Wednesday, December 12, 2012

SHARC's efforts to meet with Mayor Gray


It is the mission of SHARC to engage the poor, homeless, formerly homeless, community activists and concerned citizens in advocacy efforts for the poor and under-privileged community with an emphasis on self-advocacy.

SHARC's efforts to meet with Mayor Gray

Below is an article which I recently wrote and am trying to have published. It describes the trouble that DC homeless advocates are having getting a meeting with Mayor Vincent Gray. I delivered hard copies to the Washington Post and the Examiner on December 10th, 2012. On December 11th Mayor Gray was the first mayor to visit an Inter-agency Council on Homelessness (ICH) meeting. On that day I got a card from his special assistant as the mayor told me to set up a meeting through him. hopefully this will cause things to take a turn for the better.....

To whom it may concern,

I am Eric Jonathan Sheptock, a relatively well-known homeless advocate in Washington, DC. Since I began advocating in June 2006 in opposition to former mayor Anthony Williams' failed attempt to close the Franklin School Shelter, I've been featured in the media for various reasons ranging from specific campaigns aimed at helping the homeless and creating affordable housing to my use of the internet and social media to advocate and do popular education on the causes of and solutions to homelessness.

As it turns out, homelessness can not be abolished without a sufficient amount of political will. It is for that reason that SHARC (Shelter, Housing And Respectful Change), the group of homeless advocates of which I'm the chairman visited the mayor's Community Affairs office on November 1st, 2012 and filled out an application to meet with the mayor. I've included a timeline of events surrounding SHARC's attempts to meet with the mayor below. But before you read it, here are some additional matters for you to consider:

Many advocates for the poor and homeless believe that no recent mayoral administration has exhibited the political will to enable the poor to live in DC – whether the poor are new arrivals who choose to move here or long-time DC residents who are trying to remain. Anthony Williams is responsible for replacing the rent cap with rent control – a move that has allowed rents to resume their ascent to the stars. Since then, there has been an exponential increase in homelessness locally – whether by coincidence or causation – and, in the last ten years, at least 40,000 Afro-American Washingtonians have left the city due to sky-high rents.

Adrian Fenty seemed like he would be different. As the Ward 4 councilman, he also chaired the Committee on Human Services. He was quite responsive to the complaints of homeless people and has held town hall meetings at the DC Village Family Shelter – one of the two shelters his administration closed, with the other being the Franklin School Shelter. In hindsight we see that it was a desire to ascend through the ranks of government rather than a genuine concern for the homeless which made him so attentive to the cries of the poor.

In December 2006 over 80 homeless people attended a meeting that was put on by Fenty's transition team. Getting that many homeless people to attend a political event was no small feat. Pizza and soda WERE served, though it wasn't until after the meeting – with food always being a draw. However, there was a genuine excitement among the homeless who thought that Fenty's apparent dedication to ending (or at least softening the impact of) their plight while he was councilman would translate into the policies he adopted as mayor. His closure of the Franklin School Shelter (for single men) in September 2008 – after having made the campaign promise to keep it open – was the last straw. The homeless completely lost faith in him at that point – and it was fitting that they did, for more reasons than they themselves understood at the time.

The two housing programs which Adrian Fenty began in conjunction with the shelter closures have had foreseeable funding problems. To justify the Franklin closure, Fenty used two-time federal funding to begin DC's Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) Program. When that funding ran out, the DC Council had to use local dollars to maintain the program – which meant that the money was taken from other local programs. To keep from evicting the newly-housed, the Gray administration has more recently had to transfer PSH recipients to the federal housing Choice Voucher Program – which is one of the reasons that HCVP isn't taking any new applications right now.

The System Transformation Initiative (STI) program which families from DC Village were moved into was supposed to house them “indefinitely” but had to change its format and name due to a lack of funding less than two years after the program's inception. Now STEAP (Short-Term Exit Assistance Program) pays a family's rent on a descending scale for a year, after which people with serious employment challenges are expected to pay $1,500-2,000 per month in rent (or possibly $800-1,000 for a slum dwelling). This has resulted in some families choosing the security of the shelter over a year-long program at the end of which they are more likely to end up on the streets than to be in a living-wage job and affordable housing.

A little-known fact about the closure of the DC Village Family Shelter is that former DHS Director Clarence Carter was given a test when hired on July 23rd, 2007 by then-mayor Fenty: he had to close DC Village within three months. He passed. (Clarence Carter now works for Arizona Governess Jan brewer.) Tucked neatly between the two shelter closures was the resignation of Leslie Steen as the chair of Fenty's Affordable Housing Task Force after one year on the job due to not having “supervisory responsibility for the several housing agencies which she was supposed to coordinate”. It looks now as though Fenty made a few token efforts to help the poor and homeless of DC; but all of them backfired. I'm left to wonder if that's the way he planned it. And let's not forget about Councilman Barry's Poverty Commission. What ever became of that?

Now for Mayor Gray. He held his One City Summit at the Convention Center on February 11th, 2012 (the same day we lost Whitney). The primary concern put forth by the 2,000 Washingtonians who participated in the instant survey was the severe shortage of affordable housing. Mayor Gray promised to have another One City Summit in 2013 during which we'd be given the opportunity to grade his progress at meeting our demands. He has started another Comprehensive Housing Strategy Task Force which held public hearings in October and November. They'll submit their recommendations to the mayor soon. I'm sure that Mayor Gray at the next One City Summit will tout the task force's existence and its minimal accomplishments as proof that he's aiding the poor of the city. But given the failures and token efforts of previous administrations, poor Washingtonians should have learned by now not to count their chickens before they hatch – that is, not to take glory or comfort in what a local politician says they are doing for the poor until the results are actually being felt by the intended recipients.

On September 28th, 2012 – just two days before the end of the fiscal year – Mayor Gray pushed through a piece of “emergency legislation” which enabled him to spend a total of $23 Million on public and charter school upgrades (nicer computers), the Dept. of Parks and Recreation, the Metro System and juvenile detention without going through the usual and lengthy legislative process, the DC Council concurring. While some of the aforementioned measures may have qualified as emergencies, the computer upgrades at the schools definitely don't fit the bill. Meanwhile, he failed to fund the $7 Million budget shortfall in Homeless Services for Fiscal Year 2013, even though it was the first item on the council's “wish list” of items that would receive funding if additional money was found. The Dept. of Human Services has since mitigated the shortfall by decreasing its office space and finding other ways to lower its administrative costs; and, they plan to spend the money saved there on homeless services. Thus, they'll be able to keep shelters open beyond April 2013. Even so, local activists are still up in arms over the unfunded budget shortfall. And they should be. But it's not because the homeless are threatened with a loss of services; but rather, because the mayor has shown callous disregard for the poor of the city, forcing the department that serves the poor to get by on less funding in the midst of a surplus. In spite of what political double-talk the mayor might give, his priorities are clear. We also see for whom he couldn't care less.

When one considers the recent history of local homeless and poverty politics – or shall I say “poli-TRICKS”? – the skepticism of advocates like myself is easily understood. Some people think that I'm a little too aggressive toward politicians and other city officials – which is essentially what was said about the late, great homeless advocate Mitch Snyder. I beg to differ. I've learned during my six and a half years of advocacy what Mitch Snyder learned at some point during his sixteen years of advocacy: that many politicians choose to ignore the plight of the poor and that to advocate for the poor one must employ unconventional, if not aggressive, tactics.

That said, SHARC recently tried to schedule a meeting with Mayor Gray. See the timeline of events surrounding this effort:

Timeline of SHARC's efforts to meet with Mayor Gray

1 -- On Nov. 1st SHARC members entered the Wilson Building (City Hall) and, while there, I filled out a request for a meeting with the mayor as other SHARC members watched.

2 -- On Nov. 13th I did a mail search and found that there were no messages from the mayor's administration in my inbox indicating that a meeting was being arranged between SHARC and the mayor.

3 -- I immediately went to the mayor's Facebook page and posted a comment about wanting to meet with him.

4 -- On Nov. 14th I received a call from a woman in the mayor's scheduling office. She stated that she'd seen the Facebook comment. When I asked her if she'd received the form that was submitted on Nov. 1st, she said "No".

5 -- That same day I e-mailed her a scanned copy of the form from Nov. 1st.

6 -- on Nov. 16th Christopher Murphy who is the mayor's chief of staff e-mailed me a slightly insulting message in which he acknowledged my right to protest and said that "if I wanted to have a “civil conversation" that he would meet with me. Chris' message said that he thought I had wrong information concerning the mayor's priorities when it comes to schools, charter schools and parks. Chris' message made no reference to SHARC and is construed by some to be an effort to pull me away from the group and into a situation where the mayor and/or his staff can try to intimidate me or buy me off.

7 -- On Nov. 20th I saw the e-mail from the 16th and responded, expressing a willingness to meet with Mr. Murphy and asking about possible dates and other logistics. Mr. Murphy responded with a planned
meeting date/time of Wednesday, November 28th at 12:30 PM but no room number (even though I had asked for one). It is important to note that I'd never heard of the guy before reading his e-mail and that, at that point in time, I'd not made any notable public statement about the mayor's priorities – all of which led me to wonder where Chris Murphy got his “information” about me and what sparked his interest in me.

8 -- On the evening of November 23rd I sent an e-mail in which I showed the name of Chris Murphy, BCC'ed many others and made reference to the hidden media names. The e-mail contained a link to a blog post that explained how the mayor's policies hurt or ignore the poor and homeless. I thought it right to let the mayor's chief of staff know what's being said about  the mayor and that the blog post might explain what "wrong information" Mr. Murphy thinks Mr. Sheptock has concerning the mayor's priorities. Mr. Murphy was insulted by the fact that many people were BCC'ed and sent an e-mail which stated that he wasn't sure that Eric deserved "the respect of a meeting". (Though it didn't state with certainty that the meeting was being called off, it strongly suggested that Mr. Murphy was no longer willing to meet with me.

9 -- I read that message on the morning of November 26th and responded to it, telling Chris Murphy to have thicker skin and be more professional. An unfriendly but sufficiently respectful e-mail exchange occurred throughout the day at the end of which Mr. Murphy reiterated his unwillingness to meet with me (but eventually denied it). This exchange carried over into the morning of the 27th with me sending Chris a response to his last message to me that was sent late on the evening of the 26th – which would turn out to be his last message to me to-date.

10 – in the afternoon of November 26th 50 to 60 homeless people entered the Wilson Building to self-advocate. While there, a group of about a half dozen people returned to the mayor's Community Affairs Office to check on the progress of our application to meet with the mayor. Daryl Levine shook my hand as I began to explain our desire to meet with the mayor and told me in hush tones (which I'm not sure anyone else heard), “You can't meet with the mayor”. Sandra Lee explained that getting a meeting with the mayor can take two or three months, with it having been 25 days since our application had been submitted. When we asked for a tentative date, we were told that their office was just beginning to schedule meetings for the end of December. We left having no more answers than we'd come with.

11 -- On the morning of Nov. 28th I e-mailed Chris again (right before heading to NYC) to ask if my meeting with him was still on. As of the writing of this article, I have not received any response to that message nor any additional communications from the mayor's scheduling office via phone or e-mail.

12 – On the morning of Monday, December 3rd I did a 5-minute radio stint on WPFW 89.3 from 7:23 AM to 7:28 AM during which I mentioned the trouble SHARC has been having with Chris Murphy. Due to my personal rule of letting someone know what I say about them (whether or not I actually like the person), I e-mailed Chris Murphy and let him know about the radio stint. I included a link to the show's recording along with instructions on how to find the 5-minute segment. Chris has not responded. I'll send him a copy of this article as well, whether or not he responds.

The radio station said that they would give him an opportunity to respond to my comments. Whether or not he does, it's a win for SHARC and myself. If Mr. Murphy fails to respond, then my words stand. If, in fact, he does respond, then he will have been called on the carpet by someone he looks down his nose at – a poor, homeless man who has never attended a college or university and never held a government job.

Exchange with Mayor's Chief of Staff Chris Murphy

Message 1:

From:"Murphy, Christopher (EOM)"
To:"ericsheptock@yahoo.com"
Sent:Friday, November 16, 2012 12:11 PM
Subject: an offer

Eric – I certainly respect your right and wish to peacefully protest but I believe you have a misunderstanding of certain actions the mayor took with respect to identifying additional funding for playground renovations, charters schools, and DCPS.  If you have any interest in having a civil conversation about these issues, please know that my door is open and I would welcome it.

Respectfully,
Chris

Christopher K. Murphy | Chief of Staff  
Executive Office of Mayor Vincent C. Gray | Government of the District of Columbia  


Message 2:

From: Eric Sheptock [mailto:ericsheptock@yahoo.com]
Sent:Tuesday, November 20, 2012 9:27 PM
To:Murphy, Christopher (EOM)
Subject:An Offer for SHARC to Have a Civil Conversation with Mayor Gray's Chief of Staff

An Offer for SHARC to Have a Civil Conversation with Mayor Gray's Chief of Staff


Mr. Chris Murphy,

I just saw your message (below) as I receive many e-mails. That said, I would never flatly refuse to have a civil conversation. I often tell people that, while I understand the need to protest, one should always be ready, willing and able to have intelligent conversation with any and all people -- even those whom they've labeled as "the enemy". I hope that you didn't have me pegged as someone who only chooses to shout and shoot -- a rebel without a cause.

Being that you've given me an open invitation, what is the room number to your office? What is the best number to reach you at? Is there a day or time that works best for you? May I bring other SHARC members? Please advise.
As for your statement, "I believe you have a misunderstanding of certain actions the mayor took with respect to identifying additional funding for playground renovations, charters schools, and DCPS", I haven't the fuzziest idea as to what you're referring to. While I admittedly only have sketchy details on the aforementioned mayoral initiatives, I have absolutely no recollection of having sent you a statement of my position on such matters. I DO know that I made brief mention during a broadcast concerning the $30 million the mayor wants for parks and juxtaposed it with his refusal to fund the $7 million budget shortfall for homeless services. So brief was my mention of the matter that I can hardly imagine that it's what you're referring to. Even so, since you've made "an offer" to talk with myself (and presumably with other SHARC members), I'll take you up on that offer. Please answer my questions concerning meeting logistics and we can go from there.
Thank you.

Eric Jonathan Sheptock
Chairman of SHARC
(Shelter, Housing And Respectful Change)

Message 3:

From:"Murphy, Christopher (EOM)"
To:Eric Sheptock
Sent:Wednesday, November 21, 2012 11:10 AM
Subject:RE: An Offer for SHARC to Have a Civil Conversation with Mayor Gray's Chief of Staff

How about next Wednesday at 12:30?

Message 4:

Forwarded Message -----
From: Eric Sheptock
To: "christopher.murphy@dc.gov"
Sent: Friday, November 23, 2012 9:20 PM
Subject: Awesome blog post about mayor Gray ignoring the poor!!!!!

All,
Talk about hitting the jackpot!!!!! I was searching for more info on the mayor's indiscreet emergency legislation that allowed him to give away $23 million. On my first try I ran across this blog post which is a perfect treatise on how the mayor ignores the poor.   It is a must-read!!!!!

I would ask that the hidden media names do research on this issue and write about it. SHARC has requested a meeting with the mayor which should happen in December or January. It would be awesome to get a write-up on this in the mainstream (and tributary) media before that.

I've shown the name of the mayor's chief of staff. He offered to meet with SHARC; because, he felt that we had wrong information concerning the mayor's handling of funds for parks, schools and other priorities of his. SHARC had not sent any official statement to the CoS concerning such matters, leaving me to wonder what made him feel that way. Even so, SHARC is glad to meet with him. Now, read the awesome blog post!!!!!

Eric Jonathan Sheptock
Chairman of SHARC

Message 5:

From:"Murphy, Christopher (EOM)"
>To:"'ericsheptock@yahoo.com'"
>Sent:Friday, November 23, 2012 10:33 PM
>Subject:Re: Awesome blog post about mayor Gray ignoring the poor!!!!!

Eric

this is an odd way to communicate with and about me. It concerns me that meeting with you will be a waste of my time. I would hope that would respect me as I am trying to respect you. Your communication does not make me feel respected by you. If that is what you wish, I do not feel it is worth giving you the respect of a meeting.

Chris

Message 6:

From: Eric Sheptock [mailto:ericsheptock@yahoo.com]
Sent: Monday, November 26, 2012 08:05 AM
To: Murphy, Christopher (EOM)
Subject: Wednesday at 12:30: to Have a Civil Conversation with Mayor Gray's Chief of Staff

Chris,

12:30 Wednesday works for me. I'll find out today if it works for others. Put us down for that day/time. I'll let you know by day's end if it won't work. What's the room/office number???

Eric Jonathan Sheptock

Message 7:

From:"Murphy, Christopher (EOM)"
To:"'ericsheptock@yahoo.com'"
Sent:Monday, November 26, 2012 8:21 AM
Subject:Re: Wednesday at 12:30: to Have a Civil Conversation with Mayor Gray's Chief of Staff
Eric

did you see my subsequent email? Your disrespectful, non-constructive behavior makes me think this will be a waste of time.

Message 8:

To:"Murphy, Christopher (EOM)"
Sent:Monday, November 26, 2012 8:34 AM
Subject:NO RESPECT???: Awesome blog post about mayor Gray ignoring the poor!!!!!

Mr. Murphy,

I'm lost as to what you're calling disrespectful. I made 2 basic points in the e-mail which you're referring to:

1 -- I sent the link to a blog post and indicated that it very accurately stated our position concerning the mayor's initiatives and priorities -- how they adversely affect the poor (whether or not it is intentional).

2 -- I reiterated the point that I wasn't sure what statement from me as an individual or SHARC as a whole was the impetus for your initial communication to me; but, I'm glad to meet with you, find out and go from there.

Please tell me what offended you. I have pretty thick skin myself. So, maybe there was a feeling that I missed or forgot to respect. Being that emotion is not a defining characteristic of mine, I openly admit that I might have said something insensitive. please tell me what it is.

As for you refusing to meet with SHARC, 75+ other people were BCC'ed. It doesn't look good for a man in your position as a high-level "public servant" to be so sensitive or to refuse to meet with the public -- especially someone who is so closely connected to the media and has been featured in the mass media for his use of social media (over 15,000 FB/Twitter contacts, not counting e-mail). So, get some thick skin, suck it up, meet with SHARC and let's talk business.
Besides, SHARC has already formally applied for a meeting with the mayor. That meeting WILL take place. So, you can give the mayor a greater advantage than he'd otherwise have by letting OUR meeting serve as a meaningful precursor or you can be the reason your boss ends up flying blind in that meeting.

If you were as smart as a person in your position should be, you'd read the blog post and use it to develop talking points for our meeting on Wednesday. There's still time for you to do that. Now, can we communicate like 2 grown men with thick skin who just want to take care of business as opposed to getting in our feelings? I extend that olive branch to you. We can put this sensitive moment behind us and move forward with some good, rational planning. Are you willing to do that???
I'll attribute some intellect to you and assume you said, "Yes". (Media was BCC'ed. Make your boss and his office look as good as can be expected at this point.) So long as you get and remain in a rational state of mind, we can get along. Anymore feeling from you and you'll be plastered all over the front page of the news. you can take that to the bank.

Eric Jonathan Sheptock
Chairman of SHARC
(Shelter, Housing And Respectful Change)

Message 9:

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: CHRIS MURPHY (mayor's chief of staff) WON'T MEET WITH SHARC!!!!! : Wednesday at 12:30: to Have a Civil Conversation with Mayor Gray's Chief of Staff
From: Eric Sheptock
Date: Mon, November 26, 2012 8:52 am

To: "Murphy, Christopher (EOM)"

Chris,

I DID see your subsequent after sending the one 2 messages down in this thread. SO DID THE MEDIA!!!!! They can now scroll down in THIS thread and see that you refuse to meet with SHARC. It will be on the radio soon -- unless you suck it up and return to your "offer" to meet with SHARC which YOU put forth without any provocation from me.

So, let me get this: You offer to meet with SHARC. I send any e-mail that wouldn't have offended a professional woman. you (a man) get in your feelings and withdraw the offer which YOU made of your own accord. You and your boss end up looking extremely incompetent. YOU are creating problems for your boss. But there is time to redeem yourself. The next crazy thing you say to me, I'm going all out with the brutal honesty. Suck it up, Baby!!!!!

Eric Jonathan Sheptock
Chairman of SHARC
(Shelter, Housing And Respectful Change)

Message 10:

From: Clarence Talston (WP) [mailto:clarencetalston@yahoo.com]
Sent: Monday, November 26, 2012 09:20 AM
To: Murphy, Christopher (EOM)
Cc: ericsheptock@yahoo.com
Subject: Fw: [FWD: CHRIS MURPHY (mayor's chief of staff) WON'T MEET WITH SHARC!!!!! : Wednesday at 12:30: to Have a Civil Conversation with Mayor Gray's Chief of Staff]


Hello Mr. Murphy,

My name is Clarence Talston and I am a reporter for the Washington Post DC Government Division. I was assigned to cover the SHARC matter involving DC Government's refusal to restore the $7 million dollars for homeless services even though there is a surplus.  In my coverage Mr. Eric Sheptock has forwarded me all his correspondence with DC Government Agencies and Officials and we have chronicled quite a story over the past couple of months.  Today's correspondence is quite a hiccup in the progress and unfortunately Mr. Sheptock's responses are not threats as it relates to media.  Every year the Post does a front page piece on homeless matters over the holiday season and we have featured Mr. Sheptock a couple of years ago and value him as a reliable source.  Though I can't advise you how to move forward with the matter, I can only write the facts as has been presented below.  I would welcome any additional information that you would like to provide in reference to the Mayor's office refusing to meet with the homeless of our city during the holiday season.

Thanks for your time and communication.

Clarence Talston
DC Government Reporter
Washington Post

Message 11:

----- Forwarded Message -----
From: "Murphy, Christopher (EOM)"
To: "'clarencetalston@yahoo.com'"
Cc: "'ericsheptock@yahoo.com'" ; "'Craigt@washpost.com'" ; "'StewartN@washpost.com'" ; "Ribeiro, Pedro (EOM)"
Sent: Monday, November 26, 2012 9:33 AM
Subject: Re: [FWD: CHRIS MURPHY (mayor's chief of staff) WON'T MEET WITH SHARC!!!!! : Wednesday at 12:30: to Have a Civil Conversation with Mayor Gray's Chief of Staff]

Mr Talston - I find the tone and substance of your email troubling. I also note you are using a Yahoo email account - which in my past dealings with Post reporters unusual.

As you may know, I offered to meet with Mr. Sheptock out of respect. I have subsequently expressed concern to him that that respect was not being reciprocated - and have not yet refused to meet with him. I then received from Mr. Sheptock I highly unusual email that included an odd, immature taunt with a very curious and highly inappropriate misogynistic comment.

I have cc'd two local Post reporters known to me who I am hoping can shed some light on your unusual email.

My best to you,
Chris

Message 12:

From: Eric Sheptock [mailto:ericsheptock@yahoo.com]
>Sent:Monday, November 26, 2012 1:45 PM
>To:Murphy, Christopher (EOM)
>Subject:Fw: [FWD: CHRIS MURPHY (mayor's chief of staff) WON'T MEET WITH SHARC!!!!! : Wednesday at 12:30: to Have a Civil Conversation with Mayor Gray's Chief of Staff]

Chris,
Let me take this opportunity to extend an olive branch and encourage us to meet as planned this Wednesday at 12:30. Here is my direct extension of truce and understanding in the company of SHARC as we galvanize to come down to City Hall. Have a look here http://youtu.be/VkMnun4Mp9k

I look forward to meeting you on November 28, 2012 at 12:30 PM. Please confirm our appointment. Have a good day.

Message 13:

----- Forwarded Message -----
>From: "Murphy, Christopher (EOM)"
>To: "ericsheptock@yahoo.com"
>Sent: Monday, November 26, 2012 8:16 PM
>Subject: FW: [FWD: CHRIS MURPHY (mayor's chief of staff) WON'T MEET WITH
SHARC!!!!! : Wednesday at 12:30: to Have a Civil Conversation with
Mayor Gray's Chief of Staff]

Mr. Sheptock – Perhaps you would be so kind as to share this email with everyone else that you have blind cc’d on our previous email exchanges. I do not have the privilege of knowing with whom you shared our email conversations but since several people forwarded the thread to me (clearly from you), I assume you will have access to that list.

You are correct – in what was clearly a naïve if well-intentioned effort, I did reach out to you and offer to sit down and have a civil conversation.  I have tremendous respect for all residents of the District and wished to convey that respect to you.  In offering to meet, I sought to clarify certain pieces of
misinformation that were out there and that you were forwarding around.  Again, naively, I thought helping you to understand certain important pieces of information would – at the very least –

allow you to be more informed in your advocacy, which I respect. Subsequent to that very genuine offer, it has become clear to me that such a meeting would not be productive.

To recap, today alone you have:
-sent the odd and troubling taunting, misogynistic email which I have
pasted below in red.

-claimed that I refused to meet with you when I had not – I had only expressed concerns about your erratic behavior, concerns that have only increased throughout the day.

-blind copied large numbers of people on emails you send to me by pretended were respectful, person to person emails between us

-had someone pose as a Washington Post reporter in an email to me and, again oddly, threaten me (here’s just a suggestion – next time a friend of yours poses as a Washington Post reporter online don’t have them use a Yahoo email address).  I believe pretending to be someone online who are you not is a cybercrime but let’s just let that issue go.

-now extended an “olive branch” to me after I replied to the faux reporter’s email and copied known reporters at The Washington Post asking if they had heard of the person posing as a reporter. Needless to say, they had not.

Mr. Sheptock, again – I ask that you share this email broadly with whomever you blind copied so they have the benefit of my reply. Your increasingly erratic, troubling behavior leaves me no choice but to let you know that meeting with you would not be a productive use of my time or yours.

I wish you nothing but the best.

Respectfully,
Chris Murphy

[[From: Eric Sheptock [mailto:ericsheptock@yahoo.com]
Sent: Monday, November 26, 2012 8:52 AM
To: Murphy, Christopher (EOM)
Subject: CHRIS MURPHY (mayor's chief of staff) WON'T MEET WITH SHARC!!!!! : Wednesday at 12:30: to Have a Civil Conversation with Mayor Gray's Chief of Staff

Chris,

I DID see your subsequent after sending the one 2 messages down in this thread. SO DID THE MEDIA!!!!! They can now scroll down in THIS thread and see that you refuse to meet with SHARC. It will be on the radio soon -- unless you suck it up and return to your "offer" to meet with SHARC which YOU put forth without any provocation from me. 

So, let me get this: You offer to meet with SHARC. I send any e-mail that wouldn't have offended a professional woman. you (a man) get in your feelings and withdraw the offer which YOU made of your own accord. You and your boss end up looking extremely incompetent. YOU are creating problems for your boss. But there is time to redeem yourself. The next crazy thing you say to me, I'm going all out with the brutal honesty. Suck it up, Baby!!!!!]]

Message 14:

----- Forwarded Message -----
From: Eric Sheptock
To: "christopher.murphy@dc.gov"
Sent: Tuesday, November 27, 2012 12:01 AM
Subject: Exchange with mayor's chief of staff

Chris Murphy,

We've had a rather unpleasant exchange today which started with your unfounded and unclear accusation of me having a problematic form of communication. You actually sent the e-mail on November 23rd. I just read it this morning:

Eric - this is an odd way to communicate with and about me. It concerns me that meeting with you will be a waste of my time. I would hope that would respect me as I am trying to respect you. Your communication does not make me feel respected by you. If that is what you wish, I do not feel it is worth giving you the respect of a meeting.

You gave no clear answer at this point as to what you considered to be disrespectful. I've included all of our communications in the attachments so that you can follow the developments from November 16th (before which we'd never communicated) until now.

Being that the e-mails BEFORE the pasted one in blue had no unpleasant overtones by a rational person's standard, it would seem that you have been tasked by the mayor with finding a reason not to meet with SHARC. So, you pretend to be willing to meet, look for the slightest reason to call the meeting off and then blame ME for the process falling apart.

As far as you being offended by my sharing our exchange with others is concerned, you are a public official who is working for a mayor who claims to be transparent. However, you come off as wanting to remain quite opaque. If all that you e-mail and say is of a high moral quality, it shouldn't matter who I BCC. You're not my girlfriend and we don't communicate in confidence. You're a PUBLIC official! DC owns you and all that you do. Get used to it.

As for your other claims and statements:

I WILL share the final message from you. It is in the attachments in its full form. (please excuse the font issues.)

By your own admission, you offered to have a "civil" conversation with me. This came off as you implying that I was less than civil. And it was our first communication ever:

You are correct – in what was clearly a naïve if well-intentioned effort, I did reach out to you and offer to sit down and have a civil conversation.

Did it ever strike you that your first message to me in life might have come across as a little insulting? Nevertheless, I decided to "suck it up" and respond calmly. You "took first blood" -- figuratively speaking. As a matter of fact, you came out swinging.

I sought to clarify certain pieces of misinformation that were out there and that you were forwarding around.

It would have served you and the mayor well had you remained in that aforementioned frame of mind. You seem to have wanted to make the mayor look good. However, you were insulted by me forwarding a public servant's e-mail to the public. That, in turn, led to increasingly unpleasant communications (which is what you hoped for). Now you have an "excuse" not to meet with us.

Subsequent to that very genuine offer, it has become clear to me that such a meeting would not be productive. 

I'm still going to publish information about your boss. If you succeed at telling me something worthwhile that I didn't know, I'll include it in all pertinent statements of mine -- oral and written. That promise stands in spite of our disagreement.
To recap, today alone you have:

-sent the odd and troubling taunting, misogynistic email which I have pasted below in red. 

You make vague, unfounded accusations and don't specify which statements of mine fit the above description. I'll assume your calling these statements misogynistic:

I send any e-mail that wouldn't have offended a professional woman. you (a man) get in your feelings and withdraw the offer which YOU made of your own accord.

If so, you're wrong. Those statements only acknowledge that it's natural for women to be more emotional than men. Those statements are an indictment on YOU for not having thicker skin.

That highly erroneous accusation of yours also helps to highlight the fact that you are extremely sensationalistic.

-claimed that I refused to meet with you when I had not – I had only expressed concerns about your erratic behavior, concerns that have only increased throughout the day.

I'll let the BCC's judge the preceding statement of yours.

-blind copied large numbers of people on emails you send to me by pretended were respectful, person to person emails between us

How did I "pretend" that our messages were person-to-person? Looks like you ASSumed they were person-to person. My first message to you said I would bring other SHARC members in. Your messages to me didn't mention SHARC. Did you know I am the chairman of a group of advocates? If not, you didn't do your homework; because, it's common knowledge. In contrast, those who know me will sometimes ask me not to put something on blast. had you done a Google seaech of me, you would have known my M.O. You got caught slipping. Don't blame me.

-had someone pose as a Washington Post reporter in an email to me and, again oddly, threaten me (here’s just a suggestion – next time a friend of yours poses as a Washington Post reporter online don’t have them use a Yahoo email address).  I believe pretending to be someone online who are you not is a cybercrime but let’s just let that issue go.

Actually, I knew nothing of the "WP reporter" until AFTER the message was   sent. I swear to God and on my father's grave. So, watch your false accusations!

-now extended an “olive branch” to me after I replied to the faux reporter’s email and copied known reporters at The Washington Post asking if they had heard of the person posing as a reporter.  Needless to say, they had not.

I gave you several chances to redeem yourself. The message after the ghost reporter incident was NOT the first time I offered to make peace. maybe it has to be said in the exact same vocabulary for you to make the connection. I understand.

Mr. Sheptock, again – I ask that you share this email broadly with whomever you blind copied so they have the benefit of my reply.  Your increasingly erratic, troubling behavior leaves me no choice but to let you know that meeting with you would not be a productive use of my time or yours.

Consider it shared. Read the paper and see what gets put out there about your boss because you refused to meet with SHARC. You haven't heard the last of me. Neither you nor your boss seem to be transparent. I'll let the general public judge you though.

BTW, what I say is not a threat but a warning.

Here's that OLIVE BRANCH again. And I made this video BEFORE seeing your e-mail response to the ghost writer:
Message 15:
----- Forwarded Message -----
From: Eric Sheptock
To: "christopher.murphy@dc.gov"
Sent: Wednesday, November 28, 2012 8:41 AM
Subject: Is there still a SHARC meeting with CHRISTOPHER MURPHY the mayor's chief of staff?

Is there still a SHARC meeting with CHRISTOPHER MURPHY the mayor's chief of staff?
Mr. Murphy, is there still a meeting today at 12:30 PM or not? You didn't make it clear as to whether or not you would still meet with us. An urgent matter has arisen causing me to have to run to NYC this morning. I will return on Friday. However, others in SHARC can more than adequately represent the organization in my stead.
SHARC (the GROUP of homeless advocates of which I'm chairman) would still like to meet with you. I can phone in if you'd like. Feel free to call or text. I won't be checking e-mail again until I reach NYC at 3 PM or later. However, I've sent this to others who can meet with you in my absence. Or we can meet when I return. It's your call. See my contact info below.

PLEASE, LET'S MEET.

Eric Jonathan Sheptock
Chairman of SHARC
(Shelter, Housing And Respectful Change)

Cell phone: (240) 305-5255 

Message 16:
----- Forwarded Message -----
From: Eric Sheptock
To: "christopher.murphy@dc.gov" ; Steve ( EOM) Glaude ; "mayorschedulingoffice@dc.gov" ; Adrian Fenty ; "eom@dc.gov" ; Jim Graham ; Jim Graham ; Jim Graham
Sent: Monday, December 3, 2012 12:00 PM
Subject: I did a WPFW radio piece this morning on Mayor Gray & CoS Chris Murphy

I did a WPFW radio piece this morning on Mayor Gray & CoS Chris Murphy

All,

I did a short radio piece this morning in which I discussed, among other things, the trouble SHARC is having gaining access to the mayor or his chief of staff. I've pasted my FB comment below. It contains the link to the radio show. But before you go there, you should know these 2 things:

1 -- Chris Murphy will be asked to do a radio interview in response to mine. (It's awesome that homeless advocateS can call a heady city official to account and make him answer for his actions -- or inaction, as it may be.)

2 -- THIS ARTICLE will tell you something about Chris Murphy. Let me draw your attention to these 2 paragraphs"

"Murphy and Pringle also held off-the-record sessions with local reporters, dubbed “chew and chats,” to try and ingratiate themselves with the various hacks who populate the District’s media landscape.

Their first attempt did not go well. According to multiple people present, early in the first session with reporters, Murphy said the media had blown Gray’s various missteps out of proportion and had not given the mayor a fair shake—a position the assembled reporters did not take kindly to. Add an awkward spat with D.C. Watch’s Dorothy Brizill over various perceived slights, and “it never kind of recovered from that,” says one reporter. (LL had a different chat with Murphy and Pringle, and things went fine, though it was also off the record.)"

We'd have to deduce that Mr. Murphy likes to manipulate the media and that he is not transparent at all. As a matter of fact, he put the "ache" in opaque. I'll do a complete write-up on him soon as SHARC builds its case against Mayor Gray and certain members of his administration.

While Mr. Murphy's messages contain overtones of conceit and him thinking that meeting with him and/or the mayor is a privilege, SHARC has the ability and will to flip that idea on its head. When SHARC gets through with Murphy and the mayor, both of them will be clamoring to meet with the homeless advocates. After all, both are afraid of bad PR. And to think that Mr. Murphy accused me of "taunting" him. It looks like I was pretty for real now, doesn't it????? He should've read about me and found out that my use of social media is iconic and that I do many media stints many of which can be found through a quick Google search. You would think that such an ACCOMPLISHED MAN as Chris Murphy and one who is SO AFRAID OF BAD PRESS would have been sure to meet with the likes of me so as to ensure that what I publish about the mayor aligns with what the chief of staff wants.

FACEBOOK Post:

To hear my 5-minute radio discussion about DC homelessness, how the mayor's policies hurt the homeless and the trouble SHARC is having with his chief of staff: 1 -- click THIS LINK, 2-- go to the list of shows that appears and click "play" or "download" next to the entry for 5:00 to 8:00 AM on 12/3/12 and move the slider to the 2 hr, 23 min mark. I come on after a little bit of jazz.

Finally, this BLOG POST by friend Kathryn Baer of DC (BCC'ed) is at the center of this disagreement between Chris Murphy and SHARC. (Chris has never made mention of SHARC in his communications with me, even AFTER I mention the group to him.) What initially upset Chris was the fact that I BCC'ed many people including media people as I sent this blog post around -- and we know that he likes to manipulate the media. In the e-mail text I made mention of the fact that I'd BCC'ed the media. He was not able to "reply to all" and manipulate them. He was counting on them contacting him one-by-one (in which case he'd have to respond to 75+ people one-by-one). Now we all know Chris Murphy's style and his pet peeve. Let's build a citywide campaign against him and call the mayor's hiring practices into question. SHARC is just getting started on CM.

Eric Jonathan Sheptock
Chairman of SHARC
(Shelter, Housing And Respectful Change)
Cell phone: (240) 305-5255

Conclusions:
1 – The mayor must have told Chris Murphy to “pretend” to want to meet with the advocates, find a reason not to and call the meeting off. Though I can't prove the mayor's involvement, I received Chris' first e-mail 15 days after submitting the application to meet with the mayor, 3 days after posting a comment on the mayor's Facebook page and 2 days after a woman from the scheduling office called me in response to the Facebook comment. So, it stands to reason that the mayor knew that SHARC wanted a meeting, didn't want to meet with us and wanted to make us look like the bad guys. Howbeit, his chief of staff focused on me as an individual and never acknowledged SHARC.

2 – The mayor and his staff wanted to get me alone, which is why Mr. Murphy never acknowledged SHARC in his e-mails. They were hoping to intimidate me or buy me off.

3 – Chris Murphy was INITIALLY upset by me blind carbon copying many people (which ties in with the conclusion that he wanted to get me alone for the aforementioned reasons). Though he later cited additional (illogical, erroneous) reasons for not wanting to meet, it seems a bit peculiar that he “somewhat” called off our meeting based on that issue alone. (he later denied calling it off, though the pasted e-mail indicates otherwise.) This serves the notion that he was “pretending” to be willing to meet with me in hopes that I'd give him a reason not to. The fact that he bit too soon rather than waiting for me to toss him a bigger fish helps to show his true intention as they were at the onset.

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