Loose Lips Daily: Vince Gray is Ahead! (According to His Own Unscientific Survey).
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT—"D.C. Council Catches World Cup Fever (Sort of)," "Applying for Permits? Budget Accordingly," "Coming Soon to the Wilson Building: Pawn Shop Showdown," "Councilmember Bowser a Lone Voice Against Universal Sidewalks," "City Council Postpones Vote on New Zoning Commission Chair," "Judge Will Hear Testimony Regarding Price’s Bro in Wone Case," "Judge OKs Pork Loin, Horse Blood Tests in Robert Wone Case," "Pool Coverage: City Swim Centers Draw Overflow Crowds"
All ye all ye! Good morning D.C. I've had a blast subbing as Loose Lips the past few days. I'm working on various editorial projects here in D.C. and also in New York, so be sure to follow me on Twitter if you're so inclined. I spotted question mark man Matthew Lesko last night at Tunnicliff's on Capitol Hill!
The rest of this week, I'll be guest editing over at my old DCist stomping grounds as editor Sommer Mathis enjoys a nice vacation before she heads over to Rosslyn to go hang out with all those social media gurus at TBD. Maybe she can oust Jeff Sonderman as Mayor of TBD on FourSquare! Local media is certainly in flux, ain't it?
Let's get to the news ...
GRAY POLL SHOWS COUNCIL CHAIRMAN BESTING MAYOR: Remember yesterday when your substitute LL wished there would be some good ward-by-ward polling data on the District’s mayoral race to examine? Voila, we have a partial picture! WaPo’s Tim Craig got his hands on a voter ID survey commissioned by D.C. Council Chairman Vincent Gray's mayoral campaign showing that among voters who have already made up their minds, Gray leads the incumbent, Adrian Fenty, in the September primary with a quite comfortable margin, 57.8 to 42.2 percent.
SO, MO? Craig cites "a source with access to the information released the findings," but Gray’s Virginia-seasoned political strategist, Mo Elleithee said the chairman’s mayoral campaign didn’t OK the release of the survey intel, which Craig notes "was not designed to reflect the mood of the electorate." The survey also wasn’t scientific! But hey, the documents "show a breakdown of the results, including undecided voters, by ward and ZIP codes." That can be handy information, eh?
BATTLEGROUND D.C.: Remember, these are just figures for decided voters. In Wards 2 and 3, Fenty beats Gray, but the D.C. Council chairman breaks 30 percent. Gray leads the mayor in Wards 7 and 8, with "broad support" in Ward 5. So, Wards 1, 4 and 6 are wild cards? Remember, half of the poll’s respondents were undecided, so don’t read into any of this!
AFTER THE JUMP—Don't ever question Harry Thomas Jr. on his parenting abilities! The Peter Nickles Referendum of 2010; Layoffs at the library; First Big G, now add Chi Ali; DeBonis births a new blog; A streetcar wire compromise that the Committee of 100 is warming too; Cabbie try to chant on Freedom Plaza
LIVE (BUT SILENT, AT TIMES) FROM THE WILSON BUILDING: Lots of D.C. Council Committee of the Whole action on Tuesday! Just as long as you had a stable audio feed, which Channel 13 did not, frustrating councilwatchers. Like me! Big lesson learned: Don’t question Harry Thomas, Jr.'s parenting skills. During a particularly tense council discussion on a proposed curfew legislation introduced by Tommy Wells of Ward 6, Ward 7's Yvette Alexander urged her fellow councilmembers—especially those with young children—to support the measure, which would have pushed the evening curfew for juveniles up to 10 p.m. Because you’d be a bad parent if your kids were out and about and not studying, right? Think of the children!
Thomas, who—along with Ward 3's Mary Cheh—had earlier challenged Wells to deliver empirical crime data showing that earlier curfews curb youth crime, was none too pleased with what he viewed was an attack of his parenting and then ripped into Wells' bill some more. "These curfew centers are a joke! … Stop paying lip service and start doing real service!" He was peeved, certainly. Bottom line: Previous juvenile curfew bills like Wells' legislation have failed over the years—Ward 8's Marion Barry said there's "no empirical evidence that curfews work"—and in some cases have run into legal challenges. But 'tis the season for summer curfew bills in any regard. The measure failed 6-7. (Roll call vote! Yeas: Alexander, K. Brown, Bowser, Evans, Graham, Wells; Nays: Barry, M. Brown, Catania, Cheh, Gray, Mendelson, Thomas).
OTHER COUNCIL ACTION: Should we call it the Peter Nickles Referendum of 2010? District voters, for the first time since 2002, will be voting on a city-wide referendum in November that would make the D.C. attorney general an elected position, not appointed as currently done. The undercurrent here? Tim Craig reports in WaPo:
Although council members say their decision is not aimed at Attorney General Peter Nickles, they are rushing to move to an elected attorney general at a time when many have been suggesting that Nickles is too cozy with Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D).
A win for all the Nickles disapprovers out there ...
From your substitute LL’s perch at home yesterday, there was a particularly long stretch of sporadic Channel 13 audio when Ward 4’s Muriel Bower was bleeped out entirely—sort of like that recent “South Park" episode involving the Prophet Mohammad! Was that when Bowser was opposing Mary Cheh’s Priority Sidewalk Assurance Act? Bowser was the lone hold out on the legislation, which will need to go through a second vote, Housing Complex’s Lydia DePillis reports. Never mess with agitated North Portal Estates homeowners! More from GGW.
Goal! The proposal by Ward 1’s Jim Graham that would allow eager World Cup fans to gather at 7 a.m. at local watering holes was approved without much discussion. Graham’s plan, however, does not allow alcohol to be served at 7 a.m. But the bars can open their doors to eager beaver soccer fans nonetheless. A bunch of ANCs supported the legislation. Even the Kalorama Citizens Association gave its blessing! More from WBJ, DCist, AP.
Stanley Wall's nomination to Zoning Commission will be postponed! Who is this Wall fellow? A developer who rubs some councilmembers the wrong way. (He once gave $500 to Hizzoner’s 2006 mayoral campaign!) Wall has business interests in city affairs, critics say. Anyhow, a win for At-Large Councilmember Phil Mendelson, whose been pretty vocal on the issue! More from Housing Complex and WBJ.
Inaugural Trams on H Street NE and Benning Road are one step closer to reality! Tommy Wells got all but one councilmember—Mendelson!—to co-sponsor legislation that would exempt D.C.’s inaugural 21st century streetcar line from being subject to the 19th-century ban on overhead wires being used as a power source. As WaPo’s Mike DeBonis tweeted, Meg Maguire of the Council of 100 on the Federal City, who has been long opposed to any overhead wires to power streetcars, "may not oppose" Wells' H Street exemption because it's limited in focus. "I think it's moving in the right direction," DeBonis quotes Maguire. More from WBJ, GGW and WaPo.
Deep breath, what else … ?
UPSET CABBIES: How hard is it to coordinate a simple "Hey Hey, Ho Ho" chant when the cameras are present? For D.C. cab drivers upset with Fenty’s move to rid the city of its old zoned taxi fare structure in favor of meters, Freedom Plaza was the place show their united front against the mayor's popular taxi reform efforts. Something tells me there’s going to be more of a turnout for today's free Jonas Brothers concert around the corner at the Warner Theater! More from WaPo, WUSA/Channel 9 and Examiner.
LIBRARY CUTS: The ax is falling at the D.C. Public Library. Because of the tight Fiscal 2011 budget, the library is eliminating the equivalent of 23.5 full-time positions. When you count part-time positions, 40 staffers are affected, the library laid out in a press statement. Although library hours aren’t being trimmed back, some programs, like the Youth Outreach Program are being eliminated. More from D.C. Wire.
MORE ON GO-GO: D.C. Wire's Nikita Stewart got some more details on those mayoral go-go ads your substitute LL told you about yesterday. Beyond Big G, there's also Chi Ali. Take it away, D.C. Wire!
In one, go-go artist Chi Ali tells listeners to "get the facts, not fiction" on Fenty by going to the mayor's Web site (listen below). In another, a man talks over Wale's "Pretty Girls" and says, "He's got that posture!" (That's D.C. talk for swagger.)
If the mayor has “posture," does that mean Fenty is Bendy?
FENTY AND HIS POLICE CHIEF: WaPo’s editorial board examines Fenty’s police chief, Cathy Lanier, whose "appointment is emblematic of Mr. Fenty's approach to governing and is a fitting start for an examination of his time in office." She was a "an unorthodox, even controversial, selection." There’s a lot in this here editorial:
Apparent in the mayor's handling of public safety issues are certain traits. He favors action over dialogue, results over process. He's not afraid to take risks, sticks by the people he trusts and rarely looks back. And he thinks there are limits to consultation and collaboration. "Do you really think Cathy Lanier would be police chief today if he had put it up for a vote?" is how one of his advisers put it. This is the conundrum facing Washington voters, who undoubtedly welcome the drop in crime Mr. Fenty has overseen, but may perceive arrogance and aloofness in the way he has overseen it.
But will voter perception change if there’s a massive summer crime spree? DCist’s Martin Austermuhle tweets: "Weird [editorial] from the Post today on Fenty's role on decreasing crime. They're not very discrete in their support for him."
A BLOG BIRTH: Mike DeBonis, your former LL who decamped from this WordPress-powered blog a few weeks ago for 15th & L streets NW now has his very own WaPo blog. Have fun with Moveable Type, DeBonis! And that’s what the blog is called, plain old "< href="http://voices.washingtonpost.com/debonis/2010/06/this_is_debonis.html?wprss=rss_blog&utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter">DeBonis." There was a time when WaPo valued alliteration for its blog names, like "Maryland Moment," the old name for the "Maryland Politics" blog. What is a "Maryland moment" anyway? Maybe Mike will unlock that critical mystery when he dives into local politics in D.C., Virginia and Maryland. Congrats, Mike.
Also, there's something new on WaPo's Local page called Lori's A.M. Buzz. Didn't I do something like that over at Express four years ago? What's old and tried is new and en vogue these days. Corporate synergy!
BRIEFLY: The District has made it to the second round of Race to the Top, President Obama’s big education initiative that pits reform efforts in the states against each other to win critical funding. As WaPo's Nick Anderson reports: "For the District, as much as $75 million is at stake. Its bid reflects the policies of Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee and the city's charter-school leaders."
A warning to purveyors of illegal fireworks locally: The feds are watching.
Taxing medical marijuana could generate $400,000 for the District over the next five years. It also could spark 850 jobs. Note the lack of outrage over a tax on medical cannibis versus, say, D.C.’s hike in traffic fines. Drivers are irked! Everyone just needs to chill. More from We Love DC.
D.C. COUNCIL TODAY:
10 a.m.; Committee on Public Services and Consumer Affairs (Hearing)
Bill 18-715: Predatory Pawnbroker Regulation Act of 2010 Bill 18-516: Financial Protection Amendment Act of 2009; Location: John A. Wilson Building, Room 500
10 a.m.; Public Safety and the Judiciary (Hearing); Bill 18-652: Local Court Reform Amendment Act of 2010; Location: John A. Wilson Building, Room 120
MAYOR’S SCHEDULE: 10:45 a.m.; Remarks, Grand Opening of Waterfront Station; Location: 1101 4th St. SW