Housing Complex

Criticism From Top Deputy Hints at Gray Veto of Living Wage Bill

Another day, another hint that Mayor Vince Gray will veto the living wage bill passed Wednesday by the D.C. Council. The Washington Business Journal reports that Gray's deputy mayor for planning and economic development, Victor Hoskins, is extremely critical of the Large Retailer Accountability Act of 2013—which would require retailers in excess of 75,000 square feet and with parent companies that gross at least $1 billion per year to pay a living wage of $12.50 an hour, minus prorated benefits—and its potential impacts. Walmart has threatened to cancel plans for at least three of its six D.C. stores if the bill becomes law.

"People have no idea how damaging this is," Hoskins told the paper. He also stated at a D.C. Council hearing today that three retailers besides Walmart are no longer interested in opening stores in the District because of the living wage bill—even if Gray vetoes it.

"[Retailers] had removed from their head the barrier that D.C. was a bad place to do business," Hoskins told the Washington Business Journal, noting that Walmart is not guaranteed to open its planned store at the Skyland Town Center even if Gray kills the bill. "Then, all of a sudden you get this dash of cold water. It has a chilling effect."

Gray has been skeptical of the legislation from the start. But the news that the entire Skyland Town Center development will likely fall through through if Walmart pulls out could seal the deal for a veto. The development is in Gray's home ward—Ward 7—and he insisted that Walmart open a store there if it wanted to move forward with its other planned D.C. stores.

Gray spokesman Pedro Ribeiro tells me that Gray is likely to move quickly to sign or veto the bill when it comes to his desk, which Ribeiro expects to be mid- to late next week.

Photo via dc.gov

  • BubbleDC

    Veto the bill, Vince.

    It only drives jobs and consumers away.

  • Purify

    Though the damage has already been done, it's imperative that VG veto this bill as soon as it hits his desk.

  • AERzondzinska

    Find another city to vent your spleen in, Victor Hoskins. You're the Dick Cheney of urban economic development. You were deaf and nasty to Ward 4 Thrives when they asked if you could help them fight the erection of a Walmart surrounded by residences on three sides, a Walmart that would make the terrible traffic at Georgia and Missouri exponentially worse, a Walmart that went against the dictates of the city's Comprehensive Plan and Great Streets program. Your office oversees give-aways of city property to developers. You lack vision and imagination; you don't know what makes a world capital. You are a pox on the District of Columbia.

  • AERzondzinska

    That photo is completely uncharacteristic; Hoskins only scowls.

  • Corky

    Please VETO this silly job killing bill. I've never seen the council do something so hostile to the needs of the people since the introduction of speed cameras.

  • Stephon

    Do you people really believe Victor Hoskins cares about what any of you think? He doesn't even like Mayor Gray. Remember, he is an employee.. We have the best Government money can BUY!! The CEO of Walmart makes $11000.00 an hour. Trust me, he'll easily pimp the hell out of Victor Hoskins..


  • Anon2


    developers bad, walmart good? Market good for wage setting, govt dictat needed for parking?

  • http://www.facebook.com/AntLorenzo Anthony Lorenzo Green

    Gray needs to veto this bill.

  • IAmNotALiberalDemocrat

    Ward 4 Thrives is a small group of radicals and most Ward 4 voters have ignored them. I've seen them post on a Ward 4 neighborhood listserv and some residents wasn't accepting of them.

    What a mess this have turned into. I do know, the cost of living in D.C. and New York City is very high. The average Northwest apartment starts at $1,700. monthly. Thee 1,000 people moving into the District monthly are white educated wealthy people. D.C. is now like Manhattan, a part of the city is for the rich and a small part is for the poor. Many D.C. residents don't earn $30,000 yearly. There are some D.C. residents with Graduate Degrees and they are making $50,000. or less yearly. Faints at computer!

  • http://citypaper sly

    Open your myopic eyes! The constrution of walmart stores will delay the exodus of people that those people on the council despise.

  • Cuban Pete


    Let E-No-Cap (East of North Capitol Street) go straight down the toilets. Folks wanna get stuck paying huge mark-ups and local bodega-dumps then to hell with them and remind them that it was that idiot Orange who is at fault.

    Peace my brutha!

  • TomFromFoggyBottom

    A new motto for the Council: "Keeping Our Food Deserts Pure and Unspoiled Since 1975"

  • The Java Master

    Hoskins pimps for every developer in D.C. Fire both him and the mayor.

  • Ward-8

    15 Billion in profits and have no problem bulling cities and paying their Lobbyist more than this ass hole Hodkins will probably make in his lifetime, who is easily pimped by any big business who will promise the world just to get a toe hole in DC, once in, Wal-Mart will do wherever they want plus destroying all of the surrounding small business. The Mayor need to seriously look at the History of Wal-Mart before he veto it, yes DC need jobs however, Jobs that pay a living wage. For all those folks yelling about the bill being a Job killer, I willing to bet none work for minimum wages or have tried supporting a Family and paying rent at minimum wages in the current day and time in DC. We will see who the Politicians are beholding too, it could mean them applying for Job at Wal-Mart. Go figure

  • Delafield Place

    Aaron you dummy: Walmart never really wanted to open at Skyland TC, Capitol Gateway or on New York Avenue. Profitability was always questionable at those locations. That's the reason no other large retailer has stores there. They only promised these store under pressure from Mayor Gray. This bill gives them an EASY out.

    The council has handed Walmart a big win any way you look at it (veto or no veto). They get to open the 3 profitable stores in DC they actually wanted, and get to blame an inept city council for backing out of 3 they never really wanted. You have to wonder if Walmart didn't orchestrate this whole thing.

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  • Okeydokey

    "The recently adopted living wage bill is driving away more than just Wal-Mart, a top District official told the D.C. Council Friday. Victor Hoskins, deputy mayor for planning and economic development, said three retailers, in addition to Wal-Mart Stores Inc., have informed him they will not come to D.C. if the Large Retailer Accountability Act becomes law. Hoskins declined to identify those retailers, though he said one is eyeing a move to Northwest D.C."

    Gee...it is funny how decisions have consequences. And the consequences to this decision were obvious to to a blind, deaf, mute three legged dog.

    Gray will veto the bill, but it is too late. Walmart won't ever build those three remaining stores and the other large national retailers thinking about coming to the District will simply look right beyond the DC border.

    And that 1 billion a year in retail leakage the DC Treasury loses to MD and VA will only grow.

  • Matt

    "Gray will veto the bill, but it is too late. Walmart won't ever build those three remaining stores and the other large national retailers thinking about coming to the District will simply look right beyond the DC border."

    Walmart will build, and those other retailers will too, and as a result Gray will get to claim that he was their savior while the Council was too busy circle-jerking to its anti-Walmart crusade to actually look at what was best for the District.

    Gray's playing the expectations game, and there's virtually no way he can lose it after the way the Council bungled this.

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