Loose Lips

Loose Lips Daily: UnSafeway 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! Oh look, the Cowboys are in first place. News time:

Safe Covenant: The Post reports that there's a potential roadblock in path of Walmart's glorious arrival at Skyland, which would be one of Mayor Vince Gray's signature achievements. Turns out that the Safeway across the street as "has a covenant from the 1990s that prevents a competitor — such as the world’s largest retailer — from locating in certain portions of Skyland and selling groceries." Uh-oh. The Gray administration is working to strike some sort of deal, but it sounds like Safeway is in a good position to milk this for all its worth. Says a store rep: "“We want to be cooperative, but there is a reason that the covenant is in place to protect our interests.” Gary D. Rappaport, the lead developer for Skyland, says these kind of wrinkles happen all the time and he's not worried. "We have no doubt that there will be an agreement reached between the District and Safeway prior to any work being done on the site by us." Safeway has hired Gray pal Bruce Bereano to lobby on its behalf here.

AFTER THE JUMP: No Changes to iGaming; Post likes Ethics; Alexander Slams Wells...

iGaming Coming Soon: TWT reports that those lightly attended community meetings to discuss the District foray into legalized online gambling haven't altered D.C. Lotto's plans for the programs. “I think the substantial majority of people who attended and spoke were supportive,” lottery Director Buddy Roogow said. Ward 6 Councilmartyr Saint Tommy Wells still plans to try and repeal iGaming, and says he's not surprised that a bunch of people wore t-shirts mocking him at the Ward 6 community lotto meeting.

We Like It: The Post editorial board comes out in favor of Ward 4 Councilmember Muriel Bowser's ethics bill and its proposed standalone board of ethics. "We admit to some skepticism about creating a government agency to do a job neglected by others. Why not just fix the Office of Campaign Finance or diagnose why the Office of the Inspector General has taken a milquetoast approach to its watchdog role? But given all the scandals that have marred this government, it is clear the city can no longer tinker with its bureaucracy; a clean break is needed."

Them's Fighin' Words: Speaking of ethics, Wells told WAMU that he's in favor of getting rid of the constituent service funds, which led to this sharp elbowing from Ward 7 Councilmember Yvette Alexander: "Asked her opinion of a council member that would eliminate the funds altogether, Alexander doesn't pull any punches. 'I would say they are definitely not a ward representative,' she says. 'And they definitely don’t meet the need of the constituents that they serve.'" Yeesh. Looks like Wells is still Mr. Popular at the council.

More on Cabs: The Examiner runs a story on a likely taxi fare hike for the second day in a row, this time highlighting the fact that cabbies came out big for Gray during last year's election. "One cabbie wondered Monday why it took so long for Gray to keep his campaign promise. 'He was supposed to get us the fair increase,' said longtime cab driver Carolyn Robinson, who said she was one of the drivers the Gray campaign called for help during last year's primary and general elections."

In Other News:

  • Citizen impressed with city services.
  • Keith Jarrell has second thoughts on running for Ward 4 council seat.
  • Gray is anti-violence at Dupont Circle, and everywhere else.
  • Prankster sets off fireworks at Metro stop during rush hour.

Gray sked: 9:30 a.m. – 10:30 am: New Brand Analytics Meet & Greet; 6:15 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.: Sustainable D.C. Working Group Kick-Off Meeting; 7:25 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.: Ward 3 Democratic Committee Forum.

Council sked: ANC redistricting at 10 a.m.; Motor vehicle bills at 10:30 a.m.


    What ever happened to good old healthy competition, part of that shopping center use to be occupied by the Giant corp., they sold groceries but evidently couldn't compete. They still had the oppurtunity to do so though, this worked out very well for the neighborhood because of the good competition that it sparked, not to mention the drawing of folk from near by PG county.

  • Blevins

    Funny thing Yvette, Tommy doesn't have an organized group of leaders in his ward working to find an alternative candidate to run against him - like you do. Maybe stop using your CS money as a slush fund, and get out and accomplish something before you cast stones...

    Oh, and LOL'z at the Skyland deal. Due dilligence on any easements, restrictive covenants, etc is development 101. Color me unsurprised that the One City Crew didn't have its ducks in a row. Same goes for community agreements not being negotiated beforehand, you know, when the community might have had some leverage.

    While the with Safeway, and Skyland will likely be settled eventually, continual slip-ups like this demonstrate this administration's incompetence daily. Rest assured that the business community is paying attention.

  • RepoMan

    I guess Tommy Wells' bill to give Safeway on the Waterfront retro tax abatements on Real Property, Personal Property, Sales Taxes and Construction materials will finally come to fruition.

    Too bad these councilmembers don't advocate for the voters with the same velocity as they do for corporations.

  • Truth Hurts

    Bruce Bereano? Hmmm, sounds familiar. Is he the disbarred lawyer, convicted felon, Gray fundraiser, Gray frat big bro, "I don't buy politicians, I just rent them" lobbyist guy?

    Surely one city has recused himself from this one, right?

  • cminus

    Wow, so Yvette Alexander is accusing Tommy Wells of not looking out for his constituents' needs?

    Is this the the Yvette Alexander who spent $1,000 on constituent services (a mere 2% of what she raised in their name, easily the worst percentage in the Council), calling out the Tommy Wells who raised less than a sixth what Alexander did and still managed to spend $2,600? That, my friends, takes chutzpah.

  • B

    I'd be far more impressed if they put more effort into supporting locally owned businesses. I understand the need for larger businesses but they cater to them far more than the average business owner. I'm sick of hearing "I got this neighborhood an IHOP" or "I got that neighborhood a WalMart". How about doing citywide promotions of small businesses that serve awesome food/use local ingredients or supplies/provide unique services? Major cities thrive off of promoting a unique food and craft culture. Also, trying to get decent food suppliers in underserved neighborhoods. No more of the Mcdonalds/corner store will suffice for that area mentality please.

  • RealDC

    6 Walli-Marts in ONE CITY? Really? Is that our best economic plan? Something is very wrong with that plan. 6 stores at one time....2 stores will be a mile and half apart. Really?
    Who got paid on this plan? Its like the mayor and the council are playing reindeer games with DCs economic development plan. If they even have one.

    Anyway, you slice it, 6 Walli-Marts is BAD for DC!!

  • James Ward 2

    Ummm . . . economic development + a DC Mayor + the Mayor's fraternity brother doe NOT equal "integrirty, character, leadership" (Gray for Mayor campaign slogan).

    It's been nearly a year and can anyone name something substantive that the Gray Administration accomplished? They could not even develop a 100-day plan.

    Mayor Gray is a hypocrit who has gotten absolutely NOTHING done.

  • Blevins

    @James, don't waste your fingers typing this: "It's been nearly a year and can anyone name something substantive that the Gray Administration accomplished? They could not even develop a 100-day plan"

    The OneCitidiots have totally given up on naming acts of substance by the Gray administration - saying in one case that the "eye test" was good enough for them, while at the same time demanding specificity from the mayor's legion of detractors. Comical.

    To paraphrase the old song: One (city) is the lonliest number (city) that could ever be.....