Chatter: Tommy, Can You Hear Me?
What you said about what we said last week
Does the mayoral candidacy of Tommy Wells have legs? Not everyone quoted in Aaron Wiener’s cover profile of the Ward 6 councilmember thought so, nor did reader Long time in Logan’s, a self-described former D.C. Council staffer who wrote that Wells “has a tendency to step on other member’s toes, oftentimes taking full credit in the press for accomplishments he could not have made by himself. The bag tax is a great example. Wells totes that as a key accomplishment, but he isn’t the sole owner. That wasn’t just Wells, or else it would never have moved throughout the council and through committee.”
But Will, who also described himself as a former Council staffer, wrote that he planned to vote for Wells. “In the capacity in which I worked with him, he always was interested in what was best for the District, and a lot less concerned than his colleagues about what was best politically...I never understood why the councilman I worked for didn’t like Wells since they shared a lot of positions, but in retrospect, few councilmembers get along with one another, and there is a lot of jealousy and credit-taking that informs the dynamic."
Reader name sees Wells as the least worst option for D.C.’s next mayor: “Everyone on this council is a provincial bozo with virtually no practical vision for the city beyond their own continuing paycheck. As pithy as it sounds, at least ‘livable walkable DC’ is an achievable vision and brings the built in infrastructure benefits of the upper NW quadrant to the rest of the city."
On Twitter, a couple of users wondered why Wiener’s article featured anonymously quoted Council sources so prominently. “Seems odd you’d interview many Council colleagues but not talk to constituents,” tweeted the (anonymous) blogger behind H Street Great Street. “Suffice to say he’s more popular with us voters.”
Surely, but don’t include reader Fabrisse among Wells’ fans: “He voted against the Livable Wage Act. He lost my vote.”
Speaking of which...
Up Against the Walmart
Wiener’s Housing Complex column about Walmart’s face-off with the District government over a recently passed living-wage bill inspired some heightened emotions. “I think you are really glossing over the competition and fairness issue. I think Walmart has a legitimate point,” commented Jeff. “How would you react if the NFL passed a rule that said the [Pigskins] and only the [Pigskins] would have to get mandatory steroid testing? How would you react if you found out that Cowboys and Giants players were insisting upon this while also insisting that the rule only apply to the [Pigskins]?...I don’t understand how the D.C. council can possibly be calling Walmart immoral for paying some of its workers only $9 an hour while also going out of its way to defend Safeway and Giant’s right to do the same.” Tim Yost echoed that argument on Twitter: “Why does paying competitive wages mean paying above average? This is a discriminatory bill.”
Reader George agreed with Wiener’s argument that Walmart rhetoric has been disingenuous as it has attempted to derail the Council’s bill. “Either way you come down on this particular bill, Walmart has been talking from both sides of its mouth,” George wrote. “Walmart has been saying stores with collective bargaining agreements have an unfair advantage under this bill. If that’s really the case, why don’t they just sign card checks with a retail union? I imagine the workers would oblige quickly enough. Walmart’s tactics make it clear that they really just don’t want to treat their workers well.”
Many readers speculated that Walmart’s threat to kill three planned D.C. locations stems from the company’s reluctance to open at least one of those stores—at Ward 7’s Skyland development, a project close to the Mayor’s ambitions for his home ward. “Yeah, the Council tried playing hardball,” wrote Pete. “The problem is, they tried it with an organization that’s much, much, much better at it. All this is monumentally stupider if Walmart didn’t want to build in Skyland in the first place. Presumably, the council thought Walmart execs would be cowering in fear. Instead, they’re probably high-fiving each other.”
Department of Corrections
Due to a reporting error, a cover story this month about Future Times Records misidentified the dance party Blowoff as Blow Up.