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Loose Lips Daily: Self-Employed Edition

A deliberative roundup of one city's local politics. Send your tips, releases, stories, events, etc. to lips@washingtoncitypaper.com. And get LL Daily sent straight to your inbox every morning!

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  • Good morning sweet readers! Has LL told you he's a Cowboys fan yet? Well, he is. News time:

    Mystery Money: The Washington Times' Jim McElhatton wins the morning with this interesting fact: Council Chairman Kwame Brown listed $45,000 in outside income in 2009, "but who paid him and why is anybody’s guess." The best part: it's street legal! "A review of council members’ most recent financial statements on file with the D.C. Office of Campaign Finance reflects varying levels of disclosure about outside employment. Some statements list an employer, some don’t. In the end, it’s up to the lawmakers to police themselves on potential conflicts of interest. D.C. rules require lawmakers to make public their outside income sources only if an employer or client did business with the city government or stood to gain from pending legislation during the past calendar year." Good government types are quoted saying this is not the best way to run a government. And seriously, who thought it was a good idea to use the honor code when it comes to politicians' financial reporting requirements? Trust, but verify. Don't just trust. The Times also looks at the outside incomes of Councilmembers Jack Evans, Michael A. Brown, Mary Cheh and David Catania, with a particular focus on Evans' role as a $240,000-a-year lawyer with the heavy-hitting lawfirm Patton Boggs.

    AFTER THE JUMP: Alexander's Phone Bill; Down With Pepco; Vincent Orange At-Large Winner...

    Quit Dialing 411: The Times' Jeffery Anderson reports that Ward 7 Councilmember Yvette Alexander's constituent services office owes Verizon $5,388.68 for a phone bill. "No way," says Alexander. "That’s outrageous. It’s never been that exorbitant.” She also disputes Anderson's reporting that her constituent office is behind on rent to its former landlord, developer and former councilmember H.R. Crawford. Alexander, like a lot of other councilmembers, is late on filing their constituent services report with the Office of Campaign Finance.

    Take That Pepco: There ain't nothing wrong with some populist bashing of the District's crummy electric utility. Ward 4 Councilmember Muriel Bowser introduced a bill yesterday that would require Pepco to cover the cost of hotel rooms for its customers when the power goes out and it's really hot or cold outside. And At-Large Councilmember Sekou Biddle went on Newstalk to say that Pepco took way too long to restore power.

    Vincent Orange To Win At-Large Race: Not really! But a two-week-old poll Mike DeBonis got ahold of puts Orange clearly in the lead in the at-large race. Actually, "undecided" is the runaway winner. "A survey of 476 likely voters that has been seen by several candidates shows former Council member Orange with a significant lead over the field, with 32 percent citywide support. Biddle has 12 percent, [Pat] Mara 6 percent, Jacque Patterson 4 percent and Josh Lopez 3 percent. A full 43 percent of voters are undecided. The margin of error is 4.9 percent." Orange sent out an e-mail to a Ward 5 listserv touting the results, and jabbing his opponents. "The poll reveals Patrick Mara has a lot of work to do. He polls 19% in his home Ward 1 and low single digits everywhere else. The poll reveals Sekou Biddle has major problems. Orange is beating Biddle in his backyard, Ward 4, 32% to 19%." The e-mail concludes that Orange should not be counted out. Maybe, but the poll is really just showing what we all knew already: At this stage in the race, Orange has a lot higher name recognition than everyone else. The poll, it's worth noting, was taken before Vince Gray endorsed Biddle, and before Bryan Weaver jumped into the race.

    In other news: The District has a small surplus (spend it now!) but plenty of management issues to resolve, according to the annual independent audit. Cheh wants to outlaw robocalls. Catania wants to get ahead of inevitable public pension problems. At-Large candidate Bryan Weaver chats with the smart growth set. Screw a primary, let's just have an instant runoff. Evans enjoyed laughing at commuters stuck in last week's storm. Gray has a horrible idea for a TV show.

    AND... The Post is reporting that Redskins owner Dan Snyder wants City Paper's Dave McKenna fired.

    Gray Sked: Panel discussion with Governing magazine at 10 a.m., Black History Month recording at 2 p.m., North Michigan Park community meeting at 7 p.m.

    • Southeast Resident

      Mary Cheh needs to get a life! First bag tax, then soda tax, then looking out for road kill. Now she wants to do some more nickel and dime taking from DC citizens for not shoveling snow and trying to stop free speech from robocalls. She needs to stop the madness! Ward 3 needs to recall her! If not, take that broom from her in Council and use it to knock her out the door! Watch your wallet and pocketbook with her around. If you don't want a robocall, just get an unlisted number. She had better be looking at the sidewalks that are not being shoveled around DC government property all over town and make sure that this is being done before coming for DC citizens with her wacky laws.

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