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LL just got off the phone with a nearly manic Ward 1 Councilmember Jim Graham. Manic, because he says that he’s being unfairly deemed a pizza-banning legislator by a local TV station.
“I have been in media for 30 years, and there’s never been a more preposterous story than this one,” he says.
When WJLA-TV trained his cameras on him last week outside the John A. Wilson Building, he says, he mentioned nothing of legislation—only the jumbo slice pizzerias happen to be associated with certain problems, he says. “When they turn their speakers to the sidewalk, ramp up the volume, and have terrible fights occur not only outside the place but inside the place, when they provide kind of an unruly boardwalk atmosphere, they become a nuisance.” But that doesn’t mean legislation! He has no such bill in the works, Graham says.
“It’s wrong, it’s inaccurate, and it’s unfair,” he says. “To suggest that this is my point of view is absurd.”
LL is currently seeking a response from Channel 7.
UPDATE, 6:10 P.M.: WJLA-TV reporter John Gonzalez says Graham indeed told him, in response to a question, that he was considering legislation. “He said, ‘Oh yeah, I’ve already talked to the mayor.’ And I asked, ‘You mean to revoke licenses?’ He said, ‘I mean, yeah.’”
“I have it on camera,” Gonzalez adds. “I have the raw video!”
If Graham has a quarrel, he says, it might be with the lede-in read Friday night by anchor Leon Harris, which said that Graham “wants to ban the sales of single-slice pizza.”
Says Gonzalez, “I can understand why that made him a little upset…it’s sexy to say that the councilmember wants to get rid of pizza, but that’s not really true.”
Gonzalez adds that many of Graham’s anti-pizzeria comments were left on the cutting-room floor. “I don’t think he realized the kind of reaction he was going to get,” he says. “Apparently people take those jumbo slices very seriously.”
Photo by Daquella Manera