Loose Lips

Loose Lips: Free Rides (Slow Guitar Riffs) Take It Easy 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!


  • Tommy Wells Has No Friends
  • Cabbie Advocate: Gray Isn't Telling the Truth
  • Good morning sweet readers! It's Thursday, and Washington City Paper has again killed a bunch of trees because it hurts your eyes to stare at a computer screen. In this week's column, LL tries to squeeze the last little bit of juice left from last week's D.C. Council reshuffling that saw Ward 6 Councilmember Tommy Wells lose his beloved transportation committee. Turns out, plenty of Wells' colleagues have not-so-nice things to say about him (on background of course). Wells, they say, earned his demotion by being an unreliable colleague. Wells says he's no saint, but he wasn't elected to play patty cake with other councilmembers. Also, Ward 4 Councilmember Muriel Bowser's campaign records show her taking in $1,500 in money orders from three cab companies owned by one of the main conspirators in the cash cab investigation. But the conspirator told the FBI he gave the money in cash, which would be illegal, since we all know by now that cash donations above $25 are illegal. Plus, LDP checks in on the District's computer nerds and finds that they are scared of getting their laptops stolen. News time:

    Free Rides (duuu du du du) Take It Easy: The Examiner's Freeman Klopott raises more questions about the how the financial details of Mayor Vince Gray's mayoral campaign were handled last year. Klopott reports that Gray's campaign "failed to report as contributions hundreds of free taxi rides to the polls the campaign organized for elderly voters ... 'Come on, man, I can't track all of that,' Gray told The Examiner when asked about the campaign's failure to report the rides as in-kind contributions on Wednesday." D.C. Professional Taxicab Drivers Association President Nathan Price estimates drivers provided about 400 rides for the Gray campaign on the primary and general election.

    AFTER THE JUMP: Gandhi v. Barras... Kwame has allies... Trolley has troubles.

    No, You're Wrong: Chief Financial Officer Nat Gandhi has a tartly worded letter to the editor in the Examiner, accusing columnist Jonetta Rose Barras of playing fast and loose with the facts when she accused Gandhi of teaming up with Gray and Councilmember Michael A. Brown to turn D.C. into the the online Vegas on the Potomac.  "These problems with only three of Barras' recent columns could have been avoided by a simple telephone call. One hopes that, in the future, she will check the facts first to eliminate such wild speculation." Gandhi's office also sent out a letter to contractors reminding them that they shouldn't try and bribe his employees with anything more costly than a donut.

    Don't Believe the Hype: Council Chairman Kwame "Fully Loaded" Brown's former chief of staff, Irma Esparza Diggs, says don't believe the hype—Brown is doing a great job. "So far, his legislative track record stands strongly in favor of preparing D.C. residents for work through vocational education and literacy programs, and putting residents to work through workforce development and job creation initiatives. He has opened the dialogue on ethical standards for the Council, and although detractors have criticized his legislation for not going far enough, he’s not turned a deaf ear to suggestions on how it can be improved. From this perspective, the legislative branch is hardly dysfunctional. Perception is everything only if you are myopic."

    In other news:

    • Nine staffers let go at DCPS Office of Family and Public Engagement.
    • Problem solved: District's lone gun dealer to set up shop at Police HQ
    • H Street trolley won't have direct connect to Union Station.
    • D.C. rolling out new regulations for pedicabs.
    • Metro says crime is down 30 percent compared to the first half of last year.
    • City hires firm to audit United Medical Center.
    • Gray may ask EPA to close Alexandria power plant.
    • Why is your rabbit on a leash, lady?

    Gray sked: in Los Angeles to visit mayors’ conference and rub elbows with movie execs.

    Council sked: Recess.

    Anti-online gambling activist Marie Drissel will be on Newstalk with Bruce DePuyt.

    • K Kelley

      Could someone please explain why the use of money orders is problematic? I understand that we don't want donors to circumvent limits or reporting requirements, but why is a money order worse than a check? Thanks.

    • Drez

      I believe because money orders are less traceable than a check. A Check is tied to some sort of bank account, a money order isn't.
      It's an accountability and tracking thing.

    • DC Is Watching

      Its not that MOs are bad but it is the perception of a bag money is dropped off and the campaign staff is purchasing the MOs and recording this as a transaction by the donor. How much is really being donated? $1500.00, $15,000.00 or some number in between?

      I guess Bowser cannot keep saying that she is not being investigated. Even though this appears to be minor but she has lost the halo!! I'm with Colbert King, everybody on the council needs to go. Throw the BUMS out!

    • Torpedo

      Yeah I was fooled to think she was the only decent person on the Council. There aren't any decent people on the Council! So you don't "recall" Muriel Bowser, huh? You cannot say one way or the other if you saw a bowl of cash at your event or whether anyone was collecting donations at all. You are just as fake as your artificial (retarded) way of speaking!