The Daily Feed, WTF?!

Kwame Brown’s Navigator, and Vincent Gray’s Deep Pockets

Photo courtesy of
courtesy of ‘lazzarello’

It’s been a bad weekend for Mayor Vince Gray and Council Chairman Kwame Brown. The former, it was revealed by the Post’s Nikita Stewart, has been spending quite a lot of money on senior staff.

Vincent Gray has hired a number of senior advisors at significantly higher dollar values than Adrian Fenty, with several salaries approaching, or meeting, $200,000 per year. Most of the people in these positions are getting paid significantly more than their predecessors. Gerri Mason Hall, the mayor’s chief of staff, is being paid over the bracketed salary for the position at $200,000, which is about what the mayor himself draws from city coffers. For comparison, Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel at the White House made $172,000 per year. While it’s certain that the White House also pays people in prestige and notoriety, it’s a difficult pill to swallow for many city workers facing furlough and layoffs.

And then there’s Kwame Brown’s “fully loaded” Lincoln Navigators. Yes, he has two of them. Mike DeBonis of the Post did some excellent digging into the circumstances around the council chairman’s ride, and boy is this one ugly. The city has now leased a pair of Navigators – yes, that’s plural on purpose – for the Council Chairman, due to the requirement that the vehicle be black-on-black. The city will pay close to $3,600/mo for these two vehicles, which is, with insurance, about double my mortgage payment in Brookland.

Council Chairman Brown was uncharacteristically silent on Twitter yesterday, but that didn’t stop the rise of a new hashtag: #whatshouldkwamedo. Personally? Cancel the contract of the spare unit, and trade the Navigator for the Mayor’s old Smart car. At least that one’s already paid for.

Anatomy of a Scandal

Anatomy of a Scandal: Parks Department

Photo courtesy of
‘Green. Very Green.’
courtesy of ‘kimberlyfaye’

Hi there, and welcome to the first of an occasional series called Anatomy of a Scandal. There’s always something to fight about when it comes to DC politics, and that’s just the local stuff, not what happens over at the Capitol. Unlike national politics, though, not every local political adventure has a clear set of sides and players. We’re here to help figure some of this stuff out. First up? Department of Parks and Recreation. It’s been sort of a long drawn out cluster of scandals, and you should probably know some of the people involved.

Dramatis Personae
Adrian Fenty, Mayor of the District of Columbia
Peter Nickles, His Attorney General
Vincent Gray, Chairman of the City Council, rival to Fenty
Kwame Brown, At-Large Councilman
Marion Barry, Hizzoner Emeritus
Ximena Hartsock, Interim/Acting Director of the Department of Parks & Recreation, appointed by Mayor Fenty (twice…)
DC Housing Authority, a quasi-governmental entity
Omar Karim, friend of the Mayor, fraternity brother to Adrian Fenty.

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All Politics is Local

President-Elect Obama

Obama 2008 Presidential Campaign by Barack Obama

While the final totals are still being tallied, it’s readily apparent that Barack Obama will become the 44th President of the United States on 20 January 2009. Virginia, DC & Maryland will cast their electors all for Senator Obama in December, the first time they’ve all been cast for the same party since 1964.

Kwame Brown and Michael Brown lead in the At-Large City Council race, with Patrick Mara and Carol Schwartz in 3rd & 4th. Eleanor Holmes Norton will return as our Delegate to the House. Maryland will get both Early Voting & Slot Machines. We still have no freaking idea what happened in Arlington. Well, we do, but it’s hard to believe that DC got their votes up before Arlington county did.

I’m exhausted. It was a rollercoaster tonight, and it ended with an incredible speech by President-Elect Obama. This was the end of his speech tonight, and I think it deserves to be printed here:

This is our chance to answer that call. This is our moment. This is our time – to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American Dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth – that out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope, and where we are met with cynicism, and doubt, and those who tell us that we can’t, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people: Yes we can.

Congratulations, Mr. President-Elect.