City Desk

The Needle: Yes We Can Edition

Vincent Gray Meets Obama: The D.C. Council chairman's mayoral campaign spread the news by email, Twitter, and blog post: Vincent Gray had shaken the hand of the president of the United States! Less impressive: They bumped into each other at a basketball game. Even less impressive: The campaign saw fit to announce that Gray had "hung out with" Obama's personal assistant, Reggie Love, as well. Note to Gray: You are running for mayor of what is supposed to be a worldly, sophisticated big city. The sort of place where pols are supposed to be above posting photo streams of their celeb run-ins. Or are they? -3

Barry Exonerated: Well, sorta. The director of the city's campaign finance office wrote Ward 8 Councilmember Marion Barry that he had failed to disclose a personal relationship with girlfriend/earmark beneficiary Donna Watts-Brighthaup, which "would have resulted in the transparency of the transaction and removed any cloud from the contract process." But the office also declared that the former mayor hadn't violated any laws—which is a nice change. +1

LaVar Arrington Joins Washington Post: The former Redskins linebacker will blog and do video commentary on football and other sports. Arrington hasn't been shy about bashing the team on his radio show—if he's half as harsh as former running back John Riggins is on YouTube, the Post may have found itself a winner. (And yes, that assumes the Redskins will still mostly inspire despair, not joy, among fans this season.) At Washington City Paper, we're trying to find our own Redskin-turned-blogger. Maybe Albert Haynesworth will be available? Come on over, Albert; we'll pay you a bonus of at least $21 and won't make you do any wind sprints. +2

Metro Delays Fare Hikes: Taking the subway during rush hour today? You'll save money, thanks to... Well, thanks to the fact that Metro managed to confuse everyone about exactly how the new fare structure scheduled to begin this week is supposed to work. New "peak of the peak" surcharges are supposed to take effect, but evidently the whole concept was too much for Washingtonians to handle. Considering riders are already used to paying different amounts at different times of day or to go to different stations, it's a little unclear why Metro felt this new setup wouldn't fly. The transit system will lose $60,000 because of the screwup, but hey, at least you'll save 20 cents. (Now, if only the train you're waiting for would arrive.) +1

Friday's Needle rating: 48 Today's score: 1 Today's Needle rating: 49

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