Loose Lips Daily: Fully Loaded Deposition Edition
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:
Good morning Washington! Just in case you missed last night's big news, President Barack Obama announced that terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden was killed in a targeted operation in Pakistan. Certainly, it's a happy day here in the nation's capital. All of the geopolitical problems in the world are solved. Does that mean all those security bollards are coming down around town? Is the 1600 block of Pennsylvania Avenue NW going to reopen to traffic? Hmmm… fat chance.
Mayor Vince Gray's statement: "Along with the residents of the District of Columbia, I thank President Obama and members of the national security team for the leadership demonstrated in conducting the operation that resulted in the death of one of world’s most sought-after terrorists, Osama Bin Laden. And while the operation will not erase the pain nor diminish the threat of terror, I hope that this service of justice brings some comfort to the families and friends of loved ones lost on September 11, 2001. I salute the courageous men and women of the United States armed forces and members of the intelligence community for their dedication and steadfast commitment to the fight against terrorism worldwide. We will continue to work in coordination with our federal partners to ensure that appropriate protective measures are being taken to ensure our ongoing readiness and safety. District residents are reminded to remain vigilant at all times."
Your normal Loose Lips, Alan Suderman, is off this week. To borrow his phrase: News time...
Kwame Brown's Morning With OCF: For the D.C. Council chairman, it's deposition time! The Office of Campaign Finance is scheduled to question Brown about troublesome campaign finance accounting issues uncovered in an audit "that reported widespread irregularities." As LL previously documented, this has been an on-going problem for Brown. Dorothy Brizill, who initially broke the news on Friday’s Kojo Nnamdi Show on WAMU-FM, went on to write in the current edition of DCWatch’s themail about the peculiar venue for OCF’s questioning: in the offices of attorney Fred Cooke Jr.: "I firmly believe that OCF’s decision regarding the site of [Monday]'s deposition smacks of special treatment for Chairman Brown. In the many years that I have followed the work of OCF and the Board of Elections and Ethics (BOEE), I have never known OCF to conduct a show cause hearing or take a deposition except at its offices in the Reeves Building. For example, in past OCF cases involving Mayors Barry and Williams, they both came to OCF’s office for a hearing or to be deposed."
AFTER THE JUMP: Gandhi Points Out Methodological Flaws, the Anacostia Is Still Polluted, Washington Times vs. Yvette Alexander, Round 4 (Maybe 5)?
The CFO’s Frustrations: A cautionary tale for anyone who has used the “High Taxes Make D.C. Uncompetitive” argument. Studies and surveys may rank D.C. dead last (or near to last) but D.C.’s chief financial officer, Natwar Gandhi, says it's far more complicated. In a Washington Post op/ed, he writes: "First, the studies’ narrow focus on taxes as a driver of business investments excludes more important factors, including the built-in advantages of the federal presence, population demographics and residents’ education levels. … Second, the studies have a methodological flaw. They take a 'representative firm' and apply statutory tax rates, ignoring the reality of aggressive tax planning by businesses, which reduces what they actually pay. In the District, almost two-thirds of businesses pay only the minimum of $100 a year. When actual business taxes paid are ranked, the District falls in the middle of the pack." So there! Methodological flaws and narrow focus on taxes!
Mayor Orange? In the Examiner, Jonetta Rose Barras previews the rough and seemingly corrupt political landscape former and future D.C. Councilmember Vincent Orange will be walking into at the Wilson Building. Could Orange be the city’s knight in shining armor? Well, that's probably going a bit too far, but so sayeth Jonetta: "Orange would win the hearts of many voters if he came out punching on ethics reform, creating the impression he's the cleanup man of their dreams. That kind of image certainly won't hurt his political future. It took former chief financial officer Anthony A. Williams all the way to the mayoral suite."
WaPo Takes Stance on Bike Safety: The Post’s editorial board treads oh so carefully into the simmering conflict that's pitting bicyclists against everyone else, saying "there is plenty of blame to go around." Essentially: Everyone needs to do their part to keep the roads safe!
The Anacostia River Is Still Polluted: It’s long been known that the Anacostia River is not very clean. A gathering of local and federal officials today will serve as another reminder of just how far the region must go to improve the watershed. DC Appleseed is releasing a report, according to the Post, "has a surprisingly bold suggestion to federal officials for cleaning it up: You bear most of the responsibility for polluting the river, and you should do more to help restore it." Good luck with that!
Statehood Fight Hopeless? Don’t expect DC Watch’s Gary Imhoff to get excited about any efforts to achieve full and equal voting rights for the District of Columbia. He writes in themail: "To me, it is obvious that DC would get statehood much more easily by being nice to Congress than by alienating it. That seems to be the general rule for legislative success — make allies to get enough votes to pass a bill. Second, new states generally have to convince Congress that they will not upset any political balance that exists at the time they are admitted to the union. But the strongest advocates of statehood are the most adamant about not compromising any of the radical political stances that put DC on the fringes of US politics. My conclusion is that DC isn’t ready to make any sacrifices to gain statehood, and that statehood isn’t really that high a priority among the many other political causes that statehood advocates value more."
Yvette Alexander vs. Washington Times: In Ward 7 Councilmember Yvette Alexander’s ongoing battle with The Washington Times, Matthew Cella responds to Alexander’s response to the Times.
Quoted: Councilmember David Catania to Judy Banks during Friday's Committee on Government Operations and the Environment hearing on mayoral hiring practices: "I'm giving you the opportunity to clarify what is otherwise perjury. ... I don’t see why you continue to dig yourself in a hole."
Briefly: Mayor Gray has a town hall meeting this evening in Ward 4. The focus? The budget. (What else?)
Don’t phase out printed voter guides.
Michelle Rhee’s house on Madison Street NW is on the market for $875,000.
Mayor’s schedule: The D.C. Appleseed Anacostia Report release at 10 a.m.; the Federal City Council spring board meeting at 11:30 a.m.; an Association for Enterprise Opportunity Microenterprise Conference at 2:30 p.m.; Desk work; town hall meeting at Brightwood Elementary School at 7 p.m.