Loose Lips

Loose Lips Daily: Budget of Doom 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!

Good morning sweet readers! How bout those Nats? Only one game back. News time:

Here Comes the Budget: Today at 11:30 a.m., Mayor Vince Gray will unveil his proposed budget. The Examiner's Freeman Klopott reports that the budget will likely contain increase taxes on parking garages and on multi-state corporations that currently shift profits to jurisdictions with lower taxes. The Post's Mike DeBonis opines that "city’s poorest residents, the ones most dependent on government, could take the greatest hit," due in part to the recent scandals at the Wilson Building limiting Gray's ability to raise taxes. "Definitely, there’s the perception out there that we are spending money frivolously,” Ward 7 Councilmember Yvette Alexander tells DeBonis. “Until we clear that up . . . we have to be very careful." The budget will likely be more bad news for Gray. The cuts are going to be painful enough, but will look even worse contrasted with all the noise over his hiring practices.

AFTER THE JUMP: Show Me The Money, Vince and Reuben; Holder and Gray; Catania for Clean Up?...

Opposite of Transparent: A couple of weeks ago, D.C. Watch's Dorothy Brizill asked Gray at a news conference for details on how his transition and inauguration fund spent it's money. Gray said his team would get that info to Brizill. Right after the presser, LL asked Gray's spokeswoman Linda Wharton-Boyd for the same info. To date, three months after Gray's was sworn in, LL's gotten nothing. The Post has also made repeated requests for the same info, and recently Gray's transition director Reuben Charles provided them with a one-page summary that "does not itemize vendors, employees and businesses for several large expenses. The document is also out of balance. When its categories are added, the amount spent is $2,859 less than the total listed." This is pretty pathetic for Gray, who promised that he'd be open and transparent when he announced last year that he'd be taking private donations in lieu of public funds for his transition expenses. The Post also reports: "A senior official with the campaign, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the official is not authorized to speak for the transition team, said the expenditures are being audited internally. A full accounting will be released when the audit is complete, the official said." NB: Gray's inauguration was Jan 2. Today's date, April 1.

Holder and Gray: Interesting question posed by NPR's Carrie Johnson: Is there anything potentially messy about the fact that U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder publicly declared his undying support of Gray after last year's election now that the U.S. Attorney's Office is "assessing" whether there's any merit to l'affaire Sulaimon? Asks Johnson: "Given the attorney general's public show of support for Gray, would Holder play a role in overseeing the assessment or recuse himself? Justice Department spokesman Matthew Miller would not say one way or another, but he sent an e-mail reporting that 'the Attorney General follows the department's strict ethics rules in every matter.'" What a great flack response. Put yourself in for a raise, Miller.

Lede of the Day Goes To WaPo Editorial Page: "What is so distressing about D.C. Council member Marion Barry’s latest escapade is not his belief that he can live outside the law. That’s old news. What’s distressing is that he seems to be correct in his assessment." Hey-oh.

Elected Attorney General David Catania: Somewhere Attorney General Irv Nathan is huddled into a little ball, crying. Why? Because there are two (more) stories today suggesting that Councilmember David Catania is the only man who can clean up this town. First is Harry Jaffe's column that has Councilmember Jack Evans saying Catania would be a perfect Inspector General as opposed to the current guy, who Jaffe says is a no-account. Second is the Georgetown Dish, which reports on Catania being "open" to the idea of running for Attorney General in 2014. The Dish even designed Catania a poster.

In Other News: Council Chairman Kwame "Fully Loaded" Brown not planning on holding hearings on DCPS cheating allegations after all. Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson not too popular at Brown's roundtable in Southeast. Breweries want to offer tastings.Ward 3 Dems host at-large forum.

Gray sked: 11:30 presser on budget. Then tries to sell it to WaPo editorial board at 2 p.m.

FOP boss Kris Baumann's scheduled for Kojo.

  • Rake

    Good lord, this one city mess is never ending. Complete incompetence at every level. Good ol' Reuben. Way to earn that $52k in between various lawsuits and liens by producing a one page summary of transition expenses that doesn't reconcile.

    Also gotta love the months-long time period it took to produce such a flawed document. Really inspires confidence in the "internal audit" being performed (at a glacial pace, I might add).

    ONE CITY, zero competence.

  • http://distcurm.blogspot.com/ IMGoph

    beth solomon doesn't say that she was part of the goading of catania into saying that he would consider running for AG. it's not a huge deal, but you'd think someone feigning to be a journalist would point that out.

  • http://dcjack.org Jack

    What really bugs me, as Treasurer for our ANC, is how we are under a financial microscope, while at other end -- the big guys -- auditors seem to be AWOL. The District Auditor hassled me (correctly) last quarter for the documentation to prove that a $14 expenditure was legit. Fourteen dollars! Downtown, tens of thousands go here and there, with minimal oversight. Seems to me the District Auditor should be reversing his microscope.

  • deedle
  • BlackWorkingClass

    Alan you need to see the bigger picture and stop following the rest of these so called reporters.

    This is by no means a defense of scum like Gray, CM Brown, or Barry, Uncle Tom Negroes who pimp the black community for whites in power and their own personal gain.

    While you all speak about the Gray administration cronyism scandal which may have cost the DC government, not more than a million dollars, we have Jack Evans whose firm Patton Boggs negotiated a deal for Marriot to make a luxury hotel in DC, giving Marriot nearly $50 million dollar tax abatements.

    While you all talk about Sulaimon Brown who got an accounting job at the Health Care Finance Dept. worth about $100k, David Catania has overseen the squandering of over $100 million dollars given the city to combat the HIV/AIDS crisis in this city (the highest rate of any city in the nation). Most of the money going to white lead nonprofits like the Whitman Walker with no accountability on how they are using these funds. Literally, thousands of black people have been killed by AIDS during Catania’s watch and how do whites in DC want to reward him? Make him the first elected AG in DC! Amazing!

  • D

    This is outrageous. I wouldn't mind paying higher taxes if I felt that the money wouldn't be poured down a rat hole. But if the last three months are any indication, my money would go to pay for luxury SUVs for the Mayor and the Council Chairman; salaries for sons and daugthers of elected or appointed officials; higher-than-legal salaries for a dozen city officials; the Director of one D.C. agency to spend another month living at the W Hotel and for her chauffeur; and more under-the-table cash payments from the Mayor to (literally) criminals. Let's make a deal: I pay higher taxes and you give me a city garbage can within eight months of asking; trim a city tree on the street in front of my house that is in danger of killing passersby within two years of submitting the request; adjudicate a parking ticket that was improperly given within TWO years of its issuance; plug potholes that have swallowed cars; and crack down on delinquent taxpayers (like the Jemals), who sit on blighted properties in my neighborhood without penalty. Mayor Gray, for somebody with your track record, you really have some chutzpah to ask DC residents to pay higher taxes.

  • TheAngryVoter

    Vince Gray is a puppet with no backbone. He clearly talked a good game about how he should be Mayor, and doesn't have the fortitude to make wise decisions for the city to move forward. The only thing promised for him is that he will definitely be a one-term mayor. I think its safe to say this will be the last time we will see a lot of politicians on the council because these fools clearly do not know what they are doing. Lazy government, they need to go back to school and take leadership & accounting classes.

    -TheANGRYvoter

  • tired

    He-- no to Cantania he is an evil man, and by the way his dream about becoming mayor is just that a dream.

  • ADP

    Gray originally struck me as a smart guy without all of the juvenile brashness of Fenty. But unfortunately DC is starting to feel like back to the future. Let's all repeat (as One City): "It's Barry Time" (again).

  • Wendy Washington

    The AG/IG position(or whatever you want to call it)should be a full-time position, unlike the council member position. Whoever gets elected should be required to give their full time and attention to the job. Anything less would be a disservice to DC residents. It would also create great potential for conflict of interest (can you spell Peter Nickles), thereby defeating the purpose of making it an elected position.

    It is unlikely that David Cantankerous would give up a lucrative position with a law firm to become AG/IG. His current set-up gives him the CM salary on top of his other income. He may call himself an Independent. Those of us who did not just fall off the turnip truck -- know he still has the heart of a Repugnican.

  • 4OURFUTURE

    For all of you folks that have just made investments in DC, here is the latest skinny on the DC Department of Public Works buget proposal submitted by yours truly William Howland today. First off is the doing away with the Inspectors that police the sanitation conditions in your nieghborhoods, he is cutting 32 of the 36 that are policing our communities for dumpers and rats,Councilman Graham at the last budget hearings actually told him to hire 21 more Inspectors because we don't have enough of them as it is. I can remember when this city was close to being a dump, trash in every alley and rats running rampede. He is also doing away with some of your trash collectors, he says they aren't revenue generating so they're expendable. I don't know about you all but, I didn't invest in this town to have it all squaundered because of some fool trying to cut the wrong corners, I'm not going to allow mine to become dump.

  • Rick Mangus

    Cut it to the bone, there is too much fat here!

  • http://citypaper Tony

    Yvette Alexander,"Definitely, there's the perception out there that we are spending money frivolously". What happen to her missing funds? Southeast Ken, spread some light on your councilwoman's accounting problems.

  • Brillig

    Want to cut the budget? Stop paying for social services to those that commit major crimes, kids included. This will cut back (drastically, I'm sure) on funding and force parents of juvenile delinquents to hone their parenting skills. . .
    That'll fix the AIDS epidemic too. It's not AIDS killing people, but a total lack of self control.
    Why should we keep paying for the people that hurt us?

  • Rick Mangus

    'Brillig', you are absolutely right!

  • Anothernative

    @4OURFUTURE, I can remember the rat's and trash too. Why can't the police arrest these illegal dumper's?isn't it an environmental crime to drop that trash in the city? My neighbor had a whole truck full of construction debris dropped behind her house last week.

  • noodlez

    DITTO TO COMMENT #5

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