Loose Lips

Catania Uses Puppets in Latest Anti-Bowser Video

David Catania's mayoral campaign has been heavy on imagery, from a graphic meant to count rival Muriel Bowser's platitudes to materials that show Bowser as a marionette. Now he's trying something new: using actual puppets.

In a new campaign video, a green contraption in a jaunty bowler hat meant to be the "political machine" that Catania claims is behind Bowser interviews a series of other puppets about why they're supporting her.

One puppet describes the Ward 4 councilmember as "entrenched and established," while a green monster (are those enfranchised in the District?) says she's confused on neighborhood schools. At the end of the video, viewers are urged not to be "puppets" and back Catania instead.

“I think those little guys make some good points," Catania campaign manager Ben Young says.

Young declined to comment on the wisdom of calling potential voters "puppets."

Read more Catania Uses Puppets in Latest Anti-Bowser Video

Monday! The Loose Lips Attorney General Debate at Rock & Roll Hotel

MIC-1 (1)For the first time, D.C. voters will elect the city's attorney general this November. Five candidates are vying to be the city's top lawyer—but first, LL has some questions for them.

Candidates Lorie Masters, Karl Racine, Edward “Smitty” Smith, Lateefah Williams, and Paul Zukerberg will be on hand Monday, Sept. 29, at the Rock & Roll Hotel to debate the issues they'd face as attorney general. Loose Lips columnist Will Sommer will be joined by panelists Jonetta Rose Barras of the Washington Post (and a former LL!) and Zoe Tillman of the National Law Journal and Legal Times.

The Rock & Roll Hotel is at 1353 H Street NE. Doors open at 7, and the debate begins at 8. Entry is free. Tip your bartender! And RSVP on Facebook here.

And stay tuned! More debates are coming up in October.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

MPD Is Now Issuing Body Cameras to Some D.C. Cops

The next time you get pulled over for speeding, you might be on camera. Metropolitan Police Department Chief Cathy Lanier announced this morning that some MPD officers will start wearing body cameras as part of a years-long program to roll out the cameras to the entire force.

Police will be using five different types of cameras, including cameras that are mounted on officers' chests, around their collars, and in glasses. In the initial test, 160 officers will be wearing the cameras to see how they work on a shift.

‘This gives us that independent, unbiased witness," Lanier said.

Police departments that have tried the body cameras have seen drops in both police use of force and complaints against officers, but Lanier's hopes for an "unbiased witness" to police encounters may be overstatedVince Gray said the August shooting of teen Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., wasn't behind MPD's new pilot program.

Read more MPD Is Now Issuing Body Cameras to Some D.C. Cops

Morning Links

D.C. Council passes gun bill it didn't want. [City DeskPost, WAMUTimes]

Vincent Orange says Vince Gray's administration owes small businesses $1 billion. [LLPost]

Bills from David Catania, Gray aim to fix affordable housing problem at Chinatown apartment building. [Housing Complex]

Carol Schwartz puts out an affordable housing plan. [Post]

You've got one more week before the yoga tax. [Post]

The many, many groups whose debates Muriel Bowser is skipping. [NBC4]

Read more Morning Links

Orange Scolds Gray on Small Business Spending, But Mayor Says the Numbers Are All Wrong

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At-large D.C. Councilmember Vincent Orange took to the steps of the Wilson Building this morning with a message: The District's small businesses are getting hosed. Backed by labor and business heavies, as well as three other councilmembers, Orange accused Vince Gray's administration of ignoring laws requiring city agencies to spend a certain percentage of their budgets on contracts with small businesses.

Orange followed up the rally at this afternoon's Council meeting, passing a ceremonial "Sense of the Council" resolution calling on Gray to follow the law, which was opposed only by Councilmember David Grosso. Orange and his supporters claim the Gray administration is delinquent on $1 billion that should have been spent with certified Small Business Enterprises.

“You’ve got 63 cranes out here in this city," Orange said at the Council meeting. "Everyone’s enjoying the prosperity, except for the citizens of the District of Columbia."

That $1 billion figure gave Orange the name for his event—the"Where's the $1 Billion Rally." At the protest, Ward 8 Councilmember Marion Barry led the crowd in a chant: "Tell Vince Gray/'Where is the money?'"

Read more Orange Scolds Gray on Small Business Spending, But Mayor Says the Numbers Are All Wrong

Politically Connected Chinatown Restaurateur’s Case End Quietly

In the District, even the most dim-witted crime doesn't necessarily end in disaster. Consider Tony Cheng, the Chinatown restaurant owner and Wilson Building fundraiser whose inept dealings with the D.C. Taxicab Commission will only cost him two years of probation, according to a sentence handed down yesterday.

Last spring, Cheng pleaded guilty to offering to cut former D.C. Taxicab Commission Leon Swain in on profits from a potential towing operation in exchange for the commission's business.

Unbeknownst to Cheng, Swain was working undercover for the FBI—something that shouldn't have been much of a surprise to Cheng, since Swain's participation in another bribery sting had already been well-publicized by the time Cheng made the offer. Cheng and Swain initially began talking as part of Swain's effort to convince Cheng to reach out to the Vince Gray transition team and help him keep his job, Cheng attorney Jon W. Norris said in court.

Read more Politically Connected Chinatown Restaurateur’s Case End Quietly

Morning Links

Ahead of the first post-recess D.C. Council meeting, councilmembers consider an unpalatable new gun law. [Post]

The Secret Service makes a mistake and prepares to take it out on D.C. residents. [Housing ComplexPost]

Post ed board: don't impose new security after fence-jumper. [Post]

Councilgram—LL's Instagram account for the Council's parking scofflaws—nabs another. [Instagram]

Sulaimon Brown makes his endorsements. [LL]

Forget car-free day: this is a car-free life. [WAMU]

Cabbies trash ridesharing's effect on their bottom line. [WAMU]

Read more Morning Links

Sulaimon Brown Makes His Endorsements

Is Sulaimon Brown, in addition to being a 2010 fringe mayoral candidate and the inspiration for the federal investigation into Vince Gray, suddenly a proponent of getting more women into office? LL has to wonder after seeing Brown's new list of general election endorsements, in which he writes that "we need a women's (sic) touch, men have run our city into the ground, now it's time for women to pick it up and restore world class dignity and respect." In the press release, Brown endorses for mayor Ward 4 Councilmember Muriel Bowser,whom he also endorsed during this spring's Democratic primary.

Alas, Brown doesn't mention what he thinks of the David Catania campaign's claim that Carol Schwartz's mayoral run amounts to a repeat of Brown's own illicit work for Gray's campaign.

In the D.C. Council at-large race, Brown backs incumbent Councilmember Anita Bonds and Logan Circle wine bar owner Khalid Pitts.

Brown returns to candidates' genders in his final set of endorsements, endorsing Lorie Masters for attorney general. Brown writes that he thinks Masters and Bowser will get along, "unlike [Masters'] male counterparts."

Read more Sulaimon Brown Makes His Endorsements

Morning Links

David Catania's record can only get him so far in the mayor's race. [Post]

Another cabinet member leaves Vince Gray's administration. [LL]

Muriel Bowser once again tops the Mayoral Power Rankings. [LL]

More on Bowser's platform [Post]

Yes, Jack Evans vandalized his own Wikipedia page. [LL]

Colby King considers Jeff Thompson and D.C. Appleseed. [Post]

Read more Morning Links

Mayoral Power Rankings, General Election: Week 2

Debate! Poll! What a week for Mayoral Power RankingsWhen last we left the Power RankingsMuriel Bowser sat on top of the pile. This week...

1. Muriel Bowser

What: LL's always looking to upend the Power Rankings, but Bowser quashed that this week in the new NBC4/Washington Post poll, coming out 17 percent ahead of nearest opponent David Catania. With only six weeks left until election day, Bowser looks to have the race nearly locked down.

"I'm pretty sure they would both like to be in my place," Bowser tells LL.

Why: Bowser and her rivals met for the first time in a debate last night, and Bowser came off pretty well. She certainly avoided producing the kind of catastrophic debate performance that Catania needs from her if he's going to narrow the gap.

Still, LL continues to be baffled by Bowser's inability to handle questions about her accomplishments. Bowser has had multiple ugly run-ins with reporters on this seemingly innocuous question, first with DCist, and this week with the Post. Even though everyone realizes this is Bowser's weakness, she still apparently hasn't come up with a pat response for it. Last night, Bowser stumbled over a debate question about her signature achievement, eventually choosing the obvious answer anyway: her ethics bill.

Power Rankings Momentum: Solid.

Read more Mayoral Power Rankings, General Election: Week 2