Loose Lips

Loose Lips Daily: Gas Man 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!

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

  • It's a Man's World.
  • The 11 At-Large Candidates Who Turned In Signatures
  • Senators to Vince: Like Vouchers or Lose Money
  • Good morning sweet readers! It's Thursday? Already?! You know what that means: another City Paper dead tree edition was birthed last night. This week, LL takes a look at the fact that there are so few women seriously interested in upper-level elected positions in the District and Council Chairman Kwame Brown's ever-changing campaign finance reports. News time:

    Gas Man: Do you ever buy gas in the District? If yes, then chances are you've put money in Joe Mamo's pocket, who has in turn put money into the pockets of several D.C.'s elected officials and the pocket of former councilmember and current lobbyist John Ray (who is also one of Ward 5 Harry Thomas Jr.'s attorney on Team Thomas issues.) Mamo owns nearly half of the District's filling stations, and this profile of his rags to riches story and the money needed to grease that rise is well worth a read.

    AFTER THE JUMP: Senators' Message on Vouchers; Klein Responds; Where Revenues Come From...


    Power of the Purse: Can the Mayor Vince Gray afford to forgo $250 million in federal money for public and charter schools to take a stand against what he perceives is improper congressional meddling in local affairs? That's a question Gray got to take home yesterday after going to the Capitol to testify against a plan to revive the District's school voucher program.  Sens. Joe Lieberman and Susan Collins made it pretty clear that if the District doesn't get behind vouchers, it'll get less federal funding. Making things more awkward for Gray was the fact that Council Chairman Kwame Brown was also there to testify in favor of the voucher program. "After the hearing, Gray said he hadn't known that he and Brown would be offering opposing testimony," reports the Post. LL is guessing that means they did not carpool together in one of their $2,000-a-month Navigators.

    Wait...What?: The  whistleblower contractor brought in to fix MPD's busted breathalyzer program is now saying that it appears that MPD never, as in not once in decades, bothered to test the accuracy of these machines, meaning "several hundred people received jail sentences as a result of falsely high results," says Ilmar Paegle, a former park police officer. "It appears the (accuracy tests) have never been done, though neither (D.C. Police) nor the Office of the Attorney General have been willing to acknowledge this fact. To do so would be to admit supervisory and management failures of the first order." See Fox 5 for details.

    Where the Money Comes From: WBJ's Michael Neibauer crunches some numbers and finds out that .5 percent of the District's property accounts for 22 percent of its tax revenue. "Yes, if not for those canyons of downtown office buildings, this town would be broke. The 106 taxable D.C. properties with the highest assessed values in tax year 2011 generated nearly 22 percent of the city's property tax revenue in fiscal 2010—$407.7 million of the $1.88 billion collected. Their total assessed value in 2011 is $19.7 billion, down from $22.2 billion last year." Neibauer also notes that the assessed values of many of these properties is a far cry from their real values. Hmm, maybe that's where the council should look for extra revenue.

    Tit for Tat: Former DDOT boss Gabe Klein is none too pleased with the Gray transition report that slammed his former agency as an unaccountable law breaker. He tells the Examiner that the transition reports was "politically motivated and 'wholly inaccurate.' ... He said the agency's work has been held up as a model by officials around the country, except for by 'two folks who used to run it in the '80s and '90s when it wasn't a model.' The authors of the report, Cellerino Bernardino and Thomas Downs, both worked for the city under Marion Barry. 'I feel a little bad for Mayor Gray' Klein said. 'It really reflects poorly on the transition team and, in reality, the administration.'" Klein will be blowing off some steam at 11 a.m., when he appears on WPFW.

    You're Hired: The Washington Times' Jeffery Anderson reports that the oft-quoted  Cherita Whiting's new job at the Department of Parks and Recreation raises "questions about Mr. Gray‘s stated commitment to stamp out cronyism in city government. It also is unclear whether Ms. Whiting truthfully disclosed on her job application a felony conviction within the past 10 years. In fact, her own admission to The Washington Times last week that she did not disclose a 2001 conviction for wire fraud is contradicted by statements from the Gray administration that she did. Multiple D.C. officials offered conflicting accounts of what they did or did not know about her." Someone obviously has a bone to pick with Whiting, and sent her former boss Councilmember Phil Mendelson a packet highlighting Whiting's past legal trouble, "but he never verified it and never talked with her about it. 'I am not bothered by someone being an ex-offender,' he said."

    In Other News: Redskins benchwarmer Albert Haynesworth has hired A. Scott Bolden to defend him against groping charges. Councilmember Michael A. Brown tells the Washington Informer that he will be a "proud protector" of the District's grandparent assistance program during budget season. DCist tracks how many petitions at-large candidates submitted. Wayne Dickson doesn't run. The all-white Washington Examiner says that whites are "vanishing" from the suburbs. More on interim Councilmember Sekou Biddle's thoughts on tax increases. Speaking of Biddle, is he ashamed of being a Democrat? The Gray Lady looks at Barracks Row. Free wireless in the District, or else! Crystal Palmer gets second chance to run District movie shop. Gray asks Deloitte to look at DCPS' books ... for free. Ward 4 Councilmember Muriel Bowser gets some love for her work on Wal-Mart. Speaking of Wal-Mart, just how did they win Ward 6? The Post's Jonathan Capehart just totally ripped off LL's Bieber-for-web-traffic idea. UDC considers ending certain majors. DCFPI says wait staff should get sick leave.

    Gray sked: 2  p.m. appearance at H.D. Woodson High School Construction Site. Kalorama community meeting tonight, as well as and MPD awards ceremony. (And the breathalyzer technician of the year is...)

    • James

      Re: Breathalyzers.

      Please correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't a standard part of a trial for a DUI the testimony of the officer in control of the device? And, isn't that officer generally asked to testify as to the upkeep and maintenance of the accuracy of the device? If so... doesn't this mean that in addition to some serious management issues, we've also got a major perjury problem on our hands?

    • Isn’t It Obvious

      @ James:

      Excellent point! LL, look into this point made by James. This could be worth investigating further.

    • jmc39

      So "$2,000-a-month Navigators" means that over 4 years Gray Kwame are projected to spend $192,000 to get around the city, which does not include salary for their drivers? (Aside: And some derided former Mayor Fenty for driving around a Smart Car with himself as driver which seems efficient not to mention the energy efficiency of the car. As a DC taxpayer, it seems unfair for Kwame to propose raising taxes so I can pay for his unnecessarily expensive choice in transportation and other government waste.

    ...