Loose Lips Daily: Vince’s Intervention Edition
Good morning sweet readers! Is it too late to make a rapture joke? It is? Too bad for you, 'cause LL has some good ones. Maybe next time. News time:
Hey Guys! Wait, This Doesn't Look Like a Party: Speaking of the rapture, it sounds like Mayor Vince Gray recently had his own come-to-Jesus moment with a few of his close friends. The Post's Nikita Stewart leads off today's Metro section with a story about how two dozen of Gray's campaign supporters held an intervention for Hizzoner to talk about "what they perceive as a directionless administration caught flat-footed by accusations of nepotism and cronyism and one that is unable to repay last year’s get-out-the-vote efforts," Stewart reports. Some say Gray was receptive, others say not so much. "The meeting 'wasn’t good, in my opinion,' a former campaign worker said. 'He doesn’t think there’s anything wrong. . . . It’s going to be a long four years. That’s if he makes it to four years.'" With friends like these, right, Vince? Plenty of Gray supporters have felt like they were given the short end of the stick after the election, particularly at the hands of Gray confidant Lorraine Green. From what LL could tell, though, the complaints have mostly been about not getting city jobs—which is also what the "accusations of nepotism and cronyism" the Post story mentioned were about. It's not clear from the story if these are the same supporters.
The story is also a trial balloon for Lloyd Jordan, who organized the meeting, to take over as Gray's chief of staff. "Some who helped with Gray’s campaign and transition are urging him to hire Jordan, a former director of the District’s Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs. A former chief of staff for the mayor of St. Louis, Jordan served on the D.C. Sports and Entertainment Commission under Mayor Anthony A. Williams. 'He knows the city,' one adviser said." ... Jordan said Gray’s challenge is 'to manage people’s perceptions.' He said that the mayor has a plan but that it hasn’t been rolled out in a thematic fashion. Jordan said Gray’s other challenge is to manage what Fenty left behind, including a budget that required dipping into the city’s reserves." Gray is also looking at Christopher Murphy, who is deputy chief of staff at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Post reports.
And the Post also has policy wonk Susie Cambria expressing what LL hears on a nearly daily basis working the phones. "I don’t have any idea what his plan is."
AFTER THE JUMP: Budget Countdown; Medallion Mess; Liveable Walkable Fee Hike...
Budget Countdown: Just a couple of days left before the great showdown occurs between Council Chairman Kwame "Fully Loaded" Brown and Gray over a tiny sliver of the District's budget but one that gets the most press: a tax hike for the rich. The Post reports that Brown is looking at taxing out-of-state municipal bonds to forgo having to raise income taxes, while Gray is asking his buds on the council to hold firm on raising the income taxes of those making more than $200,000 a year (though Gray's budget boss told LL that the income tax hike is not the hill Gray wants to die on). The DC Fiscal Policy Institute is leading a push to have Brown release his budget 24 hours before the scheduled vote, instead of just mere hours before the vote like the last guy did. (Brown should listen; Gray's embarrassing flip-flop on the streetcar funding last year could probably have been avoided if he'd gotten his budget out sooner.) Meanwhile, the Post editorial board says let's keep things in perspective. "The proposed budget that Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D) submitted to the D.C. Council is the largest in the city’s history. Its recommended increase in spending outpaces inflation at a time when many cities and states are moving in the opposite direction. So it’s been a little surreal to see the council’s deliberations over the budget framed by talk of hardship and draconian cuts; even more unsettling is an apparent push to add even more to the spending. ... Consider, for example, the debate over services for homeless people. Mr. Gray’s budget has been criticized as slashing funding for the homeless, with the result that families and children will be thrown onto the freezing streets. In fact, what happened is the city lost — as it knew it would — one-time federal stimulus dollars; Mr. Gray actually increased local funding for the homeless. Instead of asking whether it is realistic to expect local dollars to replace those one-time funds or to wonder what the city did two years ago in the absence of that money, the council’s impulse is just to spend. And if it has to raise taxes, no big deal."
I'm Raising Your Fees For Your Own Good: Ward 6 Councilmember Tommy Wells explains in a Post Op-Ed why he thinks a raising residential parking permit fees is a good idea, an idea that went over like a lead balloon with some of his colleagues at a recent budget roundtable. "By assessing a reasonable fee on the privilege of occupying valuable parking space, Washington could accrue financial benefits and enhance our public transit options. ... Transit riders are doing their part. Last year’s WMATA fare increase cost the typical bus rider an extra $115 a year and the typical rail rider $190 a year — far more than the average proposed residential parking fee increase."
In Other News: Reservation 13 gets Jonetta's goat. D.C. cop shot, is recovering. Post says taxi medallion bill is bad news, and Gray needs to act fast and hire someone good to run Child and Family Services Agency. Why do people get so excited about Wegmans? Take that, old man in wheelchair. Council to investigate why non-residents are attending District's schools. First all-hands-on-deck held under Gray administration. 10,000 people biked to work Friday. D.C.'s shelter for gay and transgendered teens. The Gray Lady on education's odd couple.
Gray sked: Vegas, baby!
Council sked: Hearing on MPD's fleet at 2 p.m.