by Greg Roberts
As many of you already know by now, according to sources, Councilmember Harry Thomas Jr has agreed to resign in a plea agreement that will most likely also see him in federal jail for 2-3 years. We can all continue the debate of what kind of man he is and what kind of Councilmember he is/was, but I will say that his movement lately to bring a focus back on to RIA has helped energize a lot of people to get involved. The Insider has received numerous questions about what happens to RIA now? Now that HTJ is going away, how are we going to continue this movement?
How about this for a response: Revitalizing RIA NE is bigger than one man. Yes, HTJ was motivated to bring attention to RIA in the last couple of months but that motivation was brought on by the residents demanding it. There are a lot of people and groups out there that are focused on continuing the successes that RIA already has and is getting. The PCDC held its visioning session last year. Friends of Rhode Island Ave (FoRIA) has continued to garner new members and has an ambitious agenda for 2012 (if you haven’t already, join them!).
This is not the time to think that our efforts can be thwarted or slowed by one member of our community’s departure (forced or not). Personally, my involvement has helped me make some good friends thanks to our shared interest in seeing RIA revitalized and I look forward to making new ones as we continue our journey. This has helped me enjoy my community even more. I won’t let a bump in the road change my enthusiasm. Granted, our Councilmember for Ward 5 is an important ally to have on our side and we need a councilmember to help champion our cause. I am not going to waste time right now speculating on who the right person is to replace HTJ but I am sure that whomever it is will take up the torch that HTJ left on efforts to bring funds and efforts to our cause.
Also, remember, we have four Councilmembers who are At-Large. I know, I forget sometimes as well. I guess we forget because do we ever see them in our community? Exception to Mr. Orange who used to be the Ward 5 Councilmember and is from this area. They should be in our Ward and meeting with our community just as much.
Make sure to let them know that you want them to ensure that RIA NE’s revitalization efforts continue and that they also become our champions on Council:
David Catania, (202) 724-7772, firstname.lastname@example.org
Phil Mendelson, (202) 724-8064, email@example.com
Michael A. Brown, (202) 724-8105, firstname.lastname@example.org
Vincent Orange, (202) 724-8174, email@example.com