Loose Lips

Phil Mendelson’s Long Road to a Veto Override

Mayor Vince Gray's veto of the Large Retailer Accountability Act today means the next step of the saga over the Walmart bill belongs to Phil Mendelson. The chairman needs a two-thirds vote of the D.C. Council to override the mayor's veto, which he's put on the agenda for Tuesday's meeting.

Eight members have already voted for the bill, which means Mendelson only needs to find one more vote. But that's turning out to be more difficult than it sounds.

Among the people who aren't talking up Mendelson's chances: Mendelson himself. Mendelson wouldn't say this afternoon about whether he thought he could corral a ninth vote from one of the five councilmembers who voted against the bill in July: Tommy WellsMuriel BowserDavid CataniaMary Cheh, or Yvette Alexander.

"We'll see," Mendelson says.

Let LL spare the chairman the suspense. As it stands now, getting a ninth vote by Tuesday is looking close to impossible.

Cheh is still against the bill, according to her spokesman. Alexander, with two of the Walmart stores that were nearly killed by the bill in her ward, certainly isn't likely to switch. Just to be clear on her position, though, Alexander sent out a release today asking her colleagues not to vote for the override.

Mendelson could hope to peel off mayoral hopefuls Tommy Wells or Muriel Bowser, but neither is wavering on their opposition to the bill, according to aides. Besides, who wants a mayor who can be pushed around by a few mean posters?

Mendelson's best hope is probably At-Large Councilmember David Catania, who's been the closest in the past to providing the ninth vote. Before the vote in July passing the bill, Catania unsuccessfully offered to back an amended version in exchange for support of his weighted formula for funding schools.

Catania would likely need amendments that would apply the wage increase to stores that are covered by collective bargaining agreements, according to his chief of staff. In this stage of the process, though, the bill can't be amended.

Tuesday might not be Mendelson's last chance, though. The Council has 30 days to attempt to override the mayor's veto, meaning that if Mendelson expects Tuesday's vote to fail he could try to have the bill tabled and brought up for another vote at a more advantageous time.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

  • http://citypaper SLY

    Mendelson is in over his HEAD.

  • Ward-8

    Mendelson and the other Councilman who voted for this bill are using their heads and common sense judgement and not being bamboozle by million dollar lobbyist and Corporate owners with a net worth well over 120 billion dollar whose only concerns are profit. They could care less about the lively hood of their employees. All this talk from this Mayor with a huge dark indictment cloud over his head about looking out for the citizens and job opportunity is nothing but some bull shit and he will be looking for another job come next election, you take Cheh and Cantana who for years were devoting more time to their other jobs earning huge salaries in addition to an undeserved Counsel salary, so we already know they don't have to worry about paying their bills because they are and will always be beholden to large Corporation. Then we have Tommy and Bowser claiming they want to be Mayor, their chance of becoming Mayor are like pissing in a strong wind and hoping the piss don't blow back on you and poor Yvette, had she had someone other than Moton running against her in the last election, she would probably have to seek employment from Wal-mart, at least so far she is in their good grace. So when these corporate A** kissers come knocking on my door the next election, they will get a swift kick and referral to Wal-mart.

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  • Corky

    Ward8--were you going to employ the thousands of people who would be working at Walmart at ANY wage, much less, the exorbitant "living wage" that you and the rest of you union bullies were pushing? I didn't think so. You can call people names all you want, but money talks and you know what walks. People NEED jobs and they NEED more retail establishments close to their homes. Nothing that the anti-Walmart people are jumping up and down about addresses those needs. Real people need jobs, not feel good rhetoric about how evil the Waltom family is.

  • AB

    Lol @ Cork. Since when is $26,000 a year FULL time exhorbitant. That's barely above a poverty wage in this city.

  • sticktoyourguns

    Thanks to Phil Mendelson and those who voted in favor of this bill. From Gray to Bowser and the rest of them who Walmart and their lobbyist have padded their pockets fully.....the residents of DC need to know that those in favor of the veto have to since they have received their payment in full!!

  • Smh

    @Corky: Amen!

  • S.E.

    How many "city residents" are employed by the construction companies building these Walmarts?

  • Typical DC BS

    AB: maybe you need to take some basic economics courses. You obviously have no business sense at all. Yes, let's pay some ludicrous amount to non-skilled labor. While you're at it, why don't you force ONLY big box stores to do this, and not EVERYONE, including their competition?

    Hate to break it to you, but communism was proven to be junk ideology decades ago.

  • Miss Lu Lu Hogg

    Phil Mendelson is an idiot!

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