City Desk

The Needle: Fit for an Ambassador Edition

The Audacity of Hope: There was good news and bad news out of the Wilson Building today. The good news? The D.C. Council adopted the proposed budget for next year without too much hassle, closing an expected $322 million deficit for the fiscal year. The bad news? Some of the spending in the budget is based on revenue that may or may not exist. Lawmakers think the District will take in more money this year than was projected, which means they'll have more to spend; keeping the Martin Luther King Jr. Library open on Sundays, for instance, is in the proposal, but won't happen if the extra cash doesn't materialize. -2

Flip That Diplomatic Mission!: Who buys an embassy and turns it into a single-family home? Rich people. The purchasers of the former Central African Republic embassy, near 22nd and R streets NW, paid the $1 million or so price in cash, without a mortgage or any contingencies on their offer. The diplomats who used to work there will use the money to buy a new embassy; the couple who now owns the property will gut and renovate it. No word on whether they'll be able to use diplomatic immunity to seize the mic at Advisory Neighborhood Commission meetings without fear of reprisal. +1

Grocery Moves: In Las Vegas, winning often comes down to luck. How the District did this week, as city officials flocked west to woo retailers, remains to be seen. The big news was that Wegman's might be up for taking some of the space left vacant when the military clears out of Walter Reed, but it turns out another grocery chain that was looking at D.C. might land in Maryland. Richmond-based Ellwood Thompson's had a deal in place to move to DCUSA, in Columbia Heights, then pulled out; in Vegas, it seems, they agreed to open a location at Rockville Town Square. Of course, since both Columbia Heights and Rockville have other grocery stores nearby, it's not clear why either location makes any sense—but losing out to Rockville is clearly bad luck. -1

Home of Stress-Free Living: From time to time here, we make fun of seemingly arbitrary national rankings and where D.C. falls in various lists. But the newest one may be the most deserving of mockery yet. The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index found D.C. is the 5th least-stressed state in the country, behind only Hawaii, Wyoming, North Dakota, and South Dakota. The whole ranking appears to be based on a survey asking residents if they experienced any stress the day before; we'll have to assume they made the calls on a Sunday. +1

Yesterday's Needle rating: 55 Today's score: -1 Today's Needle rating: 54

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  • Keith Ivey

    You make it sound like the council is spending nonexistent money, when in fact they're planning what to do with the money if it appears. If there's no money, there'll be no spending, right?

  • briefly

    No stress?? NO STRESS!!!?????

  • Truth Hurts

    So did Barry and Alexander get their millions in earmarks (spelled tax abatements) for churches/properties owned by supporters in their wards?

    Wonder how much revenue DC taxpayers are subsidizing per vote bought in each ward.

  • IMGoph

    awesome to hear that an embassy is coming back onto the tax rolls! if only we could get them all into an office building somewhere, bringing all those houses back!