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- (Alexander Laws) Alexander Laws was an American soldier commissioned as a midshipman on 15 May 1800, and served in the ship Ganges during the Quasi-War with France. Discharged under the Peace Establishment Act on 12 August 1801, he was again appointed midshipman on 25 August 1802.
- Having a solid, almost unyielding surface or structure
- marked by firm determination or resolution; not shakable; "firm convictions"; "a firm mouth"; "steadfast resolve"; "a man of unbendable perseverence"; "unwavering loyalty"
- tauten: become taut or tauter; "Your muscles will firm when you exercise regularly"; "the rope tautened"
- Solidly in place and stable
- Having steady but not excessive power or strength
- with resolute determination; "we firmly believed it"; "you must stand firm"
Walter E. Washington
Walter Edward Washington, (April 15, 1915 – October 27, 2003) was an American politician, the first Home-Rule mayor of the District of Columbia. He was also the last appointed President of the Board of Commissioners of Washington, D.C.
Early life and family
Washington, the great-grandson of a slave, was born in Dawson, Georgia and raised in Jamestown, New York. He graduated with a bachelor's degree and, later, received his law degree from Howard University in the District. His first wife, Benetta, died in 1991. In 1994 he married Mary Burke. He had a daughter, Benetta Washington, with his first wife. He was also a member of Omega Psi Phi fraternity.
After graduating from Howard in 1948, Washington was hired as a supervisor for D.C.'s Alley Dwelling Authority. He worked for the authority until a 1961 appointment by John F. Kennedy as the Executive Director of the National Capital Housing Authority, the housing department of the then-Federally controlled District of Columbia. In 1966 he took the same position in the administration of New York City mayor John Lindsay.
Mayor of the District of Columbia
Between 1967 and 1974, Washington had been appointed Mayor-Commissioner by Presidents Lyndon Johnson (1967–1972) and Richard Nixon (1972–1974), during the period before home rule became effective in the District. (He actually was offered the appointment in 1966, but declined because Johnson would not give him authority over the police and fire departments.) Washington was one of three black men chosen to become mayors of major American cities in 1967. Richard Hatcher of Gary, Ind. and Carl Stokes of Cleveland were both elected to their posts in that year, while Washington was appointed.
Soon after his initial appointment by President Johnson, Washington was faced with the riots in the District that followed the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1968. Although he was reportedly urged by FBI director J. Edgar Hoover to shoot the rioters, he refused. He told the Washington Post later, "I walked by myself through the city and urged angry young people to go home. I asked them to help the people who had been burned out."
Congress had enacted the District of Columbia Self-Rule and Governmental Reorganization Act on December 24, 1973, providing for an elected mayor and city council for the District. Home rule became effective with the first mayor and council on January 2, 1975. Anticipating that new law, Washington began a vigorous campaign in early 1974 for popular election against six local challengers. The Democratic primary race eventually settled into a two-way contest between Washington and future Army Secretary Clifford Alexander, with Washington ultimately winning a tight race by 4,000 votes. In the November general election, he was selected by a large majority, and when home rule came into effect the following January 2, Washington was sworn in as popularly elected mayor by Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall.
Although personally beloved by his constituents, Washington slowly found himself overcome by the problems of managing a newly autonomous, and therefore largely experimental, city government. The Washington Post opined that he lacked "command presence," and D.C. Council Chair Sterling Tucker sested that the problems in the city were because of Washington's inability as a manager of city services. In the 1978 Democratic mayoral primary between Washington, Tucker, and Councilmember Marion S. Barry, Jr., Washington finished third. He left office on January 2, 1979, when the victorious Barry was sworn in. Despite the criticism and defeat of Washington, however, the city had posted a $40 million budget surplus by his final day in office.
After ending his term as mayor, Washington joined the New York-based law firm of Burns, Jackson, Miller & Summit, becoming a partner there and opening the firm's Washington, D.C. office. He went into semi-retirement in the mid 1990s, finally taking full retirement at the end of the decade by which time he was in his early eighties.
Washington remained a beloved public figure in the District and was much sought after for his political advice. In 2002 he endorsed Anthony A. Williams for a second term as mayor despite a petitioning scandal that had made Williams a write-in candidate. Washington's endorsement was still of sufficient weight that it was carried in all local news outlets.
Washington died on October 27, 2003, at Howard University Hospital. Hundreds of mourners came to see him lying in state at the John A. Wilson Building, then attended his funeral at Washington National Cathedral. 13 1/2 Street, the short alley running alongside the Wilson Building, was designated Walter E. Washington Way in his honor; additionally, a new housing development in D.C.'s Ward 8 was named the Walter E. Washington Estates.
Bob Donnelly, Esq. and Ken Abdo, Esq. of Lommen Abdo Law Firm discuss Ethics as Widener Law adjunct Alexander Murphy looks on.
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