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It’s been a tough month for At-Large Councilmember Vincent Orange. First he got outmaneuvered at his own committee by three freshmen colleagues—-or by “the cast from Friends,” as one LL commenter put it. Now Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh, the only other sponsor on Orange’s increasingly contentious nightlife legislation, says she never meant to support the bill in the first place.
Orange’s nightlife bill, which would require bars and nightclubs to measure their decibels levels hourly and report the results to the city, never stood much chance when he introduced it on May 5. With only Cheh backing it, Orange had nowhere near seven votes he needs to pass it.
He doesn’t even have Cheh anymore, after her staff told the Post that Cheh “unintentionally raised her hand to co-sponsor” the bill at the Council’s May 5 meeting. Whoops! By the time Cheh’s staff tried to take her name off the bill, the Council’s 24-hour deadline to remove a cosponsor position a bill had passed.
Orange, who didn’t respond to LL’s request for comment, isn’t convinced.
@MarkLeeDC U right watched & she does clearly confirm she wants 2 b sponsor Going 2 follow back & double check w her office again on this WP— Hon. Vincent Orange (@VOrangeDC) May 20, 2015
Let’s take it to the tape. Starting at 1:15:30, Orange introduces the nightlife bill, which receives no cosponsors. Then he introduces another, and Council Chairman Phil Mendelson interjects.
“With regard to the previous introduction, the Nightlife Regulation Act of 2015, I’m told Councilmember Cheh wanted to cosponsor that,” Mendelson says while looking down the dais, presumably at Cheh, who reacts off-mic. Mendelson reads the bill’s name again, then say “Please list Councilmember Cheh as a cosponsor of that one.”
Whether Cheh meant to cosponsor the bill or not, there’s now just one councilmember in favor of Orange’s nightlife bill—-Orange himself.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery