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Good morning. Yesterday, D.C. Council Chairman Vincent Gray was endorsed in his run for mayor by the Gertrude Stein Democratic Club. He bested Mayor Adrian Fenty with 63 percent of the club’s members voting in his favor. But as WaPo’s Tim Craig reports, the endorsement may have had little to do with the substance of the candidates’ positions. Both major candidates supported the same-sex marriage bill and other issues concerning the LGBT community. Craig writes that Gray’s victory may have come down to Fenty’s heavy reliance on notes during the debate leading up to the big vote.
So is it wrong for Fenty to use cheat sheets during debates? It’s come up in an earlier debate. This LL expects the issue to continue unless the mayor decides to study up before these forums. It only reinforces the perception that Fenty is, um, aloof. Craig writes: “Although Gray also had a briefing book nearby, he rarely referred to it. In several recent candidates forums, Fenty has referred to written notes while he debated his opponent, even reading word for word from talking points as he attacks Gray’s record….Rick Rosendall, the vice-president for political affairs for the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance, wrote on GLAA’s blog last night Gray pulled off ‘a historic upset.’ ‘Fenty read from notes, while Gray spoke without notes,’ Rosendall wrote. ‘What probably put Gray over the top, though, was how well he sold himself as someone with a history of working with the community and was more collaborative than the aloof Fenty.'”
AFTER THE JUMP: :Evans doesn’t approve of budget, District facing insurance problem, Fenty facing nasty fliers, Metro prepares to honor crash victims, and much, much more!
BUDGET APPROVED: The D.C. Council passed the District’s budget by a 12-1 vote with Councilmember Jack Evans the lone dissenter. WBJ’s Michael Neibauer reports: “Among its many provisions, the [Budget Support Act] hikes a raft of fees for all manner of services, reestablishes a vacant property tax of $5 per $100 of assessed value, implements a host of tax exemptions, opens the door to overhead streetcar wires on H Street NE and elsewhere, establishes new fees for intercity bus loading and unloading, assesses a 6 percent sales tax on soft drinks, carbonated beverages and medical marijuana, and allows the D.C. Department of Transportation to sell advertising on parking meters and meter receipts. Ward 2 Councilman Jack Evans voted ‘no’ on the budget, citing the use of reserves to balance what he has described as out of control spending. The District’s reserves funds will drop to about $600 million after 2011, $300 million short of a limit set by Mayor Adrian Fenty in meetings with Wall Street bond rating agencies.’Assurances were given we would not do that,’ Evans said. ‘We are taking this down to a level, at $600 million, that puts us in a position of not having any reserve funds at all to draw upon — I think a very dangerous situation.'”
Gray put out a press release on the vote: ‘While the overall spending in this budget is comparable to that proposed by the Executive, the Council restored funding the Mayor had cut to address many important citywide priorities, including dollars to preserve our social safety net,’ Gray said.” Save Our Safety Net had a different response leading up to the vote. More coverage via WaPo.
DISTRICT OWES MILLIONS: The Examiner’s Alan Suderman reports that the District is in the hole big time over unpaid insurance bills: “The cash-strapped District government will have to come up with as much as $6 million to cover the life insurance premiums the city collected from hundreds of disabled employees over seven years but didn’t pass along to the insurance companies, officials said Tuesday. Mayor Adrian Fenty and Attorney General Peter Nickles said at a news conference that they had asked the city’s independent inspector general to investigate what happened to the money that had been collected by the city’s Office of Risk Management. The Washington Examiner first reported in May that members of the Fenty administration were scrambling to fix problems within Risk Management, which is charged with operating the city’s workers’ compensation claims, and that the FBI was asking questions about the agency’s contracting practices…. Ward 3 Councilwoman Mary Cheh said the city should have acted much sooner, as word of problems at Risk Management have been around for ‘some time.’ Cheh asked for the city’s auditor to investigate the department last month. ‘My question is, where have they been?’ Cheh said. ‘They had early warning that something was amiss.'” More coverage via WaPo.
FENTY BIKE THEFT: A D.C. cop is apparently still being investigated for not leaving his guard post during the bike theft at the mayor’s house. The Examiner’s Bill Myers stays on this story: “A day after Mayor Adrian Fenty publicly cleared a police officer who was on duty when two bikes were stolen from his home, the officer was informed by superiors that he is the target of an internal investigation, The Washington Examiner has learned. Officer Wilson Liriano was told that he’s facing discipline for negligence in a late Tuesday afternoon meeting at police headquarters, his union leader, Kris Baumann, said. Liriano was in a guard booth at Mayor Adrian Fenty‘s home when three young thieves made off with mountain bikes from the mayor’s garage. Liriano saw the thieves on a closed-circuit television and alerted his superiors, but was unable to catch the thieves. On Monday, Fenty’s spokeswoman issued a statement that Liriano ‘followed proper protocol’ in the incident.”
NASTY POLITICS: D.C. Wire’s Tim Craig reports on some tasteless fliers being passed around at mayoral campaign events: “For two consecutive weeks, people attending candidates forums in the D.C. mayor’s race have been greeted with fliers urging them to ‘slap’ Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D). ‘Slap This Brat,’ states the flyer, which includes a photo-shopped image of Fenty’s face attached to a baby sitting on a rocking horse. ‘Elect Somebody. Anybody But Fenty.’ Larger signs with the same image and message have also been posted on some city telephone poles. Many of the fliers and posters are in color while others are black-and-white. The flier and signs do not include any information about who paid for or is distributing them, a possible violation of city campaign finance rules requiring disclosure of electioneering activities. City election law states ‘campaign literature must be identified by the words ‘paid for by’ followed by the name and address of the payer or the committee or other person and its treasurer,’ according to the Office of Campaign Finance. The campaign of Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray has denied any involvement in creating or distributing the fliers, which D.C. Wire first noticed at the Ward 3 Democrats candidates’ forum Thursday. The Fenty campaign had no comment on the fliers last week.”
And then there’s this little mystery involving WASHINGTON CITY PAPER: “Similar ads have also been appearing in the Washington City Paper. According to Washington Post reporter Mike DeBonis, those print ads state they are being paid for by ‘electanyoneelse.com.’ But electanyoneelse.com doesn’t exist and there is no registered political committee with that name.” WTF.
JULY 4: D.C. Council approved a measure that will allow liquor stores to sell booze on July . The holiday happens to fall on a Sunday this year. Meanwhile, bad news for drunks who may need a free ride home after the fireworks. The free taxi service for boozers may not be running on July 4 due to financial problems. AP reports: “A program that offers free cab rides home to people in the Washington region who have been drinking around certain holidays may not be available on Independence Day. The Washington Regional Alcohol Program’s SoberRide program is in jeopardy due to declining contributions from private supporters. The program has been offering rides to people on St. Patrick’s Day, July 4, Halloween and during the Christmas-New Year’s period for 17 years. Kurt Erickson, president of the McLean, Va.-based organization, says funding has dropped because of the economic downturn. Erickson says there is a $31,000 gap between revenues and the cost of cab fares.”
METRO CRASH MEMORIAL: WTOP via the AP reports that the ceremony has been set to honor the Metro crash victims: “A letter sent to the victims’ families from Metro’s interim general manager says the ceremony will be held at Fort Totten Park at 10 a.m. next Tuesday — exactly one year since the crash that killed nine people and injured 80. The letter from Richard Sarles says the service will include remarks from non-denominational clergy and dignitaries. A bronze plaque listing the names of the victims also will be unveiled. Last week, some of the victims’ relatives complained that they had not been told about a memorial event.”
VACANT PROPERTY AUCTION: The District is set to sell off some of its vacants, WBJ reports: “The properties currently sit in the Department of Housing and Community Development’s portfolio, which is coordinating an auction to dish out the buildings. It will be held June 30 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center at 2 p.m. and conducted by Alex Cooper Auctioneers Inc….Most of the properties sit in the Northwest and Northeast quadrants of the city, including the Columbia Heights and Deanwood neighborhoods.” Property list can be found here.
MARYLAND COPS: Don’t like it when you tape their traffic stops.
WASA R.I.P.: Introducing…D.C. Water.
REDSKINS: More Haynesworth headaches.
CLARK RAY NABS WILLIE WILSON ENDORSEMENT: Not sure if this is such a good thing. But the at-large council candidate thinks so. In a press release, he is quoted saying: “I look forward to working in partnership with Rev. Wilson to build bridges throughout all communities and neighborhoods as we heal and solve the problems of our City. I’m gratified that Rev. Wilson and others who toil daily in our neighborhoods, who are connected with people and their problems, have embraced my push for real transparency in education reform…” blah, blah, blah. You get the idea.
MAYOR’S SCHEDULE: No public events.
D.C. COUNCIL’S SCHEDULE:
Committee on Housing and Workforce Development (Round Table)
Fiscal Year 2010 Summer Youth Employment Program
Location: John A. Wilson Building, Room 120
Committee on Economic Development (Legislative)
Committee Mark-up B 18-0800; PR 18-0888; PR 18-0889
Location: John A. Wilson Building, Room 123
Committee on Economic Development and Government Operations and the Environment (Round Table)
The Proposed Surplus and Disposition of the following District -owned properties: 4800 Nannie Helen Burroughs Ave., N.E.; 335 8th St. S.E.; 1101 24th Street, N.W.; 2301 L ST, N.W.;2225 M St., N.W.; 3050 R St., N.W.; 27 O Street, N.W.
Location: John A. Wilson Building, Room 412
Committee on Government Operations (Meeting)
Location: John A. Wilson Building, Room 123