Loose Lips

Yvette Alexander: Gimme Control of the Booze!

Attention bar owners: Ward 7 Councilmember Yvette Alexander wants to wrest oversight of the city's liquor laws away from Ward 1 Councilmember Jim Graham.

Graham, whose booze-soaked ward is home to Adams Morgan and U Street, has long held sway over the city's alcohol regime as chairman of the committee that oversees the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration. He's currently pushing a vast rewrite of the city's liquor laws that the D.C. Council will vote on next month.

But Alexander says Graham and ABRA have been too focused on Ward 1 concerns, rather than what's best for the entire District.

"We need to shake things up a bit, we need to get rid of this monarchy and bring some diversity to it," says Alexander. She adds that her committee, the Committee on Public Services and Consumer Affairs, has oversight of many other regulatory agencies, so it would make sense to include ABRA as well.

Graham did not immediately return a call seeking comment, but Alexander says he's made it clear that he would be loathe to part with oversight of ABRA. "It would be over his dead body as far as he's concerned," she says.  "In so many words, that's what he's told me."

Whether to grant Alexander's wish will be one of many decisions Council Chairman Phil Mendelson will have to make as he reconfigures committee assignments. Alexander says Mendelson told her that he's planning a meeting for next month to discuss committee assignments before making any changes.

UPDATE: Uh-oh. Graham emails both LL and Alexander the following: "I made [no] such statement as you have quoted CM Alexander [as] saying. I would like a retraction." No word back from him yet on whether he means to deny he ever told Alexander he doesn't want to give up the committee, even without using the "dead body" phrase, though.

Update No. 2: Graham emails again: "I have yet to reach any decision on what committee assignments I might or might not want. I await my meeting with the chairman."

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

  • joan

    Alexander isn't exactly the brightest bulb on the Christmas tree.

  • truth hurts

    I vote for neither one. They both suck.

  • RealDC

    Yeah, good luck. The "white folks" are not giving up control over the money or the booze in DC. Will not happen. Do you think Bowser/McDuffie/Barry/Orange will get the finance and revenue chair? Will never happen!

  • ToTheContrary

    PLEASE, don't give ABRA over to Yvette "I want a stiff fine for everything" Alexander. As a Ward 7 Hillcrest resident, I am, quite frankly, sick of this woman.

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  • Ward 6 Voter

    Wow! The choice is between a perceived crook and a large empty head. The choices we face.


    We seem to be doomed in this city with idiots sitting on the D.C. council.

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  • Ward Boss

    Please Phil, set Graham aside until the ethical dereche around can her be removed, in other words forever. It will be hard for her to chair a committee from the inside.

    Graham is in the pocket of the alcohol lobby when not in the pocket of one of the other groups in whose pockets he is in or scamming money from the dying during epidemics.

  • Political Observer

    ABRA regulates more than bars and restaurants. Also under its jurisdiction are the huge numbers of liquor stores.

    Unless Alexander can give a good reason other than "I want it because I have other agencies." she needs to be denied.

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