Loose Lips

Ward 1 Candidates Scrap on Rat Policy

LL didn't expect rats to be the hottest issue in the Ward 1 race, but here we are. Following D.C. Councilmember Jim Graham's introduction of an anti-rat bill Tuesday, challenger Brianne Nadeau is out with a statement saying Graham is all wrong on rat killing.

Graham's bill would require businesses with food licenses to submit a plan for reducing rats nearby. In her release, Nadeau accuses Graham of being late to the rat problem in Ward 1 neighborhoods like Adams Morgan and U Street. She's backed up by the manager of the company that operates U Street area restaurants (and alleged swagger-jackers) Marvin and The Brixton, who says in the release that Graham's rat plan requirement would create an unnecessary burden on new restaurants.

Nadeau, who says rats are the top issues she hears about on the campaign, tells LL that she wants to see an anti-rat agenda that also covers residential areas and getting businesses to cooperate on shared alleys.

Graham, whose rat knowledge memorably includes the detail that "dog poop...is like an energy bar to rats," says his rat policy isn't coming out of nowhere. In an email to LL, Graham says his "realistic" rat plan requirement comes from information discussed in a November "rat summit."

"A rat can live on battery cables so pizza is a great treat," writes Graham.

Photo by Jule Banville

  • Ward 1 resident

    I have a major rat infestation in my yard. I will vote for whichever Ward 1 Council candidate is more pro-poison. Poison, poison, poison.

  • VJ Ward One

    Hopefully Jim Graham is learning something about rats by now. I must take issue with the notion that he is late to the rat issue. Now, whether or not he has been effective - that's another matter! But he has been responsive, at least, for more than three or four years.

    But I'm not sure how much we should be relying on our councilmen and women to be the experts on rats. Because until you deal with it day in and day out, it will be challenging to ever call yourself an expert.

    As to his assertion that rats eat dog poop, this is true. Rats will eat ANYthing, and as he said, pizza crusts are a bonus.

    The thing that Jim Graham should really be doing is effective, long-lasting and consistent oversight: assuring his constituents that the proper government personnel are both in place and doing their jobs on a daily basis to work with rat baiters to reduce the population. Jim Graham really should not be our go-to guy on this issue. That he is currently being looked to for answers on rats points up a failure somewhere.

    In the park, we had an excellent baiter up until about two years ago, and now we do not have him anymore. The man knew the park, and there were park employees there to meet him everytime he came to walk the park with him. This was effective rat management. That is now gone, although there are volunteers on the case to ensure some of it is returned.

    As I've said before, until you actually kill the rats, you're just whistlin Dixie. Because if you take away the cat food, or human food, rats will just laugh and say watch this, as they feast on the most disgusting of animal residues and remains, not to mention plants. They will adapt and survive. They will laugh at our fancy trash cans, and then figure out how to get in them anyway. It happens again and again.

  • Mister Goat

    Could we have a link to Nadeau's statement? Complaining about the "burden" on restaurant owners who charge absurd prices and fight against wage increases for their employees seems laughable. I'm hoping that this description is a misrepresentation of her words.