Mendelson: There's a Stain on City Hall, But We'll Get Through This | NBC4 Washington
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Mendelson: There's a Stain on City Hall, But We'll Get Through This

Acting council chair talks rebuilding trust

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    Interim Council Chairman Phil Mendelson

    Thursday marked Phil Mendelson's first day as acting D.C. Council chairman, after Kwame Brown resigned in disgrace last week.

    The council voted Mendelson to the position on a 12-1 margin Wednesday. Council member Michael Brown will serve as chair pro tempore.

    Mendelson stopped by News4 to tape "Viewpoint" with Jim Handly Thursday morning.

    "There's such a heightened criticism and scrutiny of the council and that makes some members more tentative," Mendelson said about the issues surrounding the D.C. government.

    "It's not good for the business of the council or the city. We will get through this but it definitely has an effect."

    Mendelson said in general he hears more good than bad from city residents, who appear to be happy about the positive changes in the city regarding crime, nightlife and schools.

    "People feel good about the city, but then you've got this stain down at city hall and folks aren't happy about that. And it makes it hard for government to function," Mendelson said.

    "How people feel about government does affect the city. So even though on one side they feel good, we're just missing an opportunity because of this stain."

    Mendelson said it'll take time to repair the damage.

    "Trust is a fragile thing. Governments require trust from their citizens. We've lost that trust and it's going to take time to rebuild it, it's just like any relationship," he said.

    Though, Mendelson admitted we're not out of the woods yet, saying, "The cloud over the city is not over because there continues to be investigations, and we don't know where they're going to go. I hope they'll end soon and we'll be able to move on."

    You can see Jim Handly's entire interview with Phil Mendelson Sunday morning on "Viewpoint," which airs during News4 Today.