- The Washington Times
Tuesday, December 3, 2019


The comeuppance for the incestuous nature of City Hall politics finally came calling Tuesday afternoon — and aims to boot D.C. Council member Jack Evans out the door.

It’s the price he has to pay for using his power on the council for personal financial gain and getting caught. (I suggested in this space in March that he respectfully resign.)

The unanimous vote by his 12 colleagues means that, unless he litigates the unceremonious but official action, he has until the end of the month to begin packing his bags.

It’s unfortunate but not surprising. After all, familiarity had bred contempt.

Mr. Evans is the council’s longest-serving lawmaker of uninterrupted service, having first won the coveted Ward 2 council seat in 1991 — and what a seat it is.

Ward 2 stretches from tony Georgetown, winds through the gentrified center of the city and wraps itself in official downtown D.C. The only ward more glorified for its business, political and financial connections is Ward 6, which includes Nationals Park, Audi Field and Capitol Hill.

Mr. Evans played a substantial and legitimate role in securing both ballparks, and his voice on the council for bringing the Redskins back to Washington was always on point.

Important for the city, as well, was that he is a Wharton man who understands how Wall Street works, which was a key asset after the city shook free of the shackles of the federally imposed control board that oversaw every aspect of D.C. management.

And when his first wife, the lovely Noel, lost her battle against breast cancer, Mr. Evans raised their triplets and sustained his respect as a lawmaker. He even ran for mayor.

But something happened during his lengthy council tenure. The council became majority white, a new breed of progressive shepherds and bureaucrats swamped City Hall, and Mr. Evans didn’t fit in. As moderate as his fiscal conservatism was, Mr. Evans stood out like a red thumb.

He’d ask where the money for new and expanded programs would come from, and his colleagues (and sometimes the mayor) would answer with higher and new taxes and fees, of course.

So Mr. Evans hung out a “for sale” sign.

Ethical breaches by elected officials will always be, as back-scratching Washington politicos and lobbyists made deals over a glass of fine scotch. But times change.

These days, D.C. politicians hang phony, do-gooder signs while petting their pooches or drumming up ways to appease millennials and Gen Z voters.

For the overwhelming majority of his time on the council, Mr. Evans was a straightforward lawmaker with a strong, dependable spine — and then he started scratching his own back.

Deborah Simmons can be contacted at dsimmons@washingtontimes.com.

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