Loose Lips

Loose Lips Daily: Why Swain? 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:

  • Why Was Leon Swain Fired?
  • Good morning sweet readers! Did you notice that the Queen didn't sing "God Save the Queen" during the royal wedding? Guess that makes sense. News time:

    Why Swain?: The latest mystery to be solved at the Wilson Building was the mayor's decision to unceremoniously dump Taxicab Commission Chairman Leon Swain. Swain, who never met once with Mayor Vince Gray to talk taxis, never got an explanation why. The taxi cab operators who helped Gray's campaign wanted Swain gone and Ward 8 Councilmember Marion Barry said back in January, according to Swain, that he was a goner, to be replaced with Barry's old taxicab boss Novell Sullivan. The Post's Mike DeBonis gets a refreshingly candid take from the cab industry. "Larry Frankel, a cab driver and organizer who leads the Small Business Association of D.C. Taxicab Drivers, confirms that Gray delivered a personal pledge to fire Swain. 'We’re glad that the mayor finally completed a promise he made to us,' he said Thursday. Swain’s firing was one of three promises that Gray made to taxi industry representatives during his campaign, Frankel said. The others were to institute a gasoline surcharge — which Gray did last month — and to appoint three industry representatives to the eight-member Taxicab Commission, as required by law. 'We’re waiting for him to that,' he added." Frankel goes on to say that Swain was a renegade hardass who treated cabbies unfairly, whose ouster may have been hastened for pushing for stricter income reporting requirements. As for Barry and Sullivan, "Barry said that Swain’s recollection was 'not accurate' and that he had urged Gray keep Swain but ceased his support after Swain initially refused to step down from the United Medical Center board. As for Sullivan, Barry said he told Gray that 'Novell Sullivan worked his butt off for the mayor [during the campaign] and would be suitable for some position in the administration.'"

    AFTER THE JUMP: Barry's Dreamin'; Alexander Responds, CFSA Problems Persist ...

    Barry Wants You, Ward 6: DeBonis has more on Barry's intentions to annex "into his bailiwick citizens who have very little interest in voting for him." "Barry is eyeing the portions of Ward 6 that he’s eyeing — the Southwest Waterfront and the area in Southeast near Nationals Park — in part because they happen to be home to some of the largest-scale development efforts the city has ever seen. 'As soon as this bill is signed, the Akridges and the Deborah [Ratner Salzbergs] and others, they’ll be part of Ward 8,' he said, referring to two prominent developers who are active in the ballpark area. 'So when they go to a meeting somewhere, they’ll talk about the Yards' — a major project by Salzberg’s Forest City Washington — 'and they’ll say the Yards are in Ward 8. People will get an instant change of perception.' ... "Since I represent a 98 percent African American ward with 55, 54 percent poverty, with 82 percent female head of households, then I have to advocate for that strongly,' he said, though census figures show that his ward is actually 93.5 percent black. 'But when I have some diversity, then I can reflect some of the views of the diverse population.'" Barry also says that if he doesn't get his way, he'll considering suing his colleagues. (Which, LL supposes, probably is the way any Americans of any demographic would likely respond—so Barry's already reflecting the views of the diverse population!)

    Dear Constituents: Ward 7 Councilmember Yvette Alexander responded to the news that her constituent services fund is being probed by the Office of Campaign Finance by firing off a letter to her constituents saying she's done nothing wrong, the Times reports. "Promising full cooperation with the probe and denying she personally benefited from her constituent service fund, Ms. Alexander defended her penchant for catered events, advertising and fundraisers, which comprise the bulk of the expenditures she reported to the OCF, and pledged to 'keep buying tables' at upcoming community events."

    In Other News: Problems persist at Child and Family Services Agency, according to new IG report. "I am deeply concerned about any kind of repeat of the gross neglect that lead to the death of Banita Jacks' children," says Ward 1 Councilmember Jim Graham. D.C. landlords aren't keen on having tenants who use government vouchers to cover the rent. Contractor wants more money for 14th Street bridge. Ex-DCPS teacher being sued for sexual assault. Poetry contest held at H.D. Woodson in honor of slain student.

    Gray sked: Consortium for Child Welfare Breakfast at 8:30 a.m; Duke Ellington Park Concert and Celebration at 4 p.m.

    Council sked: Former H.R. director Judy Banks testifies, again, on the Gray administration's hiring practices at 3:30 p.m.

    Kojo: MPD Chief  Cathy Lanier. Wonder which star of Two and a Half Men will be discussed?

    ...