Kwame Brown says "Put the politicians on minimum wage..."

Photo by @KwameBrownDC
Kwame Brown's tweet
Kwame Brown's tweet

When I suggested that D.C. Council Chair Kwame Brown should not oversee the education committee, his office pushed back.

When I suggested that Brown should be perp-walked, his office inquired as to what the charges might be.

When I suggested Brown had not yet "learned to be a solid public official," he made sure I knew of his displeasure.

Finally, though, I have found something on which the Chairman and I agree.  On October 7th, Brown posted to his Twitter page an image with these words:

"Put the politicians on minimum wage and watch how fast things change."

Yes, Chairman Brown, things need to change fast and if that means reducing your salary to minimum wage I am all for it.

You have earned it. 

Look at the fine work you are currently doing at $190,000 annually.

Your Council website has not been updated since April.

The Fiscal Responsibility page on it boasts five bullet points of which two, "Maintain out A1 bond rating" and "Rebuild bedget reserves" have typos that have gone uncorrected for nearly ten months. Also, the District currently has three different bond ratings, none of which are A1.

You promised to not increase income taxes. Income taxes have been increased.

The Education Reform section on your website is void of details and has zero substance. When I raised this matter in August, your office said it was working to correct it.

The Jobs section of your website hardly exists and has typos. Ironic, given that you like to talk about the need for District residents to achieve the basic skills necessary to find and keep jobs.

In your inaugural address you stated "in this era of double-speak, empty rhetoric and grand promises that cannot be kept, I pledge to speak to you with candor, clarity and frank honesty."  Last month during radio and TV appearances you repeatedly referred to yourself as "open and transparent." On November 8, 2010 you pledged to "release all information at the end of the transition --we are open and transparent-- of expenditures and contributions." 

Nonetheless, you have failed to fulfill a request from me and at least one journalist to provide financial reports from your transition committee. 

You also promised in your inaugural address "to create an Ethics Committee for the Council." That has not happened and could easily have been part of the now infamous committee reshuffling you orchestrated in July.

And, of course, by your own admission you never asked how much two "Fully Loaded" luxury SUVs would cost taxpayers. We now know the answer is nearly $25,000 and that you are only willing to reimburse the city $2,000 (of which we have yet to see a penny).

So, Chairman Brown, put your money where your mouth is: "put the politicians on minimum wage."

If you are not willing to repay taxpayers for the full expense of the SUVs, if you cannot perform basic job requirements like updating your website or editing it for typos, if you are unwilling to speak with "candor, clarity and frank honesty" about your transition finances (or your 2008 reelection campaign currently being investigated by the U.S. Attorney), if job creation, education reform and ethics are just political posturing and not issues on which you are proactive, then minimum wage is what you deserve.

Or were the words in the image you tweeted just empty rhetoric like "open and transparent," "ethics reform," "no tax increases," and the many other platitudes about which you speak?

0 Comments For This Article

David Abrams

Please, he doesn't even deserve minimum wage!

Trouble Helmsley

ouch ! his hand is permanently stick in the cookie jar.




Jack Evans, that weak-kneed Ward 2 Councilmember, was also against raising taxes. He thought no one would notice the tax on municipal bonds, but they did. Sorry Jack, you don't get to have it both ways.


Great article. Keep them coming, Chuck.

John Boffa

Excellent column Chuck. Everyone who pays taxes in this city needs to remember these city council members have the second highest salaries in the nation. And, we are not even close to being the second largest city in America. And these are part-time jobs! Clearly high salaries don't attract the best candidates.