Loose Lips Daily: Fully Loaded Edition
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:
Good morning sweet readers! LL is going to keep today's round up short and sweet because it's a holiday and LL's mom is probably the only one reading this. News time:
A Lie is a Tree That Offers No Shade: Council Chairman Kwame "Fully Loaded" Brown had a rough day yesterday. Everyone's talking about it, but in case you missed it, the Washington Post's Sunday A1 cover had the tale of the young councilmember and his quest for the perfect taxpayer-funded luxury. The story by Mike DeBonis, based largely on FOIA'd emails, makes Brown look like a vain hypocrite (and a liar) and puts a serious dent in the value of his political stock. (The story also makes Department of Public Works Director William Howland look pretty darn bad, as it has him spending way too much time for an agency director trying to make sure Brown's SUV has the right color interior.) As it happens, today is a furlough day for many District employees, meaning they'll have all day to sit at home unpaid and stew over the fact that they're having to squeeze their belts while Brown is putting the city on the hook for nearly $4,000 a month in luxury SUVs. The open question is how much damage will this episode have on Brown's political ambitions. He's fortunate in that he was just elected chairman, and won't have to run another election for four years. Voters forget. The real victim here may be interim At-Large Councilmember Sekou Biddle, who is running in April's special election. Biddle won the D.C. Democratic State Committee's selection thanks in no small part to Brown's backing. Will that endorsement wind up doing more harm than good? Before you answer, let's look at our second item: (BREAKING: WUSA9's Bruce Johnson says on Twitter that Brown is giving up the Navigator, LL will try and confirm.)
Sulaimon Brown Wins!: The second big story in the Post this weekend was Nikita Stewart's newsier version of this old Jonetta Rose Barras column about the high salaries Gray's senior staff are pulling down at a time when the city is broke and considering mayor cuts and tax increases. Sure, Gray doesn't look great in the piece, but it's also another ding for Biddle, who has been endorsed by Hizonner. Witness what his opponent Josh Lopez tweets: "Spent the day knocking on doors and voters were outraged with the waste taking place." Biddle seems to hate having been labeled as the establishment's candidate, but it's a label that his many opponents are likely to use more often if these negative stories about Gray and Brown continue to appear in the Post. Of course, the real story in Stewart's piece is the news that the Gray administration has hired one of the worst mayoral candidates in recent memory, Sulaimon Brown. Brown was hired as a special assistant in the Department of Health Care Finance for a $110,000 a year. Brown, you'll recall, like to use his time at candidate forums attacking former Mayor Adrian Fenty and praising Gray. At more than one forum, LL heard audience members speculating that Brown was only running to try and get himself a job in the Gray administration. Mission accomplished! Stewart also has the goods on Talib Karim, who gave a surprise endorsement of Gray and is the brother of Fenty pal and city contract winner Omar Karim, is now the DHCF's chief of staff.
Awkward Timing: The House of Representatives passed a budget over the weekend that would include $80 million in cuts to the District. "Mayor Vincent C. Gray said residents should brace for 'sacrifices,' and D.C. Council member Michael Brown said Sunday higher taxes would come in the form of legislation that his colleagues and the mayor will be 'comfortable with,'" reports the Washington Times.
In Other News: Will Councilmember Michael Brown hold hearings on Wal-Mart? WaPo ed board says new crime lab should be independent of the 5-0. Former City Administrator Neil Albert strolls through revolving door.