Unhappy with her anti-crime package‘s progress at the D.C. Council and facing a 54-percent yearly spike in homicides, Muriel Bowser covered the city today to talk up parts of the legislation (although not the most controversial portions).
At the Department of Forensic Sciences, Bowser promoted more funding for crime scene investigators. At a frequently robbed gas station, Bowser promoted incentives for businesses to buy security cameras (and faced Black Lives Matter activists unhappy with the legislation).
At the D.C. Jail, Bowser told inmates that her anti-crime bill offers them more time off their sentences for good behavior—but only if her legislation passes.
“We’ve asked the Council to do that,” she said.
Telling people with criminal records that your political opponents are responsible for keeping them in jail longer is certainly one way to get things done. But Bowser says she just wants the Council to vote on her legislation—or even to change it, if they want.
“Vote yes or no, but act,” Bowser said.
A new edition of her newsletter, sent out today, echoed that message, telling the Council “enough is enough” on the crime bill.
But Ward 5 Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie, whose position as the chair of the Council’s judiciary committee makes him Bowser’s primary obstacle, says he isn’t deliberately holding anything up. McDuffie’s committee plans to hold a mark-up hearing on Bowser’s bills and other anti-crime legislation later this month.
He says he’s unhappy with several parts of Bowser’s bill that didn’t get much play from the mayor today, including increased penalties for violent crimes committed on public transit and expanding police access to the homes of people on supervised release.
McDuffie tells LL he’s also concerned about a part of Bowser’s package that allows police to hold some released offenders for 72 hours.
“We do plan to take the elements of her proposal that make sense,” McDuffie says. “But unfortunately, many elements of the mayor’s plan are not evidence-based or data-driven.”
McDuffie claims Bowser’s executive branch frequently leaves him in the dark on the city’s rising murder rate, rattling off a long list of cancelled meetings with Metropolitan Police Department chief Cathy Lanier and information requests he says the administration has ignored.
“The finger-pointing has been counter-productive,” McDuffie says.
Photo by Will Sommer