Graham Campaign Responds to Dear PoP Letter

“Dear PoP,

Yesterday you posted an anonymous letter from someone who observed campaign posters for Jim Graham being hung by employees of the MC Dean company. The letter writer didn’t have all the facts and as a result jumped to conclusions (or had a political agenda he failed to disclose).

First, the campaign contacted several possible vendors who could perform this service. Those vendors referred us to MC Dean. In the past, MC Dean has hung posters for candidates in DC and elsewhere. As a result, the Graham campaign hired MC Dean.

Second, MC Dean invoiced the Graham campaign for all the work performed.

Third, any suggestion that this work agreement is inappropriate is far-fetched. There are no regulations that prohibit a business that does work for the city to also perform work for a campaign. Thousands of businesses have contracts with the city. What if MC Dean was a printer that produced campaign fliers? Many DC campaigns have hired businesses that perform functions for the city. What’s the big deal? This is why we file campaign finance reports: transparency (as the photo posted to PoP demonstrates, MC Dean performed this work in broad daylight. Obviously, the campaign was transparent about the work).

Fourth, we know that individuals with a purely political agenda promoted this smear to several news outlets, and did so by combining misinformation with a selective use of facts. At least two news outlets reviewed the story (and the misinformation supplied to them), and decided not to report the story. The one outlet that did cover the story, the Washington Post, did so only on its blog and updated the story with facts that were not gathered before the story was originally posted.

Campaign season is often referred to as “silly season.” This comes as no surprise to any of us. While the Graham campaign is talking about issues of great concern to the community, this race is being tarnished by parties who have distorted the truth on more than one occasion and offered wild allegations without an iota of fact to support them.

My point: readers beware. If you read a campaign article that supplies but one side of the story you’re probably being spun.

Thank you for the opportunity to respond.

Chuck Thies
Re-Elect Jim Graham 2010″

53 Comment

  • Jim Graham is going to jail for this.

  • Jim Graham is going to jail for wearing those glasses.

  • I haven’t seen Jim Graham dance in a really long time, and that makes me a little sad inside. Does Council Member Graham still go out dancing regularly? Watching him dance used to be marvelous.

    One more thing: I don’t understand why he owns that great little convertible, but I never see him driving around with the top down. One must be careful to take precautions against sunburn, but the joy that can be derived from soaking up the sun on a lovely afternoon on the streets of Washington is not easily surpassed. The warmth and glow are tingly!

  • Also: I wonder if Council Member Graham might be interested in contributing the occasional guest post here on Prince of Petworth, in a similar fashion to that other Petworth blogger who has issues with seeing people undressing in the house across the alley whenever his infant son is around.

  • If this is par for the course for MC Dean, then can I hire them as well? I just don’t see a company which bills itself as one of the nation’s premier engineering
    and integration firms specializing in complex electrical,
    electronic, and telecommunication systems would lower itself to put up signs.

    ” What if MC Dean was a printer that produced campaign fliers?”
    That would be within its core competency. Sign hanging is not MC Deans business.

    • Sign hanging is generally done by DDOT … and using them would be an abuse.

      • Everyone needs to get a latter and crawl up to the lamp post to make sure Mr. Graham has properly dated his campaign signs.

        108.7 Each sign, advertisement, or poster shall contain the date upon which it was initially affixed to a lamppost.

        108.9 Signs, advertisements, and posters shall not be affixed by adhesives that prevent their complete removal from the fixture, or that do damage to the fixture.

        108.10 No more than three (3) versions or copies of each sign, advertisement, or poster shall be affixed on one (1) side of a street within one (1) block.

    • That’s because they aren’t one of the nation’s premier engineering and integration firms specializing in complex electrical, electronic, and telecommunication systems. MC Dean is doing his best work when he’s out there in his cherry picker, hanging up cardboard campaign signs. Or rapping.

    • uh-huh, and you both call yourself “John Galt” and want us to believe you don’t have a purely political motivation?

    • cuz they have vans and ladders

  • How about stuff for/from other DC Council members?

  • I meant other people running for office.

  • I thought the x-mas holidays were the “silly season”?

  • The follow up question on my mind is:

    Is MC Dean under contract to take down all these signs once the primary is over?

    It would be a joy to see a politician ready to clean up after himself.

    • He is, but someone is going to have to hold the ladder for him, because the bucket truck will be in use for putting up Christmas decorations at that time of the year.

  • I guess they’ve never heard of the term “Perception of Impropriety”. At this point the reality of it hardly matters – it looks ‘dirty’ therefore it is.

  • “While the Graham campaign is talking about issues of great concern to the community, this race is being tarnished by parties who have distorted the truth on more than one occasion and offered wild allegations without an iota of fact to support them.”

    Right. Issues of great concern like the Google drive-by and voting down the soda tax to actually provide DC school kids with decent meals. Has anyone else been reading thie Better DC School Food blog? That alone is nearly enough for me to keep my kid out of DCPS (and I’m only being half-facetious here). And where’s the talk about reforming youth services? Crime prevention? Etc. etc. etc.

    I am so tired of this man. I wish there were a valid challenge to his office.

    • Thank you – someone finally said it. Jumbo Slice and Google are not issues of “great concern to the community.”

      Maybe if we had a functioning ANC (1A, I’m looking at you!) there would actually be a forum for the community to express their “great concerns”

      • You should run for the ANC (unless of course you are already on it). One complaint I’ve read about ANCs is that there are rarely competitive elections. Maybe if they were remunerated in some way that would change.
        I agree though, some of the issues you hear about (campaign signs, permits, Google) aren’t particularly important.

        @Dreas – did Graham actually oppose the soda tax? I read that Bowser and (surprise surprise) Evans did, but didn’t see anything about Graham.

        • DCster – I thought about it, but as Cliff Valenti said in his resignation email (which was then forwarded by another member of the ANC, which created a whole DIFFERENT set of controversies and bickering which the entire Columbia Heights listserv got to listen to) “No one can lead this group.”

          Columbia Heights’ diversity also makes an ANC problematic – everyone on the commission seemingly has their own agenda. If you want to see grandstanding, come by Harriet Tubman for a meeting!

        • And by the way – I think I am more useful diverting my energies to action (i.e. community cleanups, etc.), instead of just talking about action (i.e., sitting on the ANC). Who knows, that may change in a few years.

  • What dreas said. Jim Graham is as out of touch with the changing face of this city as they come.

    • Two words on why Jim Graham should not be re-elected:


      (AKA the $52 million Otis Place mistake. Might as well have written a direct check to the Cavalier liquor store across the street)

  • can anyone point me to the statute that allows campaign signs to be hung on public lamp posts in the first place?

    in most states/localities, campaign signs are allowed to be hung on supporters’ private property (lawn, in a house’s window, etc.), but typically not on in places like street signs and lamp posts. there are exceptions to those rules, of course, but in general that is the case.

    never seen that practice before i moved to DC.

  • Why so uppidy about someone asking the question? Seems like a legit question to me. McDean does a lot of business for the city. Some of that business might flow through a committee or two Graham oversees. The campaign has a ligitimate point but it’s not “silly” to ask for an explanation.

    Is McDean or someone gonna take them down after the election?

  • In the spirit of transparency, Mr. Thies, why don’t you release to the media the invoices that MC Dean prepared for the Graham campaign. Once people see how much was charged for the work (my guess is that it isn’t their usual rate), they can decide for themselves whether or not it is “silly.” This would be especially helpful to Ward 1 voters in light of the fact that CM Graham’s chief of staff was indicted on bribery charges and is looking at some serious time in the pokey.

    • Lumpy,

      We did release the invoices to every media outlet that requested them.

      Chuck Thies

  • So . . . how much did the work cost the campaign?

  • Me thinks Mr. Thies doth protest too much.

  • This is the problem with PoP. I don’t think you fully realize that words matter. When you print allegations of political corruption, that is an incredibly serious accusation, which has consequences. To just post something like that on your blog, with absolutely no attempt to verify the facts is irresponsible. If you want to stick to reporting rumors about upcoming restaurant openings and open houses, that’s fine, but you are giving someone a prominent forum for attacking a councilmember without doing the least bit of due diligence. I suggest that if you want to be taken seriously as a blogger, you understand the responsibilities that come along with publishing news. Otherwise just stick to posting photos of pretty doors.

    • Prince Of Petworth

      I hope you sent the same email to the Washington Post. Please note I provided a forum for the campaign to rebut the claim without any restrictions.

      I do thank you for your concern. Your opinion is very important to me.

      If you would like to meet me in person and discuss this further I’d be happy to do so.

    • +1

      But this is a problem with all bloggers.

      Bloggers neglect to perform rigorous fact checking and report on what essentially amounts to gossip, yet at the same time they want to be taken 100% seriously, like a “real” journalist.

      Simply put, they want to have their cake and it too.

      • What good is having a cake and not eating it?

      • “Bloggers neglect to perform rigorous fact checking and report on what essentially amounts to gossip, yet at the same time they want to be taken 100% seriously, like a “real” journalist.”

        Please point me to the place where PoP (or, for that matter, almost any blogger) has said that they want to be taken 100% seriously, like a “real” journalist.

        Quite the opposite, PoP frequently goes out of his way to identify things as “question from a reader,” or “rumor,” or “gossip,” or just random musings and wonderings.

        Anyone who thinks that something they read here is real, fact-checked journalism, I assume also believes everything they read in The National Enquirer.

        What is it with you people who think that what this blog, which is not just effectively, but even actively self-described as an online backyard fence, should “fact check” everything it posts?

        For the love of god, even so-called real media outlets don’t have the resources to do a very good job of that. That is not the purpose of this blog. If you don’t like it for what it is, then don’t read it, but it’s absurd to complain about it.

  • However, if you review the legislative agenda for the DC Council for the last ten years at least you’ll see very very little which addresses issues of “great concern to the community.” So, Graham may be a do nothing, but he’s an equal among lessers.

  • As I stated in the other post regarding this issue, I don’t work for any campaign. My goal is not to take the councilman down. He’s done things that I like and other things I do not. I’m probably one of the few here who are really happy with a lot of what the DC Council has done.
    I just thought this was worth mentioning – as cookietime420 mentions, what’s so silly about asking the question?
    Now hitting poor Skellie in his VW Bug – now that’s scandelous!

    • The simple fact that you’re being accused of having a political agenda or working for a political campaign speaks volumes about the current state of Graham’s campaign. It seems kind of early in the season for them to be so defensive.

  • While it may be legal, it’s pretty pathetic to see an incumbent relegated to hanging campaign signs on public property. Either he can’t find residents who support him enough to put a sign in their yards or he’s not organized enough to get them out to people. Either way, this is not someone who should be re-elected.

    • “it’s pretty pathetic to see an incumbent relegated to hanging campaign signs on public property”

      Name a single candidate who doesn’t do this.

      That’s the most naive thing I’ve ever read.

      You can disagree that it serves any purpose, but EVERYONE does it, and it’s not illegal. It’s the business of politics.

  • The City Council is not a retirement agency for past good works. There are certain council persons who continue to get a pass on all the bad stuff that s/he does to the city based on the perception, real or imagined, of what s/he did well in the past. It’s not a DC only phenomena, but as we were somewhat self contained, bad ideas are quickly amplified. Lax oversight and poor decisions snowball very quickly here. This city also has a long history of racial distrust amplified by our friends in the US Government and some of our very own politicians.

    If you strip out the issues that are important on a grand scale, but are somewhat meaningless to the proper function of the city (a vote in congress, national party politics, immigration reform in AZ, Google Maps), what we’re left with is do you feel safe in the city, is your trash getting picked up, is this a place that you want to raise your kids (for the breeders), are the rules applied uniformly and fairly to all residents, and are people who can’t take care of themselves being attended to fairly and humanely.

    Rather than tackle these issues in a methodical and results driven manner, we have a political class that pairs one priority against the other as if we can’t have both. We have a group that was elected to solve certain societal issues, then stayed after the music stopped and the punch ran out. Instead of leading with ideas, explaining the trade offs and lifting people up, they followed with rhetoric, fed people without teaching them to fish, and shied away from tough important decisions. You get elected in DC based on the appearance of tackling the issues, without necessarily having the qualifications or intelligence to understand how to solve the issues.

    The WP, our sovereign, has been abysmal at anything resembling a BS meter. They give a pass to whatever their editors chose to agree with. That’s why it’s so important to have Blog based newspaper reporting like PoP. Even if some of the articles that show up are so clearly born out of BS, it gives the commentariat a chance to discuss and debate the issues from different points of view, rather than being spoon fed some PR agency drivel or some newspaper editor’s slant. It’s for the folks here to evaluate the BS, rather than PoP.

    Off my soap box.

  • Most of this diatribe is just crap. You people are full it. CM Jim Graham has done nothing but good for this city for decades!!!

    He may not have done enough or what you think he should have but last I recall, no one named “Anonymous” was on the ticket.

    Get a grip people! Come November there will be signs everywhere. This is completely legal and has been for many years.

    If you think a little poster in someone’s yard or hanging from post offers more assurance at a vote you are misguided and naive.

    CM Jim Graham has my vote and will as long at I see him trying… more than most on that council can say.

    • saf

      “Jim Graham has done nothing but good for this city for decades!!! ”

      Wow. Where do you live?

    • 1. Thank you Mr. James for making your comments with full attribution. I think it is cowardly to cut other people down on a blog (especially for the job they are doing – we’re not talking about bashing someone’s decorating taste in a GDoN post) and not take personal responsibility for your opinions. But alas, this is how things are these days.

      2. For anyone who says Jim Graham has done “nothing good” for the city, you are genuinely wrong. Graham is one of the most active, proactive, constituent service-oriented CMs on the Council. He takes positions on the big issues that you may or may not agree with, and he grandstands when opportunities present themselves, but on the day-to-day issues of making sure constituent services get delivered, he works very hard and delivers day in and day out. Have you ever emailed him directly and asked for something? He responds.

  • I don’t get it. He hired someone to post campaign posters legally and he will disclose it properly in his financial disclosure reports.

    Do you guys get off jumping up and down screaming and flinging poo because you saw the word ‘corruption’ in a posting?

    In campaign world, this stuff happens every single day and there is not one iota of impropriety in it. I’m always shocked about the tiny unimportant things that outrage people.

    Our electorate has the inquisitive nature of Jerry Springer.

  • I can’t wait to vote Jim Graham out of office.

  • Now I do think DC has been invaded by Tea Party wacks, many of these comments resonate uncomfortably like Republicans war cries in the South against Obama et alia.

    I am somewhat amused when writers brag about living here for 5 years. I’ve been here for over 30 and proudly attribute DC’s long coming renaissance to local politicians like Jim Graham…gees hope someone really does remember what these gentrified hoods were like once upon a time beyond 5 yrs ago, not to mention the Murder Capitol.

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