City Desk

The Needle: Walmart Doesn’t Kill People, People Kill People Edition

Walmart Could Sell Guns in D.C.?

Always Low Prices On Guns: It turned out Walmart didn't need much of a hard sell to get D.C. government officials to welcome them to town; the only argument the city's really putting up so far is about whether they'll deign to give us four stores, or five, not about whether they'll do things like, oh, pay reasonable wages, not lock workers in the stores overnight, and generally avoid disrupting existing businesses. But one concession the Bentonville gang had made was that, in deference to the District's gun laws, their stores wouldn't sell firearms. Now the city seems to be trying to get them to undo that, too. Metropolitan Police Department Chief Cathy Lanier says it "makes a lot of sense" for Walmart to sell guns in D.C. When can we just go ahead and rename the Wilson Building for Sam Walton? -3

The Name Game: Some Metro stations have easy names—think "Metro Center," or "Dupont Circle." Others have complicated ones, like "Woodley Park-Zoo/Adams Morgan," or "Vienna/Fairfax-GMU." The complicated names may be on their way out; Metro officials have decided to lop off most add-ons and relegate them to subtitles, based on a series of focus groups with riders. Meanwhile, the Washington Nationals still want to add a curly "W" to the Navy Yard station on the Green Line, which riders liked. Must have done the focus groups during the recent winning streak. +2

Federal Express: Typically, it's considered bad news when any top city officials are under investigation by federal authorities. Here in D.C., we've got a whole bunch. Council Chairman Kwame "Fully Loaded" Brown's 2008 campaign finance reports have been referred to the FBI and federal prosecutors; the feds are already looking into allegations against Mayor Vince Gray (though we suspect that investigation isn't going anywhere) and Ward 5 Councilmember Harry Thomas Jr., and they tried to bribe Ward 1's Jim Graham already, too. At this rate, they'll be able to get a quorum together at the FBI headquarters. -3

The Future... Is Now: Trains on Metrorail have looked like relics from the 1970s since, well, the 1970s. So it'll take some getting used to the fancy new design officials unveiled today. Gone are the orange and yellow seats and brown carpets, replaced by blue seats and dark stone-looking floors. The new trains will roll out in the next two to five years. The system is also allowing riders to add money to their SmarTrip cards online, instead of having to use the farecard machines in stations to do it. Lest we all be overwhelmed by too much progress too fast, that one's just a pilot program for now. +2

Yesterday's Needle rating: 52 Today's score: -2 Today's Needle rating: 50

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