Council Passes Meter Contract, Despite Opposition from Orange and Campaign Donor
How much could $43,000 in political donations get Rockville's WorldWide Parking in its contract fight with Xerox over the District's parking meters? As it turns out, not much. The doomed attempt to stop Xerox from winning the District's $33 million parking meter contract went down 11-2 in the D.C. Council today, garnering nay votes only from Marion Barry and WorldWide stalwart Vincent Orange.
Orange insisted he was only trying to safeguard taxpayers' money by opposing the contract, which was upheld in a challenge to the Contract Appeals Board. Never mind the $20,000 in bundled contribution his mayoral campaign received from WorldWide last month.
"That's the collateral issue the media wants to get you caught up in, because that's sexy," Orange said.
Fellow mayoral candidates Muriel Bowser and Jack Evans, who took $5,000 and $18,000 in WorldWide bundles respectively, voted in favor of the contract. David Grosso, meanwhile, broke his practice of abstaining on contract approvals to vote in favor of the meter contract.
Barry, who inspired his own brouhaha over donations of a different sort when he accepted cash gifts from city contractors, used the ensuing debate over whether the Council should be able to vote on contracts to announce that he "resented" a group of councilmembers. The group—he only named Ward 6's Tommy Wells as a member—had earned Barry's ire for suggesting that the Council is for sale.
"You think that Marion Barry is going to sell his soul for a meager contracting contribution?" Barry asked. "Hell no."
Photo by Darrow Montgomery