IOWA CITY, IOWA - APRIL 3: Gay, lesbian and transgender activists react to the unanimous decision by the Iowa Supreme Court earlier in the day recognizing same sex marriage as a civil right during a celebration on April 3, 2009 at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa. (Photo by David Greedy/Getty Images)
Hundreds of people participated in a march through Columbia Heights Tuesday evening to protest a recent spate of violent hate crimes targeting the LGBT community in D.C.
The march, according to the Examiner, started at the IHOP on 14th and Irving St—the spot where a gay man was shot March 11 after an altercation with another patron.
Protesters then head to the spot where a gay man was attacked a day later at Georgia Avenue and Irving St. The march ended at Cobalt, a gay bar in the area, where money was being raised for the second victim.
Both gay male victims remain in the hospital, according to the Washington Blade, with the shooting victim suffering from liver damage caused by the gunshot wound and the victim from the Georgia Ave. attack recovering from surgery needed to repair a broken jaw and additional head injuries.
A third victim, a transgender woman, was attacked just before midnight on March 12 and has since been released from the hospital. The Blade reports that unlike the first two incidents, police say they lack evidence to classify the attack as a hate crime.
D.C. Councilman Kwame Brown and council member Jim Graham participated in the march, according to the Washington Post.
Mayor Gray released a statement about the hate crimes:
“All crime is horrific and destructive to the fabric of our community, but especially violent behavior that targets people because of their ethnic background, sexual orientation, faith or other identifying characteristics,” Mayor Gray said. “These kinds of crimes are particularly insidious, because they are designed to instill fear in an entire community. This cannot and will not stand in the District of Columbia, where all of our residents have the right to walk the streets of our neighborhoods free of fear, regardless of their identities, beliefs or characteristics. The Metropolitan Police Department and I will not rest until the perpetrators of these brutal crimes are arrested, tried and safely locked away.”
* Governor O’Malley’s now infamous “flush tax” made it through the House Environmental Matters Committee.
The tax would double the cost of nearly every resident’s flush tax from $60 to $30 and the money would go to restoring the Chesapeake Bay. O’Malley’s critics have used the tax to show just how heavy handed the governor’s budget is on tax increases.
O’Malley’s original proposal called for the fee to be based on an individual’s water consumption but then later determined that plan unworkable.
O’Malley’s proposed legislation to limit growth on septic tanks also made it through committee Tuesday.
He argued, according to The Washington Post, that the bill’s restrictions would curb development sprawl and reduce nitrogen pollution to the Chesapeake Bay.
* MoneyRates.com ranked Virginia as the best state in the country to make a living.
The study was based on each state’s average income, cost of living, state income’s tax and unemployment rate. With an average income of $44,677 Virginia topped the list this year, jumping from fourth place last year.
Virginia enjoyed “a best-of-both-worlds-scenario” in which its average income rose while its cost of living dropped.
The study also noted that the state unemployment rate dropped to 6.2 percent, well below the national average.
* U.S. Democratic Senator Ben Cardin, who is up for reelection this year, aired his second TV advertisement Tuesday.
Titled “Oysternomics,” the ad focused on the senator’s efforts to restore the Chesapeake Bay and the economic benefits of the restoration.
Although he is the frontrunner for reelection, Cardin faces eight other Democrats in the April 3 primary.
* The governor of Maryland has a night job and it seems he’s not all that bad at it. Gov. O’Malley’s Celtic rock band, O’Malley’s March, had a gig in the East Room of the White House Tuesday night for a St. Patrick’s Day reception honoring Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny.
The Baltimore Sun reports that O’Malley’s performance was a bit of a surprise. The pool reporter at the event said, ““The governor and his Celtic rock band seemed to be doing a fair job at entertaining the crowd.”
It is unclear whether President Obama or Kenny made it to the event in time to see the governor perform, according to The Washington Post, but the president apparently made mention of the performance later saying, ““they say the curse of the Irish, as the governor knows, is not that they don’t know the words to a song, it’s that they know them all.”
* March crime statistics in D.C. indicate that overall violent crime are down his month compared with the same time last year.
This good news comes after a reported 40 percent spike in violent crime during the first six weeks of the year.
* The D.C. Council passed emergency legislation Tuesday that would restrict marijuana cultivation centers currently seeking approval from the city to operate in areas where officials are hoping new retail will develop.
According to Loose Lips, Ward 7 Councilmember Yvette Alexander backed the bill because she was afraid pot farms would hurt economic development.
Others argued that a cultivation center would not effect retail since it's essentially just a place that grows plants, not pot.
Any applicant affected by the legislation can change their location within 180 days without it impacting their request.
* Tim Kaine's Virginia Senate campaign responded to opponent George Allen's claim that Kaine has tried to block access to affordable energy.
On Tuesday, Allen's camp launched www.TooMuchAtThePump.com -- a gas price calculator which allows visitors to calculate just how much more they are paying for every fill-up of regular unleaded gasoline since President Obama was sworn into office.
"Tim Kaine has a different approach. He implemented Virginia's first comprehensive energy policy to expand all energy sources, including alternative energy that would reduce our dependence on oil. And, unlike George Allen, he would get rid of unnecessary taxpayer subsidies to big oil companies who don't need help from the government."