Housing Complex

Alice Rivlin: No Jack, We Are Not About to Get Another Control Board

(Washington Speakers Bureau)

For the last several months, Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans has been running around the city, waving graphs that show the city's historical fiscal surplus turning into a deficit. Yesterday, while the Council was debating whether to raise taxes or cut more services–they opted for the latter–Evans read off headlines from the 1990s, to illustrate how then-Mayor Marion Barry's refusal to rein in spending had finally prompted the feds to take control of the District's finances. Councilmember Kwame Brown also jumped on the Control Board bandwagon, warning everyone watching that if the Council didn't make tough decisions, Congress would step in and "make them for us."

Evans' rhetoric spawned one of the best Twitter hashtags to come out of a marathon budget hearing ever. And it made me wonder: Is he totally full of shit?

Well, he's at least being hyperbolic. Brookings scholar Alice Rivlin, former head of the Control Board and current member of Vince Gray's transition team, says there are quite a few differences between 1995 and 2010.

"I think all cities at the moment are in some serious financial straits because of the recession. D.C. is no exception," she began. "However, it's nothing like the '90s. The city is in much stronger shape than it was in the worst year, which was 1995. The population has grown, there's been a lot of economic development, the tax base is stronger than it was then. We have now a 12-year history of balanced budgets. And we built up a substantial balance in the general fund. So I don't think the city is in any danger of the return of a control board. Unless we do something extremely stupid, and I do not think the new mayor and the new council will do that."

Plus, District government itself is nothing like it was 15 years ago, especially in terms of its reputation on the Hill.

"The Congress in the 90s had very little confidence in the city, and was doing a lot of meddling with the D.C. budget making process," Rivlin said. "And that's been much less true, in part because of the succession of mayors. [Former Mayor Anthony] Williams and Fenty have established good relationships on the Hill. And the other difference is the existence of a Chief Financial Officer. We didn't have that in 1995. That was a creation of the legislation to put the control board in place, and it was a good one."

How did the Council do on closing the budget gap this time around?

"It's a pretty good compromise, because they had to do something by the end of the year," Rivlin says. "Next year, they're going to have to close an even bigger gap. And then I think some tax increases will have to be seriously considered."

She declined to pontificate on what types of taxes would be appropriate. But if we raised them, it's fair to say that the our Congressional overlords wouldn't try to step in and take over.

  • No Boundary

    So we just continue to tax and spend and hope for the best? Not the best plan.

    Rivlin may be right in that the District is better off now than in the 1990s, but that doesnt change reality. Evans isnt the only one warning folks as well. K Brown and Gray know what time it is as well.

    Lydia, you are clueless if you really believe this is not a possibility.

  • ControlBored

    No Boundary- yeah Evans is really thinking of the City's budget, that's why he orchestrated the following:

    $800 million in City Funds for Baseball Stadium- the City isn't ever getting this back in any form.

    $200 million in Convention Center Hotel- which his law firm did the legal legwork for.

    $500 million in Convention Center- that's loosing most of its business to the National Harbor.

    $41 million in tax abatement to billionaire hotelier Ian Schrager- for a "boutique" lux hotel

    The list goes on and on. Evans is full of shit and has done more financial damage to this City than anything else.

    So yeah, keep believing Evans when he says the City's heading towards the Control Board- he made certain of it.

  • DC Voter

    Jack will preserve the 1M+ bannering slush funds no matter what else crashes and burns. Evans has totally staked his reputation and legacy on bannering at this point. Get ready, as someone said here recently, to see the city turned into a midievil jousting field.

    A "Places from Which You Can See the Douglas Development Sign District", how insane is that? Most of it isn't even residential.

  • No Boundary

    @ Control Bored:

    "$800 million in City Funds for Baseball Stadium- the City isn't ever getting this back in any form."

    Daddy never took you to a baseball game I'm assuming. Your loss! It's called economic development, sucka! Or would you rather keep a shitty hood shitty?

    "$200 million in Convention Center Hotel- which his law firm did the legal legwork for."

    Evans recused himself from this vote, fool. I double dog dare you to visit any block of Shaw or talk to any community leader there about the CC hotel. Tell them how bad it will be for their neighborhood and how it shouldnt be built. Guarantee you leave for your falls church condo with a black eye and a stick up your arse.

    "$500 million in Convention Center- that's loosing most of its business to the National Harbor."

    That's why we need the hotel dipshit.

    "$41 million in tax abatement to billionaire hotelier Ian Schrager- for a "boutique" lux hotel"

    So this empty church should just sit empty and go vacant so you can then complain about that? I assume you are all pissed off at all the social service cuts, yeah? WELL! getting this property back on the tax rolls will actually fund all of the programs that you have your panties in a bunch over. imagine that!

    Also, a little Civics 101 for ya - Evans nor any CM can do this alone. there are committees and then the full council which they must got through.

    ward 2 is lucky to have evans. or would you rather a summer of shootings courtesy of the ward 5 member? or how about a mumbling idiot from ward 8?

  • Rick Mangus

    Don't bet on it people, if this government doesn't stop spending money like a salior on liberty you can count on a control board in our future!

  • holdthatthought

    @ Rick Mangus:

    Finally - words of wisdom from you!

  • Anonymous, Too

    @No Boundary--Oh, gosh, I'm so confused! For months now, you've been posing as "Truth Hurts" and then you dropped in to agree with yourself as "Mayflower." How many sock puppets (and bogus, ever-changing arguments) are you running on this blog?

    ControlBored, you're absolutely spot on about Evans.

    What you have to realize is that Evans' biggest "constituent" is his other part-time employer, Patton Boggs, an international law and lobbying outfit that pays him nearly a quarter million bucks per year for being "of counsel" to the firm. One of PB's biggest clients is Marriott Corp.

    Dupont resident Dave Mallof and activist Pete Tucker have been repeatedly calling Evans out in public hearings, on the record, for nearly two years on his spendthrift ways and conflicts-of-interest with Marriott (and other PB clients). In a hilarious turn, Evans is now running around spouting their criticism of him and their warnings to him and CFO Ghandi as if he has seen the light and means them.

    While Evans--finally--recused himself on the very last Convention Center hotel vote in June... at the same time, the press reported breathlessly that he was wheeling and dealing behind the scenes.

    The convention center is a white elephant--it's costing DC taxpayers $30+ million a year in debt service, the retail is a joke, and conventions are the wave of the past. The matching white elephant hotel will be like every other DC hotel, where 90-99% of the staff live in the burbs and only "hablan espanol"...

    Just as troubling as the $41 million in tax abatement to billionaire hotelier Ian Schrager is his "partner" on this hotel... you guessed it, Marriott.

    Multiple sockpuppet, No Boundary, also wants us to look the other way on Evans' involvement with the Northrup-Grumman debacle because it "never happened, so thats [sic] a non-issue." He wants us to ignore Evans' robust promotion of a phony deal to fuel a bidding war and raise the "purchase" price on Northrup Hdqtrs. for MD or VA. Oh, by the way, Northrup is a client of a firm* that was in negotiations with PB at the time and merged July 1st with PB.

    With "friends" like Evans, who rationalize personal gain on the public's dime as being OK, and who use the public coffers as a personal piggy bank/slush fund, DC taxpayers might rather have the Control Board in charge.

    *Washington, DC, July 1, 2010—Patton Boggs LLP is acquiring the Breaux-Lott Leadership Group, combining two of the most recognizable firms in public policy at the nation’s highest-revenue producing public policy law firm.

  • ControlBored

    No Boundary- none of your comments to me address the fiscal impact these projects have had on the City.

    -It might be great to go have a dog at a game every now and again, but how much revenue has been generated to the District from this deal? Economic development huh? Look at all of those nice luxury buildings surrounding the stadium. All vacant. Who the fuck wants to live next to a baseball stadium, ya douche.

    -Convention Center- Just cause Evans recused himself for the final vote (and he did this only after being called out about his firm's involvement, does mean he didn't have anything do structuring the deal. Up until the final vote, he was the main engine behind this project.
    And have you ever really taken a walk around the Convention Center. It's pretty fucking ghetto stil, you idiot. Chinatown was what really caused the boom in this City and specifically in that part of the District.

    -So you're angry at me for Jack's poor planning? He should have known a Convo Hotel was needed. National Harbor was planned two decades ago. This was a way for his firm to double dip, I suspect. Patton Boggs represnted Mariott in this hotel deal, FYI.

    -As for the boutique hotel, I would prefer a vacant church, than giving $41 million to an already motivated investor. The site also includes the WCP offices, so yeah, it's being used for something- allowing a platform to show-off your douchebaggery.

    So, go fuck yourself, you dimwit.

  • Anonymous, Too

    "As for the boutique hotel, I would prefer a vacant church, than giving $41 million to an already motivated investor."

    ...an investor whose development partner just happens to be Marriott.

  • No Boundary

    @ Control Bored -

    Something tells me that you are a Falls Church condo dweller, so I can't fault you for having your head so far up your ass. You are forgiven.

    PS - Evans built Chinatown.

  • ControlBored

    No Boundary- Douglas Jemal built Chinatown. Get your facts right. Evans might have sweetened the deal for the Lerner group, but it was Jemal and his development efforts that sparked the revitalization there.

    You see, the problem with you idiots who "visit" my City, is that you're in it for the short-term. I'm three generations in and have no plans of leaving. I was here during the crackades, when white flight forced you fools over to MoCo and PG. So I have a problem when you come into my City, try to run shit, and then when it fails, uproot and call it a day. Know your facts fool.

  • DCCommish

    @No Boundary- Everthing is possible, it's just not likely at this point in time! HELLO! MCFLY! As for the Stadiun you are completely wrong! These sports facilties make no postive economic impact what so ever. Get your head out of your ass and do some research about the topic; then maybe you might have something intelligent to say. Same goes for the convention center and the hotel will do nothing to help the center make more money! What references do you have to back up the bull shit that is comi9ng out of your mouth.. you obviously have no clue whatsoever about economic delevopment!

  • No Boundary

    Can't wait to see you all at the new RFK Stadium! Did you hear we are going to build one? If you don't drop dead of a heart attack first, of course! Y'all need a chill pill up in here!

    You punks could always move to W5 or W8 and be much better served, right?!

    @ Control Bored - local my arse! Good luck getting home on I-66 tonight! Or are you sticking around to scalp your tree lighting tix for gas money?

  • ControlBored

    No Boundary- you enter into an argument where you facts are based on exactly what? The fact that you like Jack doesn't mean shit here. DC isn't facing the CB, but it's definitely not Evans who's been conservative with our cash. He's responsible for as much wasteful spending, and given the list of projects that have not produced any tangible returns for the City, I would argue more, than the rest of the CM combined.

    I guess your only other point is that since we don't like Jack's spending habits, we must be from VA. That's not it, most of us don't live in his idyllic Georgetown and earn quarter of a million a year.

  • No Boundary

    @ ControlBored:

    Ok then - you must live in Shaw where bitchin and moanin is the neighborhood pastime!

    if you think dc would be a better city without the stadium, conv ctr, conv ctr hotel - you should move outta shaw and to W8. pleeeenty of open space and no pesky development to bitch and moan about over there.

  • ControlBored

    No Boundary- hey douche, my point is that Jack is being a fucking hypocrite, and so are you. He's yelling at the top of his lungs about the budget, but has no problems striking deals that have a direct personal benefit to his bottom line via Patton Boggs legal legwork.

    I don't want to live next to a fucking baseball stadium or a massive convention center and from what I can tell, neither does a lot of people.

    I enjoy where I live, yuppy assholes like you are the only thing that pisses me off. However, fact that I own a million dollar victorian with no debt, while you and your buddies have spent $600k on a 1 bedroom condo, allows me to live with it, hahaha. Douche.

  • No Boundary

    @ ControlBored -

    show me the proof! if all this is such a certainty, why is no one acting? cause he aint broke no laws cuz!

    so it just comes off as a grumpy shaw/falls church resident bitching and moaning about nada. blah- blah - blah.

    million dollar pad huh? then you should be a big fan of evans because he has kept your property taxes down several times over the past 10 years.

    i think you mean bluppy - cuz im a black yuppy. and really, its spelled yuppie.

    how many times can you use douche in one post? get a bit more creative sucka!

  • ControlBored

    No Boundary- I'm the one offering the facts, you're the one spewing hyperbole.

    Jack Evans didn't do shit for my home value. Anthony Williams did, a massive real estate buble did. Idiots like you did, but purchasing converted condos next to my house for 20 times what my parents paid for it. So, I guess thanking you is appropriate, haha.

    Douche just seems like such a natural fit for you, ya douche.

  • No Boundary


    let the hate go, bro. you are gonna drop off from a heart attack if you aint careful. do you carry baby aspirin everyone where you go?

    i think you must have a raging boner for evans. otherwise, you wouldnt devote so much time to writing about him. sorry, hes a married man with 6 kids!

    ps - your mama.

  • ControlBored

    Wow, NB, I guess I couldn't expect more from an ass like you. But really, this was horribly pathetic. You seem to forget that I dislike Evans. You’re the one rushing to defend his honor or some crap like that. He’s a shady fucking politician, who’s done his part, a substantial one I might add, to aid in the City’s financial problems. Now he’s coming across as the fiscal conservative. Bullshit. It’s like all of these jackass Republicans who got the Country into the mess we’re in, now claiming to care more about the long-term debt of the US (while at the same time, holding fast to indebt the country more with tax cut to those who don’t need it). That’s Evans and that’s you, ya douche.

  • No Boundary

    You are an angry little man.

  • ControlBored

    You would be too if you had half a brain.

  • No Boundary

    Who is your favorite CM? I am honestly curious.

  • Anonymous, Too

    "You would be too if you had half a brain." --ControlBored

    @CB, No Boundary--I mean "Truth Hurts" or "Mayflower"--is an SPFJ (Sock Puppet for Jack) and has no brains, let alone half of one.

  • No Boundary

    Maloff/Tucker/Anonymous, Too:

    if you had half a LIFE you wouldnt spend all your time bitching and moaning endlessly.

    really - you sound like a little girl with a bad wedgie.

  • Anonymous, Too

    Aw-w-w-w... nanny-nanny-poo-poo! Whatsa' matta, No Boundary? Pissed Off 'cause I only mentioned three of the troll/sock puppet disguises you use here to make it look like there's support for your misguided ranting? (Those were rhetorical questions, by the way, so you needn't answer.)

  • No Boundary

    @anonymous too:


    he's the longest serving cm my friend! 20 years running! will be 24 before too long! that all the support that really matters, not whiny bloggers like you!


  • Anonymous, Too

    "...he's the longest serving cm my friend! 20 years running! will be 24 before too long!"

    @No Boundary, Truth Hurts, Mayflower, etc.

    If Evans is re-elected, it will prove my point that the majority of Ward 2 voters are as dumb as they get.

  • No Boundary

    @anonymous too:

    when is the election in falls church? make sure you early vote!

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