Loose Lips

Vincent Orange Gets Rolled at His Own Committee Meeting

In two stints on the D.C. Council, Vincent Orange has been a councilmember for a combined 12 years. Freshmen Councilmembers Elissa SilvermanBrianne Nadeau, and Charles Allen have been on the Council for a combined fifteen months. Still, that comparative lack of experience didn't stop the trio from snookering Orange good in a maneuver at his own Council committee.

The heist went down Wednesday at the Committee on Business, Consumer, and Regulatory Affairs budget mark-up meeting. That's when Nadeau, backed up by Silverman and Allen, introduced an amendment to send more money to the Office of the Tenant Advocate and the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs in a bid to catch more illegal construction and approve permits faster. (The action starts 17 minutes in on this video, if you want to follow along.)

That'd be fine, except Nadeau's money comes from taking more than $450,000 from the District's film fund, the closest thing Orange has to a sacred cow at the Council (along with his dream of a water park hotel complex). Orange's dedication to the city's attempts to attract film and television productions has persisted even as its main achievement remains a disastrous Owen Wilson vehicle.

Read more Vincent Orange Gets Rolled at His Own Committee Meeting

LL Links

Pot dealers thrive under quirky legalization scheme. [Post]

The D.C. Council gets two new members who owe a lot to Muriel Bowser. [LL]

Councilmembers not eager to back Bowser's request for more power. [Post]

Marion C. Barry cuts a last-.minute plea deal over his alleged bank outburst. [LL]

Housing chief faces homelessness crisis. [Housing Complex]

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Barry Will Take Plea Over Alleged Bank Outburst

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Marion C. Barry has cut a last-minute plea deal over an alleged January bank outburst, according to a motion filed by prosecutors today.

Barry's trial was scheduled for this Wednesday, but now prosecutors want to turn it into a plea hearing. In a motion, the U.S. Attorney's Office says they have "worked out a plea deal" with late Mayor Marion Barry's son.

The plea deal could spare Barry the release of potentially embarrassing security footage while he prepares to run again for his father's Ward 8 D.C. Council seat next year, after a dismal sixth place finish in last month's special election.

The video purportedly shows Barry, allegedly enraged at a Chinatown bank after failing to take $20,000 out of his overdrawn bank account, threatening a teller. Then, according to police, Barry hurled a trash can over a plexiglass divider and destroyed another security camera. Last month, Barry told LL that he had been hassled before by the PNC Bank teller.

Barry's lawyer didn't return a request for comment.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

New Councilmembers Sworn In, With Nods To Bowser

The District's two newest councilmembers took their seats yesterday with a nod to the woman who got them there: Muriel Bowser.

After being sworn in, Brandon Todd, taking Bowser's old Ward 4 D.C. Council seat, praised Bowser as "my mentor, my friend, and my former boss." LaRuby May, who's filling the Ward 8 seat just days after her slim election win was certified by the D.C. Board of Elections, thanked the mayor for her "commitment to Team LaRuby and the residents of Ward 8."

Just how the new councilmembers plan to pay back the mayor, who has stumbled with her first budget to the Council, remains to be seen.

May included another mayoral shout-out in her speech, this time to the late Marion Barry, whose seat she's filling.

Read more New Councilmembers Sworn In, With Nods To Bowser

LL Links

Congress heads into the city for vouchers hearing. [Times, WAMU]

D.C. Council committee shifts money to building inspectors. [WAMU]

Metro plans anti-smoke incident strategy. [Post]

Suspicious house fire kills four. [Post]

Post ed board backs instant runoff voting. [Post]

More charter money in revised budget. [Post]

Read more LL Links

LL Links

D.C. Council committee chops out Muriel Bowser's tax hikes... [LLTimes]

...while Kenyan McDuffie cuts the body camera rollout, citing unclear policy plans. [WAMU]

Council wants DCHFA out of its valuable HQ. [WBJ]

Homeless rate drops. [Housing Complex, WAMUPost]

But the human services boss isn't relaxing. [Housing Complex]

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Bowser Budget Faceplants at the D.C. Council

Stumping with other mayors for more transportation funding on Capitol Hill today, Muriel Bowser found herself in a mutual admiration society with the rest of the municipal executives. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio even declared Bowser "America's Mayor."

If only the mayor could generate some of that adoration down at the Wilson Building. While Bowser headed to Congress, her old colleagues at the D.C. Council continued to strip away at her freshman budget.

Yesterday, Ward 5 Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie's public safety committee recommended chopping $3.1 million off Bowser's police body camera program. It's part of an ongoing spat over Bowser's attempt to hide the footage from Freedom of Information Act requests. Even Bowser's last-minute attempt at a ceasefire couldn't stop McDuffie.

More ominously for Bowser's budget goals, Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans' finance and revenue committee took up the budget today and didn't like what it saw. Evans has opposed Bowser's proposed hikes to the parking and sales taxes since Bowser announced the budget, and he went ahead today and took them out of his committee's recommendations.

Read more Bowser Budget Faceplants at the D.C. Council

New Councilmembers Start Tomorrow

If you're looking to get buddy-buddy with the newest councilmembers, tomorrow's your chance. New Ward 4 Councilmember Brandon Todd and new Ward 8 Councilmember LaRuby May will be sworn in tomorrow at the Wilson Building.

The new councilmembers' swearing-in at 6:30 p.m. comes not a moment too late for Mayor Muriel Bowser, who pushed both candidates across the finish lines in their respective races (in May's case, just barely across it). Loyal Green Team councilmembers could be critical to Bowser, who's fared unevenly so far in her budget fight.

May and Todd can't get too comfortable. Unlike a normal swearing-in, where a new councilmember can anticipate roughly three years of legislating before gearing up to fight again for their seat, both the Ward 4 and Ward 8 seats will be up in primaries thirteen months from now. Welcome to the Council—now start campaigning.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

LL Links

Councilmembers oppose Exelon's purchase of Pepco. [PostTimes]

Muriel Bowser backs down on UDC budget cuts. [LL]

Parents worry about school conditions. [Post]

UDC gets a new president. [AP]

Two new Brookland parcels from Metro. [Housing Complex]

"Uber for buses" arrives. [WAMU]

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

Bowser Restores UDC Funding, Tables Camera in New Budget Update

As Muriel Bowser's first budget heads into mark-up hearings at the D.C. Council, the mayor is backing down from two potential sticking points. In a letter yesterday to councilmembers, Bowser cancelled proposed cuts to the University of the District of Columbia and tabled a fight over open records requests for police body cameras.

In her original April budget, Bowser moved to cut $3.5 million from the University of the District of Columbia, even though chopping money out of a university doesn't exactly square with her "Pathways to the Middle Class" budget theme.

Now, Bowser won't have to push the cuts at the Council. In her letter, Bowser says the $3.5 million can stay, thanks to cost savings from the Wharf project in Southwest and charter school enrollment. Bowser writes that she wants the money to be spent on "programs which help place our residents on careers pathways."

Read more Bowser Restores UDC Funding, Tables Camera in New Budget Update

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