Loose Lips

LL Links

Muriel Bowser gets poor reviews on handling crime. [LLPost]

Did Bowser's political feud cost the District the top airport board spot? [Post]

Body camera dispute set for a compromise. [Post]

Post ed board: compensate tax lien sales victims. [Post]

The next design for Franklin Square. [WBJ] Read more LL Links

Bowser Gets Poor Reviews on Crime, Overall Numbers Drop

Muriel Bowser has spent the last six months of her term dealing with an uptick in the murder rate, and her constituents aren't impressed. According to a new poll from the Washington Post, a majority of District residents disapprove of Bowser's attempts to reduce crime.

The poll, taken between Nov. 12 and 15, found 63 percent of respondents saying Bowser is doing either a "not so good" or "poor" job with crime, while 33 percent approved. That's especially bad news for the mayor because 34 percent of respondents—a plurality in the poll—said crime was the most pressing problem in the city.

Overall, 58 percent of respondents approve of Bowser's mayoral term. Normally that would be a good sign, but it's down nearly ten percent from just a month ago.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

LL Links

Neighbors back Georgetown to fill the Franklin School. [WBJ]

New Metro boss has big plans. [WAMU]

Muriel Bowser announces Walter Reed details. [WBJ]

Resource center for sex workers launches on H Street NE. [City Desk]

The Klingle Road saga ends with a trail. [GGW]

Bowser appears at the French Embassy after Paris attacks. [WAMU]

Feds launch Metro oversight website. [City Desk]

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

LL Links

City moves to close homeless camp. [NBC4]

Wharf development movements. [WBJ]

Watch traffic back up after yesterday's "barricade situation." [Post]

What's next for housing-first residents? [Post]

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

LL Links

Muriel Bowser: FreshPAC was a "distraction." [LLWAMUWBJ]

Colby King isn't impressed with mayor-aligned candidates' chances next year. [Post]

Ethics complaint against WMATA board chief looks like it's dead. [LL]

Pepco land deals. [WBJ]

Grim economic figures for trans Washingtonians. [Blade] Read more LL Links

Inspector General Ends Ethics Probe Into Metro Board Chairman

Dupont Metro

Dupont Metro

Finally some good news for hapless Metro board chairman Mortimer Downey. The District's inspector general has closed its ethics investigation into Downey's consulting contract, according to documents obtained by LL through the Freedom of Information Act. Further, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority has decided not to pursue it themselves.

The ethics complaint filed by the District’s Office of Inspector General against Downey, first reported by the Washington Post in September, was gathering steam as early as June 24, according to internal emails. 

Closed by OIG in October, the complaint alleged that Downey’s position as a paid adviser to engineering company and major Metro contractor Parsons Brinckerhoff—a position which Downey has since vacated—was a conflict of interest. Metro paid the company $81 million over several years for projects including the botched construction of the Silver Spring Transit Center, for which Metro is seeking $25.8 million in damages.

Downey ended his 10-year stint with Parsons Brinckerhoff—during which he was paid $100,000 per year to work four days per month—in July. Downey says the position was approved on a yearly basis by Metro’s general counsel. Read more Inspector General Ends Ethics Probe Into Metro Board Chairman

Bowser: FreshPAC Was a ‘Distraction’

Muriel Bowser is in China, but she can still get her talking points fresh from the District. On a conference call with reporters, Bowser stuck to the Green Team line that recently killed-off political action committee FreshPAC was a well-intentioned effort that became a "distraction."

In Bowser's telling, FreshPAC organizers and donors—who could make unlimited contributions in election off-years, thanks to a campaign finance loophole—were just trying to do good. Asked about FreshPAC's demise, Bowser first thanked "many residents all over the city" for their "support."

As usual, Bowser stressed that FreshPAC was operating legally. But...

“I do agree that FreshPAC had become a distraction, and I very much support their decision to move on," Bowser said.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

LL Links

Ex-fire chief Kenneth Ellerbe eyes a Ward 7 run—depending on what Vince Gray does. [LL]

What killed FreshPAC, why it lasted so long, and where it got money. [LL, LL]

Cathy Lanier talks policing as the government service of last resort. [Post]

Airbnb puts out "community compact" ahead of looming District regs. [WBJ]

Bus gives the streetcar a light whack. [City Desk] Read more LL Links

Former Fire Chief Will Run in Ward 7 If Vince Gray Doesn’t (UPDATED)

Ward 7 Councilmember Yvette Alexander isn't the only one waiting to see if ex-Mayor Vince Gray will run for her D.C. Council seat. Kenneth Ellerbe, Gray's former fire chief, is planning to enter the race as well—as long as his former boss isn't getting in the race. (Or maybe not—see update below).

"I'm waiting for the mayor to make a decision," Ellerbe says.

An Ellerbe-Alexander race would mean a showdown between two former Gray associates. After filling Gray's Ward 7 Council seat with his blessing when he became Council chairman, Alexander has since moved towards Muriel Bowser's Green Team. Bowser donors hosted a fundraiser for Alexander Wednesday night.   Read more Former Fire Chief Will Run in Ward 7 If Vince Gray Doesn’t (UPDATED)

FreshPAC Worked For Muriel Bowser—Until It Didn’t

Mayor Bowser

Mayor Bowser

Just how deep did Mayor Muriel Bowser step in it with FreshPAC, the political fund designed to take in unlimited contributions and point them at D.C. Council races next year?

Seven councilmembers signed on to a bill aimed at trying to stop political action committees from taking in unfettered donations. One of them, Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh, turned a hearing on development deals into an interrogation of a FreshPAC donor. (The situation turned stranger still when the donor couldn’t remember who hit him up for the $10,000 contribution.)

The Washington Post editorial board, usually supportive of Bowser’s Green Team, has run multiple editorials urging her to shut it down for her own sake. Post op-ed writer Colby King, meanwhile, fretted in print that the mayor was being mislead by her FreshPAC associates.

District attorney general and occasional Bowser rival Karl Racine, who began working on some anti-FreshPAC legislation of his own, says he’s been deluged with complaints about the PAC.

“What they’re concerned about is the return of flagrant pay-to-play politics,” Racine said last week in a radio interview.

In the face of mounting opposition, Bowser ally and FreshPAC treasurer Ben Soto announced Tuesday night that they were shutting the operation down. It just wasn’t worth the “distraction.” Bowser didn’t comment. Read more FreshPAC Worked For Muriel Bowser—Until It Didn’t