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D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson recently lambasted attorney Paul Strauss, characterizing his actions at the Maycroft apartments on Columbia Rd. NW. as those of a shakedown artist. Residents at that building have been locked in a controversy surrounding the renovation of the property and its possible sale through the city’s Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act (TOPA).

Hearing that public assessment of Strauss, some residents at the Embassy Towers apartments on Fuller St. NW in Adams Morgan, undoubtedly chuckled while asking what else is new. They have their own woes and tales to tell, after working with him over the past year through the sale and possible condo conversion of their building. Some have concluded that Strauss is either corrupt or incompetent—perhaps both.

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Mayor Bowser Rescinds UDC Budget Cuts

Just a week before the D.C. Council is scheduled to vote on her Fiscal Year 2016 Budget and Financial Plan, Mayor Muriel Bowser sent a letter to Chairman Phil Mendelson making major adjustments to the proposal. Chief among those changes: restoration of the $3.5 million the mayor had sought to cut from the University of the District of Columbia’s budget (See DISSING DC’S ONLY PUBLIC UNIVERSITY). The cut would have handicapped the school during the middle of its re-accreditation process. Dozens of faculty members, administrators and students had packed a council public hearing demanding it not approve Bowser’s changes.

Obviously the mayor got the message. But will the restoration of those funds be enough for the financially strapped public university?


This fall Jonetta Rose Barras will lead a four-week writing institute for youth ages 9 through 13. For more information, call Esther Productions, Inc. at 202-829-0591.


Saving males of color has become a cause across America. Even before President Obama put his imprimatur on the issue, touting his My Brother’s Keeper initiative, nonprofit organizations began researching the psyche and socioeconomic status of black and Hispanic males. They also had begun proposing various solutions. D.C. jumped into the game this year, when Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) and Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson announced a $20 million, three-year Empowering Males of Color initiative. It involves the creation of an “application only,” all-male college-preparatory high school, hundreds of mentorships and school-based grants.

Many initiatives ignore this indisputable fact: Women shape young men. According to the Census Bureau, 25 percent of all U.S. families are headed by single women. That percentage increases to 70 percent in the black community. How equipped are these women for the job of shaping responsible males?

Did Ward 8 Council Candidate LaRuby May Ignore Local Rules When She Lobbied for a Senior Citizen Housing Deal?

By Bill Myers

Ward 8 D.C. Council candidate LaRubyMay lobbied for millions in federal and local funds for construction of a low-income elders’ housing complex in 2010, while she chaired the commission that was charged with overseeing the D.C. Housing Authority’s taxpayer dollars, according to public records. That move has caused some people to raise questions about her actions. “I’m worried any time someone is lobbying for housing dollars at the same time they’re occupying a position of power in a housing authority,” said Mark Weinheimer, a D.C. consultant who has focused on financing for low-incoming housing for more than two decades. “It certainly raises questions about a conflict of interest.”