and her administration were stunned and angry. D.C. Superior Court Chief Judge Lee Satterfield had blasted Bowser for her criticism of courts and prosecutors not being tough enough on violent criminals. “I for one am exhausted hearing her mouth off politically,” Satterfield wrote in an email to Kevin Donahue, deputy mayor for public safety. Satterfield threatened to “start speaking out about it.”

The normally mild-mannered Donahue responded aggressively, objecting to Satterfield’s “taunting tone” and calling his email “offensive and condescending” to the mayor. Donahue added, for good measure, that it was “perhaps even sexist.”

The private but bitter exchange was disclosed by Washington Post columnist Colby King.

Fast-forward to last week. The mayor, federal prosecutors and D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine announced a sort of truce in the battle. Eight lawyers from Racine’s office will be detailed for six months to the U.S. Attorney’s Office to handle misdemeanor crimes while federal prosecutors focus on violent crimes. The mayor is spending $1 million to foot the bill.

It gives the mayor some political breathing room, but doesn’t dramatically change the law enforcement mix here. U.S. Attorney Channing Phillips will remain 100 percent in charge of his office.

Tom Sherwood, a Southwest resident, is a political reporter for News 4.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Small Virginia Town Prepares to Host VP Debate]]> Tue, 04 Oct 2016 05:54:16 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/100316+longwood+university+vp+debate.jpg The town of Farmville, Virginia -- located about 60 miles south of Charlottesville -- will host the only vice presidential debate on Tuesday. News4's Julie Carey is on the campus of Longwood University to hear how they are getting ready to welcome Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence.

Photo Credit: NBC Washington]]>
<![CDATA[Gov. Larry Hogan Gets Final Chemo Treatment ]]> Mon, 03 Oct 2016 17:05:34 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/20161003+Larry+Hogan.jpg

After nearly a year and a half of battling cancer, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan shared on Facebook that he is getting his last chemotherapy treatment Monday.

With a photo of Hogan smiling in a hospital chair, his post expressed his thoughts on his last treatment and thanked his supporters.

"I can’t tell you how it feels to be getting my very last chemo treatment today," Hogan wrote in the post. "I could never have made it to this point without the amazing support of my family, friends and staff, along with an incredible team of doctors and nurses. I am humbled by the thousands of prayers and well wishes that I received from all around the world."

In the post, Hogan also directed his thoughts to other cancer victims.

"My heart, my thoughts, and my prayers go out to all the other victims of cancer and their families," he wrote. "I plan to make the most of every single day I am given, and I won’t stop fighting until a cure is discovered for this terrible disease."

He also said in the post that he was grateful to be 100 percent cancer-free and in complete remission.

This is not the first time Hogan has shared his journey with cancer on Facebook.

After announcing he was diagnosed with Stage 3 non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in June 2015, he used Facebook to share updates. He shared that he was “feeling strong” during his aggressive chemo treatments and how he felt when the treatments caused him to start losing his hair.

He wrote how “bald is beautiful.”

Photo Credit: Facebook / Larry Hogan]]>
<![CDATA[DC Launches Text-to-311 Service to Report City Issues]]> Fri, 30 Sep 2016 15:49:45 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/180*120/Shutterstock_CellPhone.jpg

Now the ability to bring concerns to officials is a bit more convenient. While D.C. residents can continue to call 311 to report problems like burned-out street lights, potholes and illegally parked cars, the District has launched a new service that allows residents to report problems through text messaging.

This addition is actually makes the fifth way residents can report city service issues. Other ways include reporting on the D.C. 311 website, using their mobile app and tweeting to @311dcgov.

The text launch comes during an initiative focused on street light repairs. Residents are encouraged to text "street light" to DC311 (32311) when they spot an outage.

At the end of October, 311 will also relaunch their website, with updates including more efficient request options and more accurate information about repair time and status.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock / LDprod]]>
<![CDATA[Republican Former Virginia Senator Endorses Clinton]]> Wed, 28 Sep 2016 18:36:13 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/76258584.jpg

Hillary Clinton picked up another Republican endorsement, this time from former Virginia Sen. John Warner.

Warner, a Republican, appeared Wednesday morning with Democratic vice presidential nominee and current Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine in Alexandria, Virginia.

"I see in her today the same tenacity and understanding and desire to get in there and lead and maintain a strong military but in a respectful and dignified way," Warner said during an interview.

Warner served five terms in the Senate and has strong national security credentials. He is a former Navy secretary and Senate Armed Service Committee chairman.

Warner's endorsement strengthens Clinton's argument that she is better prepared to handle national security and foreign policy than rival Donald Trump.

During his comments, he criticized Trump for his comments on the military. 

"You just don't denigrate the uniforms of our country," he said. 

Warner and Clinton served together briefly in the Senate. He retired in 2009.

Clinton's campaign said this is Warner's first time endorsing a Democratic presidential nominee. She said she is honored Warner would trust her "with the weighty responsibility of being commander in chief."

Republican Party of Virginia Chairman John Whitbeck said Virginians have "a great deal of respect for John Warner and rightfully so," but he criticized Clinton and the endorsement. 

"One endorsement from a former Senator won't undo the failed Russian reset, the Iran nuclear deal, Libya, or her utterly reckless handling of classified information," Whitbeck said in a statement. "That horse is already out of the barn, and not even John Warner can close the door."

Trump's Virgina Chairman Corey Stewart called Warner "the old guard Washington establishment that both sides of the aisle are rejecting." 

However, a new survey shows Virginians agree with Warner on his endorsement, saying Clinton, not Trump, has the right temperament and experience to be president. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Jaffe: Why Is it So Easy to Kill in DC and Walk Away?]]> Tue, 27 Sep 2016 14:49:02 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/216*120/2016-09-25_0838.png

Harry Jaffe, a longtime chronicler of the people and politics of Washington, D.C., writes an occasional column for NBC Washington's First Read DMV blog.

Mayor Muriel Bowser's old neighborhood was strung with yellow police tape Sunday night. If she hadn't moved a few months ago, she might have heard the gunshots that wounded a 93-year-old woman who lived on her block of Oglethorpe Street, in a northeast D.C. neighborhood.

In the same neighborhood, the day before, gunshots killed Marcellus Thomas, 22.

Police have no suspects for the shootings in the community where Bowser lived for 15 years. Another killer is on the loose in the nation’s capital, where getting away with murder is becoming the new normal.

Take Saturday night before last, when gunmen at a block party in an Anacostia neighborhood opened fire. They killed two men and wounded seven others, including an eight-year-old boy.

Once the news and mourning passed through our system, residents of the District were left with another grim reality: the killers were not apprehended.

"They are walking among us," said Phillip Pannell, a community activist who has begun counting the unsolved murders and crusading for justice.

From 2011 to 2015, D.C.'s Metropolitan Police Department reported 567 homicides. On average, about 77 percent of the murder cases were "cleared" -- though, as we'll see, that doesn't mean someone served jail time for them.

Through Sept. 27, there have been 104 murders in D.C., according to the Metropolitan Police Department website. Of those, about half are still open cases.

Any way you look at it, the District of Columbia can be a good place to get away with murder.

Consider a quartet of brazen killings that have made the news of late.

There’s Seth Rich, the 27-year-old from Nebraska who was shot dead on a hot July night in Bloomingdale. The beloved staffer with the Democratic National Committee was a block from his apartment when gunmen shot him in the back and left him mortally wounded. They are at large.

How about Charnice Milton: A community journalist, she was shot and killed as she got off a bus in May 2015, by a bullet cops believe was meant for someone else. There were at least a dozen witnesses and video. No arrests.

For diplomatic intrigue, we have Mikhail Lesin, once a Kremlin insider who fell out of favor with Russian leader Vladmir Putin. D.C. police found him in late 2015 in a Dupont Circle hotel room, dead from a heart attack, they said. Four months later medical examiners concluded he’d died of blunt force injuries to his head. No arrests.

Two cases I have personally covered prove that one can get away with murder in D.C.

Robert Wone was found stabbed to death in August 2006, in a bedroom of a Logan Circle row house. A well-respected lawyer, he was sleeping over at a home where the three residents were present. Police found Wone tucked into a bed under a clean, white sheet, with three neat knife marks on his chest. No one was charged with the murder nor convicted of any crime.

Last May three members of the Savapoulos family and their housekeeper were tortured and killed in their Massachusetts Heights mansion. Prosecutors charged one person, Daron Wint, with carrying out the crimes. He’s in custody, but prosecutors have postponed hearings twice. 

Prosecutors had said from the earliest days of the case that they believed Wint had help. In the affadavit for Wint's arrest warrant, a detective said that the crime "required the presence and assistance of more than one person."

Wint's next hearing is scheduled for Thursday. No one else has been arrested.

Why does it seem so easy to kill someone in the District and walk away?

Police will tout high "clearance" rates. According to the FBI, District cops cleared 80 percent of their murder cases or higher in the past five years, making the department one of the best in the nation. There is reason to doubt the numbers.

But clearance does not mean the killers were found, arrested and jailed.

"Hell, no," a retired cop told me.

Police "clear" a case when they make an arrest or identify a suspect. That does not mean that person was charged, convicted and served time. Prosecutors can decide not to prosecute, they might drop the case, or the alleged perpetrator might not get convicted. In many of those cleared cases the killers might remain at large.

Why are there so many murderers running around – like the Saturday night shooters in Anacostia or Seth Rich’s killers?

"Nobody trusts the police," a detective in the Logan Circle district tells me. "No one talks to us."

That’s especially true east of the Anacostia River, in police districts six and seven. Pannell, who’s assembled an exhibit of 143 unsolved murders in the District’s eastern wards since 2010, says residents believe they cannot talk to police without facing retribution from the killers.

"We have a community that's in collective fear of talking about the situation," he says. "They are afraid of getting killed, so they don’t say anything."

A patrol officer in the Seventh District adds: "Many of the surveillance cameras over here don’t work. And the community doesn’t trust us." (A police spokesman did not respond to a request for comment about the cameras.)

Police in Northwest neighborhoods have similar reactions.

The result?

"It emboldens the killers," Pannell said. "And people just become numb to it."

But there’s more than the propensity to avoid snitching that contributes to our high number of unsolved murders. I attribute it to the fear factor and the paucity of human intelligence. In rough communities where the majority of murders occur, residents fear bad guys more than they do the police. That balance of power has to shift.

Police can reverse that balance by increasing deployment of plain clothes vice squad officers. Assign more under cover cops. They can provide better intelligence to homicide detectives, and they can build the trust that residents require, before they cooperate with cops.

Once murderers realize they cannot be so brazen, the homicide rate will begin to fall, more killers will be brought to justice, and the fear in too many of our neighborhoods will begin to dissipate. At that point, getting away with murder in D.C. will not be so easy, in Mayor Bowser's old neighborhood – or her new one.

This story has been updated from an earlier version.

Photo Credit: NBC Washington ]]>
<![CDATA[A People's Journey to Political Power]]> Thu, 22 Sep 2016 19:02:00 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/obama+44th+president.jpg From emancipation to the Oval Office, see some of the monumental steps that culminated in the election of America’s first black president.

Photo Credit: Cheryl Thompson/NBCWashington]]>
<![CDATA[Officials in DC, Montgomery Co. to Discuss Paid Family Leave]]> Tue, 20 Sep 2016 08:19:04 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000016150885_1200x675_769233987572.jpg The debate over paid family leave will be discussed by officials in Washington, D.C., and Montgomery County, Maryland, Tuesday. News 4's Kristin Wright has more on what's being done. ]]>