Let’s see if we can do some yeoman’s work tracking where we are with a lot of the political scandals that are currently underway here in the District relating just to District Operations. If we had to handle Congressional and Executive scandals, this post would be too long for anyone to digest, so let’s keep politics local, shall we?
WMATA quietly announced last night it has lifted a long-standing ban on allowing independent safety monitors access to Metro tracks. Metro board Chairman Jim Graham met with WMATA higher-ups yesterday and it had some result, supposedly. Late Tuesday, WMATA officials said that the Tri-State Oversight Committee (TSOC TOC) does have the authority to carry out safety inspections and ensuring employees are complying with safety rules and regulations.
But once again, Metro fails to communicate. Eric Madison, chairman of the oversight committee, told the Washington Post that as of last night, no one from Metro had contacted him about removing the ban; he considers the ban still in place. The Metro press release appears contradictory to what the TSOC TOC has heard previously and didn’t contain any new information, so until WMATA provides the committee with a formal written agreement, they consider the ban still in effect. Madison told WaPo “[w]e want to get something in writing that lays out the specifics of how we access the right of way and that sort of thing. This has gone on long enough.”
We feel your pain, Mr. Madison. Continue reading
The Washington City Paper has a piece on Councilman Graham and his employee Ted Loza. In case you’re thawing out of a long sleep: Loza stands accused of accepting bribes and Graham denies any knowledge or involvement.
While no evidence has been offered up that Graham was tied in to any corruption, some of WCP’s findings are not going to do any favors for his credibility. WTOP quotes Graham as stating that Loza had no ethical problems but WCP’s article provides compelling evidence that Graham knew about a number of Loza’s past problems with others, including an incident where he got into a bar fight and threatened the bar owners with liquor license trouble.
The article goes a little off topic when it delves at length into a description of Loza’s problems with the mother of one of his children. While it’s not a description that makes him sound like a real class act, the article does not give any indication that Graham is or is not aware of most of the described situation.
This looks likely to dog Graham for quite some time and may possibly tarnish his credibility for the remainder of his career.
Metro musings, charter bus parking, meter rates rising…five goooooold rings!
*ahem* ‘Scuse me.
So Jim Graham’s pushing to pop downtown meter rates to $2 an hour. Additionally, the DC Council is considering ditching the District’s long-standing practice of free meter parking on the weekends in the downtown core.
The rate increase isn’t for additional revenue, however. Graham noted that it’s “about finding more money for a specific compelling need in the city,” specifically a funding resource for the affordable housing projects in the District. Such projects include programs for first-time home buyers and permanent supportive housing for the homeless.
Other thinking is that the higher rates would discourage commuters from the ‘cheaper’ parking alternative to the expensive garages and open up more spaces for shoppers. Current meter rates in the District are a lot cheaper than other downtown cores, such as New York, Philadelphia and Chicago.
Hey, if the revenue is used as suggested, I’m all for it.