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Muriel Bowser’s vision includes all eight wards

Muriel Bowser, Ward 4, Washington D.C., D.C. Council, gay news, Washington Blade

D.C. Council Member Muriel Bowser (D-Ward 4) (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

It is with great pride that I strongly support Muriel Bowser and encourage all Washingtonians to vote for her in the Democratic primary on April 1, 2014. I have lived in Washington for more than 35 years and had the privilege of working for a mayor and serving as an ANC commissioner. What I have learned from those experiences is that our great city needs a leader with passion, determination and a willingness to hold people accountable regardless of personal loyalty or political expediency. We need a leader who understands that unifying the city takes more than putting a logo on government letterhead. We need a leader who isn’t satisfied with maintaining the status quo and has a vision for the future of our great city. Muriel Bowser is that kind of leader, which is why I support her.

I met Muriel during the 2006 Fenty campaign. She and I knocked on countless doors and helped him win the election. She was elected to replace him as the city Council member representing Ward 4 and has provided outstanding service to her constituents and been a vocal champion for economic development throughout the city. Muriel is a fifth generation Washingtonian who received her master’s degree in public policy from American University. Prior to serving on the Council, Muriel worked with Montgomery County government on economic development issues and helped develop plans for the revitalization of downtown Silver Spring. She also served her neighbors as an ANC Commissioner prior to joining the Council.

In 2011, Muriel authored and guided into law several comprehensive ethics reform bills. These reforms created the Board of Ethics and Government Accountability, consolidated ethics laws into a single code of conduct, and required all City Council and other government meetings to be open to the public. In 2013, Muriel created Kids Ride Free, legislation allowing all D.C. students free bus rides to school in order to remove a barrier to attendance.

Muriel has been a strong advocate for our community. She voted for the marriage equality bill, held hearings on combating school bullying and co-introduced recently passed legislation that will provide additional resources for homeless LGBT youth.

Each election provides us with an opportunity to choose how we want to grow as a city. I have a great deal of respect for Mayor Gray and it would be folly not to acknowledge the support he has provided the LGBT community. That being said, I am disappointed in his challenges in presenting a compelling vision for the rest of this city. Supporters of Mayor Gray are absolutely correct when they state that this election is not about what happened in 2010. The shadow of that campaign provided a distraction that has made it difficult for him to govern. Mayor Gray takes great pride in restoring our fiscal reserves yet seemed blindsided by a growing problem with homeless families. It is great that we are well respected on Wall Street but that is cold comfort to those that are struggling. Mayor Gray is a very loyal leader. That loyalty is one of his most admirable traits but it is costing the city when he stands by agency directors whose slow reaction to crisis might put citizens’ lives in danger.

As mayor, Muriel Bowser will create a city that is second to none in providing economic opportunity to everyone and will help prepare District residents for high-paying jobs. She will lead a government that respects the great diversity of our city and speeds up school reform. She will be a champion of local business and wants to take steps to reduce the barriers to their success. She will hire agency directors who are committed to providing world-class city services.  She will continue to promote the restoration of unimpeachable ethics to city government. She will once again make D.C. proud across all eight wards. Please help this city move forward and vote for Muriel Bowser on April 1.

18
Feb
2014

Md. man sentenced to 28 months for anti-trans hate crime

trans, transgender flag, gay news, Washington Blade

A Maryland man on Monday was sentenced to 28 months in jail for an anti-trans attack in D.C (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key).

A D.C. Superior Court judge on Monday sentenced a Maryland man to 28 months in prison for what prosecutors said was a hate-motivated assault on a transgender woman at a convenience store in Northeast Washington in January.

The sentencing by Judge Robert I. Richter came three months after Michael Phillips, 36, of Fairmont Heights, Md., pleaded guilty to a charge of assault with a dangerous weapon that the U.S. Attorney’s office classified as a “bias-related (hate) crime.”

In addition to 28 months of incarceration, Richter sentenced Phillips to three years of supervised probation upon his release from prison.

In a statement released on Monday, the U.S. Attorney’s office said the attack occurred at about 2:40 a.m. on Jan. 27, 2014, at a convenience store on the 900 block of Eastern Avenue, N.E. The statement says Phillips and the victim and friends of the victim were customers at the store and the two parties did not know each other prior to the incident.

“Upon seeing the victim and her friends walk into the store, Phillips stated words to the effect of, ‘Let me see who’s the real bitch here,’” the statement says. “He then pointed at the victim and made a derogatory remark about her sexuality. When the victim told Phillips to leave her alone, Phillips stated words to the effect of ‘Well you wasn’t born no female,’” according to the U.S. Attorney’s statement.

At that point words were exchanged inside the store and Phillips approached the victim, pulled a handgun from his pocket and struck the victim in the face with the gun “multiple times,” the statement says.

“At his plea hearing, Phillips admitted assaulting the victim with the handgun because of his prejudice based on her perceived sexual orientation and gender identity,” says the statement.

17
Jun
2014

Be in the know about Barracks Row

Barracks Row, real estate, gay news, Washington Blade

As one of D.C.’s oldest and most charming areas, Barracks Row has become an increasingly popular spot for new restaurants and boutiques to set up shop. (Photo by Peter Fitzgerald)

By ALISON McCUBBIN

“Barracks Row,” “8th Street,” “That Place Where All The Marines Hang Out” — call it whatever you want, just don’t call it boring. Barracks Row, named after the beautiful Marine Barracks that sits on the street among restaurants and shops, is the oldest commercial district in the city. However, it’s only been a couple years now that this area has been considered a “hot spot” for restaurants and local businesses within the city.

Many people that have ventured over to Barracks Row have come for one of Ted’s Bulletin’s famous pop-tarts and stayed for the adult milkshakes. This dangerously delicious combination, along with a classic American menu, won over so many loyal customers that a new location just recently opened up on the 14th Street corridor. Due to its popularity among Capitol Hill dwellers and non-Hill residents alike, you’re almost always guaranteed a bit of a wait for a table. So if you aren’t keen on waiting, Barracks Row offers lots of other dining options and all within a couple blocks.

If you’re feeling lucky, you can walk across the street to Barrack’s Row’s popular Belgian restaurant, Belga Cafe. It’s about as popular as Ted’s Bulletin, but Belga will take reservations, which is highly recommended. With almost a dozen different kinds of waffles, it’s a consistent crowd pleaser that will make you wish someone had told you sooner that stuffing a waffle with crabmeat is actually quite amazing (as is ordering “A Bucket of Bacon”).

But if you’re wanting to try out one of the newer spots on 8th Street, Roses Luxury should absolutely top that list. It’s a restaurant unlike any in the area, with a focus on simple food done to perfection, impeccable service and a romantic ambiance perfect for a date night. But as the snow melts and the coats come off, you might want to enjoy the weather a bit as you dine. And there’s no better place to do this than Pacifico Cantina. Head on up to the rooftop and share a bucket of Coronas as you enjoy the weather, or you can order one of their amazing fish tacos paired with a perfect margarita. Just don’t forget to check out the amazing interior of the bottom floor as you walk out — it definitely deserves a look.

And for those that need to satisfy their sweet tooth, look no further than The Sweet Lobby. As the winner of Food Network’s Cupcake Wars, this boutique sweets shop not only has mind-blowing cupcakes, but they also have macaroons and Madeleines that are absolutely something to write home about.

And for those that would rather cook their five-star meal themselves, there is Hill’s Kitchen. It’s quite unassuming on the outside, but on the inside it’s a dream world for any chef of any level. You name the cooking tool, and they have it – and probably in every color. This boutique even has cookie cutters in the shape of every state (read: easy gift ideas). And for those who are dying to learn the proper way to brûlée some crème, Hill’s Kitchen provides all sorts of cooking classes. And while you’re in the learning mood, you might as well head down the street to DCanter, the area’s new, very chic, wine boutique. It has a great assortment of wines and beers, but also offers classes on clever topics varying from ‘The Grape American Road Trip’ to ‘The Dark Side of Beer’. There are also weekend tastings for those who are looking to switch things up this Saturday.

But with all this bacon and booze consumption, it’s probably a good idea to hit the gym. Look no further than Biker Barre, a boutique fitness studio specializing in spin and barre. This studio has a loyal clientele from all over the DMV that prefers to sweat to a fun beat. Whether you’re sprinting on a bike or “pulsing and tucking” at the barre, Biker Barre will leave you exhausted and sore, but proud you survived it. And if you happen to make it to one of the weekend classes, your hard work is often rewarded with a mimosa before you leave.

But we can’t talk about Barracks Row without mentioning the actual Marine Barracks. Aside from being a beautiful building swarming with handsome marines, it’s also the setting for the Marine Barracks Parade each summer. Every Friday from May to August, The Evening Parade is held at 8:45 p.m. and features a beautiful concert put on by the United States Marine Band. Ticket reservations can be made online, and done so quickly, as it’s a popular event that should not be missed.

As one of D.C.’s oldest and most charming areas, Barracks Row has become an increasingly popular spot for new restaurants and boutiques to set up shop. And as the spring approaches and temperatures start to rise, why not take the opportunity to go check them out (and maybe a few Marines while you’re at it).

Alison McCubbin is a sales associate with the Bediz Group, LLC at Coldwell Banker Dupont. Reach her at 202-642-9445 or alison@bediz.com.

20
Feb
2014

Former Stein Club president weighs race for att’y gen’l

Lateefah Williams, gay news, Washington Blade

Lateefah Williams, an attorney and longtime LGBT rights advocate, said she plans to run for the newly created position of elected D.C. attorney general. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Former Gertrude Stein Democratic Club President Lateefah Williams, an attorney and longtime LGBT rights advocate, said she plans to run for the newly created position of elected D.C. attorney general if she determines her legal background meets the specific criteria established by law to hold the position.

Williams, 37, has a law degree from Georgetown University School of Law, is a member of the D.C. Bar and has practiced law in various capacities for more than 10 years.

But she said an attorney with the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics told her that her legal experience may not meet the definition of a requirement that attorney general candidates must have been “actively engaged… as an attorney in the practice of law” for at least five of the past 10 years.

The requirement is part of a law passed by the City Council to establish qualifications for someone to become D.C. attorney general.

Over most of the past five years Williams has served as political and legislative director for the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 689, which represents Metro workers; and as a nonprofit speech rights policy analyst for the advocacy group OMB Watch. Prior to that she worked as a law firm associate for several years handling insurance cases, plaintiff related tort law and family law matters, according to a biography she released to the Blade.

“As an attorney who has spent most of my career engaged in legislative and policy work, I decided to seek clarification of this requirement,” Williams said in her regularly published biweekly column in the Blade.

“It is a well-known and accepted practice that many organizations hire attorneys to work in public policy positions because of the additional legal analysis skill set that we bring to the position,” she said.

“The D.C. Code does not define the term ‘actively engaged,’ so it is not immediately evident how this provision applies to attorneys with the requisite years of bar membership, who are practicing law in less traditional ways,” she said.

“I think I have a strong case for meeting these criteria,” she told the Blade.

Kenneth McGhie, general counsel for the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics, told the Blade on Monday that the board will not make an official determination on whether candidates meet the legal criteria for the position until after they submit a required 3,000 valid petition signatures needed to be placed on the ballot.

Once that hurdle is met, McGhie said, the board will look at the legal background of each of the candidates and make a determination on whether they meet the criteria for the job as specified in the law that created the elected attorney general post.

He said a candidate can appeal a decision by the board that he or she doesn’t meet the legal criteria and, should the candidate lose their appeal, they may take the matter to the D.C. Court of Appeals.

Williams said she told various community leaders and activists that she was considering running for the attorney general position and received widespread encouragement to run. She said she decided to hold off on filing papers officially declaring her candidacy until she obtains additional guidance on whether her legal background meets the statutory criteria.

“I didn’t want to begin raising money and collecting signatures and recruiting volunteers until this matter is at least reasonably addressed,” Williams told the Blade.

She noted that one of the board’s attorneys said a possible option for her would be to become a candidate, submit her ballot petitions and wait to see if a rival candidate files a challenge to her candidacy on the “qualification” question. The board would then make a formal ruling on the challenge following a hearing.

McGhie, however, said the board on its own will determine whether the candidates meet the legal criteria regardless of whether a rival candidate files a challenge.

The issue of an elected D.C. attorney general has been mired in controversy since voters in 2010 approved an amendment to the D.C. City Charter calling for an elected city attorney general rather than the current system that authorizes the mayor to appoint the attorney general.

Last year, the City Council voted to postpone the election for the position from 2014, as specified in the ballot measure approving an elected attorney general, to 2018, saying the city wasn’t ready to elect an attorney general.

Earlier this year, the D.C. Court of Appeals overturned the Council’s action in response to a lawsuit filed against the city by attorney Paul Zuckerberg, who has announced his candidacy for the attorney general position. The appeals court ruling held that the Council didn’t have legal authority to change the year in which the election was to take place.

The Board of Elections has tentatively scheduled a special election for the position. The special election is set to take place on the same day as the city’s regularly scheduled general election in November. It will allow candidates from any party or independent candidates to run for the attorney general position.

In addition to Zuckerberg, D.C. attorneys Mark Tuohey and Edward “Smitty” Smith have filed papers to run for the position.

“I decided to consider running after reading about the declared and potential candidates and feeling that there is no one in the race with an extensive background in public service or community advocacy,” Williams wrote in her column in the Blade.

As the only woman and only LGBT candidate in the race so far, she said she would bring to the attorney general’s position a perspective that other candidates don’t have.

07
Jul
2014

Will it matter if gays zero-out in D.C. elections?

David Catania, Jim Graham, District of Columbia, D.C. Council, D.C. election, gay news, Washington Blade

Openly gay D.C. Council members David Catania (I-At-Large) and Jim Graham (D-Ward 1) both face tough races. (Washington Blade photos by Michael Key)

Two potential political developments in the current D.C. election cycle could result in both local gay elected officials not retaining their positions. If that occurs, it would be the first time in 17 years without a gay politician holding major elected office in the District.

Would it matter?

When David Catania became D.C.’s first gay elected official in 1997 it was a significant development that startled political observers. Catania, then a Republican, won a citywide D.C. Council At-Large seat in a special election to fill a vacancy on the 13-member legislature. He defeated a high-profile Democratic prior officeholder who had been selected by the party to fill the vacant seat as interim incumbent. Catania was re-elected in 1998 and 2002 as a Republican, and won in 2006 and 2010 as an Independent after changing his registration.

Catania, whose current four-year term is expiring, has formed a mayoral campaign exploratory committee and has indicated he is almost certain to run in the general election. Campaigning for mayor would preclude Catania from seeking re-election to his Council seat. While polling competitively against likely Democratic primary winner Mayor Vincent Gray in a recent Washington Post survey, odds are long that he could win.

D.C. Council member Jim Graham, a gay Democrat and former director of then-named Whitman-Walker Clinic, was elected to represent one of eight Council districts in 1998. Graham won the determinative party primary in Ward 1 with a plurality, defeating the incumbent in a five-person race that included another gay candidate. Now seeking a fifth term, he previously won re-election in 2002, 2006 and 2010.

Graham, 68, had delayed until December a decision on whether to seek re-election. His last primary race was his most competitive, winning 57 percent with two candidates splitting the opposition vote. Graham’s challenge in this year’s primary is facing only one opponent while tarnished by multiple instances of alleged questionable ethical behavior, resulting in censure by his Council colleagues and loss of alcohol-licensing oversight. Should Graham survive the primary, he will face a well-known Democrat running as an Independent in the general election. Many political observers consider Graham’s decision to seek re-election as the fight of his political life.

If Graham loses either the primary or general election and Catania surrenders his seat to run unsuccessfully for mayor, it is almost certain that D.C. will not have any openly gay politicians serving in cardinal positions. Two announced gay candidacies, Council At-Large Republican candidate Marc Morgan and Libertarian mayoral candidate Bruce Majors, are unlikely to be competitive.

When Catania first won election, he enthused at his victory celebration that “I think we’ve made two important milestones. One is the first time a Republican has beaten a Democrat in a head-on race in the city. And as the first openly gay member of the [Council], that is a breakthrough, and it shows how marvelous … open-minded, accepting and truly magnificent the people of this city are.”

Catania’s characterization of the local electorate is truer today than then.

In a city distinguished by its community consensus and public policies providing comprehensive LGBT civil equality, legal protections and administrative equity, the sexual orientation of elected officials is inconsequential. No anti-gay politician is a credible candidate for public office anywhere in the city, and it has been that way for a long time.

Likewise, public acceptance and political accommodation are neither generated nor guaranteed by gay politicians. The non-controversial adoption of Council legislation or city rulemaking related to LGBT-specific concerns is more a matter of delegated domain than cause championing.

LGBT residents are fully integrated into the fabric of local life. Most of us vote for or against candidates, including gay ones, based on a multiplicity of considerations. Similar to those everyone else examines.

Other than mere symbolism, it doesn’t matter whether any or all of the city’s elected officials are gay or not.

This is what equality looks like.

Mark Lee is a long-time entrepreneur and community business advocate. Follow on Twitter: @MarkLeeDC. Reach him at OurBusinessMatters@gmail.com.

20
Feb
2014

Transgender teenager stabbed on Metro train

Reginald Klaiber, gay news, Washington Blade, transgender teenager

Reginald Anthony Klaiber, 24, was charged with assault with a deadly weapon in the July 30 stabbing attack of a 15-year-old transgender woman on board a Metro subway car. (Photo courtesy of the Metro Transit Police)

A 15-year-old transgender girl was stabbed in the back by a male attacker on board a Green Line Metrorail train about 4:40 p.m. on Wednesday shortly before the train arrived at the Fort Totten Station in Northeast D.C., according to a statement released by Metro.

The statement says the victim, a D.C. resident, was being treated at a hospital for a non-life threatening puncture wound.

Metro spokesperson Dan Stessel told the Washington Blade that Metro Police arrested a suspect in the case on the Fort Totten Station platform as he attempted to flee the scene.

The Metro statement identifies the suspect as Reginald Anthony Klaiber, 24, of Greenbelt, Md. It says police charged him with assault with a deadly weapon – a knife. The statement says the charge is classified as a bias related crime, which could result in an enhanced jail sentence under the D.C. hate crimes law.

“Witnesses told Transit Police detectives the suspect made bias-motivated remarks about the victim’s transgender status immediately prior to the assault,” the Metro statement says.

Jae-la White, 19, one of two friends accompanying the victim on the train at the time of the stabbing, told the Blade in a telephone interview that the attacker approached the victim and began making disparaging remarks about her appearance shortly after he boarded the train at the West Hyattsville Station.

“He came to my friend and said you have red hair,” White said. “My friend said ok, and then he said, ‘Oh, you’re a man!’”

“Then he started bothering my friend,” said White. “My friend got up out of her seat to go by the door while the train was moving and told him to please leave her alone. He faced her and said I will stab you up and blow your brains out.”

In a harrowing account of what followed, White said the attacker next “started to hug” the victim in a sexually suggestive way. Seconds later, White said, the victim began to scream and White and their other friend, a 17-year-old man, realized that the attacker was stabbing their friend.

According to White, the 17-year-old friend pulled out a canister of mace and squirted the attacker in the face, enabling the victim to break free.

“He started holding his face. We all started running for our life, running through the car doors to the last car,” said White. “The man was following behind us but he fell back in the second to the last car and he was just watching us.”

In the midst of the commotion and in a panic, White said she frantically pushed the emergency call button in one of the train cars and screamed for help.

Stessel said transit police were alerted by the train operator, resulting in a 4:38 p.m. call for police to come to the Fort Totten station.

As White tells it, the unfolding ordeal for the three friends didn’t end when the train stopped at the station.

“He then started chasing us with the knife upstairs and through the station,” White told the Blade, adding that to her horror, there were no transit police to be found. After the police finally arrived, in what she said seemed like an eternity, it took four officers to subdue and handcuff the suspect.

Stessel said police records show that the first officer arrived on the scene at 4:41 p.m., noting that a Transit Police substation is located next to Fort Totten Station.

“I will say that the witnesses in this case did everything right,” Stessel said. “They pressed the emergency intercom to notify the train operator, they provided a good description of the suspect, and they remained on scene to talk to detectives.”

Klaiber was expected to appear before a D.C. Superior Court judge on Thursday, where a decision would be made on whether he should be held or released on bond while awaiting trial.

Channel 4 reported that Klaiber has a lengthy criminal record in Maryland. The D.C. Superior Court’s online records show Klaiber pleaded guilty to July 2013 felony robbery charge and pleaded guilty to a July 2013 misdemeanor charge of threats to do bodily harm.

31
Jul
2014

Keeping Dem mayor trumps loyalty to Gray

Vince Gray, Vincent Gray, David Catania, District of Columbia, gay news, Washington Blade

D.C. Council member David Catania (I-At-Large) (on left) and D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray. (Washington Blade file photos by Michael Key)

Now that Council member David Catania (I-At Large) is running for mayor, it is more important than ever for Democrats to elect a candidate who cannot only win the Democratic primary, but who can also prevail in the general election.

I like Catania on a personal level, despite his public brashness, and I understand how significant it would be to have an openly gay mayor, but I am a loyal Democrat and I make no apologies for that. I strongly believe in the principles of the Democratic Party and I believe that candidates who support those principles are the best candidates to lead. While many D.C. Council members who have held one of the two seats reserved for the non-majority party have been Democrats who have changed their party to qualify for the seat, Catania was a Republican when he was first elected to the D.C. Council. He changed his party affiliation to independent due to homophobia in the national Republican Party. Ideologically, he is not my choice for mayor.

In past columns, I have used this space to acknowledge that I am undecided in the mayor’s race. While I am not going to endorse a candidate today, I will not pretend that the shadow campaign does not factor into my final decision. Truth be told, if there were no shadow campaign, I would have already made up my mind to support Mayor Vincent Gray. He is doing a good job running the city and his support for the LGBT community, specifically transgender people, has been groundbreaking. Though Gray fell just short of receiving the Gertrude Stein Democratic Club endorsement, the overwhelming support he received over the other mayoral candidates is a testament to his wonderful LGBT initiatives.

That said, specific details about the allegations against Mayor Gray that came out on March 10 during shadow campaign financier Jeffrey Thompson’s guilty plea make it difficult for me to support Mayor Gray. I’m not going as far as others and suggesting that he drop out of the race, but, at this point, to support him, I need to know that there is no smoking gun that proves Thompson’s allegations and that the overwhelming public perception is that Gray, and not Thompson, is telling the truth. Sadly, it seems unlikely that these conditions will be met.

These questions need to be answered in less than one week. Early voting starts on March 17 and by that time, Democrats may need to start lining up behind one candidate.  I am going to stop short of saying who that candidate should be.

One saving grace is that this news is coming out now and not after the Democratic primary. Even as I have leaned toward supporting Mayor Gray, my greatest fear during this election season has always been that Gray would be implicated in the shadow campaign after the Democratic primary and Catania would use that to defeat him in November.

Democrats cannot afford to lose the mayoralty and no individual is bigger than the party. At some point, we may have to decide to put personalities and petty differences aside and, for the good of the D.C. Democratic Party, unite behind the candidate with the best chance of prevailing in the general election.

We are in a unique situation, not just because of game-changing allegations leveled against the mayor shortly before the Democratic primary, but also because, for the first time since home rule, a non-Democratic candidate has a legitimate chance to be elected mayor. A January Washington Post poll listed a potential race between Gray and Catania as a statistical dead heat before this latest bombshell. Most likely, if the poll were taken today, Catania would be in the lead.

I believe we should still hear Mayor Gray out and give him a chance to clear his name. However, while it may not be fair and it is against my legal training, the burden of proof has clearly shifted. Generally, the prosecution must prove a defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. However, the same rules don’t apply in the court of public opinion and if, in another week, Gray has not convinced a significant portion of the electorate that he is telling the truth, for the sake of the D.C. Democratic Party, it may be time to unite behind one of the other frontrunners.

Lateefah Williams’ biweekly column, ‘Life in the Intersection,’ focuses on the intersection of race, gender and sexual orientation. She is a D.C.-based political and LGBT activist. Reach her at lateefah_williams@msn.com or follow her on Twitter @lateefahwms

12
Mar
2014

Man charged with stabbing trans teen held without bond

Reginald Klaiber, gay news, Washington Blade

Reginald Anthony Klaiber, 24, was charged with assault with a deadly weapon in the July 30 stabbing attack of a 15-year-old transgender girl on board a Metro subway car. (Photo courtesy of the Metro Transit Police)

A D.C. Superior Court judge on Thursday ordered a Greenbelt, Md., man held without bond one day after Metro Transit Police charged him with stabbing a 15-year-old transgender girl in the back on board a Metro train near the Fort Totten Station.

Judge Karen Howze said that based on evidence presented by police and prosecutors, probable cause exists that Reginald Anthony Klaiber, 24, committed an assault with a deadly weapon by allegedly stabbing the teen on the moving train around 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday.

Metro police classified the assault as a bias related crime, saying in a statement that witnesses told transit detectives Klaiber made “bias motivated remarks about the victim’s transgender status” just before he allegedly committed the stabbing.

“He is a danger to the community,” Howze said during a late afternoon presentment hearing on Thursday.

Howze scheduled a full preliminary hearing for 9 a.m. on Friday, in which prosecutors must present evidence to further establish probable cause that Klaiber committed the stabbing.

In a statement released Wednesday night, Metro said transit police apprehended Klaiber on the platform at the Fort Totten Station as he attempted to flee the scene.

Metro spokesperson Dan Stessel told the Washington Blade that police recovered a three-and-a-half inch folding knife from Klaiber at the time of his arrest.

Stessel said the victim, whose name hasn’t been released, was taken to a local hospital where she was being treated for a non-life threatening stab wound.

Court records in Maryland show that Klaiber has a long history of arrests in Prince George County on charges that include assault, illegal weapons possession, and robbery. He pleaded guilty in D.C. to separate charges of felony robbery and misdemeanor threats to do bodily harm in 2013, according to D.C. court records.

A man who identified himself as Klaiber’s father outside the courtroom on Thursday following Klaiber’s presentment hearing told reporters his son has been struggling with a serious drug problem over the past several years.

The United States Attorney’s office, which is in charge of prosecuting the case, didn’t disclose at the presentment hearing on Thursday whether it will retain the bias related designation filed by police as the case moves forward in court.

LGBT activists have expressed concern in the past that the U.S. Attorney often drops the bias related designation filed by police in cases involving anti-LGBT violence. Officials with the U.S. Attorney’s office have said their decision not to file a hate crime designation in court is based solely on whether they believe there is sufficient evidence to prove a biased motivation before a jury in a trial.

Jae-la White, 19, one of two friends accompanying the victim on the train at the time of the stabbing, told the Blade that Klaiber began to hassle the victim when he boarded the train at the West Hyattsville Station, making note of her appearance.

According to White, Klaiber at one point stated in a loud voice, “Oh, you’re a man.”

“My friend got up out of her seat to go by the door while the train was moving and told him to please leave her alone,” White said. “He faced her and said I will stab you up and blow your brains out.”

Seconds later Klaiber wrapped his arms around the victim and stabbed her in the back, White said.

The Blade will report on new developments in the case following Friday’s court hearing.

01
Aug
2014

Creating art that pops

Glenn Fry, gay news, Washington Blade

Visual artist Glenn Fry moved to D.C. nearly 15 years ago. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

When visual artist Glenn Fry moved to D.C. nearly 15 years ago, he bartended at some of the gay community’s most popular nightlife venues and nightclub events. Quickly pegged as a recent transplant due to his failure to observe the local habit of reflexively asking customers what they do for a living, Fry remembers those exchanges from his perspective.

“People didn’t know how to process my being an artist,” Fry recalls, “although they were intrigued.” “Danger, Will Robinson,” was the comic strip thought bubble he would imagine floating over their heads while he concocted beverages.

“Ever since I was a kid I loved cartoons, loved the Pop Art movement,” Fry explains. “I would have loved to have been a part of that whole Manhattan ‘new art’ scene during the days of Andy Warhol.” “Warhol, along with fellow New York City pop artist Roy Lichtenstein, brought silkscreening to the forefront as a respected and appreciated art form.”

Fry chuckles when re-telling an art patron compliment, “if Warhol and Lichenstein had a kid, it would be you.”

The iconographic, bold, colorful, thought-provoking, graphic-inspired silkscreen prints Fry composes blend the pop art cultural influence of his youth and the marketing designs that would follow college. Printing on heavy paper, wood, glass or canvas in often oversized formats, he creates both one-of-a-kind and limited-edition images. From inspiration to composition to production, Fry fashions all aspects of his craft.

After earning a Fine Arts degree from Edinboro University in Northwestern Pennsylvania, Fry moved to Cleveland to work as a graphic designer. Specializing in corporate advertising for 10 years, he grew increasingly impatient to focus on more creative endeavors.

Now 47 and a full-time artist-entrepreneur managing Glenn Fry Art as his business enterprise, Fry is glad he gravitated to D.C. “I may not have been able to continue as an artist had I not moved here,” pointing out that economic downturns have largely not affected Washington – or interest in art. “D.C. has been good to me, my art has been well-received and I’m appreciative of that.” Besides, he notes, “New York’s bohemian culture isn’t around anymore.”

The stark simplicity of his silkscreened compositions initially belies both the complexity of their thoughtful origination and multi-layered manual execution. “I’m often inspired by situations I’ve gone through or those friends have experienced,” Fry says in describing the genesis of a piece. “I want my art to be fun, uplifting, colorful, graphic and bold, with a contemporary twist.”

While Fry designs pieces at his apartment near Logan Circle, he produces his prints at a nearby studio, organized by local artist Gary Fisher. Ten years ago, Fisher invited Fry to join him and three other artists in renting the basement level in a small commercial building at 1327 14th St., N.W., near Rhode Island Avenue. “Gary was the one who prodded me and inspired me,” Fry says, recalling his professional transition while still bartending.

Fry launched his first exhibit at Gallery Plan B, a couple of blocks north on 14th Street. “They really helped me spring to life in my profession,” says Fry. Working full-time as an artist since 2008, Fry has since garnered high-profile commissions for permanent installations at two Federal Reserve Board buildings, IBM, National Geographic Channels, and the Washington Design Center.

As his art gained exposure and grew in popularity, requests for commissioned pieces by both local businesses and individuals would follow. “Trusting me to create something they’ll enjoy, knowing my style and investing in my work” gives Fry great satisfaction.

“I’m grateful every day that I’ve found my passion,” Fry says, “I’m doing the thing that makes me happy.”

Mark Lee is a long-time entrepreneur and community business advocate. Follow on Twitter: @MarkLeeDC. Reach him at OurBusinessMatters@gmail.com.

Glenn Fry, gay news, Washington Blade

Glenn Fry (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

07
Jan
2014

Navy Yard hotspots

Agua 301, Navy Yard, gay news, Washington Blade

Agua 301 (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

The Navy Yard is fast becoming more than just a destination for baseball aficionados; foodies now have several reasons to flock to the waterfront. Restaurants like Osteria Morina (301 Water St., S.E. Suite 109), Bluejacket and the Arsenal (300 Tingey St., S.E.) and Agua 301 (301 Water St., S.E.) are all hoping to help redefine this neighborhood and make it a haven for food lovers and baseball lovers alike.

New York’s Michael White brings Osteria Morina to D.C. He also brings his hearty Italian menu to a grandiose 4,200-square foot space that is both modern and rustic in design. Executive Chef Matthew Adler doesn’t hesitate to fill the large space with dishes full of bold flavors; like the Cappelleti, which is truffled ricotta ravioli, melted butter and prosciutto; the Stracotta — sangiovese braised short ribs, whipped potatoes, and gremolata; and the Vitello — 12-ounce veal rib chop with pancetta cream from the restaurants wood burning grill are also big enough dishes to fill your stomach as well as the expansive room.

Bluejacket, a nickname for U.S. sailors, is a brand new well-appointed brewery down at the Navy Yard where Beer Director Greg Engert and Brewmaster Megan Parisi will be creating numerous concoctions. The beer is a solid mix with a variety of styles that will keep beer connoisseurs happy as well as some approachable, quick drinking beers. Examples include Scarecrow — a delicate saison with a dry finish; the Panther — a hop forward lager; and James & the Giant — a Belgian ale with local peaches. Accompanying restaurant the Arsenal, a nod to the buildings former function as a munitions factory, will constantly feature 20 rotating Bluejacket brews and five Bluejacket cask ales. Kyle Bailey and Tiffany MacIssac are the husband-and-wife team that will be overseeing the menu at the Arsenal. The focus will be on dishes that pair well with the beer, including pasta made in house from the spent grain.

Agua 301 is one of the recent additions to the Navy Yard, and is a 150-seat restaurant from owners Amanda and Stephen Briggs. They selected Chef Antonio Burrell as the head chef; Burrell helped open El Centro D.F. on 14th Street. The idea behind the cuisine at Agua 301 is to take contemporary Mexican cuisine and infuse it with modern flair. Burrell will take the traditional flavor profiles and Mexican ingredients and tweak them with experimental ingredients and flavor combinations.

When you first glance at the menu, you notice that while tacos appear, items like burritos and fajitas are absent. There are, however, three kinds of guacamole, including guacamole de jaiba, which contains jumbo lump crabmeat and fresh corn; the correct Spanish word to describe this creation is riquisímo. Of the seven types of tacos, the pork belly al pastor with crispy pork belly and a spicy habanero salsa is the one that caught my eye, but I do love heat. The carnitas taco with shredded pork and habanero salsa, as well as the hongas taco with sautéed mushrooms, squash, chilies and goat cheese also looked delectable. One could simply spend the evening dining on tacos; I thought about it.

But I couldn’t just focus on the tacos when my eyes jumped down the menu to see mahi mahi, and these beautiful words were followed by one glorious word — bacon. May I please have six? Add an order of the short rib mole chichillo, the bistec al parilla with tomato salsita and corn casserole, and a few orders of yucca frita and that should suffice. If it doesn’t I will simply return to the beginning of the menu for the white fish ceviche and the chicken tortilla soup. Did I mention mahi mahi and bacon on the same plate?

It’s rare for me to lose track of food I have eaten in a night, let alone attack a menu out of order, but this night was an exception. Just the thought of some of the inventive takes on some of the dishes served at Agua 301 is delightful. Sadly, not all dishes are home runs, with some of them being a bit salty. If Agua 301 isn’t what you are craving but you’re looking for a place to dine in the Navy Yard, don’t fret Osteria Morina and the Arsenal at Bluejacket are still excellent options. Will the Navy Yard soon become the next Penn Quarter or 14th Street Corridor, with a new place to eat on every corner? At this rate, anything is possible.

20
Mar
2014