DC Mayor Vincent Gray and DC Council Chair Kwame Brown listen as President Barack Obama delivers his third annual back-to-school speech at Benjamin Banneker Academic High School in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2011. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
Sulaimon Brown, the former mayoral candidate who said he was paid by Mayor Vincent Gray’s campaign to make statements against then-incumbent Adrian Fenty—said Gray should step down from his position immediately for violating the public’s trust.
“I was not looking for vindication for truth need not be vindicated,” Brown released a statement by e-mail. “I was seeking justice.”
* Post columnist Robert McCartney wrote that Gray is likely a liar who knew about this illegal campaign payments all along.
“It’s now getting close to impossible to believe the mayor’s past insistence that he was completely unaware of secret payments by his staff to oddball minor mayoral candidate Sulaimon Brown.
The alternate explanation is that Gray had no inkling of anything suspicious while Gore, a close associate of two decades, and campaign consultant Howard Brooks undertook a risky, illegal operation under his nose.
Gray is famous for his hands-on, detail-oriented management style. Which possibility seems more likely to you?”
* The Post editorial board writes that the city is owed an apology.
Did Mr. Gray know what was going on? If not, why not? The mayor, who previously has denied wrongdoing, has refused to comment on the charges involving Mr. Gore and Mr. Brooks. That’s understandable but not sustainable. Surely the public is owed an explanation, and an apology, for the events that now taint the 2010 election.
* The corruption in D.C. politics is making national headlines, read the Wall Street Journal’s article on what’s happening in city government….
* Members of DC Vote went to protest the office of Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) on Wednesday, but the legislature who introduced the bill to ban abortion after 20 weeks in the District was no where to be found.
Even though he wasn’t in his office, roughly 50 D.C. residents, according to Politico, lined outside his office and spoke out, arguing that if an Arizona representative wants to introduce legislation affecting D.C. residents, he should also help fix the city’s other problems like construction.
Politico reports that while the protesters said they understood the House was in recess, they sarcastically chose to protest on Wednesday because they were Franks’ constituents and it was a “constituent work week.”
“We expected him to be here to deal with D.C. issues since he said the Constitution compels him to work on local matters. So we’re actually shocked he’s not here to deal with these local matters,” said DC Vote executive director Ilir Zherka.
* Virginia Free rates the state’s legislature each year according to how well it supports the lobby’s definition of “pro-business.”
This year, the General Assembly earned a “C-,“ largely because its lack of progress on improving roads, according to Bacon’s Rebellion.
“FREE” says that the legislative year started well enough with Gov. Robert F. McDonnell pushing $3 billion in new debt for roads with another $1 billion in unspent funding for transportation. But he and the legislature didn’t do anything about raising gasoline taxes, which have languished at 17.5 cents per gallon for nearly three decades and haven’t even been adjusted for inflation. “At a bare minimum,” FREE says, “new money is required to meet basic maintenance needs, restore viability to the construction budget and ensure that Virginia is a viable partner with the private sector on (public-private transportation) projects.”
* A new state audit found that county social service agendas do a poor job of tracking foster children, have missing files on welfare checks and grant food stamps to too many ineligible people, according to The Maryland Reporter.
The most errors—40 each—were found in Baltimore and Prince George’s County in an audit from April 2008 to June 2011.
VIA Maryland Reporter
“While there is still some work to do, I am happy to report that many of the conditions noted in the audit have already been corrected and we are on our way to resolving all the findings in the audit,” Human Resources Secretary Theodore Dallas said.
For instance, he said they have brought down the food stamp error rate from 6.16 percent in May 2011 to 3.1 percent in December 2011.
* The state of Virginia will spend $1.4 million to order every registered voter in the state a new voter ID card, according to The Washington Post.
Gov. McDonnell signed a controversial voter ID bill into law Friday that many argued could disenfranchise minority and elderly voters.
To soften the potential impacts of the bill, McDonnell also called for every registered voter in the state to be ordered a new voter ID card—a valid form of identification at the polls.
* Gov. McDonnell is receiving heat for vetoing a bill that would allow abused or neglected children living with a relative to enroll in the school district where the relative lives.
The measure easily passed 76-16 in the House and 38-1 in the Senate.
According to The Washington Times, McDonnell amended the bill to allow districts to require the caregiver to get a court order authorizing the relative to make educational decisions regarding the child. The bill passed by the legislature would have enabled the relative to make educational decisions after obtaining power of attorney over the children from the parent.