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Tag Archive | "Vincent Gray"

Hurricane Sandy Closes DC and Federal Governments, Metro


"Sandy"

The first rainfall from Hurricane Sandy began reaching DC late Sunday evening. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Rachel Nania. Check out her blog, Sear, Simmer & Stir. Follow Nania on Twitter @rnania, email her at rachel[AT]borderstan.com. 

Hurricane Sandy is closing in on DC, and the city is preparing itself for the worst. As of this evening, the Federal Government, the DC Government and all Metro service has been suspended for Monday, October 29, in anticipation of the storm. According to a statement from Mayor Gray’s office, Metro service will only be restored when it is safe to do so. Following the storm, Metro personnel will need to perform a comprehensive damage assessment, including inspections of track, bridges, aerial structures, stations and facilities.

DC Public Schools are also closed on Monday, and President Barack Obama has declared a state of emergency for DC as Hurricane Sandy approaches.

The weather and transportation closures will make it especially hard for commuters to get to work Monday morning, with bad road conditions expected. Additionally, Capital Bikeshare announced that it will be closing temporarily starting at 1 am Monday morning. According to an email alert, the system will reopen when weather conditions allow.

Streetsweeping  has been suspended through Wednesday. There is no parking enforcement tomorrow. In addition, the DC Department of Transportation has generators in place at major intersections. If power is disrupted, traffic signals will continue to work, and DDOT traffic control officers will be deployed to direct traffic where necessary.

All throughout the weekend, DC residents and employees were busy preparing for Hurricane Sandy. The city’s grocery stores were wiped clear of bottled water and other essentials, and the city placed sandbags in areas where flooding could be problematic. In this year’s past storms, flooding has been a problem in the Borderstan area.

According to The Washington Post, DC is expected to experience 4-7” of rain and a long period of sustained winds above 35 mph, with peak gusts of more than 60 mph from Hurricane Sandy.

According to WTOP, several locations in DC have opened as shelters ahead of Hurricane Sandy, including:

  • Turkey Thicket Recreation Center, 1100 Michigan Avenue NE
  • Bald Eagle Recreation Center, 100 Joliet Street SW
  • Emery Recreation Center, 5701 Georgia Avenue NW
  • Guy Mason Recreation Center, 3600 Calvert Street NW
  • Chevy Chase Community Center, 5601 Connecticut Avenue NW
  • Deenwood Community Center, 1350 49th Street NE

For information on closings, delays and weather, check WTOP’s website for the latest listings.

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Borderstan Poll: 77% of Readers Say Vincent Gray Should Resign


"Vincent Gray"

Mayor Vincent Gray. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Rachel Nania. Check out her blog, Sear, Simmer & Stir. Follow Nania on Twitter @rnania, email her at rachel[AT]borderstan.com. 

It’s been about four weeks since Mayor Vincent Gray’s 2010 corrupt “shadow” campaign was revealed. Shortly after U.S. Attorney Ron Machen announced the Gray campaign’s failure to report $653,000 in campaign funds used in his race against DC’s incumbent mayor, Adrian Fenty, several councilmembers called for Gray’s resignation, including Mary Cheh (D-Ward 3), David Catania (I-At Large) and Muriel Bowser (D-Ward 4).

About a week after the news broke, The Washington Post published a poll, illustrating the District’s discontentment with the mayor. According to the poll, 54% of readers said Gray should resign, while another 59% disapproved of the way Gray is handling his job as Mayor.

Here at Borderstan, we decided to conduct our own poll to see how the Dupont-Logan-U Street area compared to the city overall. It’s no secret that this part of the city is not a “Gray area.” In this neighborhood, then-incumbent Mayor Adrian Fenty was the heavy favorite in the September 2010 primary results, running up huge majorities. Then, in the November general election a write-in campaign for Fenty got a surprisingly large number of votes (39% in Ward 2 and 30% in Ward 1).

Reader Poll Results on Gray

So, when the Borderstan reader poll results came in — it was really no surprise that a large majority of poll respondents are not pleased with Gray and the revelations and accusations surrounding his 2010 campaign. Of Borderstan readers who took the poll:

  • 77% said that Gray should resign now
  • 16% said Gray should not resign unless indicted for a crime
  • 2% said Gray should not leave office unless convicted of a crime
  • 5% of readers were not sure what Gray should do

What’s next for Gray? Aside from a recent meeting between Gray’s chief of staff and crisis management expert, Judy Smith, it seems as though the scandal has fizzled out in the news over the past month. Could the lack of publicity buy some time for the mayor? Some political analysts predicted that he would resign from his position, but nothing has happened and Gray has not been legally charged with any wrongdoing. In the end, will it all be much ado about nothing, with Gray serving out the rest of his term?

Perhaps the most interesting question is, “If Gray did end up resigning, would win the special election to succeed him?”

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Chick-fil-A: “No #hatechicken,” in DC says Gray, HRC


From Alden Leonard. Contact him at alden[AT]borderstan.com and follow him @aldenleonard on Twitter.

Back to food trucks (did we ever really leave?). Amidst a national controversy over Chick-fil-A’s public opposition to same-sex marriage, last week neighborhood-based Human Rights Campaign (HRC) staged a protest at the fast food restaurant’s food truck downtown.

"Chicken"

How do you feel about eating at Chick-fil-A? (Courtesy of Carly & Art’s Photostream on Flickr)

Protesters held signs that informed diners their lunch money would be going to the Wingate Foundtion, the charitable wing of Chick-fil-A. (See Playing Chicken with Politics and Food.)

You can’t say they weren’t warned. A few months back, there was something of a kerfuffle surrounding the debut of a Chick-fil-A food truck in the District because of their connections to ultra-conservative charities. And DC, particularly Borderstan, is a pretty liberal place. (See Playing Chicken with Politics and Food.)

Outrage to the chain’s stance on gay marriage goes far beyond DC, with mayors in Boston and Chicago publicly saying they don’t welcome Chick-fil-A in their cities (even though they cannot legally stop them from expanding there). Late Friday afternoon, even Mayor Gray got in on the action, tweeting that he “would not support #hatechicken.”

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Posted in Business, Politics & GovernmentComments (1)

Harry Jaffe: Vincent Gray Stole the Election


From Luis Gomez. Catch his photos at One Photograph A Day. Follow him on Twitter @LuisGomezPhotos.

"Mayoral Race"

Mayor VincentGray defeated incumbent Mayor Adrian Fenty in the September 2010 Democratic primary. (Luis Gomez Photos)

No one could ever accuse Borderstan resident and iconoclastic journalist Harry Jaffe of holding his tongue. (See Harry Jaffe Unfiltered (Isn’t He Usually?) In his last column for Washingtonian magazine, he essentially calls for a do-over off the 2010 Democratic primary between former Mayor Adrian Fenty and incumbent DC Mayor Vincent Gray.

With rumors swirling about a possible indictment of Gray, and the mayor saying he won’t resign, Jaffe penned a piece, “Mayor Gray’s Elaborate, Illegal Scheme to Steal the Election.” Jaffe details how he believes campaign operations were conducted and money was illegally exchanged with the goal of creating a downward spiral of public opinion against Fenty.

Jaffe admits that Fenty’s all-too-often dismissive attitude toward old-school DC politicians and community organizations played into the hands of those seeking to oust Fenty. But, at the end of the day Jaffe says corruption and old-style DC machine politics were at work.

Jaffe’s column’s illustrates the power of hidden money in the Gray campaign and in his usual blunt style writes, “Gray and his crew stole the election, plain and simple. If not for the $653,000 that paid for a fundamental and effective get-out-the-vote operation, might Fenty have won?”

The article raises some very good questions about how local politics work — but more than anything else leaves you with a feeling of hopeless dissatisfaction just when you thought DC was on its way to become a better place.

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Mayor Gray Dines at Hank’s Oyster Bar, Shows Support for Restaurant


"Mayor Vincent Gray and Jamie Leeds"

Mayor Vincent Gray and  Hank’s Oyster Bar Chef and owner Jamie Leeds on Thursday night. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Tom Hay. Questions for Tom? Send him an email at Tom[AT]borderstan.com. You can follow him on Twitter @Tomonswann.

DC Mayor Vincent Gray had dinner at Hank’s Oyster Bar in Dupont Circle on Thursday night. The mayor’s visit to the popular restaurant at 1624 Q Street NW happened as the restaurant is embroiled in another chapter of a seven-year-long regulatory battle with a small group of neighborhood residents. Hank’s Chef and owner Jamie Leeds greeted the mayor who acknowledged Leeds’ latest challenge.

Leeds told Borderstan that she said to Gray, “I just want my patio back.” According to Leeds, the mayor shared her frustration that a small group of people could dictate how a business may operate, even in the face of so much popular support. Shortly after Leeds was forced to downsize her patio, an online petition was circulated in support of Leeds and quickly attained more than 1,800 signatures.

Hank’s Oyster Bar most recent roadblock occurred just before the start of the annual gay pride weekend — one of the busiest times for the outdoor cafe portion of the restaurant. Leeds was forced to close half of her cafe’s outdoor seating after a DC Court of Appeals decision ruled that the city’s Alcoholic Beverage Control Board (ABC Board) had erred in its 2010 decision that allowed her to terminate the voluntary agreement (V.A.) she had signed before opening in 2005.

Among other things, the V.A. controlled the hours service and size of the outdoor cafe portion of the restaurant. The case was remanded to the ABC Board and a hearing took place last month. A ruling is expected in a few weeks.

While the drama of Hank’s unfolded over the past few weeks, DC Councilmember Jim Graham (D-Ward 1) has introduced legislation that would overhaul many of DC’s alcohol licensing laws. Among the 43 amendments and additions proposed in the legislation is a change in how close neighbors must live to a business before they may have standing to protest a liquor license application. The legislation was introduced last month and a hearing is scheduled for July 12 at 11 am in room 412 of the John A. Wilson Building at 14th and Pennsylvania NW.

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Posted in Food & Drink, Politics & GovernmentComments (2)

RAMW Congratulates Council on Alcohol Service Extension


From Alden Leonard. Contact him at alden[AT]borderstan.com and follow him @aldenleonard on Twitter.

Last week the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington (RAMW) released a statement commending the D.C. Council for its approval of a partial extension of alcohol service hours at D.C. restaurants, bars and hotels. The measure, which will allow later alcohol service on holiday weekends (and a few other instances), will take effect this fall.

"Borderstan"

(Luis Gomez Photos)

In the winding road that led to this compromise, the RAMW consistently lobbied for more liberal bar service hours, arguing that easing these restrictions would generate revenue for the city and raise its global profile. Amidst a near-collapse of the initiative last month, RAMW and other hospitality industry interests flexed their muscle to get the proposal on the books.

So when you wake up especially disoriented on some future Sunday morning, you’ll know who to thank.

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Posted in Food & Drink, Politics & GovernmentComments Off

Pics! Capital Pride Festival Closes Out Pride Week


"2012 Capital Pride Collage"

Click above for the pics of the 2012 Capital Pride Festival. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Luis Gomez. Catch his photos on Picplz and at One Photograph A Day. Follow him on Twitter @LuisGomezPhotos.

Check out the photos of the 2012 Capital Pride Festival on Borderstan’s Flickr page.

The 2012 Capital Pride Festival was a great closing day for Pride Week. While the temperatures were in the low 90s, Pennsylvania Avenue was full of people checking out the vendors, visiting the beer garden, and enjoying the performances on the main stage at 3rd Street NW.

DC Mayor Vincent Gray spoke from the main stage and emphasized that he was proud of DC for being one of the first jurisdictions in the United States to legalize same-sex marriage. Headliner Deborah Cox closed the festival with an over-the-top performance, but it was hard to forget it would be the last time we would see the DC Cowboys perform (it was the group’s last performance).

Borderstan.com was proud to be among the sponsors of Capital Pride 2012. See you next year!

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DC Council Approves Limited Extended Alcohol Service Hours


From Rachel Nania. Check out her blog, Sear, Simmer & Stir. Follow Nania on Twitter @rnania, email her at rachel[AT]borderstan.com

In a neighborhood that is home to many of the District’s top restaurants and bars, it is hard to ignore the politics surrounding the food and beverage industries. (See our recent post on the potential Alcoholic Beverage Control license moratorium in the 14th and U Street area.)

"Martini Glasses"

Later hours for DC bars on holidays. (Luis Gomez Photos)

For starters, it is hard to overlook that the local hospitality industry is a core economic engine for the city, contributing more than $2.5 billion to the DC economy. And in a time when it is difficult to find employment in neighborhoods beyond Borderstan, it is hard to ignore that the local service industry employs more than 48,000 people.

That is why, a June 5 vote from the DC Council left the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington (RAMW) and several local businesses cheering — the vote permits hospitality venues to partially extend licensed alcoholic beverage service hours.

Now, what, exactly, does that mean?

Well, my fellow Borderstan friends, that means, starting this fall, DC restaurants and bars will have extended licensed alcoholic beverage services by one hour on holiday-related dates. And luckily for you, in a government-important city, holidays occur more frequently than dragon blood references on “Game of Thrones.”

It is predicted that the supplemental money generated by the service extension will help the Council to eliminate a projected city budget deficit, without increasing local taxes or fees for both residents and businesses. DC Mayor Vincent Gray, who proposed the service extension option on a year-round basis in order to generate a minimum $3.21 million in additional sales tax revenues, previously announced his support for the Council compromise.

“Local residents appreciate how our city relies on a dynamic nighttime economy,” said RAMW president, Lynne Breaux. “They understand how this policy change allows us to better, and more fully accommodate, a growing population with diverse working and living schedules, and it’s why a service extension has been embraced without significant or broad-based opposition originating with residents.”

The legislation results in the District’s move towards joining eight states in allowing on-premise alcohol sales at restaurants, bars, nightclubs and hotels until 3 am on weeknights and six states permitting sales until 4 am on weekends.

And for those who fear the bump in nightlife hours will impact public safety, you will be happy to know that DC Metropolitan Police Chief, Cathy Lanier, expressed her full confidence that expanded service hours throughout the year would pose no additional burdens on law enforcement personnel or public safety.

Looking for even better news? The Council also voted for a separate provision, allowing for extended service hours during the five-day Presidential Inauguration period next January.

And if you were in town for the last Inauguration, you know what a big deal that is… so, in other words, come election time, meet me at the bar?

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Posted in Food & Drink, NewsComments Off

Who Can Win? What the Mayoral Race Says About the City


By Michelle Lancaster. You can follow her and let her know your news on Twitter @MichLancaster. Email her at michellel[AT]borderstan.com.

Given Mayor Vincent Gray’s legal troubles and Chairman of the Council Kwame Brown still under investigation, it seems to have created an open field for the Mayor’s seat. Or so the The Washington Post would have you believe.

"DC Wilson Building"

The Wilson Building is home to the DC Government. (D.C. Council website.)

It seems they believe the leading contenders — noted, this means those that have taken steps to consider a bid, not their endorsement — may be Muriel Bowser, an African-American Washingtonian in her second term as Councilmember of Ward 4; long-time Councilmember Jack Evans (Ward 2) and Councilmember Tommy Wells (Ward 6). Ward 2 includes the Dupont and Logan neighborhoods.

When asked about possible mayoral aspirations, Evans’ office provided the following statement from the Ward 2 councilmember: “Right now, I remain focused on Ward 2 and the work of the Committee on Finance and Revenue. Like most elected officials, I always aspire to higher office and if an opportunity were to present itself, I would certainly consider it.”

What is notable about that list is not that all are sitting councilmembers; it’s that two of the three are white. DC has had an African American mayor since ‘home rule’ — when DC was allowed to begin governing itself in the 1970s — and it seems this could possibly be the election to break that streak.

Washington City Paper seems less than satisfied with the list of prospective candidates posed by the Post in their comment, “yeesh.” The city’s demographic trends make a strong white candidate a distinct possibility. We will all have to see who emerges as the front-runner to take hold of a fractious council and ongoing budget turmoil.

What a lucky person they will be, regardless of pigmentation! All kidding aside, the district is changing in demographics, income and goals. The next mayor will have a large hand in the path forward and in defining what direction counts as forward. Read up and get engaged, already.

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Posted in News, Politics & GovernmentComments (2)

DC Budget Moves Forward, Limited Extra Alcohol Sales Hours Okayed


From Alden Leonard. Contact him at alden[AT]borderstan.com and follow him @aldenleonard on Twitter.

Last week the DC Council passed Mayor Vincent Gray’s 2013 budget proposal with an unusual absence of tax increases. Final approval is scheduled for June 5.

DC bars will be able to serve alcohol one hour later on selected holidays. (One Photograph A Day)

The Council chose spending cuts rather than tax hikes to close its projected $172 million budget gap. Still, council members made sure to assemble a quarter-billion dollar “wish list” of additional spending should tax revenue exceed projections for the coming fiscal year.

As the Washington Blade’s Mark Lee points out, in true DC tradition, it did not occur to councilmembers to plan to reduce business or personal income taxes in the District, where they are the second and fourth highest in the country, respectively.

Of note, the DC budget partially implements Mayor Gray’s now-famous proposal for a one-hour extension of alcohol service period at city restaurants, bars and hotels, as a way of generating tax revenue and balancing the District budget.

Although the Mayor’s original proposal failed to pass the Council, Chairman Brown’s compromise was approved — providing for later service hours on the night before all federal and DC holidays, Friday through Sunday preceding Memorial Day and Labor Day, and New Year’s Eve and July 4 when they fall on a Monday.

Amidst their relatively rare instance of tax moderation, DC officials relished the comparison between itself and neighboring Maryland, which this week approved a series of tax hikes. “Thank God Maryland keeps raising their taxes, one of these days they’re going to catch up to us,” Brown quipped.

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