A morning roundup of news, opinion, and links from Washington City Paper and around the District. Send tips and ideas to citydesk@washingtoncitypaper.com.

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This week’s cover story: A long look at mayoral candidate and Ward 6 Councilmember Tommy Wells, from his plans to build a “Livable, Walkable D.C.” to the nuns that prayed for him.


  • Workers from two Smithsonian eateries went on strike Thursday, calling for all federal museum workers to earn a living wage in a downtown protest. [NBC4]
  • The head of D.C.’s Housing Finance Agency spent nearly $50,000 using a city credit card on flight upgrades, hotel rooms, and more. [Loose Lips]
  • A masked man with a handgun carjacked an ice cream truck that had two people inside last night in Anacostia. [Post]
  • The D.C. Council passed a smoking ban at the first reading Wednesday that would prohibit cigarettes from city parks, community centers and bus stops. A second reading in scheduled for the fall. [WJLA]
  • A “corpse flower” is on display Thursday at the Botanic Gardens in Southwest D.C. Also known as the “stinky plant,” once in bloom it gives off a smell of rotting flesh. [WTOP]


Pay Day: D.C. Council passed a living wage bill, despite Walmart’s threats to pull three of its planned D.C. stores. Walmart may not be bluffing, but its campaign against the legislation revealed its disingenuousness in its talk about decent pay.

Decriminalizing D.C.’s Pot: Ten D.C. Councilmembers have now backed a bill decriminalizing marijuana—and legalizing marijuana paraphernalia—meaning there could be a majority for a vote on the bill.

Work That Absinthe: A new Adams Morgan restaurant has more than 30 different types of the licorice-flavor liquor, and it’s the second restaurant featuring the once-outlawed drink to open in the last two weeks.

The Amazing Mingering: The D.C. Council honored outsider artist Mingering Mike Wednesday for his contributions to art in the District. His attire for the event: a Spider-Man costume.

LOOSE LIPS, by Will Sommer (tips? wsommer@washingtoncitypaper.com)

  • The two Tommy Wells [WCP]
  • Council passes living wage bill in mammoth meeting, earns Walmart threat. [Housing ComplexWTOPPost]
  • Transgender birth certificate bill passes. [DCist]
  • Council contract refusal could hold up instant lotto tickets. [WBJ]
  • D.C. accused of violating due process with vehicle seizures. [Times]
  • Retail group says living wage bill is “flawed.” [WBJ]
  • Cab commission and two other agencies will move into Anacostia evidence warehouse. [WBJ]
  • Chuck Thies wants to know how Council will fix Walmart meltdown. [NBC 4]
  • Michelle Rhee‘s lobbying outfit finds little traction in Tennessee. [New Republic]

HOUSING COMPLEX, by Aaron Wiener (tips? awiener@washingtoncitypaper.com)

  • Three D.C. agencies are moving into a new Anacostia building. [WBJ]
  • Walmart sells 30 percent of America’s groceries, but it hasn’t killed off regional supermarkets. [Atlantic Cities]
  • Smithsonian food workers get in on the “living wage” action. [WJLA]
  • Are we seeing the last of the 5A bus to Dulles? [GGW]
  • Moody’s might downgrade Howard University. [Post]
  • Seventy-five-unit building coming to 14th and Wallach streets NW. [UrbanTurf]
  • Cool animation of Metro entries and exits. [Kenton Ngo]
  • What does Kroger’s takeover mean for planned D.C. Harris Teeter stores? Probably nothing. [WBJ]
  • Live at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. … SE. [HuffPost DC]
  • Mapping big construction sites in central D.C. [Curbed]
  • Ms. Ward 8 is leaving Ward 8. [Congress Heights on the Rise]
  • Today on the market: Size over style in Brookland

ARTS LINKS, by Ally Schweitzer (tips? aschweitzer@washingtoncitypaper.com)

  • The chair of Hirshhorn’s Board of Trustees resigns. [Arts DeskPost]
  • U.S. Royalty releases unintentionally funny promo video for its forthcoming album, Blue Sunshine. [D.C. Music Download]
  • Some tickets may still be available for the Kennedy Center’s Book of Mormon. [AP via WTOP]
  • D.C. theater community, meet the Welders. [Post]
  • The Housing for All campaign sponsors a cool film series about gentrification. [Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space]
  • Anne Midgette critiques the Big Arts Awards. [Post]
  • MLK Library prepares to unveil its new Digital Commons. [Huffington Post D.C.]

FOOD LINKS, by Jessica Sidman (tips? hungry@washingtoncitypaper.com)

  • The ins and outs of restaurant reservation-making [Kojo Nnamdi Show]
  • How to make Bourbon Steak‘s pina colada [Washingtonian]
  • A last minute guide to Bastille Day [Eater]
  • Tom Sietsema‘s early look at Decanter at the St. Regis Hotel [Post]
  • Glover Park’s Sprig & Sprout launches Monday supper club. [PoPville]
  • How do Twinkies last so long? [NPR]
  • MacDowell Brew Kitchen’s beach bar saved. [NoVa Mag]