City Desk

The Needle: Better Draw a District Edition

Gerrymandering for the People: Census figures out yesterday meant two things—one, the decennial shock that the city's demographics changed, and two, we now know what wards need to grow or shrink as the city redistricts its political boundaries. (Alas, we also know that despite gaining nearly 30,000 residents, we will continue to have a grand total of 0 voting members of the House of Representatives.) But there are some advantages to living in modern times. This is the first Census since Google Maps debuted, which means you don't have to wait for the Wilson Building wonks to draw ward boundaries anymore, because Greater Greater Washington has hatched a tool to crowdsource redistricting. Now you know what you'll be doing all weekend! +2

Read My Lips—New Taxes!: The District's budget deficit for this year is projected to be $322 million, a sum city officials seem to think would be best made up by cutting services to residents (and of course, fighting the never-as-plentiful-as-predicted "waste, fraud, and abuse"). Of course, for a city where the top 1 percent of wage-earners have an average income of $2.7 million and the top 4 percent earn an average of $443,700, there's probably room for higher brackets at the top of the tax structure. Which a group of protesters tried to tell Mayor Vince Gray today at the Wilson Building. Gray sent an aide, who promised to take the protest into account while the budget is written. We're not holding our breath, but we're glad someone's trying. +1

If You Don't Get It, You Don't Get It: Life in the news business is tough; there's layoffs, and pay cuts, and declining ad sales, all because no one really reads, well, anything except Twitter anymore. Life in the for-profit educational business, however, is not so tough, which we assume explains why the Washington Post Company reportedly paid Post publisher Katharine Weymouth $2 million last year. (And, apparently, paid her mother Lally Weymouth more than $300,000 to write a column.) We're envisioning a pile of eight million quarters, fresh from the newspaper boxes, being delivered by dump truck. -1

The Ron Brown-ing of America: Nearly 15 years ago, then-Commerce Secretary Ron Brown died in a plane crash in Croatia. This morning, a stretch of road near the Commerce Department was permanently given his name, thanks to legislation introduced by Brown's son, D.C. Councilmember Michael A. Brown. "Ron Brown Way" on 14th Street NW joins other memorials to the late, elder Brown, a D.C. native—including Ronald H. Brown Middle School here in the District; a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration research ship, Ronald H. Brown; the Ronald H. Brown Center for Civil Rights at St. John's University law school; and, later this spring, a new annex to the United Nations building in New York. Which puts our street in pretty good company. +1

Yesterday's Needle rating: 60 Today's score: +3 Friday bonus: +2 Today's Needle rating: 65

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  • Sally

    Gray's budget will have tax increases. Bet on it.

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