City Desk

Loose Lips Daily: Gay Marriage Is Coming (Sort of)

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Morning all. Gay marriage looks to be coming to the District, thanks to David Catania's Phil Mendelson's super-secret surprise amendment and subsequent unanimous D.C. Council vote. Well, that is, if the bill passes second reading, Mayor Adrian M. Fenty signs it, Congress allows it, and if you same-sex couples go do your marryin' in some other same-sex-marryin' jurisdiction.

—WaPo goes A1 with a story from Nikita Stewart and Tim Craig. The vote, they write, "was the first step in a looming battle for the city's gay marriage bill. That measure is expected to be introduced in the council soon and undoubtedly will pit the city against opponents in Congress, which has the final say in the District's legislative matters."
—The editorial board chimes in, saying that "the council should be commended for taking the correct stance in defense of fairness for those who live in the nation's capital."
Examiner points out that Yvette Alexander, thus far unwilling to countenance gay marriage, voted in favor.
—Also WaTimes, WTOP, NC8, WRC-TV, WUSA-TV, WTTG-TV, DCist, the Advocate, Weekly Standard, On Top magazine, Volokh Conspiracy, WORLD, AMERICAblog, Washington Independent, Human Rights Campaign (press release), Lez Get Real, SFist.

THANKFULLY UNEQUIVOCAL FENTY STATEMENT—"I fully support today's action and look forward to signing the legislation once the Council takes final action next month."

STILL MORE—Catania hits WaPo Q&A on gay marriage, along with "traditional marriage" defender Brian Brown—who, incidentally, believes the federal Defense of Marriage Act applies as D.C. local law. LL would like to see these two debate in the flesh. (There's short version, too.)

In other legislative meeting developments, 11th Street Bridge project is finally approved; D.C. becomes last jurisdiction in U.S. to approve "safe haven" law for unwanted newborns; PERB nominee is rejected; Tommy Wells' effort to help out struggling small businesses gets hijacked by his colleagues. And Gabe Klein is officially your transportation director.

PRIORITIES, PRIORITIES—Title of Vince Gray press release: "Gray Welcomes Votes on 11th St. Bridge, Same Sex Marriage Recognition, PERB"

HEALTH WATCH—Where was Marion Barry yesterday?

EAT THE RICH—Via Examiner's Michael Neibauer, here's a fine vanity bill from Jim Graham that will be going absolutely nowhere: "the 'Equitable Income Tax Act of 2009,' which would create a new tax bracket for D.C. residents who earn a half-million dollars or more." Nice idea and all—good campaign fodder, and Ed Lazere likes it, natch. But you can't even get Mendo on board? And here's what the finance and revenue committee chair will be doing with it: “We’re not doing it...We’ve got our rate down to 8.5 [percent], and my goal is to get it even lower to be even more competitive,” says chair Jack Evans.

WRC-TV's Tom Sherwood has Fenty saying that he knew nothing about the fishy fire trick giveaway until he read about in the newspaper. And he backs away from the whole thing: "Even though some things may be right to some people, and they may be legal, in governments you still can't always do them." NC8/WJLA-TV's Sam Ford also gets wise to the fishy fire truck giveaway.

Dee Hunter, former at-large council candidate, accepts disbarment by legal authorities, Legal Times reports. "Hunter, a longtime community activist and former aide to council member David Catania and former council member William Lightfoot, was accused of violating a number of ethical rules last year. Among those were committing criminal acts (forgery and theft), misappropriating funds, failing to maintain complete and accurate financial records, and 'engaging in conduct that involved dishonesty, fraud, deceit and/or misrepresentation.'"

Several DMV inspection station workers have been fired for taking low-rent bribes, WUSA-TV's Bruce Johnson reports. One inspector estimates that "70 to 80 percent" of cab drivers offer bribes to overlook bad emissions, etc.

Homeland Security move to St. Elizabeths gets a big New York Times writeup, albeit in the real-estate section. There's a Neil Albert quote! "The development, on a hill overlooking the United States Capitol and the Washington Monument, represents the federal government’s first significant presence in the District of Columbia’s blighted neighborhoods east of the Anacostia River," writes Eugene L. Meyer. "But the mammoth undertaking has also drawn sharp criticism from preservationists, who say it will be devastating to a certified national historic landmark."

Today's must-read feature: WaPo's Clarence Williams on D.C. detective Rene Dessin, who is spending much of his life investigating a case outside of his jurisdiction, in Prince George's County. "The 24-year veteran has spent hours interviewing witnesses. He has pressed street informants for leads and developed theories. He has asked District colleagues to volunteer their time on a case that has touched him like no other could. After leaving a nightclub with friends in November, Dessin's only child, Marcel, was shot to death on a desolate stretch of Central Avenue when a dozen rounds were fired from a moving car."

Lyme disease cases are up in the region, WaPo's Ashley Halsey III reports. "The most recent statistics show that Lyme disease reports more than doubled in Virginia and Maryland from 2006 to 2007, the last year for which data are available. They have nearly doubled in the District, tripled in Howard County and quadrupled in Montgomery County. Loudoun County recorded half of all cases in Virginia." D.C. numbers: 62 in 2006; 116 in 2007.

"WHERE'S VICTOR?"—Harry Jaffe says "School builders get an A for effort, D for planning" in Examiner column. After spending a good chunk of his 450 words pumping up Allen Lew & Co., he gets out the knives: "What’s missing, according to the advisory committee, is adequate planning among the executive branch’s planning and development arms, School Chancellor Michelle Rhee and Lew....It’s as if Lew, the builder, has been told to build and rebuild schools without much direction from Mayor Adrian Fenty or Rhee. The missing person appears to be Victor Reinoso, whose job as deputy mayor of education would appear to be organizing the executive branch around the schools."

St.L UNITED?—P.G. Council votes unanimously to oppose locating soccer stadium inside their boundaries; WaPo says the vote "probably killed" the stadium's chances within the county, while Biz Journal says it "effectively kill[s]" the plan. LL SEZ—Way to stand up to corporate blackmail!

Eleanor Holmes Norton's judicial/justice nomination commission is about to get to work, says Legal Times.

NAT GANDHI'S NEW POWER LUNCH SPOT?—W Hotel (former Hotel Washington) to get primo steakhouse run by celeb chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten.

Gas leak at 16th and Park Road NW leads to evacuations.

WTTG-TV has more on Shaw burglary, rape.

GGW: Everything you ever wanted to know about missing sidewalks, but didn't even know you didn't want to ask.

NOT JUST LUCKY?—God, does Tommy Wells really have a sweet jump shot after all?

Michelle Rhee, Joel Klein to address Ivy Leaguers next month.

Is the WTU push-polling?

Asian American Action Fund takes issue with mayoral push to shutter cabinet-level Office of Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs. "[D]oes this imply that APAs who live and work in the district have less importance and significance than everyone else? It’s understandable that in a tough budget year, some cuts must be made, but they should be made evenly, and without wiping out the only outlet for one whole community." HEY! Don't forget the vets—they're getting screwed, too!

In case you were curious about the Bicycle Advisory Council's budget hearing...

LISTEN—Today on the Kojo Nnamdi Show: DYRS head Vincent Schiraldi appears with his Maryland counterpart, part of Kojo's series on juvenile justice; noon on WAMU-FM, 88.5.

D.C. COUNCIL TODAY—9:30 a.m.: Committee on Finance and Revenue roundtable on PR18-163 ("National Public Radio, Inc. Revenue Bonds Project Approval Resolution of 2009"), JAWB 500; 10 a.m.: Committee on Finance and Revenue FY2010 budget hearing on Lottery and Charitable Games Control Board, Board of Real Property Assessments and Appeals, and Office of the Chief Financial Officer (including Office of Tax and Revenue, Office of Integrity and Oversight, Office of Finance and Resource Management, Office of Financial Operations, Office of Finance and Treasury, and Office of Revenue Analysis), JAWB 500; Committee on Housing and Workforce Development FY2010 budget hearing on Department of Housing and Community Development, Housing Finance Agency, and District of Columbia Housing Authority, JAWB 412; Committee on Public Works and Transportation FY2010 budget hearing on Department of Public Works, JAWB 123; Committee on Economic Development FY2010 budget hearing on Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development, JAWB 120; 4 p.m.: Committee on Human Services hearing on B18-105 ("Records Access Amendment Act of 2009"), JAWB 120; 6 p.m.: Committee on Aging and Community Affairs roundtable on advisory neighborhood commissions in wards 3 and 6, JAWB 120.

ADRIAN FENTY TODAY—9:15 a.m.: remarks, special education announcement, Turner at Green Elementary School, 1500 Mississippi Ave. SE; 4 p.m.: guest, NewsTalk with Bruce DePuyt, NewsChannel 8; 7:30 p.m.: attendee, Citizens Aware Civic Association meeting, Christian Reform Church, 5911 New Hampshire Ave. NW.

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  • Reid

    I too would love to see that Gay Marriage debate in the flesh.

    Brian Brown's arguments are all pretty petty ("No Fair! You're not allowed to call us bigots!") except the DOMA argument. But I wonder, while DOMA says Federal law only recognizes a marriage between a man and a wife and the District is technically a federal entity, aren't the laws of the District also technically federal laws? Wouldn't that mean that the District law is in effect amending DOMA?

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