IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:
Good morning sweet readers! LL has had this song stuck in his head all morning. Now it’s your turn. News time:
Councilmembers Behaving Badly: This is the story of 13 elected members of the District’s legislative branch, picked to sit in a conference room all day and discuss the fiscal 2012 budget, and to find out what happens when people start being polite and start getting real. Yesterday, things got real at the Wilson Building, as several councilmembers argued over who has the worst alleys in their wards. (Ward 8 Marion Barry would not tolerate any discussion that it might not be his own ward, at one point calling Ward 7 Councilmember Yvette Alexander either a “damn liar” or a “damned liar.”) The meeting wasn’t interesting enough to make the print edition of the Post, but Mike DeBonis ably sums up on his blog what went down. The big news: maybe those hard, unpopular decisions won’t have to be made afterall. “What emerged late Monday is that legislators are expecting their toughest budgetary dilemmas to be solved in June, in the form of upgraded revenue projections due from Chief Financial Officer Natwar M. Gandhi. Brown estimated that the council could see anywhere from $20 million to $60 million in added revenue once the new numbers are crunched. [Ward 2 Councilmember Jack] Evans said the number could be still higher, as much as $90 million. ‘It’s way too early,’ said Gandhi’s spokesman, David Umansky, declining to address the speculation.” Sounds like Gandhi’s on notice: make it rain, Nat! The Examiner has Councilmember David Catania making fun of Barry, and notes that the council’s wish list of extra spending totals $350 million. Greater Greater Washington notes that several councilmembers want parking meter fees reduced, aren’t fond of increasing residential parking permits, and aren’t as smart as Ward 6 Councilmember and smart growth hero Tommy Wells. And the Times has more details on Evans’ plan to do away with many of Mayor Vince Gray‘s proposed tax increases.
AFTER THE JUMP: Do the Right Thing, Kwame; Marion Barry Shout Out; Stadium Fund Protest …
You Can Be My Hero, Kwame: In a piece that has a high likelihood of annoying a certain reporter, Examiner columnist Harry Jaffe tells Council Chairman Kwame “Fully Loaded” Brown that he can put all his troubles behind him by finding “the mettle and muscle to stand firm on his two budget priorities, funding programs to house the homeless and hiring more cops.” But really, it’s about more cops. “No one knows how many sworn officers the city needs to keep the peace. We once had 5,200. Jack Evans, who represents Georgetown, downtown and parts of Shaw, wants to mandate 4,000 by law. There seems to be general agreement that fewer than 3,800 cops could tip the balance toward the criminals. We are losing about 20 cops a month in attrition and retirement, and Chief Cathy Lanier quit hiring for lack of funds. Now there are about 3,850 cops, and we are headed down to 3,600. Judiciary Chairman Phil Mendelson knew the arithmetic spelled fewer street cops, yet he chose neither to inform his colleagues nor sound a warning. Now the city faces a law enforcement funding emergency. The only way to keep the number of cops at the 3,800-level is to start hiring immediately, as in June. It takes about a year to hire, train and break in rookie cops. The council has to come up with $700,000 to jump start hiring immediately and $7 million to keep the force at 3,900 in 2012. Mendelson has failed to lead on this basic public safety issue. The city needs Chairman Kwame Brown to step in and keep the streets safe.” Mendo, you jerk! How dare you try and make this city unsafe.
Mamo Speaks: Gas station mogul/Irv Nathan target Joe Mamo tells Washington City Paper contributor Christine MacDonald (who wrote the definitive profile of him in February) that he’s being made the scapegoat for high gas prices, and that Ward 3’s Mary Cheh is only pushing a new bill to change the rules for how distributors can work with gas stations in order to benefit some residents of… wait for it… Ward 3! Cheh says there’s nothing wrong with that, if that’s what she’s doing, but what she’s really doing is standing up for Washingtonians who are suffering because of the price increases. Cue TV story on the Watergate Exxon in 3, 2, 1…
In Other News: Eugene Robinson: “A perp-walk photo is the kind of thing no politician recovers from. Well, no politician except former D.C. mayor Marion Barry.” Washington Interfaith Network protests Gray’s bid to do away with baseball stadium’s Community Benefits Fund. Not what shotguns are for. Three MPD officers hurt in collision. Metro gets new spokesman.
Gray sked: WTOP’s ask the mayor at 10 a.m.
Council sked: Legislative meeting, COW begins at 10ish.