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Early next week is one of the great annual events in District politcking: the trip to the yearly convention of the International Council of Shopping Centers in Las Vegas. There, from Sunday to Tuesday, local politicos, bureaucrats, and developers do their damnedest to land commitments from big-time national retailers.
In past years, Mayor Anthony A. Williams was a frequent attendee, as well as then-council economic development committee chair Vincent Orange and occasionally a couple of other councilmembers. This year, the delegation has grown: eight councilmembers—-Chairman Vincent C. Gray, Ward 2’s Jack Evans, Ward 4’s Muriel Bowser, Ward 5’s Harry Thomas Jr., Ward 6’s Tommy Wells, Ward 7’s Yvette Alexander, Ward 8’s Marion Barry, and At-Large Councilmember Kwame R. Brown—-and seven council staffers are slated to attend, in addition to Mayor Adrian M. Fenty, Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development Neil Albert, and three of his staffers.
And, as with so many instances of intergovernmental relations these days, there are apparently some issues. The council has had a hard time getting a complete schedule of meetings from the executive branch. That’s important, LL’s sources say, because it gives the impression that the mayor is calling the shots as far as who can attend which meeting with which potential retailer.
“We want to be on the same page, so were disappointed the executive is making the sole decisions,” says Alexander. “We don’t want to look like we’re disorganized.”
Gray, a source says, requested a full schedule from a mayoral staffer at a meeting yesterday but has yet to receive one. LL is also told that Brown, current chair of the economic development committee, was none too happy with the snub. Reached by LL, though, Brown declined to feud with Hizzoner. “There’s no problem,” he says.
UPDATE, FRIDAY 1:16 P.M.: Gray’s chief of staff, Dawn Slonneger, calls to say a full schedule was provided by Albert’s office last night. Everyone’s happy again!