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Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Ward 6 Residents Petition to Recall Councilmember

The Washington, D.C. Board of Elections issued a petition filed by residents of the largest ward in D.C. to recall City Councilmember Charles Allen (D-Ward 6) due to his legislative record on public safety on Feb. 13.

April Brown and Jennifer Squires, two of Allen’s constituents in Ward 6, began “Recall Charles Allen,” the official campaign in support of Allen’s removal from office, which puts him at risk of being the first city councilmember to be recalled from office. As of Feb. 15, the campaign claimed to have raised over $85,000 dollars and organized more than 500 volunteers.

Alongside other D.C. residents, Brown, a real estate agent, and Squires, a consultant, partially blame Councilmember Allen for an uptick in crime, with the District experiencing a 35% increase in homicides in 2023. 

Squires, who filed the petition Dec. 13, said that Allen must be recalled because he has not lived up to his duty as a city councilmember to protect public safety.

“The top priority for any elected official is to keep the public safe,” Squires wrote in the official recall petition. “On this score, Charles Allen has failed miserably.”

As the former chairman of the Judiciary and Public Safety Committee, a committee within the council focused on issues relating to crime and public safety, Councilmember Allen has supported multiple controversial changes to the criminal justice system during his time in office.

The Recall Charles Allen campaign cited cutting the Metropolitan Police Department’s (MPD) budget by $15 million in 2020 and expanding the Youth Rehabilitation Act, which allows early prison release for young offenders who committed violent crimes, as two of Allen’s policies that disregarded public safety. According to the National Institute of Corrections, incarceration does not decrease levels of violent crime.

The Washington, D.C. Board of Elections issued a petition filed by residents of the largest ward in D.C. to recall City Council Member Charles Allen (D-Ward 6) due to his legislative record on public safety on Feb. 13.

In order to successfully recall Councilmember Allen, “Recall Charles Allen” will have to collect just over 6,000 signatures from Ward 6 residents by Aug. 12, 180 days after the petition was officially filed. However, many Ward 6 residents are not supportive of the effort.

Rosina Memolo, an elementary and high school art teacher in Ward 6, started “No Recall in Ward 6” to fight back against the “Recall Charles Allen” agenda. Memolo said that this recall effort will only make matters worse in D.C.

Forcing all DC taxpayers to fund a costly recall election won’t improve the quality of life in DC,” Memolo wrote to The Hoya. “It won’t stop crime.”

Due to the large front of opposition Allen faces, he has begun to staff his own anti-recall campaign. Councilmember Allen enlisted Tommy Wells, Allen’s predecessor as Ward 6’s councilmember, to spearhead his personal campaign against the recall.

As the leader of Allen’s anti-recall campaign, Wells has countered claims that Councilmember Allen disregarded the District’s public safety. Wells told The Hoya in an interview that Councilmember Allen focused on addressing the origins of crime, rather than putting more people in jail.

“Charles really led the way in trying to get to the root causes of crime,” Wells told The Hoya. “Charles spent a lot of time thinking, ‘Well, how do we get smarter about this if locking people up is not providing the answers?’”

Former MPD Chief Robert Contee has stated that Allen’s public safety policy negatively affected crime in the District. Contee cited the police hiring freeze that resulted from Allen’s MPD budget cuts in 2020 as a major public safety concern facing D.C.

“We went a year without hiring police officers,” Contee told The Politics Hour podcast. “It will take years for us to recover from the decisions that were made.”

Since Ward 6 encompasses the Capitol Hill neighborhood, many national political players have joined the effort to recall Councilmember Allen. Many of those donating to Recall Charles Allen are prominent Republican staffers, including Jeff Bishop, chief of staff to Rep. Marc Molinaro (R-N.Y.), Ben Falkowski, chief of staff to Rep. Rudy Yakym (R-Ind.), and Yvette Wissmann, legislative director for Rep. Mimi Walters (R-Calif.). 

Councilmember Allen faces significant opposition from members of his own party as well. 

Tonya Fulkerson, the head of finances for Recall Charles Allen, has worked as a leader in Democratic fundraising in the District for years. Despite her position as a strong advocate for the Democratic Party, Fulkerson has stated that Councilmember Allen has taken criminal justice reform too far.

“He pushes these policies that are extreme far left,” Fulkerson told Politico. “He listens to these extreme advocacy groups over his own voters in his own ward.”

Wells claimed that Ward 6 residents in favor of Allen’s recall are using him as a scapegoat for their concerns over crime, rather than providing evidence that he played a role in allowing increased crime in the D.C.

“Everyone, including myself, is frustrated, angry and upset about crime spiking in our city,” Wells said. “Scapegoating one person does not make any sense, but it may make some people feel better.”

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About the Contributor
Evan Ecklund
Evan Ecklund, Copy Chief
Evan Ecklund is a sophomore in the College of Arts & Sciences from Houston, Texas, studying government with minors in Spanish and journalism. She has an identical twin sister and they share a birthday with their dog Willie. [email protected]
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