Focus Washington: 2012 Election: Is it the 99% v. 1%?

On July 31, 2012, in DCView, by Focus Washington

Bill Press, an astute observer of the American political scene, discusses the 2012 election with Focus Washington host and chairman at Qorvis, Chuck Conconi. The 2012 election comes down to a choice between somebody who comes from the 1% and will fight for the 1% or someone body who comes from the 99% and will fight for you. Do we go forward with Obama’s program or go back to the policies of Bush and Cheney? Why isn’t gun control part of this campaign?

D.C Mayor Vincent Gray issued a statement via Twitter on Friday condemning the expansion of Chick-fil-A in the District. A long time supporter of LGBT rights, Gray said he would not support “#hatechicken” due to Dan Cathy’s outspoken opposition to same-sex marriage.

However, the Mayor’s opposition doesn’t necessarily mean another branch couldn’t open in the city. Pedro Ribeiro, a Gray Spokesman, says that ” if they are legally entitled to a permit, they are legally entitled to a permit.”

Read more on the controversy on the Washington Post website.


Washington, D.C. is a politically driven town. And what goes hand in hand with politics? Socializing. Most nights are full of black-tie events attended by numerous ambassadors, congressional leaders, high-powered lobbyists, journalists and the occasional Hollywood celebrity. Recently, Focus Washington interviewed social expert Kevin Chaffee of Qorvis Communications. Chaffee, a former features editor of the Washington Times and current senior editor of Washington Life Magazine, provided a recap of the D.C. summer social scene as well as a preview of what to expect for the remainder of the summer.

“The conventional wisdom is that after the 4th of July, no parties happen and that D.C. is deader than a doornail” Chaffee says, going on to explain that there is a common misconception that most of the local social elite leave town for the months of July and August. This leaves the blistering summer months of July and August devoid of a legitimate social scene until after Labor Day.

This summer, however, has been a little different. Chaffee stated that this “July was more lively than normal.” The social highlight of the summer was the “Together to End AIDS” event, which was held on July 21st at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. The event was hosted by The Foundation for AIDS Research and GBCHealth, and honored billionaire Bill Gates for his philanthropic efforts to combat the AIDS epidemic. Other celebrity guests included actress Sharon Stone, Anderson Cooper, The Honorable Nancy Pelosi, UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, and amfAR Chairman Kenneth Cole.

In addition to the World AIDS Conference, Washington played host to the Shakespeare Theater’s event honoring actor Stacey Keach on July 23rd. Summer also features a number of embassy parties honoring their respective national holidays. A couple highlights of the diplomatic scene to date were the French Embassy’s July 14th Bastille Day Party and the British Embassy’s event honoring the Queen’s Jubilee. This summer’s marquee embassy event will occur July 27th, when the British Ambassador hosts an exclusive party at his residence to honor the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics. Another important upcoming social event is the Qorvis book party on August 2nd to celebrate David Wessel’s, economic editor of the Wall Street Journal, new book; “Red Ink.”

While July was unusually busy for the Washington summer social scene, August will be quieter than normal. According to Chaffee, the Democratic and Republican conventions will preoccupy Washington’s elite, thus putting a damper on the August social scene. Members of Congress will be out of the District campaigning for their respective parties. No Congress means that all of the city’s high-powered lobbyists and influential journalists are free to take some much needed family vacations. Also, many high profile ambassadors will either be attending the convention events as guests or using this downtime to return to their native countries.

Focus Washington: Bill Press Forecasts the 2012 Election

On July 25, 2012, in DCView, by Focus Washington

Bill Press joins Qorvis’s Chuck Conconi on Focus Washington to forecast the 2012 election. National polls are now showing the race to be close, but the United States doesn’t elect presidents as a nation we elect them state by state. The majority of people in the U.S. Know who they are going to vote for already. This election is going to come down to the 10-20% of independents who turn out on election day. Bill Press sees the economy as the main issue this year. In his opinion Mitt Romney’s clearly for the millionaires and billionaires while Obama will fight for middle class families.


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DC’s Government Agencies Grades for July

On July 24, 2012, in DCView, by Focus Washington

A new system implement by D.C. mayor Vincent C. Gray, which allows residents of the district to grade their cities government agencies has found that city services are still just average but have improved over the past month. The innovative testing service, know as Grade DC concluded that residents are generally satisfied with the public works, transportation, motor vehicles, parks and recreation and business licensing agencies. To add your grades go to

The agency grades for the month of July are as follows:

DDOT = C+, DCRA = C+, DPW = B, DMV = C-, DPR = C


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More Corruption Allegations in 2010 Campaign of DC Mayor

On July 23, 2012, in DCView, by Focus Washington

New allegations have surfaced in regards to DC Mayor Vincent C. Gray’s 2010 campaign. Former campaign workers allege that Gray’s campaign kept a database with the identities of nearly 6,000 public housing residents it targeted in get-out-the-vote efforts. The list apparently helped Gray’s campaign identify residents thought to be among the most sympathetic to his cause but who generally have not turned out in significant numbers in city elections. According to housing lawyers consulted by The Washington Post, the use of such a list by a political campaign  violates both federal and local laws and regulations, starting with the prohibition against using government resources for political purposes. This is the latest in a slew of violations that have made Gray’s 2010 campaign the subject of an ongoing federal investigation.

For more information on the topic check out this article by the Washington Post:

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Andy Wright stops by Focus Washington to discuss joining Polsinelli Shughart’s Washington D.C. office with Qorvis’ Chuck Conconi. Wright and Conconi also discuss emerging trends in energy policy.

The Washington Kastles followed up last year’s perfect season with a 22-18 win on the road against the Orange County Breakers on Monday in the first World Team Tennis match of 2012. The win was the 17th consecutive victory for the Kastles. Leading the way for Washington was two-time league MVP Leander Paes, who teamed with Anastasia Rodionova to win mixed doubles 5-1 before partnering Bobby Reynolds to a 5-3 win in men’s doubles. The Kastles play tomorrow night against the Spring Field Lasers before returning to DC on Thursday for their home opener against the New York Sportimes. You can find the complete Kastles schedule here:

Fun Kastles Fact: Last year’s 16-0 record was the first perfect season in sports since the 1972 Miami Dolphins.

46th Annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival

On July 5, 2012, in TechView, by Focus Washington

The 46th annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival resumes today on the National Mall, with a full schedule of concerts, demonstrations, workshops, and food. In its long history the festival has featured performers, crafts people, and local community groups from numerous states and foreign countries. The festival is held outdoors in Washington D.C., between the Smithsonian museums. The festival is free for all attendees.

For directions, a full schedule of events, and other information, visit the Smithsonian website at

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