Friday Question of the Day – Does Council Member Jim Graham Deserve This?

IMG_2112, originally uploaded by Prince of Petworth.

I was sent a tip today that these posters were plastered all over the Adams Morgan plaza at 18th and Columbia. By the time I got there all the posters had been removed. I did however spot this one on 16th Street. CM Graham sent out an email today saying:

“In regards to the recent arrest of Teddy Loza, we should all be patient while the authorities conduct their investigation. Corruption is a very serious matter. As much as anyone else, I want this investigation to be thorough and all guilty parties held to account. I have pledged 100% cooperation to the FBI.

I have committed no wrongdoing or crime.

Please also keep in mind that the Washington Post on September 30 reported—based on law enforcement sources– that I am neither a “target” nor a “person of interest” in the FBI investigation.”

While the charges against his chief of staff – Teddy Loza, are very serious, I’m wondering if Graham deserves this treatment? If Graham truly did have zero involvement in this incident, if I were a Ward 1 voter, I’d vote for him again. I’d say Graham’s net contributions to the improvement of Ward 1 far outweigh his poor judgment in choosing a chief of staff.

I have heard in the comments that some readers have received robocalls denouncing Graham in Ward 1. I think I read that they were sponsored by the DC Republican Party. So for the FQoTD – who do you think paid for and posted these signs around Adams Morgan? Do you think they are appropriate?

64 Comment

  • Poor judgement and poor selection of staff is a disqualifier…Is it true he paid for an abortion for one of the women his chief of staff knocked up? I’m not sure how that relates but for some reason I find it kind of icky.

  • I think we should expect more of our D.C. Council members and that includes Jim Graham.

    I want leadership with good judgment. The guy has done some good. But he was just exposed as someone intimately involved with a very, very bad person.

    Sure, Ted Loza’s not been convicted of anything on the cab bribery. But that’s because he has due process rights, etc., not because he is innocent. The guy said “I take the money because I need it” on a wiretap after talking to a guy about cab legislation. Barring procedural failure or a rogue juror, Ted Loza will be a convicted felon in due time.

    The issue with Jim Graham is not the one he raises in his release, i.e., whether he was an accessory or co-conspirator in taxicab legislation bribery. It is in our assessment of his judgment in employing this guy.

    We have learned that Jim Graham is a bad boss, who feels like he owns his employees’ time and treats them like servants. I’m sure we’ve all worked for someone like that before, and it is one of the characteristics I dislike most in any person.

    We have learned that he hires sycophants like Loza and then will support them after they beat up pregnant women. That he pays for the late-term abortions that his domestic-abusing staffers force out of women in thrall to them after being brought to this country. These are things that might make many people disown a brother or a son, but Jim Graham knew it all and was tight with the guy.

    He even helped Ted do some of it, and when someone asked Graham to look into his soul for a second about his right hand Prince of Darkness’s persistent domestic abuse, he asked “Does thsi conduct involve his professional responsibilities o his behavior on personal issues? Bests Jim.”

    I expect more from a Council Member who flocks to the scene of every wrong done in his district to get his face on the news and email everyone about how he’s at the scene of the terrible misdeed. There was a domestic abuser in the guy’s own office, interacting with him every day. I guess firing Ted or reporting him to police wasn’t a good way for Jim to get into the news.

    Jim Graham has done good things. But he’s not a stand-up guy. And I think it’s way past time to expect that from our elected leaders.

    So, does Jim Graham deserve “Jim Graham is a Clown” posters? With the glasses and the bow tie, sure, he might look a little cartoonish. Plenty of people do.

    The posters miss the point of what has been bothering people about Jim Graham. It’s that you could put up posters saying “Jim Graham Enables Men Who Beat Women.” In this City, that should matter.

  • No, it just sounds like the GOP is getting hungry: robo-calls, posters. Graham answers my emails and has done some great stuff for the area. The truth will come out. Until then, may we please practice a bit more civility. Cynicism accomplishes little.

  • Grahamstanding is rather clownish. And who said DC politics was ever a “civil” pursuit?

  • All politicians deserve this. And where are the Marion Crack Barry posters ?

  • Jim Graham is innocent of bribery until proven guilty of bribery. However, he has been proven guilty in the court of public opinion of being an extremely bad judge of character (read Loose Lips’ column in the City Paper on what a creep Loza is). Paying for an abortion forced upon a woman by a serial abuser? That is simply not right by any accepted standard of decency. Unless the FBI produces a “smoking gun” against Graham, the voters of Ward 1 are going to have to make their own decision on how well he has or hasn’t done. The Republican party’s robo-calls are merely static that will change no one’s mind. Let them waste their money – do they honestly believe that by getting rid of Graham, they will get a Republican elected to replace him? In Columbia Heights?! HA! Dream on, clowns.

  • I didn’t think Graham deserved the “Grahamzilla” posters a few years back. He doesn’t deserve this. But Ward 1 deserve some answers.

  • So Richard, because he answers your emails, you have no problem with him knowingly and willingly continuing to support an adjudicated batterer? You’re okay with that?

    For a long time, folks who have had to deal with Graham (other than just getting their emails responded to) have been more than aware of his blatant and extreme dislike of women. This incident with Loza that the City Paper detailed using court records (so it wasn’t just rumor) should hopefully clarify that for the casual observer.

  • I personally don’t give a shit about his personal life or that of his staffers. I am EXTREMELY disappointed & outraged about Loza’s bribery scandal and if true he should go to jail.

    I think Jim has done a good job in Ward 1 over the years. I’ll take him a million times over some guy who’s personal life was clean as a Mormon, but pursued stupid policies.

    We’re not electing the town priest here!

  • Everything is fair in politics, and every politician should or does know that…

  • Innocent until proven guilty. It doesn’t look good for Graham, but I’m going to try to reserve judgement until we get an official verdict.

    That being said, the posters are uncalled for but at the end of the day, chalk it up to freedom of speech. However, when one goes into politics, he or she should understand these sorts of things occur and come to expect them, and appropriately and directly deal with them.

  • There is clearly an impression that Graham abused his position as an elected official. Whether it’s criminal is to be determined. But regardless, he has disgraced us (his constituents) by his involvement in this mess (both the criminal and the personal life of Loza).

  • I don’t care if he sacrifices chickens to the god of abortions while 13 year old children watch.

    9 people died on metro under his leadership and no one has lost their job. In fact, John Catoe got re-upped for 3 years and now has a guaranteed $27k/year retirement for life. It’s like Enron only with actual deaths…. That’s a $650k bonus (3% growth rate) for killing people. Great leadership!

    WASA answers all my emails too and they’re trying to poison (lead) me, so that’s not an adequate standard.

    The GOP is wasting their time, but if you have money and no issue platform, why not?

  • Graham has done a great deal for Ward One. To list just two things, he alone is responsible for the new Yellow Line service north of Mt Vernon square and he’s provided great leadership in creating conditions for Georgia Ave. to prosper. As someone above said, we are electing him for his contributions to the Ward.

  • he payed for a coerced abortion.


  • Unless I see he did anything wrong, I’ll keep voting for him. He’s been great for Development in Ward 1. Think about where we’ve been 10 years ago and how ward 1 looks now!

    He’s tried to keep a balance between development and affordable housing (even though I don’t want more affordable housing). He’s helped broker a ton of projects that wanted incentives before taking a chance coming here. Without his help, we’d have a lot less here than you’d think

    Sure if it turns out he is corrupt, out with him – otherwise I couldn’t care less as long as he keeps the gentrification coming! ! ! !

  • Look, clearly he’s already lied about this entire situation when he said, on the record, that he had no idea what Loza’s financial situation was that would force him to take a bribe.

    Really Jim? Really? You loaned him money to buy a house, you loaned him money to force a late-term abortion on a woman and you loaned him money from your constituent services fund, but you know nothing about his financial situation?!?!

  • I got the robo-call (used to live in Ward 1 and have same phone number). Interestingly, I also live in JG’s former house (still get junk mail for him). The City Paper article shows some pretty bad judgement on his part in supporting a philaderer and abuser in getting rid of the “evidence” of his unscrupulous ways. There are a lot of things that I would do for the people who work for and with me – paying for an late term abortion is not one.

    He has done a lot of good for Ward 1 and for the city, but judgement is very important in our elected officials. I am going to have to see how this all plays out.

  • Do you really think his chief of staff is dirty and he isn’t?

    Would you think the same thing if the lawmaker in question was, say…Tom DeLay?

  • I congratulate and thank Jim for his many successes, but I don’t think that I could ever vote for him again.

  • I’ve never understood the animosity toward Jim Graham on this board (and other Ward 1 blogs and listservs). Seems to me that Ward 1 has experienced more dramatic economic growth and retail expansion than any other part of the city during the last decade. I do agree that his oversight of Metro has been lacking – it just doesn’t seem to be an issue that he cares about.

    My perception is that the animosity began when Graham starting cracking down on violence in clubs along U Street and Georgia Ave about four years ago. I guess a lot of the youngsters who populate the internet chatter can’t imagine anybody getting between them and their booze, so Graham got a bad rep from that. Of course, there haven’t been any random club shootings this year on U St (at least that I can recall), so maybe he was onto something.

    I don’t care about the Loza thing. Has any US President, Governor, or DC Mayor not had a member of their administration resign at some point? It happens, you move along.

  • Nothing like a scandalous abortion to bring out the child in everyone.

  • He’s probably fairly standard for the DC council, his peers included a convicted felon after all.

  • Jim Graham is an excellent council member. It is not like if he is involved in Cab-Gate. Give the guy a break until the facts are in. Maybe Teddy was running his own personal sting to catch the crooks. I aaaaaam sure there is an explanation.

  • the personal matters are not relevant to voters or the public. Jim is extremely responsive and Ward 1 has done better than any other part of the city due in no small part to his leadershp, vision, and hard work. All successful politicians are dirty as sin, okay? that’s how our democracy works. I’d rather have an effective diry politician than a ineffective clean one. Ward 1 is luckly to have someone as dirty as Jim working so hard to their benefit.

  • I’ve never been a big fan of Jim. I’ve always felt, that his “leadership” especially on the metro board, was weak and indecisive. Besides cracking down of clubs, what are his major achievements? Most of the development in Ward 1 was fostered by the Mayor (Williams, not Fenty). This Loza think has firmly pushed me into the anit-graham camp. Anyone who supports a serial abuser is an ass.

  • Our expectations are far too low in DC…

  • in a word: yes.

  • Voiceofreason: Don’t speak so quickly. I remember the last looser who ran against Graham in 2006 – the guy was trying to gin up racial divisions and scare elderly black folks about the evil gentrifiers Jim supported.

    I’ll guarantee that if we get some reactionary, anti-gentrification, racist “old school” councilmember in Ward 1 (read: Sinclair Skinner), we will all be hurting!

  • I agree with Bloomingdale. Jim has been great for Ward 1 and we couldn’t ask for better representation. His constituent services are excellent, he’s accessible and responsive and I’ve talked to friends in Petworth who moved from Ward 1 and miss having him as their councilmember. I would happily vote for him again.

  • I’ve liked Jim Graham, but that doesn’t mean he should be our Ward 1 councilman forever.

    He comes from a generation when character was everything; when personnel decisions, most particularly in the public sector, were made on the best educated, best experienced, best talented and best qualified.

    Jim Graham is well educated. He’s not American, but from Scotland brought here by his parents at an early age. At the Whitman-Walker Clinic and in public office he’s been devoted to his constituents and the best Councilman we’ve had here in Ward 1 since Home Rule.

    But he also belongs to a generation where public service wasn’t a career.

    You served a term or two in a thankless job in the public sector because someone, some honest elder had to step down to do it, and then moved on and let another make the sacrifice to serve.

    Problem is it’s that it’s no longer a step down, but too often a step up and nor is it a sacrifice to serve with much too many perks and unqualified, overpaid staff that could never make those salaries in the private sector.

    Ten years is enough. Move on. Too bad he could excercise better judgement have better expectations and higher standards of his staff as he does for his personal attire. Unqualified staff remain in his office; former bartenders, etc. making salaries they could never make in the private sector.

    We deserve much better public servants in the District of Columbia both elected and non-elected officials and just as we as citizens should have higher standards of who we elect, the elected and the non-elected professional managers should excercise much better judgement, have higher standards of who works for city from the bottom up and much, much, much better oversight of our local government and the public till.

    That’s been the biggest failure with Home Rule here; lack of oversight without any real accountability.

    If we can’t do it (especially after more than 30 years at our attempt at Home Rule), then let’s go back to being a federal city. It worked well for over a century. Have the town run by the three stars on the our flag, three commissioners appointed by the President to run this relatively small town of less than 600,000. Shouldn’t be so hard. Accountability would be direct, streamlined and more importantly, apolitical.

    Ten years is enough for Jim Graham.

    And his slide is sad, disappointing, and yeah it is icky.

  • I’ll continue voting for Jim Graham. Every time an issue that is important to me has come up, he has been at the meeting or otherwise has participated in the process. Scandal or no, my support remains unaffected. These flyers are premature, if anything, since he has not been officially named as involved, and certainly are more abrasive than informative.

  • I know I’ll get a lot of slack for this, but someone needs to say it. As a gay man, I’ve seen this scenario so many times before. I hope I’m wrong, but this seems like a case of an older gay man(with a little power and money) and a younger, exotic boy toy (who doesn’t identify as gay but occasionally will have sex with men for favors – money, employment, etc). I have no issue with JG and his policies with the city, however, there is a fly in the chardonnay!

    JG initally denied any knowledge of Loza financial affairs. We later learned that this was not entirely true.

    Stay tuned for more damaging information to come out concerning the exact nature of the relationship between Loza and JG. Think about it — how was the Washington City Paper able to find out all this information about their financial ties without having knowledge of a deeper relationship I’m sure they’re waiting to expose.

  • I’ll wait until the facts are out rather than do the conventional jumping to conclusions. Jim Graham has been responsive and helpfulto me as a constituent so I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt in terms of his political activities until I see proof to the contrary.
    Does he “deserve” this poster? I think that’s a dumb question. But the best answer to it was given by the notorious American outlaw William Munny, murderer of women and children, as he prepared to shoot Little Bill Daggett because Daggett had murdered Munny’s friend Ned Logan in a cowardly and despicable fashion. When Daggett, in the course of begging for mercy, told Munny “I don’t deserve this,” Munny replied “Deserve’s got nothin’ to do with it.”

  • I’ll reserve judgment. He’s done a fine job so far, and I support the work he’s done. He works hard, is engaged in the community, and votes to my liking on most issues. I’ve seen no evidence he is corrupt. Maybe he chooses his friends and staff poorly. Lots of people do. As long as it doesn’t severely impact his work on my behalf, I’ll give him a break.

  • I agree with David-when I read the article in loose lips the first thing I thought was that Loza was Graham’s boy toy. Why else would he be paying for abortions?

  • He is a liar. He said he had no knowledge of Mr. Loza’s money problems, but he loaned him money for the abortion and co-signed his lease. All my bosses do that, not.

    And let’s not forget his use of fire department recruits to “staff” his holiday party – at the city’s expense no less. What a man of the people.

  • @David. You’re suggesting 44 year-old Loza is some kind of “boy toy”? Really? Let’s wait & not perpetuate your gay stereotypes without evidence.

  • On their own, the posters are awful, no matter who/what they’re attacking. Wasting paper on a bad graphic with absolutely no facts to back up *why* Graham’s a clown is just in poor taste.

  • Marcus – I hate to say this but “the notorious American outlaw William Munny, murderer of women and children…” was a fictional character in the movie “Unforgiven”.

    Hell of a character though…

  • Clowns are funny.

  • Clowns are funny.

  • Judge not until all the evidence is in. Graham has always been responsive to requests and has worked to get things resolved. He attends ANC/UNC meetings and doesn’t shy away from questions. I would vote for him again.

  • If there was a viable alternative, I’d be inclined to go with her or him. The posters are a minor thing. Graham’s had an impressive run so far. He’s managed to govern decently and keep an incredibly diverse ward mostly together. But it seems that the dirt on him has finally gotten too thick.

  • Yes and clowns can also be very scary

  • Everybody needs to cut Jim some slack! It’s not like he’s a particularly bloodthirsty clown who lives in the sewers and haunts children. That we know of. Yet.

  • Graham is doomed, whatever his vices or virtues. He will not make it through the primary. (Of course, that is where we really elect our ward council members.)

  • Not that I know anything about this Loza guy, but am I the only one that reads the CityPaper with a grain of salt? Don’t get me wrong, they tend to dig really deep and I appreciate the local focus, but if there is a sensational angle to a story, they can find it. I just don’t put too much stock in the hyper-sensational news sources (e.g. FOX, New York Post, any local tv news).

  • If he’s a clown, then where the hell are his balloon animals? Does he juggle? Does he and 10 of his friends motor around town in a small Volkswagen Bug? Where’s his rainbow wig?

    So the answer to the question of the sign’s approporiateness, is, undeniably, ‘No.’ Why? Because he is not a clown. Maybe he’s incompetent, corrupt, unethical, etc. But he is not, by definition, a clown.

  • I think there’s a mean streak in the country right now and it’s coming out in many places: Town hall meetings, Anti-gay marriage protests, attacks in Obama.

    Is Jim Obama? Of Course not (and he’s not health care or gay marriage), but it seems like people are so worried and uncomfortable about the economy and have this horrible aftertaste from the Bush Administration that cynical, bad feelings towards politicians are spilling out.

    You say I’m wrong? okay, so how has Jim betrayed the public’s trust?

    I’m sure people will be offended by this post and some of you probably have more profound reasons for not liking Jim, but I think most posters are expressing this melancholy mood of our times.

  • I totally agree with what Jimmy D Says. Plus divorce and or custody battles bring out the very exagerated if true at all truth in people. He said she said blah blah blah. I bet a bunch of you have baggage like that of your own.

    Graham has done a ton. My vote remains with him.

  • For what it is worth, the City Paper posted this today at 11:13am. It is a message sent to Ward 1 email groups by Jim Graham.

    Dear Friends,

    Far too many times we’ve seen news outlets pry into the personal lives of public servants. Rummaging through dirty laundry and printing “he said, she said” allegations is a sure-fire method for constructing a poor image of anyone’s character.

    At times, we all make mistakes and exercise poor judgment. When loved ones, friends or colleagues make mistakes I don’t turn my back to them. I do my best to help with support, healing and learning. As to the abortion that Ted and his friend chose to have done, I loaned Ted the money (via authorized use of my credit card) which he promptly paid back. As anyone can imagine, this was an extraordinarily difficult time for them and the financial burden would have only compounded their challenges. I was in a position to help.

    I have always supported a woman’s right to choice.

    Bests, CM Jim Graham

  • saf

    “Does (sic) he and 10 of his friends motor around town in a small Volkswagen Bug?”

    Actually, yes. Then they park it illegally.

  • What others have said: too many of you people set the bar too low. Even before this nonsense, Graham is a guy who sits on the Metro board while refusing to use Metro (which is deplorably unreliable). Instead of using his position to get that ship in order, he drives everywhere and flouts the law by illegally parking his car around the city. I don’t know how one could vote for a person who so shamelessly refuses to follow the law.

    Throw in the taxicab trouble, the teenaged gunman he hired, the woman-beating thug he hired, and his vacuous electronic correspondence in lieu of action every time something bad happens in his ward, and he is a waste of a public servant.

  • Jim Graham’s defense in his email is very disingenuous. Most DC voteres support a woman’s right to choose – that is not the issue here and Jim Graham knows it. The question that needs to be answered is “was the woman forced to choose an abortion against her will by Loza, and did she do so under duress because he abused her? Furthermore, did Graham knowingly or unknowingly enable this?” That is the real issue here because it speaks directly to his judgement and whether or not he was abetting a serial abuser. This may very well be a “he said, she said” issue due to a failed personal relationship, but now that the issue has been raised, Graham should address the real issue directly and not cloud the discussion with a the spurious argument over whether the woman had a right to choose an abortion. If the charges are not true, face them head on and say “they are not true”.

  • I’m not sure if Graham deserves this or not, either. But, I would caution against pinning all the backlash on Teddy Loza. There’s the pizza issue (which everyone I know in Adams Morgan thinks is a silly waste of time) and the fact that nobody can get a cab in Adams Morgan this weekend. Personally, I think taxi medallions have some merit, but if I were the DC GOP, I’d definitely put the posters up 16th Street. What better way to remind people walking up past Harvard because they can’t get a cab further south this weekend?

  • golly. the other guy is the one who should be getting the heat. c’mon, jim, fire the a**hole and get it over with. he’s too dumb to use condoms–that should tell you a LOT. there are other people out there who can do a good job as your chief of staff.

  • Let the wheels of justice turn and Graham continue representing his ward and Metro, and keeping a low profile with the taxicabs.

  • I am beginning to think that Graham crossed an ethical line on the abortion issue.

    I am a HUGE Graham supporter, but he needs to explain himself on this one.

  • All is fair in war and politics.

    I would consider voting against Graham, but it depends who runs against him. If it is an anti-development old school DC politician, Graham could be paying to sustain someone’s crack addiction and I’d probably still vote for him.

  • With the post 9:07 supporting gentrification, I strongly disagree!
    As a Kof C I believe housing should be fair, why the housing and health care in in a flux, that the market was allowed to dictate when competition between markets and government is needed to drive prices down!
    Coexistence is all I ask for, but displacement is unacceptable.

  • Conscience protections on the abortion controversy is a necessity.

  • Someone else has started to post using the “voiceofreason” name, and it’s not me. Not sure why. While I don’t entirely disagree with the statement made above in my name, it wasn’t me. Thanks.

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